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A Little Less Talk, A Lot More Action – Florida Style

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Again, we haven’t spoken for weeks.  I’ve been in Florida for Spring Break with my family.  You know, every year we go to watch a few of my sister’s softball games, visit my Godparents, hit the beach, and possibly a park.  Since there’s absolutely no way I could cover everything in detail with just one post, I figured you’d enjoy the pictures more anyway.

We left after Momma FF got home from softball practice around 6pm on Friday night.  The SIXTEEN HOUR car ride was probably the biggest challenge.  Yes, we stopped on the way down to stay overnight in a hotel after driving about 1/2 way.

We slept until Poppa FF felt rested enough to haul us the rest of the way to Florida.   Ate breakfast at the hotel,

Annnddd we were back on the road in no time.

Sunday morning I got up to go for a run, showered, and got ready for the day.   Poppa & Momma FF graciously treated the family to tickets to Hollywood Studios in Orlando.

Let the magic begin!  This year, we were super excited to have two special guys with us on our family trip.  JD, my adopted brother, and my amazing fiance, Jarid.

They provided entertainment, laugh, & love throughout the entire trip.

The weather was a bit shaky.  It rained on and off almost the entire day, but it didn’t put a damper on our fun!

We breaked for lunch around noon, pretty much in order to get out of the rain.  The only place we found inside, was a super swanky restaurant.  We had no idea what we were in for when we saw the prices.  Literally, all of the entrees were about $35/person.  When you’ve got six people in your party, that adds up pretty quickly.

I opted for the $15 cobb salad, as did Momma FF & sister FF.  I nixed the cheese, bacon, & eggs and stuck with chopped romaine, turkey, avocado, tomato & chives.  I had never eaten a salad that was so finely minced before!  It was VERY good…just not $15 worth good 😉

Poppa FF & Jarid each got the stuffed chicken.   Not exactly sure of the description.  I think it was stuffed with ham & cheese if I remember correctly?  The portion sizes weren’t impressive for the price, but it’s to be expected, I suppose.  JD got the duck, but I didn’t get a photo.

Regardless of the fact that we were freezing cold and sopping wet, we had a blast perusing the park the rest of the day.

Toy Story

Pirates of the Carribean

Indiana Jones

The set of a special effects action scene

The Wizard of Oz on the Great Movie Ride

The Little Mermaid

Alice in Wonderland costume

I had to!

Beauty & the Beast

Rock N’ Roller Coaster

Star Wars Tours

Jarid in the Tower of Terror

Special effects boat dock set


I was so excited when I found out that there’s a 2nd Tangled movie in the works! Tangled Ever After…cannot wait!  haha.

The Muppets Fountain

My cup of no-sugar-added, fat free vanilla that was free of charge from the sweet vendor in the park! Later on, Poppa & Momma FF treated us all to coffee, too!  It must’ve been a vanilla kind of day because I ordered mine with sugar-free vanilla syrup then, too! 🙂

The Sunshine State: Part IV

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The third day of our mini-vacation in the land of oranges,

I woke up around 8am and went for another run.  I love the way the area was set up.  Sure, we were staying in a little development, which would’ve been perfect for running, but there were also sidewalks along the main highway, which I loved! 

698 calories, 177 max hr, 1 hr. 34 min.

There were plenty of hills, orange trees, and new places to see while I got my cardio on.  You Floridians sure are lucky ducks 😉

Next, I showered, ate breakfast, and got ready to take the hour & a half car ride to Madeira Beach/Indian Shores, where my Godparents were staying in a condo for a few of the winter months.  Remember last year when I stayed with them for a few weeks?

It was awesome to see them both…not to mention, we got to spend the day on the beach with them!

The weather was absolutely gorgeous.  Not too hot, not too cold.  And the sand and water were unbelievable.  You know that hard, gritty sand that almost hurts to walk on? Or even the beaches with tons of pebbles and shells that cut into your toes when you take a step?  You didn’t have to worry about that here!  It was fine and soft to the touch.  The water was pretty clear, too!

After sunbathing for quite awhile, I got a little restless and decided that a walk would be best for my tightened up leg muscles.  It was pleasantly breezy and I couldn’t even feel my skin burning from the sun…but it was.

The pier was just under a mile away, so it wasn’t too far, but it was just what I needed to stretch my legs while enjoying the view.  On my way back, I collected a few seashells down by the shoreline.

