Category Archives: Family Fun

St. Patrick’s Day Fun

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Last night my family came over for dinner. I spent the day in the kitchen cooking corned beef…

…or I just threw it in the crock pot and walked away.

And I am wearing green – don’t you see my socks?

It came out really good…or so my family tells me. I’m not a meat eater, but I did try one little bite, and I just couldn’t get past the texture. I do not like the texture of meat at all. But it smelled really good. I had an Amy’s frozen pizza instead. :)

My dad brought over some green wigs to add to the St. Patrick’s Day fun. He’s very festive.

My niece was a little unsure what to think about the green wig at first, but by the end of the night, she loved it.

The boys drank their green beer.

My dad and stepmom brought a delicious giant cookie. Cookies are always so much better when they’re giant.

My dad also came up with the brilliant idea to bring over green silly string. I squirted Danny with the silly string once…

and then my family decided to bombard me with the silly string!

Thanks guys. I love you so much.

Danny automatically got out the vacuum and cleaned everything up because he’s a neat freak like that :)

It was a really good night having fun with my family and eating lots of food and dessert.

How did you spend St. Patrick’s Day?


Filed under Dinner, Family Fun

Corned Beefs A Cooking!

Good Morning!

Today’s Workout

  • Boot Camp – 60 minutes
  • Plank #16: 2 minutes 58 seconds

I was up bright and early to go to Boot Camp this morning. I haven’t been to Boot Camp in a while, and it’s such a great workout, so I figured that I better go. It’s hard to wake up at 6:30 am on a Saturday though.

Post Boot Camp:

The Boot Camp instructor always points out that at least you’re done with your workout by 8 am. It is nice to workout first thing in the morning and be done with it. Boot Camp is definitely the class that gets my heart rate up the fastest. It’s tough.

Some of the things we did in Boot Camp today:

  • Run laps
  • Run laps while holding a stability over our heads
  • Lunges on a step with weights
  • Jumps over the step
  • Burpees on the step
  • Plank on a stability ball
  • Sit-ups on a stability ball
  • Superman on a stability ball
  • Biceps curls
  • Triceps push-ups on a stability ball

And that’s just some of what we do! After class, I did plank #16 – I’m almost up to 3 minutes!

After the gym, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some stuff for our St. Patrick’s Day party tonight.

My family is coming over, and I am making corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes for dinner.

There will also be green beer involved, but not for me. I am not a fan of green beer…or any beer. I’ll make up for not drinking green beer by eating a brownie. That’s kind of the same thing, right?!

Last year, we tried to go to The Claddagh for St. Patrick’s Day but ended up at Houlihan’s.


For breakfast this morning, I splurged and had toast with real peanut butter…and I was too lazy to mix up the PB2. You know because mixing powdered peanut butter with a little bit of water is tough work. :)

Have a great Saturday! Don’t forget to enter my Alexia Foods Giveaway – ends tomorrow!

  • Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Do you like corned beef?
  • Green beer: yes or no?
  • Did you workout today? Even take a Boot Camp class?
  • Plank time?!?!


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

Easy Crock Pot Dinner

Well, it’s been snowing here in Chicagoland since about 5am. We’re expected to get 8 to 12 inches of snow. Great. I thought Spring was supposed to be coming?

Our school district was one of the few that didn’t cancel school today, so the kids were kind of bummed to not have a snow day. Jaden still had fun playing in the snow while waiting for the bus and brushing off my car.

I guess we’re used to snow here in Illinois.

After I made sure Jaden got on the bus safely, I headed to the gym. I started off with my plank-a-day #5 challenge. I held it for 2 minutes and 37 seconds today.

It was tough. I’m trying to hold it longer each day, even if it’s only by a second, and now I’m kind of wishing that I would have done a shorter plank the first day!

Danny is progressively getting better at his plank too. His time yesterday was 1 minute and 45 seconds.

Today’s Workout

  • Plank 2:37
  • Elliptical – 15 minutes
  • Butts and Guts class – 60 minutes
  • 2.04 miles treadmill, walked and jogged

There was two of us in Butts and Guts class today. That is all.

Post workout, I had a vanilla Greek yogurt with some delicious PB2 mixed in. I wonder of I could freeze it and eat it like frozen yogurt?

I also stopped at the store to pick up a few things for dinner since I’m sure we’ll be snowed in tonight. I decided to take out the crock pot and make something super simple – shredded chicken and gravy over biscuits.

You only need three ingredients – chicken, gravy, and biscuits.

