Category Archives: Fitness

Tadpoles and Wine.

Hood River gets all of the attention and rightly so.  However,  the Washington side of the Gorge is perfect for a day in the sun with your kiddos.   My son and I love hiking at Catherine Creek.  It is twenty minutes east of Hood River and very kid friendly.   The terrain is open and not very steep.  There are many trails to choose from and plenty of opportunities to throw rocks into a creek or build rock art.  But the best keep secret is the frog ponds.  Slimy, mucky wonderful frog ponds.  This time of year you can see frog eggs, tadpoles and listen for frog songs.  There is slime to pick up with sticks and waterskippers observe.  It’s the perfect spot for a junior biologist.  If that’s not enough, every time I go there I have seen eagles and osprey in abundance.  Best of all, it can be cloudy and raining in Portland and sunny, sunny at Catherine Creek.  Worth the hour and 20 minute drive, wouldn’t you say?   If you think that sounds fun, it gets better.  Just down the road is several fabulous wineries.  Now Mama get her treat.  Syncline (YUMMMM),  Cor and Domian Pouillion are just short jaunt from Catherine Creek.  I like to start with Domian Pouillion and end at Syncline Winery.  Syncline has wine by the glass  and has a lovely area to have a picnic.    The wine makers at Syncline have children of their own and the tasting room is kid friendly.  Plus they have chickens, tractors and a friendly dog.

If you are still hungry and thirsty, Solstice Pizza in Bingen and Everybody’s Brewing in White Salmon are both terrific.  The food and beer at Everybody’s is outstanding.  The deck at Everybody’s has a view of Mt.  Hood.  Solstice has a small kids area and a good menu as well.

So the next time you need an adventure,  head east of Hood River and enjoy sun, wine and fun for the whole family.

Go Play Outside,



From Portland, drive east on I-84 to Hood River. Cross the Hood River Bridge and turn right on Washington Highway 14. Drive through Bingen and continue about 4 1/2 miles to Old Highway 8. Turn left on Old Highway 8, which is also County Road 1230. Drive east on this road  for about 1 1/2 mile to the trailhead.  To find the frog ponds, take the trail to the left on the north side of the Hwy.  To play in the creek, head up the trail on the right.   Have a kid in a stroller, no problem.  There is a paved trail on the south side of the road. 

The wineries are off the Old Hwy 8.  To get better directions, refer to

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Icebreaker Friends and Family Sale Today!

You know I love Icebreaker products, right? I do! They’re awesome, and here’s why.

There’s another friends and family sale today, and I’m hoping to make it there to pick up some more essential fitness attire.

Here are the details:

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That’s the wrong protein powder! {#Mamavation Monday}

Mamavation Anyone who knows me knows that I’m running a LOT these days. I’m determined not to get injured again – last year, I had some crazy sh*t going down with my piriformis, which caused my whole pelvis to get out of alignment. It was so bad, I was pronating on one foot, and supinating on the other!

I’ve been feeling some serious tightness around my hip again, so I’m stretching like crazy – pigeon pose, anyone? – and eating an anti-inflammation diet. Mostly.

The basics of the anti-inflammation diet are this:

Eat mostly foods that fight inflammation in your body (dark leafy greens, strawberries, blueberries, fish)

Eat only limited amounts of neutral foods (rice)

Avoid foods that cause inflammation (meat, dairy, corn, wheat, potatoes, alcohol, caffeine)

Not so hard, right? It really isn’t, actually. I have to be honest that I haven’t even attempted to give up alcohol and caffeine. But I’ve made some simple tweaks to rest of my usual diet, and lost 2 pounds in one week! Here’s a typical day:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, black beans and guacamole {super filling and tasty!}

Snack: Instead of Laughing Cow Light on a rice cake, I use almond butter. The almond butter is ground fresh at Winco – the kind that comes in a jar usually has extra ingredients, like palm oil and sugar. Not necessary! But check this out! The Laughing Cow container is perfect for carting around a rice cake without it crumbling into pieces!

I feel so smart for my clever transport!

