Diggin It: Get Your Freekeh On

10 Sep freekeh

It has been quite sometime since I’ve done a Diggin’ It review, but here is a ‘new to me’ product I really think you’re going to like.

Freekeh Food was provided to me free of charge for the purposes of this product review and giveaway through my affiliation with Fit Approach as a #SweatPink Ambassador.  As always all opinions are my very own.

First, let me tell you WHAT THE FREEK freekeh is anyways:

Freekeh is an ancient grain that’s high in fiber & protein. Freekeh is organic & Non-GMO verified. Freekeh is an ancient roasted grain that can be compared to and prepared similar to  rice or other grains. It has a nutty, chewy texture and has up to 3 times the amount of fiber and protein as brown rice.  Freekeh is also naturally low in sodium and vegan, however, it is a wheat so is not gluten free for those of you who are gluten free.

Anything that can add some fiber and protein to a meal is a big winner for me.  The kids nearly ate us out of house and home this summer.  It was like I couldn’t get them full, so I was game for adding some filling protein into our meals. Honestly, I was a little skeptical how the family would embrace another new grain.  It took a couple of tries with quinoa, but we love it now.  Amaranth got one shot and now I have a nice container of amaranth that will never be used again.  I was given two packages of the organic freekeh toasted green wheat to try over the summer.  At first I made a bag of the “original” just as a side dish – as a swap for quinoa or brown rice, our go to side dishes to go with any meat and a vegetable. The kids really liked it and I had a lot of leftovers to add into salads and blend into smoothies for a couple of days, as I didn’t season it much, so they didn’t taste the addition to their smoothies.

Then one night I had a brilliant idea.  I needed some simplicity so I searched on pinterest for a one pan chicken and rice dish and swapped the freekeh for the rice.  PERFECTION.  Who doesn’t love a one pot dish that is super easy to make?


But we liked the first try with the plain “original” freekeh so I figured I’d try to venture out with the Rosemary Sage Freekeh and try to make a little “Thanksgiving in a pan.”  I mean, really, what is more of a comfort food than the sage of Thanksgiving stuffing?


Buttery chicken and rosemary sage freekeh
Fixed in 30 minutes in one pot!
Serves: 6 (4 for dinner and leftovers for at least 2 lunches in my case!)
for the chicken
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts ( I sliced mine into tenders, makes it easier for serving the kids)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage (and a sprig of rosemary for added flavor.  You could also add garlic or diced onions for more flavor.)
for the freekeh
  • 1 8-ounce package Freekeh (approx. 1 1/3 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used low sodium)
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet or pan (one that has a lid). Season chicken with salt, pepper and sage.  Brown chicken in the butter for 1-2 minutes on each side. (Chicken shouldn’t be cooked through at this point, you’re just getting the outside brown in the butter) Transfer chicken to a plate.
  2. Add freekeh, chicken broth, and sage right into the pan. Scrape up the browned butter a bit and stir. Place the chicken on top, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes until liquid is dissolved.
  3. Serve immediately.
  4. I served this with cauliflower and it made for a VERY boring looking (but delicious tasting!) plate.  Next time I’d roast some broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans or any of your side vegetables you would serve with a comfort food dish! IMG_1381

Anytime the people I live with clean their plates AND give me a compliment, I consider dinner a major winner.  THIS dish not only got a thumbs up from the Girl, it got a “this dinner is really good, momma, thank you for making it for us” from The Boy.  I really don’t think he was trying to butter me up or anything! They weren’t grounded, so he wasn’t sucking up.  Now that I’m writing this I’m suspicious.  Hmmmm.  Just kidding.  It really was fantastic and DOC and I both gave it a thumbs up instead of the amaranth that prompted a “this tastes like crunchy dirt and let’s never cook it again” discussion.

