Tag Archives: birthday

Increasing My Distance

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


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

Danny and I:


Jaden and my mom:



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


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

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

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


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


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

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

Have a great afternoon!

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



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

Labor Day Weekend

Good afternoon! I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Our weekend was jam-packed with workouts, cookouts, and family fun.

On Friday night, Danny and I went back to the pool to swim again. I am getting a lot more used to the water although I’m still not a huge fan of putting my face in the water. I have been swimming laps with and without the kickboard and doing a lot of kicks under water.

My leg and quad are still really sore so the pool in a nice low-impact workout. But trust me, it still gets my heart rate up. I’ll swim a lap as fast as I can and by the time I reach the side, I am so out of breath! Swimming is hard work!

On Saturday morning, we went to the gym to do a back and biceps superset workout.


After the workout, Danny helped me foam roll my leg. It is incredibly awkward but he is able to put a lot more pressure on my leg then I could by doing it myself.


Saturday afternoon, Jacob had a practice soccer game and I brought with a new Luna bar flavor – lemon vanilla!


It was so good! If you can find this bar, I definitely recommend trying it!

Jaden and I also had fun taking some selfies :)



Sunday afternoon, we went to my grandparent’s house to cookout and celebrate my grandma’s birthday. My grandpa made her the most delicious Snickers cake.


The weather was beautiful (except for those darn bees) and we had fun playing bocce ball and bags.


Sunday morning, we met my family at a nearby restaurant for breakfast. After breakfast, Danny and I headed to the gym and spent about 45 minutes swimming.

For dinner, we went to my brother and sister-in-law’s for a make your own nacho night!

It was a busy weekend filled with fun and family! The weather was perfect and it was a great way to end the summer.

Now that September has arrived I am ready for all things fall!!

  • Who else is ready for fall?!
  • What did you do this weekend?


Filed under Dinner, Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

ProCakes Protein Pancake Mix

As a Fitfluential Ambassador, I was sent a sample of ProCakes pancake mix directly from the company at no charge to me to review on my blog. All opinions are my own.

Hello! How is everyone doing?

Let’s do a quick weekend recap, shall we?

On Saturday night, we had plans to cookout with my family. We bought everything – burgers, chicken, salmon, fruit, (grilled pineapple is amazing), and my dad brought ingredients to make campfire pies over the fire…then Mother Nature decided to drop a huge storm on us. It poured like crazy and our backyard was so flooded, we could have swam in it.

Needless to say, we didn’t grill and ordered pizza instead. Boo.

We did grill the food on Sunday so we still got to enjoy it. Danny usually grills a few chicken breasts on Sunday night and we throw them in the fridge to use on salads for dinner throughout the week. It cuts down a lot on cooking time during the week.

Sunday morning, I taught BodyPump. Killed my leg, but I only have two BodyPump classes to go.

Yesterday night, Danny and I worked out biceps and triceps together. We did the following:

  • biceps curls
  • triceps cable pulldowns
  • single leg hammer curls
  • skullcrushers
  • reverse biceps curls
  • abs – plank and sit-ups

We did 3 sets and 12 reps of each exercise.


This morning, I had something new for breakfast – ProCake Protein Pancakes!!


 I love me some protein pancakes and I was excited to try out this mix from ProCakes.


ProCakes are gluten-free, have only 14 net carbs per serving, and have no added sugar. The directions are simple – you mix one egg, milk, and the ProCakes package in a bowl and that’s it!

I used one whole egg, 1/4 cup of almond milk, and a handful of blueberries for my ProCakes.

My ProCakes had 261 calories and 20 grams of protein! I ate them with a little bit of Walden Farms calorie-free syrup.


I love that they came out brown, fluffy, and delicious! The mix made three good sized pancakes and I ate them with two egg whites for a little extra protein. They were very filling and I had a hard time finishing all three pancakes. They turned out a lot tastier that my normal protein pancakes made with eggs and oatmeal.

I definitely see more ProCakes in my future :)

Happy Birthday

A big happy birthday, to my mom today!! We’re going to celebrate with her this weekend!

PicMonkey Collage

Love you, Mom!

Have a great day!


Filed under Breakfast, Product Review

Feets of Strength 5k 2014

Good afternoon!

We had such a busy weekend! My aunt and uncle are in from California and yesterday we ran/walked the Feets of Strength 5k. My aunt recently lost 135 pounds and walked her first 5k! I am so proud of her!



The race was about half an hour from our house so we left in plenty of time to get there. It’s small race in a small town so parking and packet pickup was a breeze.


