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I Passed and a Grain Brain Review

I passed my final BodyPump certification!!

I am so happy! After months of practicing, going to training, more practicing, teaching with an instructor, and even more practicing, I finally passed! I am now a certified BodyPump instructor!

I still have to talk to my gym, but I think the plan for now is to teach every other Sunday and sub for other instructors. It won’t be a lot of hours, but I’m happy that I passed and can officially teach now. Yay! :)

Grain Brain Challenge

Thank you to FitFluential on behalf of Grain Brain for letting me be part of this challenge. I was compensated for my time and participation. All opinions are my own.

About a month ago, I started a grain brain challenge based on the book, Grain Brain, by Dr. Perlmutter. His book explains the negative effect carbs and grains have on our brains and bodies and proposes a four-week plan of taking vitamins, eating low carb and gluten-free, and getting the recommended amount of sleep.

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My Thoughts

I did as best as I could during this challenge, but I have to admit that I wasn’t perfect. Eating low carb and gluten-free can be tough and require a lot of planning, but once you do it for awhile, it gets easier. Meal planning also helps a ton.

For me, I tried to stick to more of a gluten-free diet.

I ate tons of eggs, salads, fish, yogurt, fruits, and veggies.

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I also ate some packaged gluten-free foods.

I think packaged gluten-free foods should be used in moderation because they are still processed foods and aren’t necessarily good for you, but when you’re hungry and need something fast, they are great!

I ate gluten-free Amy’s burritos.

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And Udi’s gluten-free bread.

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For a quick snack, I grabbed a Larabar or a Kind bar.

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I also was able to get creative and come up with some great gluten-free recipes including gluten-free pancakes and gluten-free muffins.

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Eating gluten-free and low carb food can be really benefcial, it’s just about finding foods and recipes that you enjoy. Or taking your favorite recipe and making it healthier.

Like I said, I didn’t do perfect and sometimes I messed up on the weekends, and I can tell what a difference I felt when I ate bad on the weekends. Okay, not necessarily bad (I don’t think foods should be labeled good or bad) but rather when I fell off the gluten-free wagon.

When I was eating gluten-free and lower carb, I felt better – physically and mentally. It might sound weird, but I felt lighter. I felt a lot less bloated and that made me feel awesome. When I went a little overboard on the weekend, I felt sluggish and bloated.

I think eating gluten-free and reducing carbs in the evenings can really help you feel better and aid in weight loss.

I am glad that I participated in the grain brain challenge and felt that I really learned a lot about my body but at the same time it was very hard to eat perfect all the time. Although, I think after this challenge, I will stick to eating  a lot of gluten-free foods. They just made me feel better.

A lot of people have gluten intolerances and may not even realize it. A gluten-free diet is great to try just to see the positive effects that it can have on your body.

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Well, I am off to the gym with Danny and the kids this morning! Have a great Saturday!

Don’t forget to enter the My Race Ragz giveaway - ends Sunday!

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Filed under Book Review, Fitness

National Geographic Kids Books

I have always loved to read. Always. Even as a kid, I was always reading. I think that it’s important for parents to encourage their kids to read things that they enjoy. Kids will learn to love reading more if they read things that they want to read rather than something they’re forced to read.

I believe in encouraging kids to read what they enjoy whether it’s a book, a comic book, or the sports section of the newspaper. When Jacob was younger he used to love to read the dictionary and medical books. He still loves reading now, and we often read a lot of the same book (I’m not really sure what that says about my reading level :) )

I always make it a point to take my kids to the library, book store, or let them pick out a book from their book club orders at school.

So, when Mom’s Meet approached me about reviewing the National Geographic Kids books, I was happy to take the opportunity.

I received a big box of National Geographic Kids books in the mail.

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I was very excited to see the variety of the books. I have four kids at home in the afternoons (my two boys, my niece, and another girl I watch), and they range from ages 2-12. The National Geographic books are great because their geared at kids of all ages and reading levels. There is something for everyone!

National Geographic books are full of photos, fun facts, and offer the perfect educational balance.

Jacob (my 12 year old) loves The Ultimate Weird but True and First Big Book of Why books.

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He is the type of kid that craves knowledge and knows more random facts than anyone I know.

Jaden (my 6 year old) loves the animal books, especially the Meerkats book.

