Yesterday Hannah got her cast off. It was a day we had been anxiously looking forward to for 4 long weeks. I think we all may have gone into this day a little unprepared. Initially I assumed that Hannah would need physical therapy to help rehab her arm after the cast came off, but was told that was not the case by her orthopedic surgeon. He had told us that kids bounce back quickly and she should be just fine.

After hearing that, I think we all just figured that she would go in, have the cast removed, pins taken out and life could go on; our summer activities could resume. That is not the case.

Hannah did get her cast and pins removed, but has more recovery time ahead of her. Realistically this makes sense. I mean, come on, Kim, the child broke 2 bones in her upper arm! She is very stiff. Her wrist is sore. She can’t straighten her arm or let it hang as she gets up or walks. She holds it with her other hand while she does anything but sit. The surgeon told us yesterday that it would be roughly 3 months before she has her full range of motion back.

I can see in her eyes how disappointed she is and my heart aches for her. She just wants to go back to normal. Her birthday party at the trampoline park will be cancelled, it is just too risky. I swear I asked the surgeon about it 3 weeks ago and he said she should be fine; today he said “no way” in very clear terms. There will be no water slide action at the pool, no roller coasters at Kings Island.

I feel like I have failed her in more ways than one. First, not only did I almost pass out when the ambulance came that day she fell, but I almost passed out again yesterday when she was hysterical about her cast coming off. Second, I feel like we could have prepared her better for the rest of her recovery.

From here, we move forward. Aaron shared a quote with me yesterday about focusing on moving forward that I want to share with you all:

“Looking in the rear view mirror is a good way to get into a crash.”

This isn’t just fitting for this situation, but for many. While it is good to acknowledge past mistakes, there is nothing that can be done about them, so wasting time worrying about the past will do nothing but impede or impair the future.  What is interesting about the quote is that Aaron used it yesterday to try to communicate to Hannah that she shouldn’t dwell on the past as she was mourning the past 4 weeks.  I hope that we can all keep this in mind over the next few months as Hannah continues to recover.

Hannah needs to get her arm moving to increase her range of motion. We will still go to the pool – the water can do nothing but help. We will just have to modify her activities. She can still have a birthday party, she will just need to choose a different venue. Focus on the positive.

Reminder – if you haven’t entered the giveaway to win a $25 Walmart gift card, don’t forget to do so!  Ends Friday at midnight!

Walmart Box Tops for Education Giveaway

‘Tis the season for parents to start getting ready to send their kids back to school.  It seems like once the 4th of July is over, stores put all of the summer stuff on clearance & bring out the school supplies.  I am partnering with MyBlogSpark, Walmart & General Mills to bring you this awesome giveaway!



Have you heard of Box Tops before?  I feel like I have been cutting these out for years.  I don’t mind, though, as they benefit our schools.  We collect them in a Ziplock bag on the refrigerator and turn them in every few weeks or when the school asks for them.  Both of my kids have won free ice cream or pizza parties for the number of box tops they have turned in.

Starting this month make sure to stop by Walmart to help out your local schools!

  • Starting in mid July, head over to your local Walmart to find up to 70 participating products that each have 4 Box Tops!
  • Shop at Walmart to purchase products from your family´s favorite brands such as Nature Valley, Cheerios, and Yoplait, and earn more cash for the upcoming new school year!

**Note: Cheerios are not gluten-free, but both Nature Valley & Yoplait have gluten-free products available that can be found at Walmart.  Click here to see the General Mills gluten-free product list.

Would you like to win a $25 gift card to purchase some qualifying products from Walmart?  I used mine the other day and purchased some Nature Valley Almond Crunch Bars, Yoplait Yogurt (this is all Jon eats) and Ziplock Zip & Steam bags.  To learn more about Box Tops for Education, follow the links below:

Now for the details on how to enter:

1.  Leave a comment on this post telling which Box Tops products you would buy with the gift card.

For additional entries, complete any one or more of the following, leaving a comment for each one you complete (this helps me count entries easier – thank you!)

2.  Follow me on Twitter

3. “Like” Gluten-free is Life on Facebook

4.  Tweet about this giveaway including the hashtag “#MyBlogSpark and @gfreeislife” in the tweet.

The giveaway will run until Friday night at midnight (EST).  I will announce a winner on Saturday, July 23, 2011.  Good luck!!!

Disclosure: The information and $25 gift card to Walmart has been provided by Walmart and General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Weekly Menu Plan

Last week was stressful.  There was a lot of this:


Which required a lot of this:


I am a tad obsessed with Peet’s lately, especially the Espresso Forte – SO GOOD!! 

