Category : Family Life

Confession of a Shark Syndrome Sufferer

photo flickr Allan Lee

This morning I tiptoed into my son’s room to gather his clothes for the day. Though I was quiet, his little head popped out of his blanket cocoon and he gave me a big, “Hi, Mom!”
My kids ventured back to school today, and though I wasn’t sending them off while two-fisting martinis, I also wasn’t the teary mom who waited until the classroom doors closed before I moped back to my car.

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Your Kid Sucks, and That’s Okay

Photo: flickr

The other night my daughter had her first musical theatre audition. In recent months my husband and I have discovered her incredible singing talent. I decided to foster this gift and massage her into something where she can flourish. She’s an artist and often dabbles in things for short periods before losing interest. She doesn’t really harness that stick-to-it-ness even when she enjoys something.

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Take back the table and restore the traditions of food

Taking Back Our Table



Take back the table and restore the traditions of food

Take back the table and restore the traditions of food

The other night I sat on the porch pitting cherries with my son Ellis. My daughter Gwyn and her friends surrounded us, sharing stories from school and writing notes to boys they would never actually share.

I taught my son different ways to pit a cherry, but we both found that using our fingers worked best. For him, it was a treat to squirt juice at the girls. Sometimes he would toss the stems and pits into the cherry bowl and the cherry into the pit bowl. In the end, we didn’t quite have it sorted out as some of us found pits in our cobbler.

I learned this practice from spending summers with my grandmother as she and my aunts would sit in the backyard shucking corn, pitting cherries, and prepping pole beans.

Meal preparation is such a huge part of my parenting. From morning pancakes with eggs to holiday pies, fresh salads to school lunches. It’s important to me that my kids know their way around the kitchen, and not just for life skills.

I want them to know that food is the center of our lives. Not just to provide us energy for the day, but as a part of our culture, our past, and our traditions. Around the world food has a religious importance, is part of story telling, and is thought to be a gift from the earth or gods.  Food makes us strong, and handsome, and gives us long lives. The most primitive cultures on earth know this, but our Western minds have neglected this notion for some time.

In fact, it’s often felt that our culture can do nothing but reduce food to particles that which we can’t even see. Our meals become a numbers game and we forget entirely what an enjoyable time meals can be from start to finish. We forget to respect where our food came from and the people who produced it—or that we are capable of growing food ourselves.

We neglect the time-honored traditions passed down from our ancestors. Those worn recipe cards sitting on shelves in our grandmother’s pantry that have moved through a generation of hands.

As a parent I struggle between what I know is right about food and what we are being taught in our modern world. I do not want my children to pick up items and ramble off how many calories and grams of fat are listed on a label.  Or refer to their friends as carboholics or worry that they’ve become sugar addicts.

But they do.

I do not want them to think about getting enough protein or vegetables. I do not want to them feel concerned with foods that make them fat.

But they do. Because they speak the language that they hear. From me, from the media, from their friends.

And it’s painful. But I will change it.

I want them to understand what food means to us as a family. How it brings us together, gives us those teaching moments, those times of splendor and of healing.  I want them to know what my grandmother taught me and learned from her mother. I want them to experience the traditions my mother created, and to feel that food is a part of who we are so they can share this with their families when they are grown.

For that, I am taking back my table. I will no longer play part in the calculations game. Food will not be simply particles that make up a whole once I add them together.

Food will share the same importance in my house as bedtime stories, nights under the stars, and wiping tears away. Memories etched in our table surround us each time we sit. As we pass dishes, butter bread, and pour tea we feel secure together and nothing else matters in the world more than filling our bellies and our hearts. The day’s stress washes away, the evening news shuts off, and for those 30 minutes stories are shared and lessons are taught.

For families that spend the day apart, food brings you together. Don’t rob yourself of this time because it will vanish before you can blink. So I encourage you, as spouses and parents, to take back your table. Bring back food in the traditional sense. Food that is the common bond in your home, among friends, and is a part of your heritage.