I imagine that you could use any of the freekeh flavors with whatever seasonings you choose and make a perfect one pot meal.  You could do a cajun dish with the original with a little Tony Cachere’s in place of the salt, pepper and sage.  You could do an Asian inspired dish with the tamari and toss in some sesame or soy sauce. Use your imagination and come up with a fun new dish that will only take you 30 minutes to get on the table with only one pan to clean! I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!


Wait, did you see above… I mentioned a GIVEAWAY!?!  That’s right.  Again, thanks to Freekeh and Fit Approach I’m going to give away one pack of freekeh and a cookbook.  Head on over to my instagram page, follow me and find out how you can win! You’ll have to be following me to win this great cookbook and prize. I’m closing this contest on Monday, September 14 – so you need to act fast!

What’s your favorite grain?  Your favorite fast one pot meal?

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and  Pinterest…. and OF COURSE Instagram

Win The Day

25 Aug

Recently, I had to have a conversation that turned into a real Dr. Phil conversation (I mean, old school Dr. Phil, not that hot mess of a train wreck he’s been hosting for the last couple of years).  I asked “What are you afraid of?”  And it turns out, he’s afraid of being too successful because what if in the future people expect him to be very successful.  He’s afraid of future failing.

We talked about a strategy for how to not feel so anxious all of the time. My go to – because everything in our lives revolves around football season right now –  WIN THE DAY.  I know tons of coaches use this, but I remembered that Coach Freeze at Ole Miss used it, so I used him in my story.

I explained that Coach and his staff never look ahead in the schedule.  The player and coaches simply try to win each play, each practice, each down, each game, each day.  All you can expect of yourself if to try your hardest and do you your best at each moment and if you fail, you just try to win the next thing.  A player will throw an interception or miss a block or fumble the ball but they don’t quit on the game and if they lose a game they can not give up on the whole season.

We aren’t ever going to be perfect.  We can try try try our hardest, but sometimes we’re just not going to be the best or do the best we can do on that particular day.  We can’t worry about tomorrow.  All we can do is try our hardest at this very minute to be the best me that I can be.  I can work my hardest to try and WIN THE DAY.


Then my girls over at Fit Approach asked, What’s your fitness strategy? How will you achieve your goals?  I thought back to this conversation and thought about my own struggles.  I am not currently focused on Winning The Day.  I’m focused on finishing a race, fitting into a dress, being a weight (that yes I know DOESN’T DEFINE ME, Jeez Louise, I get it).  But I have not been focused on the day, the bite, the meal, the plan, the focus.  I must learn to be present in the day, to win the day, to reach the goal.

I can’t possibly achieve my goals if I don’t focus on winning today.  Food, exercise (parenting, work and marriage while I’m at it!) I can not be focused on an end goal and ignore doing the small tasks to be successful today.

I can not finish the race, fit into the goal dress, be at a weight I’m comfortable with if I do not try to Win The Day but also know that if I do not, I will win the next choice.



  • Set a training plan and stick to it:
    • Lay out my workout clothes
    • Set the alarm
    • Remind DOC to kick me out of bed the second time I hit snooze
    • Have a back-up plan for when DOC forgets to kick me out of bed/I turn the alarm off instead of hitting snooze
  • Plan and prepare my meals:
    • Stick to the menu
    • When my meals are prepped I make them.  Don’t waste food because you’re too tired to cook.
    • When you don’t stick to the meal plan, when you use Order Up, win the day by picking the best option instead of feeling guilty later on.
    • Remember that you feel like absolute crap when you eat crap for dinner and try to run the next morning.
  • Keep Motivations in Sight:
    • Put daily goals in writing
    • Put monthly goals in writing
    • Move the dress from the back of the closet.

This is how I’ll win the day and stay focused on my goals.

What is your fitness strategy?  How do you stay focused on your goals? I’d love to hear how you’re staying focused!

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram… and of course Pinterest!

Friday Five: Five Things We Did This Summer

21 Aug 11041563_10153265639752659_3163790356922886749_n

Hello.  HELLO?  Are you still here?  Sorry, I fell off the map over the past three weeks.  Us 4 Carters were a WEE BIT Busy.

