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Monthly Archives: March 2013

  • Processed Free March, are you in?

    Through Instagram, I found Laury Raiken who writes The Fitness Dish blog.  During the month of March she is doing a challenge called "Processed Free March".  There are no giveaways for this challenge.  Her goal is simply to raise consumer awareness about what real food looks like.  If you know me, then you know I was definitively interested in participating.


    The "Processed Free March" challenge got me thinking.  Are we "processed free" at home?  The quick answer would be no.  We are not completely "processed free".  With two little girls at home, there's bound to be some Fruity Pebbles and Oreos in our pantry.  My husband's love for Diet Coke and our love for pork easily takes our household out of that classification.  We still drink mostly cow's milk; although I make my smoothies with almond/coconut milk.  I love white rice, so I limit our intake by cooking quinoa or millet.


    Processed Free March Poached Eggs, sweet potato and berries.

    So for this challenge, my goal is to add more veggies and fruits to our meals.  My definition of processed foods really means "fast food".  The food you get from a drive through.  Now, please understand I do occasionally eat a cheeseburger from McDonald's   And yes, my daughters love the chicken nuggets happy meals too.  But to us, going to McD's is a treat, it is a "fun food day".   Prepared foods that come out of a box with instructions or out of the freezer section would also qualify as processed foods.  I'm not talking about frozen or canned veggies.  Eating frozen or canned veggies is better than not eating any vegetables at all.



    The point of this "Processed Free March" challenge is not to focus on the things you can't make at home because you have too much on your plate already.  To me the point of the challenge is to see where you can start cutting unhealthy foods out of your diet and adding healthy foods instead.  Try a new vegetable, visit a new grocery store, check out a new cookbook.  There are so many ways to include real foods in your diet.


    Here are some good sources to get you started:

    Fruit and Veggies More Matters

    Healthy Living Blogs

    Simple Green Smoothies


    Are you in?  With fifteen days left in March, will you join us in the "Processed Free" March Challenge?  Upload your pictures on our Facebook page with the #ProcessedFreeMarch or add the hash tag to your pictures on Instagram!


    Are you "Processed Free"?

  • February Training Recap and Xtrain Cathe DVD review

    Another month done in preparation for Athleta Iron Girl's half marathon in April.  February started with big plans of multiple running days and completion of the Nike+ training xbox video game.  As the month went on, I kept on my Nike+ strength training, but my plans of running 3 times a week did not happen.  I was able to run once a week for 4 miles, until the last week in February I finally made it running twice.  Yay to determination!


    nike+ running Running completed in February

    I ended up making it to the YMCA to run hill intervals on their treadmills.  I figured if I'm going to run on the bridges to Clearwater beach, some hill running training will be necessary.  In addition, I was finally able to run longer than 4 miles.  and finished a 6 mile run with an average 10 minute pace!  I was pretty happy for the accomplishment and I'm definitively ready to increase my miles in March.

    Woohoo! 4 weeks completed on Nike+ Training Woohoo! 4 weeks completed on Nike+ Training

    February was also special because I completed my first 4-week program on the Nike+ training xbox video game.  I was able to complete two workouts per week.  Shocking!  I found myself really looking forward to these workout sessions because it is so much like playing a game.

    photo (56) Nike+ Training Fitness Test

    At the end of the program, there was a fitness test to measure improvements in Athleticism and Fitness level.  I somehow managed to lower my fitness level by a few points, but I increased my athleticism by another few points.  Oh well.  No worries.  I enjoyed it very much and am still pretty proud of the results.


    Cathe XTrain DVD Cathe XTrain DVD

    During February I also received a copy of Cathe's Xtrain All Out Low Impact HIIT DVD through the FitFluential Ambassador program.  The DVD includes three workout sections: interval training, step work out and gliding disc.