I bought the skinless, boneless tenderloins because they were on sale. I cook them in the crock pot with a bit of water for 5-6 hours on low. Then, I shred the chicken, add the gravy, and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve the chicken and gravy over biscuits and you’re done! Easy, simple, and good! (Don’t worry, I’ll add some kind of vegetable in there too :) )

  • What’s your easy, go-to dinner?
  • Have you ever frozen Greek yogurt? Good?
  • What’s your weather like? Any snow?


Filed under Dinner, Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

Chip Tasting Party Fun

Yesterday, we went to my grandparent’s house for a family game night and to try out the three new flavors of Lay’s potato chips.

Danny and me:

Sriracha, chicken & waffles, and cheesy garlic bread chips.

Surprisingly, my favorite flavor ended up being the one that I thought I would like the least – the chicken & waffle flavor!

I think I liked it because they tasted like maple syrup and were sweet. It sounds like an odd combo but all they tasted like was syrup. The cheesy garlic bread weren’t as good as I had hoped. I didn’t like the cheese flavor, but I’m also not a fan of cheese-its and cheese goldfish. And the sriracha were just way too spicy for my mild loving tasting buds.

It was a fun night visiting, playing games, and eating. Marlene baked awesome glazed donut cupcakes. Donuts are my #1 love in life.


Danny and I started out the day doing the plank-a-day challenge. I’m calling it day #3 (even though I missed day #1) since it’s March 3rd.

Plank Day #3

Danny: 1 minute 42 seconds

Heather: 2 minutes 33 seconds

Today’s plank was tough. I started to struggle around a minute and a half, but pushed through to get three seconds longer than yesterday! Doing this every day might be a little bit harder than I thought.

Today’s Workout

  • Stairmaster – 32 minutes, 134 floors
  • 1.11 miles treadmill

I headed to the gym late this morning to do a quick cardio workout. Post workout, I had a carrot cake Clif bar.

So good! I found these at Whole Foods last week, and also picked one up for my dad and Marlene. I have never seen the carrot cake flavor before and now I’m wishing that I would have bought more!

Have a good afternoon!

  • What was your plank time today?
  • Any workout? Rest day?
  • Favorite Clif bar?


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

Xtrain Workout DVDs by Cathe

Good afternoon! I hope you’re all having a great Saturday!

Today’s workout was something a little bit different!

Recently, I received the Xtrain workout DVDs by Cathe Friedrich to try out. Workout DVDs are great because they don’t require a membership and can be done in the privacy of your own home.

The concept behind the Xtrain program is something different – Xtrain is a total body fitness program based on undulating periodization ( just a fancy term meaning we constantly mix things up to maximize your results.

And Cathe’s program is designed to fit anyone’s busy schedule and there are hundreds of ways to do the program – each of the Xtrain cardio workouts comes with several options to do a short single muscle group strength training workout at the end of your cardio workout. This is a great option for people who want to get their cardio and strength training done in the same workout.

The DVD set comes with a nine DVDs and a user’s manual which explains the program and the concept behind it, proper diet, and the equipment needed. It’s a very detailed user’s manual which is a nice addition to the DVD set.

The Xtrain 30-90 day programs comes with nine DVDs:

  • Disc 1: Chest, back, and shoulders
  • Disc 2: Bi’s and Tri’s
  • Disc 3: Burn Sets
  • Disc 4: Super Cuts
  • Disc 5: Legs
  • Disc 6: Cardio Leg Blast
  • Disc 7: All Out Low Impact HIIT
  • Disc 8: Hard Strikes
  • Disc 9: Tabatacise

I love that these DVDs provide a full body workout along with some HIIT and Tabata workouts! I got out my fitness equipment and got to work!

I spend a lot of time in the gym, so doing these DVDs was a great way to change things up and challenge my body. I also loved that the workouts were easy to follow and Cathe did a great job explaining everything as she went along.

Even Danny and Jaden got in on the action.

We did the Tabatacise DVD. I liked it because you were able to pick what level of exercise that you wanted to do.

Tabata is a great workout – it’s a short but intense type of training that helps improve your aerobic capacity. 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest, done for a certain amount of time.

Overall, I really liked the Xtrain DVDs and could see myself using them on a regular basis. I love that although it’s a program, there are so many ways to adjust it to your personal lifestyle.

I also love that it combines cardio and strength training so that your able to get a full workout.


I’ve decided to do a plank a day challenge for March. I missed yesterday, so I am starting today, March 2nd. I plan to do a plank everyday of March and hopefully will get progressively longer each day.

I would love if you guys joined in on the plank a day challenge! Comment and let me know what your time is!

March 2nd Plank:

Heather: 2m 30s

Danny 1m 35s

It’s a good thing that I worked out a lot today because I had to stop at the Girl Scout cookie stand on my way into the grocery store. How can you pass up Girl Scout cookies?!

