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The other day, I was feeling very uninspired for my weekly meal planning. Tired of the usual fall favorites of chili, Taco Tuesday and chicken (again?!?), I did what any other time crunched mom would do. I outsourced to my amazing Facebook Village and had one of my most popular Facebook posts OF ALL TIME. Like almost surpassing the birth of my children popular. Many comments later, I decided I should write a Round Up of all of the recipes so that we can all come back later and find them when we need inspiration. I'd love to do this again, I'm not going to make any promises that this will be monthly, but if you've got any good recipes you have tried lately- shoot them to me in an email and I'll get another list going- madison@fit4mom.com.

Disclaimer- I have not tried all of these recipes myself, this is just a compiled list of the recipes that other mamas shared with me.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sausage and Feta

Instant Pot Baked Ziti

Crockpot Italian Sloppy Joes

Crackslaw - Kind of like an eggroll in a bowl if you've ever made that recipe

Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

Quinoa with Carmelized Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts

Pork Chops With Apples and Onions

Braised Beef With Cream

Snap Peas with Pancetta and Parmesan

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

The Ultimate Light Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Butternut Squash and Beef Chili

Chickpea and Kale Curry

Thai Lettuce Wraps

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Some moms posted quick easy ideas with no recipe- Quesadillas, Tacos, Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Veggies, Tortilla Soup, Chicken Southwest Chili and Salads.

I hope this helps some of you mamas find inspiration when dinnertime comes! Find a new recipe you love? Don't forget to email me at madison@fit4mom.com and I'll add it to the next round up.

If you haven’t heard or didn’t know, we started our Stay and Play Play dates after class on Wednesdays and Thursdays this summer! This has been a great way for the kiddos to play outside the stroller and the mamas get to talk, relax, and enjoy this crazy, awesome life we live. Here's a little glimpse of what we have been up to!

  • Play-doh- This was no ordinary play-Doh session…it was a Star Wars Themed Play-doh Session. The Millennium Falcon, Ewoks, The Death Star, and other ones I don’t always remember (good thing I have Remington who knows all things Star Wars). Not only did the kids have a blast, the moms got into it too! After we finished playing a few of us headed over to the Splash Pad to cool off.
  • We made our own shake ice cream! YUM! If you don’t know what shake ice cream is I am about to tell you. You add all the ingredients in a bag then shake the bag, and viola ice cream! You don’t need a cup just grab a spoon and eat from the bag. NO DISHES! If you want to make it at home: here are the ingredients you need:

    - 1 tablespoon sugar

    1.5 cups half and half (we had a friend who was dairy free and used almond milk)

    ¼ teaspoon vanilla

    3 cups ice

    ½ cup salt (they say rock salt but we just plain old kosher salt and it worked perfect)

    a pint size Ziploc bag, and a gallon size Ziploc bag.

    First, take the pint size bag add half and half, sugar, and vanilla. Close the bag and set by you. In the gallon bag add a cup of ice, add pint size filled with soon to be ice cream goodness, and add the other two cups of ice. Pour the salt over the ice and close bag. Now you shake, and shake, and shake and so enough you have ice cream! We added rainbow sprinkles to ours because ice cream is not a party without sprinkles, let alone rainbow sprinkles.

  • ABC and pipe cleaner bracelets! Some friends made friendship bracelets, some made bracelets for dad, and I got to make a FIT4MOM bracelet!! What I really liked about this play date was the kids got to work on some fine motor skill while they put the beads onto the piper cleaners and working on hand eye coordination. The kids also got to find letters in their name or friends name and turned them into friendship bracelets. It makes my heart so full to see all the wonderful relationships that not only my child is making but other children are growing and learning as well.
  • We celebrated Pride by making rainbow do a dot art and rainbow multiple media paper plates. EVERYONE had so much fun! We had glitter glue, string, markers, colored pencils, pipe cleaners, beads, felt, and so much more! We even had friends that couldn’t make it to class join! That is the great thing about Stay and Plays , you don’t have to come to class to join, EVERYONE IS WELCOME!!!

FIT4MOM has such a special place in my heart and I am so HAPPY all of you have joined. I cannot wait to see you in class and at the stay and plays!! Talk soon!

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We are launching a new platform on our blog that will be interviews with Madison area birth service providers. Our mission is to help moms make strides in fitness, motherhood and life and hopefully these posts will help put you in contact with another service or contact that can help you. First up, meet Lumos Doula Services- Lumos is fearlessly run by a trio of Doulas- Riley, Alli and Lea. Last week, we introduced you to Riley, this week it's Alli's turn!