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These books are great for me to read to him and my niece and for Jaden to practice reading on his own.

The pictures in the book are fantastic and really hold a kid’s attention.

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National Geographic books provide visual stimulation, active engagement, and are great educational learning material.

All in all, National Geographic Kids are great books that would make any kid want to read. I really like that National Geographic focuses on how to make kids enjoy reading more.

They have four main goals:

  • Get kids super excited about reading
  • Build reading focus and stamina
  • Encourage kids to higher reading levels
  • Empower kids to learn more about their world

You can learn more here. National Geographic definitely met these goals with my children!

  • Do you like to read?
  • Did you read as a child? What were your favorite books?

I was provided the National Geographic Kids books by Mom’s Meet to review on my blog at no charge. All opinions are my own (and my kids!).

 

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Randomness Tuesday

Good afternoon!

Today’s post is going to be about a bunch of random things :)

First up, my workout.

Today’s Workout

  • 3. 5 miles – outside

I think today was the first time I have ever ran outside in November in my life and the first time I have ran outside in a month. It was tough. The weather was about 50 degrees which was perfect. I started out a bit chilly but warmed up quickly.

The wind was the toughest part and my nose was runny the whole time. I ran 3.1 miles (with a couple of walk breaks) and then walked .4 miles. I haven’t been running lately and my hip still hurts so my time wasn’t the best.

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I’m just trying to run outside a little more to be ready for the 5k on Thanksgiving!

Kind Bars

A few weeks ago, Jaden and I went to Whole Foods and they had a few kid’s Halloween activities set up around the store. One activity was a photo booth with props.

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If you took a picture and tagged it on Instagram, you were eligible to win a case of Kind bars. Well, I just found out today that Jaden’s picture was one of the lucky winners! Yay!

Books

I go through phases with reading. Sometimes I’ll read a whole bunch of book in a row and then I’ll go a long time without reading anything.

I just finished reading Allegiant (from the Divergent series).

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I thought the book was okay - I wasn’t really happy with the ending and thought there was so much time between books so I had a hard time remembering what had happened in the first two books. It’s a must read if you read the first two in the series, but overall slightly disappointing.

I am currently reading Ender’s Game (I seem to like young adult books if you can’t tell).

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Ender’s Game is actually an old book from 1991. It was recently made into a movie that just came out. Jacob read it on his Kindle, so I decided to read it too. So far, it’s really good. It’s about a young boy who is sent away to Battle School to train for a war against an alien race.

It reminds me of another book I recently read where kids are sent away to train as soldiers and I just can’t remember the name of it!

Lunch

Lunch this afternoon was an Amy’s gluten-free burrito. I also had some apple slices.

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Ugly Sweater Coffee

While I was at Target, I came across this Ugly Sweater Crème Brulee coffee.

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How fun is that? Last year, we had an ugly Christmas sweater party, and this coffee would have been perfect.

Last year:

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Have a wonderful afternoon!

  • Tell me something random about your day!

 

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Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Running, Working Out

Clean Eating…For The Most Part

Good afternoon!

For breakfast this morning, I tried out the new Jif Whips peanut butter.

It tasted just like regular peanut butter except it was more…fluffy. Can I use the word fluffy to describe peanut butter. Airy? It was more airy than regular peanut butter. Either way, it tasted good and had less calories and fat than regular peanut butter.

I had it on some toast with eggs whites and a clementine.

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Yesterday, I took the kids to the library, and I picked up a couple of books.

The Eat-Clean Diet and Eat Clean Cookbook both by Tosca Reno.

I have mentioned before that I am trying to get back on track with my eating. I tried keeping a food journal again, but I just can’t seem to get back into the habit. I’ll write down a day or two and then I’ll stop. I think it’s because I was measuring out everything single little thing that I eat to keep track of the caloires.

I did keep a detailed food journal for over a year which helped me lose almost 30 pounds, and while I think it helps, I was maybe too consumed with doing it. I think it’s great to write out your basic meals, but I was measuring every single food item and it was becoming obsessive.

Tosca Reno points out in her book:

Calorie counting is not a part of Eating Clean. What I dislike most about calorie counting is that it destroys our relationship with food. We get obsessed with numbers instead of what our bodies are telling us.

