Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

During our impromptu road trip down south we stopped at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and spent an entire day exploring the 4 different floors packed with hands on exhibits for kids. You know you are getting close when you round a corner to see this big guy! They really get the kids excited with these dinosaurs trying to get in the building. IMG_9695.jpg

There is a free parking garage that has a covered bridge into the museum, making it very convenient to park. And you’ll even get to see more dinosaurs as you walk inside. So fun!

IMG_9700The very first thing you see as you walk inside the main lobby is Bumblebee. My kids were thrilled to stare at him while we waited in line. It’s no Disney World line but it’s still pretty long so its nice that they provide entertainment in that area. The price was a bit high but you can get coupons on their website if you plan ahead, which we obviously had not done. So be sure to check the site ahead of time. IMG_9705-2

If you homeschool this is a great learning resource. We “homeschool” our two little ones so we really appreciated all the culture weaved into the fun here. The China exhibit was a great experience. My oldest loved learning how to write words in Chinese and my youngest enjoyed playing in the Dim Sum Restaurant complete with woks, fake food, and tables for them to serve their customers (parents).

We also really enjoyed the dinosaur section and the kids spent the most time in the dinosaur dig. It is a little bit hidden in a back corner but totally worth squeezing into a cramped space with way too many other parents to see your kid’s eyes light up as they put on their goggles, grab their paintbrushes and get to work. img_97331.jpg

We went on the last weekend of Spring Break and it was pretty packed. I would definitely recommend getting there during the week if at all possible. I won’t spoil the entire adventure for you, but wanted to point out some things that could easily be missed since there is SO much to see in one day. They also have an outdoor sports area which we did not go to since it was a little crowded, but that looked fun as well.

So, if you have kids and make it to the Indianapolis area, the children’s museum is a MUST SEE. Have you been to this museum? If so, what was your favorite part?

XO,

April

 

Flow State Trifecta

It is spring break and even though spring has decided not to show up this year here in Michigan, we thought we’d make the best of it by taking an overnight trip down to Indianapolis, IN. We had never been there and it was only a four hour drive so we loaded up the van and headed south. We did something we’ve never done and didn’t book a hotel reservation until we got there, which took a lot of letting go for me! 😉

IMG_9665As we arrived in the late afternoon, we drove into the heart of Indianapolis to check out the downtown area, walked around the city market (we weren’t impressed-I’d skip this one), saw the Soldiers and Sailors monument, and then checked out a couple hotels.

We found a nice hotel, went for a swim with the kids,  then went out to dinner at one of our favorites that we can’t get in Michigan: Bucca Di Beppo. We found the best little ice cream shop afterwards called Graeter’s, definitely recommend! So, we were just flowing from one fun and exciting new thing to the next. On Saturday we spent the entire day at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the world’s largest children’s museum. You can read more about our day in my next article, there was so much to see it needs its own post!IMG_9693

So, throughout the trip, we let the kids help us decide where to go and let it flow naturally which created a flow state trifecta. The flow state is a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of activity. Couple that with the sense of adventure in experiencing a new town, AND quality time spent with the ones you love. This is what I call the flow state trifecta. It is a thrilling and exciting way of living that we experience whenever we go hiking , biking, or camping in a new place. The more you seek out to create these flow state trifectas, the better your life becomes. It is a sense of joy and excitement that helps families connect and reset.

When we were driving home Matt said, “That was a really great trip, I’m glad we went”. That caused me to pause as I was looking through the pictures of the trip, and I actually teared up as I looked at a picture of our oldest son who is in third grade. We talked about how it seems like just yesterday he made us parents and helped us become the people we were meant to be. My heart was so full of love for those three kids in the back of our van, I almost felt like it was going to burst. This is the flow state trifecta.

It’s easy to get caught up in work stress, school schedules, and endless soccer games, but when we take the time to get out of our comfort zones and experience something new, you’ll feel the affects of the flow state trifecta which will enable you to think more clearly, connect more deeply, and head back into your daily routine refreshed and rejuvenated.

