Friday Favorites

Good morning! I’m so glad it’s Friday! What do you have planned for this weekend?

Today’s favorites:

  • Chobani Raspberry Lemon Greek Yogurt

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I love Greek yogurt and eat it every day for breakfast. I was so excited to find this flavor because I love the berry and lemon combo. It was delicious and I will be buying it again!

  • Yasso Greek Yogurt Bars

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I just noticed that I have another Greek yogurt product. I can’t help it – I love Greek yogurt! These bars are amazing. They are a great after dinner treat that’s healthier than ice cream. The chocolate chip cookie dough flavor is the absolute best flavor with the mint chocolate chip flavor at a close second.

  • Steaz Iced Green Tea

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I used to get these all the time at Whole Foods and then I kind of forgot about them. I saw them at the grocery store over the weekend and had to pick one up to drink. I love the half green tea and half lemonade flavor. I love that it’s a nice change from water and still calorie free. I much rather save my calories for food.

  • Food Bowls

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I will admit that I’m kind of weird when it comes to food – I hate when my food touches when it’s on a plate but throw it all in a bowl together and I love it (hello, Chipotle burrito bowls!). Twice for dinner this week I had this delicious bowl of food. I started with brown rice on the bottom, adding grilled chicken, and roasted green beans. Great tasting and healthy.

  • Coffee

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Coffee is always my favorite. Even when I don’t need it, I buy it. It’s a problem. I saw these two flavors – vanilla cream puff and nutty caramel – at the grocery store on sale for only $5.99 a box, and I couldn’t pass them up! I thought I would like the vanilla cream puff better, but I actually liked the nutty caramel flavor better.

  • My New Beats Leopard Print Skin

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I love my new Beats and I had to make them extra fancy by ordering a leopard print skin for them. The skin is like a giant sticker that can be put on and taken off easily. I love it.

Those are my favorites for today!

  • What are your favorite things today?
  • Any plans for the weekend?

 

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Thursday – Workout, Lunch, and a Magazine

Good afternoon! I can’t believe it’s so late in the day already! Do you ever feel like you have so many things to do but not enough time to do them all?!

Easter seems early this year so I’m trying to get all my Easter stuff done before the kids are off of school next week for spring break. Easter actually falls during spring break this year so that makes things a little more hectic. The nice part is that hopefully April will bring us some spring weather!!

Since I work on Wednesdays, I usually use that as my rest day. That means I was back at the gym ready to go this morning!

Workout

During my workouts, I usually drink Cellucor’s Alpha Aminos. They help increase endurance, reduce muscle soreness, promote muscle growth, and prevent muscle breakdown. And it tastes good. :)

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Today’s workout really got my legs and glutes working and left me tired and sore!

Exercises:

  • goblet squats
  • weighted donkey kicks
  • stability ball hamstring curls
  • barbell reverse lunges
  • curtsy lunges
  • deadlifts
  • weighted step-ups to kickback on bench
  • kettlebell swings

After the gym, I stopped by the grocery store and picked up a fitness magazine.

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I’ve never seen this magazine before and thought it looked interesting. I just started reading it but so far it has some good training tips. The only thing that bothers me is that the print is so small! Is that weird?! It hurts my brain!

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Lunch

Lunch this afternoon was one of my new favorite’s – a chicken tender salad with honey mustard dressing.

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I use the Applegate Naturals gluten-free chicken tenders and the Bolthouse Farms honey mustard dressing. This salad is seriously one of my favorites!

I’m off to finish the millions of things that I need to get done! Have a great day!!

  • What’s your thing to drink? I love water and coffee!
  • Favorite magazine?
  • If you have kids, when are they on spring break?

 

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Orzo Veggie Salad with Chicken Recipe

We have usual dinners that we eat on a normal basis – chicken and veggies, lots of salad, pork chops, spaghetti, etc. But last week, I came across a recipe for orzo veggie salad with chicken so I decided to try it out for dinner last night.

