Author Archives: runeatplay

It’s October!

Happy October 1st!

It’s the first day of October and the Halloween season has begun! My family is big into Halloween and we have a Halloween event planned for every weekend in October. It all ends with a big Halloween party where we keep our costumes a secret until the party.

Last year, Danny was Superman/Clark Kent and I was Wonder Women.


I am still thinking of a good idea for this year’s costume!


Yesterday was my first day back to the gym since before we went to Alabama. My adductor muscle is still bothering me a little so the physical therapist said I should do strength training every other day and rest or swim on the days in between.

Yesterday when I went to the gym, I worked on back and biceps. I also walked backwards on the walking track. I am having a hard time walking for more than a few minutes without pain in my hip and glute. So on Monday, the physical therapist had me walk backwards on the treadmill to work my hip extensors.

I have a hard time being coordinated enough just to walk regular so I was nervous about walking backwards on a treadmill but I went at a slow pace and managed not to go flying off the back of the treadmill. I was nervous about walking backwards by myself on the treadmill at the gym, so I did it on the walking track instead.

Have you ever tried walking backwards for an extended amount of time? It’s harder than it looks!

I wore my heart rate monitor to the gym yesterday for the first time in a long time and I was happy to see I burned so many calories strength training and walking.

From Instagram:


Yesterday afternoon, Jacob got braces!


I can’t believe how grown-up he looks with braces. I still think of him as my little baby and its hard for me to comprehend the fact that he’s a teenager now. How do they grow up so fast?!

He did really well getting the braces and was excited to show all the kids in the neighborhood when he got home. Now he just better take care of those things because braces are expensive!

I didn’t get braces on until I was 16 years old and I wore them until I was 19 years old.


Since I worked out at the gym yesterday, I stuck to swimming today. I haven’t swam since before California and I can’t say I was overjoyed to get back in the pool. Swimming is okay but I don’t think I’ll ever love it.

Today I swam 40 laps (with and without the kickboard), did three sets of squats, and three sets of walking lunges.

Now, I have so much water stuck in my ears and it’s driving me crazy.


Along with my breakfast this morning, I had a Dannon Pumpkin Pie Greek yogurt.


My dad texted me a picture of this yogurt the other day and I had to run out to the store to find it!

This yogurt is amazing! I also had one with my dinner last night. I’ve had the Chobani pumpkin yogurt also but the Dannon is a lot better. I like them both but the Dannon is sweeter and tastes more like pumpkin pie!

This afternoon I have physical therapy and then I have my next follow-up doctor appointment on Monday. I’ll be almost three months post surgery. I can’t believe that my surgery was three months ago!

Have a great afternoon and enjoy the start of October!!!

  • What are you looking forward to the most in October?
  • Do you dress up for Halloween?
  • Did you ever wear braces?



Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Halloween, Working Out

Home From Alabama!

We are home from Alabama!

What a crazy trip! I can’t even tell you how excited I am to be out of the car!! A 12 hour trip twice in three days is too long.

We planned to drive to Alabama but Danny’s brothers, sister-in-law, and nephew planned to fly on Friday morning. Unfortunately, there was a deliberate fire in the control tower of the airport which grounded all flights out of O’Hare and Midway airports in Chicago.

After scrambling around, they were able to rent a 10 person van and drive halfway through the night, stop at a hotel to sleep a few hours, and then continue the rest of their trip on Saturday morning.

Danny, the kids, and I left Illinois about 5:50 am on Friday morning and we arrived in Alabama about 6:30 pm that night.

I was really amazed with the wind farms in Indiana.


When we arrived in Alabama, we were really tired so we checked into the hotel, ate dinner, and went to bed.

The wedding was Saturday afternoon and the bride’s family rented a shuttle bus to take the wedding guests from the hotel to the wedding venue.


The wedding was at J&D Farms in Alabama and it was gorgeous.


Everything was outside and the weather was perfect.