I bought a box of my favorite – thin mints, and I picked up a new flavor, thank u berry munch. They have cranberries and white chocolate chips. Don’t worry, I plan on bringing them with tonight when we get together with my family so that I don’t eat them all myself. :)

What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie?

Have a great rest of your weekend!


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

The Weekend: Birthday Party Edition

The weekend in pictures:



Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you.



Filed under Family Fun, Fun

Upcoming Races

Good afternoon! I hope you’re all having a nice Saturday! It’s cold and snowy here in Illinois.

Today’s Workout

  • 4.59 miles treadmill
  • 10 minutes stretching

I woke up at about 7:15 am this morning (because Jaden was calling me over and over from his bedroom until I finally woke up). Since I was up, I decided to head to the gym. I like going to the gym right away on the weekends, otherwise the later it gets in the day, the less unlikely I am to go to the gym.

On the treadmill, I did an interval workout. I walked at 4.0 mph for two minutes then I ran at 6.5 mph for two minutes, repeating a total of seven times. Then I walked/jogged another two and a half miles or so. I finished up my workout with ten minutes of stretching.


During the week, I usually eat breakfast before I go to the gym, but on the weekends, I eat breakfast after I go to the gym. During the week, I have to get the kids ready for school and on the bus, so I can’t go to the gym right when I wake up like I do on the weekends.

Today, I had egg whites and a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese on a whole wheat English muffin. And coffee, of course.


Earlier in the week, I signed up for a couple of 5ks. One is in the beginning of April (the weekend after the Egg Shell Shuffle) and is local. It is literally about 5 minutes from my house. I like running smaller local races because I don’t really enjoy crowds. I know that larger races can be fun and exciting, but I still prefer the smaller ones.

I also signed up for the Run Like A Mother 5k, which is a womens only race and takes place on Mother’s Day. This will be my third year running it. The first year, Marlene and I ran it. (Not together though because she’s super speedy).

Last year, Marlene, my stepmom, and I all ran it.

This year the three of us are running it again, and I am hoping that both my sister in-laws will join us!


Jaden and I were out running errands, so I stopped at Subway to get some sandwiches. I also had some yogurt covered pretzels…and some Hershey kisses.

Well, I’m off to get ready to celebrate some birthdays tonight! Have a great Saturday!

  • Do you eat before you workout?
  • What was for breakfast or lunch today?
  • Any races coming up? Do you prefer smaller races or larger races?
  • Did you workout today?


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

Dance Off

Happy Friday! Can you believe that it’s the last weekend of February?! Time sure flies when you’re old…er than five.


Last night, we had “make your own mini pizza” night, using mini bagels and English muffins.

They say that if you let kids help make their own food, they’ll be more likely to eat it. Yeah, not true with my kids. Jaden had the best time making his mini pizza, but when it was done, he wanted nothing to do with it.

He told me that it wasn’t sweet, like normal pizza. I don’t know what kind of pizza you’re eating, kid, but give some to me.

Jaden also insists on wearing his Abraham Lincoln hat from President’s day. I think Jaden feels a special bond with Lincoln because they share a birthday…and he likes pennies.

Today’s Workout

  • 1.1 miles treadmill, walked
  • BodyPump – 60 minutes
  • Zumba – 60 minutes

I haven’t been to Zumba in a couple of weeks, so I decided to stick around today. And I’m glad that I did because we had a dance-off in Zumba today. We formed two groups and the first group did their best booty shaking moves while the other group watched. Then, the second group did their best booty shaking moves. I’m pretty sure we won…

My secret wish is life has always been to be involved in a) a dance-off or b) a flash mob dance. Secret life dream fulfilled! :)

My second favorite part of Zumba was dancing to the lyrics, My girl got a big ol’ booty, Your girl got a little ol’ booty. Does working out really get any funner than that?! No, no it doesn’t.

After the gym, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some gallons of water. I have been really forgetful lately – a few weeks ago, I bought a bag of Honeycrisp apples (expensive!) at Target and when I got home, I realized I never put them in the cart after I paid for them. Then, yesterday, I bought three gallons of water and ended up leaving those in the cart after I paid for them. Darn. And the store wasn’t very close, so I just couldn’t go back and get them.

Anyway, whenever I go to the grocery store, some invisible force greater than me always makes me walk down the seasonal candy aisle where I stare lovingly at all the candy. And now they have Easter candy out. Sigh.


I love jelly beans. I love them. But luckily, I was strong enough and I resisted those delicious stupid jelly beans. I really need to stop walking down that aisle and torturing myself.

My dad’s birthday is Sunday and my stepmom’s birthday is Monday, so we’re going over to their house tomorrow to celebrate and there will be cake involved! I guess I better spend a little bit of extra time in the gym tomorrow morning…

Have a great weekend!

