Tag Archives: christmas

Christmas Tree 2012

Today we went with my dad, stepmom, step brother, brother, sister-in-law, and niece to cut down a Christmas tree.

Here’s the day in pictures:

The horses:

Searching for the perfect tree:

Showing his mama some love:


My dad stopped to do a few push-ups:

We finally got our tree and Danny tied it to the roof of our car:

This is the first year that we actually took our coats off while getting a Christmas tree. It was unseasonably warm at 62 degrees today! The kids were kind of bummed that there was so snow, but it’ll come soon enough!

Have a great Sunday!


Filed under Christmas, Family Fun, Fun

Now Tastes Even Better!

It’s Monday and life has gone back to normal. The kids went back to school, Danny went back to work, and I went back to not eating pumpkin pie like it was the last pie on Earth.

Last night, we put up a few Christmas decorations. We bought a mini Christmas tree that the kids loved decorating.

We also worked on Jaden’s gingerbread man for school. The assignment is to decorate the gingerbread man as a family, so I made him little argyle pants and suspenders out of ribbon.


I bought the new Special K Protein cereal to try and had that for breakfast this morning.

I love when boxes say things like Now Tastes Even Better! Oh really? Then what did it taste like before?! Shouldn’t you make it taste better before you even sell it in the first place?!

I was actually surprised by the taste – I really liked it. They’re were slightly sweet, but not sugary like some cereal. A 3/4 cup serving has 120 calories and 10 grams of protein! That’s more protein and fewer calories than my normal Kashi oatmeal.

Today’s Workout

  • 1.5 miles treadmill
  • BodyPump – 60 minutes

Total Pile on the Miles: 41.59 miles

This is the last week for Pile on The Miles and Fitness Bingo. I have a total of 19 bingo cards so far! I am going to try to get three bingo cards in this week, that way I’ll have 22 cards in for the final drawing. Fingers crossed.

Last year I put together a post on fitness related gifts for other people. This year, I thought that it would be fun to share a few things on my wish list. Not everything is fitness related.

A new gym bag. I have had my Ed Hardy gym bag for about 2 years. It’s not an actual gym bag, it’s just a tote bag that I bought at TJMaxx. I don’t carry too much with me to the gym, but I like having a bag separate from my purse. I usually carry: a full-size towel for BodyPump, headphones and my phone, my gym card and keys, face wipes, and my water bottle.

I really like this gym bag from Athleta. It’s on sale today only – 20% off.

I debated whether or not I waned this next product, but then decided that I did – the Garmin forerunner 10.

I am not really a long distance runner, so I never really had a use for one of the fancy expensive Garmins. But then the more reasonably priced Garmin 10 came out. I usually use my Nike+ when running outside to calculate my distance, but it’s not always accurate and I must have my iPod in order for it to work. I don’t always like to run with music and I don’t want to have to wear an armband with my iPod just to calculate my distance, so this Garmin 10 would be pretty handy.

I might have mentioned this before, but my secret love is watching beauty videos on YouTube. Trust me, you can’t tell by looking at me that I have ever watched a beauty video, but I do get dressed up and do my makeup every once in a while. I have been hearing about this Urban Decay Naked Palette for years, so I thought it’d be nice to have.

Coffee drinking makes my teeth less than white. Enough said.

Oh yeah, I would also like peace on Earth and eternal health for my family and friends.

Questions of the day:

  • Did you workout today?
  • What is on your wish list? What are you buying for others?
  • Have you started Christmas shopping yet?!


Filed under Breakfast, Christmas, Fitness, Working Out

My Dad, the Babysitter

Good morning! Has this been a crazy busy weekend for anyone else?! I feel like we’ve been busy, busy, busy! Eating, visiting with family, shopping, eating some more.


Yesterday, we took the kids to Bass Pro Shop to see the Santa’s Wonderland and visit with Santa.

The line was very long, but they give you a ticket to come back at a certain time, so you can shop around instead of waiting in line. And I think it was worth the wait because they give you a nice free picture of your kids with Santa.

“Nice TapOut shirt”, said NO ONE EVER. Sorry, I had to say it.

