Food and Working Out

Good afternoon! Exactly one week until Christmas! Who’s excited?!

Today, my morning started out with a McCafe k-cup!


I am excited that McDonald’s is now making k-cups! I don’t like McDonald’s food, but I love their coffee. Before my Keurig days, I drank McDonald’s coffee almost every day.

For breakfast, I had one of these Dannon salted caramel Greek yogurts. I found them at Wal-Mart yesterday and had to pick some up to try. Delicious!


This morning I went to the gym and started out on the elliptical for about 15 minutes. I’m still not running yet because my Achilles tendon still bothers me. Super frustrating. I worked on chest and triceps exercises today and finished up my workout with about five minutes of jump roping.

I’m starting to do some jumping exercises at physical therapy  so my therapist said I could incorporate about 10 minutes of jump roping into my gym routine twice a week. I haven’t really done high intensity cardio in awhile so I was pretty much out of breath after jump roping. I jump as long as I can in a row and then rest a few seconds before continuing.

I ended up burning 574 calories!


My chest and triceps exercises included:

  •  incline chest press machine
  • decline chest press machine
  • chest press to single arm chest flies
  • chest press machine
  • overhead dumbbell triceps extensions
  • cable triceps pressdowns
  • overhead cable triceps extensions


I am back to eating grilled veggie pizzas for lunch.


I typically eat the same thing for lunch for a couple of weeks in a row and then switch it up. It’s just easier when I don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat for lunch everyday.

This afternoon, I have a few more presents to wrap and then I have to get things ready for Jaden’s holiday party at school tomorrow.

Have a great day!

  • What’s your favorite body part to work out?
  • What did you eat for lunch today?


Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Lunch, Working Out

Peppermint Hershey Kiss Sugar Cookie Recipe

Jaden decided that he wanted to leave peppermint cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. He came across some peppermint extract in the cabinet that hasn’t been used in forever and was dead set on making some kind of peppermint cookie.

I turned to my favorite cookie blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction, to look for a peppermint cookie recipe. Luckily, I found the perfect recipe!

Peppermint Hershey Kiss Sugar Cookies – adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction


Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies


  • 10 tablespoons (145 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190 grams) flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • sprinkles
  • 24 unwrapped Hershey Kisses (or peppermint kisses!)


Using a hand held or stand mixture, cream together the softened butter and sugar. Cream until well combined, at least 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Mix until combined.

In separate medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Toss to mix. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix on low speed until ingredients are fully combined.

The dough will be thick and sticky, so it is important to refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes, or even longer if possible.

While dough is chilling, unwrap Hershey Kisses and place in small bowl. From my experience, it’s best to put the whole bowl of Hershey Kisses in the freezer until your cookies are done baking. This prevents them from melting everywhere when you push them into the hot cookie.

After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place sprinkles into shallow bowls. We used red and green. Take 1 tablespoon of dough, roll it into a ball, and roll in sprinkles. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Do this for all of the cookie dough.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 8-9 minutes. Cookies will appear slightly undone when you remove them. They’ll continue cooking after they’re removed from the oven.

Take Hershey Kisses out of the freezer and immediately push one into center of each cookie. You can also skip adding the Kisses and just eat the cookies as is, but everything is better with chocolate.

Cool five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool. Cookies stay good covered at room temperature for one week.

I am so glad that Jaden was dead-set on making peppermint cookies. These cookies came out perfectly delicious. I will definitely be making more of these before Christmas! They have just the right of peppermint flavor without being overpowering, and the peppermint/chocolate combo is delicious!


Jaden loved helping roll the dough in the sprinkles.


What’s your favorite cookie recipe?



Filed under Christmas, Recipes

Parties and Cookies

Good afternoon! I hope everyone had a great weekend! The weather was fairly warm for us here in Chicagoland. But the snow is coming…I can feel it!


Danny had the day off on Friday and once the kids were in school, we went Christmas shopping.


