She Works Hard For the Mommy v. 14 Coach Brandy

Hey mamas! I’m coach Brandy. I am a seasoned mommy (that’s a nice way of saying old haha), and incredibly blessed to have a second career as a fitness and nutrition coach. Like you I’m juggling to keep all my priorities balanced and progressing. What’s special about me??  Maybe nothing other than I have a few years on you, and I have walked in your shoes at one time or another. I am a mom of two young men and two fur babies.  I am happily married to my complete opposite whose name just happens to rhyme with mine (so corny I know). I married an aviator who changed his career to medicine, so I’ve survived some particularly difficult seasons as a primary bread winner and solo parent. We are a Navy family, (you probably guessed that), which means we have had our share of deployments and natural disasters that always seemed to occur when hubs was gone lol.  The point of all that is that I get you!

It wasn’t until I turned 49 (omg… I said it), when mother nature is not so kind to women and, my self-confidence was lowest, that I discovered bodybuilding (the sport of clean eating), and the power of nutrition (which btw launched me into my second career as a nutrition coach).  I always controlled my weight through exercise and moderation which worked well for the first few decades of my life, but I quickly discovered I was missing a vital component of health and wellness; and that was the food I was feeding myself and my family! I also learned how important it is to take care of myself first, no matter how selfish that sounds. It took many years of crashing and burning to figure out that if I didn’t FUEL myself, then I would eventually unravel and that’s not pretty haha. I am such a better mom, wife and overall human being when I make myself a priority. Eating clean (and frequently) has helped my marriage, my parenting and my ability to handle life’s curve balls (like deployments).  If there was one piece of advice I could share to all the young moms out there, it would be to make yourself a priority, so you can be your best and take care of the rest of your family.  You can’t pour from an empty cup mamas! The benefits of good nutrition extend beyond just your waistline, and the weight resistance, my friends, is the anti-aging and calorie burning elixir.

I absolutely love helping people become their healthiest BEST. My mission is to help busy mamas fuel themselves and their families with clean, healthy meals that serve their goals.  Yes, you can do both at the same time! I’m a firm believer in the family dinner. I have learned to tweak and modify our favorite recipes so we all can enjoy them.

 I’m sharing an easy recipe that is a staple in my home.  It’s a batch recipe that is also kid friendly, budget friendly, macro-friendly, lactose free and is only 2 ingredients!  Whoa momma!  I hope you enjoy it.  If you would like to see more recipes like this or want some family dinner ideas, feel free to hop on over to my Instagram account @busymomnutrition.  I hope to see you there!

In health,


Homemade Greek Yogurt 

This is the easiest two ingredient, NO-FAIL recipe.  It is a staple in my house and the flavor combinations are endless and makes the foundation for a perfect snack.  Each serving is 15g protein.  Pair this with a ¼-1/2 cup berries,1 Tbsp crushed pecans, hemp seeds or chia seeds and you’ve got a macro-balanced nutritious snack that will keep you fueled until your next meal.  You will need an instant pot with the yogurt setting, or alternatively, you can make it in a programmable slow cooker if you can set the temperature to 180℉.  The yogurt takes 8 hours for the cultures to multiply, so I recommend doing this before you go to bed.  Let it work while you sleep!

Here are a few of my favorite ways to flavor this creamy, lactose-free yogurt:

Cherry Chia Yogurt:

Follow Homemade Yogurt Recipe.  Chill for 2-3 hours.

Stir in 2 Tbsp tart cherry concentrate (I found this at Whole Foods)

Add a dropper full of liquid stevia (optional) – I used ….

In a saucepan, bring 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved to a simmer until the cherries have broken down a bit and released their juices.  Remove from heat.  Stir in 2 Tbsp chia seeds.  Let cool fully.  Gently fold Cherry Chia mixture into the yogurt.   

Pistachio Yogurt:

Follow Homemade Yogurt Recipe.  Chill 2-3 hours.

Stir in 1 box sugar free pistachio instant pudding mix

Garnish with 1 Tbsp each shelled pistachios and pomegranate seeds

Cheesecake Yogurt:

Stir in 1 box sugar free cheesecake instant pudding mix

Garnish with ½ banana slices and 1 Tbsp crushed walnuts or pecans

Roasted Blueberry Yogurt:

Follow Homemade Yogurt Recipe.  Chill 2-3 hours.

Preheat broiler to 350℉

Add 2 cups rinsed blueberries to a sheet pan

Broil approximately 5 minutes or until juices start leaking out of the berries.

Remove from broiler and let cool.

Stir into yogurt and garnish with lemon zest and your favorite 

Harlem Globetrotters

My dad was a huge sports fan. We went to games for every local sports team, but the highlight of them all was seeing the Harlem Globetrotters when they came to town. The Globetrotters are unlike any team you'll ever see, with their amazing performance basketball. The tricks they perform blows the NBA out of the water. Even better, their new Spreading Game campaign is about spreading laughter and love. They work hard to promote anti-bullying. When they visit schools, they spread knowledge about Black History Month, and they just did their 77th consecutive military tour. The Globetrotters are just an all around feel good organization. 
If your kids have ever been on Go Noodle, either at home or school, they know the Globetrotters. With their appearances on Moose Tube, the Globetrotters get kids out of their seats and moving for brain breaks. 