They also have a lot of games set up for the kids to play.

Yesterday night, my dad was babysitting McCutie so we took her to the mall to see Santa. There was no line at the mall, but the cheapest picture cost $22, and they won’t let you take a picture with your own camera. Not cool. So, we just visited with Santa at the mall. McCutie ChristmasFace wanted nothing to do with sitting on Santa’s lap, but she did let Jacob hold her near him to say hello.

Since my dad was the babysitter in charge, he had to do all the babysitting duties.

Riding in the train with the kids…

…feeding the baby:

…drinking with the baby:

Good job, Dad! Maybe we should leave all three kids with you…alone. :)

Today’s Workout

  • Treadmill 3.3 miles

Total Pile on the Miles: 40.09 miles

I am already above my goal for pile on the miles! I made my goal 30 miles since I am also doing Fitness Bingo at my gym and need to take a lot of fitness classes. But I surprised myself and was able to get miles in whenever I could.

I definitely haven’t been eating very healthy this week. I know that’s to be expected with the holiday and all, but I hoped to stick to my daily calories everyday besides Thanksgiving. Yeah, that didn’t happen. But tomorrow is Monday, and I plan on getting back on track.

It’s really weird because whenever Danny is home, my eating kind of slides and I eat whatever I feel like, but when he’s at work, I eat just fine. I’m not really sure why that is. Maybe because we need to eat out more during the weekend, or we’re a lot busier so I just grab whatever to eat. But when he goes back to work tomorrow, I’ll go back to eating healthy. Strange.

Questions of the day:

  • Are you back to a normal work week tomorrow?
  • Has it been a busy weekend for you? Do any shopping?
  • Do you eat different when you significant other is around?


Filed under Christmas, Family Fun, Fitness, Working Out

Cardio vs. Strength Training

I woke up this wonderful Tuesday morning to snow covering the ground. Sigh.

It’s not that I hate snow, it’s more that I hate the cold. And I don’t like driving in the snow. The snow has already melted, so I am happy again…for now. It’s still cold.

Today’s Workout

  • 1.45 miles treadmill
  • Butts and Guts class - 60 minutes

Total Pile on the Miles: 20.2 miles

Today in Butts and Guts, we did a lot of exercises with the stability ball.

Butts and Guts is usually about 60% cardio, 30% strength, and 10% ab work. <—– Do you like my mathematician skills right there? Random Heather Fact: Before I started watching my niece in the afternoons, I worked at Kumon Learning Center tutoring kids in a math and reading program.

Back to Butts and Guts….I was saying that the class is about 60% cardio. Before I started taking BodyPump a little over a year ago, about 80% of my time in the gym was spent doing cardio – the treadmill, elliptical, stairmaster, etc. I thought I loved cardio.

Then I started taking BodyPump two times a week and eventually three times a week, and I realized that I loved strength training more than I ever loved cardio. Strength training helped me tone up and gain muscle that I didn’t even know was possible. Also, doing so much cardio left me injured a lot – I had hip bursitis from all the repetitive moments, and I detached my rib cartridge at one point.

I am not saying that cardio isn’t good. It is – it’s great to keep your heart healthy and make you happy. But strength training can change your body in ways that doing cardio exercises can’t. I think it’s important to have a good balance between the two. So, even though BodyPump is my favorite class, Butts and Guts helps me get my cardio in for the day.

After the gym, I had a few errands to run. I think I finally finished getting the stuff for the kid’s Christmas stockings. I am ahead of schedule this year!

In our house, Santa fills your stocking with little toys and treats and that’s the first thing that you get to open on Christmas morning.

Buzz Buzz

I started reading a new book a few days ago. The Secret Life of Bees. Yes, I’m using a coupon as a bookmark.

My mom gave me this book to read a long time ago, and I never was really interested in it. I just didn’t think that it was a book that I’d enjoy. Then, the other day, I was bored and wanting something to read, and I saw it lying there, so I decided to give it a try…now I’m hooked.

I am about halfway through and it’s a really good book. I am enjoying it so far, although sometimes when the author goes into a little too much detail about the bees, I have a hard time paying attention. But so far, I’d recommend it.

