Gift Guide: For the Athlete

Now that Thanksgiving is over, can we talk about everything Christmas/! Are you beginning your holiday shopping list? These are some of my tried and true favorite things for getting me through long runs, sweaty workouts at the gym and sometimes just chasing after my hyperactive toddlers. If you have an athlete on your holiday list this year and are looking for some great ideas for things to get them, here you go!

gift guide athlete

An activity tracker. I’ve used several: the jawbone, the fitbit flex, etc. and have loved the fitbit one the most. It’s been the most accurate for me, giving me credit for running even when pushing a stroller and not giving me extra steps for baking a pie and hitting the spatula against the side of the bowl.

A sweat-wicking shirt. My favorite tank is currently on mega clearance! It’s soft, non-chafing and long enough that it doesn’t ride up. These are my favorite t-shirts (though I rarely wear anything for working out but tanks or long sleeved shirts when it’s winter). My favorite long-sleeved shirt is from Fabletics (not a referral link).

A sweat-wicking sweatshirt or jacket. If your loved one lives in a colder climate here’s my favorite sweatshirt (I’ll throw it over a tank and sports bra for snowy runs) and my favorite running jacket (which I rarely wear unless it’s raining or blisteringly cold, as I overheat fast).

Sweat-wicking pants. My favorite shorts! I never thought I’d step foot in Lululemon but one of my girlfriends gave me a giftcard for my birthday a few years back and I ended up getting these shorts. They are incredible! Totally worth the absurd $$. I wish I had 4 more pairs. These are my favorite running capris and my favorite running tights. They’ve lasted me 4 years of winter running and are still going strong! And they’re currently on sale.

Running shoes or a gift card to a running store. If you know they love a particular brand and style, gift them the shoe! If you’re unsure of their gait, go with a gift card. These are my current favorites and I’m dreading the day I have to retire them. They’re so comfortable and I love the colors!

Running socks. It seems like such a waste of money and a great marketing tool. RUNNING socks. I mean, can’t you just wear regular ones? But after training for my last half with cheap Target socks, and facing the awesome blisters, calluses and ruined toenails as a result, my podiatrist recommended I go back to sweat-wicking socks. They’re actually worth the investment. Who knew?

Fuel. My favorite are shot bloks! And the sharkies that have the sugar on the outside so the jellyness doesn’t get stuck in your teeth. My favorite electrolyte additive is this! It’s non-artificial and sugar free. Tastes great too. It’s actually what I give the kids sometimes when they’re sick instead of pedialyte. Or fuel belt to hold fuel.

A gym membership or race entry. Make sure it’s a race they have their eyes on and actually want to run.

http://www.amazon.com/CamelBak-eddy-75L-Water-Bottle/dp/B014T33AWI

A water bottle. I love the Camelbak Eddy because I can unscrew the top to chug water or use the straw if I need a quick drink during a class or while on the treadmill. We actually bought them for the boys too because they’re so durable.

http://www.amazon.com/CamelBak-eddy-75L-Water-Bottle/dp/B014T33AWI

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Pregnancy #3: 30 Weeks

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How Far Along?

30 weeks + 4 days

Weight Gain

17lbs

Fitness

I think this section needs to be replaced with “Nesting achieved” or “Baby things accomplished” or even “things we REALLY need to do asap”. Cause let’s be honest, no real “workouts” are taking place any time soon.

Sleep

This week has been rough. And made me terrified for January when sleep deprivation is a regular thing. Both boys have been super sick. Andrew was diagnosed with strep last night and were pretty sure Jax has it too, but so far he’s testing negative (might be too early…Andrew was tested Monday and was negative but tested positive yesterday evening).

Cravings

Chocolate, donuts and bacon, egg and cheese bagels. The usual.

Aversions

The aftertaste of almost everything makes me feel really gross.

Movement

Especially at night, he loves to party!

