Category Archives: Fun

Running, Walking, and The Weekend

Good afternoon!

On Friday the weather was beautiful so after I got off of work, I took our puppy, Baylee, out for a run/walk. I haven’t ran outside in forever and Baylee has never ran outside so I was surprised at how well we both did.

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My calves always get extremely tight when I first start running outside and this time was no exception. My calves are still sore and tight today. Baylee did good running and made it about two miles or so before she needed to walk for a bit. It was more of a run/walk but it went good!

Sunday the weather was gorgeous and 80 degrees so we took Baylee to a nearby forest preserve for a walk and a family picnic.

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Baylee loved the water. As soon as she saw it, she immediately got in. She’s going to be a water doggy!

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We walked for a little bit letting Baylee and the kids explore.

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We packed a lunch to eat and the kids picked out boxed water to bring.

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At first, I thought the saying on the boxed water meant that the water tasted better but it actually means that it’s better for the environment than plastic bottles.

This morning, I went to the gym. I took a new Bootcamp class that my gym just started offering and it kicked my butt. Before class I did a few chest and tricep exercises including:

  • dumbbell chest presses
  • tricep dips
  • push-ups
  • overhead tricep extension
  • cable chest flies

It was a great workout today!

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Post workout, I had a Premier Protein bar and a Starbucks cold brew coffee.

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Have a great afternoon! Go Chicago Blackhawks!!

  • How was your weekend?
  • Did you workout today?
  • Favorite fitness class?

 

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Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Fun, Running

Valentine’s Day Food and Treats

Disclaimer: I received the PRE 100% grass fed beef at no charge for part of a Valentine’s Day post. As usual, I only work with companies whose products I stand behind. All opinions are 100% my own…and Danny and Jacob’s. :)

Hello!

I have a fun post for you guys today – Valentine’s Day food and treats! I have always said that I believe Valentine’s Day is for celebrating all those in your life that you love – your spouse, significant other, parents, grandparents, kids, neighbor, etc.

I have a few fun Valentine’s Day food ideas that you can give to others as a gift, cook for those you love, or even cook together with someone. My little helper for a lot of these recipes was my son Jaden.

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He absolutely loves to cook and bake.

Heart Shaped Pancakes

First up, is a super easy breakfast idea – heart shaped pancakes!

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These pancakes are super easy to make. All you need to do is make pancake batter or use a pre-mixed batter and put it into a Ziploc bag. Push all the batter into the corner of the bag and cut off just the very tip of the bag.

On a hot pan, use the batter in the Ziploc bag to make a heart shape and fill it in. Cook a few minutes on both sides and you have a cute heart shaped pancakes. This is great for kids but really who can resist a heart-shaped pancake?!

  • PRE 100% Grass Fed Beef

Steak is always a great gift! Danny and Jacob love steak and when PRE Brands contacted me about their 100% grass fed beef I was so excited to have Danny and Jacob try it out! It would make a great Valentine’s Day dinner or just a great gift in general.

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Here are some of the things I liked about the PRE beef:

  • the whole package is transparent so you can see both sides of the meat. Often with cuts of meat in the grocery store, you can only see one side of the meat. PRE has a 360 degree view so you know exactly what you’re getting.
  • it’s vacuum sealed which leads to a consistent quality and temperature, and a long shelf life.
  • it’s sourced from the top 10% most trustworthy sources in the world,making it extra fresh and tasty
  • PRE Brands uses a trademarked “15-point Obsessive Pick Process,” putting every single cut under a microscope, resulting in the very best quality and taste.

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(Baylee really really wanted that ground beef!)

While I don’t eat beef myself, I do believe in feeding my family quality, fresh, trustworthy food and PRE lives up to that. And Danny and Jacob can vouch for the taste – they both loved it!

I used a grill pan on the stove to cook the steaks medium-rare and the boys feasted on them with mashed potatoes. They both gave them two thumbs up!

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  • Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

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This was my first time ever making brownies from scratch and they turned out delicious! I found a recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction, and Jaden and I got to work making them! (Sally’s Baking Addiction has the best dessert recipes I have ever tried!)

I was worried at first that making brownies from scratch would be hard to make but they were fairly easy. You just have to make sure that measure ingredients perfectly when baking – that’s why I always measure ingredients with my food scale.

We made the brownies and then made the cream cheese topping. We swirled them together for some delicious red velvet cheesecake brownies. Just make sure that you don’t over swirl!

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  • Chocolate Chip Cookies

Finally, we baked chocolate chip cookies because they are delicious and who wouldn’t love receiving fresh baked chocolate chip cookies?! (And yes, it’s another recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction).

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These cookies are perfectly soft and melt in your mouth. Just to be sure not to overbake them!

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You could add Valentine’s Day sprinkles to the cookies batter or just use them to decorate the plate!

  • What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?
  • Do you have any Valentine’s Day food or treat recipes to share?

