Hope everyone had a great holiday! This past weekend my husband and I hosted the entire Santschi family right here in Kansas City for Thanksgiving and it was a blast! We gave them the full tour of the city; attending a Chiefs game, seeing the Plaza lights and taking a ride on the streetcar to a jazz lounge.
The favorite stop for everyone though was Chicken N Pickle, located just north of River Market, where we played a few rounds of pickleball. If you haven't tried pickleball yet, you need to schedule a court today!
At first I wasn’t sure my family would be thrilled about getting up early to break a sweat the day after our big Thanksgiving feast, but turned out that we had so much fun the first hour, we decided to stay and play for another hour!
I would describe pickleball as similar to tennis, ping-pong and badminton. Everybody quickly picked it up after just a couple of practice rounds. The rules are unique, but not complicated. Here are the rules directly from Chicken N Pickle's website.
They also host beginner clinics to teach the basics of the game and starting in 2018, they will be held the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month from 9-10 a.m. Private lessons, semi-private or group lessons, and 3 or 4 and a pro play lessons are also available.
Chicken N Pickle has both indoor and outdoor courts for year round play. Of course, at the end of November, we expected it to be too cold to play on the outdoor courts, but we were pleasantly surprised when Mother Nature provided a gorgeous day for us to do both!
In addition to pickleball, Chicken N Pickle also has a beer garden and plenty of backyard games to choose from. They have giant Jenga, giant Battleship, hula hoops, corn hole, and much more. It's the perfect place to spend the day for all ages. Plus, it's also canine friendly, so feel free to bring your pup along too.
You’ll also find plenty of TV's around, making it a great spot to catch a game. There's also a rooftop bar for grabbing a drink or hosting a private event.
Oh and did I mention the food?! YUM!
The restaurant serves up fresh, made-to-order specialties - sandwiches, wood-fired rotisserie chicken and sides, including the typical tots and fries, and some healthy options too – salads, brussels sprouts and beets. The variety is spectacular and it all tastes fantastic.
Below, on the right, is the Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich with pickles, hot sauce and spicy slaw with a side of tots. Delicious!
All to say, with plenty of food, drinks and games, it is always a fun time at Chicken N Pickle. My family loved the experience and my brother said it was his favorite part of the trip!
It was a great workout, a fun time and fit for all ages and skill levels. I highly recommend stopping in to check this place out the next time you’re entertaining friends or family or just looking for something to do.
One of my all-time favorite desserts is my mom's famous Pudding Cake. It is so delicious that it's addicting. It never lasts very long in our house, because it's everybody's first choice for dessert. It's super easy to make, even your kiddos can lend a hand in the kitchen.
You only need five ingredients and it takes about ten minutes to whip together.
- 1 tub of Cool Whip (8oz)
- 4 cups milk
- 2 boxes white chocolate instant pudding
- 1 box chocolate graham crackers
- 1 can chocolate frosting
In a large bowl, stir together the Cool Whip, milk and pudding. Set aside.
Line the bottom of a 9"x13" pan with graham crackers and then pour half of the pudding mixture on top.
Place another row of graham crackers and then pour the rest of the pudding mixture on top.
Place the final layer of graham crackers across the top.
Heat the frosting in the microwave for 30-60 seconds. Stir thoroughly, then pour the frosting on top. Smooth the frosting from side to side with a knife or spatula to make sure all the graham crackers are covered.
Cover and refrigerate for 8 - 48 hours.
If chocolate isn't your thing - don't write this off just yet. My husband doesn't like chocolate, but the Cool Whip and the pudding make the graham crackers just melt in your mouth. It is a family favorite!
Let me know if you try it! You won't regret it.
Happy Black Friday! We hope that you have found some incredible deals while working off all of those Thanksgiving calories. Here are our favorite picks for this week's Fashion Friday! Since it is the biggest shopping day of the year, most all of these items are deeply discounted!
Sweater: Goodwill (Will do a post on my Goodwill finds soon!)
Boots: Old Navy (similar style here)
The holiday season is upon us, so let's talk fitness tips before we chow down on our Thanksgiving Day feast. Did you know the average American consumes about 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day?! The best way for me to enjoy all the yummy goodies without the guilt, is to have a plan for how I'm going to burn off those extra calories this week.
Grace shared her quick jump rope workout earlier this week, and I'm going to show you some exercises you can do using that frozen turkey - yep, you read that right!