Questions of the day:

  • Which do you prefer: cardio or strength?
  • Snow: Love it or Hate it?
  • Do you have stockings in your house for the holidays?
  • Have you read The Secret Life of Bees?


Filed under Book Review, Christmas, Fitness, Working Out

Holiday Decorations Make me Happy

Last night, we went to Hobby Lobby so I could get some jars and ribbon for some Christmas gifts that I’m working on.

Jaden tried on some hats:

All their Christmas stuff was 50%, and I ended up buying some things that I have been wanting for a few years, but never got around to buying. The first thing you’re probably going to laugh at, but I don’t even care because I love it:

A reindeer costume for my car! I look for one of these every year, but it’s always too late and I can never find one. I think they are so adorable, and the kids are going to love it!

I love A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s actually my favorite Christmas movie, and I love all things Charlie Brown Christmas related. I have been wanting this Charlie Brown nativity figure set for a couple of years, and just never bought it, so I was excited to see that Hobby Lobby had it for 50% off.

I also got a Charlie Brown Christmas clock that plays a different Christmas song every hour.

I just love the holidays! And thank you to Danny for buying all this Christmas stuff and putting up with my love for Christmas decorations.

I also found these candy cane almonds at Hobby Lobby. I love chocolate covered almonds and figured that I just have to try out candy cane almonds!

The almonds are 220 calories for 1.4 ounces. I haven’t opened the package yet, but Danny and I were trying to figure out how many almonds would be 1.4 ounces. I said at least 8 almonds, but Danny said he thought it would be closer to 5 almonds. When I open them, I am going to weigh them, so we can see who’s closer.

We also opened the candy cane Oreos last night. Jaden gave them two thumbs up.

(Yes, I know I need a new tablecloth.)

I had one delicious candy cane Oreo and savored every bite. ;)

Today’s Workout

  • 2.1 miles, treadmill
  • Step & Tone Class – 60 minutes

Total Pile on the Miles: 12.85 miles

I finally did more than a mile on the treadmill this morning! I used to just run on Thursday mornings, but lately I have been going to Step class to get an extra bingo stamp. I like Step class but it’s not my favorite.


Lunch today was an Amy’s Margherita pizza.

This pizza is so good! I also had this Southwest salad that I have been meaning to show you guys.

I have gone through three bags of it so far! It’s new at my grocery store and has a different twist than any typical Southwest salad I’ve seen before. It has green cabbage, romaine lettuce, carrots, pumpkin seeds, green onion, tortilla strips, cilantro, and creamy cilantro dressing. It’s my new favorite salad!

Questions of the day:

  • Have you started Christmas shopping yet?
  • Do you have a favorite holiday decoration?
  • What was for lunch today?
  • How many candy cane almonds do you think equals 1.4 ounces?


Filed under Christmas, Fitness, Fun, Working Out

Presidential Raffle

Yesterday’s Evening Workout

  • Spin Class – 60 minutes

Last night was the last Spin class of the session. I didn’t sign up again because the timing is just too hard.

My gym recently set up a giving tree in the lobby.

While we were there last night, I let the kids both pick out an ornament with a child to buy a present for. Jacob picked out a boy, ages 10-12 and Jaden picked out a boy, ages 0-2.

For the past few years, we have participated in the Salvation Army Giving Tree through JC Penney. This year we’re doing the giving tree at the gym, which is also the park district. It’s nice because it’s local, the kids could physically pick out a tag for another child, and the gifts don’t have to be shipped out like they do with the Salvation Army.

I think this helps my children to understand that not every kid has toys and clothes and food. We talk about the importance of helping others, and the kids spend time picking out the perfect toy. With the Salvation Army, we also bought things like coats, shoes, socks, etc. With the park district it only includes a toy.

Even if you can’t help moneywise, there are tons of ways to volunteer your time.


Yesterday in the mail, I got a mini box of Bear Naked cereal from Target. I had that for breakfast this morning with some almond milk.

I’ve had the Bear Naked cereals before and I love them, I just haven’t had them lately. I should start buying it again! But my problem with cereal is that I have a hard time stopping with one bowl. I love cereal.

