Category Archives: Family Fun

Cake Batter Blondies and A Shoulder Circuit Workout

Good afternoon! I hope you are all having a great weekend!

Yesterday, we had dinner with my family so I made cake batter blondies to bring.

I have to share the recipe because they were so delicious. And the best part is that they were one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made!

Of course, I got the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Her blog is pretty much the only place I’ve been going to for dessert recipes.


Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies


  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 11 x 7 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together cake mix, canola oil, egg, and milk in a  large bowl.
  3. Stir in sprinkles and white chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick.
  4. Spread into a 11 x 7 baking pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes before cutting.


So easy! So darn good!

Jaden was on a strict dairy-free for three weeks and finally this weekend he was allowed a little bit of dairy so he was so excited for these blondies!

Also, I didn’t have a 11 x 7 pan but Danny went to the store to look for one and he found one for only $3.99. You definitely need a 11 x 7 pan for these to come out perfect. A 9 x 9 pan might work but you’d have to increase the cooking time.

Today’s Workout

Danny and I ate way too much this weekend! We had two family dinners this weekend with lots of food and dessert so we made sure to get out butts to the gym today.

My leg has been really sore lately so we stuck with a shoulder workout.


This is the shoulder circuit workout that we did. We repeated the circuit four times, resting about two minutes in between. By the four set, my shoulders were dying!

We also pretty much used all the weights. Good thing we had a small spot at the gym to ourselves.


Before the gym this morning, I went grocery shopping. I found the new Chobani grape yogurt but I didn’t buy it.


I like grapes and I like yogurt but I don’t know if I like grape yogurt. Has anyone tried this flavor yet? Thoughts?

Have a great Sunday!

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




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

Eating, Losing Weight, and The Gym

As I type this, my sister-in-law, Crystal, is running the Disney World Marathon. She ran the half marathon yesterday with her cousin, Becky, and is running the full marathon today. That’s 39.3 miles in two days. I am so proud of her. That is an accomplishment that not many people can say they’ve done.

She had her personal reasons for wanting to run the half marathon and full marathon together and after a lot of time, an injury, and hard work, she will accomplish her goal! Great job, Crystal!!

She even got to meet Jeff Galloway, whose training plan she’s been following for the half marathon/marathon!


Go, Crystal, Go!

The Weekend

As I’ve mentioned before, the weekends are always a struggle for me when it’s comes to sticking to healthy eating. Danny’s home, the kids are home, we’re out and about. My schedule is different and that always messes me up. However, I have been doing pretty good this weekend. Granted, it is only Sunday morning so I’ll have to see how today goes.

I have finally accepted the fact that there is no magic pill or secret diet or unhealthy detox to weight loss. It’s simply eating healthy, exercising, and burning more calories than you consume. Eat good foods. Eat protein. Eat whole grains. Eat fruits and veggies. Eat treats in moderation.

For me personally, my “weight loss rules” consist of burning more calories than I eat and be in a deficit. 3500 calories equal a pound. So if I have a 500 calorie deficit a day (through exercise and diet) that’s a pound of weight loss a week.  I use My Fitness Pal to track my calories and the FitBit and heart rate monitor to track my calories burned.


I realize that both these devices just estimate for the most part so I just use the numbers as a guide. Then, I record my numbers on paper so I can see the difference.


I also make sure that I’m eating enough fat and protein and not too many carbs. If I stick to 1500 calories a day that doesn’t mean I can eat 1500 calories of rice, bread, and fruit. There has to be a healthy balance.

Finally, I always save calories at the end of the day for a treat. I feel like when I deprive myself of all treats is when I tend to overeat. Danny and I usually eat a Yasso Greek yogurt bar, a Special K brownie, or a candy candy tootsie pop.

This past week, I did perfect all week. I stuck to my calorie goal everyday and burned more than I consumed. I decided that if I eat perfect all week, I would let myself have one meal on the weekend that I didn’t worry about. I’m not calling it a cheat meal because I really don’t feel like any food is ever off limits to me. It’s simply portion control and moderation for any food.

I really wanted to go out to a Mexican restaurant but Jaden is on a very strict dairy free diet for two weeks so there wouldn’t be anything he could eat and that kids loves cheese quesadillas with sour cream so it was just a bad idea. Instead, I made chicken fajitas at home.

