February 9th: “Fate chooses your relations, you choose your friends.”

I decided to particpate in the prompt for today’s blog and that is, Talk about this quote: “Fate chooses your relations, you choose your friends.”

Life can lead us in many directions, and while we can choose a path to follow, we don’t always have a say in the outcome of our choices. Fate leads us to meet those around us from our workplace, to the groups and organizations that we participate in, and through our different travels. But it is our choice whether or not we want those relations to become our friends.

Our experiences make us who we are and help us find our true friendships. Those that stick by us through the good and the bad, who listen to us when we need an ear, laugh with us, and create memories that we will remember for the rest of our lives. I never imagined that my closest friends today would be those that I went to high school with, some that I might not have even spoke with back then but we share similar memories. Fate brought us together, and I am so lucky to call them my friends. And I know as our babies grow up together, we will all grow and share those memories as families. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and while we all will continue to grow and move in different directions, it’s the people that you keep in touch with that you know are the genuine ones. Not the ones that were saying ‘Hi, How are you?’ as you pass them by each day in the hallway at work , or the ‘friends’ you maintained on facebook even though you haven’t seen them in years. The friendships that you can physically walk away from for days or months or years, but come back to as if no time passed by. Those are your real friends, not just relations!

February 8th: Baby (Boy) Fashion

I love shopping for my son, in fact I spend more money and time shopping for him than myself.  Its just too much fun dressing him up like a little man!  I can’t even imagine if I had a girl what my spending habits would be like?  I, like most Mom’s of boys, wish there was more of a selection for boys clothes because a typical kids section includes 1/3 boys clothes and 2/3 girls clothes.  I guess thats probably typical for any department though (men vs. woman) since women just have more of a selection of things to wear.  Anyways…  I was watching a video blog of Kourtney Kardashian (who is the Mom of one of my favorite stylish babies – Mason Disick) and she was talking about how even for babies the shoes make the outfit.  So while an outfit can be cute, if the shoes are not, than the baby can look ‘dorky’, ha-ha!  I guess even babies can look like dorks.  I do have a confession, and most of my close Mommy friends already know this about me but I have a thing about Boys in overalls, let’s just say you will NEVER see my son in them.  Some of my favorite spots for baby fashion are Target, H&M, Baby Gap, Old Navy, Marshall’s, and I’ve been to a few consignment sales looking for my favorite brands as well…

And here are some of my favorite looks for the spring 2012…

Baby Gap knit blazer

H&M sweater

H&M sweater

I can’t afford this for myself, but how cute is Mason Disick in Burberry!

Old Navy Oxford Shirt

Target - Wouldn't these be so cute for Easter with some dark denim?

Bode in Baby Gap shorts, Native shoes, and plaid oxford shirt from Target 🙂

February 7th: THE most important meal of the day…

I love Breakfast foods! And most importantly, I love when I make the time to actually cook and eat my favorite foods.  But lately I’ve been starting my days off kind of boring with coffee and maybe a handful of cashews or occasionally a packet of organic oatmeal… BORING!  I did take advantage of the baked oatmeal I made this week, which made me think I need to start prepping on the weekend more often since I’m always running out of the house on my way to work.

Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day because it gets your metabolism going as well as sets you up for the rest of the day.  I know if I have eaten a donut (yes, I eat donuts on occasion but not regularly) I feel yucky all day long and typically don’t eat very healthy the rest of the day, but if I eat a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, I can think better at my job and all the rest of my meals usually follow as being balanced as well.  As my smart friend Katie recently posted on twitter, “Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”

I searched Pinterest for some of my favorite looking breakfast recipes, now I just need to decide which one to make first:

Breakfast Quesadilla

Baked Oatmeal

Skinny Chocolate Chip Scone

Mini Frittatas

Cinnamon Baked French Toast


February 6th: Blog Name

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about giving my blog a name vs. the one it currently has and that’s my own – Nicole Hank.  When I started this challenge to post a blog every day I was asked to categorize and put the name of my blog on a list with all the other bloggers taking up this challenge.  I had never participated in something like this so I had no idea what to put.  I ended up using my name and tag line underneath my name and categorized myself under health.  Since then I have been browsing other bloggers sites looking for a name to give myself but I think I’m at the point where I need a little help.  I’d rather not use my own name even though I don’t want to be anonymous, I plan to expand my blog with a real bio page but for now I want to come up with something that encompases everything I write about.  I figured I’d start off by using some of the words that I feel describe my blog:

  • Cooking
  • Mommy
  • Fitness
  • Yoga
  • Health
  • Running
  • Meditation
  • Balance
  • Working-Mom
  • Food
  • Nutrition
  • 30-day Challenges

Now how do I make a blog name out of these suggested words?  I’d love to hear your suggestions on Blog Names, please comment with any tips or recommendations, thanks!