I met up with Kri Chay, owner of Kri Chay's Urban HIIT FITT, to get some exercise ideas that you can do at home.
What you need
- Workout band - similar to this
- Frozen turkey
Going through all the exercises will take about 30 minutes. In the video above, Kri and I go through four different exercises. In the video below, we go into more detail and show the full workout.
To make things even easier, click here for a break down of every exercise. We go over each move from easy, moderate to challenging. Check it out!
Happy Monday y'all! I hope you had a great weekend away from work and all of the stress that sometimes comes with it.
Speaking of stress, my favorite way to handle stress in a healthy way is to jump rope. Random, right? I never imagined a childhood activity I used to pass the time at recess with, would one day be my go to workout in a pinch. Who knew? It's especially nice if you’re traveling or can’t make it to the gym because jumping rope is inexpensive, portable, and you can squeeze in a great workout in just a few minutes!
Jump roping has tonssss of benefits! For instance, you can burn between 10 and 16 calories per minute. I like to do 1 minute on, 10 seconds off for 20 rounds. That's about 200 calories (give or take) and in less than 30 minutes! Plus, you will be sure to be sweating by the time you finish.
The muscles worked during jump roping include the gastrocnemius, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abdominals, forearms, and deltoids. That's a lot of muscles from one simple workout! It builds body awareness and improves quickness and balance. The tempo and rhythm of jump roping helps improve coordination which in turn leads to better balance and quickness.
A jump rope is incredibly affordable; we got ours for $3! It weighs nothing and you can transport it anywhere. I jump rope at home on those days that I don’t feel like trekking to the gym, but I’ve also been known to take it with me and supplement my weight training workouts with jumping rope in between sets.
And, last but not least, jump roping increases bone density. It specifically increases bone density in your legs and spine. And, when done correctly, jumping rope is much easier on your bones than running is. This is because each jump is absorbed by both legs at the same time, as opposed to running where alternating legs absorb the impact. Essentially, this evens out the impact and keeps your bones in check.
So, if you are looking for a great at home workout, pick up your jump rope. If you need to purchase one, check your local Walmart, Target or grab one online from Amazon. Have fun jumping your way to a healthier, happier you!
Happy Friday! We've made it to the weekend! Here's our Fashion Friday picks for this week!
I wore this outfit on the sidelines while covering the Chiefs game and just had to share where it's from because I loved it!
This is the perfect outfit for the chilly weather in Nashville, plus it's casual Friday!
Top: Mango - Sold out, but here's a similar style
Have a great weekend!
This is the story of how my life was changed, before I could walk or talk, when all I knew was how to eat, sleep, cry, and open my baby eyes.
Ten years after completing high school, my father enrolled at the University of North Texas (UNT) as a full-time student while my mother worked to support them. Their hope was that a college degree would open the doors of opportunity, provide a stable income for their future family, and set an example for their children.
During his junior year, my parents found out they were having their first child—me!
I was born in October and my dad was scheduled to graduate in May of the following year, which meant my mom needed to return to work until the spring. They began searching for someone to watch after me while they were away during the day.
As typical first-time parents, they interviewed prospective candidates extensively, made sure to call references, and, of course, sought the advice and guidance of family and friends to ensure they were making the wisest possible choice. They selected a mature sitter who chose to care for just one infant at her home each year.
But the very first time my parents ever left me, when I was four weeks old, my life and my family’s lives were forever changed.
My caretaker had been instructed to gently warm the small bottle of breast milk by placing it under warm, running water or to set it inside a glass of warm water - gradually warming the frozen milk to room temperature and to preserve the beneficial properties of the breast milk. However, she was accustomed to using boiling water for warming bottles and, because the small bottle only contained a few ounces of breast milk, it immediately toppled over. While holding me in her arms, she picked up the pot of water to pour it in the sink and retrieve the bottle of milk, but in her haste, the boiling water was spilled directly onto my left leg.
My cloth diaper and clothing were immediately soaked, holding in the heat, quickly adhering to my entire leg. Unfortunately, the sitter’s first reaction was to remove them. I include this part of the story in case others encounter a similar situation. The proper protocol is to run cool water over the burned area (if water isn’t available, any cold, drinkable fluid can be used) or hold a clean, cold cloth on the burn (source).
Because burns are easily infected, I spent the next week of my life in isolation at the hospital, where it was determined that my burns were 2nd and 3rd degree. I received regular doses of morphine to control the pain and my first of several surgeries was scheduled for Day 4 of my hospital stay.
