Tag Archives: birthday

Eating Healthy at Restaurants

Good afternoon!

Yesterday’s Evening Workout

  • Zumba – 60 minutes
  • Ran 1 mile

Yesterday afternoon, we took my dad out for a last-minute birthday lunch.


Sometimes I actually wear real clothes and do my hair and make-up…


…although I much prefer workout clothes and VS sweatpants.

Sometimes when you’re focusing on eating healthy, going to a restaurant can really sabotage your efforts. You want to be social and have fun, but you also want to eat healthy at the same time.

I used to be the kind of person that loved to go to restaurants to really enjoy myself which meant appetizers, whatever I wanted to eat, maybe a few drinks or dessert. But that can really start to add up especially if you’re eating out every weekend. I think that it’s fine to do that every once in awhile but not all the time.

Eating healthy at a restaurant doesn’t have to be boring.

We took my dad to a restaurant called Cheddar’s yesterday. I have never been there before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. A great tip for eating healthy at restaurants is to check the menu online before you go so you know what your options are.

Most restaurants have a “lighter” menu with food choices that are lower calories, gluten-free, or lower sodium. Luckily, Cheddar’s has a great lighter menu that I ordered from. I ate so good all last week and I really wanted to continue on that path.

I ordered the miso salmon that included a small portion on ginger rice and plain steamed broccoli. The whole thing was a little over 500 calories.


That was my first time having miso salmon and it was so delicious. I will definitely be ordering it next time I see it on a menu. My meal tasted great and left me full and satisfied. I left the restaurant feeling good instead of overstuffed.

I will admit that I did eat two French fries, Hey, I’m not perfect. And I figure that two little fries is better than a whole plateful. I love fries.

Just because you are dining out doesn’t mean that you need to eat unhealthy. You can eat and still be healthy and happy.

Here’s a few tips on how to order healthy when eating at a restaurant:

  • Ask for your dressing on the side and just dip for fork in it before taking a bite of your salad.
  • Ask for whole wheat bread for sandwiches or burgers.
  • Order water or unsweetened tea to drink.
  • Ordered dishes that are bakes, steamed, or broiled rather than dishes that are fried – things like grilled chicken or fish.
  • Get vegetables on the side instead of French fries or bread.
  • Avoid all you can eat buffets.
  • Order off the appetizer menu for your main dish – the portions are often smaller.
  • Ask your half of your food to go – restaurants portions are often huge.
  • Avoid cream sauces and gravies.
  • If you’re really craving something not-so-healthy, split it with a spouse or friend.
  • Choose fruit for dessert.

After my dad’s birthday lunch, we came home and later in the evening, I headed to the gym for Zumba. I followed Zumba with a one mile run on the indoor track.

Today’s Workout

  • Women on Weights class – 45 minutes
  • Practiced BodyPump – 30 minutes

Breakfast this morning was egg whites and French toast made with Ezekiel bread.


After getting Jaden on the bus, I worked for awhile and then took the Women on Weights class at the gym. This week, we worked on backs and legs. When I got home, I practiced BodyPump for about 30 minutes.

Have a great afternoon!

  • Do you usually splurge at restaurants?
  • What tips do you have for eating healthy at a restaurant?



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

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Physiques Nutrition Plan

Good afternoon!

I have officially made it one week on my new nutrition plan and I lost 5.8 pounds this week!

Whenever, I go from eating not-so-healthy to eating clean, I always lose a good amount of weight. I’m sure my weight loss will be less this week, but I am happy to be off to a good start :)


About two years ago, I really started trying to lose weight. I had gained some weight and just wasn’t comfortable or happy with myself. I joined a weight loss group at a local park district that met once a week for about 10 weeks.

During those 10 weeks, I lost 22 pounds, 14 inches, and 12% of my body weight and came in first place.


After that I was at a healthy weight for my height but felt like I had those “last 10 pounds” to lose, so I joined the Biggest Loser contest at my gym. The program lasted about 3 months and even though I wasn’t technically overweight anymore, I learned a lot and lost about 11 pounds.

PicMonkey Collage9

Since then my weight has fluctuated up and down a bit. Both those programs made me realize that I succeed at weight loss (and weight maintenance) when I am being held accountable to someone else besides myself. After those two competitions, I participated in a few DietBets to help me stay on track because like I said, it was holding me accountable to someone other than myself (and winning money was involved :) ).