Symptoms

  • Nesting is still strong. But with everything going on with the boys, I haven’t gotten much done this week. We did buy Jax a new bed (a twin mattress and box spring directly on the floor) which has miraculously cured his rocking problem! And his new bed is absurdly comfortable. We’re thinking of bribing him to switch with us 😉
  • Cramping/lower back pain/Braxton hicks. Were in that territory where they’re a daily occurrence but sometimes they leave me really nervous that they’re about to turn into the real thing.
  • Tons of pressure. Kyles riding really low, namely on my bladder constantly. Whenever I stand I have to pee and it feels like he’s falling out. Tmi?
  • Dizziness when I stand too long. It’s been horrible this week, especially with not having much time to sit or relax between thanksgiving prep, taking care of two sick babes and constantly cleaning the never ending mess that is two toddlers.

Gouda Mashed Potatoes

If you’re still looking for delicious recipes to add to your Thanksgiving menu, here’s Bryan’s absolute favorite. Ever since I made it for our first Thanksgiving together, he asks for it constantly. Just last night when I was going over the menu for this years feast (as if he cared), his only question was “and your mashed potatoes right?!” So if you’re looking for some truly incredible potatoes to add to your table, look no further. These are hands down the best around…at least according to the judges in our house.

Gouda Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 7oz package of Gouda cheese, shredded (can add more. We’ve started using the smoked variety due to Bry’s love of all things smokey)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper + more to taste
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt + more to taste
  • 2 tbsp. horseradish sauce
  • 2lbs baby red potatoes, diced + blemished removed
  • 1/3c milk (any milk works, we use 1%)

Directions:

  1. Dice and remove blemishes from potatoes (you could leave them but they sometimes add a funny taste/texture that might affect your final dish).
  2. Add potatoes to large pot and cover with water. Boil until tender.
  3. Drain water and return to pot. Add pepper, salt, horseradish sauce, milk and shredded gouda.
  4. Blend with a hand mixer until well mixed. Adjust salt + pepper to taste and enjoy!

Almond Pinecone Dip

Growing up, there are two things that always reminded me of holidays at my Grandma’s house. One was her amazing green beans. I’m fairly certain they were the canned variety that she’d dump into a pot to heat, but somehow she sprinkled them with enough love and comfort that they were my favorite item on the holiday table. The second was my Aunt’s incredible almond pinecone dip. She’s made it for every family gathering since I can remember, and has had to double, triple and finally, quadruple the recipe, we all love it so much!

Now that we have a family of our own, we’ve started to spend the holidays in the comfort of our own home, making our own traditions. But we’re sure to include our family traditions that bring so much love, comfort and warm memories to this time of the year. Including: my Aunt’s almond pinecone dip. If you’re looking for a yummy appetizer or side dish for any gathering, try it! It is sure to not disappoint…until you reach the bottom of the plate and are left in utter sadness that it’s somehow disappeared.

Almond Pinecone Dip
Yields 1 1/2 cups

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups whole almonds
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened (both original and light work)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 5 crisply cooked bacon slices, crumbled (I use turkey bacon, my Aunt uses regular)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallions (green onions)
  • ½ teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until almonds just begin to turn color, stirring often.
  2. Combine softened cream cheese and mayonnaise until well combined.
  3. Add bacon, green onions, dill weed and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Cover and chill overnight (or for at least an hour or two).
  5. Remove from fridge and shape dip into pinecones on a serving platter (or any shape you want like a heart, football, etc.).
  6. Beginning from narrow end of the pinecone, press almonds into dip at a slight angle, in rows. Continue overlapping until dip is completely covered by almonds.
  7. Garnish with tops of green onions or artificial pine sprigs.
  8. Serve with crackers and enjoy!

Pregnancy #3: 29 Weeks

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How Far Along?

