Friday, August 30, 2013


faith, health & wellness, inspiration, motivation, nutrition
Earlier in the month while at Success School I saw one of the leaders wearing a big white wristband with writing on it. Not even know what it said I made a mental note to find out when I saw her next, as for some reason I was drawn to it in a way that I HAD to have one. Which I didn't even understand at the time as it wasn't pink, didn't have bling, and I had no idea what it even said! Fast forward later in the weekend it was announced that they were part of a giveaway and the bracelet said
EMPOWER..."HAD" just got escalated to a code red...NOW! Needless to say, Melanie got herself a bracelet by the nights end.

EMPOWERED- even saying the word makes you feel like you can take on the world in high heels, with a baby on the hip, in between loads of laundry, all the while looking movie star Fab- yep, I got this! It is my new favorite word, but what does it mean exactly?

The definition that most matches my vision of the word came from The World Bank website which they define EMPOWERMENT as:

"...the process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes"- The World Bank

So good I have to repeat it...Increasing capacity to transform CHOICES into ACTION and OUTCOMES! Is that not one of the most powerful definitions of a word you've ever read? It's not a "feeling" of being empowered, it's fueled by CHOICE, by living with INTENTION, by getting in action by DOING something purposeful.

Are you living an EMPOWERED life? Do you wake up to the same routine different day or are you going to do something today that scares you just a little but puts you one step closer to your goals? Do you "hope" for things to get better or are you making different choices for today that will ensure things DO get better? Do you have a wish list of things that would be nice "someday" or do you have your dream board front and center with target dates so you stay focused on where you are going?

If you don't like the answers to the questions above than make different choices today- it's that easy and if you DO than get our there and help someone close to you live an empowered life because it's a gift that changes lives- but only if you give it away!

The word of the day is "EMPOWERED", who's brave enough to use it in a sentence
in the comments below?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wake Up, Get Up, and Don't EVER Give Up!

If you would have told the girl in this picture that someday in the future she would wake up and wonder who the heck she was anymore- she would have laughed in your face. Fast forward 18 years and that day not only came but hit with the weight of two divorces, three kids, and losing her job.
Hello rock bottom-goodbye rose colored glasses.


I couldn’t even tell you when the scenery changed, but day after day life just started taking over until I realized that not only was I living on autopilot- I was lost…and even though every ounce of my worn out body wanted to stay on my comfy path to nowhere, my last thread of sanity was screaming at me that my kids deserved better than that.

So with one, brave, committed, decision to become healthier in hopes to gain the energy to deal with the rest- I literally changed the direction of my life. What started as a 24 Day Challenge quickly evolved into believing in myself again. To participating in social events and allowing my picture to be taken again. To meeting new people and making new friends, joining clubs, networking groups, and volunteering time in a community that I’ve lived in for over 8 years. Most importantly it evolved into me becoming the Mommy those three little blessings deserve. The craziest part is that even though I lost 23 lbs, 23 inches, and started making an extra $1000/month in my spare time, it became LESS about me and ALL about whom else I could help step out of quiet desperation and embrace LIFE.

I’ve learned a lot over the past 6 months of my journey with AdvoCare, but the one thing that sticks out most was from our VP of Sales Mrs. Debra Fisser at the Seattle Ladies Night Out last month.

“Life’s game has a beginning and an end, stop living like it doesn’t.” 
Our time here is too precious to spend it being anything less than everything we were created to be- sometimes all it takes is someone else believing in you just long enough for you to believe in yourself.

**Article above published in Power Ranch Living Magazine July 2013 Issue by Melanie Morton**


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My $9.50 on Circumstance

Last night was another "firsts" for the little man- our first trip to the theatre to watch a BIG movie- Disney's Planes! I'm not sure he was as excited for the debut as we were but he was definitely interested in the treats that went along with the fanfare.

I love that Disney makes movies with a message- if more people turned off the news and put in a Disney movie and took notes the world would be a better place- period.

****News flash- the "news" is no longer about informing people- it's a business enterprise and happy stories don't sell. So if you are working on becoming a positive difference maker in life turn it off, get off your couch, and do something for someone else- it's that easy! Seriously...try it!

