Monthly Archives: April 2013

Road Trip Survival Tips

I love road trips. (**as an adult. . . sharing the backseat of a minivan with my 2 sisters and a dog and road tripping to North Carolina from Minnesota. . . well that’s another story. . .)

We went on one back in 2011 to Colorado to visit Peggy and Brian and the girls. It was one of the best vacations that we have had.


Scott and I both like to ride in the car as well as drive, so it works out to split the driving between us and the other person is responsible for finding good music and coming up with conversation topics and sometimes dumb games. Winking smile

And then, this spring we drove out to WY to meet up with Peggy and Brian and family (+Finn this time!). And this time we had a full car with Luke (11 months old at the time) and Abby (8 years old!).


And we had just as much fun this time as last time. I am really looking forward to making road trips a yearly family vacation for us! Next year, we are already planning another trip out to Colorado to visit again!

But, as you can imagine, preparing for a road trip, takes time and advanced thinking! Planning is everything when you are stuck in the car for 8+ hours per day. Especially when you have a baby and dog in the backseat. Winking smile

So, I thought I would share with you my road trip must-haves!

For the car:
Good travel buddies
Paper towels
Baby wipes – even if you don’t have a baby – good for wiping hands!
Good playlist
Phone with map app and backup map just in case!

Trail mix –>  Target has the BEST selection! Or you can make your own. Smile
Fruit – apples, clementines, bananas, grapes
Teddy grahams
Gummy bears
LUNA bars/granola bars

For lunches:

We usually pack a cooler full of stuff for sandwiches so we don’t have to 1. stop for lunch and 2. pay for lunch (disclaimer – we stopped for lunch with the baby and dog, but on our 1st road trip, we would just keep driving)
Turkey/ham/roast beef
Miracle whip/mayo/mustard

For the baby:
South Dakota_2013 009 (2)
Snacks for baby – i.e. things that don’t make too much of a mess and can be eaten easily. We loved string cheese, teddy grahams, and fruit pouches.
Favorite toys –> anything to keep him entertained
iPad –> we used Netflix Instant play to stream a few toddler shows (Veggie Tales mostly) when he got really annoyed with being in the car seat. It bought us a few minutes of quiet. . .
Extra extra baby wipes – for everything – hands, mouth, butt, nose, etc.

For the dog:
South Dakota_2013 004 (2)
water dish
puppy treats
tennis ball –> perfect for running off some puppy energy at rest stops while Luke played on the slide and burned off baby energy.

Have you been on any road trips? Anything you would add to my list??


Filed under vacation

Weekend Update: 4/28/13

I had the  best weekend! It wasn’t long enough, of course, but it was still a lot of fun!

Luke and  I hung out on Friday. . . emptied out the Tupperware cupboard about 6 times. . .


And had our last day of bottles!! No more bottles or formula in this house!!


Went on a beautiful 5 mile run after teaching body pump at the YMCA.


Met up with my friend Beth for a Saturday morning spin class. . . that totally kicked my booty! It was super fun and I was really glad that Beth brought an extra towel for me!!


We had lunch at a new to me place called The Bad Waitress and had a very delicious veggie omelet and good conversation with Beth.


Then, I hit up Caribou for my 1st iced latte of the season and sat outside in the sunshine for a while. . . it. was. the. best.


And something even better –> Cherry Berry with these ladies! Girls day out!


And some shopping. . . glitter ribbon for crafts and cute bracelets.


Luke had a blast with Grandma and Grandpa at the park while I hung out with the ladies!


Dinner at three squares restaurant. Burger with blue cheese, dried cranberries and candied pecans with sweet potato fries.


All of us together. . . Smile 


And if it is even possible, it was nicer on Sunday. . . I taught body pump in the morning. And then after Luke’s nap we headed off to DQ for a family ice cream date!


And right after these pictures, Abby totally stole Luke’s cone. He does like to feed her, so I am not sure whose idea it actually was. . .


And then about 5pm the rain rolled in. It was super pretty with lightning and big rain clouds.


Perfect end to a wonderful weekend. . . now, if only tomorrow wasn’t Monday again. . . Smile 

What were you up to this weekend? Did you enjoy the nice weather??


Filed under weekend update

Friday favorites: 4/26/13

Happy Friday. . . compared with last week, this week seemed to go pretty fast for me, but I am still super happy that it is finally Friday. Looking forward to a spin class tomorrow with a friend, girls day out with my favorite ladies tomorrow afternoon, and teaching body pump on Sunday morning!!