    Bonus Core Session Bonus Core Session

    In addition, the DVD also includes three bonus sessions: core, shoulders and chest.  I completed the interval training and was covered in sweat.  While the exercises were low impact, they definitively got my blood pumping.  Cathe's energy was contagious and I appreciated her instructions on good form.  The music in the videos was current, almost club-like music.  Another plus for me.  I enjoyed the core bonus session the most.  I feel as a runner, it is important to work out your core and this 10 minute session did it for me.  I plan on continuing to use this core workout as part of my March 1/2 marathon training plan.  It was that good.


    Disclosure: I received one Cathe's Xtrain DVD for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC.


  • Florida Strawberry Festival - Parkesdale's Masterpieces

    February 28th marked the beginning of the 2013 Florida Strawberry Festival.  The Florida Strawberry Festival will run for ten days through March 10th.  Parkesdale Farms has been a part of the Florida Strawberry Festival since the 60s.  According to Peggy Parke, this year marks the 40th Anniversary of Parkesdale Farms selling our wonderful berries at the Florida Strawberry Festival.


    Florida Strawberry Festival Parkesdale Farms Booth @ Florida Strawberry Festival

    This year's theme for the Florida Strawberry Festival is "Our Masterpiece of Fun".  To keep with the theme, Bobby and Peggy Parke added these "Masterpieces" to their booth.


    Jimmy and I had so much fun looking up for great pictures to add a touch of our own masterpiece: Parkesdale berries.  I can't take credit for the Mona Lisa because that was Bobby's idea.  And the Norman Rockwell painting was Jimmy's.



    Colleen's booth at the festival is always full of beautiful flowering plants in bloom as well as her famous strawberry baskets filled with big red berries.

    Florida Strawberry Festival Parkesdale Greenhouses Booth

    In her booth, we have a quilt made by one of our long time customers.  She made it for Cheryl out of Parkesdale Market t-shirts.  It's super cute and comfy.

    Parkesdale Tshirt Quilt

    As part of the 2013 Florida Strawberry Festival celebrations, headline entertainers include Chubby Checker, Foreigner, Justin Moore, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride,  Trace Adkins, Blake Shelton and many more.  There are two concerts daily at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm.  Additional tickets are needed for these concerts; however, there are free seats available on a first come, first served basis.


    Night time entertainment at the Florida Strawberry Festival Night time entertainment at the Florida Strawberry Festival

    We were lucky enough to be invited by some friends last night to see Foreigner.  It was incredible to see how much energy this band had on stage.  So glad we went!  In addition to the great music entertainment, the food at the fair is amazing.  After going there for a few years now, I definitively have my favorites.

    Best Lemonade and Funnel Cake at the Florida Strawberry Festival Best Lemonade and Funnel Cake at the Florida Strawberry Festival

    The best lemonade and elephant ears can be found right outside our booth by gate 9.  These funnel cakes are fluffy, crispy and perfectly sweet.  The lemonade is freshly squeezed made with real lemons.

    Favorite French Fries with Malt Vinegar Favorite French Fries with Malt Vinegar

    Another favorite is the Fiske Fries with the malt vinegar.  And right next to them, you can find the best deep fried veggies.  Inside the Expo Hall, I always stop by Alessi Bakeries' booth to get a Napoleon.  Gotta have one.  You also have to get one of their deviled crabs.  Yum.  Another must have is the kettle corn.


    The Midway is always fun.  As a mom of two little girls, I appreciate that there are two areas for small children.  The small children area on the East side of the Florida Strawberry Festival is larger than the area in the Midway.  We mostly stay on the East side area because the girls really like the "fun houses" and the bumper boats.


    Great fashions for little girls and all things cute. Great fashions for little girls and all things cute.

    Another fun part of the Florida Strawberry Festival is the craft vendors.  Every year, we stop by a few of my favorites.  Right across from Colleen's Parkesdale Greenhouses booth is Meme and Me.  This is the cutest booth for little girls.  This booth is filled with tutus, hair bows, butterfly wings and everything a little girl could wish for.  My favorite vendor is this little booth that looks like a gypsy store in the West Bleachers Exhibit.  They have really cute tops and dresses for special occasions.


    What's your favorite part of the Florida Strawberry Festival?

    Have you ever been to the Florida Strawberry Festival?

    Does your town have a special festival?

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