Eventually, I returned to my towel for some more tanning…I even had SPF 30 on, but the backs of my legs and my chest turned a nice shade of lobster red by the time we headed home. 

I was hungry, so I broke into my packed lunch around 12:30PM. 

Grainy bread with spinach, turkey, athenos hummus, and some garden salsa with a side of green beans (unpictured, was an orange and some sourdough pretzels later as a snack)

Braxton decided that he wanted to scare me share with me this HUGE mussel that he found on the beach.  Isn’t it disgusting unique?

We stayed on the beach until about 5PM and then went back to the condo grounds to cool off in the pool before our drive back to Orlando.  We also got a few good shots of the family.  It was the first time most of us had been in the Gulf of Mexico!  We stopped at Sonny’s BBQ Pit on the way home for dinner take-out. 

While the rest of the family ordered the pulled pork sandwiches, they kindly allowed me to make a nice big salad from their all-you-can-eat salad barSpinach, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, strawberries, cottage cheese, chickpeas, beets, cucumbers, mushrooms, carrots, imitation crab, and quinoa cranberry salad! Deeelishhh

I’ve got more pictures of the family from the beach, but you’ll have to wait until I get them uploaded!  No harm in adding a little bit of Florida flair to the everyday posts once I get caught up, right? 🙂


The Sunshine State: Part III

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So, day two in Florida was much more laid back and relaxed than the prior.  We slept in, which for me, was staying in bed until 9AM, and then woke up and moseyed around the house after eating breakfast.  I, of course, had to take advantage of the fact that the weather was ideal for running outside.

I stopped at a gas station to use the restroom and get a quick drink of water. *Note to self, do not drink 2 cups of coffee PRE-run, your bladder will probably hate you.

It had been a longgg time since I went for a 10 mile run outside and I think the hills did me in.  It wasn’t bad WHILE I was going at it, but afterward I just felt totally beat.  The hot tub felt amazing on my tired legs.

 I ate some greek yogurt when I got back to restore the proteins that my muscles burnt up and then Momma FF and I did an ab workout by the pool using a video that I looked up on youtube.  A brief swim later, and it was lunch time!

Spinach salad, broccoli, beets, fat-free cottage cheese, and hummus whole grain toast. 

I drizzled it with peach balsamic glaze that I brought along in a travel size shampoo container 😀  Resourceful, right?  Oh yeah, and this hummus rocked.  I never had Athenos before!

My sister’s softball team had a double-header late in the afternoon, so we all got showers, packed up and went to watch that.

After the game, which they won, we were allowed to take my sister out to dinner.  It was nice, because until that point, she had been in a house with her teammates.  We didn’t get to see much of her except at the games.  I may or may not have made a secret trip there on my run just to say “hi” 🙂

The restaurant of choice? Crabby Joe’s.

It was an all-u-can-eat joint, which I tend to stray from, because I usually don’t get my money’s worth, but when you’re dealing with seafood, one plate could cost as much as a meal somewhere else, anyway.

We ended up with a really sweet waitress who kept us entertained the entire time.  She got a kick out of our family’s goofy demeanor.

Yes, I’m the nerd who took a picture of the crab shaped napkin-holder sitting on the table. 

Both of my plates from the buffet looked pretty much the same, and for my phone’s battery sake, I only took one picture.

I had a huge plate of salad with lettuce, tomato, onion, and cabbage, discarding any black olives I found in the pre-made mix (ew!).  As for the seafood, there were crab legs, steamed shrimp, and a few mussels (which I wasn’t a fan of).  The only seafood I really got more of were the crab legs.

After dinner, we stopped by Wal-Mart for some necessities to last us the rest of the week and items to pack for lunches the next day.

The littlest sister and I tried on some glasses.  🙂  What do you thinK? Can we pull them off?

Part four coming up next!


The Sunshine State: Part II

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We woke up bright and early Sunday morning for a magical day, which always starts with a magical breakfast, of course.

I purchased some Kashi frozen waffles at the grocery store the night before  and supplemented with a smooshed banana and my packed stash of peanut flour.  I’m fully aware that this isn’t a pretty picture, buuuut who has time to worry about visual food appeal when they’re getting ready to go to Disney World?! 😀

It cracks me up how cheery this ticket lady was at 8AM.  I even managed to snap the picture mid-smile.  I guess it isn’t difficult to have a positive attitude when you’re working in such a happy place.

