Category Archives: Family Fun

Honeycrisp Apple Cider Sangria Recipe and Halloween Drinks

Good morning!

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile now then you know that my family is very big into Halloween. Well, my dad is very big into Halloween – the rest of us just go along with it and enjoy it. :)

My dad always has lots of Halloween activities planned for October and last night we kicked off the Halloween season with a bonfire and a Halloween drink night. We all came up with a grown-up Halloween drink and shared them last night. Some drinks were for a visual effect, some drinks were for taste, and some were for both.


I made a Honeycrisp apple cider sangria. I saw an apple cider sangria recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction and used that as a base for my own sangria recipe. Her recipe is made with red wine but I prefer white wine. The sweeter, the better. :) But this recipe was’t overly sweet. I loved how it turned out!


Honeycrisp Apple Cider Sangria Recipe


  • 750mL bottle white wine (I used Moscato. You can also use a red wine if you prefer or a different white wine.)
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 medium sized Honeycrisp apples, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • orange, sliced thin
  • juice from one lemon
  • 4 cinnamon sticks (more for garnish if desired)
  • club soda
  • Optional: cinnamon and sugar to rim glasses

This sangria is best made ahead of time so the flavors can combine. I made mine the in the morning and let in sit in the fridge until evening. Also, this is a great recipe to customize to your liking. If it’s not strong enough, add a little more wine. If it’s too strong, add a little more apple cider. If it isn’t sweet enough, add a little bit of sugar.


  • Add cinnamon sticks, apples, and oranges into a pitcher. Stir in wine, apple cider, lemon juice, and orange juice.
  • Let sit in fridge for 6-24 hours.
  • If desired, mix cinnamon in sugar in  bowl, wet glass rim, and dip into cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  • Pour sangria into glasses and add a splash of club soda on top. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired.
  • Drink responsibly and enjoy!


Everyone’s drinks came out great! Danny made a Jack O Lantern drink made with honey Jack Daniels.


My brother made a gross swamp water drink – luckily it didn’t taste gross!


My sister-in-law’s drink was delicious! It was like drinking a dessert. It was a float drink made with apple pucker, ice cream, and whipped cream. I drank mine and half of Danny’s. :)

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My dad’s drink was the most visually appealing and I loved his touch of using beakers as glasses.


He used dry ice to make them smoke. We were very careful to not actually drink the dry ice. It was stop bubbling after a short while. I believe it was made with run, vodka, and lemonade. He used food coloring for the different colors.

It was a fun night to start the Halloween season! Have a great day!

  • Favorite adult drink?
  • Favorite Halloween activity?


Filed under Family Fun, Halloween

Waffles and Workouts

Good morning! How was your weekend?


Our weekend started with flu shots first thing on Saturday morning.


I’m not sure exactly what Jacob was doing in this picture but I think he was trying to help Jaden not be scared of the shot. Luckily, both my kids are okay with getting shots so everything went smoothly.

Danny didn’t join us for flu shots because he was out running 20 miles. That was his last really long run before the Chicago Marathon and now he’s tapering. I can’t believe that the Chicago Marathon is almost here!

Also, on Saturday, I got my beloved Leaves candle from Bath and Body Works.


This is my all time favorite candle. It smells like fall.

Danny and I had a lunch date at a cute sandwich and coffee shop on Saturday afternoon. I don’t know what possessed me to order chicken and waffles but I did.


I ended up taking everything off the waffles and giving it to Danny and then just ate the waffles. I don’t know if chicken and waffles are any good but those Belgium waffles sure were good. :)

Saturday evening, we went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for dinner before heading home for some much needed sleep.


Danny and I actually got to work out together on Sunday morning!


He’s been running so much that we really haven’t had a chance to work out together. We worked on back and biceps with a little bit of cardio at the end. We did lat pulldowns, seated row, barbell curls, deadlifts, bentover rows and bicep rows, and dumbbell curls.

In the afternoon, we headed out to a salad place about 45 minutes away that I’m writing a blog post about but when we got there, they were closed. I was so mad even though it was my own fault for not checking their hours. I just assumed they’d be open on Sundays – I mean most restaurants are open on Sundays!! So that was a bummer.

We ended up eating at Chipotle instead – not that I’m complaining because I love Chipotle but now I have to make another trip to the salad restaurant – good thing it’s worth it!


The rest of Sunday was spent being lazy and watching the Bears game.

I was up early this morning for work and now I’m headed to the gym. Have a great day!!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Favorite candle scent?
  • Have you ever had chicken and waffles?


Filed under Family Fun, Lunch, Running, Working Out

I Went to Bodypump!

Good afternoon!

Over the weekend, Danny and I attended a wedding on the 66th floor of the Willis Tower (Sears Tower!) in Chicago.