The happy bride and groom:


I loved the wedding favors. Since the groom is from Alabama and the bride is from Illinois they came up with wedding favors from both states. Garrett’s popcorn from Illinois and local honey from Alabama.


The wedding reception was a lot of fun and everyone had a good time eating, visiting, and dancing.



We got back to the hotel late and got a little sleep before heading back home about 9 am on Sunday morning. Danny ended up driving the whole 12 hour trip back home. I don’t know how he did it. I was exhausted. I did offer to drive and drove about 30 minutes but I could hardly keep my eyes open!

We arrived home about 9 pm last night and got the kids right in bed. Everyone was exhausted!

We had a great time this weekend but the driving so much in one weekend sure is hard! I’m glad to be home!

  • What did you do this weekend?


Filed under Family Fun

Active Nation Day

Good afternoon!

Active Nation Day

September 28th is Active Nation Day! What exactly is Active Nation Day?

Active Nation Day is a movement created in 2012 by Lorna Jane to help women live an authentic and active life. On 28 September 2014, we’ll be hosting events all over the world, where sporty sisters can learn and take part in a specially choreographed fitness routine. In just three years, the Active Nation Day sisterhood has collectively moved over eight million kilometres together – that’s 21 times to the moon! And with this year marking Active Nation Day’s global debut, that number is set to soar.

I am a huge health and fitness lover and I love that Lorna Jane has come up with the concept of a Active Nation Day. Lorna Jane will have events set up all over the world on September 28th but if you aren’t able to attend an event, you can download the Lorna Jane app on Google Play and iTunes. The app has features to get you moving and live your best life ever!

Lorna Jane is also holding a #LJMOVE contest to win a $1000 Lorna Jane gift card. You can watch the signature Lorna Jane dance move on their website. Then all you have to do is upload a video or picture of yourself doing the dance move with the hashtags #LJMOVE and #ACTIVENATIONDAY. It’s a great way to inspire others and tag your friends to get them up and moving!

You can check out the Lorna Jane website and follow their four easy steps to be part of Active Nation Day.

1. Join the movement

2. Download the app

3. Learn the LJ move

4. Attend Active Nation Day

It’s a great way to get up, get moving, and get active!

How do you stay active?

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Filed under Uncategorized

Friday Favorites

Good morning!

This morning we are off to Alabama for a family wedding! I rarely travel but in the last week and a half I’ve been to California, back to Illinois, and now off to Alabama.

Since the kids are coming with us we decided to drive to save money. Plane tickets for the four of us would have been a little over $1600! I’m not exactly looking forward to a 12+ hour car ride but at least it’s saving us a lot of money.

I recently wrote an article for Chicago Parent on how to survive a long car ride with kids. If you want, you can check it out here.

I’m assuming it’s going to take us quite awhile to get there between bathroom breaks and food stops. Also, my physical therapist said to stop every few hours so I can stretch out my hip. We’ll see how it goes!

I haven’t done a Friday Favorites in awhile, so I thought it’d be perfect for today.




My gluten-free chocolate chip pecan pumpkin muffin recipe was recently published in the book The Everything Gluten-Free Breakfast and Brunch Cookbook!! I am so excited!

This book has tons of great gluten-free recipes. If you’re interested in buying it, you can purchase it on Amazon.

  • Pumpkin Spice Gum

I will never be over the pumpkin spice craze. I love it all!

I recently found Extra gum in pumpkin spice and apple crisp flavors. I only bought the pumpkin spice flavor to try out but I will be buying the apple crisp flavor too.


This gum is amazing. You might not think that pumpkin spice would work in a gum but it does. I love it.

  • Jack Links Turkey Jerky in Sweet Teriyaki

I’ve pretty much gone my whole life without eating jerky then I discovered turkey jerky. I just recently started eating white meat again to get more protein in my diet and I love this turkey jerky! Normally I buy the regular flavor but when I saw they had teriyaki I was excited to try it out!


