Monthly Archives: July 2013

15 months!

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How is my little baby so big already? Luke turned 15 months old last week. He is at such a fun age right now. . . but I guess I think that of each age so far! Smile 

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You love to share Abby’s bed with her and don’t quite understand why she doesn’t feel the same way.

You love to pet Abby. . . although we have to remind you to be “gentle”

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You love raisins, blueberries and anything with a straw.

You love throwing things. . .  we are working on only throwing appropriate things. 

You still love cords and fans and tripping the kitchen island outlet

You will eat pretty much anything if it’s on a fork and has ketchup on it.

You LOVE feeding Abby. . . and she loves it too. Winking smile

Your first word (after dada and mama) was turtle. And now you also say cracker, ball, tree and uh oh.

Everything is uh oh. We often ask you “what did you uh oh?”

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You love phones and holding them up to your ear. And you think everything is a cell phone, including a bar of soap. We always call Grandma.

You just learned “so big.”

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You love to use the sign for more. And use it all the time. Smile 

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You are in love with the vacuum cleaner. You spend lots of time pointing at the closet where we keep it. And Grandma just bought you your own play vacuum that you push around all the time. Mommy wishes that it worked for real.

You love to ride in the boat, but only if you are driving.

You know where your nose, ears and belly button are.

You blow kisses. But only the part where you put your hand up to your mouth, we are still working on the “blowing” part.

You hate having your diaper changed and not getting what you want.

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And we love you very much. And we love the way you make us smile and laugh every day.

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Grocery Challenge: Month 3: Week 3

Wow. I can’t believe that my 3 month grocery challenge is almost done!

I had success for Month 1 and Month 2. . .

And for the 1st half of the month 3.

And, I ended up going a little bit over my $300 goal for month 3. I am so bummed! I should have known I would have a problem after saying how it seemed like it was getting easier. .. Winking smile 

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Since my last check in, I have done quite a bit of shopping. .. first up was a few items for the weekend before vacation. We totally splurged and bought some steaks at HyVee and corn on the cob from the local corn stand and some adult beverages at the liquor store. .. it was a really good meal!

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HyVee –> $14.43
Corn stand in St. Peter –-> $6
MGM Liquor –>$6

Then, I headed back to the store to stock up on food for our Lake vacation. And I was doing really well, until I needed to make an extra stop at the grocery store on the way to the Lake to pick up some extra food that I realized we were missing. I had to spend more than I had planned, which ultimately put me over my $300 limit by $6.69. Sad smile

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Sam’s Club –> $31.30
Cub Foods –> $61.28
Corn stand in St. Peter –> $11
Market Place –> $21.98

The silver lining is that even though I went over by $6.69 (fingers crossed that I don’t need to go back to the store before Thursday), I am still doing much better with the challenge overall, than when I started almost 3 months ago! Also, even though I planned like crazy for groceries for the vacation, there are always a few extra things that come up. I could have saved money by not making a batch of Special K bars (recipe coming soon!) and a double batch of rice krispie bars –> but that’s what vacation is all about! So, it was totally worth it to me.

So, even though I went over for this month, I am not giving up. . . I have a 3 month recap of the things that worked the best for me and things that I am going to continue doing to save money and keep our grocery spending low!! Smile 

Have you been watching your spending at all? Any tricks to share??

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Weekend Update: 7/28/13

I can’t believe it is Sunday night already!! How does a week of vacation fly by so quickly?? We had a great vacation at the Lake with lots of time in the boat, skiing, tubing, beach time, eating, and just hanging out. It was much needed and perfect. I also loved seeing my friends from CO and watching our kids playing together – seriously heart melting. Here are a few pics from the week.  . .

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Watching my Aunt Mavis making homemade doughnuts. . .

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Dinner out one night in Eau Claire while Mom watched the kids. . .

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Doughnuts from the Bloomer Bakery. . 

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Thanks again Peggy, Brian, Destiny, Jordyn and Finn for visiting!! We miss you lots already. Smile 

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Cinnamon bread.  .. drool. . .

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Bedtime reading with Aunt Jenny.

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On our way home, we stopped to have lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Thompson.

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We got back to Mankato this afternoon. I was quick to start a load of laundry, change into running clothes and hit the road with Luke for a nice 5 mile run.

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Now, we are enjoying smoothies on the couch.. .