While calorie counting did help me lose weight, I totally agree with this statement. Calorie counting was making me a bit obsessive, but I was losing weight and I thought that was the best way to do it.

So, I am trying something new. Instead of writing down everything I eat and counting every calorie, I am trying to focus more on eating clean and healthy foods. Eating foods that aren’t processed, avoiding sugars and refined foods, avoiding chemicals and trans fats.

Instead I am trying to focus on foods that don’t come in a box or package – healthy foods that you could grow in your own back yard. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, complex carbs, lots of water, etc.

There is a list of clean eating basics:

Now, I’m not jumping into this clean eating thing with both feet. Rather, I am dipping my toes in the water and trying to start out slow. I have been eating a lot of clean foods – oatmeal, salads, fruits, raw almonds, veggies and hummus, fish, brown rice fruit smoothies.

At the same time I am also eating foods that might not be considered “clean”- Clif bars, peanut butter, fruit flavored Greek yogurt. But I am eating these in moderation and think that’s it’s all about baby steps. I don’t eat chicken or beef, so instead fruit flavored Greek yogurt is a good source of protein for me. Yes, I could buy plain Greek yogurt and add my own fruit but I really love those Chobani Greek yogurts.

I am making sure to avoid foods that I know are especially not good for me – chips, fries, sugar cereals, cookies, candy, frozen pizza, frozen meals, waffles, etc.

Another good point of advice which I have heard everywhere (a healthy eating seminar, a nutritionist, the Biggest Loser program) is to always eat a complex carb and a lean protein together during snacks and meals. Protein is metabolized better with a complex carb.

Carbs give you energy while protein helps build muscles and keeps you fuller longer.

I always make sure to have a protein when I’m eating. If I have an apple, I make sure to have some almonds with it. Or, if I’m having toast for breakfast, I’ll have some egg whites along with it.

Protein + Carb

So, my goal is just to take baby steps in order to start eating better and healthier food. :)

Today’s Workout

  • BodyPump – 60 minutes

After BodyPump, I had a Larabar and a clementine.

The Larabars are probably better than Clif bars because they have minimal and healthier ingredients, but I still love Clif bars. The peanut butter chocolate chip Larabar was awesome!

Have a great afternoon!

  • Do you try to eat clean and healthy foods?
  • What’s your favorite thing to eat?
  • Any workout today?

 

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Working Out

Skinny Limits Juice Cleanse – Day One

Today’s Workout

  • Elliptical – 30 minutes

Today is the first day of my Skinny Limits juice cleanse.

According to the shipping info, the juice was scheduled to be delivered at about 10:45 am. I was worried that I would miss the delivery, so instead of taking my normal hour-long Butts and Guts class, I just hopped on the elliptical for 30 minutes before heading home to wait for the juice delivery.

Hey, any workout is better than no workout, right?

A few benefits of doing a juice cleanse:

  • rid your body of toxins
  • balance your alkaline level
  • regulate digestion and metabolism

Of course, weight loss is also a benefit, but juice cleanses are usually done to rid the body of toxins, not to focus on weight loss. I am personally doing a juice cleanse to get my body back on track and hopefully help with my love for sugar.

My Skinny Limits juice cleanse arrived at about 10:15 am, and I drank my first juice at about 10:30 am.

Normally, you’re supposed to drink hot water with lemon as soon as you wake up and then drink your first juice. Obviously, I couldn’t do that part today, but I will do it tomorrow.

I received three days of the juice cleanse. Each day is exactly the same and must be consumed in a certain order – the bottles are labeled. Here are the juices that I received:

  • 1 Pure & Simple – apple, cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, lemon, and parsley
  • 1 Balance – apple, cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, lemon, ginger
  • 1 Lotus – beet, carrot, spinach, apple, lemon, ginger
  • 1 Scorpion Lemonade – lemon, agave nectar, cayenne
  • 1 Green Firefly – apple, cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, lemon, parsley, pineapple
  • 1 Crescent Moon – raw cashews, vanilla bean, agave nectar, ground cinnamon, coconut oil, Himalayan sea salt

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The green juices all seem pretty similar with one ingredient that differs. I started with the Pure & Simple juice.

Honestly, this juice was good. I am a huge fruit and veggie lover so I have no problem drinking green juice. Yes, it tastes like vegetables, but the apple and lemon give it that perfect balance of sweetness.