Give yourself that small peace of mind. With all the uncertainty that surrounds us, nothing gives us a sense of hope more than the family meal.

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Your financial security is important to your kids' future

Securing a Future for Your Kids

Your financial security is important to your kids' future

Your financial security is important to your kids’ future

I mostly talk about family in relation to nutrition and fitness, but today I want to discuss another type of family health: financial health– more importantly, the financial security of your kids’ future. Sadly, money directly relates to our personal health. We stress about finances all the time, so taking steps to help prevent an overly stressful financial future for your kids will also give them a little more health security.

Josh and I were a tinge bit selfish with our money before having kids. Perhaps carefree is a better word. We’d dine out all the time, pay the bar tab for friends, hit the highway for impromptu trips, and let our bills linger until those pretty colored envelopes started showing up in the mail.

Everything changed when our daughter arrived. We had her future to worry about. She was going to college one day, and before then would need a car, a school wardrobe, heck, a stroller and crib for that matter. Our wallets tightened a bit after that positive plus sign appeared on the pregnancy test. Being young parents, we knew the value of hard work, but we hadn’t quite established a good savings plan when she was born. After our son was born, money got even tighter, and we also realized that we had to plan for our future in order for them to have a secure one.

All the college funds, car funds, and wedding funds won’t do a lick of good if one day they will have to take dear ol’ mom and dad in as they age. As parents it’s imperative to set aside funds for your own future—otherwise your kids will be footing the bill.

Here is a list of things we are doing to help our kids have more financial security as they grow and we age.

Retirement savings. It’s scary for us to think that our own parents are aging. We are as concerned about their future as we are the future of our kids. Eventually we all reach a point when we have to stop working, and it’s better to start preparing for this time from a young age. Teaching your kids about saving for the future should start as soon as they learn how to use money. They should know how much money it will take from the time they turn 20 to save $1 million by the age of 50. They should also know that by the time they are 50, $1 million dollars won’t go as far as they’d like to think. I wish I could convince my 20-year old self that my mom’s idea of putting away 10% of my income was a pretty smart one. Though it took me a few years to catch onto this, I’m glad I started in my 20’s and not in my 50’s.

Money matters. When my seven-year old gives a store clerk a $20 bill, he always gets excited for the change. He says to me, “I gave him a 20 dollars and he gave me back all of this money.”  It’s hard to convince a kid that a handful of ones is far less than a $20 bill. But he is learning that if he wants something, he needs to save for it. Our lessons on financial stability should go beyond earning and saving. Kids should learn how to invest wisely, so it never hurts to open interest bearing accounts. If they can see how money grows when you leave it alone, they may avoid poor spending habits in the future.

Life insurance. This is always a dreaded process, but we always have to keep in mind that anything can happen to us at any given time. Life insurance is important for your children for so many reasons. If your primary provider suddenly dies, the bills don’t go away. Add in funeral costs, time away from work, and all the other stress—well, that’s just not something anyone needs in their lives. It’s a good thing to have when your kids are young, but also provides them peace of mind as they get older. You don’t want your kids to bear the burden of expenses if  you pass away when they are just getting on their own two feet.

Long-term care. Someday we will get old. It’s true. Letting your spouse and kids know your wishes well in advance will save them some serious decision making in the future. Getting everything in place now will spare your family the worry in the future. If ever you’ve had to take care of an elderly family member when they could no longer care for themselves, then you know the importance of this process.

Love teaches value and respect. Of course, there is no greater gift you can give then love. Teaching your kids to value and respect their own lives and each other will help secure their future even more. It also reminds them they always have you to turn to, which makes a big difference on how confidently they go out into the world.



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Who wouldn't love this chickie?

Backyard Chicken Experience

Who wouldn't love this chickie?

Who wouldn’t love this chickie?

It’s always hard to find the perfect gift to show Mom just how much you love her. Flowers, breakfast in bed, a trip to the spa? How about backyard chickens?