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The view was absolutely beautiful.


We had such an amazing time. It was Danny’s cousin who got married and unfortunately the few pictures that I got of the bride and groom came out blurry but the bride’s dress was gorgeous.

Danny and his brothers:


We had such a fun night and stayed out late dancing, eating, drinking, and having fun.


The following morning before we picked the kids up from my mom’s house, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts. Sometimes you just need a donut in your life and that’s okay.


Dunkin’ Donuts just came out with the new Reese’s peanut butter square donuts and I was determined to try one. They also have the pumpkin cheesecake donut squares so of course I had to try one of those too.

Even though I was most excited to try the Reese’s donut, the pumpkin cheesecake donut was so much better. I didn’t really like the taste of the peanut butter inside the donut so it wasn’t my favorite. But the pumpkin cheesecake filling was delicious!

Now that I’ve tried those two donuts, I can move on with my life.

Yesterday, I went to Bodypump!!


I haven’t been to Bodypump in over a year since my hip surgery in July of 2014. I was nervous to go but one of my friends was taking the class, so I decided to go with her.

My hip was fine. It tends to get sore but it’s really my knees that have been bothering me. I took it really easy on  the squats and lunges and didn’t go down very low which took some off the pressure of my knees.

I realized how much I missed bodypump!! It was a great class and I enjoyed it but I don’t know if my body could handle it on regular basis but it was a nice change yesterday.

Have a great afternoon and don’t forget to enter my Van’s Cereal Giveaway!

  • When was the last time you went to a wedding?
  • Do you like donuts? Favorite?


Filed under Breakfast, Family Fun, Working Out

Sunset Shuffle 5k and Apple Picking!

Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

On Saturday morning, I ran a local 5k. It was pretty small – probably around 150 people, maybe less. I was really happy because the weather has been so hot lately but on Saturday it was a cool 50 degrees at 8am.


The race started out with a free kid’s run and Jaden had fun running it. Luckily, it was short because Jaden started out running at top speed!


At 8am, the 5k started and I was off. I enjoyed the race course and I felt okay running. I didn’t feel terrible but I didn’t feel awesome either. I used KT tape on my knee and the bottom of my foot since my heel has been bothering me.

I haven’t really run since my last 5k in July so I was sure how’d I’d do. I finished in 32:22. Not terrible but not awesome either. Average.


I ran average. And I’m okay with that. I think sometimes we forget that it’s okay to be average. It’s hard to be the best at every single thing you do. I will always be an average runner and not for lack of trying.

My calves will always be tight since I was diagnosed with compartment syndrome. My hip will always get tired because I had hip surgery. And my knee hurts.

I will never be the fastest runner or the best runner. I will always be average and I am okay with that.

We didn’t hang around too long after the race because Danny had a 12 mile run to get done.

And unfortunately, my toenail happened to be cutting my other toe the entire time I was running so I had to get home to fix it and put on a band-aid. My sock was not a pretty sight when I took my shoe off.

On Saturday afternoon, WE WENT APPLE PICKING!


I was so excited to go apple picking! I have been wanting to go apple picking for years and years but we’ve just never gone. Until Saturday.


The kids were really excited too!



Apple picking is a little pricey. In order to go out into the apple fields, you have to purchase a 1/4 peck bag for $10. So, for four of us it cost $40. I know you’re also paying for the experience which is why I felt okay spending $40 on apples just this once.

The only thing that I wish is that there had been a bigger selection of apples to choose from. Someone mentioned going in October instead of September so maybe we just went too soon in the season. When we went, we were able to pick from three different apple varieties – Honeygold, Jonathon, and Gala.


The Honeygold apples were completely gone so that wasn’t even an option. The Gala apples were very limited and practically gone. After tasting a Gala apple, I realized it was too soft for my tastes so we mostly stuck with picking Jonathon apples which were delicious.

The kids (and adults!) had such a fun time picking apples and filling up our bags.

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Danny is so tall he could reach the apples at the top of the tree with no problem!

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After apple picking, we headed to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for dinner and my sister-in-law came up with the great idea of using some of our apples for an apple crisp.


She found a recipe on the All Recipes website that came out amazing!

It was definitely a busy and fun filled Saturday!

On Sunday, I went to the gym in the morning and did a leg and triceps workout. Post workout, I had a Premier Protein vanilla shake.


The rest of my day was spent working the fitness desk at the gym while Danny and the kids watched the Bears game.

Today, I am off to the mall to look for a dress for a wedding we’re going to this weekend!

Have a wonderful day!

  • Have you ever been apple picking? Favorite apple? Mine is a Honeycrisp – hands down!!
  • What did you do this weekend?


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Fun, Running

Labor Day Weekend

Good afternoon! I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!