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Orzo Veggie Salad with Chicken     Serves: 4

This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light Magazine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded, skinless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup diced English cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

Directions:

  1.  Cook orzo according to package directions omitting salt. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain and place in a large bowl.
  2. While the orzo is cooking, combine lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic, honey, and black pepper in a small bowl. Whisk well.
  3. Drizzle over cooled orzo and toss to coat.
  4. Add chicken, cucumber, bell peppers, green onions, and fresh dill. Toss gently. Top with feta cheese.

This is the perfect light and delicious dinner and it would be great for an easy summer meal!

You could add other veggies and cheese to change it up – onions, green bell pepper, tomatoes, goat cheese, etc.

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  • What are you having for dinner tonight?

 

 

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A Birthday Dinner at Gordon Biersch

Good morning!

Yesterday morning, my dad joined Danny and me at the gym! I was excited to have my dad come work out with us and he came on our hardest day of the week – leg day!

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Yesterday was the first day I did lunges with a barbell since my hip surgery. I was a little wobbly but they went pretty good.

We also did the leg press machine, sumo squats, calf raises on the Smith machine, plate squats, and step-up to kickbacks on the bench. My hip and adductor were really feeling it by the time we were done, but it was a great workout!

Later yesterday afternoon, we went out to dinner to celebrate my grandpa’s 79th birthday!

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We went to a restaurant called Gordon Biersch. They are a restaurant and brewery. We go a few times throughout the year with my family and my grandparent’s have a point card where you earn points for every dollar spent.

They finally saved up enough points for a free brewer’s dinner for ten people. The brewer’s dinner consists of a tour of where and how their beer is made and a five course meal with a beer pairing for every course.

I’m not a beer drinker but Danny loved all the different beers. The food was amazing. Each course was presented and then the employees and chef of the restaurant explained what each course was, the type of beer, and why it was chosen to be paired with that particular course.

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I admit, I didn’t pay much attention to the beer information but I paid attention to the food information!

Our first course was salmon cakes with remoulade.

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I’ve had crab cakes before but never salmon cakes. These were amazing. They had a salmon taste but I liked that it wasn’t too overpowering. I only ate a little of the remoulade because it was a little too spicy for me.

The salad came next. It was a spring mix with a house-made vinaigrette.

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The star of the salad was the breaded artichokes and pretzel bread with brie cheese. Lucky for me, Danny doesn’t like artichokes so I ate his. They were delicious.

After the salad, we had two main entrees. The first was a sirloin steak with leeks, asparagus, cauliflower puree and a wine red reduction.

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I am not a steak eater at all but I was brave and tried the meat. I was pleasantly surprised how good it was. Usually the texture of steak turns me off but this meat was so tender and really flavorful. I had three bites of it and then gave the rest to Danny.

I am also not a huge cauliflower fan, but the puree was absolutely delicious.

After the steak, was a seafood course. This was probably the best course of the night.

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It was pecan crusted halibut with butter sauce over roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Amazing.

I like fish but I usually stick to salmon or tilapia. After having the halibut I wouldn’t hesitate to order off a menu next time we went out for dinner. The pecan crust and butter sauce really took it to the next level.

All the food items we had for dinner were specially prepared by the chef so they aren’t even on the regular menu. Too bad because I would order any of them in a heartbeat.

Finally came dessert. We had fresh berries topped with house-made whipped cream, a cookie crumble, and beer caramel sauce.

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This was the perfect dessert. It was satisfying and sweet without being overly sweet. And since Danny isn’t a berry fan, I got to eat his too. :)

By the time we left, I was stuffed. It was probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had and the prefect way to celebrate my grandpa’s birthday!

Have a great afternoon!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • What was the best meal you’ve ever had?
  • Favorite food?

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Weekend Workouts

Good morning! How’s your weekend going?

Friday

Friday night, Danny and I went to the gym.

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I work during the day on Fridays so I can’t work out until the evening. Honestly, it wasn’t a very good workout. We got to the gym about 6:15 pm so I didn’t want to eat dinner before we went. I rarely feel like a get a great workout in the evening. I was hungry, tired, sore, and crabby.

We did some chest and triceps exercises for about an hour and then called it a night.

Saturday

Saturday morning, we went back to the gym for our normal Saturday workout. This workout was 1000x better than the previous night’s workout. We started out with about five minutes on the Arc trainer to warm up and then we worked on back, biceps, and abs.