29 weeks + 3 days

Weight Gain

17.8lbs

Fitness

Thursday: 45min walk on the dreadmill
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off
Monday: Off
Tuesday: 10min yoga
Wednesday: Off

My desire to actually do a workout has become nonexistent. I need to do more yoga for the achiness in my hips and lower back and walking with the kids/Bry still feels great. But walking on the treadmill at the gym felt like torture and at this point, it’s not worth it. I’ve been staying busy playing with the kids at the park, walking to/from the park and cleaning every surface I can get my hands on. Nesting is in full swing!

Sleep

What’s that?

Cravings

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. And Reubens. I’d been dreaming of brownies and chocolate chip cookies for awhile and made batches of both this week. Diet coke is right up there too *ashamed face*. Right now I’m hugely craving sweet potatoes. Random. I’m really trying to reign in my eating (read: sugar intake) to see if it helps with Kyle’s size. We have another sono in 2.5 weeks for growth but everyone is in consensus that I’m most likely just growing a big baby. The wiggles and rolls I feel, agree.

Aversions

The aftertaste of almost everything makes me feel really gross.

Movement

Especially at night, he loves to party!

Symptoms

  • Cramping. Pretty much a daily experience. And lower back pain.
  • Headaches. They’ve been really bad the past couple of days and I think it’s from a stiff neck and horrible sleep.
  • Really bad pain on my left lower side. It was so horrible on Saturday my OB told me to go to the ER (I was literally in tears and Bry came running to find my on the stairs unable to move through the pain). It was stabbing and radiated down my left leg but after 20 minutes, it went away. I stayed home and just rested, assuming it was Kyle pressing on a nerve since it was one sides/radiated down my leg/etc. and since I would see my OB Monday anyway. OB agreed. Nerve pressure. Thanks Ky!
  • In other news, I’m really proud of the fact that I’ve been fairly laid back this pregnancy. I know from my pregnancy with Andrew that even when I had preterm labor, all that they’d do at L&D was give me bags upon bags of fluids and monitor me.  So that’s my go-to first if something feels off. Hydrate like crazy and lay down and every time, things have normalized. Otherwise I’d absolutely go in. Kyle’s health > anything.
  • Eating machine. I’m hungry all the time. Totally convenient that Thanksgiving and Christmas (read: eat all the food) are on their way!
  • Nesting. Nesting. Nesting. It’s gotten pretty crazy. I’ve had continuous loads of laundry going non-stop during the day and whenever the kids are somewhat preoccupied with something in their play area, I have a broom/mop/vacuum/sponge/rag in my hand. The urge is STRONG.

Pregnancy #3: 28 Weeks

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How Far Along?

28 weeks + 4 days (I’m officially at the point where I totally forget what week I’m at)

Weight Gain

16lbs

Fitness

Thursday: 2mi walk + 20min yoga
Friday: Off
Saturday: 45min walk
Sunday: 20min yoga
Monday: Off
Tuesday: 20min yoga
Wednesday: Off

Sleep

Up all the time to pee. But other than that I feel like I’m sleeping OK. This week I’ve gotten to the point where around 2/3am when I make a potty break it’s really difficult to fall back asleep. Middle of the night feeding prep? I remember reaching this point with Drew and being up at 3am reading with hot tea and a lit candle.

Cravings

Chocolate is an always. And Reubens are right up there. At this current moment I’m seriously craving a giant reuben and some soft baked chocolate chip cookies (& my 3 year old to stop yelling “why” at me). Tuesday night I had the randomest craving for raisinettes?! And last night was spinach and artichoke dip with super salty tortilla chips. I haven’t satisfied any of them but plan to soon. Oh and diet coke. Insert an ashamed face here.

