I’m Laura – the household CEO, mother of 2 awesome kids, an entrepreneur, master planner, fitness guru, and wife of almost 10 years to Jeff. We have lived in Aurora, Ont. for almost 8 years now and never want to leave – we were meant to live in this town. Our son Owen just turned 6 and our daughter Taylor is just over 3 and I could not be any prouder of them both. We are an active and busy family and are always on the go. I run my own business called Transition Fitness – I offer personal training and teach Stroller Fitness classes in York Region. Fitness & well being has always been my passion and when I left my corporate sales career in the big city I decided to turn my passion into my new career. My outlook on life these days is all about balance, perspective and making the most of each day.
|Fabulous Mom Laura with husband Jeff|
and kids - Owen & Taylor
How does a day start for you and what’s being served for breakfast?
My day starts EARLY. I am usually up between 5:30-6am (weekends too!). I actually really like waking up early as this gives me a little extra time to get a few things accomplished before the kids wake up – a workout, business stuff, cleaning etc. I make the most of this “quiet” time. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I try to encourage the kids to eat a complete and wholesome meal at this time too. We love smoothies (frozen blueberries, yogurt, banana, soy milk). We might have this with some healthy cereal, whole grain toast or homemade oatmeal.
Favorite bedtime story(ies) currently on the must-read list for your little ones?
For Owen – Brady Brady by Mary Shaw – this series is outstanding as it combines the humour of a boy obsessed with hockey with some really great and meaningful messages. High interest for boys and perfect for sharing some laughs together. We also like to read science based books about cool & interesting animals too!
For Taylor – we have just graduated from Dora and moved on to authors such as Phoebe Gilman – (Jillian Jiggs series) or Victoria Kaan (Pinkalicious). Great rhymes, silly stories and cute characters – I have read them so many times I have them memorized!
Tip or Trick for getting those daily vegetable servings in
I really try to introduce the kids to a variety of vegetables just to see what else they might like other than just mini carrots! I have had some luck and they do happen to love broccoli & asparagus (what a relief!). I find making homemade soups, casseroles, chili and pastas are a great way to “sneak” veggies in without really hiding them. Veggies such as cauliflower, zucchini and carrots are also very easy to hide in muffins, loaves or even cookies.
Any words of advice for keeping all the clutter and toys from overtaking?
BLITZ…..this is what I call it when mom gets “Clutter Cranky Syndrome.” I find about once every two months I will go through the house and create three piles: garbage (mostly toy bits, loose or random pieces), piles to reorganize into our multiple types of storage bins, and items to donate. Now that the kids are a little older we are encouraging them to keep a lot of their toys in their rooms and we do keep one specific room as the designated “playroom.” It works well as it really is their space decorated with their artwork and has become the local headquarters for all things Star Wars and Princess. Perfect for play dates as well as the kids can rummage through the room, the bins and the closet for toys to play with.
If you had an entire afternoon to yourself, what would you do?
If this was an afternoon completely by myself it would start off with a leisurely run through Fairy Lake in Newmarket, then maybe some shopping at stores that seem impossible to bring the kids with me (ie HomeSense or Lemonberry). I would love to end it off meeting a friend for a coffee or if there is time maybe head to a spa. I guess that is a lot in an afternoon – might need a day!
How do you squeeze in the ever-so-important time for just you and your husband?
There is no doubt that having young kids (especially close in age) really takes its toll on quality couple time. We have recently found a fantastic babysitter who is the first person we have ever left the kids with other than grandparents. This is a big step for us, but it has been great. Our Monday – Friday is so busy (since I work most evenings) that Saturdays are really our night to actually get caught up. When we do not have a sitter, we do try and put the kids to bed and then make our own dinner or order in a little later. This gives us uninterrupted time to actually talk. We’re hoping to have a real “leave the house date” soon and the plan is to play golf and go for dinner.
Your go-to family meal that you know will be loved by all, eaten by all and serve some nutrients too!
I polled my family for this one ... hands down winner: my homemade lasagna. Always a hit, perfect for a family meal with lots of leftovers and I also love serving it to a crowd. I use extra lean ground beef, ricotta, spinach and zucchini as the primary ingredients. I try to keep it healthy and make enough that I can freeze it for weeknights when you are out of quick ideas. The runner up meal would be my burgers. I cannot justify ever buying the frozen ones when it is so easy and MUCH more healthy to make your own. My secret to keeping the burgers moist is to use a combination of beef and pork (lean meat of course!)
Now you can understand why after I visit with Laura I am always inspired and filled with all sorts of ideas on family time, organization, fitness and food. Thanks Laura for sharing all these great tips and sharing with us your daily routine.