When is the last time you experienced the flow state trifecta? I’d love to hear about your experience!

XO,

April

The Road to Hana

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I remember being so engulfed in fear as I looked out the backseat window and saw the edge of the cliff as we continued speeding through the winding road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii. I saw cross after cross on the side of the road representing the many lives lost on this treacherous and eerily beautiful road. My father honking before going around curves because the road turns into one lane at very inopportune times. I was too afraid to speak, as I kept checking that my seatbelt was still locked tight. I was 12 years old. Old enough to know the danger of what we were doing, but not old enough to know how to deal with my fear. So, I did the only thing I could do, accepted that I may die today, so I might as well enjoy this beautiful scenery. That is A LOT for a 12 year old to take on! On the other side of this fear though, there was beauty. I appreciated the beauty of Hawaii so much that day, that I decided I would someday name my daughter after this terrifyingly beautiful road, and 20 years later I did.

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“The Road to Hana is a scenic highway (Highway 360) that twists through the lush rainforest and past the cascading waterfalls that line Maui’s eastern shore. Most people start their trip in Kahului (home to Maui’s main airport) with the intention of motoring 55 miles to Hana. The trip isn’t always easy: The route often surprises unfamiliar drivers with hairpin turns.” says The U.S. News Travel.

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere.” Ever since I was a kid these words have struck a cord in my soul. My soul yearns to be free. To fly. But I’m a 34 year old sensible mother of 3. I do not fly. I get motion sickness when I ride the hot air balloon rides with my kids at the Air Zoo.

I have had this nagging feeling since childhood that one day my adventure would begin. I’d be walking through the streets my head in a book as always, and BAM! My world would transform into forests, beasts, and talking cutlery. Does anyone else think this might happen to them? No, just me?

Any ways, I’ve always wanted to get back to that feeling on the other side of fear. What would I do if I faced my fear and went straight through it, instead of running the other way? If I stood up for my beliefs instead of thinking someone else will do it for me. If I poured my heart out on a blog, and hoped no one would ever read it, because then they would see the real, true, me. And THAT is a terrifying thing. Isn’t that the greatest oxymoron of our time? We all deep down, just truly want to be seen, and yet we are so terrified to be seen, we won’t show others our true selves. What if we all just put it out there, our weird Disney obsessions and the fact that we often break into song, our memories from childhood that scare us to explore, our beliefs, questions, hopes and desires. What if we step outside the box for a moment each day, a little at a time, and say “Hey, this is me. I’m beautiful in here and you never knew it, because I didn’t let you see me”. I see you friend, let’s hold hands and jump outside our comfort zones together.

XO,

April

 

My First Attempt at a Buddha Bowl (Recipe below)

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I’ve been seeing Buddha Bowls all over Pinterest the last few months but have been too intimidated to try them. This weekend it felt like the next right step in our nutritional journey to try something different. I love veggies but my husband and kids are not so fond of them.

This nourishing bowl was bursting with colors and flavor, which got the kids interested. They all tried it but still wanted me to make them something else, which was fine with me because that meant more for me! Hubby and I LOVED it!

This dressing from Trader Joe’s was a huge time-saver so I didn’t have to make my own dressing. I definitely recommend grabbing some if you’re a newbie to buddha bowls like me.

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I heard something today on a podcast, The Practical Minimalists, that was a huge realization for me and my relationship to food. “When it comes to health and wellness, follow your next right step and perfect that step, and then move on to the next right step. Check in with yourself and make sure it feels aligned for you, not what you think you should be doing.” Beth Clayton, a Health Coach shared this awesome tip. In my health journey I have definitely tried a few things like going completely vegan that were not a good fit, and had to take a few steps back, to a lifestyle I could sustain. I’ve always felt a little guilty about this, but when I heard Beth’s advice, it hit me that we’re all at different points in our journey, whether its health, fitness, mindfulness, etc. there is no one right path for everyone and we all have to just follow what feels like the next right step for us. Today, this was my next right step, and I’m happy to share it with you all in case it feels right for you!