I love tickets for experiences as gifts, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate our good friend's birthday than going to a game. While at the game, we got to meet the players and get their autographs too. 
You can catch the Globe Trotters every year here in Hampton Roads at ODU's Chartway Arena. In the meantime, find them on Go Noodle or follow them on You Tube

Lynnhaven River NOW

 The Lynnhaven River Now project started in 2002 as a group of local citizens who came together to reduce pollution in the Lynnhaven River. Now, at over 8,000 members, the group identifies sources of contamination, educates the community, and works to restore lost habitat. What's great about this organization is not only the work that they do, but that they have programs that target young kids through pop up story times, songs, and crafts. 

If you're not already in our Facebook Group, joining there will allow you access to reminders about their pop up events. Most are free, and they are spot on for the preschool age range.

4 Ways to Get Kids Into Environmentalism

In my opinion, moms think about the future more than most people. From buying things before our babies are born, to saving for college and thinking about their future, these thoughts are always on the brain. One thing that I stress over is the future of our area. We all know that Hampton Roads is in the sea level rise zone. We saw the danger at the Hermitage's exhibit. Nauticus has warned us about the plastic, and Botanical Gardens has echoed that. But going from the "knowing" to the "acting" can be hard. The gray area in the imagination is the hardest area to break through. We have all had those thoughts - it would be great to be like the Pinterest mom who makes the baby food from scratch, but when it comes to the action, we get stuck.  We just don't have the time or maybe the knowledge.  But here's the thing... we don't have to each do it all. If each family does a little, it has an even bigger impact. Here are four small tweaks where each of us can make a big impact. 

01. Compost! RT's pre-school class was super into composting at school, and he was fascinated by it. He even requested that we start doing it at home too. I've learned a lot through the process. I had no idea that food in landfills didn't decompose. I was hesitant because I didn't want our back yard to smell, but I am happy to report that it doesn't smell when the composter vent is closed. Our process now is to keep a bag of scraps in the freezer until it's full, then dump it in. We snagged this composter and have been happy so far.

02. Show kids you vote. Something as small as voting can allow other people to do the work for us.Take those kiddos into the voting booth with you, show them the voting process, and explain to them why you voted the way you did. Bonus points- you'll both get a sticker for the selfie! 

03. Volunteer. Several places in Hampton Roads participate in Clean The Bay Day (now a week!) Kids need to learn kinesthetically, meaning moving and taking part in things. Seeing the trash that people have thrown out will leave a lasting impression on them not to do the same.  

04. Leave it better than you found it. It seems so simple, but pick up a few pieces of trash if you see them while you're out. If everyone picked up just three pieces, imagine how much cleaner Hampton Roads would be. Make Hampton Roads more beautiful!

Big Changes at Chuck E. Cheese

When I was in college as a freshman, my roommate worked at Chuck E. Cheese, and we ate Chuck E. Cheese pizza many late nights. Talk about a 90's blast from the past when I had to stop by. We were driving by a Chuck E. Cheese recently and there were no cars in the parking lot, so we decided to stop in. We had the entire place to ourselves and I did a little digging into the recent changes and how to get the best deals.

Charles Entertainment Cheese actually began with the symbol of a vulgar cigar smoking rat in the 70's. Since then he has bucked the habit and moved to a more child friendly act. Charles celebrates other children's birthdays because he is apparently an orphan who never got to celebrate his own. Originally called Pizza Time Theater, it turned into Chuck E. Cheese and has grown to over 300 locations in the 90's and early 2000's. In 2012, the symbol of Chuck E. Cheese as the Jersey rat became a rock star mouse. With that change, the singer of Bowling For Soup became the new voice of Chuck E. 
Since then, the rebrand stores are dropping the animatronics and opting for more updated technology. Tokens have been replaced with cards. These cards also load the tickets digitally. There are two different ways you can purchase - by the hour or by the points. There are combo meals available for food too. Be sure to check the coupons tab online, which differs for each individual store. Also check out the The first Sunday of each month when they host Sensory Friendly Sundays, opening two hours early with less noise and lights at select locations. 

Check out these current deals: 

  • Every day savings, 10% off any games package with the purchase of a food combo
  • Two for Tuesday: Two large one topping pizzas $22
  • All You Can Play Wednesday: One hour unlimited play for $14.99
  • Download the Chuck E Cheese app and scores rewards and points plus games for kids.
  • Reward Pages: Reward kids with things like potty training or grades and redeem it for points at your local Chuck E. Cheese

Pullen Park: A Revisit with TRAKID.

Whenever we are in Raleigh, we always stop at Pullen Park. It is actually the fifth oldest amusement park in the country and the 16th in the world, but you wouldn't know it from the latest technology they are using. TRAKID, an exploring quest for kids now has a kiosk inside the park, which drew us in because of the train theme. Once you download the app, each kid receives a band which serves as a both a light up compass to clue locations and uses sounds and vibrations to let kids know where to go. In our specific quest, we hunted down seven trail pieces within the park to become Junior Engineers. 

TRAKID is designed to allow parents the opportunity to control the experience. For example, you can give "bathroom points" at any time to encourage your kids to go, or skip points which might be too far. The quests are different at each location. Currently they are at Pullen Park and the Tampa Zoo , but they are expanding to other zoos and theme parks nationwide in 2022. 

I love that these bands encourage exercise, exploration, and throw in science and problem solving skills by using a compass and following clues. If you're down in Raleigh, be sure to check them out!