Yesterday my husband packed the kids and me into the car for an early Mother’s Day surprise. Boy, was I surprised when we pulled into the local feed store. He turns to me and said, “Let’s go pick out some chicks.”

I must have looked pretty dumbfounded because I didn’t speak. He continued, “I’m getting you chickens. Let’s go pick them out. That’s your surprise.”

I’ve wanted chickens for quite some time but we’ve never lived in the best play to raise them. You can keep the diamonds and pearls, flowers and foot rubs. Give this girl some livestock and she’s happy as a lark!

The primary reason I wanted chickens was for fresh eggs. Also, their dropping do amazing things for your compost or garden soil. But, the bonus in all of this is they are actually wonderful pets.

Why chicks and not chickens?

Meet Fajita, Dumplin, Rocky, and Dolli

Meet Fajita, Dumplin, Rocky, and Dolli

Chickens are domesticated animals. Just like puppies, getting them as little hatchlings means you get lots of quality bonding time before they go out into the hen house. Our chicks are one week old and will live indoors for the next month. In that time they will get to know us and imprint on us as family. We hold them several times a day (how can you not), and by next week we will start to take them into the yard so they can scratch around and look for worms. By the time they transfer outdoors full time, they will stick around because they know this is home and we are family. Not only that, but they will follow me around like a mother hen. How can you not love them?

Our chickens, Dolli, Rocky, Fajita, and Dumplin will not lay for another 5-6 months, but it’s worth the wait. I’ve never seen my kids so excited to care for something. Gwyn and Ellis each have a chick to care for and they do so with pride. I actually think it’s more exciting than a new puppy. Oh, and my dog is actually pretty cool with them. I was worried because he has this thing for turkeys. He’s snagged a couple of wild turkeys by the tail recently and I feared he would think the chicks a tasty morning snack. But, he’s only been slightly curious so far.

I look forward to sharing with you my crazy chicken experience. I may end up getting a few more in due time, but just with these 4 I will hopefully get a couple dozen eggs per week. You’d also be pleased to know that my newly planted garden is growing beautifully. Living in a climate that is conducive to growing (and having soil that’s utterly incredible) makes all the difference in the world. I will give up updates and tips on that soon, as well.

Gotta go snuggle with my little ones. If you want more info on raising backyard chickens, check out this site.


Ready to build your best body yet? Check out GetGlutes for the workouts your body deserves.

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This is my new neighbor

New Happenings: Book Release, Site Makeovers, and Balancing Work/Life

This is my new neighbor

This is my new neighbor

I just survived another cross-country move. Yep, that’s two moves clocked at a total of 3,500+ miles in six months. Ah, but we finally purchased a home in an incredible neighborhood. Our new home is nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills right inside a nature preserve. It definitely feels like home to me!

I have a larger garage to film more fitness videos and plan to get some snazzy new fitness and camera equipment. So be on the look out for that.


Strong Curves

It’s finally here! I received my very own copy last week and it’s beautiful. The full-color 320-page book weighs in at 2.6 lbs (ha, I did weigh it), and it packed with fantastic information for women of all fitness levels. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Bret and I will soon have a nice sample of the book to share with you, your friends, family, neighbors, gym partners, and anyone you think would benefit from the book. So be on the look out for that. The release date is April 2nd, but you can pre-order your copy now to get it on the actual release date.


strong_curves_cover LAST


We’ve gone through some growing pains, and still are . . . but GetGlutes has been such a fantastic adventure so far. Our members are kicking butt (and growing butts too) every month. We couldn’t be happier with their progress.

Right now the site is getting a makeover, so ignore our dust. If you have any questions about the site and what it offers, feel free to email me at motherfitness (at) gmail (dot) com.

In addition to the makeover, I won a contest with 99designs for a free logo. Yesterday I submitted our logo design specs and now fantastic designers from all over the world are putting together some great samples for the new design. It’s really an interesting process and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

Thanks 99Designs! You can read about the contest here.