Needless to say, I wanted to rip my hair out by Wednesday.  All is repaired now, though I am still adjusting my settings.

Tonight neither Aaron or I want to cook dinner.  LOL!  So it looks like it is California Pizza Kitchen takeout for us!  The new gluten-free pizza is pretty amazing and hard to resist since it is about 10 minutes from our house.

Monday – Grilled chicken, sweet potato puffs, green beans & salad

Tuesday – Burritos, refried black beans, corn & salad

Wednesday – Breakfast for dinner

Thursday – Bison burgers, carrot fries and salad

Friday – MYOP and salad

Saturday – company, so perhaps a BBQ

I hope that this week goes a little smoother in regards to technology, as I am trying to cut back on the wine & such, as I talked about in my “Training” post.  Hannah gets her cast off Wednesday and can’t wait!  I am excited for her and hope that she isn’t too stiff. 

Have a great week! Make sure to check back tomorrow, Tuesday, for an exciting giveaway!  :) 

Training & Such

Today starts a new commitment to my training plan.  Yes, technically I have been training for a half marathon again for the past month or so.  However, I seem to have fallen into a pattern of enjoying a little too many treats and glasses of wine, which leads to laziness on my part in the stretching and maintenance department of my plan. 

Running is not just that.  When I started to run several years ago, I set out building up my miles and continuing to do other activities because when you start running you don’t just start running 20+ miles/week.  You have to build up your base.  Once I could run enough miles to fill 5-6 days/week, my other activities became strangers to me.  Why?  Running was more fun.  Little did I know at the time that in order to run healthy, I (and this may not be true for everyone, but from what I read, it is true for most who plan to run for as many years as they can) need to incorporate a lot more.  More includes cardio cross training (biking, swimming, rowing), resistance training, stretching, foam rolling, yoga, Pilates and rest.

When training for a marathon, it is easy to get caught up in the mileage and focusing on only that – getting those miles in.  While it is important, especially those long runs, it is also important to listen to your body.  This doesn’t only mean resting when you are tired, sore or injured, but taking your scheduled rest days and fueling well, too. 

My first half marathon, of the 2 I have on my schedule this fall, is 7 weeks from today.  I have been able to skate by in training these past 2 weeks because my mileage has been fairly low (for me).  However, that is about to change.  This coming week I will be back over 20 miles for the first time since running the Cap City Half Marathon back in May.  Yesterday while running my Saturday long run with MIT, I chatted with Jessica about training & such.  We both admitted that we have been having a little too much fun and slacking on many parts of our training, though not the miles.  Jessica is training for the Columbus Marathon (I will be running that half, too), so her mileage will be twice what mine is.  We made a pact to start to take things a little more seriously from here until our respective races. 

We aren’t talking about dieting to lose weight; we are talking about eating quality foods that will help fuel & heal our bodies during our training.  For some reason jelly beans, ice cream, wine and Strongbow (my current favorite) don’t seem to fit that bill.  So, while I won’t be completely denying myself from my favorite treats, they will be reserved for treat days, which I will plan to partake in the nights before my rest days (usually 2 per week).  I have found, that if I completely remove a food or drink from my diet, that I tend to hyperfocus on it and want it even more.  This plan should leave me satisfied without compromising my nutrition.  Drinking wine with dinner is nice, but with the heat & humidity so high, it can really end up being an issue leading to dehydration (and poor nutritional habits). 

The Plan

  • Follow half marathon training plan – run 4 days/week + 1 day cross training (swimming, cycling, rowing)
  • Stretch and foam roll as prescribed by PT – daily before bed on training days in addition to after workout and once/day on rest days
  • Pilates/Yoga/MYRTL on 1 rest day/week; add MYRTL to one short run day per week
  • Fuel properly before & after running (carbs before; 3:1 ratio carbs:protein after) – My GF go-to before running is Kix and after has been Snowville Creamery Chocolate Milk
  • Continue following the “New Rules of Lifting for Women” plan as described in the book 2 days/week
  • Rest according to plan and additionally as needed (listen to my body – taking an extra day off can only help)
  • Eat with the purpose of fueling my body – pay attention to hunger and eat something every 3-4 hours (5 meals/day – 3 bigger and 2 snacks)
  • Replace sweets (jelly beans, chocolate, ice cream) with nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit
  • Allow for 2 “splurge” days/week – enjoy wine, Strongbow, chocolate, ice cream, jelly beans, etc as wanted.  (note: this does not mean eat these foods all day long – LOL – though that would be fun for a while until I puked)
  • No more pop – while I normally don’t drink pop, I have fallen back into the habit on occasion since Hannah broke her arm.  Sayonara Diet Dr. Pepper!