Aversions

None really. Just the aftertaste of garlic and onions make my stomach churn still

Movement

Oh yes. Love his little wiggles and thumps. I’m going to miss them 😦

Symptoms

  • When I sit, my belly is so high up it feels like it’s cutting off my circulation and trying to strangle me. Not comfortable.
  • I can’t even pretend to bend over anymore. Shoelace tying is nearly impossible and I’m grateful for rainy/cold days when I declare the boys must wear rain or snow boots as they’re quicker to slip on them. As for picking things up off the floor? I leave it to the boys or I try to squat as best I can (though I often topple over backwards and have to catch myself with my hand before falling on my butt).
  • All my shirts are getting very close to becoming belly shirts. And they’re all maternity. So I’ve started stealing clothes from Bry, which are absurdly comfortable but also look like dresses on me because he’s so much taller than I am.
  • Pants don’t fit. At all. My maternity jeans are OK and I have 1 or 2 pairs of leggings that “work” but most are to the point of being thoroughly uncomfortable and not at all forgiving as they leave muffin top looking shapes all over. Even my favorite sweatpants are to the point of being uncomfortably tight so on to Bryan’s sweatpants it is. Sorry babe.
  • My hips ache like crazy and so does my lower back. I’ve had a ton of cramps since Tuesday. Before preschool yesterday I was having Braxton hicks for almost 3 hours. Baby’s prepping! Maybe we should take the hint and start prepping too 😉
  • I’ve started to feel really uneasy, sort of dizzy like if I stand too long or if I get too hot. I have to sit down, fan myself or lay down to feel relief.
  • I’m in this mix between feeling like we have so much time to go (most likely less than 11 weeks, if he’s anything like his brothers) and feeling like he’ll be here before we know it. I can’t wait and am so excited but am also trying desperately to jam pack these last few weeks with soaking up pregnancy and the huge belly + everything that comes along with it, getting ready for his arrival and most importantly, doing a ton of fun things with the boys. We have a lot planned: seeing Santa, going on a Polar Express train ride (the boys are going to go nuts!), taking Jackson on a solo mommy + daddy date to the ice skating rink, taking Andrew on a solo mommy + daddy date, seeing the National Christmas Tree downtown and visiting Santa’s workshop, etc. With anytime in January basically being a possible baby day, we’re trying to fit a ton of fun in November and December and take January day by day. We’re getting SO CLOSE!

Sono Facts

We had a sono Monday morning and it was so exciting to see how much Kyle’s grown in 6 fast weeks! Bry and I made bets going in as to how much he’d weigh (I won!). Here’s some random facts on baby boy #3, as of Monday’s sono (28w 1d)IMG_20151109_111350I can’t wait to kiss those sweet cheeks!

  • He’s weighing in at a whopping 3lb 5oz! About a lb over what the average babe at this week weighs. Overachiever.
  • His belly is still measuring large but the growth is totally normal. His head is also measuring big. Both are about 3w ahead of schedule at 31w+.
  • While his head and belly are measuring a full three weeks ahead, overall he’s measuring at 29w3d (1w 2d early). The doc thinks I’m just growing a big baby. Though he did say it wouldn’t hurt to slow my roll on the sugar intake (how’d he know?!)
  • Everything’s looking perfect and he’s still sporting 2 beautiful kidneys.
  • But the best part? HE’S HEAD DOWN!!!!! *do the happy dance* I was so surprised to hear this as I feel so much movement really low but the sonographer guessed it was just him head butting me. Or maybe it’s hiccups. I forget what they feel like since Andrew never really had them. But I am beyond relieved to know he’s in position. WHEW!

{Gluten Free} White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

‘Tis the season for baking all the things.  Cookies are my favorite homemade sweets and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies are my husband’s favorite kind. I whipped up a batch using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour for a gluten free variety (so we could share with some of our gluten sensitive friends) that was delicious and flavorful. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups gluten free flour (or all purpose flour if you don’t care about the gluten)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup Earth Balance, softened but not melted 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In medium bowl combine flour, soda and salt. Mix well, set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl combine sugars. Add butter and mix until a grainy paste is formed. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until blended.
  4. Add the flour mixture, macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips being careful not to over mix.
  5. Refrigerate dough for 10-15 minutes. This will prevent cookies from spreading too much during baking
  6. Drop dough in rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. Move to cooling rack, pour a glass of milk and try not to devour the entire batch in a single sitting.