On Sunday morning, Danny and I did a back and shoulder workout with one of my friends from the gym. In the afternoon, we celebrated my nephew’s third birthday.


He had a Minion themed party and my sister-in-law made the cutest Minion cake and other fun Minion desserts.



She used Nutter Butters, Milano cookies, and Oreos to make little Minion cookies!



After a weekend with lots of family, food, and fun, I was ready to get back to normal. On Monday morning, I went to the gym for a chest, abs, and HIIT workout. Then, Danny and I took the kids to the pool for one last summer swim.


Yesterday was the last day the pool was open for the summer and they did duck races. For $5, you could buy a duck and they let all the ducks go down the slide and the first three ducks won a prize. Jaden picked out a green duck but sadly it didn’t win.


It was still fun watching all the ducks race down the slide.


After lots of cake and wine this weekend, I was more than ready for a healthy dinner. I decided to make spaghetti squash because I haven’t made it in forever. Spaghetti squash is such a great low-carb healthy alternative to pasta. And it tastes amazing!

I cooked the spaghetti squash (cut side down) in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. After it cooled for a few minutes, I used a fork to pull out the strands of spaghetti squash.


I added sauteed onions and spinach, marinara sauce, and reduced fat feta cheese.


Delicious and healthy!

Have a great day!

  • How was your weekend?
  • What was the best thing you ate this weekend?
  • Favorite veggie?


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Filed under Dinner, Family Fun, Fitness, Fun, Uncategorized, Working Out

Peach Mango Sangria

Good morning! I hope you all are having a great Labor Day weekend!

I haven’t really been sticking to my nutrition plan this weekend – it’s been a weekend of family get togethers, BBQs, and birthday celebrations and the weekend is only half over!

Yesterday morning, Danny had a 19 mile run on his Chicago marathon training plan so while he was doing that, I went to the gym.

A little C4 pre-workout before leg day.


I worked legs and triceps and finished up on the stairmaster.

After our workouts:


In the afternoon, we went to my grandparent’s house to celebrate my grandma’s birthday.

I made moscato sangria and it was delicious.


For the sangria, I used:

  • 1.5 liter moscato (I used Barefoot moscato because it tastes good and isn’t too expensive)
  • 1.5 cups orange peach mango juice
  • 1 bag mixed frozen fruit (I used mangoes, strawberries, and peaches
  • 1 can pineapple nectar


I mixed all the ingredients in a pitcher and let sit in the fridge for at least 6-8 hours. You can serve over additional frozen fruit. It was the perfect end-of-summer drink!

My grandma had an amazing birthday cake that she made – chocolate cake with fresh strawberries. That is my all-time favorite birthday cake so I couldn’t pass up a piece!


During the party, my step-mom got the great idea to make a pyramid – so we did. Fun times.


Today, we are celebrating my nephew’s third birthday! More cake!!

Have a great and safe Labor Day weekend!

  • What are your plans for the weekend?
  • Favorite cake?





Filed under Family Fun, Fun, Recipes, Uncategorized, Working Out

Weekend Update

Good afternoon! How was your weekend?!

On Friday night, we went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for a bonfire.


I was really good about sticking to my nutrition plan all week and over weekend except for Friday night. I indulged a little bit while we were visiting with family and had a couple of glasses of wine. :)

I went 33 years without ever drinking wine and then I discovered that there are some wines that I actually do like and now it’s my weakness. Wine and chocolate – what else do you need in life?

On Saturday, we drove out to a new Trader Joe’s that was just built about 20 minutes from us.

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I like Trader Joe’s but I don’t love Trader Joe’s. Even though it’s more expensive, I prefer Whole Foods. I did pick up this spinach and cheese stuffed shells meal to try out. We’ll see how it is!


On Sunday, Danny and I went to the gym together.


We haven’t worked out together in awhile because he’s training for the Chicago Marathon in October so running has taken up a good portion of his time. He’s up to 18 miles on his training plan and ran 13 miles on Saturday. I can’t imagine running 18 miles!

Today, I had my check-in for Best Fit Body. My weight is the same from last week. I did lose 6 pounds last week so I really wasn’t too disappointed. What I am happy about is that my clothes seem to be fitting better and I feel good. A number on a scale doesn’t often give you the whole picture. I also take progress pics every week and it’s nice to see the change in the pictures and not focus on the number on the scale as much.

For breakfast this morning, I had a Chobani pear and cinnamon Greek yogurt.


I can’t remember if they had this flavor last year but I’m pretty sure they did because I think I remember eating it. I love the combination of the pears and cinnamon!

Have a great day!!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Are you a wine drinker? Favorite? 
  • Do you shop at Trader Joe’s?


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Filed under Breakfast, Family Fun, Fitness, Fun, Uncategorized, Working Out

First Day of School!

Good afternoon!

It’s official – I am the mom of a high schooler!!