Of course I’m off topic again for the Friday Five Link-up.  The DC Trifecta has probably decided to kick me out.  But I like those girls, so go check them out:  Courtney of Eat Pray Run, DC, Cynthia of You Signed Up for What?!? and Mar from Mar on the Run.   You see, this week’s topic is Five Things I’ll be doing in Five years and NEXT week’s is 5 things you did this summer.  I’m still recovering from THIS summer so I can not wrap my brain around where I’ll be in five years.  So, please enjoy… Five Things We Did This Summer… or, where the heck have you been?

Go Ape

This is hands-down the BEST thing we did as a family this year.  Go Ape Freedom Park in Williamsburg was simply incredible.  While I was nervous before we went I absolutely loved the entire experience.  The squeals from The Girl were worth the price of admission alone.  That girl is a daredevil and wasn’t intimidated for a minute.  The Boy really pushed himself and tried to go as fast as he could, pushed himself to try to do the course in harder ways and was the first to “stick” the zipline landing, teasing each of us until we finally got it.  The Boy  could have handled the Treetop Adventure (for ages 10+ only) but Tree Top Junior was perfect for The Girl (AND ME!).


This isn’t a sponsored post in any way – we just love this place.  Now that I’m on the mailing list, I get coupons all the time.  Right now you can get 20% off using the code LUNCHBOX before August 31. They have these parks all over the east coast and mid-west so be sure to check out Go Ape.


Beach Trip

We stuck our toes in the sand.  Actually, DOC and I only went down for one day, but my mom and the kids stayed for a week.  The beach was a “Red Flag Day” meaning, no going in the ocean.  Oh my gosh, best day ever.  It’s like “adult swim” at the pool.  We could be on the beach and not have the be nervous watching the kids swim.

After that we headed HOME ALONE!  PARENTS GONE WILD!  We went out to eat and relaxed, enjoyed a whole bottle of wine, ordered in, caught up on the DVR and had a friend tell us “You look so relaxed.”  Guess we needed the vacation more than the kids did!  THANKS GRAM.


A BEACH RUN all by myself. AMAZING


Sunrise in the OBX.


Carter Kids on a Red Flag day on the beach.




Prepared for the Four Miler!

As I continue to run, I’ve been preparing for the Charlottesville Women’s Four Miler.

I’m really loving running with my mom.  I hope I don’t annoy her, but I’ve learned so much over the past three years that I’m happy to help someone else – especially with hills!  I’m like the HILL MASTER. Ha.  I’m kidding.  Charlottesville is a hilly city, but we’re conquering them one at a time.


I was sent a RaesWear skirt to try out.  I’ve been terrified to run in a skirt but I finally silenced my inner mean girl who says there is too much jiggle, too much cellulite, just too much, and BAM! I’m in love with running in a skirt.  Who knew those capris were making me that much hotter?  I owe RaesWear a full review next week, but I had to slip this in here.


LOVING Running in my new RaesWear skirt. (Review coming next week!)

Survived Summer Camps and Sitters

That’s all I can say.  We survived.  The kids had fun, they learned lots.  But man, I’m not good at summer.  Maybe I’m jealous they’re off having fun and I’m at work.  Maybe we haven’t found the right camp/sitter fit that makes it relaxing and enjoyable.  Whatever it is, I’m thankful for the routine the school year brings. They did love their camps this summer, the Boy at Basketball, fencing and computer programming camp and the Girl at a drama camp (like she needs more) and an outdoor education camp (that she turned into craft camp.)