In their words, “We are a safe space. When it comes to options, we encourage you to explore, consider, try on- and we encourage plenty of space to change your mind too. We care about how you feel about your decisions more than that you find the ‘right’ answer. We know you value your time, and we strive to make this experience stream-lined and personally tailored to your needs. We are experienced. We are organized. We are responsive. And we absolutely LOVE what we do”.

First off, tell us your name and who you are a mom to.

I'm Alli Ryan and I've got two kids at home, Scarlett (9) and Jude "The Dude" (5)

And we start each of our classes with an icebreaker.. sooooo, if you could hire a personal chef or a housekeeper which would you choose?

I'm one of those people that cleans when they are stressed/wanting to feel some sense of control over the chaos, so I don't need a housekeeper. However, a personal chef sounds lovely. We all have very different eating styles and preferences so someone (that isn't me) that could cater meals to each of us would be a dream.

How did you choose your path as a doula?

It's going to sound cheesy but doula work doesn't feel like a choice; it feels like who I am. Initially I channeled this care-giving spirit into education and enjoyed working with children and students in my classrooms as a teacher. When we were pregnant with Scarlett we were suggested a doula by our care provider. My husband and I left the interview and both realized 1. were were def hiring this doula and 2. I was a doula. I gradually made the transition from teaching to full time doula work and have loved the ways in which this work compliments my passions and skill sets, as well as allows for growth as a person and professional

What training is involved for initial certification and for ongoing continuing education?

My answer is similar to Riley's except that I choose to train with DONA but certify with another organization. I've added many trainings and certifications over the years, including Certified Lactation Counselor, Certified Childbirth Educator, postpartum doula training, and infant sleep educator.

How do you and your partners manage your schedules as moms yourselves?

Phew, managing schedules is hard! I'm incredibly grateful to be surrounded by friends that have become family as they are willing to jump in and support us anytime. We created Lumosfor so many reasons but balance was at the top of the list. My classic line is, "You can't pour from an empty cup" and we wanted to practice the advice we were so often giving new families.

What percentage of work time is split between pre-birth, actual birth coaching, and postpartum on average?

What's lovely about doula work is we get to meet families where they're at in terms of support. We have a framework built upon our hundreds of births and education hours but we also have the ability to individualize support in a real time way. Maybe you don't totally understand why we put so much time into talking about newborn sleep when you're pregnant because getting this baby out is taking up the most brain space at the time. However, knowing you have the support system around you in which you can rely upon when sleep does get hard is important. And we'll know as your doulas that you've gotten some sense of the discussion prenatally which makes the learning curve in the moment so much less complicated (well, usually).

How do you recommend clients interview doulas and figure out which one is right for them?

Pregnancy, birth, and parenting is a time of significant transition and most people don't love transitions/change. We find ourselves feeling vulnerable, afraid, excited, worried, joyful, and about 1000 other emotions. A doula that you feel safe and comfortable feeling any/all of these emotions with (for many of the reasons listed above) is ultimately what makes the relationship and support work most effectively.

If you had to pick one thing, what is your favorite part about being a doula?

The love and hard work it takes to grow a family is awesome. It's powerful to be with folks through the good and bad minutes/days/hours/weeks/months; doing this work gives me a tremendous feeling of connection.

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Today, we're featuring our amazing mama Marisa! She has been part of FIT4MOM Madison since Run Club began this spring. We adore Marisa because she always shows up ready to work hard and her energy is just contagious! She usually attends Body Back at 5:30 am and Run Club, but has also popped in to Stroller Barre. Her favorite part about FIT4MOM is how mom-centric it is. We are so grateful Marisa is part of our mamahood sisterhood! Come join us for class and meet new mama friends like Marisa!

"Despite being active all my life, my exercise habits became non-existent after having a kid. I was desperately out-of-shape, even getting winded climbing one flight of stairs, and struggling to keep up with our two-year-old son. I knew I needed to do something, and saw a flier for FIT4MOM at the gym. I had no idea how quickly I would get hooked!

Originally, I joined the Run Club. Then Jackie suggested Body Back as a cross-training activity between runs, so I decided to check it out. I was immediately into it. There was something really fun about working out with other moms who were in the same boat as me and facing the same challenges. And if they could manage to get a workout in, then I had no excuse - I could too!