I always thought that if I worked out a lot, my weight would be fine. I thought that working out meant that I could eat whatever I wanted. I was wrong.


Weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. If it was the other way around, I’d be the fittest person in the world :)

Bottom line, I love food. I like to workout a lot but I also like food, which is where the struggle comes in for me. I have no problem eating good and having treats in moderation but sometimes I overindulge especially during the holidays.

I have gained weight back lately and it makes me unhappy. I have been watching what I eat but then the weekend comes and I’m all, “Eat all the things!!”

Since being accountable to someone other than myself has helped me in the past, I decided to invest in an online health coach to help me with my meal planning.

My goals are to lose weight and to tone and build muscle, and the more help I can get, the better.

Someone online recommended Sara from Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Physiques and I looked into her. Sara is a NPC Figure Competitor, personal trainer, and a mom. She seemed very down to earth and you can tell that she loves what she does.

I sent her an email with a few questions and she responded within the hour. I decided that I would sign up with Sara for the nutrition plan. She also offers workout plans, but I am fine with my current workout plan at the moment and with my hip issues, I thought it’d be better to just stick with the nutrition.

The nutrition plan is $50 and lasts for 6 weeks. It’s $20 for every three week update after that. The initial plan is updated every 2-3 weeks.

I love that Sara is really involved with her clients. I can call, text, or email her anytime I need to and she has a Facebook group set up for her clients.

The meal plan is strict at first because it’s important to really get the nutrition aspect down. I received my first meal plan on Friday, February 14th and I started it on the following Monday.

I’m pretty good at eating healthy so I wasn’t too worried about the meal plan, but it is a lot more protein and less carbs than I am used to. Also, it requires a lot more eating during the day, specifically every 2 1/2 – 3 hours. And there’s no nightly Skinny Cow ice cream and popcorn on the plan :)

I love that Sara helped me make a few small changes to the meal plan that she sent me. Since I don’t really eat much meat, I was worried about eating fish twice a day, every day. I can’t do that. Sara said that I could swap out the fish with another protein source of at least 20 grams – chicken, eggs, Greek yogurt, etc,

I also told her about my intense love for Larabars and she was able to fit them onto my plan along with a small protein shake. Now if I had told her about my love for Snickers bars, I’m sure she wouldn’t have been able to fit those in :)


I love that she took what I said into consideration and answered my tons of questions quickly.

I went grocery shopping on Sunday to prepare for the upcoming week. I also did a little meal prepping which was so helpful.


I don’t work a 9-5 job outside of the house but I am in and out of the house a lot, so having my meals all ready to go is extremely helpful.

I made a big batch of mini egg muffin frittatas that I could just pop in the microwave in the morning.


I also measured out half cups of fruits and veggies, so I can just grab and go!


I have been trying to add a little bit more chicken into my diet as a lean protein source. It’s not my favorite but I do like it with veggies and quinoa.


Today, I started my second week on Sara’s plan, and I am really looking forward to it!

You can check out Sara’s website here and her Facebook page here.


A big happy birthday to my dad today!!

A few of my favorite pics of my dad and I when we were in Vegas a few years ago celebrating his 50th birthday:

Picture 410

Picture 440

Picture 425

Happy Birthday, Dad!!



Filed under Fitness

Birthdays, Furbys, and Workouts

Good afternoon!

Is anyone else very very very sick of winter yet? It snowed the whole entire day yesterday. So much snow. The kids didn’t have school because of President’s Day, and I didn’t have to watch my niece so we stayed in all day.


Sunday morning I decided to go to BodyPump. I figured I could see how my hip felt after class – that way I would know if I would be okay to teach on Friday. My hip was a little sore afterwards, but nothing too bad.

My hip felt a lot better yesterday. Not 100% but better than normal.

Sunday afternoon, we had family over to celebrate Jaden’s birthday.


My grandma made Jaden’s cake:



It’s a Furby! Didn’t she do an awesome job?! All Jaden wanted was a Furby cake and it turned out perfect!

Marlene also made these delicious cookies.


After eating snacks, cookies, cake, and pizza over the weekend, I was happy to start my new nutrition plan yesterday.