My parents never left my side, asked lots of questions, and learned all they could about the treatment of burns. Naturally, they were fraught with fear, but they had to trust that the doctors and medical staff were doing all they could to provide the best possible care for their precious baby girl.
Now that I'm old enough to fully understand the severity of the situation, I'm so proud of my parents. There were many sleepless nights in the hospital (and when we returned home), the fear of the unknown then and for my future, the anger toward the responsible party, etc. It's unimaginable to me, but they stuck together, held each other up, and when one was weak the other was strong. Amazing!
In the photos below, you see my father holding me on his chest and then my mother rocking me in the chair. The emotional toll it had to take on them watching their daughter suffer in so much pain, and yet, with the good Lord's strength, they were able to be strong throughout this journey and do what was required for me to heal.
Over the next 18 years, several additional surgeries were required, and I learned that I’m not a fan of hospitals, anesthesia, or the removal of stitches and staples! Physically, I still bear the scars of that fateful day, though they are permanent, they are much improved and the incisions are less noticeable.
Growing up, it was challenging—the surgeries, the crutches, the compression garments, the questions from friends, as well as strangers, about my scars. But with my incredible doctor, my faith, and the support from my wonderful family, I’ve healed and it’s part of what made me into the woman I am today.
“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” – Amy Bloom
I believe God has a specific plan for each of us. As a result of this terrible accident, it led my parents straight to the doors of the nearest church. My brother and I, in turn, learned about the grace of God and the gift of salvation at an early age. Ever since, throughout every surgery and every doctors appointment, we were able to find strength and peace in our Lord. We were also lucky enough to be surrounded by a wonderful church community throughout the years.
Although there were times when I wondered, “Why did it happen to me?” or “Why were the burns so bad?” My faith gave me the strength, courage, confidence, and ability to see my scars as a reminder of what really matters in life and how grateful I am to be healthy and alive.
When I participated in the Miss Kansas USA pageant in 2014, I was advised to cover my scars with makeup. “It won’t look good on stage,” or “Cover them up so the judges don't see.” Though those words deeply hurt, I chose not to take that advise because my scars, though not pretty, are part of me. Something others may see as a flaw—my battle scars—made me stronger and more beautiful as a woman. They’re part of my story.
It was the first time I’d ever participated in a pageant, and I placed in the Top 5, among some incredible women. Although I didn’t take the crown, I don’t believe my scars were a factor. It didn’t cripple my chances. Truth be told, every woman has a battle scar or two, whether visible or not. Our imperfections make us unique and tell our story. I’m proud of mine.
To Every Woman
“Someone will always be prettier. Someone will always be smarter. Someone will always be younger. But they will never be you.” – Anonymous
Regardless of your looks, your scars, your past, your waistline or calorie intake, your mistakes, or anything else you think may make you less than perfect, remember that none of us are perfect. Embrace your imperfections, because they make you, you.
And though I still get questions about my leg, I try to remember that people aren’t intending to be impolite or insensitive. Instead, I’m able to show them that my imperfections make me confidently and perfectly imperfect.
Celebrate whatever it is that makes you different, embrace your quirks, your scars or beauty marks. I share my story with you to encourage all of us to look at our imperfections differently. They are what make you, you. And no one else can ever be that.
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” – Anna Quindlen
Happy Monday, friends! Are you enjoying the fall colors and being able to pull out the boots and sweaters as much as I am? I love the cooler temps and I'm super excited to share with you my new favorite trends for Fall! I hope you enjoy it and find it useful for when you're shopping for what to add to your closet ;)
1. Fuzzy, cozy coats
Oh.my.lanta. I am obsessed with this trend right now! Not only is it completely comfortable (win), but it is also so stinking adorable. It mixes vintage and comfortable together perfectly. This one is on my wishlist for Christmas. It is sooo adorable, chic, and cozy looking! ALSO it's only ***$50***!!!
2. Retro hats
I'm specifically talking about the engineer hats. They are making a huge comeback and at first I was like....no. But now after seeing them styled so many different ways, I'm all in. If you are a girl that looks good in hats, this is a must for your closet. Pair it with a cute button-down tucked into skinnies with some over the knee boots. This one from Anthropologie is to die for.
3.Mid length skirts
Can I get an AMEN??? All of my tall friends get me on this. There is nothing more discouraging than everythingggg being so short on you. I LOVE that this trend is in. It's so classic, flattering and perfect for work or a romantic date night. This pick from Forever21 screams holiday party. I am obsessed!
