Category Archives: Fun

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!

Saturday

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.

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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.

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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.

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Our tree:

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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.

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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 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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Today

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?

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

Two Minutes

Good afternoon! I hope you all are having a warm Thursday :)

Breakfast

This morning for breakfast, I had egg whites, Greek yogurt, and toast with peanut butter.

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I am not usually too hungry in the mornings and normally just eat a few egg whites and yogurt before the gym and then have a snack immediately after my workout – almost like two mini breakfasts. But lately I’ve noticed that I am a lot more hungry in the afternoons and have the tendency to start snacking and snacking. So, I’m hoping that adding a little more food in the mornings will help my afternoon snack attacks.

After breakfast, I went to the gym and per doctor’s orders was allowed to run two whole minutes! I walked the rest and finished my workout with some biceps exercises…and a selfie. Totally normal.

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I felt really good running those two minutes and I bumped my speed up to 5.0 mph today. I wish I could run longer but I know it’s better for my body to take it slow. And on Saturday, I’ll get to run three whole minute. Yes!!

After my workout, I was rewarded with this little alert from my car. And by rewarded, I mean not rewarded.

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Usually it tells me how many miles I have left and today I apparently had so little gas in my car that I’m surprised I made it to the gas station. I like to play a little game called “Let’s See Many Miles I Can Get Down to Before My Car Runs Out of Gas.” AKA “It’s Way Too Cold to Pump Gas in This Kind of Weather.”

Luckily, I made it to the gas station and a crisis was averted. I guess I’d be a lot colder stuck on the side of the street with no gas than I’d be pumping gas for two minutes.

Yesterday, I stopped at Starbucks for a skinny peppermint mocha.

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It was just meh. I’m not a huge mocha coffee fan so it probable wasn’t the best choice.

Tonight, I’m going to Costco with my dad! I think I only go to Costco once a year around the holiday season. They usually have really great holiday gifts!

Have a great day!

  • What do you usually have for breakfast?
  • Favorite Starbucks drink?
  • Do you shop at Costco?

2 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Fun, Running, Working Out

Increasing My Distance

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

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

Danny and I:

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Jaden and my mom:

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Today

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!

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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!

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

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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?

 

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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.

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

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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 :)

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

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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?

4 Comments

Filed under Family Fun, Fun, Halloween, Working Out

Friday Favorites

Good morning!

This morning we are off to Alabama for a family wedding! I rarely travel but in the last week and a half I’ve been to California, back to Illinois, and now off to Alabama.

Since the kids are coming with us we decided to drive to save money. Plane tickets for the four of us would have been a little over $1600! I’m not exactly looking forward to a 12+ hour car ride but at least it’s saving us a lot of money.

I recently wrote an article for Chicago Parent on how to survive a long car ride with kids. If you want, you can check it out here.

I’m assuming it’s going to take us quite awhile to get there between bathroom breaks and food stops. Also, my physical therapist said to stop every few hours so I can stretch out my hip. We’ll see how it goes!

I haven’t done a Friday Favorites in awhile, so I thought it’d be perfect for today.

FRIDAY FAVORITES

  • HAVING A RECIPE PUBLISHED IN A COOKBOOK

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My gluten-free chocolate chip pecan pumpkin muffin recipe was recently published in the book The Everything Gluten-Free Breakfast and Brunch Cookbook!! I am so excited!

This book has tons of great gluten-free recipes. If you’re interested in buying it, you can purchase it on Amazon.

  • Pumpkin Spice Gum

I will never be over the pumpkin spice craze. I love it all!

I recently found Extra gum in pumpkin spice and apple crisp flavors. I only bought the pumpkin spice flavor to try out but I will be buying the apple crisp flavor too.

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This gum is amazing. You might not think that pumpkin spice would work in a gum but it does. I love it.

  • Jack Links Turkey Jerky in Sweet Teriyaki

I’ve pretty much gone my whole life without eating jerky then I discovered turkey jerky. I just recently started eating white meat again to get more protein in my diet and I love this turkey jerky! Normally I buy the regular flavor but when I saw they had teriyaki I was excited to try it out!

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I bought the big bag to eat in the car on the way to Alabama. Turkey jerky is good but it’s expensive!

  • Awesome Companies

International Delight coffee creamer recently noticed I am a huge coffee lover (maybe because I post lots of coffee pics on Twitter and Instagram) and they sent me this awesome mason jar glass with my name on it.