Lunch: same as usual: salad & veggies, and since I’ve been eating more fish at dinner, I put some on my salad.

Snack: veggies with guacamole or hummus.

Dinner: fish, rice, salad and/or veggies.

BUT! I had a horrible realization. I’m avoiding dairy (except a little bit of cream in my morning coffee!), yet my protein powder is whey. It’s important to me to have a little protein shake before my 5:30 am runs. When I don’t get that burst of fuel before a run, I really slog through it. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that whey is dairy, but DUH.

I’ll keep eating the anti-inflammation foods the rest of the day, but as soon as I use up all that whey protein powder, I’m looking for an alternative that isn’t on my “avoid” list.  Someone suggested hemp protein, but all the reviews on Amazon say it tastes like dirt.

Does anyone have a favorite non-dairy protein powder I should try?


Filed under Family, Fitness, Food

{Mamavation Monday} Finding My Groove

Mamavation I am running up a storm over here. Last week, I ran 6 out of 7 days. I took a rest day on Friday, because I knew I wanted to run six miles on Saturday. I haveto start getting some distance in if I’m going to run a couple half marathons in May! My 3-4 milers 4x a week are awesome, but that’s not going to get me through back-to-back 13.1 milers!

My new shoes, except mine are grey & turquoise

I even went and bought new running shoes, because at 20+ miles per week, my old shoes were way overdue for a replacement. My new shoes are so bouncy!

I’m at the point now that I WANT to run, and with adding in the #2weekchallenge workouts, I’m starting to feel like a fitness addict. I find myself doing standing push-ups whenever I am leaning against a counter, or bouncing in place. I like how my body is feeling! Still no weight loss, but my body is changing. I can feel my gluteus medius muscles, and I had to look them up because I’ve never felt them before.

I feel like I’m finding a good groove for myself with my fitness. But the Mamavation question of the week isn’t about that kind of groove, is it? Our weekly question is, “What would make you feel sexier?” I have to admit I’m very uncomfortable talking about feeling sexy on the blog here!

I will say this: I love that fact that the Mamavation community is all about empowering women. Not just for fitness or health and weight management, but also to make sure we are taking care of our hearts and minds and emotions. It’s so smart! And helpful!

So back to the question…

Outwardly, I feel attractive when I’m pulled together: my clothes fit me well, I’m accessorized, my hair looks nice. I walk with confidence when I know I’ve taken a few quick moments to make sure my appearance is taken care of. If I feel good about how I look, I think other people notice. Internally, I feel sexiest when my husband tells me I’m beautiful, or on those days when he just can’t seem to stop touching me. It’s startling how simply being affectionate and loving throughout the day can rev those engines. So what would make me feel sexier? I guess more time! Time to take care of my appearance, and time with my husband. And I think that’s all I’m willing to say publicly on that topic!

This post is sponsored by Eden Fantasys and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway hosted by Mamavation. Mamavation is an awesome community and you should check it out.


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Managing Stress with Fitness {#Mamavation Monday}

I can’t control what other people think of me, especially when they choose to take my words out of context.

I can’t guarantee that my children will grow up happy and well-adjusted. Hell, I can’t even ensure that they will in fact grow up, though up until September 10, 2011 I sure thought I could.

I can’t control the damming of Amazonian tributaries, or the rapid depletion of populations of tigers & leopards in Asia, but those things stress me out and I wish I could do more to help.

All I can do is my best.

What I can control is what I do with my own body. I am 100% in charge of what I put in my body, and I am 100% in charge of my fitness.

Running helps me relax and gives me peace.  I feel empowered taking action for my health, and the time I spend running with girlfriends is invaluable for working through life’s little challenges. It’s also blessed time away from work and family that I don’t have to feel guilty about! We may not be solving the giant problems of the world, but it’s nice to have other women to consult with on everything from school choices, parenting challenges, sex, career advice and even fashion. In other words, no topic is off limits during the morning mama runs!

