Category Archives: Family Fun

Best Appointment Ever

Good afternoon! How was your weekend? Before I get into my weekend, I have some great news to share – the doctor gave me the okay to start a run/walk program!

I am so happy!

I had my post surgery check-up with my hip doctor this morning. Can you believe it’s been 4.5 months since my surgery?!

He said that as long as my quad and hip didn’t bother me too much, I could start a run/walk program in 5 minutes increments.

So the first day, I would run one minute and walk four minutes. I would repeat this a few times as long as I felt good. Then I would not be able to run the next day and the following day, I would run two minutes and walk three minutes for a few intervals. Then I would rest the next day and continue with three minutes of running and two minutes of walking.

I would repeat this until I am up to about 10-15 minutes of straight running! Yay! But if my quad starts to burn like it tends too when I overdo it then I need to scale back. He said the quad pain should go away in the next few months but not overnight.

He also gave me the okay to do some group fitness classes like yoga, Pilates, strength training classes, etc as long as I start slow and avoid any position where I have to turn my body because my hip isn’t quite ready for that yet.

Overall, my said my progress looks great and the range of motion in my hip looks great. I just have to continue doing closed circuit exercises such as squats, lunges, and the leg press to help regain more strength in my leg. He said I should also be fine with doing physical therapy once a week. My next appointment is at the beginning of January to check on my progress.


Let’s back up to this weekend…


On Saturday morning, I was making breakfast before Danny and I went to the gym and I cracked open a double yolk egg!


I was a little more excited than I care to admit about that double yolk because that’s never happened to me and I thought it was so cool. But I also thought it was weird and wouldn’t eat it. I gave it to Danny instead.

After breakfast, we went to the gym. Danny and I did some back exercises including:

  • lat pulldowns
  • seated rows
  • t-bar raises (a new favorite!)
  • straight arm pullovers
  • deadlifts
  • bentover rows

After our workout, we stopped at the Giving Tree and picked out some tags to buy toys for kids for Christmas. We picked three tags for boys and then we’ll go back and deliver our toys to the box.


It’s a great way for the kids to help others who might not have as much as they do. They really look forward to it every year and enjoy picking out a toy for a kid their age.

Saturday evening, we went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for dinner. Crystal made a delicious chicken tortilla stew for dinner. I made a no-bake chocolate lasagna for dessert.


Jaden helped. He is my little chef, One of his favorite tv shows is Chopped on The Food Network.


The chocolate lasagna was so easy to make and so delicious! I found the recipe on Pinterest (of course!). The bottom layer was a Oreo crust. Danny and Jaden crushed the Oreos and I added some melted butter so they would stay together in the bottom of the pan. The next layer was cream cheese mixed with one cup Cool Whip, sugar, and a little milk. The third layer was chocolate pudding and the top layer was Cool Whip. I topped the whole thing with chocolate chips.



On Saturday, we also stopped at Old Navy because they were having 50% off all outwear until 1 pm. I was looking for a coat for Jacob but all the ones in his size were just too thin. I did find a black vest with a fur hood for myself for 50%.


I used to have a black vest from H&M that I loved and suddenly I can’t find it. I have had it for years and years but now it’s just gone. I was happy to find a new one at Old Navy even though I had to ask an employee to take one off a mannequin because it was the only one in my size.


Saturday evening was the first snow we’ve had that actually stuck and Jaden was so excited to build a snowman on Sunday. A mini snowman.


Sunday, Danny and I went to the gym again and worked on shoulders. We had a good workout and then came home to watch The Bears and The Blackhawks.

And that was my weekend!

  • How was your weekend?
  • Have you gotten snow yet?


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Recipes, Running

Increasing My Distance

Happy birthday to my sister-in-law, Crystal!


We went out Saturday night to Carrabba’s to celebrate!

Danny and I:


Jaden and my mom:



This morning, I went my longest distance on the treadmill since my hip surgery – four miles! A fitting distance since my surgery was four months ago yesterday!