Jaden asked if he could try it and I said why not. His exact words were nah, it tastes like melted broccoli.

The juices are meant to be consumed 2 1/2 to 3 hours apart with the last one at least two hours before bed. Since I got a late start, I will be drinking my juices a little bit closer together. I drank the Balance juice about 12:30 pm, and it tastes the same as the first juice. So far, so good.

I like the juices, but it is weird not to eat any food. The juice cleanse comes with a set of instructions that says if you are extremely hungry then it’s okay to eat a couple of stalks of celery, half a cucumber, or 1/4 avocado.

It is currently 1:30 pm, and I don’t really feel hungry. I would say I just feel fine. Not hungry but not full either. I thought I would struggle in the beginning, but I think it’ll be harder later tonight and tomorrow. I have also been making sure to drink water. Day one of juice cleansing is halfway done!

Moving on….. I went to the book store and picked up the new Stephen King book, Joyland. I can’t wait to start reading it.

After the book store, the kids and I picked up my niece. Then, we went to the library to sign up for the summer reading program.

Now I’m just at home, making the kids lunch, and thinking about food….

Have a great afternoon!

  • Did you workout today?
  • Ever do a juice cleanse?
  • Do you like green (veggie) juices?
  • Last book you read?

Skinny Limits sent me the three day Juice Cleanse Variety Pack to review on my blog free of charge. All opinions are my own.

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Lunch, Working Out

Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal and Fun Stuff at the Gym

Yesterday’s Workout

  • BodyPump – 60 minutes
  • 3 miles, outside

Breakfast

Breakfast this morning was hot oatmeal. I used Quaker oats and made pumpkin apple oatmeal.

I added the apples in with the water for the oatmeal so they would be cooked and have a softer texture.

For my oatmeal, I used:

  • 1/3 cup Quaker old-fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 oz apple, diced
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lite syrup

Once the water was boiling, I added all the ingredients and let it cook for about five minutes. It was the perfect hot breakfast on a chilly morning.

Today’s Workout

  • Elliptical – 20 min.
  • Butts and Guts class – 60 min.

At the gym this morning, I signed up for fitness bingo.

Starting in October, every time you workout, you get a stamp. Once you get a Bingo (four stamps in row) you get to turn your card into a drawing for a prize. Should be fun!

I also signed up for Spin class. Most of the classes at my gym are included in the membership price, but there’s a couple, like Spin class, that are a separate fee. I wanted to try something different and I know Spin is challenging so I decided to sign up. Since I’m already a gym member, it was only $16.

So, on Monday nights, Danny is going to have to meet me at the gym to pick up the kids because Spin starts at 5:30 pm, which is when he is normally getting home.

And I also signed up for one more thing – a free preview of a new class that my gym will be offering – H.I.I.T. (high intensity interval training). It’s a new 30 minute class that it also a separate fee. Luckily, they offer a free preview class so you can decide if it’s something you would want to sign up for. The Biggest Loser might be over, but fitness is forever!!! :)

Moving on….

I am a huge Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling fan. Like as in I dressed my kids up like Harry Potter and took them out to the store at midnight to get new copies of the Harry Potter books when they were released.

For the record, Jacob won the Harry Potter contest and we got a copy of the book for free.

Anyway, I just found out that J.K. Rowling wrote her first novel for adults, which comes out Thursday.

About the book:

When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town
of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a
cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty
façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their
parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils….
Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the
town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet
seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and
unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly
surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first
novel for adults.

(Source)

I can’t wait to read it!

Questions of the day:

  • Are you a Harry Potter fan? I started reading Harry Potter over 12 years ago and I have loved it ever since.
  • Did you work out today? Do you belong to a gym?

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

A,B,C,1,2,3

Yesterday

Well, the weather yesterday wasn’t anything like my Weather Channel app predicted. Instead of severe storms all afternoon, it was beautiful sunshine. Thanks for nothing, Weather Channel app. So, even though my nutrition class and 5k prep wasn’t canceled, I went to Jacob’s curriculum night at his middle school.

I’m at middle school!

Jacob is my little smart guy, and I am very proud of him. He is taking all advanced classes, meaning they teach the 7th grade curriculum rather than the 6th grade curriculum. I told him just don’t come to me for help on your homework. Just kidding! I used to tutor reading and math at Kumon so I’m not so shabby myself.