Recipe:

  • Riced Cauliflower from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Sweet potatoes, halved
  • 1 Zucchini, chopped
  • 1 bundle broccolini, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 big handfuls arugula
  • 1/4 tsp salt/pepper
  • Approx. 1 tbsp Olive Oil for drizzling
  • Roasted Chickpeas (recipe found here)
  • Dressing: 1 tbsp Almond Butter Turmeric Salad Dressing

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and arrange sweet potatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Place skin down on baking sheet.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip potatoes, and add the rest of the vegetables. Drizzle with oil and salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for another 8-10 minutes.
  4. While vegetables are roasting, cook fried cauliflower according to package in a wok or pan and scramble an egg into the mixture.
  5. When vegetables are finished, slice sweet potatoes into bite size pieces. Divide between 4 bowls and top with arugula, riced cauliflower, chickpeas, and vegetables.
  6. Lastly drizzle 1 tbsp almond butter turmeric salad dressing on top and ENJOY!

If you give this a try, let me know how it went. What’s your favorite buddha bowl recipe?  Please share because hubby and I are trying ALL the buddha bowls right now! 🙂

XO,

April

 

Good Vibe Exercise

Today I wanted to share my new favorite way to workout. This is one of the things I do to help keep myself in alignment and joy every day, and it feels completely natural and fun. As Deepak Chopra says, “As we spend time meditating and awakening to who we really are, we will naturally make choices that benefit our body, mind, and spirit.”

I have never loved running, we have a love/hate relationship I guess I’d say.  Well, I decided to try it again a few months ago. I was instantly hooked because I could run much farther and longer than in the past, and feel great during and after the run! The difference this time is sort of “out there” or woo-woo. You may think I’ve gone off the deep end with this one, but hey, it’s getting me to run, and that is something. 😉 The difference this time is my emotions before, during, and after the run. In the past I used to  dread running and see it as a means to an end: Me+Run=lose weight. Not anymore, now I think of this hour a day as my decadence, me time, treat myself time. I look forward to going to the gym now!

I’ve turned running into a moving meditation of sorts. I always used to get down when I would glance at the tv’s in the gym and see depressing stories about the latest tragedy. So, one day I decided to imagine I was sending love from my heart directly to the people affected in the stories on the news. I noticed I got a boost of energy from doing this and was able to run a little faster. So, I started sending love and light to everyone around me in the gym. Wishing them health, love and joy.

I believe the news affects us because we feel helpless. There is no way we can help everyone who needs help. And with the news being everywhere these days we can’t avoid it either. But what if there is something we could do. We could send them something we are abundant in, our love, light and health; and in turn bask in the energetic vibes we receive from loving others.

Now, I have no idea if the people around me notice anything or if they receive any of the good vibes I’m sending them, because this is all going on in my head. But what if they did? What if their day was a little brighter, they had a little more energy to share with the world and it created a trickle down effect. We all have the ability to create ripples in other people’s lives. Whether others are open to it or not, is their choice. But I believe we have the power to smile at someone and change their day. And in the process, we can’t help but make our own a little bit brighter. I’ll close this long post with another Deepak Chopra quote, “When we love others we are loving ourselves.” And whether anyone else notices or not, I’m losing weight, building strength, and showing up as my best self for my family afterwards.

So next time you’re on the treadmill, practice with the people on tv first, and imagine shining light and love from your heart center to those who are in need. Beathe in deeply and on the exhale silently say, “May you have love, light and health.” It usually takes a second but then you’ll get aburst of energy. I believe this is because you’re connected with the Universe. And when we connect with the Universe in an effort to do good, the whole Universe conspires with us. So, not only do you have good vibes coming from you to others, but you have the entire Universe backing you! That’s one hell of a way to start your day!

This can be done during any exercise class, lifting weights, or walking on a path. It may seem weird at first, and if it doesn’t work for you, you may have something blocking your love. I am working on a free 7 day meditation to help release blockages like these, so keep an eye out for that! But let me know if you try it, I’d love to hear about how it went!

