Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

2014 Hot Chocolate 15K

Last year, after running the 2013 Hot Chocolate 5K, I set a running goal for 2014  to run three 5K’s and a 15K.  Last weekend, I finished the 2014 Hot Chocolate 15K, and in doing so, surpassed my running goal!

Running my first 15K

As you all know, I am affected by AEC Syndrome, and I don’t sweat properly.  Running isn’t always easy, but it id definitely worth it!  On hot days and on longer runs, I have to run with water because I can’t count on the water stations being where I need them to be if I start to overheat. I use a CamelBak Hydration Pack.

The temperature difference between this year and last year was just amazing.  Last year I was in layers and couldn’t feel my feet or butt for the first mile of the 5K.  This year, I wore a light jacket with regular running pants and a moisture wicking shirt.  I peeled off my jacket by the end of mile 2 and ran the other 7.2 miles in short sleeves.

I developed a “stitch” in the arch of my right foot and had to walk a half mile between the 8 mile mark and 8.5 miles.  I still don’t know f it was an oxygenation issue or a bunch in my sock, or what.  It resolved, though, and I ran the rest of the way to the finish line.

Official 2014 Hot Chocolate 15K Finish Line

Wanna know something awesome? I set three personal records in that one race!  Check it out!

I set three personal records in one race

I set a new PR and  ran my fastest 5K at 42:06, which is an average pace of 13:33 minutes/mile.  My best official 5K tprior to this was 45:19, so I shaved 3:13 off my 5K run.

I set a new PR and ran my fastest 10K at 1:25:51, which is an average pace of 13:49 minutes/mile.  My last 10K in Novemeber, The Skippo, was a 1:32:02 run, so I shaved 9:11 off my 10K run.

I set a new PR and ran my fastest 15K at 2:11:39., which is an average pace of 14:08 minutes/mile.  Since this was my first ever 15K, and it’s officially my longest distance run thus far, I would have PR’d even if I crawled.  But I didn’t crawl.  :D

As you can see, I stink at  pacing and need to work on that.  I would like to finish the last 5K faster than the first 5K, and yet it was a full 35 seconds slower per mile.  Guess I’ll be adding some negative splits into my training.  Fun.

Check out my other runs from this year…

  1. The Color Run 5K
  2. I Love Forest Park 5K
  3. Flat as a Pancake 5K
  4. Huxman Run 2 Sweat 5K Virtual Run
  5. The Skippo Trail Race 10K

Did you see that?  That’s four 5K’s and a 10K in addition to the 15K.  My goal was three 5K’s and the 15K.  Boom.

Speaking of goals, next on my list is a half marathon.

What are your health and/or fitness goals?

 

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

Gifts for a Healthier Life for Every Budget

As y’all know, I’ve been working hard toward a healthier lifes.  I thought I’d share with you five gifts for a healthier life for every budget, that would make just about anyone smile!

1.  The Raw Chip Factory Combo Gift Pack, from Tribest Life, is seriously awesome.

Raw Chip Factory Combo Gift Pack

The Raw Chip Factory Combo Gift Pack is currently $449.95, which is a savings of $116.85!  It includes the following…

  • Sedona Combo Food Dehydrator ($499.00 Value)
  • Simply Dehydrated, by Jenny Ross ($19.95 Value)
  • 3 Sets of Silicone Drying Sheets – total of 9 sheets! ($47.85 Value)
  • Free Shipping ($31.00 Value)

The Sedona Combo Food Dehydrator can be used to make everything from homemade apple chips to marinated vegetables to wraps.  The Sedona is easy to use and features easy on/off switch, an electronic display with digital temperature control and timer.  It is quiet, has a see-through glass door, and you can turn on an LED light while it is running to see how things are looking without opening the door.  It has BPA free plastic trays and tray mesh screens. The dehydrator features dual fan technology, can do up to nine trays of food at once, or you can split and do only four trays using either the top half or bottom half settings.

2. An Herb Garden Kit is a great way to get anyone started on growing their own healthy food.  Even youngsters can help with this one.  Herb gardens can range anywhere between $15 and $60, depending on how fancy you want to get.  This one from Bambeco is jut $25.

herb garden kit

 

3. A Tribest Personal Blender for smoothies on the go.  See my A Personal Blender plus 5 Smoothie Books to Start You Off post for a detailed review of this personal blender.  It typically retails for $99.95, but is on sale for $89.95 right now.

Tribest Personal Blender

 

4. A Young Living Essential Oils Wellness Oils Mini Collection.  Essential oils are all the rage right now, with good reason, and the Wellness Oils Mini Collection retails under $60!  It includes three 5-ml bottles of essential oil— Citrus Fresh™, Ravintsara, and Thieves®.  Not sure how to order Young Living Essential Oils? Lisa, over at Crazy Adventures in Parenting, has some great information on her Young Living Oils page, where you can learn what different oils are used for and how to use them.

How to Order Young Living Oils

5. A new fitness tracker!  Take a look at the Polar M400 GPS Watch with Heart Rate Monitoricon and the Fitbit Charge Activity Tracker from Best Buy.  Both combine watch features with fitness trackers.  The Polar M400 features GPS and the Fitbit Charge features caller ID on the wristband! The Polar M400 retails for $230 and the Fitbit Charge retails for $130.
Polar M400iconicon

 

Whether your budget allows for a gift that is $15 or $500, it is possible to give gifts for a healthier life on every budget!

What gift for a healthier life would you love to receive?
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Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

Homemade Apple Chips

With my quest for a healthier lifestyle, I’ve been trying old foods in new ways.  We recently made homemade apple chips, and really enjoyed them!  My oldest two joined me in the kitchen for a lesson on measuring solids and liquids, and had a lot of fun helping measure, pour, and stir.

Making Homemade Apple Chips

Once the apples were ready, I loaded them into four trays in my Raw Chip Factory and set it.  The final result was scrumptious.  The only thing I would change is next time I need to make all nine trays, because these did not last long!

Homemade Apple Chips

For my homemade apple chips, I modified a recipe from Simply Dehydrated, a dehydrated food cookbook by Jenny Ross.  Here’s what I used…

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Apple Chips
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6 Gala apples, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
Instructions
  1. Slice apples with a food processor or mandoline, no thicker than ⅓ inch thick. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, combine agave nectar, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and ginger, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Add apple slices to mixture and mix until apples are well coated.
  4. Line dehydration tray with your choice of nonstick drying sheet (I used silicone drying sheets)
  5. Line apples on tray in a single layer.
  6. Place trays in Sedona Dehydrator and set dehydrator to raw setting at 110 degrees for 4 hours.
  7. Remove apple slices to mesh trays (not lined with drying sheets) and dehydrate for an additional 4-5 hours.
  8. Separate into desired serving sizes and store in airtight containers.

Next I’m making homemade banana chips.  I can’t wait!

What would you make in a food dehydrator?

 

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

Graco Modes Click Connect Travel System

Press Sample. All opinions are my own.

As a first time mom to be one of my daunting tasks before baby arrives was to purchase a car seat and stroller. When I was presented with the opportunity to review the Graco Modes™ Click Connect™ Travel System, I was ecstatic because I know the excellent reputation Graco has and that THIS is the travel system I had on my baby registry!

The Graco Modes Click Connect Travel System features the Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 35 Car Seat and comes with a base for your vehicle, a car seat, and a stroller that all work for a child up to 35 lbs.

The Graco Modes Click Connect Travel System

The Graco Modes Click Connect Travel System

The first thing I love about this system was the ease in which I was able to assemble the stroller right out of the box. It quickly went together and came with very simple to understand instructions.

With my daughter still on the way I borrowed my ten month old nephew to try out the system in every day life. It was a breeze to fit the harness straps to his size. There are four size slots to choose from, to adjust the size you simply unhook from the back and select the appropriate height for your child, feed them back through the holes and reattach the hook to the back. Once your child is placed in the seat and secured by the harness belt, you simply pull the restraint tab at the bottom of the harness to tighten and make a snug fit. Loosening the harness is just as easy, push the button located at the bottom of the seat and pull up on harness to loosen.

Infant seated in Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 35 Car Seat

Ethan seated in Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 35 Car Seat

The carrier is also very light and the handle is sturdy but thin so it is very comfortable to carry.

The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 35 Car Seat is easy to carry!

The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 35 Car Seat is easy to carry!

The car seat base has a convenient level on the side to let you know when the base is properly installed. Once secure the car seat simply clicks into place and you are ready to go.

The material for the system is offered in many styles and colors. The color pictured is Downton, which I love, and it’s made of a material that will be easy to clean but also hide dirt from use so that it always looks stylish.

The stroller for the system is very easy to operate. With a one button push the stroller pops up and is ready for use. There is no fighting and frustration that I have experienced with other strollers. When finished with the stroller it only takes one click to compress the stroller to put into your car. It takes up minimal room because it compresses down to only 12″ wide.

The Graco Modes Click Connect stroller folds easily for storage!

The Graco Modes Click Connect stroller folds easily for storage!

The backrest has three different positions, it can be laid completely down so that your child may sleep comfortably, be put into a reclining position or be fully in the upright position. The stroller has two cup holders and a spot for a snack so that they can have the freedom to get a drink or feed themselves without you having to stop and help.

The Graco Modes™ Click Connect™ Travel System has dual cup holders for the little ones

The Graco Modes™ Click Connect™ Travel System has dual cup holders for the little ones

One feature that I love is the adjustable footrest. It can be placed in multiple positions to accommodate a child’s growing legs. It’s a great feature for sleepy baby’s!

The Graco Modes™ Click Connect™ Travel System stroller has an adjustable footrest!

The adjustable footrest is great for sleepy baby’s!

I’ve found that in the upright position it helps to catch falling toys and snippy cups from your child’s lap. That is genius, as it keeps you from constantly picking things up that fall on the floor through the leg holes.

The adjustable footrest on the Graco Modes™ Click Connect™ Travel System is a great toy catcher!

The adjustable footrest on the Graco Modes™ Click Connect™ Travel System is a great toy catcher!

The stroller has a great storage bin underneath to hold moms purse, shopping bags or babies necessities, and unlike other strollers I’ve used, there was no fighting to retrieve my bags from the bottom because of the tall open access to the bin.

The Graco Modes™ Click Connect™ Travel System has great storage

The Graco Modes™ Click Connect™ Travel System has great storage

The stroller also has two cup holders and a storage area by the handle for the ones in charge of pushing it.  The storage compartment will easily hold a cell phone for safe keeping.

The only thing I would change about the whole system would be to add the little pads to the car seat straps that are on the stroller straps.  They just look more comfortable for baby with the extra bit of cushion there.

I love this travel system for the ease with which I can go from the car to the stroller and back again with one click without ever having to disturb my child when she’s sleeping.  The car seat with one click will detach from the base in the car and then click into the stroller securely and you are ready to go.  As a first time Mom, I think the Graco Modes™ Click Connect™ Travel System will help ease my transition into motherhood because of how easy this system is to work with and I also will never have to be concerned with my child’s safety while riding in the car seat or stroller.  I believe all mothers would love this travel system.  As I mentioned, this is the system I had on my baby registry, so it’d make a great gift for the parent to be, whether for a baby shower or for Christmas!

Learn more about the latest Graco products and specials by liking Graco on Facebook, following @gracobaby on Twitter, and following Graco Children’s Products on Pinterest.

Did you know that you can get the installation of your infant carseat checked by certified technicians?  You can find a location close to you by visiting http://www.seatcheck.org/!

 

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 Infant Car Seat Review

Press Sample. All opinions are my own.

I’ve had the opportunity to use and review the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 Infant Car Seat.  It is intended to be used for rear-facing newborns/infants/children from 5-40 pounds. Most other infant car seats that I have used or seen in the past have a maximum weight limit of 25-30 pounds, so this car seat could potentially be used from newborn to 2 years old (the new recommended age to keep a child rear facing in the car for maximum safety).

Grace SnugRide Click Connect 40

Having been a Pediatric ICU nurse for the last 11 years, I have seen first hand the importance of good, effective car seat installation and use. The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 is extremely solid, has a very sturdy base with the LATCH technology included (and it isn’t too bulky or wide, making it easy to install in any type of car), easily adjustable 5-point harness, and side impact tested head supports, which all provide the utmost protection in child car seat safety.

LATCH technology car seat base

Easy to install car seat into base

5-point harness and side head supports

 

Also, as a mother of four, who up until just recently has been out of the “baby stage” for quite a while (with my first three children ranging in age from 6 1/2 – 11!), I was concerned that it would be difficult to find a new infant car seat that met my expectations for safety, as well as convenience.

Some of the spectacular features of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 include:

* LATCH belt storage compartment – nice and convenient if you aren’t using the LATCH system, or for storage purposes.

LATCH storage – love how the straps don’t hang if you’re not using them!

* EASY height adjustable head rests with no need to re-thread the straps to raise or lower the 5-point harness…GENIUS!

This might be my favorite feature, makes things so much easier!

*  Lap belt locking device (if you need to use the car seat with a regular seat belt), adding another safety component.

I’ve never seen this on any other car seat base…it’s a great feature!

* Pull out foot rest/seat protector and 8 easy adjustable reclining positions (providing more leg room for your growing infant, all while giving you a clear indication of whether the car seat is in an appropriate, level position).

8 adjustable seating positions!

 

The more I use this car seat, the more I find to love! It literally took me less than 2 minutes to install the base, using the LATCH support system, and make sure that it was tightly secured. Yes, I know that I’m at an advantage as a nurse and  because I’ve done this before a time or two, but I’m confident that even first time parents will be able to accomplish this…it’s that easy!  Even still, I highly recommend that parents have the installation of their carseat checked by certified technicians.  You can find one local to you by visiting http://www.seatcheck.org/!

I would recommend the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 Infant Car Seat to anyone expecting a new baby, whether it’s your first or tenth!  It’d make a great baby shower gift or Christmas gift for the expectant parent!

Learn more about the latest Graco products and specials by liking Graco on Facebook, following @gracobaby on Twitter, and following Graco Children’s Products on Pinterest.

 

 

 

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own