Monthly Archives: October 2015

Teal Pumpkin Project

October 30, 2015

Teal Pumpkin Project

teal pumpkin



Halloween is tomorrow?!?! Where has October gone? Between all the fun, fall activities and Royals Baseball we have been so busy the last few weeks, but we are loving every minute of it!!!


I LOVE the weeks leading up to Halloween. There are so many fun family activities – hayrides, Hoots and Toots at the Zoo, Night of the Living Farm, Enchanted Forest…and those are just a few! One of our favorite activities has always been pumpkin carving. I love that it is different every year. As the kids get older they participate in more and different ways. It’s so fun to watch their excitement and creativity grow each year.

pumkin carving 2015



Even Kash got in on scooping out the guts!


pumkin painting 2015

The kids had a blast painting the pumpkins!



For a few years now we have handed out non-food items on Halloween; for no particular reason other than the fact that kids get plenty of candy already and sometimes the non-food items are just as (or even more) exciting for the kids. In a sea of candy, giving a 5 yr old glow sticks, stickers or even tattoos can really help to mix it up and the kids love them! What I didn’t realize until this year was that we were (unknowingly) participating in a movement happening for non –food trick or treat items on Halloween.


FARE, Food Allergy and Research Education is prompting the Teal Pumpkin Project. It is so simple and can help make Halloween a fun holiday for ALL kids.


What is it?

Simple – You paint a pumpkin teal and leave it outside your house. This indicates that you will be handing out non-food items! Simple, right? I bought a tube of teal paint and a mini roller for $2.00. I think this is an incredible idea. This makes it so much for fun for the kids with allergies. They can go trick or treating AND actually have something they can keep.



When I explained the Teal Pumpkin Project to my 6 year old daughter – it took her a few moments to understand the why? But when I explained to her that while kids with allergies can still trick or treat, how fun is it to then give EVERYTHING you just got away? That was all it took to put a huge smile on her face and say, “MOM”, we have to have a Teal Pumpkin this year”!


I can not completely convey the feeling of joy and happiness I get from not only being able to participate in things like the Teal Pumpkin Project, but also in knowing that my kids are aware of, and hopefully sensitive to the fact, the challenges that other children face. And that there is usually something we can do to help. We are a community after all!


Thinking ahead

How fun would it be for the kids (with allergies and/or those [parents] that do not want an overload of candy…like me) to be able to have a Halloween Hunt for Teal Pumpkins. Roaming the neighborhood searching out all the Teal Pumpkins…sounds like fun times! J


Check out FARE for get more info on the Teal Pumpkin Project.



Happy Halloween!!!


Turkey Run Challenge

October 22, 2015


Turkey Run Challenge

turkey run (3) (1)


How many times have you made New Year’s Resolutions that by January 15th you had already forgotten about?!?!? I know I’m guilty of this. So, let’s do something different. Let’s start right now…making better choices. Let’s enjoy this Holiday Season.

To make sure we are looking AND feeling our best this holiday season we are starting a Turkey Challenge Nov 2nd. We would love for you to join!
Turkey Run Challenge details
  • Running and group training classes 2x a week
  • Nutrition and “what to eat” information
  • Coaching and Support
  • End the Challenge with one of several (you pick) area 5ks – walk, run or both!



Here are just a few choices for the 5k!



You choose how much or how little you do! The more you do…the more you LOSE! Our goal is to help you start making better choices. And show you that living a healthy, active lifestyle not only makes you feel amazing but is FUN too!
Why wait til New Year’s….start today and ENJOY this Holiday Season! It’s your tail…take care of it!


Check out The Advocare 24 Day Challenge for more information.


Contact us for more info and/or to get started!!!



26.2 Miles – The Kansas City Marathon 2015

October 20, 2015

26.2 Miles – The Kansas City Marathon 2015


Got my Brooks on….



The top pic is the finish line – to the right is about mile 2 and the bottom pic is me crossing the finish line (Yep, that’s me with my Royals pack!) 



I still can’t believe that just three days ago I ran 26.2 miles, at once, without stopping…and I’m alive to talk about it! J


Up until this year I was NOT a distance runner. I was a hobby, run by myself, through my neighborhood runner. Honestly, I don’t even think I knew how many miles one ran in a marathon. When I first set out to run my first official race in June 2015 (The Hospital Hill Half Marathon) the idea of ever running a full marathon seemed so far out of reach and impossible to a hobby runner like myself. But just four months later that is exactly what I did.