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Family Fun, Fun, Product Review, Recipes

Halloween 2015

Happy November 1st!!! Let the holiday season begin!! I tried to get Danny to put up our outside Christmas decorations today but I don’t think he’s ready to jump aboard my All Things Christmas Holiday Train. 😉

Yesterday, we meet my mom and family friend at the mall so the kids could trick-or-treat a little bit. The mall was insane and that’s probably the last time I’ll do that but the kids had fun. In the afternoon, we went over to my brother and sister-in-law’s house to go trick-or-treating and for dinner.

Jacob was a banana yet again. My niece was Skye from Paw Patrol and Jaden was a polar bear.

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My dad and grandpa even got in on the fun by dressing up. My dad was a pirate.

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My grandpa was a chef.

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The weather was chilly and rainy but it really wasn’t too bad compared to some other years. It rained all day but it was more of a light mist while we were trick or treating.

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Danny and I.

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Those are the first pair of leggings/yoga pants that I have ever owned that I wore for real life and not working out. I was a little self conscious because I pretty much wear my big baggy Victoria’s Secret boyfriend sweatpants 24/7. These leggings are really comfortable and I liked them, I just have to get used to them. Danny told me I looked good about 74,000 times so I’m thinking he doesn’t love my giant sweatpants as much as I do. :)

The kids had a great time trick-or-treating and got lots of candy. It was so nice having Halloween on a Saturday this year!!

I definitely indulged in quite a bit of Halloween candy yesterday – sweets are my weakness! Danny and I made sure to get to the gym this morning for a glute/leg workout.

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We did calf raises three ways to target the entire calf: toes together, heels together, and regular. We also did: deadlifts (lots of deadlifts!!), split squats, kettlebell swings, and hip thrusts on a bench. Well, I did hip thrusts. Danny did not.

We definitely got a great workout in this morning. After today, I going to take it a little easy on legs this week since I’m running the Hot Chocolate 5k next Sunday and I don’t want too much knee and quad pain.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

  • How was your Halloween?
  • Favorite Halloween candy?
  • What are you looking forward to about November/December?

 

3 Comments

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

Tabata Circuit Workout

Good afternoon! It is a cold, windy, and rainy day here in Chicagoland so I am enjoying some hot cocoa out of my super cute mug from Self magazine.

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Don’t you just love the gold lip print on the mug?! So cute! I haven’t had hot cocoa in forever so it was perfect on this cold day.

This morning, after Jaden went to school, my niece and I headed to the gym.

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Today I did a tabata circuit style workout. I did six different exercises for 40 seconds with 20 seconds of rest in between. Once I completed all six exercises, I rested for  minute or so and repeated the six exercises. I did this four times through.

Yesterday, I was going glute and bicep exercises, and I kind of tweaked my quad. It still hurts today so I did the exercises all little slower than I normally might. Some of the exercises I did included: box jump burpees with a tricep push-up, fast feet on a bench, and lateral shoulder raises to parallel shoulder raises.

These workouts are great because you can add any kind of exercise you want to make it a full workout – burpees, mountain climbers, running, jumping jacks, bicep curls, tricep dips, etc.

After my workout, I foam rolled and stretched my quad for quite a bit. I’m going to try and take it easy on lower body exercises next week because I am running the Hot Chocolate 5k next Sunday and I want to do as well as my body will let me. My knee is a constant battle so I really don’t want to add in quad pain!

After the gym, I stopped at Target to pick up eggs and I got two boxes of Yasso Greek yogurt bars.

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Chocolate chip cookie dough is the best flavor of Greek yogurt bars and Target is the only place I can ever find them and usually they’re sold out. I grabbed two boxes while I could because I’m sure they’ll be sold out for months again.

Tomorrow, Jaden has his Halloween party at school and then Saturday is Halloween! I hope the weather isn’t as bad as they’re predicting! Have a great afternoon!

  • Do you ever do tabata or HIIT workouts?
  • Favorite treat?

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Fun, Working Out

Halloween Food and Pumpkin Carving 2015

Hello! I hope you all had a great weekend!

On Saturday, we got together with my family for our annual Halloween food and pumpkin carving party. I love that we all keep coming up with different and fun Halloween food ideas even though we’ve been having this party for years!

Danny and I made peanut butter spider cookies and mummy pizzas.

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The pizza was so good and so easy to make. This would make an awesome dinner on Halloween night if you have young kids. Jaden loved helping me make the mummy pizza and everyone loved eating it!

Jaden made a cool Halloween cake that was green, purple, orange, and black when you cut into it.

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My grandparent’s made the main course which were country ribs with a red pepper to look like a heart.

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My sister-in-law won first place in the food contest with her cleverly named “urine trouble” Halloween food! Don’t worry it was just jello!

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After we ate lots of food, we moved onto the pumpkin carving portion of the night. Everyone’s pumpkins turned out amazing!

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My sister-in-law also won the pumpkin carving contest with her Avengers themed pumpkin. Two first place wins!

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It was a fun night and I can’t wait to do it again next year!! Only five more days until Halloween!

  • Which was your favorite Halloween dish?
  • Have you ever made a Halloween-themed food?

 

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Filed under Family Fun, Fun, Halloween

Thursday Randomness

Good afternoon, friends! I feel like I haven’t been around all week. I’ve just been busy with life.