So, there you have it.  My commitment is out there on the web for all to see.  I plan on referencing it often to help myself stay on track! 

Review: Top Shelf Mixers – Lemon Drop

A few weeks back I received some mixers from Top Shelf Mixers to review.  The Top Shelf Mixers come in seven different varieties, though I am only going to review one here today.  All of the varieties are gluten-free.  More about Top Shelf Mixers:

Top Shelf Mixers was founded by Paul T. Dunning in 2005 when he recognized a neglected niche in the non-alcoholic cocktail mixer industry. He observed that although premium and super premium spirits had revived the stagnant cocktail market, the cocktail mixer industry had made no significant response. Cocktail mixers continued to be thick, synthetic mixtures of corn syrup and artificial chemicals. He noticed while some companies tried to make improvements they lacked the unique insight he could offer.

Dunning realized that there was a pent-up demand for better cocktail mixes, and that this potential market was largely being ignored. He spent three years developing recipes, and founded Top Shelf Mixers Inc. in March 2007 to produce the next generation of perfectly balanced ultra premium cocktail mixers.

Too much or too little sugar or acidity can easily ruin any cocktail. Top Shelf Mixers delivers a superior taste experience by complimenting the premium spirits instead of overwhelming them. Our product is the best because we create perfectly balanced cocktails!


I usually keep a bottle of Stoli’s vodka in my freezer for times when I have something just asking to be mixed with it.  This time happened to present itself when I had a long day & the bottle of lemon drop was properly chilled in the refrigerator.  I mixed 1 part Stoli’s to 2 parts lemon drop mixer and served over ice.  It was nothing short of fantastic!  The description that Top Shelf has written below just about sums it up! 

Top Shelf Lemon Drop mix uses the perfect balance of fresh lemon juice and cane sugar. This is because it is so important for the mixer to not over power its premium vodka partner. This refreshing cocktail goes down easy and tastes fantastic!

I am saving the other 2 mixers that I received to sample: Pomegranate Martini & Margarita for a cookout we are having in August.  I will make sure to pass along my thoughts after we have sampled them both.  Top Shelf Mixers can be found in stores in Colorado or purchased online.  They even accept Paypal!

**The products reviewed in this blog were sent to me free of charge to review.  The opinions stated here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.

Wordless Wednesday

You may be wondering why I am posting a “Wordless Wednesday” post on Thursday.  Perhaps you can guess by looking at the pictures below.



Yeah, had to replace the hard drive in my laptop.  IT girl, I am not.  I have never wanted to throw my computer out the window more than I did yesterday.  It was ugly.  The manual part wasn’t that hard, it was the long, painful Windows recovery disk that had me draining the bottle of wine I had on the counter. 

Now I am reinstalling all of my software and trying to return my settings back to how I like them. 

Onto brighter days, right?  I have some fun stuff coming up on Monday, so make sure to check back.  🙂

Pizza Night–Reinvented

It is no secret that Friday night is generally pizza night in our house.  We don’t typically order out, but sometimes we do.  When we make pizza at home, it is usually a MYOP (make your own pizza).  Either I’ll use individual frozen pizza crusts from Udi’s Gluten-free or Rudi’s Gluten-free or I will use a mix & shape the dough into individual pizzas.  One of my favorite mixes to use is Bob’s Red Mill, which is also used at one of my favorite local restaurants, Marcella’s

We do pizza on Fridays because the kids are often heading in different directions and eating at different times.  Also, I usually have a long run planned for Saturday with MIT, so carb loading is the way to go! 

This past Friday I had some random ingredients that I needed to put to use, so those became the toppings for my pizza.  While they may not all sound like they go well together, my pizza ROCKED! 

Don’t mind the bite taken out of the piece on the left, I was so excited & hungry, that I forgot to take pictures first! 

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 frozen Udi’s pizza crust
  • 1/2 cup diced San Marzano tomatoes, drained (these make the pizza!)
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Fresh Basil (for garnish)

1.  Heat oven to temperature indicated on package – 400 degrees is what I use.   Spread ricotta cheese on frozen pizza crust. 

2.  Spread tomatoes & sauteed mushrooms across crust; top with mozzarella and spinach. 

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted & crust around the edge has started to brown.