Here are a few of my favorite things this week –> because remember it is the little things that make the difference! Smile 

Cinnamon Toasters


I love this cereal. But I almost never eat it for breakfast. It is usually my “dessert.” Scott and I have a standing rule in our house that we don’t eat dessert on weeknights. We both love dessert A LOT. I mean I don’t know if you can find 2 people who are so perfectly matched in their love for all things sweet – ice cream, cookies, cake – we are totally made for each other. And well, it can get out of hand. So, to keep tabs on it, we just limit dessert in our house to Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. And I really like it that way. I can have a HUGE bowl of ice cream on Sunday night and really enjoy it because it is a special treat and not something that I have daily. Also, good for the waistline! Anyway, back to my love for cinnamon toasters (not cinnamon toast crunch! The Malt O Meal brand is way better – more cinnamon and sugar!!).

I will sometimes have a small bowl (in my Tigger bowl usually!) after dinner. It helps to satisfy my sweet tooth but is much better for me than a huge @ss bowl of ice cream. Lately, I have been all about this cereal, probably having it most nights over the past 2 weeks. It. is. just. so. good!

Water chestnuts
Random, party of one? Yup – that’s me. We had a veggie mix this week that had water chestnuts in it and the whole time I was eating it. . . in my head I was thinking, gosh, I really really really love water chestnuts. I know, I’m an odd duck sometimes. Another reason why I love Chinese food and chicken with mixed veggies –> the water chestnuts!! I love when we have Chinese food with my Dad because he actually hates water chestnuts, so I get all of his too! 😉


Duh- of course I love this one. . but it is one of my favorites this week because I have been working on a new post for a 3 month grocery budget challenge starting in May for our household. We have been spending too much $$ on groceries lately and it’s time to make some changes. And blogging is the perfect way to challenge myself to make changes and keep myself accountable. I am also looking forward to sharing it with all of you guys so you can give me your tips and tricks for conquering our grocery budget!!

The North Mankato Library


Good for regular books, audiobook and a good rotation of children’s books. And its all FREE! You can’t beat that deal. Luke and I go pretty much once a week to pick up new books for him and it gives us something fun to do together.

My commute
This one might sound sorta funny, but I actually like driving 45 minutes to work every morning and evening. (**without snow!) I get to drop off or pick Luke up from daycare in the middle. It is mostly freeway driving so no stop and go traffic. I get to listen to my latest audiobook or Podcast download (Have you ever listened to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me? <—super funny!). And it gives me separation between work and home, a chance to think about the upcoming day or decompress from the day!

Any favorites from your week? And plans for the weekend??


Filed under Friday

Playlist update

I am always trying to find new music for my aerobics class and running. And I love when other bloggers post their recent playlists so I can get new music inspiration! Olives ‘n’ Wine posted about her playlist for her most recent 7K race. .. And that’s where I found some of these songs. And yet another reason why I love Body Pump so much –> all the awesome music!! 

Hope you can find some new tunes to rock out too during your next workout!!!

ScreenHunter_30 Apr. 14 16.36

What is your go-to pump up song for working out?? I really love anything by
P!NK or Ke$ha (I must have a thing for artists who use signs in their names. . .)


Filed under CTI, playlist

Crockpot Pot Roast

Crockpot Pot Roast

All this spring snow made me crave some slow cooked all day long, cheesy, melt in your mouth comfort food. Inspiration came again from Pinterest. And from the crockpot challenge!


Original recipe is from You’re Too Crafty…

And here is my version:

McCormicks slower cooker Savory Pot Roast season packet
An Au Jus packet
1 can diet coke
Boneless Cross Rib Roast

1. Put meat in the crock pot.
2. Mix the slow cooker seasoning with 1 cup of water
3. Pour over meat
4. Add diet coke 
5. Cover with your lid for 8 Low or 4 hours on high (try to not lift the lid!)
6. Right before you are ready to eat, sprinkle dry au jus packet over the top and mix
7. Shred meat and enjoy!

I made my pot roast into sandwiches. Good ciabatta rolls, toasted in the oven. Topped with provolone cheese and melted under the broiler for a minute. Topped with meat and sauce. Delicious! Melty cheese, crunchy bread, rich sauce and melt in your mouth meat from cooking all day long. Perfect for our cold, snowy winter spring Minnesota nights. Winking smile 


Ok, now I am ready for 70 degrees this weekend! Smile Happy Spring.