Even though I ate a good amount of food – chicken fajitas with cheese and sour cream, chips and salsa, and Phish Food ice cream for dessert, I still felt better about eating at home than I did about eating out. And today, I am back to tracking my food and going to the gym.

Note: I just want to say that I realize all the calorie counting and figuring out numbers might be slightly obsessive but it’s the only way that weight loss works for me. If I don’t have concrete numbers and food portions to follow, I tend to overeat and not really care. Weight loss is different for everyone and this is what works for me. You can lose weight and not even record a single number but I have found that method doesn’t work for me. However, it does work for Danny. He simply eats smaller portions, adds more fruit and veggies, and goes to the gym and he loses weight. Everyone is different.

Working Out

Jacob had an eye doctor appointment yesterday morning and it always takes hours so I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it to the gym. Instead, I woke up early and did the Bikini Body Mommy Day #6 workout twice.

Today, Danny and I went to the gym.


We worked on back and biceps. Unfortunately, I hurt my wrist halfway through biceps so I wasn’t able to finish. My wrist has been bothering me lately, but I really messed it up today. I’m going to have to take it easy on my wrist for awhile.

Have a great afternoon!!

  •  What’s the farthest you’ve ever run?
  • Do you have any weight loss tips that work for you?




Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

The New Year – 2015

Good morning! Welcome to the second day of 2015!!

I am still trying to fight off this long-lasting cold. I just can’t get rid of the head and nose stuffiness.


On New Year’s Eve morning, Danny and I were feeling a little better from our colds so we went to the gym. I started with walking on the treadmill for 2 minutes and running for one minute for about 15 minutes to warm-up. Then, we did ssome back and core exercises.


Some of our back exercises included:

  • seated cable rows
  • lat pulldown machine
  • t-bar raises
  • deadlifts
  • straight arm pullovers

By the time we were done, I was really feeling it. Those deadlifts are killer!

In the evening, we met my family at a restaurant called Pilot Pete’s for dinner.


They had a champagne toast every hour on the hour for the adults but unfortunely they ran out of sparkling juice for the kids. We still had a fun time!


After dinner, we went back to my dad and stepmom’s house to ring in the New Year!

A few years ago, we had a New Year’s hat decorating contest. This year, we had a horn contest. Everyone bought their own horns and decorated them.



My brother won first place with his Chicago Blackhawks Winter Classic horn.


We had a great night and enjoyed the countdown to 2015 at midnight!!


New Years Goals

I’m not going to make a whole bunch of resolutions at the beginning of this year. Instead, there are a few goals that I would really like to focus on accomplishing for 2015.

  • Health

As cliche as it is, one of my goals this year is to be healthier and lose a little bit of weight. But this year, I’m going to work on the little things that trigger my unhealthy or overeating habits. For example, some nights if I’m too tired (or lazy) to cook dinner, we’ll go out or order food. Instead, I’m going to try to be more prepared by having an easy and healthy dinner to make.

I eat pretty good during the week but I notice that there are times when my eating plans just go out the window – on the weekends when Danny’s home, when we’re out with my family, etc. I would really like to work on still be healthy during these situations. That’s not to say that I can’t enjoy myself but maybe two slices of pizza and salad is okay rather than four slices and chips. Sometimes the off switch from my brain to my mouth is broken.

I was at a weight about two years ago that I was really happy with. My ultimate goal is to get back to that weight.

  • Gym

My goal in the gym for 2015 is to improve my strength training. I want to increase the amount of weight that I lift and work on more functional exercises.

Functional exercises are exercises that incorporate multiple body parts/muscles and includes movements we do in real life. They increase strength and balance.Machines are okay at the gym, but they are doing the majority of the work for you. You back is supported while sitting in a machine so you’re not using your core to keep up balanced.

A squat is a great example of a functional exercise. You’re using your core to keep you upright and balanced and you’re working your quads, hamstrings, and gluts. And squats are used in everyday life – picking up boxes, groceries, small children, etc.

  • Running

For goal for the longest time has been to run a half marathon. I have actually signed up for two half marathons.