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How awesome is that?! I love that a company just randomly sent some coffee lovers mason jar mugs with their name on it. Way to go International Delight! I will forever buy your coffee creamer because you sent me an awesome jar with my name on it. I will also buy a Kia car because the commercial features dancing hamsters. What can I say? I’m a sucker for advertising. :)

  • End of Season Sales

The wedding we’re going to in Alabama is outside and it’s going to be hot and humid so we were advised not to wear heels. I don’t have any plain black sandals or flip flops so I ran to Kohl’s to see if they had any.

They had a bunch of them on sale for $2.40 and $2.80! I got three pairs for less than $9! I’ll bring one pair for the wedding and save the others for next spring and summer.

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I saved $72!

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Yay for sales!

Those are all my favorites for this Friday. Have a wonderful weekend!

  • What are your Friday favorites?
  • What is the longest car ride you’ve ever been on?

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Filed under Fun

Baby Showers, Swimming, and The Bears

Good afternoon!

AMRAP Nutrition Bar Winners

The three winners of the AMRAP bars are Sarah, Kelsey, and Melissa. I sent all the winners an email. Congrats!

The Weekend

Our weekend was busy but low-key at the same time.

On Saturday morning, Jacob had a soccer game. On Saturday afternoon, I went to a baby shower for my best friend’s sister.

The mama-to-be:

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Me, Jenny, and Crystal (another mama-to-be):

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I made a cute diaper cake for the shower.

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My grandma made an amazing elephant cake for the shower. How cute did it turn out?! It was delicious red velvet cake on the inside.

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Sunday

In addition to my quad pain, I have been having some pretty bad adductor pain. My quad will get sore when I am doing too much, but the adductor pain is pretty much a constant annoying pain all the time.

My physical therapist told me that I should stay out of the gym for the whole weekend, except for swimming. She said at this point swimming is the best thing I can do. She said to do squats and lunges in the pool rather than kicks because the kicks are using my adductor muscles too much for the time being.

On Sunday morning, Danny and I swam for about 45 minutes. I did a total of 35 laps which is my most so far. I count swimming to one side of the pool as one lap. I usually do some laps without the kickboard and then use the kickboard once my leg and hip starts to get too tired.

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I told myself that if I burned at least 300 calories while swimming, I would get a Dunkin Donuts pumpkin spice crème brulee iced coffee.

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It was amazing.

Sunday afternoon was the first Chicago Bears game of the season! My family came over to watch the game.

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My adorable niece.

Today

Danny was able to find the Chobani pumpkin spice yogurt at Wal-Mart near his work and I had it for breakfast this morning.

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It was so good! It reminds me of pumpkin pie and it would be delicious with graham crackers crumbled on top. Yum! I’m loving all the pumpkin food.

I also found pumpkin bread and cookies.

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This morning, I went to the gym. My adductor is feeling a little better but my quad is sore after working out. It’s never ending and super annoying.

I worked on back and biceps today. I did some of the following exercises:

  • wide grip lat pull down
  • seated cable row
  • back extension machine
  • quadruped opposite arm/leg raise
  • seated biceps curls
  • cable biceps curls
  • plate twists
  • concentration curls

It was a fast workout because I had to pick up my niece. I think I will spend the rest of the day resting my leg!

Have a great afternoon!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Are you a football fan? Favorite team?
  • Favorite pumpkin item?

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

Throwing A Sports Themed Party – Chicago Bears

My family is really big into sports, and Chicago has some really good sports teams – the Bulls, the Blackhawks, the Cubs and Sox. One of our favorite sports teams is the Chicago Bears.

Who doesn’t love football season?! Even if you aren’t a big football fan, there’s just so much excitement in the air. Football kicks off the start of the fall season and our Sundays are usually spent having family over, watching the Bears game, and eating fun football food.

We love getting together as a family to watch football and especially the Super Bowl. Sometimes we like to go all out throwing football parties, so today I’ll go over how to throw a successful football party.

1. Invite people you like.

Parties are always better when you invite people that you like. :) It helps even more if they enjoy football. Even if they don’t enjoy football, invite them anyway – they can learn to like football.

There are so many ways to invite people to events these days – email, through Facebook, the evite website, over the phone. If you really want to surprise people, send an invitation in the mail.

2. Food

You cannot have a successful football party without food. People like to eat. If you can’t cook, don’t fear! Ask each guest to bring a dish to share or get the best football party food there is – pizza.

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Always make sure there’s cake.

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3. Decorations

Decorations always make parties more festive and liven up the crowd. Many party stores sell football themed decorations and even have specific team decorations. Or make your own!

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You can never go wrong with a Chicago Bears pumpkin.

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4. Games

Who doesn’t love a party game? Everyone knows that the most important commercials of the year come on during the Superbowl, so why not make a game out of it?!