This morning, Jaden and I exercised one of our greatest rights as American citizens – we voted.

Okay, I voted, but Jaden came along to see how it was all done. The lady at the polling place gave Jaden an “I voted” sticker, and he’s very excited to show his teacher. He’s also having a “secret” vote for the President at school today, so he’s also very excited about that.

After I voted, Jaden asked me when they were going to pick the name of the President out of a box. He thought it was like a raffle. I explained to him that’s not quite how it works, but maybe we should try that one year ;)

I dropped Jaden off at school and went to the gym. My gym is also a local polling place so while the gym was dead, the building was crowded.

Speaking of voting, the votes on the cinnamon and sugar Pringles are in.



Danny, Jaden, and I liked them. Jacob didn’t like them. And at press time, my sister-in-law was undecided. :)

They are still salty tasting like a Pringle, but with a slightly sweet flavor. I was surprised they were salty and expected more sweetness, but I thought they were actually good.

Today’s Workout

  • 1 mile – treadmill
  • Butts and Guts Class – 60 minutes

Total Pile on the Miles: 9.63 miles

I got to the gym late this morning because of voting, so I only had time to do one mile on the treadmill before Butts and Guts class. Every mile counts!

Don’t forget to vote today!

Questions of the day:

  • Did you vote? Did you have to wait awhile? I was in and out in three minutes.
  • Any workout for today?
  • Do you have any holiday traditions?


Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Fun, Working Out

It’s Only October

We had stupid flu shots scheduled for 9 am this morning. I stopped and got some McDonald’s coffee on the way.

McDonald’s already has holiday coffee cups, peppermint mocha coffee, and holiday mint McFlurries. Now, I love Christmas and all, but starting all this Christmas stuff before Halloween is a little too much for me. I like to enjoy Halloween and the fall time first, and then start holiday stuff in November. I’ve also seen Christmas commercials for PetSmart and Target. Doesn’t it seem like they’re starting the holidays earlier and earlier every year?!

Jacob was the brave one at our flu shots this morning and got his first. I, on the other hand, was scared out of my mind. Jacob was pretty amused at me being such a baby.

I was actually hoping that I had a fever so that I wouldn’t have to get one. No such luck. Whatever. I still got one. And my arm hurts.

Danny got his shot fine, but Jaden took a little bit of coaxing. Thankfully, we all got our shots in under ten minutes and then we were out of there.

Afterwards, we stopped at the store to get a few last-minute things for our costumes for the Halloween party tonight.

The tattoo was totally unnecessary. I just thought it was cute. Can’t wait for the party to see everyone’s costumes!

When we got home, I started slaving away over the stove to make the food for tonight…

…or I’m being lame and bringing store-bought cookies and making brownies from a box. One or the other.

Jaden tried his Angry Birds costume on with the pillows stuffed in it.

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Questions of the day:

  • Is it too early for Christmas stuff? When do you like to start celebrating the holidays?
  • Did you get a flu shot?
  • Any plans for today?


Filed under Family Fun

Lard is Gross, Not Funny

I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday. The day after Christmas is always a little sad for me because all the excitement of Christmas is gone and it’s another whole year away. Plus, our house is always a disaster and looks like a toy store threw up.

I had so much fun playing with my new camera yesterday and plan on doing a whole post on it soon.


I had Danny take some pictures of me with my new camera to test it out. Okay, okay, I just like pictures of myself.

I don’t know why I’m standing with my arms like that. I never know where to put my hands and always look awkward.

 A self portriat:

Gah, my husband is weird:

Yes, that’s a Twilight calendar in the background. And old Twilight calendar. I keep it up because I like the pictures. It stays on January 2010 all year long. Deal with it.

And of course, a self-pic in the car:

If you can’t tell, I like taking pictures myself. And I was having fun with my new camera.

Yesterday afternoon, we went to my in-laws to visit, eat, and exchange presents. My in-laws are always so nice and generous and I was blessed to have such a close family on both sides. They got me a heart rate monitor that I really wanted. Now, I just have to read the manual to figure out how to use it.

I don’t think we were quite ready yet. Or Mrs. Claus was doing something funky.