MotherFitness Facelift

Since my first post back in October 2011, I’ve run this baby all on my own. I’ve finally decided to step up my game and hire a pro to help make my site run more efficiently with a polished and pretty appearance. Yep, MotherFitness is growin’ up!

You will see some changes around here soon and I can’t wait to reveal them!


Balancing Work and Life

I have to be honest about something. As of late, I’ve had a hard balancing work and life. This morning on the way home from dropping my kids off at school, I listened to a discussion on NPR Morning Edition addressing the exact sentiment.

Diane Rehm interviewed Facebook CFO Sheryl Sandberg about her new book that reveals her journey to the top of Silicon Valley while balancing a family. I am definitely getting my hands on this book. I think it’s a struggle that women are reluctant to discuss and we just forge ahead without complaint.

You can listen to full interview here: Sheryl Sandberg: “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.”



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Dont' end up at a Chinese Restaurant this Thanksgiving

6 Common Turkey Foul-Ups that Can Ruin Your Thanksgiving

Dont’ end up at a Chinese Restaurant this Thanksgiving

Some of us are dinner guests at Thanksgiving and can get away with bringing a bottle of wine. If you’re like me, you end up prepping the feast and have to face that dreaded turkey roast on your own.

As a kid, I watched the turkey go in the oven and out of the oven half a dozen times each Thanksgiving while my mother cursed Butterball for providing such terrible instructions. It was either undercooked, cooked unevenly, or in most cases drier than alligator jerky at a roadside stand.

I can thank my mother for making me such a great cook. Not because she was the best mentor, but because she threw more dishes away than she served most holidays. Over the years I learned that cooking was a science. You couldn’t just throw things in a pan and hope for the best. You have to create flavor profiles, add textures, and understand how to fuse everything together so it arrives to the table perfectly.

When you have a big meal like Thanksgiving, this is a hard thing to pull off. But year after year I somehow do it. And it all centers around that darn Turkey.

One tip that I keep in my back pocket every holiday and it never fails me: make as much ahead as you possibly can. Most side dishes and desserts can easily be made 1-2 days before the your feast. Pies, cranberry relish, breads, custards, other relishes, and the like can all be completed a couple days ahead of schedule. In fact, they usually taste far better a couple days later.

You can prep your other side starches the night before, and then you only have to deal with your turkey and veggies the day of your meal. Everything else can be warmed before serving.

Now back to that turkey. That stupid bird that ruins so many meals. Its big. It’s full of bones, and it comes frozen most of the time. Those are all hard things to deal with in the kitchen. So, I put together some of my best tricks to make sure you serve a bird worth remember this Thanksgiving.

I’ve made turkey lots of different ways (grilled, brined, herb infused, stuffed), and this is by far the simplest, yet tastiest version.



Biggest Turkey Blunders and How to Prevent Them

Cooking a frozen bird

above all else, thaw that baby. If you are lucky enough to bring home a fresh not frozen bird, then skip this part. If you aren’t that lucky, then nothing else can happen if you do skip this part. Do not, I repeat, do not put your turkey in the oven if it’s still frozen. And for the love of thy neighbor, do not ever fry a frozen turkey. It can take 2-4 days to thaw your turkey completely depending on the size. StraightHealth has a great calculator that helps you determine how much time your turkey needs to thaw based on weight.

Opening the door often to check the temp 

Buy a meat thermometer that can stay in the turkey and alarms when it’s done. This prevents you from constantly opening the door to check the temp, letting all the nice heat out. Your turkey should take between 3-6 hours to roast at 400-degrees (F). Again, here is a great tool to help you determine your roasting time. Your bird will be perfect at 170-degrees (F). Check the temp at the thickest part of the breast. It may also help to buy a thermometer for your oven as well. Just because you heat it to 400-degrees doesn’t mean that’s the actual temp inside the oven. This is your best safeguard against an under or over roasted turkey.