February 5th: Baked Banana, Blueberry, Oatmeal Bars

I am always trying to figure out new creative ways to get Bode to eat healthy and try new foods, and at this age he prefers to feed himself which means that my recipes need to be handheld.  I made teething biscuits at one point and they were yummy but fell apart too easily,  I’ve thought about granola bars but they might be a little tough for his teeth, so I decided to make Baked Banana, Blueberry, Oatmeal bars.   This recipe was adapted from a recipe I found on SkinnyTaste.com but improvised to make mini muffins vs. bars.  My son LOVES sweets so I wanted to make sure whatever I made tasted good but didn’t have too much sugar.  The sugar in this recipe comes from honey and the fruit (bananas and blueberries) so its not too sweet but tastes just like oatmeal – YUM!  I’d make this again as regular size muffins vs. mini muffins or serve it as bars for a ‘breakfast-themed’ event…


  • 2 medium ripe bananas, (the riper the better) sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 blueberries
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup uncooked quick oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk (I used organic whole milk but according to the SkinnyTaste website you can use fat free milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly spray your pan of choice (muffin tin, or baking dish) and set aside.

Place the sliced bananas in a single layer on the bottom of the pan.  Add the blueberries on top of the sliced bananas, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tbsp of the honey and cover with foilBake for 7 minutes (if doing muffins and longer if doing bars) or until the bananas get soft.

While the fruit is baking, combine the dry ingredients – oats, nuts, baking powder, remaining cinnamon, salt and mix together.

In another bowl whisk the wet ingredients – milk, vanilla extract, 1 egg, and honey.

Once you remove the bananas and blueberries from the oven, pour the dry mixture over the top.

Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and make sure its all distributed evenly.

Bake the oatmeal for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and oatmeal has set.

Serve warm.

February 4th: Barefoot is Back!

You may have remembered that I started barefoot running back when I trained for the Santa Clarita Half Marathon but unfortunately I wasn’t very successful in making it past about 6 miles in my training.  My feet would rub up against the rubber during those longer runs, resulting in blisters every time I trained.  So I transitioned into minimalist running shoes and completed both the Santa Clarita Half and Tinkerbell Half in my (New Balance) minimalist shoes.

While I won’t be running any long distances any time soon, that doesn’t mean that I won’t be racing… My husband and I recently signed up for the Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run and Obstacle Series in Castaic, CA on April 15th.  This is a 5K event and we have both decided to enter the ‘barefoot’ division!’ Click on the logo below to watch a video that shows you what last years event looked like (so much fun!)

According to the website, these are the rules for competing ‘barefoot’:

“The Merrell Barefoot Division specially times racers competing in Merrell Barefoot shoes, Vibram Five Fingers, or those who choose to run purely barefoot. The off-road nature of the trails can feature roots, rocks and sections of gravel. If you’re not properly trained, these natural hazards may lead to cuts, scrapes and maybe blisters. You’ll need to meet the below qualifications to be able to race purely barefoot:

    • Racers must have experience running barefoot on off-road trails
    • Racers must have 90 days of barefoot training under their belts”

Seeing as I have less than 90 days till the race, its time to start training barefoot… So today was the first day in a long time that I ran 3 miles in my Vibrams and it felt great.  Its not like I haven’t been wearing barefoot shoes all along… I actually wear the Adidas model to weight-lift about 4-5 days a week, just not for running.  I prefer the Adidas model because I have short toes and I feel like this barefoot model is made for my foot vs. the Vibram which seems to fit better for those with longer toes.  So far I’m feeling optimistic about running barefoot, after all the race is only 3.2 miles and I haven’t had any problems with running up to 4 miles. And maybe you are wondering why I’m wearing my Vibrams vs. my Adidas shoes for this event…. this is a MUD run!  I imagine these shoes will get thrashed in this race and I’d rather throw these away at the end of the day, if necessary, over my Adidas shoes.  If anyone of you are interested in participating please sign up as soon as possible, it looks like the the more friends the better this event will be (check out the video link on the Merrell logo)…. Only 2-months to go!

Vibram Barefoot Shoes

Adidas Barefoot Shoes

February 3rd: Siblings

I decided to go with the writing prompt today because it sparked my interest in the idea of ‘siblings’.  I have a brother who is 6-years younger than me.  If you follow my blog, you read my post about him fighting Leukemia when he was little and how our family overcame this rough time in our lives.  Because Justin and I are 6 years apart we are just now starting to have interests in common.  He is now entering the workforce after college and I have been in the working world (since college) for almost 7 years now.  It’s great that we can now relate in our lives and I look forward to being there for him as he gets his own place one day, buys a home, meets the ‘right’ girl, has kids, blah, blah, blah…  We are very different in the sense that he is artistic, mellow, free spirit, and a Libra while I’m more science/math-minded, high-strung, organized, and a Leo.  But we’ve always supported each other!