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I wore the KT tape on my wrist again. It helped during the workout but last night, I woke up because my wrist was killing me. Blah.

Our workout included some of the following exercises:

Back

  • close grip lat pulldowns
  • reverse grip lat pulldowns
  • seated cable rows
  • bentover barbell rows
  • deadlifts
  • renegade rows
  • good mornings

Biceps

  •  barbell curls
  • reverse barbell curls
  • alternating incline bicep curls
  • single leg hammer curls

Since my wrist does hurt if I go too heavy on biceps, I use a light weight but do a lot of reps.

After the gym, the kids wanted to go to a park near my dad and stepmom’s house so we asked them if they wanted to meet us there.

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The weather was a little cool yesterday but the sun was shining and it was a great day to play at the park.

I think the adult’s had just as much fun as the kids!

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Fun Fact about Heather: If I’m not wearing workout clothes, I’m wearing Victoria’s Secret sweatpants. I hate jeans with a passion. And I’m wearing my workout capris under those sweatpants. Sorry, not sorry.

Sometime over the weekend, I tried out the Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt.

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The peach flavor was soooo good! It’s been too long since I’ve had peach yogurt. I usually alternate between eating plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and flavored Greek yogurts.

Tonight, we’re going out with my family to celebrate my Grandpa’s 79th birthday!!

Have a great Sunday!

  • When do you usually workout? Is there a time of day when you don’t like working out?
  • When was the last time you went to the park?
  • Favorite yogurt flavor?

 

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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday and Happy First Day of Spring! I am so looking forward to sun and warmer weather.

*Thanks for those that entered the Chicago Parent Playdate giveaway – I’ve emailed the winner.

Let’s jump right into today’s favorites!

  • BuddhiBox

Earlier this week, I received a BuddhiBox, which is a monthly subscription box.

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I was so excited to get it, I opened it on my front porch. :)

There are two different BuddhiBoxes – yoga or jewelry. I received the yoga box and I loved it! And you don’t have to do yoga to enjoy the box; it’s great for everybody!

Each box contains 4-6 sample and full sized products. If you like the products, you can go to the BuddhiBox website to purchase the full size product.

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My box contained:

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  1. Chakra Love Crystal Talisman – a handcrafted talisman necklace designed with a crystal that brings balance to our chakras.
  2. House of Good Juju Aura Cleanssing Tea Light – use this candle to return your Aura to its true state. Regain positivity and balance.
  3. Soul Sparks Bracelet – an adjustable bracelet will remind you to live the intentions you set on your mat, off your mat.
  4. Shiva Prayer Scarf – a modern version of a prayer scarf.
  5. Chuao Chocolatier ChocoPods – all natural, ,non-GMO, and gluten-free.
  6. Kiss my Honey Organic Lip Balm – organic, natural, paraban & chemical free, this lip balm is infused with chocolate oil, vitamin E, and organic coconut oil.

The box also came with three cards:

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A yoga pose card, a recipe for a vegetarian taco salad card, and a quote card.

I loved all the items in my BuddiBox. If you want to try your own BuddhiBox subscription, use the code mindfulbuddhi on the BuddhiBox  website to save 10% off the monthly subscription.

  • Veggie Flatbread Pizza

I have been eating this forever and it’s still one of my favorite go-to lunches. It’s fast, easy, and healthy.

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I usually grill the veggies on a grill pan on the stove before assembling the pizza. I also love making a BBQ chicken version of this pizza.

  • Sweet and Salty Mixed Nuts

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These. Are. Amazing.

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As soon as I saw the words chocolate peanut butter, I knew I had to try these nuts. They are delicious…and dangerous. I could literally eat the whole canister. Instead, I measure out half a serving to eat with my lunch. Sometimes, I’ll have another half of a serving with an apple for an afternoon snack.

  •  Wireless Beats

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Wireless Beats! I am so excited about these! I can’t even tell you how crazy the cord on my headphones drives me.

This is actually an older model that I found at Wal-Mart for a super good price, like $150 less than I’ve seen them anywhere else. Wal-Mart only had one pair left and I couldn’t pass up the great price, so Danny got them for me as an early anniversary present.