Back to the movie...I particularly loved this message because it was about not giving up on your dreams- despite the circumstances beyond your control. In life we cannot control what happens to us; where or how we were born and raised, the winds of life, the winds of change, how long we are here- the only thing we have 100% control of is what we do with our time here. That's all you- baby! No excuses, no exceptions- just 100% results from choices you make everyday. The awesome part is that you have complete control, so if there's something in your life right now that you don't like- make a different choice. BOOM- you've just changed the future, no Delorian required. (yes, just aged myself)

The deeper part of that decision is to pop the top- there is no glass ceiling on what YOU are capable of doing in this life- NONE. It doesn't matter what everyone else in your family achieved or didn't, what everyone else in your town achieved or didn't or what anyone else on this planet was able to achieve or not- with or without your exact same, better, or worse circumstances- NONE OF THAT MATTERS! You were created for an exact purpose that only YOU were designed to achieve- it's not supposed to make sense to anyone else- they all have their own, so don't listen to them when they tell you you're crazy! Crazy is spending your whole life trying to be like everyone else- so stand up, stand out, and do that thing you've been wanting to try your whole life. Write that book, take that trip, start that business, make that call, mend that relationship- what ever it is; create the playlist,  put your game face on, plug in those headphones and get to work.

Stop living in the past, stop beating yourself up over choices already made and paths already taken and start focusing on the road ahead and where you WANT TO BE instead of where you've been. The past has made you who you are today, but the choices you make today will determine who you are tomorrow...I have no idea if I just made that up or read it somewhere (most likely) but it's pretty epic, so you may want to jot that one down.

In-your-face Tuesday...yes people, that just happened, but it came from LOVE for all of you!

So what IS your BIG dream?
The second half starts now..what choice will you make today to get started?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Change Of Direction

Being a visual and motivated individual I have often been one to change my mind at the last second and go off on some crazy adventure. My kids have been woken up at 6am on a Saturday and told they have 15 min to pack cause we are driving the 5 hrs to San Diego- no hotel plans, no plans at all- I just decided I rather spend the day at the beach.

After a few hard knocks from life I lost that spontaneity-  I went from being decisive and adventurous to being unable to decide where I wanted to eat dinner. For a while it didn't bother me that I had become what can only be called a fearful person- it had to be fear, of what I couldn't tell you. In the beginning of my journey back to myself I tried to fake it and put on the face that I was decisive, and determined, and that I had my stuff together, but it that took a lot of effort and wasn't real. Inside I was still a broken, scared, little person who had taken what I perceived as failures and chose to let them determine my worth.

We really do build the walls of fear up around ourselves- we place each brick carefully so that something is between us and the pain that decision or event caused us. The problem is that each time we place a brick to protect us from the bad stuff we are also cluttering up and blocking the same path the good stuff is on. So if you feel like your constantly peering over at everyone else enjoying life it may be time to kick down some walls and let life in.

Life is messy, hard, can hurt, is sometimes scary- but it's also love, connection, joy, happiness, gratitude, comfort, warmth, and healing. It's a cycle, it can't be fantastic all the time, but it can't be horrible all the time either- unless you start building your walls camped out in the horrible part- and that's by choice.

So back to my change of direction- in starting this blog I have gone through multiple directions of what I thought it "should" be and I journeyed a little bit down each of those paths but trying to become and project who you are NOT is pretty exhausting and feels a lot like WORK. I'm not blogging to have another job- my vision is that it's an avenue of expression and inspiration to others. I cannot do that without being 100% authentic.

It was put upon my heart to create a video of my personal journey- the first half of my life, if you will. I say that because I actually feel like a different person now that it's "out there" and I know that the best part of my life journey lay ahead. What I've realized is it's creation is less about inspiring others and more about freeing myself- when the skeletons are out of the closet, there's a whole lot more room for beautiful stuff! My vision in this outlet is to EMPOWER CHANGE in others. That is going to mean a million different things to a million different people, but I want to be that person that tells them it's hard, it's scary, but IT'S WORTH IT.