I also appreciate that everything is mom-centric. For instance, recipes are fairly quick and easy. They give us a lot of time-saving meal-prep tips. The trainers also take into consideration breastfeeding and adjusting calorie consumption and hydration. I immediately felt like I was being guided by women who "get it" and get what I need as a mom.

Jackie has also done a great job of creating community - at the workouts, outside of workouts, and on social media. I think that's one of the things that keeps me hooked. I'm enjoying achieving my own goals, but I also enjoy being part of a group of mamas who are achieving their's as well. I also occasionally drop-in on Stroller Strides classes in the park and it is a blast being able to work out with my son. As for my results, I've so far lost 13 pounds and went from running zero to 5 miles straight!"

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We are launching a new platform on our blog that will be interviews with Madison area birth service providers. Our mission is to help moms make strides in fitness, motherhood and life and hopefully these posts will help put you in contact with another service or contact that can help you. First up, meet Lumos Doula Services.

In their words, “We are a safe space. When it comes to options, we encourage you to explore, consider, try on- and we encourage plenty of space to change your mind too. We acre about how you feel about your decisions more than that you find the ‘right’ answer. We know you value your time, and we strive to make this experience stream-lined and personally tailored to your needs. We are experienced. We are organized. We are responsive. And we absolutely LOVE what we do”. Lumos is fearlessly run by a trio of Doulas- Riley, Alli and Lea. We sat down and got to know them a bit better and over the next 3 weeks you will see our interview with them- a few of the questions were gathered from the moms in Our Village!

First off, tell us your name and who you are a mom to.

I'm Riley and live near DeForest with my husband, Bill, and our three kiddos - Miles (7), Ezra (5), and Sylvia (3).

And we start each of our classes with an icebreaker, sooooo, if you could hire a personal chef or a housekeeper which would you choose?

This is a tough question! I think I would choose the personal chef. I like to cook when I have time and it doesn't feel stressful, but that is not reality most days. :)

How did you choose your path as a doula?

I have been fascinated by birth since high school when I had the opportunity to job-shadow a labor and delivery nurse and see a birth. I began working as a nursing assistant in labor and delivery during college and continued to do so (on weekends, holidays, and summers) after I graduated and began working as a Kindergarten teacher. After I had my first baby, I learned what a doula was and knew that was the path for me! This work combines my love of birth with my love of working with families and I feel so lucky to be invited to witness the transformation that families make throughout the pregnancy, birth,and postpartum time.

What training is involved for initial certification and for ongoing continuing education?

The doula training that I took was done here in Madison (we are lucky to have a world-renowned doula trainer living here in Madison!) and was a 3 day weekend of in-person training. Then, I had to do additional reading and writing, obtain evaluations from my first few clients and their care providers, and show evidence of having taken training in childbirth education and lactation. All of the documentation was submitted to DONA International for review and a few weeks later, I was certified! Every three years I have to submit documentation of continuing education in various formats in order to maintain my certification. I am also a Certified Lactation Counselor, which required a 40 hour in person course and a moderated exam in order to become certified, and also requires continuing education hours every 3 years.

How do you and your partners manage your schedules as moms yourselves?

I struggle with managing my schedule just like every other mom on the planet! One thing that has really helped has been working in partnership with Alli and Lea within Lumos. This allows each of us to have every 3rd week off-call, which means I can go out for a walk with my family and leave my phone behind or schedule necessary appointments and know for sure that I am going to be able to go to the appointment. It also helps to know that we have 3 levels of care for our clients so that if I have a sick child at home, Alli or Lea can jump in and we don't have to cancel on a client.

Tell us a little more about Lumos and your philosophy.

Lumos was really created out of the belief that families can really benefit from having a whole community of support around them throughout the childbearing year. Obviously, the work we do during a birth is important, but having support before and after the baby arrives is important, too. Sometimes, the kind of support that is needed is not support that we are qualified to give as doulas, which is why we have partnered with our amazing independent contractors who provide chiropractic care, prenatal yoga instruction, perinatal counseling, lactation consultation, and photography. Our philosophy really centers around our belief that there is no "right" way to birth or parent, but that each family deserves to feel informed, heard, and supported in their own unique decision-making throughout the process.

What percentage of work time is split between pre-birth, actual birth coaching, and postpartum on average?