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simple dinner, lots of fruit –> getting back on track after too many days of eating desserts, margaritas and doughnuts! I loved every minute and bite of it, but it feels nice to get back to normal too. Although, not super excited to get back to the normalcy of work tomorrow. . .oh well, vacation has to end sometime. And I have BODYPUMP class tomorrow night –> something to look forward to! Smile 

Please also tell me your normal life includes a baby in the kitchen sink? No, just me? Winking smile

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How was your weekend???

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Filed under Lake, Recap, vacation, weekend update

Friday Favorites: Vacation 7.26.13

We are at the Lake right now for a week-long vacation with some friends visiting from Colorado. And this week I am a little less happy that it is Friday than a normal week because it means vacation is almost over and that my friends are leaving tomorrow. . . but enough bad thoughts. . .the sun is shining and we are on vacation! So this week, a few of my favorite vacation Lake things. . .

Doughnuts. . . The Bloomer Bakery has the best doughnuts. My  personal favorite – a sprinkled long john.

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*fun fact – the Bloomer Bakery made our wedding cakes. <—yes cakes! we had a small 2 tiered cake, and then had single round cakes on each of the tables at the reception, each in a different flavor. It. was. the. best.

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Water skiing. Especially in the middle of the week where there is little to no boat traffic = no big boat waves.

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Baby sunglasses. so. adorable.

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Margaritas. There is something about summer and being on vacation that makes a margarita taste amazing!

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Working on my summer running tan lines. . .

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Friends.

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And seeing our kids being friends. love.

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What’s your favorite thing about being on vacation??

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Summer Beergarita via Olives ‘n’ Wine

Hi! I’m Becky from over at Olives ‘n’ Wine – a blog where I share my passion for keeping a balanced life through eating {mostly} healthy, tasting great wine, staying active, and traveling to new places – and I’m excited to be doing a guest post for Katie today. Smile

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I think it is safe to say that we’re in the dog days of summer, also known as my favorite time of year! Early sunrises and late sunsets, backyard summer BBQs and parties on the patio, suntan lines and bike rides with the family. Pure and innocent happiness.

Oh and you can’t forget about the swarms of mosquitos, 20+ days on end of 100 degree temperatures and humidity levels in the 90%s… But let’s forget about those minor nuisances, I’ll take them over the -50 degree temperatures in January any day!

Now, where was I?

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Oh yes, summer! Although it is my favorite time of year, it can get VERY hot. Like sweat-inducing, sun-burning, I can’t breathe, I am going to strip all of my clothes off and jump into the pool kinda hot. And that kinda hot calls for…

A beergarita!

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Yep, that’s right. Some days all you need is a pool, a warm breeze and a tasty drink in your hand!

My beergarita (inspired by the soon-to-be mama Kristin over at Iowa Girl Eats) offers you the refreshing “ahhhh” of a cold beer along with the tropical, south-of-the-border fun of a margarita! What’s not to love?

Drink 3

Summer Beergarita (Inspired by Iowa Girl Eats)

Serves 1

Ingredients
· 1 – 12 oz. Corona Light bottle
· 1 oz tequila
· 1 oz triple sec
· 1 TBSP frozen limeade
· ½ TBSP Rose’s Lime Juice
· Juice of 1 lime

Directions
Mix all ingredients together in a shaker and stir gently. Do NOT shake or it will explode! Not that I know from experience or anything… Winking smile Pour into your favorite margarita glass, garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy!

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So, the next time you host a BBQ or a pool party or just need a drink to cool down after mowing the lawn, try out my beergarita. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

What is your favorite summer cocktail or mocktail? And your favorite season? Summer, yes? Winking smile

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How to make almond butter via Beautifully Nutty

Hello, hello to Katie’s awesome readers! My name is Melanie and I blog over at Beautifully Nutty. First and foremost I want to say, THANK YOU to Katie for asking me to contribute to her blog today as a guest. Katie and I met through blogging and have become great friends over time. I adore her as I’m sure you all do too.

A quick little tidbit about me:

I am a Registered Dietitian who loves to blog about all things food related, fitness, my big ol’ teddy bear German Shepherd named Moose, travel, love, happiness, and my journey towards finding total wellness and balance in my life. Whew! That’s just the beginning. If you ever want to take a peak over at my blog and see what I’m up to, I would love for you to stop by and say hi!

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Now on to the goods…

Like many of us, I am a total nut butter lover. Growing up I would prefer peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my lunch box over meat and cheese any day. You could give me peanut butter flavored cereal, peanut butter toast, peanut butter on a spoon; it was all good.

