Two Miles

Can you believe that tomorrow is Halloween and the last day of October?! It feels like this year is just flying by!

Although I love Halloween time (but maybe not as much as my dad), I’ll tell you a little secret…November 1st is my favorite day. It kicks off the start of the holiday season!

I love the holidays and I love Christmas. More than Halloween. Sorry, Dad.

I love the months of November and December. I love making turkey crafts with the kids, eating on Thanksgiving, and putting up Christmas lights (or instructing Danny on where to put the lights). I love cutting down a Christmas tree and decorating it. I love seeing Christmas lights, baking cookies, and watching Christmas movies on tv. I love Christmas shopping and spending time with my family. I love seeing that magical look on my kid’s faces on Christmas morning. I love it all.

I know that Christmas can also be stressful and hard for some people too. We always participate in food drives and buy presents and items for those in need. Christmas is the giving season and I love it.

So, tomorrow is Halloween and the end of October, but the start of the holiday season!!

Today, at the kid’s room at the gym they had a Halloween party. My niece dressed up as a puppy. A puppy with wings, so we’ll call her a puppy princess. :)


While my niece enjoyed the party in the kid’s room, I walked two miles on the treadmill. My farthest distance since my hip surgery!


It might not seem like a lot but considering the fact that I was in a hip brace and couldn’t walk without crutches just three months ago, it’s progress and I’m happy with it. I am slowly building my distance and we’ll see what the doctor says about running when I see him in a few weeks.

Physical therapy has started to get more aggressive and I’m happy about that. Yesterday was the first time I ever had to stop and get a drink of water because I was working up a sweat!

Yesterday, I did walking lunges, squats with a kickback, and standing planks on the TRX suspension trainer. TRX are straps that leverage gravity while you use your bodyweight to perform exercises.

My gym doesn’t have a TRX suspension trainer so I’ve never used it before and it was hard!! I always thought I had pretty decent arm strength, but after using the TRX, I think I’m wrong!

I’m glad that I’m making progress at the gym and at physical therapy.

After the gym, I stopped by Whole Foods to look for the new limited edition thinkThin bars and they had them!


I picked up a couple of each flavor to try – pumpkin spice and chocolate peppermint. I can’t wait to try them!

In some random news, I’m in the this month’s issue of All You magazine! Fun stuff!


Have a great afternoon!!

  • What are your plans for Halloween?
  • What’s your favorite holiday?
  • Have you ever tried TRX?



Filed under Working Out

Kale Chips

I have another kale post for you today!!

My sister-in-law commented on my last post that she loves homemade kale chips so I decided to try my hand at making them.

Kale chips are super easy to make, healthy, and a great alternative to potato chips…although we all need traditional potato chips once in a while.


Kale Chips


  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste


I used the kale that I massaged and had ready in the refrigerator.


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Remove kale leaves from rib and lightly toss with olive oil.
  3. Spread kale in one layer on a baking sheet and add salt to taste. 007
  4. Bake at 300 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

Cool and enjoy!

That’s it! Easy peasy and super good!

Disclaimer: I received the kale in my Door to Door Organics box which I got with a gift card provided by Door to Door Organics. Use coupon code ChicagoParent14 at checkout for $10 off your first order!


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Filed under Recipes

Halloween Food and Pumpkin Carving Party 2014

On Sunday afternoon, we got together at my grandparent’s house for our annual Halloween food and pumpkin carving party.

Every year, we all bring a Halloween food dish that we keep secret until the party. We have fun seeing what everyone brought and tasting them! Then, we spend the afternoon carving our pumpkins.

Once all the food has been tasted and all the pumpkins have been carved, we vote for our favorites. We have been having this party for years and we still somehow manage to come up with new food ideas every year!

This year, Danny and  I made eyeball cookies that I found on Pinterest.


They were really easy to make and I separated the dough into four bowls so I could dye each one a different color.


We also made pumpkin pie fluff dip with apples and animal crackers as dippers.


There were so many great foods this year!

Vampire teeth donuts:


Vampire teeth cookies:


Bat poop:


Blood clot biscuits (made with biscuits and cherries):

079I heard these biscuits were delicious, but I couldn’t bring myself to try them.

Pumpkin pot pie:


Mini pot pies:


Infested brain jello:


“Nigel” – the man made of meat:


After all the delicious food, we got to work on our pumpkin carving.




Honestly, pumpkin carving isn’t my favorite thing to do so this year I painted my pumpkins.


I painted them like donuts! I thought them came out so cute!

