Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Healthy Lunchbox Ideas from Trader Joe’s

Hi, guys! Happy Hump Day!

We’re getting into the swing of things over here now that school has been in session for a few weeks. Quinn is adjusting well and really seems to love learning and making new friends. His favorite subjects are science and recess, of course! 😉 We actually signed him up for a “Mad Science” program that meets once a week, and he absolutely loves it. In fact, he asks us pretty much every other day if it’s a “science day” because he wants to go all the time!

While things have been going well on the education front, packing (and eating) lunch has been a bit of a struggle. Most days, Quinn’s lunch comes home barely eaten. He says he doesn’t have enough time to eat, which is definitely a possibility since he’s a pretty slow eater and easily distracted. But, even still, we’re working to find healthy, packable foods that he likes (and can eat quickly). A lot of the time they’re from Trader Joe’s since we shop there quite a bit.

Discovering new products has definitely been trial and error, but I wanted to share some of Quinn’s recent favorites to give you guys some ideas for your own kid’s lunches. And, of course, if you have any awesome recommendations, please send them my way!

Also, if you haven’t discovered the amazingness of Stasher Bags for lunches (and food storage, in general), be sure to add a few to your collection. THEY ARE AWESOME – great for the environment, conviennce, and your wallet! 🙂

A lunchbox with healthy foods options from Trader Joe's

Lunchbox favorites

Healthy lunchbox foods options from Trader Joe's

Question of the Day

What are your kid’s favorite lunchbox eats? 

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Mark’s Favorite Exercise: Trap-Bar Deadlift

As you might have noticed, I’ve been doing more mini-videos about my daily routines, training regimens, and other thoughts on health. After some initial trepidation and a lot of demand from readers, I find I actually really enjoy doing them. They’re a great way to get a quick take on a topic and give a visual representation of all this stuff I talk about on the blog. They don’t take that long to make. People like them, find them helpful. It’s actually the perfect medium to complement my writing.

In the past, I’ve done videos on a broad range of topics: active workstations, standup paddling, Ultimate Frisbee, the evolution of my fitness routine and outlook, microworkouts, slacklining, and my coffee routine. Today, I’m showing a video about my favorite exercise: the trap-bar deadlift.

Why Do I Love the Trap-Bar (AKA Hex Bar) Deadlift?

It’s a good balance between quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes—the anterior and posterior chain, in other words. And, you can accentuate each muscle group by making slight variations with your technique.

You can do them with more knee flexion bias—this hits the quads a bit more.

You can do them with posterior bias, keeping your knees straighter—this hits the glutes and hams better.

You can do both in one workout. First one bias, then the other.

You can increase the weight and use the higher grips, allowing you to increase the intensity and shorten the range of motion for safety.

You can decrease the weight and use the lower grips, giving you a deep range of motion.

You can stack weights and stand on them inside the trap bar, giving you an even deeper range of motion. Stack them high enough, and you can turn the lift into a near-squat.

That’s a ton of variation and customization with just one basic movement.

And if I’m feeling like doing some other stuff, it’s right there ready to go. I can do farmer’s walks with the trap bar. Load it up, pick it up, and walk around under load.

I can do bent-over trap bar rows.

I can do shoulder shrugs. Sometimes I’ll even combine the deadlift with the shrug: lift it up, shrug at the top, repeat.

Most of all, the trap-bar feels comfortable in my hands. It feels right when I lift it. It feels like exercise should feel: like I’m stressing my body but not endangering it.

How I Do It

Check out how I do my deadlift session and how I use the handle options for different weight loads.

It’s safe to say the trap-bar is going to be in my arsenal for life. I suggest you get yourself one, or try it out the next time you hit the gym.

What’s your favorite exercise? Have you tried the trap-bar? What’d you think? Got any other trap-bar exercise variations you’d recommend?

Take care, everyone, and thanks for reading.


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I Like To Cook With Wine + Cozy Weekend Meals

Hi guys! Our weekend was split between cozy weekend meals, soccer, and family time. Sorry for going MIA yesterday. My brain gets totally torn between reminding myself the internet won’t break if I don’t put up a single blog post and the rules and expectations I have created for myself. I don’t like to be unpredictable! Sunday was a bit crazy with a long soccer game in the morning and then another in the afternoon during which I hurt my foot and I was so exhausted by the end of the day I couldn’t find it in me to open the computer!

But after a nice rest day yesterday I’m revived! I don’t think there’s anything seriously wrong with my foot. I think I tried to sprint too hard when my foot was already pretty stiff from the morning and strained a tendon. The worst part was it happened 5 minutes into the game so I didn’t even get to play!

Let’s rewind back to Friday night…

Friday night at the Nest County Fair

Every year our realtor’s firm, Nest Realty, has a big event with BBQ and drinks and kids games and music. It’s a blast, and we recognize someone at every turn. The joke is you have to buy a house to get free BBQ and drinks once a year! But it’s worth it. Totally worth it.

We walked downtown and had perfect weather!

Saturday Morning Workouts

I look forward to my Saturday mornings all week! It’s a nice little escape for mommy. Afterwards I had a pumpkin chai smoothie from the ACAC cafe.

Thomas got a shoulder workout working on the framing for the rest of the day!

Midday I took Mazen to his soccer game. He had a really sweet goal! We watched the movie Alex & Me with Alex Morgan recently together and Mazen has a new appreciation for drills and moves.

I was SO SO glad it wasn’t over 80 degrees!!

Grocery Shopping

Birch was home with Nona, and Mazen went with Matt and Katie out to lunch, so I ended up at Wegman’s by myself! I had some hot bar for lunch. Simple fish, some veggies and a corncake.

I probably should have gotten a big cart!


Birch was up in the night on Friday, so we both took little naps that afternoon. Little because someone was outside banging over 5 minutes and woke us up! Poor Birchie was sleepy.

Prep Day

Roasted squash + sweet potatoes for the week.

Still working!!!

I Like To Cook With Wine – Sometimes I Even Put It In The Food!

Thomas and Birch caught up on the couch, and I made us Shrimp Scampi for dinner!

We used this recipe, which T’s mom has been raving about. (I doubled it and omitted the shallots, naturally).

It was SO good! The lemon zest + butter + garlic combo = 100%

Sunday Morning Soccer

Pre soccer bagel with cream cheese and coffee. This was one of the Dave’s Killer pumpkin spice bagels they sent me. I have been loving them!


Sunday Dinner = Cozy Weekend Meals

We ended our cozy weekend meals with roast chicken!

Plus sides of brown rice and salad.

Hope you guys had a nice weekend (and Monday!)

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Is Chocolate Good For You?

Is chocolate good for you? We all love it, we all eat it, but does it have any actual health benefits that apply to you and your lifestyle?

Ever heard the phrase, “Death By Chocolate”? I think it’s… Read more →

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