Weekend Happenings and a Surprise

Happy Monday! We had a great weekend over here at the Montgomery house. Where to begin! Friday, Bobby had to have a minor surgery to get rid of a bone spur in his thumb that was causing him a lot of pain. We ended up at the surgery center the better part of the day which wasn’t too fun, but hopefully now Bobby won’t be in pain!

Friday night we hung out at the house, and early Saturday morning my parents came into town for Father’s Day. Our plan was to BBQ for lunch, so my dad and I went to the store to pick up some things. He also had me drive him around through his old neighborhood for the longest time, which was weird. We got back to the house, and…

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Surprise! My birthday isn’t until July 13th, but this was the only weekend my parents and Bobby’s family could come into town, so they threw me a little 30th birthday party. I also had a sweet friend from college and her family come. We had a lot of fun! We had delicious BBQ, and of course, cake! My favorite New Orleans cake, doberge cake.

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My friend brought her baby who is about 3 weeks younger than Emma Kate, and they had so much fun playing together!

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It was so sweet of Bobby to organize the fun, it was a great afternoon. That night we went out to eat and watched my favorite movie, Weekend at Bernies! It never gets old, my friends.

Sunday morning we all hung out and relaxed before mom and dad had to hit the road back to Louisiana. Happy first Father’s Day to Bobby!

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Good times were had, and sadly they had to leave all too soon. Sunday afternoon we had lunch with some friends from church, and then we just hung out around the house. I got a little work done, since 2016 Disney World packages come out today, I am going to be a busy bee (email me for a quote! heather@travelwiththemagic.com).

I hope everyone had a great weekend and got to celebrate with loved ones. Luckily I will get to see my parents again in two weeks. We always have a great time!

QOTD: Did you do anything special for Father’s Day?

September Confessions

-I bought ingredients to make chocolate chip pumpkin muffins a week ago…they are all still sitting on my counter.

-I am having Disney withdrawals.

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-I want to be done with pregnancy, like yesterday.

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-I went through a bag of twizzlers pull n peel in 48 hours.

-I am worried about how my dogs will be around baby M.

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-I can’t get out of chairs by myself anymore.

-I put out our fall decorations and started burning fall candles the weekend after labor day, even though it’s still in the 90’s here.

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-I am officially obsessed with Etsy. So. Much. Cute. Baby. Stuff.

-Yesterday, I got my hair cut for the first time since February.

QOTD: Do you have any confessions to make?

Detour SMART Bar Review

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Detour Bar.

I am quite picky about my snacking. I don’t eat large meals, so I snack all. the. time. I carry a lot of bar type foods around in my purse as well, and am always on the lookout for what fuels me best and is healthy while still tasting good.

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I was sent two boxes of Detour’s SMART bars in Blueberry and Apple Cinnamon.

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The day I got these in the mail, my husband and I busted open a box and both tried one, and were pleasantly surprised! The greek yogurt drizzle is what put it over the top for me! I also like the soft texture.

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There are four total flavors: Blueberry, Apple Cinnamon, Cranberry Flax, and Peanut Butter Chocolate. I can only vouch for the two I was sent, but I will say both boxes are almost gone!

I know in the summer a lot of people tend to get lax on their healthy eating. There are tons of BBQ’s to go to, frozen treats to consume, and the heat makes you not want to workout. However, you don’t have to sacrifice your healthy lifestyle in the summer and can still snack smart!

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I am a numbers nerd, so I really enjoyed checking out this chart comparing Detour bars to other brands. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat and enjoy some of these other brands, but it is nice to know that Detour bars have the lowest amount of sugar and are very high up there in terms of protein!

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If you like high protein, healthy snacks, that give you energy through whole grain carbs and fiber, you should try a box of Detour SMART bars. You can find them at several locations or purchase online. For more information or to follow the brand on social media, be sure to check them out on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

QOTD: What do you look for in a healthy snack bar? Taste? sugar? protein?

P.S. – Be on the lookout today on my Instagram account for a giveaway!

Balance Bar Summer Shape Up (and giveaway)

Disclosure: I received a Walmart gift card as part of a sponsored collaboration for the Summer Shape Up Challenge with Balance Bar.

I have tried many different types of bars over the past few years, and have gotten very particular about them. When I was approached by Balance Bar about their summer shape up challenge, I was intrigued, as I had never tried this brand before.

The Balance Bar® Summer Shape-Up Challenge kicked off to help consumers move more, eat healthier and feel great while enjoying summer. The 40-day Challenge was filled with 30-minute workouts, healthy eating tips and multiple social media giveaways.

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I took my Wal-Mart giftcard and headed off to the store to purchase my product. There were a lot of flavors to choose from, but I ended up settling on cookie dough and yogurt honey peanut. I also decided to try the caramel nut blast as well. My shopping trip was easy and seamless, and I was soon home with my new snacks.