For me it wasn’t just the race, it wasn’t just finishing…it was everything that it took to get me to the finish line that day that made crossing the finish line so spectacular!


For the majority of us, running a marathon is not something we wake up, decide to do next week, and just breeze through it…it takes work AND dedication!

While there are several training methods out there, I personally followed Hal Higdon for my half, and since he didn’t let me down that was my choice for my full as well. For 18 weeks…18 weeks I trained 5 days a week, maintained good nutrition and tracked my runs and made adjustments as to what was and was not working well.  Keeping in mind that these 18 weeks were in addition to the 12 weeks of training for my half marathon, that’s 30 WEEKS of training.  Now, are you with me when I say that crossing the finish line was SPECTACULAR!!!


Let me take you through my race. The first 3ish miles I spent weaving through runners (this was a good size race). The next 10 miles were fairly easy going. I was holding back on my pace a tad, gearing up for mile 14 when I would start to pick up the pace. Then, somewhere between mile 14 and 15 my calves began to burn…cramps. I was cramping. My calves cramped so intensely it felt like they were on fire! By mile 18 I was in so much pain, if there would have been a chicken extra I would have taken it. But…I kept going.

At each aid station I was drinking 4+ cups of water. This eased the cramps for about .5 miles.  I had my gel packs every 45 minutes as well which would help a tad, for a short time. Nonetheless, it was clear I was dehydrated. Was it from not drinking enough water the day before, from sweating so much during the race? At this point, it didn’t matter why and all I could do was try to tame the pounding headache that was setting in…and manage my cramps.

When I hit mile 24 I said to myself, “there is no way I can run anymore”….but I did. At this point, I decided I would finish as strong as I could and run as hard as I could the last .5 mile. And I DID! I finished in 4:43. While it wasn’t the race I anticipated, if anything really ever is, I was able regroup, trust in my training and finish strong.


I encourage everyone to challenge themselves, choose a race and have fun. Whether you are trying to PR or just finish, the race is about so much more than just that day. It’s about everything you do to get to the finish line.



I have to say a big thank you to my family for their continued support. As well as my sister in Cassie, who has run many half marathons over the years. She even completed the Heartland Series 39.3 in 2014. Cassie has always been a huge inspiration to me as well as providing me with valuable running and training tips. Also again thank you to Advocare for making amazing products – You can read more about the products I use here.




What’s next??? I’ll keep you posted!




Run Happy!!!



Zucchini Muffins!

October 15, 2015

Zucchini Muffins



I have been LOVING the veggies from our CSA this fall. Our family has had so much fun experimenting with different recipes from; soup, biques, stir fry everything, roasted veggies…you name it, we have probably tried it.


One of my favorite things to make with the extra veggies is zucchini muffins. Zucchini crops seem to have done very well this year, so we have been getting some each week and we usually even have the option for extras. (Which we love) One great way to use all the zucchinis we get…. zucchini muffins. Added bonus – freeze the muffins and pull a few out as needed. I send muffins in my 1st graders lunch and she loves them! (I learned this trick from


Double bonus points this week – I’m two days away from my FIRST MARATHON – so I’m carb loading. While this sounds fun – and it is 🙂 you would be surprised how challenging it can be to prepare a full day (or three) of carbs! So adding in a few muffins here or there helps boost my carb intake!  I love Lisa’s recipe




  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour (I used King Arthur’s white whole-wheat flour)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup oil (I used coconut oil)
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional – I have tried both pecans and almonds, although walnuts would be good too)




  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F for small loaf pans or 325 degrees F for large loaf pan or muffins.
  • Blend the dry ingredients.
  • Make a well (or hole) in the center and pour in the eggs, oil, honey and vanilla. Stir just until mixed – do not overmix.
  • Fold in the grated zucchini and chopped nuts if using. Pour batter into greased loaf pan(s) or muffin holders and bake until a toothpick comes clean in the top/center of the loaf or muffin.
  • – If using smaller pans bake for 30 – 40 minutes. I was able to fill four of my small loaf pans.
  • – For one larger loaf pan bake for 50 – 60 minutes.
  • – For muffins bake for 15 – 20 minutes.