As the years went on, my love for peanut butter only grew stronger. When M & M’s came out with peanut butter M & M’s I was one happy chica. I mean really, is there anything better than the peanut butter and chocolate combination? I honestly don’t think so.

When I started laying off gluten in my diet due to gastrointestinal issues, instead of bread I found replacements to accompany my pb. My new favorite was then pb and bananas. To this day I still love the sweet and creamy spread and choose no-sugar added organic natural peanut butter when I buy it at the store, or I make my own at home.

However, I have been beginning to branch out. Enter: Almond Butter.

Almonds are a nutritional powerhouse. They are packed with approximately 7 grams of protein per ¼ cup, loaded with heart healthy fats which can help to reduce bad cholesterol and decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies are even showing that eating an appropriate serving of almonds may help you to lose weight!

Appropriate Serving Size:

About 23 almonds = 1 ounce = handful

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Source

Besides providing a healthy dose of protein, these beauties also provide significant amounts of Vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, and much much more.

They are the perfect snack especially when paired with a food with some carbohydrates like a small apple or a few whole grain crackers.

Besides snacking on almonds plain jane, another way I like to enjoy them is by making almond butter. This nut butter spread is growing in popularity and many grocery stores are now carrying it, but the price tag on the almond butter at the store is slightly outrageous (IMO). I prefer to make my own and today I’m going to show you just how easy it is!

Homemade Almond Butter

Ingredients

2-3 cups Raw Unsalted Almonds (or as many as you can fit into your food processor)

Cinnamon to taste (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Roast almonds on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

2. Once cool, place almonds into food processor. Process for 15 minutes, using a spatula to scrape the sides 3-4 times throughout.

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3. Add in a tablespoon of cinnamon towards the end of the mixing process if you wish to end up with a slightly sweet tasting almond butter.

4. For best results, I let the almond butter sit in the food processor for 30 minutes-1 hour to cool and then give it a final whirl once it has cooled. This makes for the most smooth consistency.

5. I then pour the almond butter into a canning jar or covered Tupperware container and store in the cupboard. We always use ours within a week but shelf life is more like 2 weeks.

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You can use almond butter just as you would use peanut butter: on whole grain or gluten-free bread, in a whole grain tortilla with bananas and raisins, on oatmeal, sweet potatoes, celery sticks, apples, mixed into smoothies, or straight off the spoon! It is a kind to your heart nut butter spread!

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Give it a whirl (literally) and see what you think! It is seriously so easy and there is no added sugar or other ingredients to worry about. Just all natural almond butter.

Thanks again to Katie for letting me stop by! Enjoy!

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How to fall in love with running via My Healthy Nest

Hi there! My name is Kim and I blog over at healthy nest. I talk about the usual suspects: fitness, food, running, and happiness, as well as life with my toddler, Mason. I’m thrilled to be here chatting with you guys today while Katie enjoys some time away with her family!

Running is hot right now. Well, it’s been hot for years, but new followers are constantly joining the Runnerhood. They’re drawn in by the accessibility and the weight loss possibilities, among other things, and ultimately hooked by the mental transformation and the power of the running community.

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But running is still hard. As much as you love it, there are still going to be plenty of days you’d rather be camped out on the couch, elbow-deep in a bag of chips. We have to remember that one of the reasons running is so powerful and life-changing is that it’s also incredibly challenging.

My relationship with running is a very fluid, up-and-down kind of thing. There will be weeks or months when I’m training for a race, reading tons of running propaganda and getting pumped up, and I’m all, “RUNNING IS LIFE.”

Then there are weeks and months, after the post-race euphoria has died down, when I’m like, “Wait a sec. My body isn’t changing anymore, my calves are MASSIVE, and I’m eating like a horse. That’s it…YOGA IS LIFE.”

But I always come back to running. There’s simply no parallel in the fitness world, nothing that quenches that thirst in quite the same way. When it’s a beautiful fall day, the air is crisp and the leaves are changing, I don’t want to lock myself in a gym—I want to fly down the street, breathing it in.

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The second running stops making me happy, I take a break. No big deal.

I’m sure there are some freaks of nature in this world who love running so much that they love every moment of it. But for most of us, our relationships with running are still relationships. Which means they’re not static, simple, or predictable, and they take work to maintain.

The key is to go into it knowing all this. Whether you’re a new runner or a seasoned vet, training your mind to think of running as a relationship can help you stay in love with the sport, even when the inevitable tough days make you question your allegiance.

What does it look like to build a relationship with running?

Take the time to really get to know it. Contrary to popular belief, people don’t know how to run properly by nature. We have to learn, just like any other sport. Proper form can make all the difference in your running experience—not only can it make running easier, but it can also help prevent injury.

Don’t get too serious too fast. Jumping into any relationship too deep and too fast is dangerous. It’s easy to dive in hard, running aggressive mileage that your body has no clue how to handle, because you’re excited. But don’t let your excitement sabotage you. Go slow, do run/walk progressions, and stick to short distances until your body gets the hang of it.

There’s also no need to invest in top-of-the-line shoes right away. You’ll read that on every single running advice article on the planet—“get good shoes!”—but they don’t have to be the GREATEST SHOES EVER designed. In the beginning, until you learn more about your running style and needs, any running shoe that’s in good condition will do fine.

Make dates fun. When you’re still getting to know running (or reintroducing yourself to it after a separation), it’s important to go out of your way to make your running conditions the best they can be. If you spend all your time dragging along on a treadmill in a dark basement, you might build negative connotations to running in your brain, even if you could love it under different circumstances. Going outside in good weather is key to showing or reminding yourself that running can be awesome. Level running ground, bumping music, and interesting scenery certainly don’t hurt, either.

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Running sucks!! Oh yeah…I’m on a treadmill.

Get dressed up. Buy fun running clothes you’ll be excited to get into. I know some people are perfectly comfortable in their grungiest college T-shirts, but I personally run more confidently when I like the way I look.

Don’t let one little fight break you up. You have to learn to forgive running when it disappoints you. Because it will. Don’t sulk around the house grumbling about your weak body, improper fueling, or whatever. Just chalk it up to a bad day and dismiss it. Sometimes off days are just off days—nothing to get all worked up about.

Ride out the insecurities that come with any new relationship. You go for a really nice run, at a speed you’re proud of, only to come home and read a post by a blogger who just went for an “easy” run at a speed that makes yours laughable. “I SUCK!!” your brain screams. “Who do I think I am?? I’m no runner.” I’m sure you’ve heard it a zillion times, but if you run, you’re a runner. It takes a long time to fully embrace the reality that the only competition that should matter to you is you.

Double date. For whatever reason, I remember this quote from Sex and the City (I have watched every episode at least 5 times, no exaggeration) that goes something like: “When you’re in love, there’s nothing better than another person in love.” No one will appreciate your ridiculous running chatter except another runner, and a non-runner might make you feel dumb about it. (Mostly because they can’t get past the idea that anyone would run for fun.)

Whether you run with a friend or just hang out with other people who love running (reading running blogs counts!), this is one of the most powerful ways to cement your relationship.

Spice things up when you’re in a rut. So you’re sick of running. Could it be because you do same little neighborhood loop every single time? Or you plod along on the treadmill at the same speed and incline, for the same amount of time? Routine is easy, but change is the spice of life. Try a new route—you can drive to a scenic trail, run along a lake/beach, or run to an interesting destination—or just add some intervals to your standard run. Not only is it more interesting, but it wakes up your body, physically, by challenging it to do something it isn’t used to.

Appreciate the little things. It’s easy to take your running skills for granted, and to keep expecting more and more from them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rushed home from a race to immediately start Googling the next one—partly because I was on a race high, but mostly because I was already itching for an opportunity to do better. It’s important to stop every once in awhile to take stock of how far you’ve come. It’s not a bad idea to keep a running journal/log of some kind, so you can have more concrete data to show yourself besides, “I’m faster now!”

Also, don’t forget to appreciate the other things running gives you that have nothing to do with physical fitness. Things like patience, confidence, identity, content, and self-esteem.

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I’m so zen right now. Also, I’m very aware that a picture is being taken of me.

Make a commitment. Commitments are a critical part of any relationship. Sign up for races, tell people about them, and rock them.

Make sure you’re really meant for each other. I just have to sneak this one in at the end, just in case. Are you doing everything right and still not feeling it, despite the fact that you want to feel it? A lot of people want to be runners, because it seems cool and easily accessible, but there are seriously so many other options out there. Why settle for a mediocre relationship when your real true love could still be out there?

Your turn. What keeps your love of running alive?

Non-runners: do you find the same principles applicable to your fitness regimen of choice?

What do you do to spice things up, fitness-wise?

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Filed under Running

Weekend Update: 7/22/13

I’m on vacation so I have already lost track of the days. Yesterday felt like Saturday and today feels like a Friday because Luke and I are home hanging out while Scott is at work. Then, tomorrow we are all headed to the Lake!!

My vacation started with a few super hot and humid runs. . .

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I attempted an 8 mile long run (with Luke in the stroller) and totally died at 6.7 miles. Oh well. . . We had fun singing songs and pointing to trees and cars and trucks. Winking smile Picture from before our run. . .

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And no vacation is complete without fro yo. . .

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My friends from Colorado (Peggy and Brian and their 3 kids: Destiny, Jordyn and Finn) are here to visit! We had to take them to Raising Canes for awesome chicken fingers.. .

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And then the MN Zoo.

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And of course we couldn’t forget to celebrate National Ice Cream Day! A pecan cluster blizzard with cookie dough!

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And now Luke is showing me why I can’t leave him alone for any amount of time. . . And yes, those are totally snowman PJs in July. . .

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Hope you are having a great Monday. I have some awesome guest posts coming up for the next few days for you while I am gone. Hope you enjoy!!

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Filed under baby, Running, weekend update

Friday Favorites: 7/19/13

Happy Friday!! I am extra happy this week because I start a week long vacation tomorrow!! We are hanging out around home and in the cities for a few days and then headed to the Lake for a few days with some friends visiting from Colorado!! And I have some super exciting guest posts coming up next week too. Smile It has been quite a while since I have done a Friday Favorites post, so I thought I would bring it back and share a few things that I am loving these days.

This shirt that I won on a giveaway on from Kim at My Healthy Nest from Endure. It fits awesome. Love the “Run” on the front and the quote on the back. Perfect for teaching aerobics or going for a run.

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I got this super cool avocado tool and a nice card from the Hass Avocados people. It works so slick. Love it. Now, if I could just get them to supply me with avocados to put it to good use. . . Winking smile 

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Summer running –> hot, sweaty, hard, awesome. Popsicles, watermelon and cold showers never felt so good.

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BLENDS (blogger friends). . . I just feel so blessed to have met these ladies and to get to spend time with them.

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The Lake. I have been going up to the Lake since I was a baby. It is the perfect summer spot. I wish the lake had less fish, but overall, it is a clean lake with no weeds, good for waterskiing and tubing, and cruising around in the boat. And Mom always cooks good food. Smile 

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What are some of your favorites this week??? And what are you up to this weekend?

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Filed under Friday, Recap

Comparison trap

The comparison trap.

Does anyone else ever struggle with that?

I usually don’t . . . but for whatever reason, I struggled last week.

I think it is especially hard in the blog world sometimes to not compare yourself to other bloggers, especially those you look up to or admire. To not think, well if she ran this far, so can I or wow, she seems so excited about that race, maybe I should be doing more races. Oh that dinner looks really good, my leftovers are totally lame. Gosh, that blog is awesome, I wish mine looked like that. Look at how many commenter’s she had, man, I’m jealous. . . and the list can go on and on and on.

But, the important part is to recognize it and stop it.

And then, turn it around to think about all the awesome things in your own life.

To remember that you can’t truly compare yourself to anyone else. No one else has the exact same situation/life/body/food in the fridge as you.

So, last week, I started thinking about all the things I am happy about in my life. And in no particular order. . .

1. I have a job that I love. I get to take care of people and make people’s lives better, every day.

2. I generally get to be home on Fridays to hang out with Luke and be a stay at home Mom for one day per week.

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3. I have a loving husband and an adorable son and a silly puppy dog.

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4. I have a great home. And the opportunity to build an awesome house.

5. I am a good runner and I love to run.. . whether I am training for LIFE or my next half marathon.

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6. I love teaching aerobics and BODYPUMP. More than I ever thought I would!

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7. We eat pretty good and healthy dinners most nights. And thanks to Pinterest, I always have good inspiration for cooking. And I have a husband who appreciates my cooking and baking.

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8. I am rocking out my grocery challenge. Winking smile

9. I have time to keep up with Running4Cupcakes and share my life with all of you. BTW thanks for reading. Smile

10. I have made some pretty sweet friends via the blogging world.

What are you happy about right now???

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Filed under baby, blog, body pump, Recap, Running