Purposefully Yours,

April

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My Morning Routine

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Good Morning Lovely Friends,

I’m sharing my morning routine with you all because since starting this routine a year and a half ago, I’ve been able to find a clarity of purpose like I’ve never had before, lost weight, and have just been an all around happier and calmer momma and wife. My 3 kids get up at about 7am. I used to try to sleep as long as I could and then as soon as they woke up I’d feel like I was already behind. So, I started getting up an hour earlier every day. And when everyone is healthy and I’m getting enough sleep I get up an hour and a half earlier than them. This gives me time to center myself and get some work done before starting the morning caring for them. Fill your own cup first 😉

As soon as I get out of bed I turn on my meditation app (for which ones I use, read on here) and listen to the lesson of the day while I make our coffee. I continue listening to Deepak Chopra or another spiritual teacher as I get on my yoga mat and do some easy stretching like child’s pose and cat/cow’s to get my blood flowing. By now it is about 6:15 and it is time to meditate so I take a seat in my meditation chair and meditate for 15 minutes. Once I’m centered, connected to my true self, I come to my desk and prepare my to do list and start working. I get at least 30 minutes of work in before I start the day and that helps me accomplish my top 1 or 2 priorities for the day.

Back in March of this year I started using my World Changer Planner that I created because I couldn’t find a planner that contained everything I wanted. It has a space for gratitude, a to do list, free writing ideas, and 3 daily action items that need to be accomplished. This has helped me to prioritize what I get done in a day and not take on too much. Being present for my kids, homeschooling my little ones, and supporting my husband are my core values; but I also have dreams and goals I want to accomplish as well. This morning time helps me get a jump on them.

I wanted to share this quote from Tim Ferris, one of my favorite authors, that he found after having 140 people at the top of their fields answer the same 11 questions while doing research for an upcoming book:

“Despite the fact that these are people from tennis to surfing to cryptocurrency to fill-in-the-blank, like any field you can possibly imagine — some type of morning mindfulness or meditation practice would span I’d say 90% of the respondents.”

He goes on to say that meditation has a branding problem and we think of people swinging dreamcatchers around but explains that meditation is really about “decreasing emotional reactivity so you can proactively create your day and create your life; versus just being a walking reflex that sometimes screws up”

I love that. That is exactly what mindfulness has done for me. What is your morning routine? I’d love to hear about yours!

Purposefully Yours,

April

Spilled Milk and Brain Scientists

Sometimes flow with family looks like running out of the house as soon as hubby is awake on a Saturday morning to go to the gym just to be alone, because all the kids are whining for treats and my daughter dumped her cereal on the table and is rubbing her hands in it. This is a pretty typical morning but what was different was my response. See, I’m an introvert in a house full of extroverts so it can often feel like I’m the ringmaster in a circus and all the animals have escaped from their cages.

I used to try to control the chaos from this place of agitation. Now I’ve learned to get happy, fill my cup as much as possible, and then I can give everyone the attention they need when I get home. I used to think self care was a girl’s night out once a month. But I’ve realized as an introvert, even time with friends, as much as I love it, can drain my energy. I have found quiet activities that I can do to center myself like meditating, taking baths, reading books, and going to the gym.

So, I got on the treadmill and ran my agitation out and listened to my favorite podcast, Super Soul Conversations. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist, was on the show and she was telling her story of how she witnessed her stroke from her right-brain (the flowy, intuitive side) while her left-brain was bleeding so much that she lost her thinking brain for quite a while. It was a fascinating story of resilience, that reminded me just how magnificent it is that I am alive right here in this moment and all of my cells are functioning in unison so I can be me. And it made me realize that in this fast-paced, not enough society we live in, we don’t slow down enough to appreciate just how miraculous it is that we are here in this moment. That hubby and I created three precious human beings out of nothing, I mean how amazing is that? Our lives are so precious, and sometimes it takes a little spilled milk to remember that.