I bought the big bag to eat in the car on the way to Alabama. Turkey jerky is good but it’s expensive!

  • Awesome Companies

International Delight coffee creamer recently noticed I am a huge coffee lover (maybe because I post lots of coffee pics on Twitter and Instagram) and they sent me this awesome mason jar glass with my name on it.


How awesome is that?! I love that a company just randomly sent some coffee lovers mason jar mugs with their name on it. Way to go International Delight! I will forever buy your coffee creamer because you sent me an awesome jar with my name on it. I will also buy a Kia car because the commercial features dancing hamsters. What can I say? I’m a sucker for advertising. :)

  • End of Season Sales

The wedding we’re going to in Alabama is outside and it’s going to be hot and humid so we were advised not to wear heels. I don’t have any plain black sandals or flip flops so I ran to Kohl’s to see if they had any.

They had a bunch of them on sale for $2.40 and $2.80! I got three pairs for less than $9! I’ll bring one pair for the wedding and save the others for next spring and summer.



I saved $72!


Yay for sales!

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

  • What are your Friday favorites?
  • What is the longest car ride you’ve ever been on?


Filed under Fun

Physical Therapy, The Gym, and Food!

Good afternoon!

Congrats to the winners of the Ortholite Insoles giveaway: Michele, Emily, and Mindy! I have already sent the winners an email!

Physical Therapy

Monday evening was my first therapy appointment since coming back from California. Since my adductor pain has calmed down a lot, I am able to do a lot more in physical therapy. We’re focusing on a lot more glute and leg exercises which is a nice change.

I’ve been using a leg press type machine to do leg presses, single leg presses, and glute kickbacks.

The Gym

I have also been getting back into going to the gym on a regular basis.

Today, I worked on chest and triceps. I did chest presses, chest flyes, medicine ball chest presses with throw, triceps extensions, single arm triceps extensions, cable extensions, etc.

I usually finish up my workout with a couple of my physical therapy exercises like clamshells and hip bridges. And I always foam roll my IT band and glutes.

After my workout today, I had a 1st Phorm protein shake in chocolate peanut butter cup.



I usually eat grilled veggie flatbread pizzas for lunch. I found a new Flatout pizza crust to try – Artisan pizza crust in rosemary and olive oil.


I add pizza sauce, grilled red pepper, green pepper, onions, and mozzarella cheese. It’s fast & easy to make and one of my favorite meals.


Whenever I go to Target I always look at the Evol frozen food products. They always look good but I have never bought any until I saw they had street tacos!


Mexican food is my all time favorite food so I thought these would be good to try out for a quick meal to throw in the microwave.


I made them today for lunch and they were pretty good. A tiny bit spicy but still good.

I ‘d probably buy them again for a quick meal if I’m in a hurry but I love making my veggie flatbread pizzas more. :)

I have another physical therapy appointment tonight. It seems like I’ll be going twice a week for the rest of my life. My next post-surgery doctor appointment is October 6th so we’ll see what the doctor says!

Have a great afternoon!

  • Have you ever been in physical therapy?
  • Favorite fast lunch/dinner?
  • Did you workout today?



Filed under Fitness, Lunch, Working Out


I’m back from California!!


My sister-in-law and I left for California last Tuesday afternoon. Danny and my niece drove me to my sister-in-law, Crystal’s, house so he could drop us off and my niece could say goodbye to her mom.


From there, Crystal’s cousin drove us to the airport.

We arrived in San Francisco in the evening and my uncle picked us up at the airport. My aunt and uncle live about an hour and a half from San Francisco way up a mountain. I’m always amazed at all the hills and mountains especially living in Illinois where everything is flat.

Since they live in an isolated location up a mountain they get all kinds of animals. I  saw horses, cows, deer, turkey, and a coyote.



They also have seen bobcats, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and even a peacock!! I guess the week before we arrived was tarantula mating season. I can’t not even begin to tell you how happy I am about missing that!!