It definitely took me a while to complete four miles, and I am really feeling it in my hip and leg now so I am going to take it easy for the rest of the day. I’m happy that I can finally start increasing my distance.

After the treadmill, I worked on biceps and finished up my workout with some stretching and foam rolling.

I haven’t worn my Polar heart rate monitor lately, so I wore it today and I burned over 800 calories!


After the gym, I stopped at Wal-Mart and I could not pass up these peppermint ice cream Drumsticks.


Peppermint ice cream is one of all time favorite ice creams and I wait all year to eat it. I have never seen peppermint Drumsticks before, so I had to buy them!

They also had Amy’s full-size pizzas for $5.47 which is the cheapest I have seen them anywhere.

Have a great afternoon!

  • What’s your favorite holiday/seasonal food? I love peppermint ice cream, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie!
  • Did you workout today?



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

Halloween Weekend

Happy Monday! How was your weekend and Halloween?

Friday afternoon, Jaden has his Halloween party at school. His costume was a light-up stick man, but unfortunately it broke at school so he had to wear his costume from last year to trick-or-treat.


We meet my brother, sister-in-law, and niece at my dad and step mom’s house to take the kids trick-or-treating.



The weather was cold and extremely windy. I was very happy to be done trick-or-treating after about an hour and a half.

My the time we got back to my dad’s house, my hands were bleeding even though I wore gloves and my cheeks were red and wind burned and they stayed red for two days.

I always tell Danny that my body just wasn’t made for cold weather and we should move somewhere warm.

On Saturday morning, Danny and I went to the gym together. We haven’t been to the gym together in forever. We did some back exercises together and then I did some of my physical therapy exercises.

Our back exercises included:

  • seated rows
  • lat pulldowns
  • straight arm pullovers
  • deadlifts

I haven’t done deadlifts since my surgery and I was very happy that my hip seemed to be fine with them!

After the gym, we stopped at Starbucks and I was very excited to see that they had the holidays drinks! Of course, I had to have a gingerbread latte :)


Saturday night, my in-laws watched the kids so Danny and I could have a date night.


We went to Mago’s Mexican restaurant and then saw a movie. We were going to see The Maze Runner but decided to see Gone Girl at the last minute. I’m glad we did because Gone Girl was just as crazy as the book.

I’ve read the book but Danny hasn’t so it was fun seeing his reaction to the movie.

Sunday evening we watched Skyscraper Live to see Nik Wallenda walk blindfolded across Chicago skyscrapers. It was so cool to see something like that happening so close to home. Just watching him walk across two skyscrapers on a wire less than an inch wide without a safety harness or safety net was enough to make me want to faint!

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I’m off to the gym this morning! Have a great day!!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Have you seen/read Gone Girl?
  • Are you afraid of heights?


Filed under Family Fun, Fun, Halloween, Working Out

Halloween Food and Pumpkin Carving Party 2014

On Sunday afternoon, we got together at my grandparent’s house for our annual Halloween food and pumpkin carving party.

Every year, we all bring a Halloween food dish that we keep secret until the party. We have fun seeing what everyone brought and tasting them! Then, we spend the afternoon carving our pumpkins.

Once all the food has been tasted and all the pumpkins have been carved, we vote for our favorites. We have been having this party for years and we still somehow manage to come up with new food ideas every year!

This year, Danny and  I made eyeball cookies that I found on Pinterest.


They were really easy to make and I separated the dough into four bowls so I could dye each one a different color.


We also made pumpkin pie fluff dip with apples and animal crackers as dippers.


There were so many great foods this year!

Vampire teeth donuts:


Vampire teeth cookies:


Bat poop:


Blood clot biscuits (made with biscuits and cherries):

079I heard these biscuits were delicious, but I couldn’t bring myself to try them.

Pumpkin pot pie:


Mini pot pies:


Infested brain jello:


“Nigel” – the man made of meat:


After all the delicious food, we got to work on our pumpkin carving.




Honestly, pumpkin carving isn’t my favorite thing to do so this year I painted my pumpkins.