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After trying out the flavors, my favorite is definitely the cookie dough. It has a good flavor, not really chalky, and doesn’t feel like I am eating a bunch of chemicals. There are many other flavors to choose from, so be sure to check out all the products on their website.

About Balance Bar®        

Founded in 1992, Balance Bar®, one of America’s original nutrition/energy bars, offers the right ratio of ingredients and nutrients that are scientifically formulated to help keep you in balance, delivering the nutritional benefits to help you enjoy today while looking after tomorrow. Balance Bars® are available in four unique product lines (Original, Gold, Dark and bare) that offer more than 20 delicious flavors based on the 40/30/30 nutrition model – a proven formula developed by scientists to help maintain blood sugar levels already within a normal range and that represents the caloric ratio the body needs to enjoy lasting balanced energy and help satisfy hunger for longer; 40% of total calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 30% from dietary fat.

*If you want to try Balance bar energy bars for yourself, the brand has been kind enough to sponsor a giveaway for one THLG reader to win a $10 Walmart gift card and a variety pack of Balance Bars! Simply follow the Rafflecoptor directions below. Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FREE Dining at Disney World This Fall

Tomorrow, Free dining comes out at select resorts for certain dates at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL!

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I would love to book your family on a magical vacation! If you aren’t a fan of the dining plan, there are deals on just rooms for certain dates as well, check out the info below:

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FREE DINING for select night August 31 through December 23, 2014. Your package must include a minimum of three nights at an on-site Walt Disney World Resort hotel and a minimum 2-day Base Ticket at full price.

Valid Arrival Dates include:
8/31/14 – 10/3/14
10/26/14 – 11/1/14
11/9/14 – 11/20/14
12/12/14 – 12/23/14

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-If you stay at a value resort, you will receive the quick service dining plan for free (you may pay the difference to upgrade to regular dining).

-If you stay at a moderate or deluxe resort, you will receive the regular “plus dining” plan for free.

A $200 deposit is due at the time of booking. Rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, All-Star Movies, Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Campsites, 3-bedroom villas, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation Resort are not included in this offer. The number of rooms available with this discount is limited and not all resorts and room categories will be available, so act FAST if you want to find the best availability.

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Please email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com as soon as possible so that we can discuss your quote for the morning of the 7th when the rooms are available. Remember, it costs you NOTHING EXTRA to book with me, and I do all the work for you!

QOTD: When is your next vacation?

7 Easy Ways to Stay Fit and Healthy During the Holidays

Hi! It’s Heather from Divas Run for Bling and I am so excited to be guest blogging here at Through Heather’s Looking Glass. The holidays are my favorite time of year and I am a sucker for all the presents and decorations this time of year. I am also a fan of the food. I have a serious sweet tooth so this season is perfect for me.  It’s just not so perfect for my diet. I will typically gain a few pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas and not all of it comes off when those New Year’s resolutions are made. Since I am not running 10 miles a day to work off all the calories, I have come up with a few tips that will help me stay fit and healthy during the holiday season.

1. Get motivated. I always try to find ways to get motivated to get out the door and run.  It’s not easy this time of year with all the stress and busy schedules and cold weather. As with last year, I have signed up for a spring half marathon. This way, I know that I have to get out there and get my runs in or my money will just be wasted if I can’t finish the race. I am also doing the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak in which you run at least 1 mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Even one mile a day can go a long way in staying fit and healthy.

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My spring race this year will be the Georgia Publix Half in Atlanta.

2. Make a plan and be consistent. It is important that you have an exercise plan in place to keep you on track. This will help you see what events are happening on a particular day and allow you to adjust your workout schedule accordingly. I have both my training schedule and any events on my calendar so I know when I’ll be able to do those runs and cross training. It also helps me figure out what time of day is best to do those workouts.

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This is my training schedule for the winter months. It’s based after the Beginner Half Marathon training plan at digitalrunning.com.

3. Exercise early. Coming from me, this is kinda funny as I will be the first to tell you I love to sleep. A lot. However, working out in the morning has a lot of benefits.  For one, it gives your metabolism a boost for the day. Also, getting your work out in early won’t interfere as much with all the parties, dinners and family events. This allows you to stick to the fitness plan you decided on and work off some of the calories that you are putting into your body.

4. Track your calories. This is something that I absolutely HATE to do. It’s time consuming and annoying. But it is also helpful. I find that when I know I have to track my calories, I will make healthier food choices. Just looking at my food journal and seeing that 1 slice of pumpkin pie is 323 calories will make me think twice about going back for a second helping.