The only thing I didn’t like about the race was that if you signed up for the walk, you didn’t get a race bib. The 5k walk and the 5k run were both $25. There wasn’t a difference in price but the walkers didn’t get bibs which I thought they should have. They also had a raffle at the end of the race by drawing random bib numbers. I felt since the walkers were paying the same price as the runners and the fact that they went exactly the same distance that they should have been included in the raffles.

That aside, the race was well organized, started on time, had plenty of indoor bathrooms and post-race food. The goal of the race was to raise awareness about child abuse and to help raise funds for Royal Families Kids’ Camp.

Danny and I ran the race while everyone else walked. After we finished, we ran back to complete the race with everyone else.

I started out really good and had a good pace going for the first two miles. At the start of the third mile my right leg just gave out. The course was really hilly and partially on a trail and I think it was just too hard on my hip. My hip kind of gave out and my calves tightened up. I probably should have walked but I didn’t. I had to limp jog the last mile and it was painful.

I finished in 31:55 which is normally a time I would be happy with but yesterday I wasn’t. I started out really good and was feeling great and then my body just gave up on me. I pushed myself as hard as I physically could and I still feel like I’m not doing what I should. It’s hard when your body is pretty much working against you and can only do so much when you feel like you should be able to do more. It’s just frustrating because it’s out of my control. I was seven seconds out of third place for my age group and that hurt.

I suppose I haven’t been facing my hip problem like I should because I am scared of what the doctor will say but after yesterday’s race, I know that something is really wrong with my hip. I finally called the hip surgeon today to go in and discuss my options. I wasn’t able to get an appointment until June 16th but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Let’s talk about happier things, shall we, like my aunt kicking butt!! Her goal was to walk the 5k in under an hour and she finished in 58:54.



It was such an amazing experience for her and I am so glad that I got to be part of that with her. It’s such an inspiration to see her set these awesome goals for herself and then see her accomplish them. And that’s true for anybody – setting a goal that you really have to hard at and then accomplishing it is such an amazing feeling.



Danny did awesome finishing in 24:22 and taking second place for his age group.


Everyone did such a great job and I am so lucky to have such a close and supportive family. :)

Later yesterday afternoon, my niece had her first gymnastics show that we all attended.


She was so adorable in her little leotard doing her gymnastics. She did so good and I was so proud of her too!

After her show, we headed out to the Lucky Monk for my birthday dinner! My birthday is tomorrow but we celebrated yesterday with my family.

Danny and I have been to the Lucky Monk once before and it was really good. We started out sharing some appetizers – the pretzels were amazing and so was the tomato goat cheese fondue.


For dinner, I had the Waldorf salad and the most amazing sweet potato fries.

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I think I ate every single last bite on my plate.

My dad ordered the same thing Danny did the first time we went – a grilled cheese on a hamburger.

photo 21

Apparently, it’s pretty popular.

We were all stuffed by the end of the meal, but I still had to sample the fresh homemade donuts with dipping sauces that the waiter brought as a birthday dessert. Donuts are my weakness. :)

A big thank you to my family for celebrating with me and for the wonderful gifts.

Have a great afternoon!!


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Race, Running

Happy 13th Birthday, Jacob!

It’s official…I am the mom of a teenager!

PicMonkey Collage1

My son Jacob turned 13 today!!!


Jacob is my very special micro preemie baby – he was born at 25 weeks, weighing 1 lb. and 14 oz. At his lowest, he dropped to about 1 lb and 8 oz. We went from not even know if he would survive to him turning 13 years old!

The sun is shining today which is perfect because Jaden has a baseball game and then we’re having a birthday party for Jacob.


Last night for dinner, I actually got sushi from an actual sushi restaurant.


I got a California roll and a Philadelphia roll. They were good, but I actually like Whole Foods sushi better. Yeah, I said it. First, I forgot to ask if they had brown rice and I’m not a fan of white rice. The California roll was a little spicy and I’m also not a fan of spicy foods.

I told Jaden I would buy him an ice cream if he tried a bite of the sushi. He tried a bite, gagged, spit it out, and drank a cup of water. Then he said, “well, at least I tried it.” I bought him an ice cream.

This morning, I’m off to the gym to practice for festival the park district holds every year in May. There’s a 5k, things for kids to do, demos of fitness classes, vendors, etc. This year I am doing a short demo of a BodyPump class. The festival is later this month, but we’re getting everything ready today!

Have a great weekend!



Filed under Dinner, Family Fun

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