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Last year, we played Superbowl Commercial Bingo. Everyone got a bingo card and when the commercial came on, they got to mark it on their bingo card. Fun was had by all!

5. Sports Clothing…and Props

Have people wear a sports jersey of their favorite team. If they don’t own one, that gives them the perfect opportunity to go shopping! And who doesn’t love shopping?

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6. Get the Kids Involved

My kids love watching the Bears on TV with their dad.

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It’s a great way for kids to learn about sports and maybe it’s even a sport they’d be interested in playing!

If you live in the Chicago area, the Chicago Bears are hosting Family Fest on August 2nd. The Chicago Bears Family Fest lets families watch the Bears practice under the lights on Soldier Field. There is also family-friendly games, live music, outdoor activities, giveaways, and fireworks.

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The kids are also invited to the Staley’s Corner, the Bears mascot, for some fun activities, and the first 200 kids ages 4-12 will get the opportunity to have an autograph session with the Bears players! It’s a great way to spend the day with the family!

If you’re in Chicagoland, it’s definitely worth checking out!

Do you have any fun party tips to add? Favorite sports team?

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Filed under Breakfast, Family Fun, Fun, Uncategorized

Gym Fun, Food, and Challenges

Good morning! It’s been a few days since I’ve checked in! The kids only have a few days of school left so we’ve been pretty busy. Their last day is next Wednesday and two days later we head to Wisconsin Dells!

Field Day

Yesterday was Jaden’s field day at school.

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Danny took the day off so he could volunteer for field day. Jaden was so excited you would have thought it was Christmas!

Danny and I have been doing really good with our healthy eating lately so we packed our own lunch to bring to field day. The school provides a McDonald’s lunch for all the kids and volunteers but there was no way we were eating that (Random Fact: I have never had a hamburger in my life).

The Gym

After field day, Danny and I headed to the gym for a quick afternoon workout. Sometimes when we work out together, we set up boxes to do box jumps.

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We start from the smallest and jump to the biggest box. I still cannot make that fourth box – and I have a nice bruise to prove it! I did make it up once but that was it. And of course, Danny just jumps on it with no problem.

The box jumps probably weren’t the best idea with my hip pain but we didn’t do it for too long.

The Fault in Our Stars

Last night, my in-laws watched the kids so we could see The Fault in our Stars. It was such a great movie. If you’re going to see it, bring a box of tissues…or two.

Date night (I obviously had no idea where the camera lens was in this picture!):

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Movie theater food always sucks me in (hello Icees!) but Danny and I were good and brought our own Skinny Pop popcorn. Luckily, I have a huge purse which means I can fit a lot of Skinny Pop! It’s good to treat yourself once in awhile but I didn’t want to waste this weekend’s treat on movie theater food. I have been eyeing a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie at Whole Foods. It’s all about moderation :)

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Food

I thought I’d share some of the delicious food that I’ve been enjoying lately.

First, I have discovered the goodness that is frozen grapes!

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How have I gone my whole life without eating frozen grapes?! So good!

For breakfast, I’ve been having plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit.

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Or protein pancakes made with oats, egg whites, and PB2.

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For snacks, I stocked up on some Quest bars. My local GNC was out of the cookie dough and cookie and cream flavor <—- The two best flavors. I got some peanut butter flavors instead.

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The Weekend

The kids both have games today and we might head to Whole Foods later. My sushi craving is slightly out of control. Tomorrow morning I am teaching the new BodyPump release for the first time. I have been practicing at home like crazy!

I’ll leave you with this quote that I have been loving lately:

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It’s so true. Sometimes, I get frustrated because I can’t jump on that fourth box, or I can’t get the timing perfect in BodyPump, or I can’t run as fast as I want to. But if it all came easy, then it wouldn’t be a challenge. The challenge is what makes work harder to achieve your goals. The harder I work for something, the more accomplished I feel.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Bondi Band winners: Laurel C. and Anastasia H. I sent you emails! :)

  • What challenges you?
  • What food have you been loving?
  • Have you seen/read The Fault in Our Stars?

4 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Fun, Working Out

Danny’s Running a Marathon!

Danny has officially signed up for his first marathon!

I mentioned last week that I signed up for the Disney World half marathon next January. Danny decided to also run the half marathon, but we waited too long to register him and it sold out. He then started thinking about running the full marathon.

Danny is a great runner but his longest distance is 10 miles. If he ran the marathon, we would both be training at the same time and during the winter. The marathon is Sunday morning, which would be they day we flew back home. Danny went back and forth as to whether or not he wanted to run the full marathon.