4.  Top with fresh basil either whole or chopped.

5.  Enjoy!

I usually eat the whole thing plus a salad to get some serious carb action going on.  Occasionally I finish off with a bowl of sorbet or froyo, but it depends on how full I am.  There are rarely 2 Friday nights that I eat the same pizza – I enjoy using up the leftovers from the week and trying new combinations. 


Better Late Menu Plan

The saying “Better late than never” is one I am using today in reference to my menu plan.  While I have had this plan in my head for the past 2 days, my computer has had other ideas.  Those ideas included this fun message:

error pic

Not good.  I spent a good part of Monday trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with my 6 month old laptop.  I downloaded software to see if some malware had taken over my computer, but first the notice said to back up, which my computer acted like it was doing, only to stop quite a while later and tell me that it couldn’t complete the back up.  WHAT?!  I knew that I had recently moved my photos & files to our external hard drive, so I wasn’t overly concerned about losing a lot of info – no more than a few weeks (a lot of which is online now anyway).  My other big concern was music – itunes – which most of are loaded on my iTouch, but that has recently been acting up as well.  Nothing like 2 very expensive pieces of equipment tanking in the same week, right?  The iTouch is fine as long as it is plugged in, it just won’t hold a charge, so I can use it to get my itunes off of if I lose the ones on my laptop.

After spending hours and hours Monday trying to figure out what was wrong (and how to fix it), I went to bed.  There was no malware or virus on my computer, yet I still kept getting the hard disk message.  I dreaded calling HP, but knew it was the only way.  It was the best decision I made.  After spending 30 minutes talking with Charles, they are sending me out a brand new hard drive.  Phew!  Disaster has been averted, or it so appears.  Now, talk to me again after I have to install said hard drive and we will see how much wine or vodka that involves.  Thank goodness for my intervals on the treadmill this morning!

The girl has only 8 days until she gets her cast off and pins out.  Not that anyone is counting.  She is desperate to get in the pool, as is her mama!

Sunday – Al Fresco chicken meatballs w/ quinoa & roasted veggies, salad

Monday – Leftovers (meatballs)

Tuesday – Soft turkey tacos, black beans, corn and salad

Wednesday – Bison burgers, sweet potato fries, green beans & salad

Thursday – I have a meeting, but the family will be having gluten-free macaroni & cheese, baked beans and fruit salad

Friday – MYOP night and salad

Saturday – Cookout at a friend’s house

Hope you are all staying cool in this super hot & humid weather the entire country is having.



Twelve Years

On July 5, 2011 it was 12 years since I quit smoking.  I can believe that I forgot until I was driving home from the grocery store today.  I don’t know what made me think about it, but it popped into my head.  A lot has changed in my life over that time, but I wanted to highlight the things that have improved my health since then.

  • I got married
  • I gave birth to my daughter, Hannah
  • I went gluten-free and have never felt better
  • I joined a gym
  • I discovered my love of running
  • I have run a 5K, 10K, 3 half marathons and 1 full marathon and am currently training for 2 more half marathons
  • I taught myself how to swim (for exercise)

Many of those things I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish if I was still smoking.  There is no way I could run like I do if I smoked.

I am so thankful for the day in the spring of 1999 I went to see my gynecolgist and she recommended that I try Zyban to quit smoking.  I wasn’t sure I was really ready.  I had been “ready” before, but I think that I really just wanted to satisfy those who wanted me to quit.  Along with my doctor giving me some hard facts, my grandmother was dying of lung cancer and passed away shortly after that.  I took that as a huge sign that I needed to give this everything that I had.

It wasn’t easy, but I did it.  I remember smoking that last cigarette down as far as I could.  I had started taking the Zyban a week or so before I quit, so that it would be in my system.  It definitely helped with the cravings for nicotine, but I had to really work on changing my habits.  I would drive a different route to work; follow a different routine for after meals, when I most wanted to smoke.

There are still times when I think about it; I would be lying if I told you that I never think about it.  Then I have a flash of the following run through my head:

  • my kids
  • my grandmother
  • how one puff will erase all of those years of my not smoking

I often referred to these facts to help get me through the tough spots:

  • 20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure will drop.
  • 12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood falls to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation and lung function improve.
  • 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath are reduced.
  • 1 year after quitting: Your risk of coronary heart disease is reduced to half of what it was when you smoked.
  • 5 years after quitting: Your risk of stroke is the same as if you had never smoked.
  • 10 years after quitting: Your chances of dying from lung cancer are now half of what it would have been had you continued to smoke. Your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas has also decreased.
  • 15 years after quitting: Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as if you’d never smoked.


Some pretty important changes, huh?

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