11752108_10153226390732659_9210402234017726442_n 11754715_10153226231712659_5323391345371419197_o

Got Ready For The Year

This year is going to be wicked busy.  First there’s the whole ‘school’ thing.  My job is as an event planner, so I have lots of events.  I’m going to be keeping up with my training and weight loss. My favorite cousin is having a baby and I’m helping with her shower.  My sister is getting married in the spring.  The Boy is focusing on basketball so we’re helping get him trained, getting him stronger and breaking some bad habits.  The Girl is going to start field hockey and I’m helping to coach.  (oh, that reminds me, is there a “coaching field hockey for dummies” book? Yep, thanks, Amazon.)  Between packing lunches, working on PTO, coaching, shuttling kids, working on our health and fitness, and ACTUAL WORK, DOC and I have also committed to more date nights, making the kids go to bed on time (ha) and surviving the year by being in better communication.  Let’s just hope we all survive it all.

Wedding dress shopping road trip

Wedding dress shopping road trip

Lunch Box Prepping

Lunch Box Prepping

Basketball Training

Basketball Training



So, here we are.  Back into the routine of the school year.  I think back to last September’s Back to School, Back to you Challenge and think about starting that one up again, because it was so good for me (and I hope those of you who did it).  But then I think WOMAN, you have lost your damn mind.  You Can Not do one more thing right now.  I can.  I can do ONE more thing: share with you the calendar we used last year.  The Back To School, Back To You Challenge helped to get me organized and focused on creating some balance in my life.  I hope you can use this! (Just ignore the dates, or days of the week, or whatever works for you!) Also, I’m sure if you need an extra kick in the pants Nica would totally be available to help you.

Back To School Calendar

Happy end of summer.  Happy start of fall.  When does the pumpkin spice everything start?


Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram… and of course Pinterest!


Safety First

4 Aug

As summer is winding down (sniffle) I’m reviewing our bucket list.  Hiking, swimming, dollar movies, crafts, books, bike riding… we’ve done them all – and next up is a stop at an adventure park for some high ropes course and zip line fun.  I’m excited and a WEE bit nervous.

Here is the transcript of an actual text conversation between DOC and me:

ME:  Trip to Go Ape is booked:  YEAH!  I hope you love it!

DOC:  Why wouldn’t I love it

ME:  I don’t know – are you scared of heights?


ME:  hanging upside down? Dangling from a cord?

DOC:  I won’t be scared of that


DOC: why did you think I would have been scared of that

ME: I AM! I’ll do anything.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not scared of it.

DOC:  It will be fun and we will have fun

ME:  Now that I’m a mom, I’m scared of hurting myself and putting the family in jeopardy.  Like, last night I wanted to show THE GIRL how to do a back flip off the monkey bars, but I was afraid of landing on my back and paralyzing myself.  It’s also why I did not like going fast on the quads with THE BROTHER driving!

DOC:  yea a back flip may not be the best choice

ME:  How is that any different than hanging off a rope from the trees or riding a quad?

DOC:  Because the tree course could be sued

And this, friends, is our life in a nutshell. Safety first. I guess.

I’ve done zip-lines and high ropes courses plenty of times In the past.  BEFORE becoming a mom.  Yes, I’ve done a handful of mud runs and slid down a three story slide at Foam Fest. But there is something about riding a quad way too fast earlier this summer that had me terrified and I’m already a little scared of doing Go Ape.  I’m trying my hardest to live a life that inspires the kids to try new things and live healthy, but, you know, not snap my neck in the process.


How high is too high to push myself to live a life that makes me feel alive?

How’s your Summer Bucket List coming?

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram… and of course Pinterest!

Back to WHAT: Five Ways I’m Getting Ready for Back To School

31 Jul

Crap on a cracker. Look what day it is.

The kids go back to school in NINETEEN DAYS! I was so excited for school to end, had the summer planned so perfectly and here we are 19 days before the night before school starts and I’m coming to the realization that I need to get my act together.

Do you KNOW how hard it is to get a rising 1st grade girl to decide on her backpack? A 5th grade boy to choose shoes he likes?  I have a headache from it all.

Here’s what we have so far…

Backpacks and lunchboxes ordered from Lands End. We’ve had three backpacks from here over the years and they’ve held up better than any others.  We’ve only needed to replace them as the kids have grown, but still use them for sleep overs or day trips.  The girl needs a new backpack and lunchbox and the boy just the lunch box.   Thanks, Lands End for making this so easy.

