Helping Your Family Find Balance (and a $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway!)

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The health and well-being of a family is all about balance. I’m sharing some of the tactics I’ve used to help our entire family find balance, and stay focused and on track over the years.


I’ve been involved in some sort of physical activity my entire adult life. Today, I run as often as possible but it doesn’t matter what you do. Just get moving. You can make this time social, or a time to be all by yourself. Because of the demands of motherhood, I’ve always considered working out to be my luxury time. It is a time to put my ear buds in, break a sweat, and let my mind wander and it is something I’ve always looked forward to. It’s not a drag, a chore, or a burden. It’s indulgent; a time to take care of myself. This perspective has helped me immensely with motivation and staying with it over time. Staying fit allows me to enjoy physical activities with my very athletic, strong kids that I might otherwise miss out on. When we go on a hike, I might get up the mountain a little slower then they do, but I’m not staying home!

Water Polo Collage

My boys played a variety of sports while they were young, but settled into water polo and swimming in high school. If your kids learn fitness for themselves at a young age, they will return to it throughout life, even if they take a break from their activities now and then. My boys were incredibly fit through high school and then the demands of adult life hit. But, fitness has a memory and the way we feel when we are fit wins out over the alternative, any day. As a result, they continue to go to the gym and be involved in sports on their own. So, get them involved in something they enjoy while they are young so they will have a memory of fitness that will carry with them through their lives. Being a fitness role model for your children is vital. My husband was so impressed with the sport of water polo that he started playing at the masters level even though he had no prior experience other than watching his boys play. He’s been playing now for close to 10 years and absolutely loves it.

The balance challenge became even greater as the boys and their calorie requirements grew. Ask any mother of a water polo player – the food requirement of these boys is almost outrageous. I embraced the challenge of finding recipes that satisfied my athletes and that my husband and I could also feel good about.  Which leads us to the next topic – food.



Even before I became a food blogger, I spent a large percentage of my time dealing with food. Menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and serving meals to a family of six is a time consuming, demanding job. As much as I love the whole process, especially the part where we eat, I’ve always made a conscious effort to create balance in our diet. I was able to meet the challenge of returning to my pre-pregnancy weight after the birth of each of my four boys through a careful, balanced diet, portion control, and a fitness routine.  As the boys grew, my focus shifted to helping them learn healthy eating habits.  I accomplished this task by  putting a lot of variety on the dinner table over the years so they would learn to be open to trying new things. I found kid-friendly methods for cooking vegetables, like grillling, roasting, and “oven-frying,” that made these four little humans realize they liked veggies without ever having anything forced on them. Try blending fruit and dark, leafy greens into creamy, delicious smoothies. Educate your kids about food in fun ways, by trying new cuisines, pushing your boundaries, and letting them make their own choices.

And, from time to time, splurge! Remember, it’s all about balance.

Regardless of how vigilant we are about trying to eat a healthy, balanced diet, it’s nearly impossible to ensure the nominal intake of vitamins and minerals solely from food. That coupled with the fact that I am constantly harassed by both my doctor and my dentist to take my calcium means that I’ve come to depend on vitamins. There is just one problem. I cannot, for the life of me, choke down those white, chalky calcium pills and humongous multi-vitamins.


Quite some time ago, a friend recommended vitafusion™ Calcium Gummies and I’ve been using them ever since. My days of dealing with those obnoxious, giant pills is over! Their delicious, fruity, natural flavor and gummy texture makes taking my vitamins a pleasure. I get them at Target but they are also available at club stores, mass merchandisers, drug and grocery stores nationwide including: Costco, Walmart, and Walgreens. More information can be found at  In addition, I recently started taking MultiVites Plus Hair, Skin, and Nails from their their brand new PLUS line of vitamins that support overall well-being while focusing on specific health areas*. This new line includes:

· Multivites Plus Fiber Support*

· Multivites Plus Hair, Skin, and Nails*

· Multivites Plus Heart Support*

· Multivites Plus Immune Support*

The vitafusion™ line offers a great selection of vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements to meet your health needs through every stage of life – for men, women, pregnant women and those 50+ while L’il Critters™ vitamins are designed for the specific health needs of children.


Now for the fun part! Comment below and let me know one thing you’ve done to help yourself–or your family–live a healthier life. Your comment is an automatic entry into a random drawing for a $100 Visa gift card!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I received free product and payment for this sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine.

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 6/10-7/31.

Be sure to visit the vitafusion and L’il Critters brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


  1. says

    I love this post Valerie!! I’ve learned a lot in regards to balancing healthy living and motherhood over the years. I think my kids have learned a lot too, just from seeing me make an effort to feed them well and always stay active together. My kids are still young but already becoming active in their own sports and activities, it’s fun to see them grow…especially their appetites!!
    We are big on starting the days with healthy breakfasts and always have good snacks around.
    Most recently I’ve started to think more like you about exercise…it’s totally me time and helps me keep up! :)

  2. Rosie says

    I plan ahead and prepare healthy snacks that are in the refrigerator or on the counter, and I try to make sure they look as appealing as possible.

  3. Kristen says

    We all go to the Farmers’ Market together on Saturdays and pick out fruits & veggies we like, then we cook them up together during the week. (we somehow tend to eat healthier when we cook together!)

  4. Nicole Dz says

    We participate in outdoor activities, such as sports as a family. We also maintain a healthy diet, and prepare all our meals at home. We barely order out.

  5. Julie Wood says

    We eat healthy whole grains and eat at home! We eat vegetables and fruits every day and drink plenty of water. Also exercise is very important to us!