Filed under Recipes


I have been meaning to write this post for a while. . . and now that Luke is fully walking, I thought I should write it before I forget. I find it the most helpful to read or hear about what things other parents have used and had success with their kids. So, here are a few of mine and Luke’s favorite things – crawling edition!

He loved pushing anything and everything around and really liked this VTech – Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker.

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I can’t believe this are the only 2 pictures I have with this toy. . . he plays with it all the time. But I guess I can believe that the TV remote and dog’s water dish are always more fun. . . <sigh>


He liked pushing it around as well as playing with all the buttons on the front. And still does, even though he is walking! Recent pic from this weekend. . .


So simple but used so much – this ring stack is a staple must-have! Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack. We actually keep it in the bathroom for him to play with while we are getting ready in the morning.


Yes. I know the orange ring is missing. . . it’s around here somewhere. Winking smile 


Once he started crawling – he was into everything so baby proofing was a must! We used these corner guards on the coffee table in the living room (Prince Lionheart Corner Guards, Chocolate Brown) and child locks (KidCo Swivel Cabinet & Drawer Lock 4ea) on all the cabinets and drawers.



We started introducing a sippy cup and love this one.  Zo-li Bot Straw Sippy Cup –>added bonus – he knows how to drink out of a straw now!


Another must-have: gathering place for bath toys –> Brica Super Scoop Bath Toy Organizer and a cute faucet protector—> Skip Hop Bath Spout Cover, Whale.


This was an awesome tip from Sarah – for the crib! Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo Crib ‘N Go Projector Soother.


Plays music and projects an image on the ceiling. We play it at bedtime while he is falling asleep. And he can play with it in the morning too.

We got this placemat for at restaurants.

  Summer Infant Tiny Diner – Blue. I was on the fence if we should get it.  .. reading the reviews they weren’t the greatest and I agree with them. The mat stains quickly, Luke likes to try to pull it off the table and it doesn’t stick the greatest. .. but it still works better than nothing and we take it when we eat out. And I like the little tray at the bottom/side that catches A LOT of food!

I also got these Brinware placemats too. ..


They are a nice thing to roll up and put in the diaper bag and put down where ever he is eating.

So, there you go, a few of the things that have made our life a *little* bit easier in the past few months.

If have kids, I hope this helped. If you don’t, pin this to your “may need in the future” Pinterest page! Smile 


Parents – anything I forgot that you would recommend???


*FYI – The above links are affiliate links from Amazon.*


Filed under baby

Weekend Update: 4/21/13

On Friday, we drove up to the cities to take Luke to the Minnesota Zoo!

Quick stop at Cane’s for chicken fingers first. . .





And then yummy spaghetti for dinner. . . Luke’s 1st time!


I watched a documentary called Hungry For Change during my hour long run on Saturday.

It was pretty interesting. It raises some important points about sugar intake in our diets. It also piqued my interest in juicing. Alas, I don’t have a juicer. Anyone want to lend me theirs? Winking smile I think the important thing to take away from the film, is that whole, unprocessed foods are the best. One warning however, I didn’t agree with everything the film said. .. in fact, I almost turned it off they compared giving your kids sugary breakfast cereal to injecting them with heroin. I get the comparison, sugar is a drug. . . but that was taking it a little far for my taste. Have you seen it? It’s on Netflix instant play if you’re interested. I have Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on my instant play too – has anyone seen that?

Afternoon snack time. . . as soon as Luke was done, Abby reclaimed her bed. IMG_3963IMG_3966

Sadness that my White Chocolate wonderful peanut butter is gone. . . pure puppy happiness when I let her lick out the jar.


Saturday afternoon we went to watch the Midwest ASCE concrete canoe competition on Madison Lake. Minnesota State University – Mankato was hosting 6 other schools. Scott competed when he was at Purdue, but I never got to watch. . . so it was fun to see it. Cold (about 40 degrees) but sunny! Basically the engineering students build a canoe out of concrete and race their canoes. . . and they are very heavy! It takes a whole team to carry it into the water.


Luke and Abby  playing on Sunday morning. . .


Taught body pump at the YMCA on Sunday morning. . . and the microphone didn’t work. . . I had to yell the whole class. I think it went ok and people could still hear me, but it is always super hard to teach when you don’t have the microphone.  But body pump is still awesome. Smile

And the birthday balloons from last weekend are still lots of fun.