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Wirless headphones can be pricey, but since I usually workout 6 days a week, they were worth the investment.

And those are all my favorites for today! Have a great weekend!!

  • What are your favorite things today?

Disclaimer: BuddhiBoxes sent me one subscription box to try out at no cost to me. All opinions are my own. 

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SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener

As a Moms Meet blogger, I recently had the opportunity to try out the SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener.

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SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener is an organic and zero calorie sweetener made from high-quality stevia leaves.

I love using this sweetener in my morning coffee. It’s sweeter than regular sugar so a little goes a long way. I love that they come individually wrapped and I use one packet in my coffee. Each packet equals about two teaspoons of regular sugar.

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SweetLeaf is great in all kinds of drinks, perfect for baking, and for adding to yogurt. Whenever I eat plain Greek yogurt, I always mix in one packet of SweetLeaf to give it a little bit of sweetness.

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It’s also great for people managing their blood sugar or calorie intake because it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients, calories, carbohydrates, or glycemic response.

And besides being used in drinks and baked goods, SweetLeaf sweetener can also be used in savory dishes! Check out some great recipes on the SweetLeaf website. They even have a cookbook available for purchase.

In addition to stevia packets, SweetLeaf also makes SweetLeaf Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops.

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You can add the Sweet Drops to water or coffee and use them for baking. These are also great for kids to don’t love to drink water. Jaden doesn’t really like plain water, but if he adds a few drops of the Sweet Drops suddenly he loves water.

And they have a ton of great flavors. I love adding a couple of drops of the pumpkin spice or peppermint mocha to my coffee. It’s a great way to add a little bit of sweetness and flavor without adding extra calories and carbs. And there’s no bitter aftertaste!

For more infomation on SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener be sure to check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

  • What do you put in your coffee?
  • Do you use any Stevia products?

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.  

 

 

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BodyArmor Event with Bryan Bickell of The Chicago Blackhawks

Last night, Danny, the kids and I were invited to an event hosted by BodyArmor Sports Drinks on the importance of hydration, nutrition, and proper training techniques for young athletes.

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The event was hosted by Bryan Bickell from the Chicago Blackhawks; Andrea Metcalf, a fitness and nutrition coach; and Sam Zagorac, a personal trainer and coach (formerly a trainer for the Chicago White Sox).

Andrea Metcalf:

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Sam Zagorac:

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Bryan Bickell:

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The event started out with some information on hydrating young athletes. BodyArmor is a new sports drink that contains potassium, electrolytes, vitamins, and coconut water. They discussed that when working out and playing sports it’s important to make sure that you replace your electrolytes and carbs especially if you’re working out and training for more than an hour.

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We got to try out all the flavors of BodyArmor.

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The tropical punch and orange mango were my favorite flavors.

Then came the part that everyone was most excited about – Bryan Bickell from the Blackhawks!

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He started out with a question and answer session on his personal nutrition, hyrdating, and training.

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Q. What does your typical diet look like?

A. Coffee, eggs, chicken, potatoes, rice, salad, and veggies. It’s important to eat light to be light on the ice.

Q. Has your diet changed as an athlete?

A. Yes. You need to eat healthy to perform well. 

Q. Favorite indulgence?

A. Ice cream.

Q. Thoughts on hydration?

A. It’s important to hydrate. Hydration helps prevent cramps. Lots of water and BodyArmor sports drinks.

Q. What is your training schedule like?

A. Training starts in the summer and lasts throughout hockey season. We do lots of quick feet, heavy lifting, and cardio.

Q. What does a typical game day consist of?

A. There’s a pre-game skate to shake off the rest. We warm-up and then play the game. Everyone’s warm-up is different. Some guys play soccer or ride the bike. Sometimes after a game, there’s a gym workout.

Q. Does hockey require mental skills?

A. Being an athlete is 80% brain and 20% body. We use visualization and go through plays in our heads to prepare for games.

Q. Have you overcome any obstacles while playing hockey?

A. My consistency when playing hockey has had its up and downs. I stuck with it despite other people’s doubts. 

Q. How many teeth have you lost playing hockey.

A. Four

After the question and answer session, all the kids got to do a warm-up, short workout session, and cool down with Bryan Bickell.