The first was the Zooma half marathon which I was supposed to run in August 2013. I was picked along with four other girls who had never run a half marathon as a Muscle Milk Athlete. We got support from the Zooma race ambassadors, training plans, entries into the half marathon, meetings with a sports doctor, a hot yoga session, and running meet-ups.


This is when my quad/hip pain first started and after meeting with the doctor, I was advised not to run the half marathon. I was incredibly disappointed to not be able to run with the other girls but at the same time it was a relief because I had so much pain when I ran.

Fast forward over a year later after many doctor visits and a cortisone shot, I was feeling a lot better. My sister-in-law announced that she was planning on running the Disney World half marathon and full marathon in January 2015. I decided to run the half marathon but had to jump on registering since it sells out so fast. Danny decided that he also wanted to run the half but it was sold out by that time and he signed up for the full.

A short time later, I had a arthrogram MRI and it turned out that not only would I not be running the half marathon but I would also be getting a major hip surgery.

But all that is behind me now!

I had my hip surgery, my problem is corrected, and I should soon be healed to 100%. This is the year that I will run a half marathon, and it will be that much more special because of everything I went through to get there.

  • Family

It’s not secret that I spend a lot of time with my extended family but this year I would like to focus on spending more time with my kids. Jacob is a teenager now so the last thing he wants to do is hang out with his parents. So, this year I would like to focus more on stuff that my kids enjoy. I don’t want to have to force them to play a family game or watch a movie, but rather do something that they enjoy.


And there it is – my goals for 2015! 

Have a great second day of the new year!

  • Do you have any goals or things you would like to accomplish in 2015?



Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

Run Eat Play: Year in Review 2014

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Can you believe that it’s the last day of 2014?! I can’t believe how fast the year flew by! I had my hip surgery in July and I feel like we just jumped from July to December! I can’t believe we’re less than a day away from 2015!

Today, I thought I’d recap some of my most memorable moments from 2014.




Danny came in second place at the mini triathlon at our gym!



I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. This race was probably one of my favorite races I have ever run. It was such a big race and so much fun! Even though I was in pain on and off because of my hip at this time, I still felt really good running.




Jaden ran/walked his first 5k and we all ran our first color run!


Danny and I celebrated being married for a long time. I love him.


PicMonkey Collage1

We officially have a teenager in the house!!


I ran the Run Like a Mother 5k on Mother’s Day. Although, I was having some hip pain, I was happy with my time.


My aunt lost 135 pounds and we all walked/ran the Feets of Strength 5k.


I’ve run the Elgin Fox Trot 5k four times in past years. This year was the first year that I was unable to run it because of my hip injury. Instead, I did the two mile walk with my dad. Danny ran the 10 miler.

It was my brother’s first 5k since getting back surgery the previous year.



We took a family trip to Wisconsin Dells. While there, we celebrated my brother’s birthday, Danny’s birthday, and Father’s Day.


This was the last 5k before my hip surgery. Danny ran it with me and it was physically a hard race. I ended up having to walk a lot towards the end.



On July 9th, I had arthroscopic hip surgery to shave down my hip bone and repair tears in my labrum. The first month was incredibly hard for my physically and emotionally.

I am almost 6 months post surgery and I plan on doing an update soon!

  • My niece turned three!




We went to the Chicago Bears Family Fest and had a family day at Arlington Race Track. I had to wear my hip brace and crutches for both outings but it was so nice to get out of the house!



My sister-in-law and I went on a mini vacation to visit our aunt and uncle in California!

My sister-in-law, Crystal, and my Aunt Pam:



At the end of September, we drove from Illinois to Alabama with the kids for Danny’s cousin’s wedding. 12 hours. In the car. With two kids.



Halloween is a big holiday in my family. This year, Danny and I dressed up as Ninja Turtles.


instaImage_28 (1)

At  my November post surgery check-up, the doctor gave me the okay to start a walk/run program! I was up to about 14 minutes of straight running when my Achilles tendon started acting up. I am still able to run but I’m back to a 1 minute run, 2 minute walk ratio.


I was able to go to my first group fitness class in five months! I took the Butt and Guts class and couldn’t walk for days!