Under seasoning

Mix 1-2 tablespoons of butter with generous amounts of salt, pepper, and rosemary and thyme. Rub the bird inside and out to give it a nice flavor profile.


Despite what you’ve been taught, basting doesn’t give the bird crispy skin. It actually keeps the skin moist and soggy. And you have to open the door to do so, again letting out the heat. You want your bird to roast at a consistent temp the entire time, so keep the door shut. For crispy skin, the trick is to elevate the bird above the pan. A good roasting rack will do the trick. But if you’re in a pinch, you can ball up foil beneath it to give it a good raise.

Stuffing the bird

Stuffing the turkey is so last century. Cook the stuffing separately to avoid Thanksgiving follies like salmonella. It can also cause you to misinterpret the amount of time you need for roasting. Instead, you can fill it up with fragrance foods like apples, carrots, rosemary sprigs, and lemons to give it a nice flavor. If you do go with stuffing the bird, make sure the stuffing temp is 165-degrees before pulling it out of the oven. You probably will want a second thermometer to stick in the stuffing.

Carving too soon

Let your bird take a 20-minute nap after removing it from the oven. Cutting into it right away lets all the juices spill out, leaving you with a plate of dry goods. And no amount of gravy can mask that. Also, a good carving knife is always a nice addition to your cookware.


It’s time to break the Thanksgiving tradition of bad turkey. Use these tips and your bird will come out of the oven perfectly. Follow the plan and your table will be delighted with what you serve.


Do you have any other turkey tips for our LesserEvil fans? Share in the comments below!

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To Boston and Back … Barely

Panoramic view of Niagara Falls.

Friday my family and I took off to Boston for a short weekend trip. It was my birthday weekend and my husband had a work conference there. So, we figured what better time to go explore the east coast?

As the date closed in, so did Hurricane Sandy. We kept our scheduled trip despite the bad forecast. Growing up in Florida exposed us both to many bad tropical storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. It is in our blood, so we didn’t think much about it.

Boston is one amazing city. We stayed downtown in Copley and spent most of Friday walking around the city. Saturday we headed up to Salem for the Halloween festival, which was pretty spectacular. I would like to go back to Salem when it’s not Halloween to do some of the tours. We also learned that much of the witch history is in Danvers, which split off from Salem not to long after the witch trials.

Saturday night, I met up with Naomi from One Fit Foodie, Ben Bruno, Rog Lawson, and my friend Cass. They tagged along for drinks and dinner, and we stayed out far past our bedtime. It was a blast and it’s always good to meet fellow fitness experts on my travels.  I couldn’t ask for a better network of friends and colleagues.

Sunday we headed up to Maine and realized the storm weather was moving in. We were glad that we went this weekend because everything is closing for the season by next week. Those of us who always live in sunshine don’t remember that these things happen.

Maine has to be one of the most spectacular places in the US. I’ve been to many states and this is by far one of the most beautiful. I already picked on my summer home there. Now I just have to find a way to buy it.

Our flight was scheduled to leave the next morning and I woke early to discover it was cancelled. Until Friday. It was Monday. I love Boston, but couldn’t imagine being cooped up in a Marriott for 4 more days with my kiddos. Long trips need cabins, cottages, or resorts. Hotel rooms and kids just don’t cut it.

After many phone calls, my husband made the executive decision to drive to Buffalo, NY and fly out the next day. It was the closet flight to us that didn’t take us through the east coast.

We embarked on our 7-hour drive west that afternoon, weathering the outer bands of the storm. As we neared the Great Lakes up by Rochester, the winds were pretty intense. I honestly thought we’d made a bad decision once we reached that point. Good thing my husband drives like a NASCAR racer.

I didn’t realize how intense the storm was until I got out at the rest stop. My husband dropped me off at the door and then drove around the building to park. Apparently he forgot to pick me back up and I had to walk to the car in icy cold rain and 55 MPH wind gusts. That was an experience. My family found it rather hilarious. I did not.

