Category Archives: Holiday

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

fathers day collage

Especially to mine who is an inspiration, a role model, and hands-down, the coolest guy around!

The very best dad a girl could ask for! 🙂


In Honor of Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

While most of us are off work and enjoying our 3 day weekend, we must not forget the importance of Memorial Day itself.  It is a day to remember the men and women who died while serving our country.

Murph for Miller 2013

In honor of Memorial Day, my CrossFit gym hosted their 6th annual event, Murph for Miller, which I had the pleasure of participating.  (<— although I may have opted for an alternative word for ‘pleasure’ while actually doing the workout. 😉 )

murph for miller

“Murph” is the name of a WOD (Workout of the Day), in memory of Navy Lieutenant, Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005.  The following was his favorite workout and thus, named Murph in honor of him.


  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull ups
  • 200 push ups
  • 300 squats
  • 1 mile run

The event, Murph for Miller, is held each year to not only remember Michael Murphy, but also to honor a local United States Army Special Forces solder, SSG Robert Miller, from Wheaton, Illinois who also died in action in 2008.  (You can read a little more about him in the above picture.)  Seeing how I spent my entire childhood and adolescent years growing up in Wheaton, I was particularly interested in getting involved in such a great cause.

Each of the 1-mile runs must be completed in its entirety at the beginning and end of the workout; however, the pull ups, push ups and squats can be partitioned whichever way the athlete(s) chooses.

murph for miller squat

Since this was my first time tackling Murph, Tracie, one of our coaches (above), was kind enough to partner up with me and split up the workout half and half.

murph for miller run

I ran the first mile while Tracie took care of the second, and we divided the remaining workout into rounds of 3-6-9 (3 pull ups, 6 push ups, 9 squats) and took turns completing 3 rounds before switching off.

murph board

Again, I don’t know why I think the workouts always look semi-‘easy’ on paper, but this WOD was anything but!  It was tough!!  We finished Murph together in 34 minutes, 50 seconds, and I’m still feeling the after-effects all over my body.  Ouch!


I stuck around the gym to watch the other heats take on Murph.  It was such an exciting event with a DJ who played upbeat, motivating music to energize the participants, as well as the spectators who all cheered on the athletes!

murph for miller tccf 6

The workout as prescribed (aka RX) is to complete Murph entirely by yourself… with a weighted vest.  I would say the majority of participants steered away from the weighted vest.  Some completed a full Murph, others did half by themselves.  And then some partnered up for the entire Murph and worked as team, like Tracie and I.

Military Heat

murph for miller military heat start 2

The 11:00 am heat consisted of all military and/or uniformed participants.

murph for miller tccf 2

murph for miller tccf 5

murph for miller tccf 4

murph for miller tccf 3

Marines, Air Force, Police, and Fireman all came out for the event.  It was so cool to watch this heat and honor those who serve our country.

murph for miller military group

Everyone did such a great job and Murph for Miller was a huge success!

crossfit group

Special Thanks

Although Memorial Day is technically observed for those who died while serving our country, I still have to give a “shout-out” to my brother, Pete, who currently serves in the Coast Guard.

peter coast guard

Thank you for your service! 🙂  And of course, thanks to everyone else who is also currently in the service!  Your time and dedication is incredible and very much appreciated.


Enjoy your Memorial Day, whatever you decide to do, but don’t forget to remember those who fought, served, and died for our country!

(Most of the pictures on this post were taken by and borrowed from CrossFit Tri Cities.)

Happy Mother’s Day

happy mother's day

To every mom…

peter lauren cheryl 1

Especially to my best friend and by far, the very best mother out there!

saar family peter's wedding

Beautiful inside and out, so lucky to have her! 🙂

Easter Weekend

Can you believe it?  It’s April already!  At last, the weather is finally bringing hope that spring is here… which <cross your fingers> means no more snow.  Yay!

Let’s close out March by recapping this past, very busy, weekend.


After a very long day at work for the both of us, my mom and I hopped on the CTA train stop near our work and made way down to Chicago to meet two of her former co-workers for dinner at one of my very favorite places, Japonais.


I grabbed a little pick-me-up for the ride.  Starbucks Iced Coffee, first one of the season! 🙂


We arrived before the others so we both enjoyed a glass of wine in the downstairs lounge/bar.


Once everyone arrived and we were seated, we ordered edamame and ‘The Rock’ appetizer.  As the menu describes it, The Rock is “thinly sliced marinated new york strip, cooked on a hot rock presentation.”  The rock, on the left, is served screaming hot and the marinated steak, on the right, is served raw.  The way it works is to take a single piece of steak and lay it over the hot rock to cook for a few seconds on each side.

Not only is the steak juicy and very flavorful, it’s a fun, hands-on appetizer which makes it even better in my book!  Definitely one of my favs!  We rounded out our meal with a few yummy sushi rolls.