There were two ways to the kingdom once your tickets were bought…you could take the monorail, or the ferry.

Obviously, we chose the more scenic route.  It was a bit chilly at this point, so I was bundled up in a jacket, but everyone else was comfortable!

From here on out, I think I’ll let my photos do the talking and just allow you to enjoy them 🙂

Aunt Teena, Dumbo, & I


Momma FF & Tori

The infamous castle

Princesses galore

The parentals and Trey

Themed garden sculptures


My sister’s boy and the little ones

His and hers restrooms 🙂

And finished off with an amazing fireworks display ❤

More on the rest of my trip tomorrow!


The Sunshine State: Part I

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After class on Saturday, I rushed home to finish up some last minute packing.  Around 1PM, my surrogate picked me up so we could head to the airport. 

Hainey– if you’re reading this, thanks again SO much for taking me.

I arrived with some time to spare, so I figured I would roam the airport and get some walking in since I’d be cooped up in a plane for the next 4 hours.  Don’t worry, I was full prepared with a thick copy of Elle magazine and a fully charged ipod.

With time to spare still, I sat down to Facebook and do some last minute online errands.  I paid a bunch of bills, checked my email, and responded to a few blog comments.

From here on out, it was fairly stress-free.  I don’t mind or get anxious about flying…even alone.  When I arrived in Orlando, after a quick pit stop in Columbus, OH, my family was waiting outside in the car to swing by and pick me up.  After a quick pit stop at the grocery store, we traveled back to the house where I got unpacked and explored.

Orange Tree Entrance

The entire neighborhood was picture-perfect.  Any Floridian readers hear of Orange Tree Vacation Homes in Orlando

I was thrilled with the fact that our HEATED pool had a screen room surrounding it.  It kept away bugs!

We spent a lot of time lounging in this place throughout the trip!  The hot tub was amazing, too…until I got sunburnt!


I knew that the next day would be a long one, since we were going to meet up with some other family members in Magic Kingdom, so I decided to punk out early and go to bed around 9:30.



Operation Florida, Underway.

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Boot camp was AWESOME today.  We “played a game” that involved drawing popsicle sticks from a baggie.  Each stick was coded with a different colored marker, and each color stood for a different exercise.  There were different circuits so that people couldn’t cheat and we continuously changed them up.  Some of the moves were burpees, weighted frog hops, planks, clam shells, weighted moon flowers, push ups, jumping jacks, etc.

 326 calories, max hr. 162

The fun thing was, after each “task”, we had to run upstairs to get to the bag of popsicle sticks again and then back down the other side where the spiral staircase was – Have I ever mentioned that bootcamp is held in the basement of a spa?  The first floor is gorgeous!  I LOVE the decor.

Straight from boot camp, we had to pick up some doughnuts that we sold as a fundraiser for our trip to the Women of Faith Conference that we attend every year.

Momma FF and her friend, Bonnie sat down for breakfast together and took advantage of the fact that we had freshly baked goods in our house. 

^She’s going to kill me for this!

Doughnuts were their choice, but personally, I think mine was more indulgent 😉 

Oat bran bake with peanut butter-banana frosting & cinnamon sprinkled ontop!

1/3 C. oat bran, 1 egg white, Splenda, pinch of baking powder, 1/8 C. peanut flour; icing- 1/8 C. peanut flour mashed with 1/2 banana

Holy awesomeness. All I had to do was pop this baby in the microwave for about 2 minutes in a mug, wait for the timer to ding, and plate then icing it!  Beats a doughnut ANYday.

The walk to work was a snowy one.  I’m SO sick of wearing boots!  I want to start sporting flip flops and pedicured toes! Each time it starts getting nice outside, out of no where, a blizzard surfaces.  It’s such a tease!

During my lunch break, I watched the Governor’s budget address

I’m not going to get into politics on the blog.  Let’s just say that I found his speech…interesting.

I had a flat out + flax stuffed with canned wild caught, pink salmon and mustard with baby spinach and pineapple salsa.

Innards 🙂

On the side, there was a Christmas-colored veggie party.

See?  Christmasy.

Snap peas & red pepper slices.