Opening presents:

My husband, his brothers, and cousins. The only three of us that are not part of the family by blood are the three tall, blond girls. Hmmm…obviously this family likes themselves some blondes.

In the evening, we went to my mom’s. There was so much food!

Those were just appetizers, then we had dinner. I made the orzo spinach salad.

The girls:

My mom gave the kids a polaroid camera to play with. They had no idea what that old fashioned thing was, but liked playing with it.

Shake it like a polariod picture.


This morning, I actually slept in until 8 am. Then I went to BodyPump at 9 am. I was in a rush, so I ate some strawberry Greek yogurt with Bear Naked cereal on top in the car. I actually thought that I saw someone watching me when I took this picture, which is why I look like that.

You’d think that after taking 2.4 million pictures of myself in the car, I wouldn’t be paranoid if anyone was watching.

After BodyPump, I had a thinkThin brownie crunch bar. It was pretty blah. I ate about 3/4 of it before tossing it. Not my favorite flavor. And by crunch, they mean five random pieces of rice krispies scattered throughout the bar.

Today was such a busy day. We left the house at 11:30 am and didn’t get home until after 8 pm. We had to pick up Cutie Bootie Sweetie baby, then we went to visit some family, ran some errands, ate, and grocery shopped.

At some point, we did stop at Panera to get a little nourishment.

Fun at the grocery store:

Good: The Odwalla protein drinks were finally back in stock. Bad: They’re $2.49 each.

I still bought one.

You might think that they best thing about that picture is Danny pretending to look shocked at something in the freezer case. It’s not.

The best thing about that picture is Jacob is the background taking a picture of a jar of lard. Lard. That’s gross. But for some reason, my kids find lard hilarious.

Now, I’m finally home and going to bed soon. Have a great night!



Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Lunch, Working Out

Christmas in Pictures

Merry Christmas! Or Happy Sunday if you don’t celebrate Christmas!

The kids were up at 6am this morning to see if Santa Claus came. Christmas is such a magical time when you’re a kid. And it’s still a magical time for me as an adult because I enjoy making Christmas a special time for my kids.

Christmas Eve

We went to my dad and step-mom’s house in the morning and we went to my grandparent’s house in the evening.

We can’t start off without a picture of me in the car:

My step-brother telling an intense story:

Mimosa Time:

My dad and step-mom got me Asics GT 2160 running shoes. They also got me, Danny, my brother, and sister-in-law a certificate good for one 5k 0r 10k of our choice. That was a pretty cool idea!

I tried these shoes on right away. Yes, they are a giant size 11, but they are so comfortable. I can’t wait to run in them!

The food spread at my grandparent’s house:


One of Jaden’s favorite presents:

Yes, it’s a cheese ball. This kid loves cheese balls.

Trying to eat the cheese ball:


Christmas Morning

Waking up his brother the best way he know how – by jumping on him:

I bought these for Danny, but really they’re for me. Just kidding, but he better share. I’m not kidding about that. Giant Reese’s peanut butter cups.

How dirty boys get clean:

For Christmas morning breakfast, I made cinnamon bread french toast, cheesy hash browns, and scrambled eggs.

My wonderful husband got me a Canon PowerShot S95 camera. I can’t wait to start using it!

Early this afternoon, we’re going to my in-laws and then were going to my mom’s for dinner. Lots more Christmas fun to come!

I hope that you have a magical day!


Filed under Family Fun, Uncategorized

Christmas Came Early

Workout: BodyPump

I’ve been taking BodyPump at a local park district, and I usually buy a six class package for $50. Well, I was going through the park district book and realized that for only $5 more I could get unlimited fitness classes and use of the kid’s room. Six classes only lasted me about a month anyway, so for $55 I can take a fitness class whenever I want and bring my son.

I wish I would have discovered that sooner. I planned on going to the park district today to sign up for unlimited classes since I was out of classes. I told Danny about it and he’s like you’re signing up today?! Umm, yeah it’s the smart thing to do, isn’t it?

Well, it turns out that he bought me a park district gift card for Christmas to sign up for the classes, and he had to give it to me today because it was only good for the first month. I don’t think he was very happy because he wanted to wait until Christmas. I kind of thought it was funny. So, lucky me got a Christmas present today!