My sister-in-law, Crystal, did an amazing job on her pumpkin. Instead of carving, she transformed her pumpkin into a candy corn blow fish! She spent a long time on that pumpkin and did such a great job!


There were a bunch of great pumpkins!!




Well, except for trick-or-treating, all of our Halloween festivities are over for the year! I can’t wait to see what next year brings!!

Have a great day!



Filed under Family Fun, Halloween

Halloween Party 2014

Good afternoon!

How was your weekend? Our weekend was so busy but lots of fun!

Saturday night was the Halloween party. Danny and I dressed up as Ninja Turtles!!



I thought are costumes turned out pretty good! I used green fabric and glued it to a green shirt for the ninja turtle abs. Then I made a belt out of brown fabric and painted wood letters.

We found our knee and elbow pads at the Spirit Halloween store.

We made our turtle shells by spray painting a foil roasting pan and adding brown straps to wear it as a backpack.


I love how they turned out!

My sister-in-law’s cousin and her husband were also Ninja Turtles!


The party was really fun and there were a lot of people with great costumes. I didn’t take too many pictures but I did get a few good ones!

My brother and sister-in-law were the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who. I loved how their costumes came out!!



My dad, stepmom, and stepbrother:



My aunt is the one dressed as Katy Perry in the blue wig!


My uncle was a lumberjack.


Cindy Lou Who and a Shot Girl:


My grandma dressed as Julia Child:


Everyone’s costumes were great and we had so much fun!

We stayed out late but luckily the party was less than five minutes from our house. My mom watched the kids overnight so we picked them up on Sunday morning and then headed to my grandparent’s house for our Halloween food and pumpkin carving party. I’ll post about that tomorrow!

Have a great afternoon!



Filed under Halloween, Uncategorized

Halloween Game 2014

Yesterday when I was talking about our annual Halloween game, I completely forgot that it was my dear, sweet, wonderful Aunt Pam who started the whole Halloween game in the first place.

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She started it about five years ago with a Pirate Murder Mystery Dinner game. I’m pretty sure I ended up being the murderer that year.

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Since my grandparent’s hosted the game last night, this means next year it’s back to my aunt to host!

Yesterday’s game was a lot of fun.


We split up into three teams and had to follow clues to certain locations to retrieve items in our team’s color.

We saw some scary stuff along the way.


At the end, one member of our team had to bob for apples!


It was a lot of fun and a great family game that brought us all a little closer! :)


This morning, the four of us got flu shots and then we had a bunch of errands to run. We had a last minute change to Danny’s Halloween costume so we had to go to a few different stores to get what we needed!

Then we came home, got our costumes ready, hallowed out our pumpkins, and started our Halloween food for tomorrow!

I am very excited to tonight’s Halloween party!

Have a great weekend!!



Filed under Family Fun, Halloween

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! This weekend is our biggest Halloween weekend yet! We have lots planned.

Tonight, we have a Halloween game planned by my grandparents. Saturday we have our big Halloween party and costumes will be revealed. And Sunday we have our annual pumpkin carving and Halloween food night.

It’s going to be a super busy weekend but tons of fun!

Friday Favorites

  • My Family

I am very lucky to such a close family, even if we get a little crazy around the holidays! Tonight, I am looking forward to our annual Halloween game. My aunt and uncle are even flying in from California to join in all the Halloween fun!

My dad first had the idea of doing a Halloween game a few years ago. He did the game the first year which included a lot of clues and finding certain items, scavenger hunting, and trivia.

The game begins…

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My sister-in-law hosted the game the next year and she made it more of an Amazing Race style game…complete with having to lie inside a coffin.


There was a camera in the coffin so everyone could watch you freak out from the outside.

P1010253I was plugging my ears in the above picture. For some reason plugging my ears makes me feel safer?!

I made up the game last year and it was a huge scavenger hunt with mini games along the way.

One of the scavenger hunt items was to find a black cat.


Mission accomplished.

This year my grandparent’s are hosting the game and I am really excited to play tonight!

  • The Gym

I really do love the gym. I workout about 5 days a week.

Yesterday, I was finally able to walk one mile on the treadmill since having hip surgery…so of course, I had to take a bathroom selfie.


After having hip surgery and not being able to do much of anything for awhile, I really appreciate the fact that I can workout. Being stuck in bed is no fun and I don’t take being able to workout for granted.

I used to be able ti run miles and now my biggest accomplishment is being able to walk one mile without stopping. But it’s progress and that’s what’s important.

  • Throwback Pictures

I posted this old picture on Instagram yesterday. I love looking at old pictures of my kids and seeing how much they’ve grown, especially Jacob.