Watch My Story...

Every breath you take is another opportunity to change- all you have to do is decide to do so.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Turkey Taco Rice- A Healthy Family Recipe by Sparkedmom this post was supposed to go out last week before I left town for the you can see THAT didn't happen, but the recipe is one of my faves so here goes....

Was totally stoked to procrastinate my school shopping until after the first day of school cause both my older kids are in Highschool now- winning! Reality sunk in by day 3 as I was headed to yet another store to get ONE more "required" item- yeah, OVER-it. On the brighter side it was shoe shopping today, so you know how that goes- somewhere along the lines of " meet you over there in a few..." fell in love with a beautiful pair of Lulu Townsends...not my size...not my day:/ I nursed my broken heart with a $5 bowl of cut fruit with pinapple, blueberries, and strawberries from Fry's- still want the shoes, I may have a problem.

These nightly after work shopping trips are really putting the time crunch on dinner and I was a green light away form pulling in to In-N-Out- their protein style is awesome but those fries can do a girl in- plus I'm on a cleanse right now so gotta stay strong! Luckily I had planned ahead a little earlier and had everything on hand for Turkey Taco Rice- winning again!
healthy dinners for kids, Healthy family dinner recipe, nutritious dinners for kids, quick nutritious dinners

What I Used:
Homemade Taco Seasoning:
1 TBS Chili Seasoning
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Ground Pepper
- I generally keep this on hand cause its WAY less sodium and more flavorful than the packets:)

1 lb ground turkey
1 can of black beans- rinsed
1 pouch of frozen brown rice (cooked)

What I Did:
Brown Turkey, add 3/4 cup water to seasoning (you may want to experiment with the amount of seasoning for heat/flavor- we use the whole  mixture from above but it is a bit on the spicier side for the kiddos so maybe half it and go from there). Add rinsed beans and rice till mixed well with seasoning and serve. If you want to get fancy you can dollop some Greek yogurt on top and sliced avacodo- or you can wrap it all up in a tortilla, or serve with chips- so versatile- freezes beautifully (IF you have any left) and the whole family loves it! Don't get hung up on the beans either, if you have pinto, white, kidney ect just use what you have- when you are making health a priority, don't let yourself get hung on small details like bean color- yes there is a difference but personally if I get too obsessed about those things it becomes overwhelming and the drive through gets really attractive- have grace on yourself- Lord knows I'm no chef...and that's okay. Besides, some of the best of these were discovered by grabbing whatever I had on hand and making it work- story of my life!

How many cans of beans are in your pantry right now? Me, 4- all pinto- must have been on sale!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Choco-Nana-Nutter Blast- A Healthy Family Recipe by Sparkedmom

A year ago when the budget was drum tight and I was a couponing FREAK, I learned quickly to become creative with not only leftovers but to ideally stretch one meal into two and in my best of days three. We bought a deep freezer for the kitchen and I started freezing everything- leftovers for one became lunches later in the month or last minute meals for one (so much healthier and FILLING than your typical store bought box of sodium). These have rescued me many a night- soups are awesome to freeze too- I almost always double my batch and freeze one- later on you can throw it in the crockpot and dinner's done! Sale meats-freezer, chicken stock-freezer, that last serving of leftovers you'd rather choke than eat again-freezer, two months from now when it's 2 hours past lunch and your starving it will be the most delicious thing ever-SWEAR! I love stocking up on in season fruit- I wash, prep and freeze in large freezer bags and these go in my smoothies, banana ice cream, Meal Replacement Shakes and Protein Shakes all year instead of ice.

I give God the glory that I was blessed with the opportunity of AdvoCare cause couponing sure wasn't paying the mortgage, but it did help us scrape by and make ends meet during those days and I am still using my stockpile of razors and shampoo a year later- another blessing! Now I get to spend those hours of clipping-organizing-stressing in helping others take back their health and finances, but I am still frugal with my food and here's this morning's dreamy mix from my stash of frozen nanners- seriously can't believe eating these for breakfast is ideal- awesome nutrition IS the only way to LIVE!!