Lands End Backpack

School supplies ordered from Amazon. Holy man, that’s a lot of school supplies.  I created the kids school supply lists for their school.  This made shopping so easy on Amazon Prime!  Guess who is NOT going to WalMart, Kmart, Target, CVS on “Tax Free Saturday”?  THIS GIRL.  The thought of it gives me a stomach ache.  Thank you, Amazon Prime, for keeping me out of the stores!

I’ve stocked up on everything from kid safe, paraben free deodorant to a months worth of lunchbox snacks to pencils and pencil top erasers. Last year we bought each kid their supplies they take to school and duplicates for home, which included about 100 sharpened pencils.  Do you know how many pencils we have left?  ZERO.  I am going to tape plastic spoons to them like at the convenience stores so they don’t walk away this year.

Oh, who am I kidding.  They’ll totally get lost.  See you in January for the refill, Amazon.

Outfits. Oh The Girl’s outfit.  We’re still deciding which specific one we want from Fabkids but we’re totally crushing on a couple. Every time the girl sees me near a computer, she asks if she can shop on Fabkids – they totally get her style. (Use this link to BOGO off your first two outfits!)  I love that the girl gets a ton of hand-me-downs and this summer friends moved to Germany and gave us a bunch of clothes with tags still on them.  So, really, we just need the one special outfit to celebrate the first day of school!

Bonus Boxes - FabKids: Cute Back to school outfits for elementary school girls! Click through to get your 2nd outfit free!

The boy has last year’s surprisingly survived Under Armour backpack.  (The girl’s from Garnet Hill, not so much.  The lunchbox disintegrated after summer camp and the backpack fell apart in the final weeks of school. Look, I’m not asking for miracles, but it’s not like she carried home that many books – just usually half stuffed with paper and crafts and glitter. The boy’s Lands end lunchbox, in contrast, is still going mostly strong after two full school years and summer camps,)

10560501_10152362145992659_5221008995169358209_o (1)

And he hardly ever wore the dress up clothes (and by dress up I mean not athletic) he just got in April for his birthday, so he really doesn’t need much to start school.  Except the shoes. Oh boy shoes. The fact that he knows which kids in his class have Jordans, KDs, LeBrons blows my mind.  The fact that all these kids have NEW versions of these $150 shoes is crazy to me. The Boy had a pair that he used all of his birthday gift cards to buy – that was his choice.  Maybe the same is true for his classmates.  But WHY?  Why are we allowing Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, etc. to charge this for shoes.  Do you have $150 pairs of shoes?  I certainly don’t.  AH rant over.

So, back to the shoes – we’ll hit the outlet malls next weekend and see if we can find last years versions of shoes at a discounted price.  Anyone have a favorite destination for kids shoes?

On top of all of this I’m lining up after-school care, figuring out which sports we’re going to play this year and taking the kids for their back-to-school physicals in case they do decide to play sports.  Don’t think DOC isn’t doing anything.  He has to LISTEN to me complain and worry about all of this stuff!  And answer questions like “do you think she’ll wear this?  Will he like these” before I show the kids.  We’ve realized giving them limited options instead of the whole catalog works better at keeping us in their right price range and, ahem, style choices we would pick.  (Yeah, I still haven’t told you about my anger at Zulilly right?)

After all this hard work prepping for back to school, don’t you think MOM needs some back to school love?  I picked one dress off the clearance sale on Lands End to get me through the fall and you know somehow a new outfit from Katie K active popped into my cart.  I mean a 40% off sale on your favorite workout clothes?  That’s not an impulse purchase – that’s a MUST purchase.  Just use my code AIMEE40 in your shopping cart and earn 40% off everything and free shipping.


Sorry I’m totally jumping off the Friday Five topic for today – but panic just set in and I realized I needed to move in a different direction today.  For some of my favorite blogger’s “Race Day Surprises” head on over to the Friday Five link up hosted by Cynthia,  Mar, and Courtney.