Another exciting transaction took place while I was at work.  I had been planning on visiting Denmark, where my friend Lyndsie was studying abroad, but plans fell through because the only times I could go, she was touring another country.  The downside?  I won’t get to see D…or Europe.  The upside?  I’ll have vacation time to take and can join my family on their trip to Florida next week. 

They’re driving down on Friday, but I have to be around for my Speech class on Saturday, so I will be flying down by myself from Baltimore on Saturday night.  I love flying!

What’s your take on flying?  Does it freak you out?  What’s the longest flight you’ve ever taken?


Florida Recap Part II

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If you haven’t already, be sure to enter my AURORAE YOGA MAT GIVEAWAY by next Friday for your chance to win!!

Now, for your Verse of the Day:

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”- James 1:12

What a comforting message! 🙂  God is so good…ALL the time.

Anyway, I’d like to update you on the rest of my trip! 

As you read yesterday, Thursday night ended in a trip to Margaritaville & City Walk through Universal Studios in Orlando:


Friday morning, I had my alarm set for 6:10AM.  I knew that the resort we were staying at had a fitness room, and I wanted to get a nice workout in before we headed out for the day!

I brought my Aurorae Yoga Mat & my ipod, which included some yoga podcasts that I couldn’t wait to try.  I’m in LOVEE with my mat, by the way.  It felt good to get some stretching in after being cooped up in the car for 15 hours!  After the yoga, I hit the elliptical for about 45 minutes

After running back to our room, I hit the shower and got ready!  Myranda, my middle sister had softball games at 9:30AM & 11:30 AM and I wanted to make sure I had time for some breakfast before we left.  After all, it is the most important meal of the day! 🙂

Banana Nut Protein.

I used a bag of my packed protein dessert powder and mixed it with a serving of my packed fiber one in a cup.  I also had a banana on the side!

The team won BOTH of their games and played excellent!  They were a fun group of girls to watch.  At this point, my camera was dead and I was unable to photograph the rest of the day because my battery charger was in the hotel room 😦  Here’s a shot of my little randa bear!

Colton Reitz

She didn’t get to play while we were there, so that was a bit of a bummer, but I was incredibly proud of her.  She’s an amazing person and she’s got a lot of potential on the softball field.  She’s the ONLY walk on that made the team!  She’ll have lots of opportunity in the future, I can tell.

Anyway, after the game, she wanted to go to Sonny’s BBQ Pit,

but I was already hungry since it was about 1PM, so I hit the provisions again.  I had snagged some hardboiled eggs from the breakfast bar at the hotel and removed the yolks to make an egg sandwich with some hot sauce & a light english muffin.  Then I munched on some veggies & this awesome cantaloupe that I got a Food Lion.


I was a little bummed that I had already eaten, because they actually had a pretty awesome looking salad bar! 

The family got these little corn nuggets in place of a typical bread basket that most restaurants supply.  They were too cute not to take a photo!

corn nuggets!

My Dad ordered the all-you-can eat bbq ribs, as did my Mom, with sides of macaroni and cheese and fries.  My sisters both ordered pulled pork bbq sandwiches with french fries and mac n’ cheese.

By the time we left it was about 3PM.  We were on our way back, and Spenser left a package for me of some of his FAMOUS beef jerky for me to pick up since he lives in Orlando!  I was so excited. 

This stuff is soooo yummy!  My Dad is a huge beef jerky fan and he really enjoyed it.  Official review coming soon, so stay tuned!

Here’s some scenery from the trip downtown to his apartment!

The traffic in this area was absolutely NUTS.  It probably didn’t help that we were hitting it about rush hour time, though.  I had really wanted to try the Dandelion Communitea Cafe, but the family had eaten lunch less than an hour before and it was wayyy too early for dinner.  I’ve heard rave reviews from Caitlin.  Maybe next time…

Then, we went back to the resort for awhile to relax in the pool/hot tub until it was time for shopping and dinner.  We ended up back at TGIFridays for supper, where I ordered a house salad of greens and veggies with a side of steamed broccoli. I had already eaten an english muffin topped with a greek yogurt in between 🙂  Unpictured.  Sorry!

After shopping and finding some souveniers, we called it a night!

Next recap tomorrow! 🙂

As for today, I packed a lunch of:


Steamed cauliflower with a Sonoma Jack’s Pepperjack cheese wedge, salt, pepper, mustard, and minced garlic.