The temperature was starting to drop the week we arrived but we were able to swim one day. They have an amazing brand-new pool.



My aunt and Crystal did swim one other day but the water was too cold for me!

On our first full day, we went to Gayle’s, a delicious bakery/restaurant. My aunt had ordered an amazing princess cake.


It was delicious!

On our last full day, we drove through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate bridge into the town on Sausalito.


I’ve been to California a few times before but this was my first time going over the Golden Gate bridge.

We shopped in Sausalito and ate lunch on the ocean.

Crystal and my Aunt Pam:


We were able to see Alcatraz way out in the middle of the ocean.


I had a wonderful time and was glad that I was able to relax. I think it helped my leg and hip a lot to take it easy because the pain in my adductor is gone.

Although I had a great time with my aunt, uncle, and sister-in-law, I was happy to get back home to Danny and the kids! They were so happy to see me! It was nice to be able to FaceTime with them while I was in California but seeing them in person was the best!

A big thank you to my aunt and uncle for having us!

  • When was the last time you went on vacation? Where did you go?
  • If you could go on vacation anywhere, where would it be?



Filed under Family Fun

OrthoLite Fusion Insoles Review and Giveaway

Disclaimer: I received the OrthoLite Fusion insoles to try out at no cost to me. All opinions are my own.

Since my hip surgery, I haven’t been able to run but I can still walk distances that I find comfortable and without pain. Hopefully, once my adductor pain goes away and I strengthen my legs, I’ll be back to running. I am aiming for next Spring :)

Danny, of course, is still able to run and always has been a great natural runner. He’s able to get up and just run distances that I (and most people) would have to train for. So, when OrthoLite sent me a pair of their performance insoles, they were nice enough to send Danny a pair to try out too.

His and hers insoles:


I have been using mine while walking. I am back to wearing my Fitbit so I am trying to get my steps in for the day. I usually don’t reach 10,000 steps but I am working my way back up to it. I usually average between 5,000 and 8,000 steps.


I have mentioned the OrthoLite Performance Insoles on my blog before and I’ve always had a great experience with them.

The insoles are made for all athletic and outdoor shoes or boots. You simply pop out the insoles that are currently in your shoes and then put in the OrthoLite insoles in place of them. They can also me trimmed to fit your shoe.


OrthoLite insoles are different from the basic insoles that come in your shoes. OrthoLite insoles offer comfort, cushioning, and breathability. To me personally, I find them a lot more comfortable than the insoles that come with shoes.

They use innovative technology to keep your foot cooler, drier, and healthier. An environmentally-friendly anti-microbial is added to all OrthoLite insoles to help fight against fungus, odor, and bacteria. They are made with an unique open cell structure that allows air to travel through and around the insole to provide maximum ventilation, which helps keep the foot dry and cool.


OrthoLite has a 100% support, comfort, and performance guarantee and for every insole purchased, OrthoLite donates $1 to Level Field Fund, a grant-giving program that strives to bridge gaps in funding uniquely talented athletes.

Overall, Danny and I both loved the insoles. They felt very comfortable and keep our shoes odor-free! They make running a breeze…for Danny. :)



OrthoLite is letting three people enter to win their own pair of OrthoLite insoles! Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Filed under Fitness, Giveaway, Product Review, Running, Working Out

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Protein Waffle Recipe

Now that fall is almost upon us, I have been trying out some different pumpkin recipes. I love all things pumpkin in the fall!!

Today’s recipe is delicious, full of protein, and will satisfy your pumpkin craving!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Protein Waffle       Serves:1


  • 1/2 cup Kodiak Cakes Protein Power Cakes Mix (you can use any waffle mix you have, but the protein is calculated using this mix)
  • 1/2 tbsp. of chocolate chips (you can add more to your liking)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup Libby’s Pure Pumpkin
  • approximately 3 oz of water (a little less than half a cup)



  1. Heat waffle iron.
  2. While iron is heating, whisk together waffle mix, water, egg, and pumpkin. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. When waffle iron is hot, spray, and add waffle mix to waffle maker. Cook to desired doneness. Approximately 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Calories: 271   Protein: 19 grams   Carbs: 39.5 grams    Fat: 4.7 grams


If you can find the Kodiak waffle mix, I recommend trying it! It’s full of protein and tastes delicious. I bought mine at Target.