As planned, I woke up and brought my training run outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.  The fresh air definitely beats a stuffy gym and I can’t wait to continue the rest of my training outside!

greek yogurt berries bananas almond butter

Breakfast was an old standby:  Greek yogurt, bananas, blackberries, a giant scoop of drippy almond butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  My grandiose plans to cook a hot breakfast of pancakes quickly subsided when I realized I had very little time before I needed to get moving on the day.  BUT my yogurt bowl never fails to be quick and absolutely delicious!

Now since I got my run in earlier, it was only fair that Mac also get his exercise for the day.

Dog Park

Quick trip to the dog park to release all that puppy energy stored up overnight.  Saturday morning, especially with nice weather, is a popular time as there were upwards of around 30 dogs.  Note to self – more dogs = sleepier Mac.

I dropped off Mac with “grandpa” (my dad 🙂 ) and they went on a longgg, walk at the forest preserve – almost 2 hours! – while my mom and I went to a baby shower for my cousin, Brittany.  She is happily expecting a baby boy, Lucas, by the end of April.  So excited!!

ladybug appetizer

I was not very on top of my game with pictures but I did manage to snap one of this cute ladybug appetizer that Brittany’s friend made.

ladybug appetizer2

Zoomed-in grainy IPhone pic to see the details:  Ritz crackers topped with a smear of garlic dip for the base, halved grape tomatoes (wings) and half of a black olive with snips of chives (head & antennas).  Plus she dyed some extra garlic dip to make black spots on the wings.

Very cute and creative!  Love that kind of stuff. 🙂

Afterwards, I picked up a very worn out Mac to make our way home and get some house cleaning done.  Since it was Easter weekend, lots of our friends were back in the suburbs to spend time with family so we had several people over at night to hang out.  We enjoyed a few drinks before calling it an early Saturday night around 11pm.


Before heading over to Dave’s parents’ house, we took Mac to the dog park again and I baked some cookies.

cranberry white chocolate macadamia cookies2

Cranberry white chocolate macadamia nut cookies!

cranberry white chocolate macadamia cookies

I followed this recipe and added the macadamia nuts for good measure. 🙂

My parents joined us over at Dave’s parents’ and we had a delicious Easter meal of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and pretzel rolls.  Great way to end the weekend!

M&M Red Velvet Cake Bars

Happy Valentine's Day

As we normally do on a daily basis, we played Mac’s favorite game last night.

Hide and Seek

Here’s how it goes: either Dave or I duck down behind the couch and suddenly pop out of one side. Mac gets scared and runs to the other side. Repeat 1,000 times…

mac sleeping

…or until Mac passes out and/or our knees have rug burn. He seriously loves this and could do it for hours! Silly pup.


I may have used this lovely holiday as an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast. Not that I ever needed an excuse before…

vday bfast 2

I intended on buying strawberries the other day to cut in the shape of hearts because I’m cheesy like that… BUT the grocery store was SOLD OUT. Can you believe it? I guess they’re a hot commodity around V-day and not just the chocolate covered ones.

Oh well, raspberries are red and festive too. 🙂

vday bfast

Bottom layer of bananas and raspberries, topped with Greek yogurt, more raspberries on top. Plus Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips and melty drippy Barney Butter Almond Butter. This is some seriously good stuff right here.

M&M Red Velvet Cake Bars

It feels like forever since I baked anything so I took the opportunity to bake something festive.

red velvet

With the help of some red velvet box cake mix, the pre-baking preparation only took me about 5 minutes. Not bad.

mm red velvet cake bars

M&M Red Velvet Cake Bars


1 box red velvet cake mix (22 oz)

3 eggs

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup M&Ms


Preheat oven to 350. Using a standing or hand mixer, combine first three ingredients until moistened. Stir in M&Ms by hand. (I also saved some to sprinkle on top.) Mixture will be very thick. In a greased 13×9 baking pan, spread evenly out to the edges as best you can. (I had to use my fingers.) Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes before digging in.

red velvet cake bars

These were a bit of an experiment and I’d say they turned out pretty well! They are a little bit fluffy and not overly sweet. Most of the sweetness comes from the M&Ms.


I usually have class on Thursday nights but my teacher surprised us last week by canceling class tonight! Although our midterm is due today and I’ve been working on it all week, it feels good that I’ll be able to relax tonight. More importantly, I’m excited to go out for dinner with my Valentine! 🙂


Around this time of year 7 years ago, Dave and I met so its double the reason to celebrate tonight.

And of course, I can’t forget to mention my other Valentine.

Me and Mac2

Notice our matching fabrics? I picked him up from his play date yesterday where he also got a bath and his nails trimmed and he had a bandanna adorned with pink hearts tied around his neck.

vet pickup

In my head, I did question if they remembered he was a boy. But who knows, maybe they were thrown off by the manicure or the spa day. 😉 It was cute nonetheless!

One Final Thought

Whether you are celebrating today with a significant other or not, remember Valentine’s Day is about love which can be shared with anyone. If you have a few minutes, read some or all of this post – it contains 60 short love stories and I guarantee at least one will be sure to make your heart melt.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!