I decided that after I’ve been on the meal plan for a full week, I would write a whole post about it. I want to see how the first week goes first :)


I had an awesome workout today. My hip feels better than it has in months although my quad and glute still hurt. They might take a while to get back to normal after overcompensating for my hip for so long. My quad is burning so much that I should probably throw some ice on it.

Today’s Workout:

  • Stretching and hip strengthening exercises – 15 minutes
  • Plank #18 – 1:32
  • Butts and Guts Class – 60 minutes
  • Women on Weights Class – 45 minutes

I worked out a lot longer than I normally do today because my gym just started a new fitness class called Women on Weights and I really wanted to try it. It was a great 45 minute class that consisted of a full body workout.

I really liked that it took place on the fitness floor rather than in a classroom. We used machines, dumbbells, barbells, body weight, etc. We did it all!

I burned 977 calories in 2 hours! Post workout, I had a Larabar and half a protein shake.



Since I knew I’d be working out a little longer today, I are a little more at breakfast.

Two egg muffin frittatas and oatmeal.


Well, I’m off to ice my quad. Have a great afternoon!

  • Do you prefer weights or machines?
  • Did you workout today?
  • Favorite kind of cake?


1 Comment

Filed under Breakfast, Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

Happy Birthday, Jaden!

First up, I wanted to share some exciting news.


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.


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.


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

Jaden’s Birthday

Today is Jaden’s 7th birthday!

PicMonkey Collage1

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.


He loved it!

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


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!


Filed under Breakfast, Family Fun, Fun, Uncategorized

A First Birthday and Meal Planning

Good morning! I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Happy 1st birthday to my nephew!


Yesterday, we celebrated his birthday. First birthdays are always so much fun!




My grandma, Marlene, made the cutest smash cake for the party.


We had a great time celebrating his birthday with family and friends.

Meal Planning

I don’t usually plan out my daily meals for the week just because I never know what I’ll be in the mood for eating or cooking. But this week I am trying to eat clean all week (avoided overly processed food, sugar, white flour, etc.) so I put together a list of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that I can chose from.


Then I went to the grocery store to get the ingredients for the week. I am hoping that the list will help me stick with eating healthy. I usually eat really good throughout the week, but I noticed that sometimes in the evening I am tired from the day and don’t always feel like cooking. Hopefully, if I already have a meal planned out, it’ll be easier to stick to making it.

I am really looking forward to the fish tacos. I am going to stop by Whole Foods later this afternoon to pick up some tilapia or mahi mahi and mango salsa. Whole Foods has some really good mango salsa.


I got some coffee that I ordered in the mail yesterday – pumpkin spice!


I am so excited to drink it in the fall. I look forward to trying out the pumpkin spice latte because it has a Vue cup of foam that you brew separately before brewing the coffee.

Vue cups are sometimes hard to find at the store and there isn’t as many flavors as the k-cups, so sometimes I order the Vue packs online. There are a lot more flavors on the Keurig website and there is usually a coupon code.

Have a great Sunday!

  • Do you plan your meals?
  • Do you shop online?
  • What are you looking forward to about fall?



Filed under Family Fun

Happy Birthday!

Happy 2nd birthday to my adorable niece!


Auntie Heather loves you!


Yesterday, we spent the day celebrating my niece’s 2nd birthday! She had a Nemo birthday party, and Marlene made the cupcakes – how cute are these Nemo cupcakes?!


The Nemo cupcakes were banana flavored, but I went with one of the peanut butter filled chocolate cupcakes.

I made a bow-tie pasta Caesar salad for the party. It’s so good and easy to make. You just mix together green leaf lettuce (or romaine), about 2 cups of cooked bow tie pasta, slivered almonds, shredded asiago parmesan cheese, croutons, and Caesar dressing.


I didn’t add the croutons until we got to the party so they wouldn’t get soggy.

Jacob, Jaden, and I:


The kids had a lot of fun playing at the party and my niece loved opening all her presents.


Danny was in charge of holding the melted ice cream while I scooped it out. He almost got that spoon into his mouth without using his hands. Almost…but not quite.


Later in the evening, my family came over to our house for pizza and a bonfire.

I went to bed a little bit early last night because I knew I was running early this morning.

From today:


More on my run tomorrow! :) I’ll tell you this – it wasn’t my best run but ended well.

Have a great Sunday!


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

Birthday Lunch


Last night, we cooked on the grill again. Actually Danny grilled. I can cook fine but I can’t grill to save my life.