We managed to buy almost everything on our list. I just have two presents left to buy this week. I can’t believe that Christmas is next week already!

We went to the gym on Friday afternoon around 4:30 pm. I’ve never been to the gym on a Friday afternoon and it was pretty crowded! I guess everyone’s getting their workout in before the weekend.

I worked on some of the leg exercises that I usually do at physical therapy including: leg presses, single leg presses, walking lunges, ball wall squats, single leg deadlifts, and side to side walking.

At the end of our workout, we took out the speed ladder and did a few different things. When I woke up on Sunday, the bottom of my feet were killing me. They still hurt today and the only thing I can think that caused it is the speed ladder. Hopefully, they’ll feel better soon.


On Saturday evening, we went to an extended family Christmas party.


It was really fun and it’s nice seeing family that we don’t see very often.


Santa even made an appearance and brought a gift for all the kids.


We got home late Saturday night and I was exhausted.


I was lazy all day on Sunday. I was tired and my feet were killing me, so I stayed in my pajamas most of the day. My friend, Jenny, did come over and visit for awhile though.

I also spent all Sunday morning baking. I baked a whole bunch of cookies for Danny to bring to work. I made peanut butter blossoms. I also made our favorite cookie – butterscotch Reese’s pieces. They are one of the best cookies I’ve ever had!


I also tried out a new cookie recipe – oatmeal M&M. Delicious. They have just a touch of cinnamon in them which really stands out in the cookie.



The Reese’s and M&M cookies are from the blog Sally’s Baking Addiction. She has some really great cookie recipes!

And that was our weekend!

Have a great day!

  • What did you do this weekend?


Filed under Christmas, Family Fun, Fitness

Christmas Treats Recipe Round-up

Good afternoon! This weekend I am baking cookies for our family Christmas party and I always bake cookies for Danny to take to work. Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite past Christmas treat recipes. Enjoy!

(Click on the links for the recipes!)


These are so easy to make and great for kids. You can make a lot of these in a short amount of time so they’re great for parties or to give out as gifts.

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These cookies look fantastic and taste wonderful. And who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter?!

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This is another treat that’s easy to make and makes a great gift.


If you only make one treat this Christmas, it should be Peppermint Oreo Truffles. These little bites of heaven are amazing. Amazing.



These are one of my favorite cookies to make around the holidays and once again, you can’t go wrong with the chocolate and peanut butter combo!

Have a great afternoon!

  • What is your favorite holiday treat?



Filed under Christamas, Recipes, Uncategorized

Working Out and Physical Therapy

Good afternoon! Happy Wednesday – we’re halfway through the week! I’m excited because Danny has Friday off of work and we’re going Christmas shopping and hopefully we’ll check everything off our list.


Guess where I went yesterday? If you guessed the gym then you know me too well. :)

I drop Jaden off every morning and then head to the gym. Yesterday morning was busy and I had to grab breakfast on the go. Jaden absolutely loved his face in this picture:


I started off my workout with 30 minutes on the stationary bike. I went a total of 7.5 miles.


Next, I did some chest exercises including:

  • incline chest press machine
  • decline chest press machine
  • chest press on the stability ball
  • chest flies on the stability ball

Sometimes I add push-ups into my routine but my wrist has really been bothering me lately so I’m skipping the push-ups until it starts to feel better.

I finished my workout with a little bit of walking, stretching, and foam rolling.

After the gym, I had a physical therapy appointment. It works out good because my physical therapist is literally three minutes away from my gym. My achilles tendon has been bothering me a lot lately so the physical therapist worked on that. I’m also not supposed to run until it starts feeling better. I’m not even supposed to walk on the treadmill if it bothers me. So I’m going to take a short break from running until it gets better.

I got quite the workout at physical therapy yesterday. When I’m feeling good, she has me do a lot. I decided to wear my heart rate monitor yesterday to see how many calories I burned during my physical therapy session. In 45 minutes, I burned 407 calories, and I burned 555 calories at the gym before that.