So obviously the glass was a bit big but I should get points for getting closer to "Pin-worthy" fancy with my pics- I actually dug out a strawberry (which may or may not be a couple days past ripe) and went through two nanner slices trying to get one to stay on the glass, all for you peeps- all for you =D

What I Used:
1/2 a frozen banana (or you can use 1/2 fresh and add 2 Ice cubes)
1 Meal Replacement Shake- Chocolate
8oz cold water
1 TBS Sunflower Seed Butter

Dump and blend to a creamy, dreamy, shake! You can do these for any meal too- not just breakfast! I always have a packet in my purse, great for on the go meals, travel, picky kids, or even when you're not feeling that great and know you need to eat.

What's your favorite chocolate mix-in? I'm a sucker for nut butters!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken- A Sparkedmom Recipe for Your Healthy Family

This week was a blur, I have no idea where it went nor if I made it to half the things I committed to and the weekend went even faster- story of my life! I have always been a multitasker but becoming a Mom really amplified it and moving into a work from home Mom threw it into overdrive. I have really been focusing lately on slowing down, dialing life back and taking it all in. I'm learning that life can wait- but kids are only little for a short time. It's going to be on ongoing processes, believe me!

When I'm on the top of my game I make breakfast AND pull together a great homey Sunday meal- this week I pulled off my "baked" Crockpot Chicken- not only does it make your house smell like you slaved away for hours, it delicious, moist and SO easy!
child nutrition program, family and nutrition, family nutrition, healthy family, kids nutrition, nutrition for families, nutrition for kids, healthy family recipes,
What I Used:
Seasoned chicken leg quarters
1/2 C chicken stock

What I Did:
Stack chicken quarters in your crockpot gently and pour in stock. Cook on high 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked through an chicken is tender. Gently remove each quarter from crockpot and place on cookie sheet or broiling pan and place under broiler until browned to your liking.

I love this recipe for the summer when it's too hot to bar-b-que, cook, clean, leave the house...hey, it's AZ- that could actually go on for weeks! I look for the pre-seasoned ones but if you want to get fancy you could totally season yourself and get your Martha Stewart on- me, I'm leaving it to Albertsons this week. It's early in the month, I need to spread my kitchen adventure over many days or we'll be living off turkey burgers and broccoli (my go-to I didn't plan dinner, or shop, or even realize it was past dinner- meal). I do make a mean turkey burger though- McCormick Hamburger Seasoning is DA-BOM- get you some!

What's your go to meal in a pinch?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lemon Pepper Shrimp- A Sparkedmom Recipe for Your Healthy Family

This Momma loves her some shrimp scampi, and I had scored a 2lb bag of frozen peel and eat a while back so I threw together this little number in about 15 min- gotta love that! Perfect meal when paired with some steamed vegi's (we had broccoli on hand) or you could use for a salad topper, over brown rice, whole wheat pasta- you get the idea- just make sure your portion size is hearty enough to meet a full serving of protein. See chart on Eat This tab for suggested portion sizes by weight.

child nutrition program, family and nutrition, family nutrition, healthy family, kids nutrition, nutrition for families, nutrition for kids,

What I used:
1lb of Raw Shrimp
2 TBS of coconut oil
1/2 fresh lemon
2 fat garlic cloves minced (or crushed)
Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb, and Pepper

What I did:
Thaw frozen shrimp in cool water. Sauté garlic in oil over med/high heat while you rinse/drain shrimp. Add shrimp to pan, squeeze lemon half and throw in pan, season with Mrs. Dash, and pepper to taste. Sauté until shrimp is pink and firm- only takes a couple minutes and delish! This batch served 2, so make sure you double/triple if you are making for the fam-bam- it's finger lickin' for sure!

One thing I really miss about not living closer to the coast is fresh, inexpensive seafood- it's not on the list of preferred nutritious protein choices due to being a "bottom feeder" but every so often it's a great treat for those summer nights you want to pretend your on vacation. If you have kids, you are totally with me on that one!

What is your favorite Vacation Destination? I love Hawaii!!