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The kids had such a great time working out with Bryan Bickell and you could tell how excited they were!

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Bryan was awesome with the kids and even got right down on the floor with them to do some ab exercises.

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After the workout, they gave away two autographed hockey pucks and an autographed jersey. Sadly, we didn’t win anything. Then, everyone was given the opportunity to take an individual or family picture with Bryan Bickell which they printed out right there so everyone could take their picture home.

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We had a great time learning about keeping kids properly hydrated while playing sports, learning more about BodyArmor, and meeting Bryan Bickell!

  • Have you ever tried BodyArmor sports drink?
  • Have you ever meet a sports star? 

 

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St. Patrick’s Weekend Fun

Good afternoon. I hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday morning, we had a nutrition fair at the gym I work at so I was working all morning. I didn’t get a chance to workout because my family was coming over on Saturday evening to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and I had to get home to start cooking!

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My cutie niece:

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We really seemed to like those glasses.

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I made corned beef, cabbage, boiled potatoes, and carrots for dinner.

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I have made corned beef a few times over the years and usually I don’t eat it. I tried a bite a couple of years ago but didn’t like the texture. I tried it again yesterday and actually liked it. I think I might have cooked it a little better yesterday because it was a lot more tender. I ate two small pieces and then filled up on chicken Caesar salad with bowtie pasta.

Of course, we also had to have pie since it was Epic Pi Day on Saturday. We got a mint chocolate pie.

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Sadly, I thought the pie was just okay. It was extremely sweet and minty. Overly sweet and minty. I gave my piece to Danny to finish. Then he laughed at me for not eating the pie crust. I don’t like pie crust and I never eat it. I just eat the pie filling.

On Sunday, we made it to the gym. We worked back and biceps and I tried out some KT tape on my wrist.

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KT tape is an elastic tape made for muscle, ligament, and tendon pain relief and support. Since my wrist usually bothers me the most when we do biceps, I thought it would be a good time to try it out.

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There are videos online on how to apply it. Since it stretches, the tape has to be applied with different degrees of stretchiness. The KT tape provides neuromuscular feedback that relaxes stronger firing of muscles and tendons.

I think they KT tape really helped with my wrist pain. I made it almost the whole workout pain-free. Towards the end of my workout, I tried doing a plate twist bicep curl and I immediately felt a pain shoot through my wrist. Any twisting motion really seems to bother it.

Overall, I think the tape really helped and I’m going to try it out on my Achilles for running.

Today

Today at the gym, I did a full body circuit workout that left me tired and sweaty.

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It felt nice to get a great workout in and I burned 522 calories.

Have a great afternoon!

  • Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at all over the weekend?
  • Favorite pie?
  • Have you ever tried KT tape?

 

 

 

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Chicago Parent’s Playdate Giveaway

Happy Friday!

Early yesterday evening, Jaden and I ran/walked outside again. We drove to a nearby running trail that’s a lot less muddy than running on the sidewalks near our house.

I don’t think it was the best idea for Jaden to go out two days in a row. He started out pretty good but right before two miles, he kind of just gave up.

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At 2.4 miles, I had to carry him piggyback for a few minutes. We managed to complete 2.84 miles but it was a lot of walking…and complaining. I’m still proud of him for getting out there and trying!

Unfortunately, I was really feeling Achilles pain when we were running yesterday. I stretched and iced it as soon as we got home.

On to the giveaway!

Chicago Parent Playdate

On April 26th The Chicago Parent Playdate is taking place at Accelerated Center in Northbrook, IL. This is a great way to get the kids out of the house and let them play!

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There will non-stop fun and entertainment all day long! There will be bounce houses, train rides, character visits, obstacle courses, and more.

A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to Bernie’s Book Bank and families can take part in a giant book collection planned for that day.

Today, I’m giving away (1) family four pack to attend the event! (Adults and kids under 2 are free.) This giveaway is open to anyone but you should be able to attend the event in Northbrook, IL.

To enter: Just comment below telling me that you would like to be entered into the giveaway! 

The giveaway will go until Wednesday, March 18th. I will randomly chose one winner and email you a coupon code for a free family four pack!

Have a great Friday!

 

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