We finally arrived to our hotel and I never thought I would be glad to be in Buffalo. The good part about this trip is that we did take the kids to see Niagara Falls before our flight the next day.

Otherwise, not much to do in Buffalo.

Having never been to NY, I do have to admit that bread and pasta are far better there than anywhere else I’ve been.

And lobster is far better when seated on the bay in Maine than anywhere else, too.

We stayed busy trying to find our way home and didn’t take much time to read the news or catch up on the storm. The impact of Sandy rivals that of Katrina as far as devastation. However, our administration’s response time is far greater and those in need are getting aid faster this time.

I’ve been through some pretty rough hurricanes. Andrew, Charlie just to name a couple. It’s funny how those who hunker down for the impact yet get missed feel disappointed that their lives were abruptly stopped.

I guess unless you’ve witness the devastation first hand, you can never truly appreciate what it means to have a hurricane change course and not affect your area

I have family and friends in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut who were hit. Luckily they are only without power and water. Others aren’t so lucky.

May those affected by the storm have a swift recovery and may you all be well. We can circulate funny photos around the web and laugh about the storm now. But it’s nowhere near being over for thousands of people. Keep them in your thoughts because they have a long recovery ahead.




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What I Learned When My Wallet was Stolen

Saturday night my children and I dressed to head to the Florence and the Machines concert. My daughter and I have been waiting to see Florence for 3 years. This was a big deal in our house. We are huge fans.

On the way out, I took my kids to a local French bakery at a shopping centre near our home. As we sat to eat, I ran to the restroom to wash my hands. I arrived back not a minute later to dine with my kids. We finished up and headed to the bank to take cash out for the evening.

That’s when I realized my wallet was missing.

I raced back to the restaurant to see if anyone found it. They hadn’t.  My heart sank. I knew someone had taken it from my purse.

I called my husband, dropped my kids off at home, and went back to the restaurant to wait for the police.

In between the time my wallet was taken and the time it took my husband to cancel my cards, the man spent $100 at the gas station and $600 at AT&T. He attempted to spend $325 at Dillard’s twice and $2,500 at Home Depot, but fraud alerts on my cards prevented it from happening.

He was so brazen that when he was denied at one register, he would go to another register and attempt to make the same purchase.  He was doing this all in the same shopping centre where we were dining.

I grew tired of waiting for the police, so when I found out the may successfully purchased $600 worth of goods at the AT&T store the next building over I decided to notify them of what happened.

I told the store assistant manager that he just sold $600 worth of items to a man who was using my credit card. He pulled up the account and confirmed this. I asked how this could happen and he said they don’t ask for ID or even look at the card being used for purchases.

I do write SEE ID on all my cards. That provides very little protection for the most part. I find it funny that when I buy a $10 sandwich at the deli the clerk asks for ID, but not the guy selling a $600 iPhone. Ho-hum.

Needless to say, we missed the concert and I am still working to recover my losses, but I am thankful that this was a nonviolent theft.

I wanted to share this with you because I learned a huge lesson in all of this.

The man was obviously casing the restaurant and looking for an opportune time to strike. When I left for the restroom, my children remained at the table with my purse.

From the story my 6-year old recounted, the man went to fill his drink and walked back by my chair. He saw the man lean over, but didn’t notice that he took anything.


So, here is what I learned:

  • Never leave your belongings out in the open in public.  Even though my children where at the table, he still felt bold enough to commit this crime.
  • Keep your purse under the table when dining. If you get up for anything, even if others are still at the table, take it with you.
  • Don’t leave your purse in your shopping cart when loading groceries.
  • Don’t leave it in your car. Ever.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. My son was able to recount the story and come up with a description of the man. I confirmed this with the description from the AT&T store. I honestly did not remember seeing him in the restaurant.
  • Keep all of your credit card and banking phone numbers stored in your phone. Go do this right now.  This saves a ton of time when calling to deactivate your cards.
  • Program the nonemergency police phone number in your phone. Go do this right now. I called three numbers before I got the right one. I live in a big city, so this is a huge hassle.
  • Never carry your social security card or check book in your purse. If you need to write a check, bring one check with you. If you don’t use it, leave it at home.  I didn’t bring these things with me, but if I did I would be dealing with even more issues.