Oooh, good question. In terms of hours, if a client took full advantage of our largest package offering, the breakdown could be:

~ 70-85 hours of prenatal contact (6-7 group prenatal meetings, 1 in-home prenatal meeting, 1 in-home sleep consult 1-3 hours of office visits, 10 hours of prenatal yoga/month for 6-7 months, 1-2 hours of chiropractic, 1 hour of perinatal counseling)

~ 3-24+ hours of birth and immediate postpartum support

~ 120+ hours of postpartum contact (2 hours of post-birth follow up, 9 hours of in-home postpartum support, 9 hours of overnight support, up to 100+ hours of Moonbeams group, 1-2 hours of in-home lactation support, unlimited attendance at lactation clinic)

How do you recommend clients interview doulas and figure out which one is right for them?

Choosing a doula is a personal process. In my opinion, the biggest consideration is finding the doula (or doulas) that you feel a strong sense of connection and trust with. The perinatal period is an intensely vulnerable time and is fueled largely by oxytocin - the hormone of love and trust and safety. Choosing a doula that you could envision helping you to create a safe, happy, supported little oxytocin bubble is ideal. Obviously, there are other factors that may play into the decision - cost, location, experience level, recommendations, etc. -, but the connection piece is really critical.

What qualities or training should someone look for when picking a doula?This can really vary based on the person looking for a doula. For some people, finding a doula who meets a certain criteria (certified, has attended 'x' number of births, within budget, also provides postpartum support, etc) is really important. But again, if the person who meets that criteria doesn't make you feel that sense of connection, then looking elsewhere is probably a good idea.

If you had to pick one thing, what is your favorite part about being a doula?

I think my favorite part of being a doula is the relationship that we get to build over time with our clients. When a client hires us early in their pregnancy and participates in our Moonbeams group through their baby's first year, we get to hang out for almost 2 years! That is a long time to get to know someone and watch a family grow and change and develop and it feels like such a privilege every single time.

Thank you so much Riley! Next week, we will hear from her partner Alli. Stay tuned!

And be sure to check out Lumos Doula Services for more details about their different class offerings and packages!

Ashley Pyne

Today we're featuring Ashley Pyne and her inspiring transformation. She is a proud mama of 3 girls and she has been attending Body Back since our Holiday Survival session. She loved it so much, she became an instructor- you can visit her on Monday and Wednesday at 9:15 Body Back. We are so proud of her and so glad she's part of our #fit4mommadisonwi fam!

"Moms: they know how to take care of you. Body Back has gotten me stronger physically and mentally. Sure, I've lost pounds and inches along the way, but what I found is how much more comfortable I am flying in economy, the confidence I have to lug a couple of screaming kids out of Target and the moms here for me, on the same journey. Supporting each other, because we are all moms...and we GET IT."

Do you have a transformation you'd like to share with us? Email us your photos and story to madison@fit4mom.com

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To put it mildly, today was AMAZING!

We had an amazing group of moms and their families participate in the Her Madison Half Marathon and 5k. We had moms who ran the 5k, we had moms who completed the Half Marathon (many of them their FIRST!) and moms, dads, friends and kids come out to rally them on to the finish- and I got to watch it all from the front row as the Race Emcee. It. Was. Amazing. I can't even tell you the number of times I teared up. Women running together and LIFTING EACHOTHER UP- friends, sisters, moms, complete strangers- they were all in to together. Chills. Absolute chills. The ladies who ran worked so hard to train, congratulations to each and every one of you!

Through Harbor Athletic Club, we sponsored a Harbor Hill Challenge as a fundraiser for Girls on the Run. Around mile 11 on the half marathon course, there is a much talked about and dreaded HILL. To help lighten the mood, we offered the Harbor Hill Challenge. At the bottom, our amazing volunteers were waiting with strollers loaded up with 20 lb medicine balls- no one wants to push an empty stroller :) For every person who pushed a stroller up to the top of the hill, Harbor donated $5 to Girls On The Run- we ended up raising over $300!

Sooo, basically we all have a running bug now! Who wants to join us? Run Club meets on Sunday mornings at 6:30 am so you can get up, run, and go about your weekend. We aren't training for a race right now so our Sundays will hold an interval run for ALL DIFFERENT ABILITIES! It doesn't matter if you are new to running or an experienced runner- since it's intervals of walking and running, everyone can keep up. We are offering Run Club for FREE with any membership for the month of July or only $5 to drop-in. We are also hosting a FREE Family Fun Run on Saturday, July 14th at 9:30 am. Check out all of the details on the schedule page. We hope you will come join us this amazing group of Running Mamas!

Check out the full photo album here

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Hey, where'd everything go? Looking for an old blog post we did? It will be back, don't worry! We updated to a NEW WEBSITE (isn't it pretty?!?) and the old posts are in transition. Stay tuned, they'll be back!