The grill is pretty much the best way to cook in the summer.


I didn’t make baked potatoes this time, but I did eat some potato faces. And don’t let that small amount of watermelon fool you – I probably ate 10x that amount. Sometimes I eat watermelon until my stomach hurts. It’s a problem really.


This kids and I woke up with bad cold yesterday morning, and today I feel even worse. I hope I  feel better by Saturday!! I usually wake up about 7 am because that’s just what my body is used to. I woke up at 8:20 am today, and I knew with having to get the kids ready and being sick that there was no way that I was making it to the gym.

I had planned on going to Butts and Guts class, but it just wasn’t happening today. If I feel any better later, I am going to try to run when Danny gets home from work.

Jaden had an allergy doctor appointment this morning. Usually when he gets a cold his lungs don’t feel like working, but today his lungs actually sounded clear.

The doctor just recommended adding Zyrtec into his usual medication routine. She also gave me a sample to Nasonex nasal spray for myself since I am so congested. I hope it works because my nose and head feel like they’re going to explode.

Today is my brother, Paul’s, 28th birthday!! He has the day off, so the kids and I meet him and my niece at Panera.


After lunch, we went to the park and let the kids play for a while.



After the park, we ran a few errands and now we’re finally home. I feel exhausted. I hate being sick, and I really hope that I can fit in a run or two before Saturday!

Have a great afternoon!

  • Favorite restaurant?
  • When was the last time you were sick?
  • When’s your birthday?



Filed under Family Fun, Fun, Lunch

31 Years Old

First up the winner of the Sambazon giveaway!

#7 – Karen


Congrats! Please email your shipping address to runeatplay(at)hotmail(dot)com.


Saturday night, we met my family at a nearby Mexican restaurant for food and margaritas to celebrate my birthday. Then, we came back to our house to have cake, play games, talk, and stay up late :)

Here’s a few pictures from the weekend:






On Sunday, we went out to breakfast and then spent the rest of the day relaxing. My mom stopped by to visit and wish me a happy birthday.

We eventually went for a 30 minute walk at a local trail that I will probably be using when I start my longer runs.

At one point you have to go through a tunnel which goes underneath a busy street. It’s kind of creepy actually.


We spent the rest of the night catching up on tv shows – CSI, The Big Bang Theory, and The Amazing Race.


Today I am 31 years old. It’s amazing how fast life seems to fly by. When I was younger, I could never imagine an adult. Now here I am, all grown-up, married, and a mom of two kids.

I didn’t have a very hard time turning 30 last year. I mean, I wasn’t screaming that I was 30 from the rooftops either, but I wasn’t depressed about it or anything. Of course, Danny made sure to give me a hard time about it because I might have given him a super hard time when he turned 30 :)

I think the thing is that I don’t feel 31 years old. I think you’re only as old as you feel :)

A big thank you to my family for making my birthday special! My family knows me too well. My brother and sister-in-law got me a food scale. I had been using a postage scale to weigh my food, so I am so excited for an actual food scale.


My dad and stepmom ordered me this cute Under Amour tank I wanted.


It has been sold out in stores, so they ordered it for me.

Today’s Workout

  • BodyPump – 60 minutes

Enjoy you afternoon!

  • Was turning a certain age hard for you?
  • If you could stay one age forever, what would it be?
  • What tv shows do you watch?


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Fun, Working Out

Just Play 5k 2013

Good afternoon!

This morning, Danny and I ran the JustPlay 5k.


It’s a smaller race and really close to our house. My dad and stepmom came to watch the kids for us. We got there about 7:30 am, and the race started at 8 am.

It was warm out, and I definitely really started to heat up while running. The whole time I kept thinking, how am I going to run a 15k in the middle of June in the heat?!

I started off really good – too good. My first mile was 8:40, which is way to fast for me. By the second half of the race, I was losing energy, and the third mile my right quad was killing me. I seem to be having more quad problems than calf problems lately. I have been foam rolling my hips and quads lately, so hopefully that will help, and I have to start wearing my compression shorts.

I finished in 31:11, which is my second best time. I’m happy with it, but I couldn’t help feeling slightly disappointed after last week’s 29:22 5k. I think it helped that the temperature was a lot cooler last week.