I dread and long for my morning runs. Dread because… duh. Who really wants to get out of bed at 5 a.m.? But the discipline gives me peace, and knowing I’m taking care of myself helps me deal with all the other stresses of life. If I can get up and run nearly every day, then I can handle just about anything.

So… speaking of handling just about anything, I’m about to launch in to another 2 Week Challenge through Mamavation. It involves daily check-ins on work outs, accountability for food choices, and the amazing support of the whole Mamavation community. Last time I finished the whole two weeks, I lost 3.3 pounds and several inches. My weight has not gone down any further since then, but as of this week, I am fitting in to pants that I haven’t been able to wear for a long time, so I know I’m making progress.

Here is my benchmark for starting this challenge:

February 12, 2012
Bust    40.5
Waist    33
Hips    41
weight    161

Want to join in the challenge? The sign-up form & workouts are here.

Think Mamavation is for you? It’s a great community!

This post is sponsored by Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway.


Filed under Fitness

Mamavation Monday: heart healthy food

I come from a family of “apples.” You know: back fat, midsection weight gain.

Diabetes and heart disease runs in the family on my mom’s side, and of her 4 siblings, one died of a heart attack, another had a heart attack, one has a pace-maker, and the other had quadruple bipass surgery. Fortunately, my mama has managed to avoid all those problems. I can only hope that keeping myself healthy will help me avoid heart problems as well.

So… what I believe is that eating low-fat, high fiber, lots of dark leafy greens is the secret to keeping my heart healthy. It could be that I think that type of diet is good for anything, but it seems especially true for the heart.

Also, red wine. I’ve embraced the recommendation to drink red wine! It’s good for me, right?

I’ve been adding spinach to my smoothies, and eat salad every day. I haven’t cut red meat out entirely, and I probably drink a little too much red wine… but I’m getting there!

My downfall is fried food, chips & salsa, you know. All the really bad stuff. I can pass over a cupcake any old day of the week, but it’s much harder for me to turn down some good chips and salsa!

I look forward to learning more about heart healthy foods, and checking out David Grotto’s articles on Real Life Nutrition on WebMD.

More to come as I learn more!




This post is sponsored by Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women.

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Mamavation I have never been a skinny minnie. Ever.
I don’t necessarily want to be a skinny minnie, because that’s just not my body type.
However… I do want to be in my best shape possible.
I worked hard and lost all the baby weight before Anna’s first birthday, but right now I’m still 20 lbs heavier than I was when I got pregnant with Eric (who is now 4!).

So what is a Mamavation Mom, you ask?

Mamavation is moms I’ve never met encouraging me to make healthy choices. Take this time almost a year ago, when two Mamavation Sistas encouraged me to get my butt to the gym, even though I didn’t feel like it. I knew I needed to go, but their encouragement helped me do what I knew was right.

Mamavation is a community of moms (and dads) dedicated to living healthy lives in order to be our best possible selves, and raise our best possible families. Mamavation was created by Leah Segedie, who lost a bunch of weight herself, and uses what she learned about changing her life to help others change theirs. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

During each Mamavation Campaign, two moms lose weight in a virtual boot camp. They are given support, tools, and professional coaches to help transform mind and body. As they are learning healthy living and losing weight they live their lives on a stage for seven weeks. The campaign becomes a virtual docudrama with real challenges and victories as they become the stars of the campaign.

I want to get to a good place of fitness, and then KEEP IT THERE.

Being a Mamavation Mom would be the kick in the pants I need to get where I need to be, because I sure haven’t been able to get there on my own so far!

It will be a lot of work, but I have a fantastic community to help me, so I know I can do this with all of your support. I’m a natural cheerleader, so I know I can help inspire other people – including my own family – to stay healthy as well.

Here’s my application video:

So that’s it! I want all the applicants to get in, so I almost didn’t apply. But I really want this and need this!

You can help me by sending a message to Leah on Twitter:

Hey @bookieboo! I want @kristalswan to be the next #Mamavation Mom. She has my support!

Not on Twitter? that’s ok! Just pop over to Facebook and let Leah know that you are supporting me.

Thank you!

I know I can do this with your help!



Filed under Fitness