Then over the weekend, he had a dream that he crossed a marathon finish line. Apparently that dream really influenced him because that morning he signed up for the full Disney marathon!

I am super excited for him! I think it’ll be a great experience for both of us. :)

Friday

Friday night, my family came over to grill out and watch the Blackhawks game. I found a recipe for chicken kabobs online that looked great so I tried it out.

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I made a marinade of olive oil, honey, light soy sauce, and garlic. I cut up chicken, bell peppers, onions, and pineapple. I put everything in a Ziploc bag and let it sit in the fridge with the marinade for a few hours.

Then, I put them on skewers and Danny cooked them on the grill. They came out soooo good. (So good, we made them again on Saturday!)

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Jaden wearing the apron I bought him for .79 cents on Easter clearance helping Danny cook:

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Jacob’s birthday is this weekend, and we’re having family over, so I’m making them again.

We also had burgers (those are Bubba burgers, which is why they’re shaped like that) and grilled broccoli.

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Sadly, the broccoli didn’t quite make it. Danny dropped about 90% of it on the ground trying to carry it inside. Oh well.

Kabobs are great because there are so many options – chicken, shrimp, beef, and all different kinds of veggies. You can even cook them in a grill pan or under the broiler. If you use wood skewers, don’t forget to soak them in water so they don’t start fire on the grill.

Saturday

On Saturday, both the kids had a game – soccer and baseball, and I worked for a little bit. It was a busy day with lots of running around.

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Sunday

I taught BodyPump on Friday and Sunday morning so my hip was really sore over the weekend. I am kind of upset that it’s starting to hurt again. I was happy when the cortisone shot made it feel better but now the pain is coming back.

I am going to make an appointment with the doctor if it doesn’t start to feel better just to see what the next step would be.

Have a great day!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Have you run a marathon?

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

Happy Birthday, Jaden!

First up, I wanted to share some exciting news.

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I was recently accepted as one of the new bloggers for Chicago Parent. My picture is featured in their new February issue which I didn’t even realize until yesterday. I’m very exciting and I look forward to the opportunity.

….I look awfully red in that photo, don’t I?! :)

Moving on to my cortisone shot.

Yesterday morning, Danny took me to the doctor to get a cortisone shot in my hip joint. They said that it’s better to have someone to drive me home in case I had an adverse reaction to the shot.

First, I got to put on a really awesome pair of hospital shorts…which they totally cut up with scissors to get to my hip.

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The whole procedure didn’t take too long. The doctor used an ultrasound to find my hip joint and arteries. Once the proper spot in my hip joint was located he gave me a shot of lidocaine to numb the area. It hurt. It wasn’t terrible but it was a weird pinch and burning feeling.

After a minute or so, my leg was numb and the doctor gave me the shot in my hip joint. Since my hip was numb, I didn’t feel a lot of pain but I did feel pressure. The whole thing was over pretty quick. The doctor showed me some pictures of the shot going into my joint on the ultrasound machine, then he had me stand up and get dressed.

I didn’t have any pain after the shot because my leg was still numb. The numbness wore off about 20 minutes later and then the pain returned. Nothing a lot worse than I normally have – just burning in my quad and pain in my hip. The doctor said that the area could get worse for the next 2-3 days and then hopefully it’ll start to get better.

Now the only thing to do is to wait and see if the shot works. If it does, that means that it was the inflammation around the hip joint causing the pain. If it doesn’t that means that the bone itself is causing the problem.

I’m not teaching BodyPump this Friday but should be good to teach the following Friday. I’m hoping the cortisone shot works and I’ll be good to resume normal activity.

When I woke up this morning, I felt a little pinch in my hip but it feels a little better than it normally does. Hopefully, it’ll just continue to get better!

After the doctor, Danny and I stopped at Potbelly’s for lunch.

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It’s rare that we’re alone together during the week without the kids.

Jaden’s Birthday

Today is Jaden’s 7th birthday!

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I can’t believe how fast time flies and how fast kids grow up!

This morning, I decorated his door for him to break through when he woke up.

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He loved it!

All Jaden wanted for breakfast this morning was a star fruit.

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He kept seeing them at the store and has been asking me to buy one. So, we bought one and cut it up. It tasted like a mix between an apple and a cucumber – kind of odd tasting. Jaden didn’t like it and stuck to eating a cinnamon roll.

Have a great day!

  • When’s your birthday?
  • Do you have a favorite birthday meal?

***Don’t forget to enter the Ruffles with Love giveaway!

8 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Family Fun, Fun, Uncategorized