My brother Justin and I in Maui

The relationship that I have with my brother has definitely impacted the way I want to raise my child(ren).  We hope to have our kids closer in age so that they can support each other from the time they are young and as they grow up to become adults.  Our son is almost 16 months now and we hope to get pregnant within this year (2012) so that our next child will only be about 2.5 to 3 years younger.  This means that they will not only be together in elementary school at the same time but also in high school before entering into college.  I think it should create a healthy competitive environment for not only academics but sports as well.  But I also want them to be able to support each other.  Now that we have a son I think we both agree we’d love to have a daughter next to be able to experience both sides of parenting, however I would not be disappointed if I had another boy because at least I would have a better idea of what to expect.  Plus, I think that having 2 kids of the same sex would make it easier for them to have common interests so that they can play together growing up.  I love being a mommy of a boy, there is nothing like being loved by my little man…  My favorite thing right now is when he reaches up to hold my hand, it just melt my heart!  He’s a little independent man but still wants to make sure Mommy is right there to support him (which I always will be).

My little man in Maui

Either way, I feel like every child deserves a sibling.  I personally feel that if my child didn’t have a sibling I would be depriving him.  Siblings offer personal growth, learning how to change, learning to share, learning to get along with others, lots of LOVE, and so much more.  While I love my parents, there is just something about a sibling understanding just how you feel that no one else in the world will ever understand (And I think my little brother knows exactly what I am talking about!)

February 2nd: Grocery Store Tips

I love to shop, whether its for clothes, household items, or groceries, its probably one of the highlights of my week.  But its very important to make sure you are prepared when going to purchase food.  We primarily shop at stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Sprouts, but will occasionally run to the larger chains (i.e. Ralphs, Alberstons, Vons) when necessary.  The following tips apply to all stores…

  • Don’t go hungry!
  • Plan ahead, plan your meals ahead of time so you know exactly what items to purchase.  Planning ahead will also allow you to take advantage of weekly deals as you plan your menu vs. the minute you walk in the store.  I will sometimes plan my meals around the Fish of the week or Organic meat special that one of my favorite stores is holding.  (Menu planning blog coming soon…)
  • Shop the perimeter of the store, this is where you will find the fresh foods like meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables.   Try to avoid the center aisles where they keep the junk foods.
  • Read Labels, just because you are shopping at a fancy ‘health’ stores doesn’t mean they don’t carry unhealthy items.  Some of my favorite sweets and treats can be found at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.  Look for balance and know that if you are going to purchase something that isn’t the healthiest of options, to consume in moderation!  And look out for ingredients you can’t pronounce.
  • Check weekly Grocery Ads for promotions and cut coupons from online sources or newspaper ads.
  • Try something new, check the ads for sale items which might intrigue you to experiment.
  • Buy Organic if you can, especially animal products (meat, poultry, eggs, dairy…)
  • Choose “real”, whole foods, such as 100% fruit juice or 100% whole-grain items.  The fewer the additives the better!
  • After you have completed your shopping look back over your cart and make sure you have plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, (and we try not to eat Dairy in my house so I’ll keep off the list…)

During the Week:

  • Keep a list on your fridge of items you run out of…
  • Plan your menu throughout the week so you aren’t bogged down to doing it all at one sitting
  • Store the store ads (and coupons) in a specific place each week so you can reference them as you are planning your menu.


February 1st: Baby Bargains…

I’m a sucker for a good deal especially now that I’m a Mom… My favorite stores growing up were always Ross and Marshalls because I loved walking out with a ton of items and paying half the cost of the department stores (haha, sounds like a commercial!) Now that doesn’t mean that I’m always at consignment sales (which I do go to occasionally) or that I buy ‘cheap’ products, because I love a good quality product and only the best for my baby. So I decided to make a list of all the websites that I frequent or receive emails from regarding deals and coupons for Families (and babies). Please feel free to comment and add any to the list that I have forgotten or that you would like to share with the readers. I think as mom’s it’s important for us to support each other and if you find a good deal… pass the word on!

Website My Personal Experience
Children’s Orchard (consignment) – sign up for email in store Yes, I’ve purchased from here!
BabyAge.com No, I have not purchased but I’m on their mailer
FamilyFinds Los Angeles No, I have not purchased but I’m on their mailer
Green Baby Bargains No, I have not purchased but I’m on their mailer
Zulily.com Yes, I’ve purchased from here!
BabySteals.com Yes, I’ve purchased from here!
Dealcatcher.com Yes, I’ve purchased from here!
Slickdeals.net Yes, I’ve purchased from here!
Carters (always sends out coupons) Yes, I’ve purchased from here!
Amazon Mom (subscribe & save) Yes, I’ve purchased from here!
Totsy.com No, I have not purchased but I’m on their mailer
LivingSocial.com Yes, I’ve purchased from here!
Groupon.com Yes, I’ve purchased from here!

February Challenge: Blog Everyday!

I decided to take this challenge on with two of my fellow bloggers Melissa_Dell and TeachinginHeels, to blog for one month straight (30-days to be exact since it’s leap year)…  This link below is the inspriation for this challenge:

As NaBloPoMo puts it, the point is, “Well, beyond the endurance factor — of becoming a writing athlete — there’s the benefit from daily writing. I use it as a way to warm up before getting into book writing. And then there’s the community aspect: joining NaBloPoMo is like joining a gym. You’re writing in a group and feeding off that for motivation rather than writing alone.”