  • Do you have any secret wishes to fulfill in life? Anything silly or serious?
  • Jellybeans: yes or no?
  • Any plans this weekend?


Filed under Dinner, Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

Running, Running

Yesterday evening, Danny brought me home the best Valentine. It wasn’t chocolate. It wasn’t flowers. It was…

…coffee!! ( I don’t know why my head is so weirdly tilted).

I was way more excited for the coffee than I was for the chocolate covered strawberries (which were delicious, by the way). I have been looking for the Golden French Toast coffee everywhere, and I haven’t been able to find it. I mentioned how hard it was to find the other day, and Danny went out to Wal-Mart near his work and was able to find it!

Now, I know he really loves me…I wasn’t too sure before :)  I also know that I have an odd obsession with coffee. I’ve got my eye on that Keurig Vue coffee maker…too bad the thing cost $200!


Our dinner last night was very nice. We had a candlelight dinner with every candle I could find in the house, and the kids got to order off their menus. It was a lot of fun. After dinner, Danny took Jacob to archery, and we had dessert when they got home.

I ate a lot.

Today’s Workout

  • 9.33 miles treadmill (!!!!)
  • 15 minutes stretching

Yes, you read that correctly – I ran 9.33 miles today!!

I decided not to go to BodyPump this morning and run on the treadmill instead. I was feeling good so my goal was to finish 5 miles in under an hour. I finished 5 miles in 55:34. Then I figured why not keep going?

I didn’t have to pick my niece up today, so I had some extra time to spend in the gym. I completed 9.33 miles in one hour and 51 minutes. I was able to run the first five miles without stopping at a slow and steady pace. After five miles, I had to incorporate some walk breaks.

I felt awesome, especially because I tend to stick to 3 or 4 miles at a time. 9.33 miles is my second longest distance. Bring on The Biggest Loser 15k!

Post 9.33 miles:

I wore my calves sleeves during my run, and surprisingly, my right quad is the most sore right now. I did make sure to stretch after my run. Maybe I should pull the foam roller out…

According to my BodyMedia Fit , I have taken over 17,000 steps and burned over 1800 calories by 11 am! A good way to start the weekend!

Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Do you have any plans this weekend?
  • If you run, what’s your normal distance? Do you incorporate walk breaks?
  • Any workout today?
  • What kind of coffee maker do you have?


Filed under Dinner, Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My wonderful husband is so funny…and knows me too well. This morning, sitting on the kitchen table was an empty bag of candy hearts…and a snack size Ziploc filled with 10 candy hearts.

I was kind of confused at first . Then Danny told me that he know how much I love candy hearts but always get mad at myself for eating way too many. So, he opened the bag and pre-portioned all of the candy hearts into single serving bags! Each bag has 10 candy hearts and is 120 calories.

Oh, and he brought all the other bags to work with him, so I couldn’t eat them even if I wanted. Well played, Danny. Well played.

Oh my gosh, I love him. He said he wasn’t sure how I’d take it – if I’d be mad or think it was funny. I thought it was pretty clever of him to come up with that. And it made me realize that ten candy hearts for 120 calories sure seems like a lot.

He also got me delicious chocolate covered strawberries.

My wonderful Dad also got me a little present.

Wine glasses filled with chocolate! What a sweet Dad I have :)  He also got a tiny bottle of Godiva liqueur for me and a tiny Jack for Danny.

I left a trail of Hershey kisses down the stairs for the kids, and they both had a little present waiting for them on the table. And yes, those are Christmas Hershey kisses. I had a whole bag leftover!

I’m saving all my Valentine’s treats for later and started the day off by heading to the gym.

Today’s Workout

  • 4.59 miles, treadmill

That’s the farthest I’ve gone in a while!

My right calf is still very tight and sore, so I wasn’t able to run too much. I alternated between walking and running for about an hour.

Awhile ago, I has diagnosed with compartment syndrome basically meaning my calf muscles are too tight in their sheaths. Some days they are worse than others, but lately they’ve been pretty sore. I am trying to remember to stretch and foam roll and will slowly try to ease back into running.

Post workout snack was a cranberry almond simple bar.

This afternoon, I am have Jaden’s Valentine’s Day party at school, and when we get home, I’m going to make our special Valentine’s Day dinner.

On the menu:

  • Caesar salad
  • Stuffed shells
  • Garlic bread
  • Funfetti cake (and chocolate covered strawberries!)

My sprinkles got a little crazy.

Enjoy your day!

  • Any plans tonight?
  • Do you ever pre-portion food?
  • Favorite holiday?
  • Favorite dessert?


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out