Then I took action from this place of love and appreciation and we had a flowy day together; went to a children’s museum and zoo lights at the Lansing Potter Park Zoo. That never would’ve happened if I tried to force a fun day from the place of agitation I was in. Raise your vibration and flow will follow.

XO,

April

1 Minute Miracle Meditation to Radiate Love and Light

Good Morning Beautiful Friends!

You know those people that just radiate light and love? This meditation will help you quickly cultivate that feeling so that you can show up wherever you are headed as your most loving and radiant self. If you’re looking for a better way to deal with holiday stress, here is a 1 minute miracle meditation that you can do right before you step out of the car at your relative’s house, or as you’re waiting for the water to boil while cooking dinner.  Try this meditation before your next social gathering and see if it helps you find your flow, if so, let me know below!

XO,

April

6 Meditation Resources I am loving in November

beach-1221063_960_720Good morning beautiful friends!
I just reached my one year mark of meditating daily, and to celebrate I wanted to share with you all my top 5 meditation apps and resources.
Let me first share a bit of personal background to explain how meditation has affected my life. A year ago I turned to meditation because I was overwhelmed, spread too thin, and not showing up as my best self for my family. I first considered meditation while reading (1)The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. There are some simple meditations in the back of this very thick and beautiful book that helped me cultivate more joy and share it with the world. But that was just the beginning for me. Once I opened myself up to meditation, I started seeing it everywhere. Over the last year I’ve consistently woken up early every day and meditated using the following apps and resources. If meditation isn’t your thing, no problem. What I can share is that over the last 12 months I’ve aligned with my deepest core beliefs and values and have found a place of peace. I’ve been able to clear the airwaves of my brain for a few minutes a day which has really helped me clear out some old clutter, and let go of old beliefs that aren’t serving me anymore.
(2) Oprah & Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation Experience: They have free experiences often and you can also pay to download the meditations. A free experience is going on right now!
(4) 10% Happier App: This is a great place to start for the skeptics. There are lots of free meditations and a more “left-brained” approach to meditation.
(5) Wanderlust 21-Day Meditation Challenge with Light Watkins: I really love Light’s soothing voice and the easy English mantras. I like the challenges because they are great for starting a habit. After 21 days, you’ll be lost without meditation as a way to start your day off right!
(6) Essential Oil Mala Bracelets from Ubuntu GoodsThese bracelets made by women who have been victims of sexual assault and domestic violence at a women’s shelter in the United States, are great for centering yourself anytime throughout the day. Here is a link to how I use my Mala Bracelet to meditate.
I hope this was useful, if so, please subscribe below to see my #goodvibes recommendations every month!
XO,
April

Finding our Flow

I first became aware of the disconnect between the life I was living and the life I dreamed of, when I read Glennon Doyle Melton’s first book, Carry on Warrior, and heard her philosophy of doing the next right thing. In a way this is very similar to flow. I was sitting in a cubicle pregnant with my third child. I had two kids in daycare and we were trying to figure out how to afford daycare for the new baby. I had a really amazing job that I loved. I worked with amazing people. But every morning as I dropped my kids off at daycare, I felt this pull at my heartstrings to be with them.

We sat down one day to really assess what would make us happy. I admitted I wanted to be home with the kids, especially with the third on the way. He admitted he wanted to move to the country, away from the hustle of the city. This was the first step on our path to following our flow instead of what others told us we needed to do. We bought a house for $100k less than our last house so we could afford it on one income and started paying off debt. I am now able to stay home with my three lovely kids and couldn’t be happier.

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The first step of finding your flow is about writing down your values and putting together a plan to spend more time living in them. It is about asking yourself what you’re willing to give up to live your values every day. I now get to cuddle my kids every morning when they wake up, I’ve been there for every one of my daughter’s firsts – first step, first word, first solid food. I’m grateful for every day I have with them. But I’m also aware of what I gave up to be with them, the more expensive, bigger house in the bigger city mainly. But it is worth it!  I often tell my husband I’m the luckiest mom in the world.

So, this is how we got started on our path to finding our flow. This is when we started putting our trust in life that it would bring us what we needed.

XO,

April