Cradles & Cupcakes

Mama Monday: Taco Casserole with Melissa Eagen

Mama MondayRachel LinetteComment

"Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws." — Barbara Kingsolver

And it’s about time we show off some of these badass strong mamas isn’t it? That’s why I’m starting this whole Mama Monday thing here on Cradles & Cupcakes, to feature moms like you and me.

Today, we have badass mompreneur Melissa Eagen (the inspo behind starting this series), she’s the owner, and a certified instructor, at Fit4Mom (Costa Mesa). Fellow boy mom to Wyatt and Lachlan, Melissa admits accepting lots and lots of help helps her balance motherhood and work. She’s also sharing her family taco casserole recipe—an easy, all in one dish, that’s yummy, fast to prepare and great for families big or small.

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Is motherhood what you expected?

I was given some great advice shortly after I had shared the news I was pregnant with my first born. Motherhood will be bring you the greatest joy of your life , but it’s also the hardest job. I think that rings true. I didn’t expect motherhood to be easy, but there are still things that surprise me. 


How did you learn about Fit4Mom?
I was actually a client myself. I tried a local FIT4MOM class and was immediately hooked. I absolutely loved the supportive, welcoming environment and getting to spend time with other moms. 


Why did you decide to start your own location?

I’ve always had a passion for fitness and helping other women. Being a new mom, I was looking for a way to spend more time at home with my boys. FIT4MOM allowed me to do both. 


Do you own a Girl Boss / Boss Mom mug? Be honest!

I actually don’t! I have a girl boss tee shirt in my closet that a friend bought me one time, but I’m too shy to wear it. I think it’s time for me to get the mug though! 


How have your notions of what it means to be a woman changed over your lifetime?

I used to think women could only have one role, stay at home, or have a professional career. Well I’m a living example of being able to do both. I’m not a full time stay at home, but I do take 3 days / off week to be just with my kids. The other 4 days I switch off being a business owner of FIT4MOM Costa Mesa and managing an apparel showroom. 

If I weren’t a mom I’d be…

Hmmm...we’ll when I was a kid I really wanted to become a professional soccer player like Mia Hamm. 


Best piece of advice your mom has ever given you?

It’s ok to make mistakes, you have to do what you feel is best for your children. 

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Taco Casserole

1-2 lbs. of Ground Beef or Ground Turkey

1 Package Shredded Cheddar Cheese or Mixed Mexican Cheese (low fat cheese for less calories)

1 Taco Package

2-4 Flour Tortillas (depending on size of baking pan)

1 can Sliced Black Olives

1 Avocado sliced

Sour Cream optional for topping

Chopped Tomatoes optional for topping

  1. Brown Ground Beef or Ground Turkey until cooked , drain excess fat

  2. Make Taco Package as directed with the browned meat and water

  3. Place Flour Tortillas on the bottom of a baking pan

  4. Layer Meat/Taco mixture and Cheese

  5. Top with sliced Black Olives and/or chopped Tomatoes

Bake 350 degrees uncovered for about 20 minutes. Top with Avocado slices or sour cream.




Trying: Stroller Strides®

HealthRachel LinetteComment

This is not your mothers workout class.

I'm shoving my pooch into a new pair of (super cute) Forever 21 leggings and wondering why the hell my 1.5 month postpartum ass decided to join a workout class.

Oh yeah, the pooch.

I started my google journey with three very important words "Mommy and Me," because there was no way I was going to be able to leave my newborn to workout because A) who wants to work out in the first place B) he was not even two months old and, most importantly, C) separation anxiety is real

Fit4Mom® was the first thing that popped up. 

FIT4MOM is the nation’s leading prenatal and postnatal fitness program, providing fitness classes and a network of moms to support every stage of motherhood. From pregnancy, through postpartum and beyond, our fitness and wellness programs help make moms strong in body, mind, and spirit.

They offered a variety of classes, including Fit4Baby®, for pregnant mamas, Body Back®, an eight week high-intensity interval workout journey and then, ah ha, Stroller Strides®, a functional, total-body conditioning workout designed for moms with kids in tow. Each 60-minute workout is comprised of strength training, cardio and core restoration, all while entertaining little ones with songs, activities and fun!

I signed myself up for a trail class at a location near me...and never went. 

Then a week later, all the moms in my Mommy and Me Newborn class were talking about this fitness class they were going to take on Friday...and guess what it was! Stroller Strides®, I told them I'd join them...

...and that was the first step in having someone to keep me accountable. 

I know what you're thinking, how intense can a workout with your stroller (and babies in tow) be? Well, if you consider resistance tubing, wall sits, lunges, planks and hill runs intense...you're just getting started!

Fit4Mom® prides itself on being a village and I had no idea what I was getting in to when I joined mine in Costa Mesa. Aside from the killer workouts, there are constantly Mom Nights Out, Playdates and other group activities planned by mama leader Melissa Eagen who is either teaching classes or participating in them with you! The coaches constantly shouting words of encouragement as you're sweating your face off and having zero judgement as you step away to nurse your newborn for the third time in sixty minutes was incredibly liberating, especially coming from a world of competitive exercising where if you weren't the most fit person in the room you were losing. 

Here? No one cared.

Everyone was just a mom--with their own little ones either running around or napping in their strollers--trying to find their own postpartum fit. 

Now when I say I found a village, I don't mean that I've found friends for life (and some do, I'm just slower to warm up, I suppose) but I do mean that I've found a village of women in the exact same boat as me; wanting to exercise but needing to have their kids with them (for whatever reason), needing different levels of intensity and modification, feeding, holding and running after their little ones while also finding time in between to get a killer (I'm not even joking, I'm surprised every time I go, it's the best workout) sweat-sesh in. No judgement, no looking over your shoulder at the bike next to you, just moms supporting and encouraging moms.

Mama's hear me when I say this! Having a baby does not mean you have to stop working out, it does not mean you have to leave you kid at home if that's not your jam. I've been going once a week for over a month now and I don't plan on stopping. Sure, some days I get more workout in than other and other days Oliver Fox needs to be held for 90% of the class. The instructors at Fit4Mom Costa Mesa have had no problems giving me modifications for workouts to do with a baby in my arms, I'm always in some kind of lunge or modified jumping jack with him in my arms. 


I'd love for any SoCal mamas to join me on Fridays and Saturdays but I also encourage my out of state mama readers to find a Fit4Mom near them! (I know they have them in my former hometowns of New York and Chicago).