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I use the food and exercise tracker at myfitnesspal.com.  It’s easy and can track my calories, exercise and water intake. There is also an app for it so I can track when I’m away from the computer.

5. Eat smart. I know it is not always possible to stick to a diet during the holiday season. You can be smart and what and when you eat, though.  Do not skip meals in order to bank calories for the rest of the day. Especially if this meal is breakfast. This will slow your metabolism and cause you to overeat, adding more calories than if you just ate as normal.  Try to eat balanced meals when possible. This will ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs. Also, it is okay to have a taste of the good stuff (i.e. all those yummy pies and cakes). I try to have a few bites of 2-3 of my favorite desserts so that I can enjoy them without totally going overboard. Be aware of how much you are drinking. Calories from alcohol can add up fast if you are not careful.

6. Drink lots of water. We all know the benefits of water. It helps keep your body working at an optimal level as well as keeps you hydrated and energizes your muscles during the workouts you have planned. Water also will help control your calorie intake. If you are drinking water, you are not drinking other high calorie drinks that are presents during the holidays.

7. Get enough sleep. Not consistently getting enough sleep can have multiple effects on your body. A lack of sleep can slow your metabolism, stimulate your appetite and cause cravings of high carb, high fat foods. Not to mention you’ll be too tired to exercise if you are not well rested.

The most important thing to remember is to stay positive. There is no need to feel guilty if you slip up a bit throughout the season. Just relax and enjoy the time spent with family and friends.

Heather

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Heather is the creator of Divas Run for Bling, a blog devoted to all things running and fitness. She is a runner, blogger and scrapbooker living in Chattanooga, TN with her husband and 3 fur children (2 cats and a dog). She can be found on twitter @divasrunbling and facebook at http://www.facebook.com/divasrunforbling.

Thanksgiving 2013

Happy black Friday! No shopping for us today, we are driving about three hours north to visit with Bobby’s family today. We had a great day yesterday with my parents and are a ton of food, and more of the same today!

I hope you all had a great day with family and friends and continue to enjoy the weekend. Here are a few pictures from our day.

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Panera Breakfast Backstory Challenge and $100 Giveaway


I love Panera Bread. I love it so much, it has the ONLY salad in the world I actually enjoy eating. Not only is the food great, but it has a warm welcoming atmosphere and a great story.

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I had never been to Panera for breakfast until I was asked to make a visit, and I quickly obliged. Here are a couple of neat things I learned about Panera: -All the bread and baked goods start fresh that morning baked by a real skilled baker, in every bakery-cafe. panera6

-The breakfast sandwiches at Panera Bread all start with freshly baked bread and a freshly cracked egg. panera7

I also love this backstory!

I was excited to try out some fresh bread and a freshly cracked egg, so I tried the bacon egg and cheese sandwich. panera8 panera1

My parents copied me and got the same thing, and Bobby got the breakfast power sandwich (comes with ham). panera2

I also ordered an iced latte, and we shared a pastry.

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Let me tell you, this breakfast was GREAT. It was just enough to fill me up without feeling over stuffed for the day, and the prices were very reasonable. We really enjoyed the food we had NO idea we were missing out on, and vowed to come back soon. panera4

Do you love Panera like I do? Do you want a chance to win great prizes or even a trip to New York City? Then you need to check out the Panera Breakfast Backstory Challenge. – The Panera Breakfast Backstory Challenge allows you to learn about Panera’s passion for baking while you gain chances to win great prizes. When you play, you’ll be asked to complete 3 actions to win a badge. After a badge is earned you’ll be entered to win a prize. Collect all 3 badges and get a surprise loaded on to your MyPanera card plus a chance to win an all-inclusive, culinary experience trip to New York City for two! How to play: 1. Complete any 3 actions to earn a badge and a chance to win prizes. 2. Collect all 3 badges to be eligible for the grand prize drawing. 3. Complete bonus opportunities for more chances at the grand prize. Prizes you can win: · Breville Juice Fountain Elite · Breville Barista Express Espresso Maker · KitchenAid Professional Stand Mixer · Grand Prize – all-inclusive, culinary experience trip to New York City for two. ——————————————————— Want to win a $100 giftcard? In the comments below, simply tell me “What is your favorite way to start the day?” to be entered to win!

 

Sweepstakes Rules:

 

No duplicate comments. 

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 11/13/13 – 12/8/13.

Be sure to visit the Panera Bread’s page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

 

 

Easy Energy Bites

Today is a recipe/guest post from Lesley. Please enjoy while I am prepping for the Tower of Terror 10 miler that is tonight!

A while back, my friend shared with me a recipe that I really love to make, and my husband and I snack on these often. I call them Easy Energy Bites, and they are a great little “pick-me up” if you need a boost on a rough day or right before a run/workout.