Danny did awesome and PR’d this race! He finished in 23:17! He is super speedy. Good job, Danny. I’m proud of you!


After the race, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts for some iced coffee and donuts.


Then, we headed straight to Jaden’s t-ball game.


The t-ball game lasted about an hour and a half, then we went back to where the race was held because they were having a Just Play festival for the kids. Unfortunately, the lines for paddleboarding and the zip line were too long, but the kids had fun doing other stuff.


They did a fitness obstacle course which was funny to watch.



There was also some reptiles for the kids to touch. And one of the guys put a roach on Jaden’s head.


I tried to stay as far away as possible. I am actually really surprised that Jaden didn’t freak out. He’s not really a bug kind of kid.

The kids got ice cream, and I was excited to see screwballs. That was my favorite treat from the ice cream truck when I was younger.


After checking out some of the booths and letting the kids play, we went to a nearby bakery to pick up my birthday cake! My wonderful husband ordered the chocolate/strawberry/whipped cream cake that I wanted.


He even made sure that they put my age on the cake. Thanks dear.

Tonight, we’re meeting my family at a local Mexican restaurant for my birthday dinner. Can’t wait!

Have a great rest of your weekend!

  • What’s your fastest mile?
  • Where would you have your birthday dinner?
  • Favorite ice cream truck treat?
  • Hot coffee or iced coffee or no coffee?



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

That Time I Almost Burned My Taste Buds Off

Good Morning!

Today’s Workout

  • 5 miles, outside
  • Stretching – 10 minutes

The weather outside is beautiful this morning, so I began my day with a five mile run outside. I followed up my run with about 10 minutes of stretching. My calves were very tight after my run, so hopefully the stretching will help, and I should probably foam roll a bit.


Let’s back up a bit to the weekend.

Friday afternoon, when the kids got home from school, we headed to the hotel. First, we had to make a quick Starbucks stop because I was still exhausted.


I tried their new caramel ribbon crunch Frappuccino (half price 3-5pm!) and it was amazing. Definitely my new favorite Frappuccino!

A lady that I take BodyPump classes with at the gym works at the hotel we went to occasionally, like one day a week. I mentioned to her in BodyPump that I was taking the kids to the hotel for Jacob’s birthday so they could swim and stuff.

When we got to the hotel room, it was decorated with birthday balloons and party poppers! The lady from my gym went to the hotel and told them we were coming and had the room decorated for Jacob.


It was a small gesture, but made such a big impact. It was a fun surprise for Jacob, and it touched my heart that some people are just so genuinely nice and thoughtful. I really appreciated that she would take time from her day to make Jacob’s day special even though she’s never met him. It’s the small things in life.

The kids had a fun time swimming, and Danny met us at the hotel when he got off of work.


After the kids swam for awhile, we met my family at Buffalo Wild Wings for Jacob’s birthday dinner.

My dad orders the Blazin’ hot wings, which is the hottest they make. He was crying eating them because they’re so hot. And he likes spicy food!


He told Danny that he’d give him five dollars to eat one and Danny said no way. Then he said that he’d give me $10 to eat half of one. I figured that I am almost 31 years old and it’s about time that I started taking some risks in life, so I surprised everyone by agreeing to eat it.


It was horrible! I ate two things that I never eat – chicken and spicy spicy spicy food. I was dying and my mouth was on fire. Everyone yelled at me for drinking water and the waiter brought me a chocolate milk. I guess I’m getting crazy in my old age.

They brought Jacob a piece of cake and we sang happy birthday.




On Saturday, we had a family birthday party for Jacob. I made funfetti cake dip.


I made it a few times last summer and it’s so good and easy to make! All you need is funfetti cake mix, two cups of plain yogurt, and one cup of cool whip.


Mix it all up and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve! I served mine with animal crackers, Nilla wafers, and fruit.

Marlene made awesome giant ice cream sandwiches!


One had mint chocolate chip ice cream and one had vanilla hot fudge ice cream. Delicious!

My mom made yummy strawberry cheesecake strawberries.


She mixed cream cheese and powdered sugar, put it on the strawberries, and then dipped them in graham cracker crumbs. Genius!

Jacob had a great time opening his presents and it was nice spending time with family.




Have a great Sunday!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Favorite cake? Favorite ice cream?
  • What’s the nicest thing someone’s done for you that you weren’t expecting?



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