Today I thought I’d just share some randomness with you. :)

I’ve been working a lot. Taking Jaden to school before I go to work:

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We took the kids to the pumpkin farm just to walk around and see the Halloween sights.

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Honestly, we just buy pumpkins at the grocery store because it’s so much cheaper but we just like to walk around the pumpkin farm. I think we’re going back to the pumpkin farm next week with my family to go on a haunted hay ride.

The kids had fun at the pumpkin farm. Jaden found a gourd that thoroughly disgusted him.

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I just love his face in that picture!

Jaden checking for baby rattlers which were literally baby rattles.

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Danny and I got apple cider donuts which were amazing. Even though they were delicious and I wanted more, I’m glad we only got one each because I could have easily eaten half a dozen of those delicious, fresh, apple donuts.

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I’ve been working out and eating. I’ve been loving the Simply Balanced salmon from Target. I tried the chipotle bbq flavor recently. It was good but a little too spicy for my liking.

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I also made roasted sweet potatoes. My sweet potatoes never seem to turn out very crispy but I read online that you can add a little bit of cornstarch to them to get them nice and crispy. Unfortunately, I added a bit too much cornstarch but I’ll know for next time to use less!

Jaden has resorted to making a dog out of a shoebox and paper because he has been dying to get a dog.

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Jaden and I both have dog allergies but we’re okay with some dogs. We’re thinking about possibly getting the kids a dog for Christmas. We would like to adopt a dog from a shelter but we’re still researching hypoallergenic dogs. We would like a big dog and most hypoallergenic dogs seem on the smaller side. But we are looking into goldendoodles.

Jaden did do a really good making that dog. I was impressed. It actually stood on those paper legs and Jaden took it outside to play and everything. It only lasted about two days but it was a good two days. :)

Tomorrow I work during the day and then on Saturday, we’re having our annual family Halloween food and pumpkin carving contest! I can’t wait- it’s always such a fun day.

Here’s a few Halloween foods from past years:

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Have a great day!

  • Do you have any pets?
  • Did you have a pet growing up?
  • Do you carve pumpkins?

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Filed under Dinner, Family Fun, Fitness, Fun, Halloween, Uncategorized

Salata Kid’s Bento Boxes and a Giveaway!

Disclaimer: I recently partnered with Salata as a Salata Select Blogger to bring you exciting news and information about the new salad offerings from Salata all year long. I received a gift card to purchase my salad but all opinions are my own.

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Yesterday, we took a trip to Salata – a build your own healthy tossed-to-order-salad bar. My stepmom and Dad also came with us and this was their first time at Salata. They loved it and everyone had fun creating their own salad creations.

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Salata recently starting offering kid’s bento boxes which was a huge hit with my kids.

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The kids get a bento style box and they get to chose five ingredients, one protein, and a dressing or peanut butter. Jaden isn’t really a huge fan of meat so he went with some pasta instead. Jacob got turkey as his protein.

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Both the kids loved being able to pick out all their own food and getting it in a separated box. Jaden is very unhappy when his food touches so he was very happy with the little dividers in the bento box. Jaden opted out of dressing and Jacob tried the honey mustard dressing which he loved.

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Besides salads, Salata also offers wraps which is what my dad ordered. They toss all the lettuce and ingredients you pick in a large bowl and then add it all to a wrap.

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I love salad bars where I can pick my own toppings and added a bunch of different items to my salad. I got romaine and spring mix lettuce, carrots, onions, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, apples, smoked turkey, croutons, and falafel. I added the mango dressing on the side which was amazing.

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I love the variety of fresh ingredients that Salata offers – fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, cheese, chicken, turkey, seafood, croutons, breads, falafel, soups, and desserts. There’s something for everyone and now even kids can  get their own meals! Of course, kids can always order a regular salad too but my kids loved the bento boxes.

Salata is partnering with Texas-based suppliers to provide new ingredients and offerings now through October 31st including:

  • Pecans from the state tree of Texas sourced from San Saba Pecans in San Saba, Texas
  • Goat cheese from Cheesemakers in Cleveland, Texas
  • A Texas-inspired dry rub barbecue chicken, handcrafted by Salata
  • Prickly Pear lemonade, inspired by the state plant of Texas, and crafted exclusively for Salata by JuicedUp Drinks in Houston

To celebrate its anniversary, Salata will offer giveaways in all stores and on social media on October 14th. Guests can also buy a salad or a wrap at the 2005 price of $5, with a small upcharge for chicken or seafood, when then mention “Happy Anniversary Salata” at the register!

GIVEAWAY!!

Salata has a great giveaway for you guys today!! One winner will win a Salata tumbler, bag, and a $50 gift card!! 

*****Salata is not available in every state so please check out Salata locations here. Open to U.S. residents only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Filed under Fun, Giveaway, Lunch, Product Review

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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The kids were really excited too!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Fun, Running

Labor Day Weekend

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

Sunday

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.

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

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

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Monday

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Delicious and healthy!

Have a great day!

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

 

2 Comments

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.

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

After our workouts:

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

I made moscato sangria and it was delicious.

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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

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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!

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

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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?

 

 

 

3 Comments

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