Before BodyPump, I had peanut butter stuffed french toast and grapes. I haven’t had french toast in a while, so this was a nice change. And everything is better with peanut butter.

BodyPump class was small today. There was only four of us! At least we had lots of room to spread out for those jumping lunges. I packed an Odwalla strawberry protein drink and a thinkThin cookies and cream bar for after class.

Meijer is the only store near me that carries the Odwalla protein drinks and it’s kind of hit or miss whether they’ll have them or not. They have been out of chocolate and vanilla for a while, but I did spot a strawberry flavor last time I was there, so I picked it up to try out.

It’s pretty decent. I like the vanilla and chocolate better, but I’d buy it again if it was the only flavor.

The gym was also giving away mini peppermint Clif bars today, so I made sure to grab a couple of those.

On to some funner stuff. Is funner even a word? I thought that I’d do the holiday survey that is popping up on a lot of blogs. I would love to hear your answers too!

  • Eggnog or hot chocolate?

Coffee. Just kidding, I’d pick hot chocolate. I have never tasted eggnog because I am scared that it will taste like eggs.

  • Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Santa wraps them, of course! Part of the fun of Christmas is unwrapping all the gifts.

  • Colored lights on tree/house or white?

We have white lights on our tree and outside, but I do like the colored lights too!

  • Do you hang mistletoe?

No, what the heck would I do  that for? Then I would have to kiss people and that’s gross.

  • When do you hang your decorations up?

Usually the day after Thanksgiving. I would like to do it the day after Halloween but Danny says that’s stupid.

  • Favorite holiday memory as a child?

I think just the anticipation on Christmas Eve night. I always had the hardest time sleeping because I was so excited for Christmas morning! And my parents always did everything they could to make it special. One year, my aunt and uncle flew in, and my dad picked them up from the airport before we woke up, so that was a nice surprise.

  • What is on your Christmas wish list?

What isn’t on my Christmas wish list? But really - I asked for world peace and happiness and health for my family and maybe some new running shoes and a camera. Oh, and some Odwalla chocolate protein drinks would be nice too.  Just sayin’…

  • Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve?

Only at my grandparent’s house. At home, we open everything Christmas morning. Even though I try to get Danny to let me open one present Christmas Eve night. He never does though.

  • How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

Awesome. I decorate it awesome. You know, lights and ornaments and awesomeness.

  • Snow? Love it or dread it?

I. Hate. Snow.

  • Real tree or fake tree?

Real tree. We cut down a Christmas tree with my family every year. We had a fake tree for one year and it was a sad, sad year. No offense if you like fake trees. I bet you also like fake sugar and fake and bake.

  • Do you remember your favorite gift?

I love each and every gift that I receive. Although I must say that my Tiffany bracelet that I got last year sure was shiny… My brother’s favorite gift was pencils. He’s weird.

  • What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?

Umm, getting gifts, right? No, I’m totally joking. I love spending time with my family, and I love the look on the kid’s faces on Christmas morning. It’s such a magical and wonderful time. I love giving gifts to people and watching them open them.


  • What’s your favorite holiday dessert?

All of them.

  • What’s your favorite tradition?

Getting together with my family on Christmas Eve and Christmas. And putting out the kid’s stockings and cookies and milk for Santa.

  • What tops your tree?

Awesomeness. And an angel.

  • Do you prefer giving or receiving?

I love giving gifts, but receiving them isn’t too bad either.

  • What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Do You Hear What I Hear, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, and Jingle Bell Rock.

  • Candy Canes – yuck or yum?

Candy cane Tootsie pops is where it’s at.

  • Favorite Christmas movie?

A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love it.

  • Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?

We wake up before the sun to see if Santa came and then we open presents. We eat a yummy breakfast and set out to see the family.

  • Do you prefer to shop online or at the mall?

I do both, but online is super easy!

  • Christmas letter or Christmas card?

Christmas card. I like to look at pictures.

Hope you enjoyed my holiday survey! I would love to hear some of your answers!


Filed under Breakfast, Family Fun, Working Out