Overall, 2014 was a good but hard year. Due to my hip surgery, I wasn’t able to accomplish everything that I wanted to but I am now on the right track. My hip should be fully recovered soon and I will be on the way to accomplishing all my goals for 2015!

Have a fun and safe New Year’s Eve! See you next year! :)

  • What was your favorite part about 2014?
  • What are you looking forward to in 2015?




Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Race, Working Out

Weekend Recap

Hello! How was your weekend?

I started this post a few days but ended up getting sick and feeling really terrible for a few days. I’m still not feeling well today but I’m feeling better than I did over the weekend. I’m hoping to feel better by New Year’s Eve!


Yesterday, I woke up with a cold. :( I went to the gym anyway hoping that I’d feel better after I worked out. I didn’t feel much better, but I did get in a good workout with my husband.

I started out on the treadmill.


I am back to running one minute and walking 3-4 minutes because my Achilles tendon is still bothering me a bit but it does seem to be getting better. I wore my new Nike Lunar Glide 6s and I loved the way they felt when I ran in them.

After the treadmill, Danny and I did a shoulder superset workout followed by some core work. Our shoulder exercises included:

  • plate front raises
  • overhead shoulder press machine
  • cable upright rows
  • Arnold presses
  • cable lateral raises
  • rear delt cable raises

It was a good workout but unfortunately, I am still feeling a bit under the weather.

In the late afternoon, we celebrated Christmas with my dad, stepmom, and stepbrother. We don’t see them on Christmas so we always get together the day after Christmas to celebrate.

I planned on cooking, but since I wasn’t feeling too well, we just ordered pizza instead.

My dad and stepmom got me a race entry for the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago!!


I really want that to be my first race back after my hip surgery but it’s an 8k (4.97 miles), and I’m not quite sure if I’ll be able to run almost five miles by the end of March. I have a follow-up doctor appointment on January 5th so I am going to ask the doctor and my physical therapist if they think I’ll be okay to run five miles by then.

I was doing really good with increasing my time running but then I had a big setback with my darn Achilles tendon. But if I am unable to run, my dad and stepmom said they’d buy another race entry for me to a different race.

We had a lot of fun opening gifts and visiting.



My dad and stepmom got Jacob the 3Doodler pen which he wanted so bad.


It’s actually really cool that you make 3D creations with a pen!


On Saturday, I woke up feeling even worse than I did on Friday. I took some Mucinex D and started to feel a little bit better. We did a few errands during the day and stopped at Panera for some soup for lunch.


In the late afternoon, we went to my grandparent’s house to visit with them and my aunt and uncle who are going  back to California soon.


I woke up feeling really terrible on Sunday. I had so much sinus pressure that it felt like my head wanted to explode. I had a cough and a lot of chest congestion. I took another Mucinex and ibuprofen.

We had plans to go to our nephew’s surprise going away party at noon. He’s going to the Navy in the beginning of January so there was so way I could miss the party.


Even though I wasn’t feeling too good, we went to the party at the bowling alley. I just made sure not to get too close to people and just sat and watched the kids bowl.


How cute are these cookies that my sister-in-law’s friend made?!


After the party, we came home and I immediately got in my pajamas and right into bed.

It’s terrible being sick. The sinus pressure is the worse. It makes my head hurt so bad. I looked up some sinus pressure points online and have been pushing on them since yesterday. I don’t know if it’s helping but I am ready to do anything to relieve this sinus pressure.


I’m still not feeling well today but I do feel better than I did yesterday. I haven’t been to the gym since Friday and I still don’t feel good enough to go today. I have physical therapy tomorrow morning, so hopefully I feel good enough to get back to the gym on Wednesday.

Have a great Monday!

  • How was your weekend?
  • When was the last time you were sick?





Filed under Christmas, Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

Christmas 2014

Good morning! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas yesterday if you celebrate!

Christmas Eve

We went to my grandparent’s house on Christmas Eve and wore our fun ugly Christmas sweaters.



Danny’s sweater won for ugliest. :)

We had a great time visiting with family, eating dinner, and opening gifts.


This year we did something a little different with the gifts. My aunt came up with the idea of a secret Santa, but we all had to make a homemade gift for the person we picked instead of buying one.

It was a lot of fun and I learned that people in my family are super creative and handy!!