I also think it’s a good idea to limit what you carry in your wallet. He stole my debit card and 3 other credit cards. From now on I will only take with me the card that I plan to use that day. He also stole my driver’s license, library card, and zoo membership. The last two aren’t a big deal. But I do have to call around to cancel and replace these things, which takes time.


I’m also going to purchase a purse that zips. My purse just flips open.


Here is what to do if ever your wallet is taken or lost:


  • Call and cancel all of your credit cards and bankcards immediately. Do this before you call the police. During the time it takes to talk with the dispatcher, the thief can make thousands of dollars worth of purchases.
  • Once you cancel your cards, call your nonemergency police department. They may tell you to stay at the scene of the crime or to go home. This gets a little confusing and probably depends on how large your city is. Houston on a Saturday night is probably pretty busy for the police department.
  • File a police report and give as much information as possible. If the thief attempted to use your cards, tell the police exactly where and for how much. Every detail matters. If you know the stores have surveillance, then notify the police.
  • Set up a 90-day fraud alert on your credit report. You can do this through any of the 3 credit reporting agencies. This will put up a notice on your credit report that you may be at risk of identity theft. Here is a link.
  • After you obtain a case number for your police report, get a copy of the report for your record. Your bank may need to see this to refund any losses.
  • Check your credit report regularly to monitor any unusually activity.


I did all of these things, but I don’t know if they will ever catch the guy. It seems that he’s not new to this activity and has likely made a career out of it.

I guess it’s safe to say I need to learn a few things about big city life. Hopefully this incident and what I learned will help you take greater preventative measures to protect yourself.






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Painting My Thumbs Green: growing a garden

I’ve tried planting before. I know somewhere in the dusty archives of Mother Fitness lies a post about my indoor greenhouse experiment. That went well for the first few months. Then I didn’t transplant my zucchini and it outgrew the pot.

And my kids ate all the spinach right from the pot, so it never made it to salads. But the cilantro lasted me a few dinners.

Growing in the desert was tough. Forget to water one day and you are screwed.

So, now that I am in Texas I decided I needed yet another thing to occupy my time. Right, I know.

A month or so ago I took a gardening class to learn how to plant vegetables locally. You’d think Houston would be ideal for growing, but not so. You can do well. It’s just that … okay, every climate has its draw backs.

So, I said why not?

Over the past few weeks I’ve spent a large part of my weekends preparing land, planting, buying stuff, watering, doing little dancing in hope of summoning the fertility gods. I hope they are for fertile land and not for, well, you know.

I decided not to go overboard. I mapped out a 4 x 6 foot plot of land and dug out all the grass. I laid the soil, then realizing that this little space conveniently out of the way is wedge between two palm trees and some planters. Not exactly easy access.

I also did the same for this little circular space on my patio that probably used to have a tree of some sort. And now I squeeze my eyes shut every time I watch my dog gallop through both plots to chase squirrels. I can’t win.


So far I’ve planted:


Butter Lettuce

Asian Lettuce


Bush Beans

Purple Bell Peppers




Marigold (okay, I have some flowers too)



This morning I was excited to see my radish and Asian lettuce sprouting up. That spot must get the best sunlight.

Anyway, just wanted to share my new (old-new, I guess) venture. Perhaps in the future you will see more garden tips if things work out. If not, this post will fall into the archives along with my other gardening post from a couple years back.

If you grow veggies, any tips you can share below would be useful. Perhaps you can share more insight for others who are thinking about giving it a go.



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