 Strawberry Oikos annnnd some Fiber One for crunch factor in my yogurt.





Happy Tuesday, loves!

 And be SURE to check out Elyse’s giveaway of some awesome Nature Made products for lowering your cholesterol !


Tribute To Greens.

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Good morning blogosphere! 


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  In honor of the holiday, and due to my lack of time to take photos of my eats yesterday/today, I’ve decided to do a tribute post to all foods green.  I’ll apologize in advance for the sporadic postings in the next few days.  I’m leaving for Florida tonight after work, so the consistency of which you’ll hear from me is debatable. 

First and foremost, I thought it was cool that EVEN the verse of the day included GREEN!:

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”- Psalm 23:1-3

Pretty cool, huh?   🙂  I thought so. 

Okay, so some of my favorite green foods include the following:

Brussel chips, green monsters, steamed broccoli, avocado, seaweed salad, cucumber, edamame, zucchini, and liquid crack aka diet mt. dew, and sugar free lime jello!

A big thanks to Angela, the creator of the GREEN MONSTER This was a huge thing for all food bloggers of the world.  She has created some AWESOME recipes branching from the original!  Here’s my fave:

The beauty of a green monster.


I’m a fan of the ORIGINAL green monster.  Simple & sweet.


  • 2 C. Spinach
  • 1-1.25 C. Almond Breeze
  • 1 Banana
  • Lots of ice!


Place the ingredients into the blender in the following order: 1) spinach, 2) banana, 3) milk. The reason for this order is so the heavier ingredients weigh down the spinach and keep it from flying up around the blender and sticking to the side. Blend everything on the highest setting for 1 minute or so. Finally, add ice and blend on the ice setting. Pour into a large, fancy glass. Sit back, gulp it down, and be prepared to have endless energy!

Ange has added other things to the mix to enhance the flavors too!  She’s come up with blueberry-banana green monsters, cantaloupe-banana green monsters, pumpkin-kale-banana green monsters, and iced pineapple green monsters! She’s the MASTER 🙂 

These green monster smoothies are great for your post-workout recovery, breakfast enhancers, or snacks!  They make serious improvements to your skin & nails, too!  Once you get past the “green sludge” factor, they’re really yummy!

Once again, I’m off to Florida after work today!  Hope to catch up with you when we arrive at our destination! 🙂

One Week Until Florida!

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“Through these he has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”- 2 Peter 1:4

Isn’t it nice to know that being saved, we have an escape from the craziness of the world??? I know many times I’m so overwhelmed with emotional struggles that worldly things create that I don’t know what I’d do without God as my refuge.  This verse was a perfect reminder that we can always run to our heavenly Father and that His promises will hold true no matter what happens.

Soooo  I know I haven’t mentioned this on the blog yet, but my family and I are leaving for Florida next Thursday night/Friday morning for Spring Training!  My sister’s softball team goes down every year, so this time our family decided to make a mini vacation out of it! And on another positive note, it’s Friday!

This morning started out great with another cereal cookie:

banana nut addiction.

I know this must be getting old, seeing it on the blog almost everyday, but it’s SOOO yummy.  It always turns out gooey and moist like a real cookie dough batter!  I look forward to pulling it out of the fridge in the morning.  Plus, it always keeps me full until lunch time with the 23g of fiber & 22g of protein!

Speaking of lunchtime…here’s what’s on the menu today:

1/2 C. egg beaters + 1 tbsp. ketchup + salt/pepper.

Along with a Flat Out wrap & inside the plastic bag is also a Sonoma Jack’s Pepperjack cheese wedge.  I like to mix a packet of Splenda with my cheese when spreading it on the wrap before munching.  It makes a sweeetio cream cheese that is absolutely mouthwatering.

folded into a triangle for stuffing into a plastic baggie 🙂

Of course, to round out the meal and get a Vitamin punch, I packed a big old tub of veggies:

broccoli, cauliflower, orange pepper, snap peas, and on the bottom, cucumber slices!

This day is going to be great….now if the sun would only come out!  I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too, though.  I shouldn’t be too greedy.  It’s been absolutely beautiful outside the past two days.  We’re due for some rain, I suppose.

Any exciting plans for the weekend, bloggies?

I’ve got a date with my Mom tonight, Nic tomorrow night, and a possible roller derby outing Sunday night! 🙂