Some of my physical therapy exercises yesterday included:

  • sprints in the elliptical (15 seconds hard/30 seconds rest)
  • leg press
  • single leg press
  • jumps on the leg press
  • single leg deadlifts
  • walking lunges
  • band walking side to side
  • balance exercises

I’m actually surprised that I’m not more sore today!


I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it, but Jaden’s Elf on the Shelf, Nick, is back this year. This morning, Jaden found him playing Battleship with a teddy bear.


Jaden absolutely loves Nick. :)

This morning at the gym, I rode the stationary bike for 15 minutes and then did back exercises. Now I’m home and have a few Christmas crafts to work on. I can’t share what they are yet because they’re Christmas presents.


Have a great afternoon!

  • Have you finished Christmas shopping?
  • Do you ever make homemade presents?
  • Did you workout today?



Filed under Fitness, Working Out

The Weekend

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


Danny and I went to the gym on Saturday morning. We worked on shoulders and core. Some of our exercises included:

  • shoulder press machine
  • front plate raise with a twist
  • upright rows
  • Arnold presses
  • lateral cable raises
  • partner sit-ups with a medicine ball
  • planks

Post workout, we took some selfies. Totally normal.


Saturday evening, we drove about 40 minutes to see a Christmas lights display.


The lights were really cool and it was fairly short so we drove through twice. It was nice because you got to see all the Christmas lights from your car and it was free with the option to leave a donation at the end. I really enjoyed it. Danny and the kids liked it too.




My adductor and quad were really sore on Friday and Saturday so I debated on going to the gym on Sunday. I was kind of having a bad morning on Sunday but finally around 11 am, Danny and I decided to head to the gym. Sometimes working out helps me feel better when I’m stressed or having a bad day.

Pre-workout, I had the Cellucor C4.


I planned on walking for a few minutes to warm up but ended up going longer. I was going to walk on Sunday and run today but I was feeling really good walking so I decided to try running. I ended up running 14 minutes which is my longest run since my hip surgery. I felt really good but I was sore afterwards.

We also did a biceps and triceps workout which included:

  • cable biceps curls
  • hammer curls
  • biceps curl machine
  • overhead triceps extensions (with dumbbells and on the cable machine)
  • triceps pushdowns

We had a limited about of time since the kid’s room closes at 12:30 and we had to get Jaden, but we still got a really good workout in!

Sunday evening, we went to Whole Foods and I had a California roll for dinner. Jaden had a dairy free pizza that we found at our local grocery store.


I was really worried that he wouldn’t like it but he ended up eating two slices! He said it was good but I know he’ll end up eating it two or three times and then tell me that he doesn’t like it anymore and never eat it again.

Jaden is picky and only likes certain foods so finding dairy free options for him can be challenging.

After dinner, we worked on making and wrapping some Christmas gifts!!

Today, I went to the gym but took it really easy. I rode the stationary bike for 15 minutes and then I walked on the treadmill for 20 minutes. Unfortunately, my Achilles tendon has been bothering me a lot lately. (I swear, if it’s not one thing it’s another. Why can’t I ever just be 100%?! So frustrating!) I made sure to stretch and foam roll afterwards.

Have a great afternoon!!

  • What did you do this weekend?


Filed under Fitness, Running, Working Out

Friday Favorites

Good afternoon! Happy Friday! Only 20 more days until Christmas – I really need to get my shopping and wrapping done.

This morning, I went to the gym and decided to run. I was still a little sore but not too bad. I ran 12 minutes at 5 mph. That’s my first time running a mile since my surgery. I will admit, it was hard at the end. I can feel myself start to limp and that’s when I know it’s time to take it easy. After I ran a mile, I walked for about 7 minutes slowly to cool down. Then I did a few chest exercises, stretched, and foamed roll.

Friday Favorites

Running this morning leads me into my first Friday favorite – my Mizuno Inspire 9 running shoes.