My grandpa made my brother a bar!!


There was a lot of great gifts. I got a Keurig k-cup holder made my cousin. There was also blankets, a wine rack, a shadow box, a race medal holder, a beer bottle lamps, scarfs, holiday decorations, a Pepsi light, and a whole bunch of other great stuff!

PicMonkey Collage

Everyone did an awesome job!!

Danny and I made a few craft gifts this year so I’m thinking about doing a separate post showing those. My sister-in-law also made a lot of cute craft gifts for people.


The kids woke up bright and early on Christmas morning to see if Santa came!


Santa did come and they had a great time opening gifts!

Santa always brings the majority of the gifts, but a few come from Danny and me. The kids always go through the presents so fast so this year we decided to make a treasure hunt with clues leading the kids all over the house and finally to their presents. They loved it!


The clues were in envelopes for both the kids and were fairly easy to figure out. There was 11 clues in all and the kids finally found their presents from Mom and Dad in the garage!


Danny and the kids got me a bunch of great gifts including new Nikes Lunar Glides and an Under Armour backpack.


I got Danny some Beats headphones.


And a Blackhawks hoodie.


After opening gifts, I made a cinnamon roll casserole which came out delicious!


My in-laws stopped by late Christmas morning and we visited for a bit. Late afternoon, we went to my mom’s house for dinner.

My niece and I with my mom’s musical Elvis decoration.


We visited, ate, and opened more presents. Pink Nike pants are always a great gift. :)



I am extremely blessed to have such a wonderful, generous, and close family. I love my family and appreciate all of my gifts!

Tonight, we are celebrating Christmas with my dad and stepmom at our house.

Have a wonderful day!!

  • How was your Christmas? 
  • Did you have to go back to work today?


Filed under Christmas, Family Fun

First Christmas Weekend

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! I can’t believe that it’s Christmas week already! Are you all ready for the holidays yet?


On Saturday morning, I took a yogalates class at the gym. My physical therapist thinks that Pilates would be really beneficial to my hip recovery but my gym doesn’t offer a just Pilates class only yogalates – a mixture of Pilates and yoga.

The class went good and I had no pain doing anything. We did a lot of balance and core work. A few years ago I was taking yoga classes regularly. While I know that yoga has so many health benefits, it’s the only class where I find myself constantly checking the clock. It’s very slow, and I am so used to my faster paced workouts.

I will try to add it into my regular gym rotation but it might not be a favorite. :)

Saturday afternoon, we celebrated Christmas with my in-laws.



Christmas is always so busy and my brother-in-law has to work On Christmas day so it worked out that we got together a few days before Christmas.

My loves:


Side note: Before we got to my in-laws, Jaden bought that stuffed bear at the Dollar Store and refused to let it go. I always used to think stuffed animals were a waste of time…until I had Jaden. He loves his stuffed animals – he makes them food, bones, and beds out of paper. He feeds them, plays with them, and puts them to bed. Sometimes, I have to put them down for a nap while he’s at school. Obviously, the poor kid is screaming for a real life dog but unfortunately he’s allergic so his stuffed animals get the best care in the world.

The kids had a lot of fun playing and opening gifts.



My in-laws know me too well because I got lots of coffee!!



Sunday morning, Danny and I went to the gym. I started out on the treadmill for about 15 minutes. I ran for five minutes by my Achilles tendon still hurts so I run so I had to stop. Grrrr…it’s annoying!

After the treadmill, we did some shoulder exercises including: upright rows, plate front raises, cable lateral raises, barbell overhead press, and the overhead press machine.

Then I did a few of the calf exercises that I do in physical therapy – calf raises on a step and single leg touchdowns. I was diagnosed with compartment syndrome in my calves a few years ago and my physical therapist wants me to work on strengthening my calves.

Danny and I finished up our workout with some jump roping and stretching.



I’m heading to the gym this morning and then I have some Christmas cookies to bake! I’m making cookies for the kid’s room at the gym, my physical therapist, and for Christmas Eve.

Have a great day!

  • Are you ready for Christmas?
  • What’s on your Christmas wish list this year?
  • Growing up, did you play with stuffed animals?


Filed under Christmas, Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

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 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