Jacob was probably about two or three in this picture and it’s amazing seeing him grow since he was only 1 lb and 14 oz when he was born. He was a micropreemie and I love seeing him go from being tiny to a toddler to a teenage.

And I look really young in that picture. That’s a plus. :)

Fun Fact: Jacob has been wearing glasses since he was 6 months old. People always used to ask me if he was wearing real glasses. No, I put fake glasses on my infant. Yes, they’re real.

  • Shamrock Farms Rockin’ Refuel

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I found these protein drinks at the grocery store and I bought one to try. They are delicious and  I love that they have 20 grams of protein. I have been drinking one after my workout.

I’m off to the gym this morning and then I have a bunch of errands to run to get ready for this weekend! Have a great Friday!!

  • What are your Friday favorites?





Filed under Family Fun, Fitness

It’s All About That Kale

Yesterday, I received another box of Door to Door Organics produce.


There were a lot of great fruits and veggies including bananas, pears, apples, carrots, potatoes, romaine lettuce, red onions, and green peppers.

There was also kale.


I’ve had kale before at restaurants, Whole Foods, and a wedding, but I have never had it at home so I was excited to get it in my produce box.

I knew I wanted to do something super simple with it so I decided to use it in a salad. Kale can be eaten raw but it needs a little bit of prep work before it can be eaten.

It needs a massage.

Yes, you read that correctly – kale needs to be massaged. Raw kale is slightly tough and bitter but by massaging it, it transforms into a soft and sweet vegetable. As you massage, the leaves will get darken, shrink and turn softer.

Massaging kale is easy to do. First, you need to rinse the kale.


Then, you need to remove the leafs from the rib. This is easy to do by taking your fingers and sliding them down the rib in the middle of the kale. This will break the leafs right off.


Then you need to break the leafs up into small bite sized pieces. You can use a knife but I found it easier just to rip the pieces with my hands.


Then you get to massage! You just want to squeeze and massage the kale for about 2-4 minutes or until the leaves start to darken and shrink.


Ta-da! You have massaged kale that’s ready to go into a salad!


You can store your massaged kale covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Another option is to add olive oil, salt, or lemon to the kale before massaging. I just left mine plain because I knew I would be adding dressing to  my salad.

Have a great afternoon!

  • Kale: yes or no?



Filed under Dinner

Halloween Weekend Fun

Good afternoon! How was your weekend? Ours was busy!!

The Gym

Since having hip surgery, I haven’t really been able to do much cardio. I kind of gave up on swimming. It’s just not really my thing and I don’t enjoy it. Since my adductor muscle has been feeling better lately, I tried a HIIT workout on the stationary bike.

I usually ride the stationary bike for about 10 minutes when I get to the gym and physical therapy just to warm-up, but on Friday and Saturday morning, I decided to ride a little bit longer. I rode for a few minutes to warm-up then I alternated between one minute as fast as I could and one minute recovery for a total of thirty minutes.

My legs were a little tired on Saturday morning so I alternated between one minute fast and two minutes recovery.

I did this on both Friday and Saturday morning. My hip/felt good when I was doing without any pain. It felt nice to be able to get my heart rate up and really work up a sweat! Hopefully, I’ll be able to move on to the elliptical soon. So far, I’ve only been okayed to do the bike and walking on the treadmill.

The Weekend

We had some activities planned with my family this weekend. On Friday, we went to a nearby town to check out the houses decorated for Halloween.


The town actually holds a contest for the best house and you can print out a guide online of all the house that are participating. This year there were 13 house participating and we made it to about 8 or 9 of them.

Some houses just decorate, others have live actors scaring people, and some even set up haunted houses in their houses and back yard. We weren’t able to make it into any of the haunted houses this year because the lines were crazy long. But the nice part is everything is free.

One house had their garage set up with a bunch of family friendly activities. They had pumpkin paining, popcorn, trivia with candy prizes, and they had a few creepy reptiles – turtles, snakes, and a boa constrictor!


I am extremely surprised to walk into their garage and find a huge snake!!

We had a lot of fun seeing all the different house and my dad hung out with Maleficent at one of the houses. These people go all out!


On Saturday afternoon, we drove about an hour away to go to a corn maze.


The maze is huge and it has a bunch of stations that you have to find and then you can punch your card.


The kids had fun navigating the maze and punching the card.

The weather was a little chilly but it was a perfect day to go to the corn maze!


Of course, we had to take some corn maze selfies.


After we walked the maze, the kids had fun going down a slide they had set up.


Danny even went down :)


This weekend coming up is the Halloween party. I have the pieces of my costume purchased, I just have to finish putting it together!