Some interesting school things:

  • Neither of my kids (kindergarten and 6th grade) have ever gotten letter grades (A,B,C,D,F). Instead they get number grades (1,2,3,4,5), but the school stresses that these numbers don’t correlate with the letter grades. For example, a 5 doesn’t equal an A. Rather, all kids should be getting 3′s on their report card because it means they are understanding all the material and are right where they should be.
  • Homework is no longer being graded. Yes, you read that right. They are still being assigned homework that needs to be completed, but it’s not figured into their final grade. The principal said it’s like practice. You’re practicing learning the new material, so why be penalized of you don’t understand it? He used the analogy of a sports game – you practice and practice, but the only thing that really matters is whether you win or lose the game. I’m on the fence about this one. That means that their grade is based solely on quizzes and tests, and not everyone does the best on tests even when they know the material.

We also checked out the fitness center at the middle school, and one of the gym teachers turned out to be someone who Danny went to high school with. Isn’t that funny. Someone you went to high school with is now teaching your kid. I wonder if makes him feel old?

And Danny also went to high school with Jaden’s nurse from his allergy doctor. Small world. But not really because we live near where Danny grew up and went to high school.

The fitness center at Jacob’s school is just as nice as the fitness center at my gym. And they can join a fitness club and work out after school for only $5 a year. How do I get in on that deal?

Finally, we stopped by the book fair. I am big on encouraging children to read. I think it’s important to let them read what they enjoy so that they don’t dislike reading. If they want to read comic books and the sports section, let them! I always let my kids pick out books at the book fair or order them from the book club flyers that they bring home. I let them pick out books at the library and once in a while, we go to the book store so that they can get a new book.

Jacob loves to read and will read anything he can get his hands on – books, the dictionary, medical books, the comics, magazines, my running magazines, cereal boxes, etc. I know that not all kids like to read, but I think it’s important to be encouraging about reading.

Yesterday’s Dinner

The curriculum night went from 6:30 to 8:30 pm last night, and my dad watched the kids. I knew that I wouldn’t have time to eat dinner at home, so I packed a salad to eat at my dad’s house when we went to pick the kids up. It was one of the best salads that I’ve had in a while.

I made a salad with the smoked salmon that I bought at the grocery store the other day. My salad also included: romaine lettuce, red onion, carrots, cucumbers, red pepper, and I used hummus as dressing. Using the hummus as dressing was delicious!

Today’s Workout

  • 3.25 miles outside
  • Step Class – 40 minutes

Well, today’s run didn’t go as well as I hoped. I ran the first two miles okay, but even though I wore my calf sleeves, my right calf really started to tighten up and hurt.

So, I ended up walking/jogging the last mile. I have been to a doctor and a physical therapist about my calves. The doctor diagnosed me with compartment syndrome a while back, which basically means that my muscle is too tight in its sheath. He said the only way to fix it was surgery to cut the sheath open and relieve the pressure. I told him thanks, but no thanks.

After my run, it was only 9:30am, and I ran near my gym so I decided to go inside and join the last 40 minutes of step class. I missed the first 20 minutes but that’s okay because I am not the most coordinated on the step.

By the time I got home, I was hungry, so I made breakfast – scrambled egg whites with spinach and red onion, toast with peanut butter, and grapes.

I’m thinking about going on a bike ride this afternoon, but we’ll see! Have a great day – only one more day until Friday!

Questions of the day:

  • Do your kids get letter grades? How were your grades when you were younger?
  • Are you a good test taker?
  • Do you like to read?
  • Any plans for today? Workouts?

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Fitness, Working Out

Workouts and Doctors

Yesterday’s  Workout

  • BodyPump (am)
  • Biggest Loser Stability Workout (pm)
  • 5k Prep Workout (pm)

Wednesdays are usually my long workout days. I know it’s a lot of working out for one day, so I always make sure that I eat a bit more calories and protein on Wednesdays.

The 5k prep workout went good yesterday. Doing this 5k prep workout is the first time in my life that I have ever run with other people. I am used to running completely by myelf all the time. I didn’t think I would like running with a group, but it turns out that I actually do. I think it’s a great way to push myself. I used to make excuses in my head as to why I needed to slow down and now I push myself to keep up with the others.