PicMonkey Collage - school

I think I was more nervous than Jacob was for his first day of school. He got on the bus early this morning and now I am patiently waiting for him to get home so I can see how his first day of high school went.

I can’t believe my tiny baby that only weighed one pound and 14 ounces at birth is now in high school. Time flies.

Jaden started third grade today and the days of dragging him out of bed for school are back. He had a special breakfast of chocolate chip waffles with chocolate whipped cream for breakfast. Did you know that they made chocolate whipped cream?!


Danny and I drove Jaden to school this morning and he was very excited for his first day!


After the kids were in school, I headed to the gym to work chest and core. I also had a HIIT workout to do today so I did it outside. This was the first time I’ve run outside in a long time!

Since I was doing a HIIT workout, I was more focused on time and my heart rate rather than distance. For thirty minutes I alternated between running and walking depending on my heart rate.


Great workout!

Today was my Best Fit Body check-in and I felt so much better than last week. I stuck to my nutrition plan and workouts almost perfectly all week. The only day that wasn’t the best was yesterday. I went to a wedding shower for my cousin and there was so much delicious food and dessert.


There was even a mimosa bar and who doesn’t love mimosas?!


So, yesterday was definitely a day when I overindulged but I still had a really good week. And the best news is that my weight was down almost six pounds! Hopefully this week will also be good!

Have a wonderful day!!

  • Do you remember your first day of high school?
  • Favorite adult drink?



Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

An Afternoon at the Zoo

Good morning!

Yesterday was my first check-in for Best Fit Body. I am doing a six week program and I check-in every Monday. I officially started the nutrition portion on Thursday and ate good all weekend long. On Monday, after four days, I was down 1.4 pounds. :)

I have also been taking progress pictures which is a great way to see your progress rather than just relying on the scale.

At the gym yesterday, I did a chest and core workout followed by a HIIT workout.


I decided to try the treadmill for my HIIT workout and I felt really good during the running portions.


I think taking a break from running has helped all my soreness and I was able to complete the 30 minute HIIT workout on the treadmill. I was worried by ankles or quad would start bother me and I’d have to switch to a lower impact machine but I felt good!

Breakfast before my workout was plain Greek yogurt mixed with one stevia packet and topped with raspberries and blueberries.


Is anyone else super picky about their berries?! I always find the biggest firmest blueberries to eat and get rid of the rest. I can’t stand the squishy blueberries.


This morning, I taught my Women on Weights class and then the kids and I packed a lunch and headed to a small, local zoo.


We spent the afternoon at the zoo, watching the animals and eating lunch.


Later this evening, I’m going to CrossFit. Have a great day!

  • When was the last time you went to the zoo?
  • Favorite animal?


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Filed under Breakfast, Family Fun, Working Out

Back to Working Out

Good morning!

We got back from Wisconsin Dells Friday night and I got back to my workouts on Saturday. I went to CrossFit in the morning and then I went to the gym for a little extra cardio.


I did a HIIT workout on the Stairmaster for about 30 minutes.


My workout was great on Saturday but my eating still wasn’t the best. I guess I was still in vacation mode!

Saturday afternoon, we took the kids to a nearby town on the river and walked around for awhile.


We ate dinner and then stopped by Le Chocolat du Bouchard, a restaurant that serves everything chocolate.

It was like stepping into heaven.

Jaden had the Death by Chocolate cake which was amazing! I had a brownie sundae because you can’t go wrong with a brownie and ice cream.


He was very excited to eat that cake!

On Sunday, I met my friend at the gym and we rode the spin bikes for 30 minutes and then took a Piloxing class. Piloxing is a mix between kickboxing, pilates, and dancing. The class this week was very cardio heavy with a good amount of hopping. Sometimes too much jumping bothers my hip but I made it through the whole class feeling okay. It was quite a workout!

My eating was back on track yesterday. For lunch, I made a healthy version of chicken nachos.


These are amazing!

I used Late July organic multi-grain chips and topped them with grilled chicken and a little bit of cheese. I added some peach salsa on the side. I also had a big salad to get my veggies!

After lunch, we tried to take a family bike ride.


It was hot out and Jaden made it less than a mile before he just gave up. And he’s very dramatic amount it. He throws his bike down and just parks his butt on the sidewalk and refuses to move. Fun times. Fun times.


So, Jaden and I headed home and Danny and Jacob kept riding. As soon as Jaden and I got home, it started hailing, lightening, and pouring. Luckily, Danny and Jacob were near a building that they were able to wait in until the storm passed. It was quite an eventful bike ride!

This morning, I’m heading to the gym for some strength training!

Have a great day!

**Don’t forget that today’s the last day to enter my Jack Link’s Giveaway!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Favorite chocolate dessert?


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Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Lunch, Working Out