Sunday afternoon, I had planned to take Luke for a run in the jogging stroller because it was supposed to be about 50 degrees. And just when I was going to go change, it started raining. At first, I was crabby because I thought I couldn’t go running and Luke and I would be stuck inside for the rest of the afternoon. . . but then I decided that we should at least try to go. It was raining the whole time. And I got soaked, but Luke stayed pretty dry with the stroller cover over his head and a blanket on his lap. And he just babbled away the whole run! Totally the right decision to go! And we were both happier when we came back. Smile 


Hope you had a great weekend too! Up to anything exciting?


Filed under body pump, Running, weekend update

Comment reply notification

Do you have a blog?

Do you reply to people’s comments?

Are they notified when you reply?

Are you sure?

Because I thought I had my comments set up to do that until Becky happened to mention that she doesn’t get an email from me when I comment back to her comment.

Well, huh. That’s no fun. I want people to know that I read each and every comment and I try to respond back frequently as well.

So, I searched through WordPress to see what might be up with my Comment reply notification plugin. BTW – that’s the first step – you need to install that plugin. But that’s not all!

Thanks to this website, I was able to fix the settings of the plugin. ..

from her website:

ScreenHunter_31 Apr. 20 16.29

And now when I reply to a comment of yours, you should (fingers-crossed) get an email from me!! Woo hoo! Smile 

Have you learned any new blog tricks lately??? Please share!


Filed under blog

Friday Favorites: 4/19/13

This week has been a long one. . . right? But I have taken a lot of time to think of some of the things that I am thankful for. . .

Tuesday – that I had the day off of work to spend it with this little guy on his 1st birthday


More snow. . . it just keeps coming in MN, but gosh, it is pretty. And soon enough it will be 90 degrees and humid. So, I am enjoying it while it lasts. And it helps that I probably won’t have to shovel with warmer weather coming hopefully soon! And I might be taking a hint from the weather gods that I need to buy that pair of boots I have been drooling over. . .


Teaching Body Pump – I don’t have a regular class this session and it was a nice change to sub for the 5:30am class on Tuesday and Thursday. Yes, I had to get up at 4:43am and that was super tough, but I felt ah-mazing afterwards. . . well, after a quick stop at Caribou. . .


Speaking of Caribou – I am thankful for our neighborhood coffee shop, that it is sorta on my way to work, that the ladies who work in the morning know my drink – large caramel skim latte – and that it just makes me happy.

Running. No words. I just love it. so much.

My husband. He stopped by work on Thursday and took me out to lunch. Best. idea. ever.


Abby’s puppy face. Yes, she may have gotten up on the table and took a bag of cheese curds last night, but gosh, I love her. And she is so soft and smells so good after being groomed!


This picture. . . I took it during Luke’s birthday party last weekend. All these people who came for his party and the love that was in the room was just wonderful.

Luke's 1st Birthday Party 249

What are you thankful for this week?


Filed under Friday

1 year old!

*I have no words for what happened in Boston yesterday. I hugged my family close last night and said prayers for my friends who were in Boston and are safe. My thoughts, prayers and heartfelt sympathy is with everyone who is affected by the events in Boston yesterday. *

One year ago today at 5:29am our world changed forever by an 8#13oz baby boy.


I could have never imagined the journey he would take us on this first year. And I wouldn’t change a minute of any of it. Happy 1st Birthday to my baby boy!


New things this month:

walking! everywhere!

saying mama and dada

using baby sign language – mostly “more”

how to use a straw –> and loves Panera smoothies as much as Mom and Dad!

sippy cups!

likes to hear how loud he can be (especially in the grocery store!)

figured out how to crawl into the bathtub

loves throwing things away. . . earlier this week I found him in the laundry room putting everything into the trash can –>shoes, dirty clothes, mittens. . .

loves to give things to you – he spent an entire morning, just bringing me one toy after another

loves to play on Abby’s dog bed

started throwing food over the side of his highchair tray

starting to test boundaries. ..  touches something he knows he’s not supposed to and looks to see if we are watching. ..

took his first road trip to WY

had his first Easter

had his 1st birthday party!!


Continues to hate

ear drops
getting told no
being tired
getting his diaper changed
putting on lotion


Looking forward to many more birthdays with this little boy!


Filed under baby