I painted them like donuts! I thought them came out so cute!

My sister-in-law, Crystal, did an amazing job on her pumpkin. Instead of carving, she transformed her pumpkin into a candy corn blow fish! She spent a long time on that pumpkin and did such a great job!


There were a bunch of great pumpkins!!




Well, except for trick-or-treating, all of our Halloween festivities are over for the year! I can’t wait to see what next year brings!!

Have a great day!



Filed under Family Fun, Halloween

Halloween Game 2014

Yesterday when I was talking about our annual Halloween game, I completely forgot that it was my dear, sweet, wonderful Aunt Pam who started the whole Halloween game in the first place.

Picture 2265

She started it about five years ago with a Pirate Murder Mystery Dinner game. I’m pretty sure I ended up being the murderer that year.

Picture 2267

Since my grandparent’s hosted the game last night, this means next year it’s back to my aunt to host!

Yesterday’s game was a lot of fun.


We split up into three teams and had to follow clues to certain locations to retrieve items in our team’s color.

We saw some scary stuff along the way.


At the end, one member of our team had to bob for apples!


It was a lot of fun and a great family game that brought us all a little closer! :)


This morning, the four of us got flu shots and then we had a bunch of errands to run. We had a last minute change to Danny’s Halloween costume so we had to go to a few different stores to get what we needed!

Then we came home, got our costumes ready, hallowed out our pumpkins, and started our Halloween food for tomorrow!

I am very excited to tonight’s Halloween party!

Have a great weekend!!



Filed under Family Fun, Halloween

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! This weekend is our biggest Halloween weekend yet! We have lots planned.

Tonight, we have a Halloween game planned by my grandparents. Saturday we have our big Halloween party and costumes will be revealed. And Sunday we have our annual pumpkin carving and Halloween food night.

It’s going to be a super busy weekend but tons of fun!

Friday Favorites

  • My Family

I am very lucky to such a close family, even if we get a little crazy around the holidays! Tonight, I am looking forward to our annual Halloween game. My aunt and uncle are even flying in from California to join in all the Halloween fun!

My dad first had the idea of doing a Halloween game a few years ago. He did the game the first year which included a lot of clues and finding certain items, scavenger hunting, and trivia.

The game begins…

Picture 8293

My sister-in-law hosted the game the next year and she made it more of an Amazing Race style game…complete with having to lie inside a coffin.


There was a camera in the coffin so everyone could watch you freak out from the outside.

P1010253I was plugging my ears in the above picture. For some reason plugging my ears makes me feel safer?!

I made up the game last year and it was a huge scavenger hunt with mini games along the way.

One of the scavenger hunt items was to find a black cat.


Mission accomplished.

This year my grandparent’s are hosting the game and I am really excited to play tonight!

  • The Gym

I really do love the gym. I workout about 5 days a week.

Yesterday, I was finally able to walk one mile on the treadmill since having hip surgery…so of course, I had to take a bathroom selfie.


After having hip surgery and not being able to do much of anything for awhile, I really appreciate the fact that I can workout. Being stuck in bed is no fun and I don’t take being able to workout for granted.

I used to be able ti run miles and now my biggest accomplishment is being able to walk one mile without stopping. But it’s progress and that’s what’s important.

  • Throwback Pictures

I posted this old picture on Instagram yesterday. I love looking at old pictures of my kids and seeing how much they’ve grown, especially Jacob.


Jacob was probably about two or three in this picture and it’s amazing seeing him grow since he was only 1 lb and 14 oz when he was born. He was a micropreemie and I love seeing him go from being tiny to a toddler to a teenage.

And I look really young in that picture. That’s a plus. :)

Fun Fact: Jacob has been wearing glasses since he was 6 months old. People always used to ask me if he was wearing real glasses. No, I put fake glasses on my infant. Yes, they’re real.

  • Shamrock Farms Rockin’ Refuel

20141023_101003 (1)

I found these protein drinks at the grocery store and I bought one to try. They are delicious and  I love that they have 20 grams of protein. I have been drinking one after my workout.