Since I ran a full mile this morning, I decided it was time to pull out my running shoes. I really like these shoes because they are supportive yet still comfortable. I had the Super Feet insoles in them but they really bother my feet a lot. I asked the physical therapist about them and she said I should be fine without them. I took them out and I put in my Ortholite insoles and my feet felt a lot better in them. Yay for running shoes!

  • Fitbit and My Fitness Pal

I’ve been trying really hard to get back to eating healthy and the Fitbit and My Fitness Pal are lifesavers. I have been tracking how many calories I’ve consumed versus how many calories I’ve burned.


The Fitbit doesn’t have a heart rate monitor so I don’t believe it’s too accurate about calorie burn for some exercises such as strength training and the stationary bike. So when I workout, I wear my heart rate monitor. Then I plug the number of calories I burned and the time into My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal then syncs with the Fitbit so they calorie count is a little more accurate.

I think My Fitness Pal and the Fitbit do a pretty good job of estimating my calories. I don’t think it’s 100% dead on but it gives me an idea of how much I’m burning versus what I’m eating.

Fitbit is supposed to release a new device soon that measures your continuous heart rate and I think that’ll be a little bit more accurate.

So far, I’ve been doing great all week but the weekend is always my downfall. We shall see.

On a side note, when I scan my candy cane coffee, it comes up as candy CORN coffee. That’s weird.

  • Candy Cane Tea

I think this is the same tea that I drank last holiday season and I love it.

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Peppermint tea has a lot of health benefits including relieving stomach issues, aiding in digestion, boosting your immune system, and reducing bad breath. And really, it just tastes good.

And my mug, I really love my snowman tea mug.

  • Amy’s Frozen Meals

Sometimes you need a meal that’s fast and easy but still tastes good. This afternoon I volunteered at Jaden’s school and had to eat lunch fast so I made the Amy’s Light & Lean 3 Cheese Penne Marinara.

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I love Amy’s meals – the pizzas are my favorite too!

  • Elbow Patches 

I know this is a little strange but I adore shirts and sweaters with elbow patches. I think they’re so cute.


I don’t wear real clothes too often mostly because I hate them but since I was going to Jaden’s school today I decided that I should maybe actually wear jeans…and my cute old man elbow patch shirt. I actually have a sweater with elbow patches too. Maybe I should start wearing real clothes more often. Nah.

Those are my favorites for this wonderful Friday! Have a great weekend!!!

  • What are your favorite things lately?



Filed under Running, Working Out

First Group Fitness Class in Five Months

Yesterday, I went to my first group exercise class in five months!

My physical therapist gave me the okay to try a few exercise classes like butts & guts, yogalates, and barre as long as I do what I can and don’t over do it.

Yesterday, I went to the Butts and Guts class and we did a Brazilian butt workout that included a lot of squats, lunges, and core work. I did what I could and didn’t push myself. Since I can’t really jump yet, I stuck to regular squats and lunges while everyone was doing jumping squats and lunges.

It was great to get back to a group class but it was hard. The class went from 9:15-10:15 and I had physical therapy at 11:30 am. Probably not the best planning on my part but Butts and Guts is only offered on Tuesday mornings. We took it fairly easy in physical therapy doing manual muscle work, core exercises, and balance exercises.

Very happy to be taking a class again:


After dinner last night, we took the kids to drop off presents for the Giving Tree, and Jaden delivered his letter in Santa’s mailbox.

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Then we drove around and looked at some Christmas lights. I love looking at Christmas lights!!


When I woke up this morning, I was dying. Dying. I am soooo sore. I’m more sore than I am in pain but my quad is bothering me quite a bit. I think classes are definitely something that I’ll have to ease back into. I probably won’t take Butts and Guts again for awhile because I have physical therapy every Tuesday for the next month.

I did go to the gym this morning but took it super easy. Since I’m sore, it’s better for me to move a little bit than to not move at all so I did the stationary bike for 30 minutes and walked slowly on the treadmill for 25 minutes.