For yesterday’s running, we ran for 5 minutes, walked for 3 minutes, ran for 8 minutes, walked for 3 minutes, ran for 5 minutes, and then walked about 8 minutes or so. I’m hoping that by the time the finale 5k comes around in September, I will be able to run my fastest 5k.

Backing up yesterday afternoon, I had a doctor’s appointment.

The only way to keep these guys busy during my doctor’s appointment:

Back in March, I mentioned that I had blood work done at the sports doctor. It turns out that I had low iron and tested positive for ANA antibodies (not A antibodies like I originally thought). The sports doctor kind of just dismissed it, but I was still concerned so I made an appointment with my regular doctor to go over the blood test results.

I’ve had low iron before and used to take iron supplements. My doctor said that my iron was only slightly low and nothing to worry about. He said to take a women’s daily multivitamin with iron and I should be fine. They did do more blood work yesterday just to make sure everything was fine since the previous blood test was six months prior.

He said that some people test positive for ANA antibodies and it is absolutely nothing to worry about, but since I have other symptoms (nail problems, hand and finger problems in the winter) that I should make an appointment with a rheumatologist just to rule out any underlying condition. So that’s that. I make an appointment and see what happens next.

Today

I ate breakfast before I went to the gym this morning. I had a Van’s Power Grain waffle and a clementine.

I love these Power Grain waffles because they have 10 grams of protein per two waffles.

Today’s Workout

  • 4.11 miles treadmill (ran 3 miles, walked 1 mile)
  • 10 minutes stretching

Lunch

For lunch today I made a bagelwich with egg whites, provolone cheese, and raspberry preserves. I also had baby carrots and 1 cup of tomato soup. The cheese and raspberry preserves make a delicious combo.

I have been using this seedless raspberry fruit spread:

Also, I just started reading Gone Girl for Julie’s book club. I actually started reading this book before she even announced it as the book of the month, so that worked out nicely.

(source)

Questions of the day:

  • When was the last time you went to the doctor? I feel like between me and the kids, we’re always at the doctor.
  • What was your workout today?
  • What food combos do you love? I love chocolate and peanut butter.
  • Are you reading any books right now?

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The Night Circus

I read the book, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, for Julie’s January book club, and am writing a  short summary and review on it.

(Source)

From the book:

Overview

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

Summary

The Night Circus is essentially told from the view of three characters: Celia, Marco, and Bailey.

We first met Celia when she is five years old and goes to live with her magician father because her mother has committed suicide. We learn that Celia’s father, Prospero the Enchanter, is truly magical, performing real magic rather than tricks. Celia has inherited her father’s special talents.

We meet Marco when he is adopted by Alexander, a competitor of Prospero’s, and he is taught throughout his life how to perform magic. Marco and Celia ended up binded together in a magical competition by Prospero and Alexander.

The stage for the competition is The Night Circus, which to the average eye appears like a real circus, but is however, a truly magical circus.

The two must compete until only one is left standing. But how can that be possible when Celia and Marco fall in love?

The final character whose viewpoint we read throughout the story is Bailey. Bailey starts out as a young child who enters the circus when it’s closed as a dare and from then on he is enchanted by the circus. He goes back to the circus as a teenager and befriends two of the young circus stars – Poppet and Widget.

My Thoughts

My first reaction was to compare this book to Water For Elephants because they are both about circuses. But it became apparent right from the start that the two stories are like apples and oranges. Water for Elephants gives a true account to how things actually happened in the circus, whereas The Night Circus is about a magic circus, therefore everything is done magically.

I really liked how this book was written - Morgenstern paints a beautiful picture with her words and you can’t help but feel like your actually in the book. She is throughly descriptive.

I enjoyed the story line about two people who were forced into a lifelong competition at a young age that neither one of them agreed to and then fall in love. You want to keep reading to find out what’s going to happen to Celia and Marco.

And at first, I didn’t really understand how Bailey’s character fit into the story, but by the end it all falls into place.

The only things that I didn’t like was how the author didn’t go into more depth about the competition between Marco and Celia. Basically, they just go back and forth creating magical things. There wasn’t any true competition because the two didn’t oppose each other, they worked with one another. Then again, maybe that was the whole point.

Bottom line, I thought that this book was a truly magical, suspenseful love story.

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