I’m off to the gym this morning and then I have a bunch of errands to run to get ready for this weekend! Have a great Friday!!

  • What are your Friday favorites?





Filed under Family Fun, Fitness

Shoulder Workout and Pumpkin Farm

Good morning! Happy Sunday!

On Friday morning, I went to the gym and did a shoulder workout. I am always looking for new shoulder exercises to do and I found a great shoulder workout on the FitnessRX website.

I did the “Ultimate Shredder” workout which consisting on the following exercises done in a giant set:

  • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Presses
  • Alternating Dumbbell Shoulder Raises
  • Dumbbell Seated Rear Delt Raises

I did each exercises for 20 reps back to back with no rest in between. I repeated it five times with two minutes rest in between sets. By the time I was done, my shoulders were dead. Dead. That was a tough workout.

I finished up my workout with a little bit of my physical therapy exercises and some core work. I am very happy because my physical therapist gave me the okay to do sit-ups on the stability ball, side planks, and regular planks. I had to start with doing the regular planks on my knees because my adductor muscle would kick in when it shouldn’t but now I can do a plank on my toes for 30 seconds.

I am just very happy to be progressing and getting back to where I used to be pre-surgery. Darn hip bone being all misshapen.


On Saturday, we went to a local pumpkin farm with my mom.


It was beautiful out yesterday, and the pumpkin farm was crowded. I am the kind of person that can’t handle large crowds for very long. Luckily, the pumpkin farm in large and spread out so it wasn’t too bad.

The kids went on some rides.


Jaden’s favorite part was riding the camel.


In totally unrelated news, my brother in law was on the news the other day!

He is a firefighter and the local news station does a feature on Firehouse Chefs. Local firefighters come into the station and get to cook their recipe on tv! I thought it was very cool!!


Have a great Sunday!

  • Favorite shoulder exercise?
  • Do you go to the pumpkin farm?
  • Have you ever been on tv?


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

Doctors and Drinks

Good afternoon! How was your weekend?!

This morning, I had my three month check-up with my hip surgeon. The doctor said that I’m right on track where I should be. He said that the adductor pain I was having was totally normal and after about 12 weeks post surgery the recovery goes a lot faster.

I still have to do at least six more weeks of physical therapy and I can slowly start progressing to exercises like squats and core work. He said I will eventually be back to 100% and do all the things I used to do, like running, but it will just take awhile to get to that point.

I have another appointment in six weeks and he said that at that appointment he will let me know if I can start running or not. He said that I am not able to run until I build up more strength in my right leg but he’s hopeful that in another 6-8 weeks, I can start a walk to run program. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

I didn’t realize what a big surgery and recovery process this was going to be! I’m just glad that eventually I will be totally healed and normal, and the physical therapist said my running should even improve since my hip problem is fixed!

Yesterday I felt really good. Normally I can only walk about 10 minutes or so before my hip starts to tighten but yesterday we took the kids to a nearby forest preserve and we walked for almost 50 minutes.


We did take one bathroom break and about a five break to take some pictures but I was amazed at how good I felt walking.


I haven’t walked that much without breaks since before my surgery! I was a little tired by the time we got back to the car but overall I felt great! I feel like I am finally making some progress!

Backing up to the weekend a bit…

On Saturday morning Jacob had a soccer game. After his game, we came home and I started making chili because my family was coming over for a bonfire and a Halloween drink night (I told you my family is crazy about Halloween).


My dad’s Halloween drink was amazing and I was scared to drink it because the darn thing was boiling!


Luckily it was only dry ice that gave it that effect and we were able to drink it. Leave it to my dad to make the craziest drink!


It was a fun night of chili, s’mores, and Halloween drinks!

I haven’t been to the gym in a few days because we’ve been so busy and I had a doctor appointment this morning but I plan on getting back to the gym tomorrow morning!

Have a great afternoon!

  • What did you do this weekend?


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Halloween

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