4. Formal Velvet
What I really love about this trend is that velvet is not just appealing to the eye, but it's also warm. If you're like me and love getting dressed up, it's a real bonus when you can be warm at the same time! Velvet adds a special feminine touch to any outfit and a layer of warmth to the cute little dresses you'll be wearing to your holiday parties. I love this one from Forever21.
Give me ALL the platform boots. I just purchased some from H&M last week and they are so adorable. Pair these with highwaisted skinnies and a short sweater, or a cute long sleeved dress with tights. And, hooray, they are more comfortable because they give you more support.
*Sidenote: HM sends me coupons for 40% off one single item + free shipping every couple of months. I got these for $22!*
And there you have it! My top picks for Fall 2017 trends. What are some of your favorite trends right now? Comment below!
Happy Friday! Check out our Fashion Friday picks!
Skirt: TopShop - Similar style here
Purse: Aldo - Sold out, but similar find here
Have a great weekend!
Do you enjoy spending time in the kitchen? I do and I’m constantly on the hunt for new recipes. I peruse Pinterest regularly for dinner ideas, especially for creative ways to use chicken. It’s a staple at my house! Recently, I discovered this delicious Cheesy Ranch Chicken recipe and, the best part, it's super easy - just 5 ingredients and about 30 minutes.
Note – use what you have available, variety is the spice of life! I don’t normally have breadcrumbs on hand, so I crushed up some Ritz crackers instead. Breadcrumbs, crackers, panko, etc. - it all works! Also, instead of using the whole egg, you could use egg whites.
Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together. In a separate bowl, crack the egg and stir. Dip each chicken breast into the egg and then dredge through the breadcrumb mixture. I try to get as much of the breadcrumb mixture on the chicken as possible and then place in pan.
The first time I made this, I lined the pan with aluminum foil. The chicken wasn’t as crisp as I’d like it and the yummy breadcrumbs started falling off when I went to serve it. The next time I made it, I pretreated the pan using no-stick cooking spray, ditched the foil and spread a small portion of olive oil under each chicken breast. Walla! The chicken didn’t stick, it served up beautifully and it was just the right amount of crispy too.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, carefully flip it over and bake for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
This is some of the best chicken I've ever had and it was so simple. It has great flavor and can even be chopped up and put into a salad for later in the week. My husband loved it and devours it every time. That’s a winner in my book! Below is the full recipe and instructions. Enjoy!
I don't know about you, but my husband and I are always looking for local hangout spots. So naturally, when some of our friends mentioned how awesome Mill Creek Brewing Co was, we knew we had to try it out! Mill Creek Brewing Co is off of Nolensville Road, which is super close to where Blake and I live. They brew everything in house and are open to the public on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Best part about it? They host a trivia night in their brewhouse every Thursday at 6pm!
The trivia night is so fun and laid back. You don't have to play trivia if you go, in fact, they supply a variety of board games! The weather has been fairly nice lately so they have all of the garage doors open. Your kids can run around outside while you and your team dive into trivia!
The major bonus for me was the Chago's Cantina food truck. They have amazing queso, tacos and nachos. It's the perfect addition to your draft beer. I happen to love Mill Creek's Woodshed IPA! Pair that with Chago's chips and queso and you are good to go! Everything is super affordable, which is an added bonus.
So if you find yourself in Nolensville, TN on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night, go try out Mill Creek Brewing Co! Let me know what you think!
Happy Friday! Whether you are heading to a country concert or attending a formal dinner, we've got ya covered! Enjoy our picks for this week's Fashion Friday!
Vest: Old Navy - Similar style
Plaid Shirt: Target - Similar style
Purse: Nine West
Boots: Justin Boots
I’m a working woman who’s constantly on the go and in need of a healthy go-to snack that will satisfy my chocolate craving and curb my appetite. This is one of the best choices I've found and a great solution for a sweet and delicious, protein-packed goodie. Bonus – it’s a scrumptious quick and easy to make recipe that requires no baking!
1. Mix all ingredients into a medium bowl and stir until thoroughly blended.
2. With your hands, roll the mixture into small balls and place on wax paper.
3. Place in fridge to set. After half an hour, enjoy!
Store in fridge in an air tight container.
These make a great snack and give me just the boost of energy I need, especially late in the afternoon, and I don’t feel guilty for enjoying them! Hope you like them as much as I do.
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