Have a great afternoon!

  • What did you do this weekend?




Filed under Uncategorized

Halloween Costumes

Happy Friday!

The winners of the Door to Door Organics gift cards are: Faith B., Jennifer C, and Christine B.

I will be sending you an email later today!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know how much my dad family loves Halloween. And every year, I share some of my favorite Halloween costumes from past years. If you don’t have an idea for a costume yet, maybe these costumes will help inspire you!

  • Peacock and Inflatable Flamingo

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I have to start out with my all time favorite costume from a few years ago – my peacock costume!

I made a lot of my peacock costume and I was very proud of it. I ordered peacock feather off of eBay and spent a lot of time hot gluing them to a triangular piece of cardboard that I slipped into the back of my shirt. I used tulle to make the peacock tutu, and I found a peacock belt and necklace at Forever 21.

Danny was an inflatable pink flamingo that year. Pink flamingos are an ongoing joke in our family so it was really funny that year. And I thought it was cute that we were both birds.

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  • Clown and Indian Princess

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My dad makes a pretty scary clown.

  • Taco and Hot Sauce


This costume was another one of my favorites. I made the hot sauce by cutting up a big red t-shirt and using strips of the t-shirt to sew up the sides. Then I just used white duct tapes sheets to cut out the letters and stuck them on the dress!

Danny looks so happy to be a taco.

  • The Joker and Batgirl


Danny and I wore this costume when the Joker was really popular and I thought it came out great!

  • Zombies/The Walking Dead



Picture 10110


You can never go wrong with a good Zombie costume. I love Zombies.

  • The Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter

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A few years ago, my grandparent’s dressed up as The Queen of Hearts and The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. I loved how their costumes turned out!

  • Inflatable Costumes



Inflatable costumes are great because their easy and so funny!!

  • Sports Themed Costumes


Great for a couple!

  •  Luigi Riding Yoshi

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One of my favorite costumes that Jaden ever wore was Luigi riding Yoshi. Yes, it’s really an dinosaur. You have to use your imagination.

  • McDonald’s and KFC


My brother and sister-in-law wore these costumes last year and I thought they were really unique and clever!

  • Wonder Women and Clark Kent/Superman


Danny and I wore these costumes last year and I loves how they turned out. I made the Wonder Women tutu. I seem to love wearing tutus. I really wanted to wear a tutu this year but I held back. :)

To be clever, Danny changed into a Superman costume halfway through the night.


Those are just some of the costumes we have worn over the years! I can’t wait to see everyone’s costumes at this year’s Halloween party!

  • Do you dress up for Halloween?
  • What is your favorite costume that you’ve even worn?


Filed under Uncategorized

A Shoulder Workout and Delicious Waffles

Good afternoon!

This morning, I went to the gym and did a shoulder and core workout. My physical therapist wants me to work on strengthening my core, so I am doing the ab exercises that I’m able to at the gym.

First, I started with a shoulder superset workout. I did the following exercises back-to back, resting one minute in between sets. I did three sets and between 10-12 reps of each exercise.

  • Shoulder press machine
  • Front raise with plate
  • Arnold press
  • Bent arm side raises
  • Upright row with kettle bell
  • Overhead press with bar

I finished up my workout with some core work. I did single leg hip brides, sit-up ups on the stability ball, planks, and side planks. Although I still have to be careful with my hip, I am glad that I am able to do a lot more in the gym now.

Post workout, I had a Shamrock Farms protein drink. I found these at the grocery store yesterday and bought a few to try out.


The lean protein drink has 20 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbs which is prefect for after my workout. I really liked the chocolate flavor and I will definitely be buying more!

After leaving the gym, my niece and I stopped at Joanne Fabrics to pick up a few items for my Halloween costume.


My family always keeps our costumes a secret until our annual Halloween party, so I can’t tell you what it is yet. :)

I’m making most of it, and hopefully it turns out good! I couldn’t find one thing that I needed at the store, so I had to order it online and I am hoping that it arrives in time!!


Most days for lunch, I have a veggie pizza on flatbread, but today I decided to change it up a bit. Today, I made a pumpkin protein waffle with the Kodiak Power Cakes mix.


I mixed together the Kodiak mix, an egg white, some pumpkin, some water, and chocolate chips. Waffles are always better with a little bit of chocolate. I put it in my waffle maker and six minutes later, the most perfect chocolate chip pumpkin waffle was born.



Have a great afternoon!!

  • Favorite core exercise?
  • What did you have for lunch today?




Filed under Uncategorized