  6. says

    I definitely think eating a healthy balance is key to a good diet! I try to do some form of exercise at least 3-5 times a days a week. I would squeeze in a 20-30 minute workout if I`m busy! :)

  7. BukoFamily says

    I appreciate you taking the time to comment on finding balance. It can be tough to find it, but it’s so worth doing.

  8. Aly says

    We bought bikes two weeks and have committed to go for a ride four times a week. It’s a great stress-reliever and my son likes riding in the trailer!

  9. Elle says

    I have cut back dramatically on the amount of soda/sugar snacks I buy and fill the house with more fruits/veggies and mostly just water.

  10. Susan Smith says

    I’m eating healthier by eliminating sugar from my diet and eating more fruits and vegetables.

  11. Teresa says

    We have a family vegetable garden that everyone works in and can enjoy. We are all trying to make water our drink of choice!

  12. says

    A year ago I quit drinking soft drinks, cut the rest of the sugar in my diet dramatically, and began shopping mostly two places: Our butcher and our farm market. Avoiding the canned/boxed/frozen foods and looking for delicious health foods for our table has made all of us feel so much better! Even my kids gave up soft drinks – of their own volition.

  13. Emily says

    I try to buy lots of fruits and veggies and look for foods with low sodium levels and fewer ingredients.

  14. Jessie C. says

    I menu plan around our veggie garden and cook from scratch to help my family live a healthier life.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  15. says

    In the past two years, we have dedicated to eating whole foods and excluding as much processed/sugar filled foods as possible. We feel SO much better! We also try to exercise daily on weekdays!

  16. says

    My husbands health was getting worse, he is a chronic diabetic, and both of our weights were increasing. Two months ago, we saw a diabetic specialist. He introduced a new drug for him to help lower his numbers and help him loose weight, but we had to change his eating habits. He is allowed so many carbs a day, but the good news was as long as he cut out the high carbs and starches he would succeed to loose weight much easier. I’ve switched to whole wheat/whole grains, added more fresh fruit and veggies and sometimes a sugarless treat;(which buy the way are pretty darn good). To make it easier for my husband, I also have changed my eating habits to match his. A lot easier to cook that way. So far to date, my husband has lost 43 lbs, and I have lost 10 lbs. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but my clothes fit better and we both feel better. I use a lot of Valerie’s site’s for tips on meals and my husband hasn’t been disappointed yet, so thanks Val. Here’s to more successful pounds lost!

  17. Beckie Bergeron says

    We are trying to eat lighter and more grilled food. Exercise has always been a problem due to our crazy schedule, but, we have started incorporating Wii Dance and it has a been a fun thing for us to do together! I am with you on the calcium. I actually stopped taking it. I will have to give these a try.

  18. Marjorie Faisst says

    Prepare cholesterol-free meals (no meat or dairy), and walk, walk, walk! :)
    Love your post, Valerie!

  19. D Schmidt says

    We try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by drinking lots of water, taking regular exercise and being careful about what we eat. We also include multi vitamins of course :)

  20. Leigh Anne says

    Our family has vowed to become more active together. We go to our state parks and participate in all they have to offer and love to hike.

  21. says

    I start by making sure the pantry is stocked with healthy snack options and skip the junk. You can’t eat what isn’t there!

  22. cassandra says

    I plan out my family’s meals months in advance, using freezer and slow cooker meals. This has allowed me to get away from preprocessed foods and I’m not tempted to go get fast food since I know dinner’s already prepped or cooking.

  23. Nicole says

    I took a 7 week smoking cessation class and completed the course June 6th which is also now my quit date and I’m now completely tobacco free. And I did it for myself and my family and friends around me. I feel so much better too especially after 18 years of smoking.

  24. Birdiebee says

    I stopped buying packages mixes at the grocer and now cook with fresh spices and homemade marinades and sauces.

  25. Lauren E. says

    We’ve been taking a bioavailable magnesium at night. It helps calm us, and has removed many symptoms we’ve had. I think I was very magnesium deficient.

  26. Cassie says

    Don’t buy junk food on the grocery trip, even though it’s tempting and I’m usually hungry! If you fill the house with healthy things, your family will have no choice but to eat healthy things! :)

  27. Gina M says

    We drink lots of water and exercise daily.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  28. shelly peterson says

    We eat more fruit, veggies and healthy snacks and drink more water.

    cshell090869 at aol dot com

  29. Krista M. says

    We started taking more walks as a family and eating more fruits & veggies at mealtime (and for snacks!).

  30. neiddy says

    We stopped buying too much junk food to avoid temptation. Most of our snacks nowadays consist of fresh fruit and veggies.

  31. says

    We have added more fresh fruits and vegetable from local farmers.
    We eat very little processed foods. Walk more and drink more water.

  32. says

    One thing we do is take daily vitamins — which has truly helped us stay healthy throughout the years. Plus, we love veggies and always have a garden in the summer.

  33. Betty C says

    Fortunately my children were always great eaters. We always added a bit of adventure by looking into ethnic recipes and trying all the unusual fruits and veggies that showed up at the market. In fact, I still remember the first time we found kiwi fruit at a roadside stand. The owner simply let us try a taste and we were immediately hooked.

  34. Erika W. says

    I have started cooking more healthy meals and adding more veggies and fruits to our daily meals/snacks.

  35. Tabathia B says

    I purchase more fruit and add veggies to each meal and take the kids to the park more during the week

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  36. Rosie says

    I’ve made cooking and shopping for healthy foods fun! Nice cookbooks, “day trips” to farms, berry picking, and incorporating everyone into the process as much as possible. I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to learn more about nutrition and how to have a healthy diet.

  37. Deb Anderson says

    They’re going to want frozen treats, so I freeze juice or leftover smoothie mixture into freezer pops for a healthy treat.

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