I finished up with some foam rolling and stretching.

So sore.


For the past few days, I have been having a Kodiak Cakes waffle for lunch.


I usually buy the Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes mix because it has a good amount of protein but I accidentally grabbed the whole wheat, oat, and honey mix at the store. It’s still delicious. I just add in an egg white for a little bit more protein. And I always add a tablespoon of Ghirardelli mini chocolate chips because chocolate makes everything better.

This afternoon, I am going to rest my body a bit and wrap some Christmas presents! I have a lot to get done!

Have a great afternoon!

  • Do you take group fitness classes? Favorite?
  • Waffles or pancakes? I love waffles!
  • Have you started wrapping Christmas presents yet?



Filed under Fitness, Lunch, Working Out

Christmas Tree!

It’s December!! 

I cannot believe how fast this year is flying by! Time always seems to go by so much faster when you’re an adult. 2015 is right around the corner!


On Saturday, we went to a tree farm about an hour away to cut down a tree with my family. My dad rode with us because my stepmom had to work.

IMG_20141129_102659We saw Jared Allen from the Chicago Bears at the tree farm with his family so that was exciting for the boys.

At the tree farm, the first thing we did was visit with Mrs. Claus.


I actually loved the idea of having Mrs. Claus rather than Santa because sometimes Santa is a little scary for small kids. Mrs. Claus explained that Santa was at the North Pole and she would let him know what the kids wanted for Christmas.

Then they got to put their names on the very good list.


After visiting with Mrs. Claus, we waited in line to have the horse drawn carriage take us out to the Christmas tree field. Choosing a Christmas tree is hard work. You cannot pick one right away. You must find one that is exactly perfect. You’ll know it when you find it.




Our tree:


I tend to be attracted to fat Christmas trees. Sometimes, they are a little too fat because we have a small living room. This year, we found the perfect semi-fat tree that fits just right in our living room.

After we all cut down the perfect tree, the kids rode the ponies, and we had some hot chocolate.


Danny set the tree up when we got home and we let it sit overnight so it’d be all ready to decorate the next day.


Sunday mornings I try to go grocery shopping as early as possible. We always grocery shop on Sundays, but if I go in the afternoon, it’s always crazy crowded so I go early. After grocery shopping, Danny and I went to the gym.

Yesterday was one of those days where I just wasn’t feeling it at the gym. I felt blah and tired and not in the mood to work out. I did run for 10 minutes on the treadmill and then we did some biceps and triceps exercises.


Usually I feel great working out, but lately I haven’t been sleeping great and I have been eating out of control for the past week and that’s really affecting how I feel. I am so happy that not only is today Monday, the beginning of a new week, but it’s also December, the beginning of a new month. The perfect day to get back on track with my eating.

Sunday afternoon, we decorated our Christmas tree. This is my absolute favorite thing to do. I love how close my family is and how many traditions we have that I hope to pass along to my kids. Family is important no matter what. You might drive each other crazy sometimes but in the end none of that matters. You have each other.

Anyway, back to our Christmas tree. Danny put the lights up and we started decorating it! About 90% of our ornaments are ornaments that we’ve made, picked out as a family, or have special meaning. I love them all.


I recently started collecting hippo ornaments because I love the song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” I have four hippo ornaments all from Target because hippo ornaments a little harder to find than might think.


We finished our Christmas tree with candy canes – I think we ate about half the candy canes in the process! There are so many crazy candy cane flavors these days but my favorite will always be plain peppermint candy canes!

The kids topped our tree with the angel from my childhood:



This morning was back to school for the kids! After the kids went to school, I went to the gym. I felt a lot better working out today. I started with a 20 minute walk on the treadmill followed by some shoulder and core exercises.

Have a great afternoon!

  • Do you have a favorite ornament? What Christmas traditions do you have?
  • Any workout today?
  • What are you looking forward to most in December?