Since I’m trying to eat more carbs and avoid the more filling carbs (backwards thinking I know) I’m actually substituting the whole wheat flour for white flour, at least until after my marathon.


Wow, what a difference! We have been eating mostly whole wheat for so long now that the “fluffiness” of white flour leaves me wanting something of more substance. Not to mention that I get hungrier faster, which is what I‘m wanting today. But I will be ready to switch back to my normal whole wheat recipes after this weekend! 🙂


Check back next week I’ll be posting my marathon results!


Check out Runner’s World  for more info on carb loading and much more!


Run Happy!!!


Easy, Peasy School Lunches!

October 7, 2015

Easy, Peasy School Lunches!

school lunch

With the school year well underway it’s a good time to recap the keys to preparing successful school lunches! I know for me there are days when I think, “man, buying school lunches would be so much easier for me”…. but then I remember what they are serving, blah! It always comes back to being prepared. If I take just an extra few minutes during the week to lunch prep a few items it makes sending school lunches so simple and easy peasy! Plus, I feel good about what I’m feeding my kids. I don’t always make delicious items to put in my 1st grader’s lunch but to her it’s great. Pictured above –  was her lunch today and she was so excited. She LOVES power balls.

Power Balls

  • 4 cups total of: Old fashion oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds
  • 1 C Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 C Raw Local Honey
  • Mix together – add more peanut butter or honey as needed.
  • Roll into balls
  • Drop onto cookie sheet
  • Freeze to set (about an hour)
  • Freeze any leftovers

You can add in craisins, raisins, dark chocolate chips….really anything you want to spice them up. My kiddos prefer them simple!


If you have fallen out of the routine of sending school lunches just jump right back on – I hope the post from last year can help get you going again! Life gets busy. This week I needed to reread this post and regroup.


September 10, 2014

School Lunches

My kindergartener has been in school now for several weeks and while I am still mastering the art of school lunches I have come a long way in a few short weeks! As the school year was approaching the researcher in me kicked into full speed and I started reading article after article on school lunches….sounds fun I know! I wanted to make sure or at least give my best efforts to make school lunches that were similar to how we eat at home and not revert back to highly processed boxed foods! The general ideas are the same and I’ve tried to consolidate those here!

Unfortunately, there was one thing I did not see in any article – how to teach your Kindergartener to continue praying before lunch when no one else is praying. Kailee went to a Catholic Preschool and while we are not Catholic there were many aspects of her Preschool we loved. One being they pray before meals. I hope she continues to pray before lunch and doesn’t feel uncomfortable doing so!

Ok, back to the food portion of school lunches!

Here is a pic of Kailee’s first school lunch – all the options are good – but the packaging is horrible! This is a true rookie mistake!

school lunch fail

I had ordered the Ziploc containers on Amazon, but they didn’t arrive in time for her first lunch….so I thought I would just throw it in this! Big Mistake! After the first day of school I was so excited to see my sweet little girl, to hear about her day and all her stories. What I discovered is that she was STARVING! Starving because her food had gotten all mixed up and the granola had gotten all over her apple sandwich and everything was a mess. She had even tried to take a few bites of her granola covered apple sandwich, poor thing. Needless to say this was a total FAIL!

After a few days I started getting the hang of things (and my containers arrived, whew!). Here are a few pics of better packed lunches.

schhol lunch - eggschool lunch - pizza

Here is what I have learned so far…

Three key pointers to success:

  1. Containers with separate compartments. I use the Ziploc containers but there are several good options.

           These are great for several reasons – the items do not get mixed up and it forces you to                     have a more balanced meal.

  1.  I have my daughter help me with her lunch. She normally gets to choose between two options  for her veggies and fruit. And she approves of everything that goes in her lunch. If they won’t  eat  it at home the chances of them eating it at school are slim to none! (Tip: Keep  reintroducing  new  foods at home and giving as an option for lunches)
  2.  Pack the night before. Food prep is an important part of eating well. I pack my daughter’s          lunch and her water bottle the night before so all I have to do is put her container in her            lunch bag with ice packs and her water bottle in her back pack – she actually does this now        every  morning.

I’m still shocked every time Kailee comes home and tells me there are kids in her class who   have Cheetos and Gatorade in their lunches. I understand busy schedules this is why food prep is so important, so you are not forced to grab something on the go. I also have her leave what she doesn’t eat in her lunch box so I know what she likes and doesn’t like and how much food she needs!