You can easily swap out some of the ingredients in this recipe for others that you might like. Or feel free to add additional ingredients. I often add peanut butter or chopped nuts, although neither one are in the original recipe. Don’t like coconut? Leave it out! It really is a simple, versatile recipe.

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1 cup oatmeal

½ cup honey

1 cup shredded coconut

½ cup ground flax seed

½ cup chocolate chips

1 tsp. vanilla extract (only use real-not imitation)

Measure each ingredient and pour into mixing bowl. I measure the dry ingredients first, otherwise the honey will cause your dry ingredients to stick to your measuring cup if you measure the honey first.

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Mix all of the ingredients together. The mixture may seem a little dry but this is ok.

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Once the ingredients are mixed thoroughly, refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes. This will help the ingredients combine and stick together.

After the mixture has refrigerated for at least 30 minutes, pinch off some of the mixture, and roll it in the palm of your hand, creating a 1 inch ball.

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This is essentially a pre-exercise superfood. The flaxseed provides a strong dose of dietary fiber, the honey and chocolate gives you some readily bioavailable sugars, and the oatmeal provides complex carbohydrates that increase energy without spiking your blood sugar levels.

Oh, and they are DELICIOUS.

Looking for other yummy recipes, exercise tips, and race reviews? Follow my blog at greaterfitness.wordpress.com. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram-username @greaterfitness.

QOTD: What do you eat for energy?

Spice Up Your Life


Hello Through Heather’s Looking Glass readers! I’m a fellow Heather who blogs at HeatherRunsFast.com and am lucky enough to share a post with you guys while THE Heather is away at Disneyland… lucky lady!

A great way to give flavor to your food without the additional calories and WITH disease fighting compounds is to use spices! I think a lot of people overlook not only the flavor of spices but the benefits of them. Here are a few I use on a regular basis and the health perks that come along with them 🙂 It’s pretty much a win win.

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My most favorite herb/spice is Rosemary! Rosemary contains compounds that stimulates the immune system, increases circulation, and improves digestion. It has also been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. I think we all know my favorite way to use Rosemary, but you can also use it in marinades for chicken/pork/steak/fish, on veggies, in pasta sauces… the options are endless!

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Actually, cinnamon is probably tied for my most favorite. I use cinnamon the most (in my oatmeal, coffee, on sweet potatoes/butternut squash, even on rice reheated with a touch of almond milk for a sweet treat!) The antioxidant compounds in cinnamon help prevent blood sugar spikes and dips. And research has shown that eating half a teaspoons worth of cinnamon a day can reduce the risk factors for diabetes and heart disease!

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To me, nutmeg is cinnamon’s partner in crime and I use it in the same ways as I listed above. I also like to add it when making dark greens like kale and on the rare occasion when I make a cream sauce. Nutmeg may prevent cavities. The antibacterial compound macelignan can reduce plaque formation by 50 % and block out  cavity producing microbes. Nutmeg also has anti-inflammatory compounds, which is always a plus!

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Next up… Cumin! Like most spices, cumin comes in both a seed and powder. I usually use the powder on chicken, in salad dressings, on roasted/grilled veggies or mixed in rice. ONE tablespoon has 22% of your daily recommended iron and it may also boost your memory!

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The capsaicin (the compound that creates the burn) in Cayenne Pepper, heats your body up, which in turn revs up your metabolism. It also helps curb your fatty and salty food cravings. I like to add a dash to my popcorn, use it in marinades and on top of roasted veggies. Most peppers contain capsaicin, but the degree of spiciness varies drastically, so be careful! If your mouth feels on fire, grab a glass of milk and NOT a glass of water. The water will only disperse the capsaicin while the fat in milk will bind to the capsaicin and carry it away (down your throat.) Also be sure not to touch your eyes after handling the spice as it will make them burn. Ouch!

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Oregano. I don’t use this spice enough, considering all the benefits it has. One teaspoon has has 6 micrograms of Vitamin K (helps build your bones) AND the same amount of antioxidants in 3 cups of spinach. What what?! I am all about adding spinach to every smoothie I make, but what an easy way to sneak in even MORE antioxidants 🙂 It works great in salad dressing or even just sprinkled on top of a salad. I often add it to pasta sauce and of course on my beloved roasted veggies.

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And last but not least, ginger! This is commonly known to help settle an upset stomach, but it does more! The chemical gingerol, found in ginger, can help reduce inflammation and block the pathways that process pain. This could help reduce exercise related muscle soreness. Nice. I use ginger the most in stir-fries… they are one of my favorite pre-long run dinners. It is also good on pork and chicken and in baked goods like ginger snaps!

QOTD: Do you prefer fresh or dried spices? What is your favorite spice?