Filed under Christmas, Family Fun, Fitness, Fun, Working Out

Thanksgiving 2014

Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


On Thanksgiving morning, I went to the gym. Yes, I’m one of those people that works out on Thanksgiving. I am up to seven minutes of running.


My stepmom and sister-in-law ran the Turkey Trot and since I couldn’t run it this year, I ran my seven minutes at the gym.

In the afternoon, we went to my grandparent’s house. They just got a brand-new baby puppy named Abby and she’s adorable.


The kids loved her but I think Jaden wanted to try sneaking her home. He carried her around all night like she was his baby. Unfortunately, we can’t get a dog because he’s allergic but he seemed really good when he was playing with the puppy.  But the next morning when he woke up, his nose was stuffy and his eyes were red and swollen. Poor guy. He loves animals. Once we bought him a dog balloon that you could walk around and he loved that thing like it was a real dog.

The kids: Jaden, my niece, and Jacob.


Dinner was amazing. This was the first year I’ve had turkey in a long time and it was really good.


The cranberry sauce is my favorite. My cousin and I always fight over which is better – cranberry sauce or green bean casserole. One day she’ll accept that I’m right and she’s wrong. Cranberry sauce is the best.


As much as I loved dinner, dessert was incredible. There are no words to describe the pie/cake my grandma made. Well, there’s one word besides amazing – pumpecapple cake.

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It’s crazy – a pumpkin pie, a pecan pie, and an apple pie all stacked and baked into a cake. This can only be eaten once a year on Thanksgiving when calories don’t count.


PicMonkey Collage

How amazing is that cake?! And it was delicious. Great job, Grandma Marlene!

When we got home on Thanksgiving night the kids elf, Nick, was waiting!



On Friday morning, I did go shopping at about 6 am. I will not go shopping on Thanksgiving. I think it’s crazy that stores are now opening at 5 or 6 pm. But I did wake up early on Friday to go to Meijer and Target.

The one good thing about shopping that early is that it’s actually late because all the sales started 12 hours ago and the stores were dead. I mean there were a few people out but I as able to find everything I needed, hardly had to wait in line, and was home early.

On Friday afternoon, we celebrate Thanksgiving with my mom. We don’t see her on Thanksgiving so we started the tradition of doing Thanksgiving again on Friday and I cook. This was the first year that I actually made a turkey and I was so nervous.

Last year, I bought one of those turkeys in a bag that can go from frozen in the freezer right to the oven. They are double the price of a frozen turkey so this year I bought a Butterball turkey to roast. I just took the basic route and thawed the turkey, seasoned it with salt, pepper, brushed it with butter, and cooked it. The easy route.

It did take a lot longer than I thought to cook. It was 15 pounds so it should have took 3-3.5 hours but it took  closer to 4.5 hours before the meat thermometer said it was done, and you don’t want to mess around with under cooked turkey.


I din’t get too many pictures but the turkey turned out perfect and I was really happy because I was so nervous. I should have been more nervous about the rolls because I ended up burning those.

It was a great dinner and it was our third Thanksgiving dinner! The past few weeks I have been overindulging and I am can tell I have gained a few pounds. I have said this many times on my blog – I can workout all day, everyday but sometimes I struggle with eating. It’s all mental and it’s hard to overcome bad habits that you’ve had for years. I’ve lost 30 pounds in the past and have been at my “happy weight” so it’s hard to see the pounds start to creep back especially when it’s my own fault.

The holidays are hard – there’s always parties and family and food and drinks. And let’s face it – I love food. But it’s time for me to get back on track with my eating and I’m going to try hard.


Today we’re going with my family to cut down a Christmas tree. We have gone almost every year since I was a kid so it’s a family tradition.

Last year’s tree cutting:


Luckily, the weather isn’t supposed to be too cold today so it’ll be the perfect day to cut down a tree!

Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Do you have any plans for the rest of the weekend?
  • How was your Thanksgiving?
  • If you celebrate Christmas, is your tree up yet?


Filed under Dinner, Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out