I try to mix things and keep a variety in her diet by not sending the same thing every day.  I have found that if I make lunch food and freeze it, it’s so much easier. Kailee loves taking zucchini muffins homemade granola and power balls so I try to keep a stash in the freezer and alternate. She also loves the heart shaped muffin tins, makes it extra fun and always puts a smile on her face! Sometimes healthy food isn’t as fun as the cool junk you can get at the grocery store, I get that. So I have pulled out my cookie cutters and anything that can be cut into a fun shape, gets cut! What’s better than a fun shaped PB & Honey sandwich or some heart shaped cucumber! Big Hit…HUGE!

So far here are some of Kailee’s fav lunch items:

Pizza –  I just put pizza sauce on a whole wheat pita sprinkle some mozzarella cheese and                                  cook it. She eats it cold and loves it! (I try to use all organic ingredients) 

Smoothie Pops – Green smoothie in a freezer pop mold (she loves these)

Hard Boiled Eggs –easy for me too! 🙂

Star Shaped Peanut Butter & Honey Sandwich

Check out this link for some more great school lunch ideas! 

As I mentioned previously there as several great articles on school lunches available, I just prefer @100daysofrealfood. I get so many ideas from Lisa! Once you get the hang of it you can easily adjust things to meet your child’s preferences.

Happy Lunch Making!!! :)

Fuel Your Body For Success!!!

October 2, 2015

Fuel Your Body For Success!!!

fuel body

This past weekend I completed my longest training run to date…20 miles. As I was leaving the house around 6 am on Saturday morning it hit me…this was crazy! While I knew it was coming and my previous training had helped prepare me for this (yet another) training run…this was crazy. I paused and thought for a moment about what I was about to do…run 20 miles! Well, not only did I complete my 20 miles but I was able to run the LAST 2 miles at a faster pace (7 min mile) than my “normal” race pace (around 8:30 min mile). For me, an average Joe runner, this was a huge accomplishment. Does this mean I’m finishing strong or just running too slow to start…honestly, I have no idea but being 2 ½ weeks out from my first Marathon, I’m not changing it now! J


Let’s rewind about 6 months.

I was training for my first half marathon – (you can read all about that here )

While I have been running for 20+ years, distance running was new to me…after all why would a sane person run 20+ miles, right?! J

I can recall my first “long run” at least to me…then, it was a long run. I ran 8 miles that day and I was so sure I had made a mistake signing up for a half marathon. What was I thinking, there was no way I would finish…well I did! And just six months later, when I see 8 miles on my training schedule I think…AWESOME…just a short run today!

I have been following Hal Higdon’s training schedule for my marathon (The Kansas City Marathon) and I do believe a good training schedule is a vital tool when preparing for a race…at least for me, the non elite, non professional runner. However, an area that I feel is equaling important but too often overlooked (by fellow average Joe runners) is nutrition. I strongly believe that my performance is a result of the fuel I use. If I had not adjusted what and how I eat….I would not have been able to complete those 20 miles.

For years now I have been in awe at the human body and how important nutrition is to peak performance. Whether you are running 20 miles preparing for 26.2 miles or just juggling a hectic schedule with: work, kids, church, after school activities etc….fuel is the key component to optimal performance.

After all isn’t that what we are all looking for? To feel good so we can enjoy the things we do each day. When is the last time you heard someone say, “I really wish I would be tired and sluggish today?” Probably never! So what do you do? Where do you start? These were the questions I started asking many years ago and then again as I began distance running.

What I have found is that when I running over 6-7 miles I need an increased level of carbs in my diet in order to perform well. Now, I’m not and never have been a “no carb” eater. I don’t think we need to cut out any one food group and frankly, if I don’t eat carbs I feel tired and sluggish.  So by increased level, I mean above 2-3 servings a day.

The days before my long runs I will be eating bagels, oatmeal, bananas, plain Greek yogurt, and switching out my good fats for lower calorie options. I mix it up and find what works best for my body.  That’s part of training, trail and error. In a sense we are all in training. Looking for ways to improve our performance, how can we get more energy, feel better, lose weight, etc.

I love  Runners World they have a ton of good meal examples for runners.

Whether your goal is; running a marathon, losing weight, gaining energy, or trying to survive a hectic schedule, don’t overlook the importance of nutrition.


Fuel Your Body For Success!!!


Happy Running!