So, what do you still need to get for back to school?  Do you pick one special outfit for the first day?  How do you stay sane?  No, really, help!🙂

Sparkle on, Shop Smart!


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Friday Five: What’s To Drink

24 Jul 10482595_10153158787547659_5680560446229282794_n

Do you know what today is?

IT IS LAST DAY OF CAMP! No more teachers, no more books…. wait, that’s not right…. It’s the last day of camp drop offs and I couldn’t be happier.  The camps have been wonderful for the kids.  The Girl is SO DIRTY and tired at night.  The Boy is meeting really neat kids and having fun all day.  I won’t complain about the camps, but maybe next summer I’ll get them a taxi.

It’s time for the Friday Five! Today’s theme is “Favorite Summer Drinks” and, as usual, I am linking up with Courtney of Eat Pray Run, DC, Cynthia of You Signed Up for What?!? and Mar from Mar on the Run, for their Friday Five adventure.

Water – Seriously.  Water.  The colder the better.  I’m so lucky at work we have a filtration system and our water is amazing.  I’ve set my fitbit to buzz once an hour, reminding me to get up and move.  I walk downstairs, fill up my water bottle, make a pitstop, and back to work.  The stairs in the historic home where my office is located are brutal steep – but it’s a nice little walk once an hour.


Infused Water – The only thing better than plain old iced cold water is infused water. I don’t have a fancy water bottle, just a nice glass water bottle that I fill each night with whatever I have left over from dinner, veggies, fruit, herbs.  Slices of lemons with some tops to strawberries,basil and peeled cucumbers, lemon and cucumbers, peaches, watermelon and mint, apple slices and a cinnamon stick,  green tea with mint and lime.  I know there are a million pins on pinterest about “detox water” and “fat flush” water.  I swear to you,none of these infused waters make me feel any different than just drinking plain water or even water with lemon, but they are fun to drink and somehow get me to drink more.


Lemon basil water, with caprese salad and gazpacho!

Bold Rock – All hard ciders really, but Bold Rock, made in Nelson County Virginia is really the best.  Again, nice and cold, these are a total day changer.  They make me instantly happy.


McAllister Monograms Custom Koozie

WINE – You can’t live in Central Virginia and not like a cold white wine on a hot summer day.  Actually, I can’t imagine you can live anywhere and not enjoy a cold white wine on a hot summer day.


Coconut water – This is such a change for me.  I used to grab tea, lemonade, or soda at the store, however, when I quit soda, I still wanted to not just grab bottled water. Buying bottled water makes me crazy – what a mark-up!  So many people talk about how much they love coconut water and I didn’t like it at first but now it’s the first thing I grab at a convenience store.  (Seriously, Sheetz, get it together and got some!  We are hardcore Sheetz lovers, but you guys only sell the caffeine coconut water – I just want coconut water!)   I wish I could find Zola in the local stores. I think I love them all now but what’s your favorite brand or flavor?

So, tell me, how are you hydrating this summer?  Is there something you like drinking now that you didn’t before?  I think coconut water, quinoa, greek yogurt, kale … they’re all acquired tastes. If you didn’t like coconut water at first, give it a try.

Make it a great weekend!  Hopefully  next week I’ll be back on a regular schedule and I’ll get to write more. I want to tell you about how my Women’s 4 Miler Training is going, how I took on Zulily for their ridiculous back to school shirts for girls, and about some low carb swaps I’ve been making (but that you’ve probably seen if you follow me on Instagram.)

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Wellness Wednesday: Getting healthy with DOC

22 Jul

December 2011 – May 2015


I love this man and how much he inspires me every day to keep at it!  I have so far to go to get into my goal dress next May, but having DOC as my partner in weight loss means everything to me.

Love you, babe.  Now, hurry home with the corn and tomatoes you got from work today!

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

%d bloggers like this: