Monday, September 30, 2013

Foodie Pen Pals!!!

The Lean Green Bean

When you were in grade school or junior high, did you have a pen pal?  Back before the days of email, it was so much fun to send that letter off and then wait, wait, wait for one to be delivered to me in return.  I had a few pen pals when I was a kid, and let's be honest, even as an adult, it is so much fun getting something in the mail other than bills, ads, or other less-fun items.

As a lover of all things food-related, imagine my elation when I discovered Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean.  Every month, she puts together the Foodie Pen Pals program, matching participants (some bloggers, but not a requirement), and then hosting the link-up reveal party in the blogosphere.  You can check out the link for all the details.

This month, I was paired with Samantha from Nutrition to Fruition.  We exchanged information over email and a couple of weeks later, this is what came in the mail for me:

Ooooooh, I was so excited!  First I tried the golden honey almond granola:


The container is empty.  I kept saying I needed to take a picture before it was all gone and then.... oops.  It was so delicious!

Then of course I had to try the pumpkin butter!


I love pumpkin butter..... well, I love ANYthing pumpkin, but I do adore pumpkin butter, and this did not disappoint.  I do still have quite a lot left, as I've been rationing it.  It's so delicious.

Then I tried this herb seasoning:

I used this on some chicken we had for dinner one night and it was delicious with a perfect spicy kick from the red pepper in it!  Yum!

I haven't opened this bruschetta oil seasoning yet, but I'm planning to use it in my first grilled pizza attempt this week.  I'm certain it will be delicious!


Finally, every Foodie Pen Pals package is to contain something written.  Samantha wrote me a very lovely message in a card:

This was such a great experience.  Everything that Samantha sent me was from her local farmer's market, which is pretty cool, plus I made a new blogger friend!  You don't have to be a blogger to participate though, so if you're interested, check out this link for more details.  Also, be sure to check out Samantha's blog.  Her tone is really funny (read her post on Dr. Oz) and I think she and I could be friends in real life.

I'm looking forward to next month!  Have you ever participated in a foodie exchange?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thankful Thursday - A Much Needed Mini-Vacation

A week ago today we were enjoying beautiful Minnesota.  I had no idea how badly we needed a small getaway and time with family - so thankful that this beautiful couple had a wedding planned, providing that perfect break!

Chris's cousin Bobby and his beautiful wife Amber

I'm also so thankful that James is such a rockstar traveler.  We have taken that kid EVERYWHERE.  In a car.

A picture from the groom's dinner, the night before the wedding:

Chris's mom Cindy on the left and Aunt Marlene on the right.  Love these ladies.

Look at my adorable baby.... I mean big boy... on the day of the wedding at the church:

James spent the entire reception playing and dancing with a 4-year-old little girl.  It was hilarious.  He wanted nothing to do with dancing with the grown-ups, just his older woman girlfriend.

Some fun post-wedding pictures:

This is one of the best cake face pictures ever

Gorgeous cousin Andrea, due with her first baby next month, still looking amazing

Whole family, pretty attractive crew

Uncle Jeff, Chris, James, me, Grandma Cindy and Papa Jim

Such a great night!  My calves were sore for about 3 days from dancing all.  night.  long.  We had planned to get up and be out the door on the road home around 7am the next morning...... That didn't happen.  More like around 11am.  But that's fine.  It was a beautiful wedding, and an all-around great time with family.  We could not have asked for nicer weather, which was an extra added bonus.

And as much as I love teaching group classes, it was pretty nice to take a break and not have to be "on" for anyone.  I did PiYo on the deck a couple of times, went for a run with Chris's mom, and went to Silver Sneakers with Chris's Aunt Jean (side-note, those people really work in that class!  My triceps were sore for 2 days!).

So thankful for this group.  At the end of the day, no matter what, they all love each other and truly love being together.  James will always know this love and that is priceless.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ambassador Spotlight Tomorrow Night!


I can't wait to tell you all about my trip this past weekend (a much needed mini-vacation, so glad someone in the family had a wedding planned!), but for now I need to share this with you - tomorrow night at 7pm CST, I have the privilege of participating in a #sweatpink ambassador spotlight.  Along with the other 5 lovely ladies pictured above, we will share our journeys into health and fitness, weight loss, and how we make our goals work with daily life.  Here is the event link if you want to check it out.  We will each be live on the web, and though he's not pictured, I'm pretty sure one of my biggest fitspirations will make some appearances - a certain 2 1/2 year old, hehe.

Tune in and share your support!