I can’t wait to try out some more pumpkin recipes!

  • What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe or food?
  • What’s your favorite season?


Filed under Uncategorized

Dry Needling and Vacation!


My heart goes out to all those affected by the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. Even thirteen years later, I am sure the pain is still fresh for some. United we stand. Never forget.


Good morning!

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I had a small set back in physical therapy. Basically, my adductor muscle (inner thigh) has been in a lot of pain that won’t go away. It is overactive and compensating for my weak hip and glute muscles.

It has been making it very difficult to do the exercises at physical therapy because my adductor muscle constantly takes over when it shouldn’t. I am pretty much at a stand still with my hip and glute strengthening exercises because my adductor muscle is all like, I’m king of this castle! I am going to take over every muscle in your body! Bwahhhhaaaa.

My adductor muscle is being a jerk.

Despite all my physical therapist’s best efforts, we haven’t had any luck with my adductor muscle pain. So, yesterday she suggested we try something a little different: dry needling. Yes, it is as bad as it sounds. It’s similar to acupuncture.

From the Athletico website:

Dry needling is a skilled intervention that uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and release underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.  Dry needling (DN) is a technique used to treat dysfunctions in skeletal muscle, fascia, and connective tissue, and, diminish persistent peripheral nociceptive input, and reduce or restore impairments of body structure and function leading to improved activity and participation.

Do I hate needles? Yes. Am I terrified of needles? No.

At this point, I was so sick of the pain, I was willing to try anything to make it go away. Including jamming needles straight into my muscle.

I think my pain tolerance level falls somewhere in the middle of the pain tolerance spectrum. I’m not a huge baby but I don’t like pain either. I’ve had two babies, three amniocentesis needles stuck in my belly, my tonsils out, my nose pierced, hip surgery, plantar fasciitis, hip bursitis, detached rib cartilage, cortisone shots, and more. I’m no stranger when it comes to pain.

Dry needling hurts. It was not fun. It was one of the weirdest sensations I have ever experienced in my life. I am not one of those people that outwardly screams or yells when I’m in pain. But when they stuck that needle into my muscle a sound came out of me that I couldn’t stop. And my muscles spasmed on their own which was weird.

I wouldn’t exactly call it unbearable pain but it was not fun. At all. The whole process lasted about 5 minutes or so. I didn’t look at all so I’m not really sure what the needles looked like. I’m sure they were small, but I wasn’t about to make myself faint by looking.

I was sore afterwards which is normal. My groin muscle was really sore for the rest of the night and I spent the afternoon on the couch.

This morning I felt better but still sore. The physical therapist said it was okay to swim but to stay out of the gym until my appointment on Friday afternoon. She said that if there is still pain, I might need one more dry needling session. I pray that I don’t.

I really hope this works because I am anxious to get on with my physical therapy and get better!

With all that bad news about my recovery, I do have a some good news – I’m going on vacation! I won’t have access to a gym while I’m gone and that’s actually a good thing because it will give my leg a lot of time to rest. I will have access to a pool which is good because the physical therapist says that swimming is the best thing I can do at this point.

To tell you the truth, I actually invited myself on my sister-in-in law’s vacation. She is going out to California to visit our aunt and uncle and once I heard she was going, I invited myself along (Sorry, Crystal!). It was really a last-minute and spontaneous decision which isn’t like me at all.

Danny usually goes to Canada every year or every other year. We usually take a small family vacation in the summer, but I haven’t had time to relax alone since I went to California with my mom about seven years ago.

Me and my mom seven years ago when we went to California:

Heather's Pictures 004

Oh my gosh. Can we talk about how nice my hair used to be! What happened?! I was also nervous about leaving the kids that time too. You can see a list taped on the door for Danny of everything Jacob needed in his backpack for school and what to wear!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and kids to death, but everyone needs a break sometimes. Time to relax and recharge. And in my case, recover. The hardest part will be being away from my kids for so long. I can’t even think about it because it makes me sad. Jacob went to Canada with Danny last year but Jaden has never been away from me for so long. I think it will be hard on him too, but once I’m gone, I’m sure they’ll have funny with Danny. And they’ll be in school all day.

We’re leaving Tuesday afternoon and coming home Saturday night. It’s not an incredibly long time but I’ll still miss Danny and the kids. The hardest part is being so far away. What if something were to happen? Of course, I have total faith in Danny with the kids but you never know what can happen.

I am really looking forward to the trip and can’t wait to go!!

Like I mentioned, I went swimming this morning. I was tired and sore, so I used a kickboard for a lot of my laps and did squats and lunges.

I am used to swimming now although I don’t think I’ll ever love it. The worst part is that it’s making my skin crazy! I normally have very sensitive skin and the chemicals in the pool are drying out my skin like crazy.

I have two huge rough dry patches of skin on my cheeks where the skin is peeling and flaking off. It’s gross and make-up just makes it look worse. I googled ways to deal with dry skin from swimming and most websites said to use moisturizer, Vaseline, or sunscreen prior to and after swimming and to shower right away.

I use moisturizer daily anyway so today I just applied in to my face before I got in the pool.


I also used overnight conditioner in my hair before I got in the pool.

I don’t like showering at the gym and I only live 5 minutes away, so I just take a shower as soon as I get home. I think the moisturizer helped a little bit today. My cheeks were still dry but not nearly as dry as usual.

Tomorrow, I will be resting from the gym because I have a tons of errands to do. I am going to my cousin’s baby shower this weekend and I’m bringing cookies. I still have to buy a gift and cookie ingredients. I also have to get a few little things I need for California. It’ll be a busy weekend!

I have one more fall food find that I wanted to share with you:


Dannon caramel apple pie Greek yogurt. These are amazing!!

Have a great day!

Biggest loser starts tonight! Anyone watching??

  • Have you ever done needling/acupuncture?
  • Are you watching the Biggest Loser tonight?
  • Any dry skin tips?





Filed under Biggest Loser, Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

Zevia Zero Calorie Soda Review and Giveaway

Disclaimer: I received this product 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 agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

As a Moms Meet Ambassador, I was recently given the opportunity to try out Zevia Zero Calorie Soda.


As a rule, I try not to let my kids drink too much soda on a regular basis. If were at someone’s house or a restaurant, I’ll usually let them have one. To me, it’s more something that should be a special treat, rather than just something you grab when you’re thirsty.

My kids were very excited to try out the Zevia soda. To them, it was just like drinking regular soda. To me, it was giving them something a little better than a sugar-filled Coke.


The nice thing about Zevia is that it’s sweetened naturally with high purity, US grown Stevia and monk fruit. Zevia soda does not contain calories, sugar, or artificial sweeteners. It’s perfect for kids and adults!

All Zevia soda is kosher, gluten-free, and vegan!

Six-packs of Zevia range from $3.99-$5.99 and comes in tons of flavors. My kids were so excited to try the Mountain Zevia flavor, and they loved it!

Other flavors include: Grape, Ginger Root Beer, Strawberry, Cherry Cola, and lots more.

I liked that this soda is sugar-free and doesn’t use artificial sweeteners without sacrificing flavor. I also liked that the ingredients were very simple.


You can check out more great things from Zevia on their website, Facebook, Twitter, instagram, or Pinterest.

Zevia was kind enough to give me a few extra coupons for free 6 or 4 packs of Zevia. You can enter below to win one coupon good for a free pack. There will be four separate winners. US residents only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway






Filed under Family Fun, Giveaway, Product Review