Push Away the Screen-Busch Gardens

It's no secret that the trio and I L.O.V.E Busch Gardens. I've been taking them since they were babies, and we all know the park like the back of our hands. We go every opportunity that we can.

This year Busch Gardens is helping to push away the screen by implementing a new campaign: getting your family together, getting outside, and getting active!! Those three things are the driving factors of our family, and when Busch Gardens offered us the opportunity to come and explore the park during Spring Break, we jumped on the chance! We had hoped we'd be able to make it over to the Easter exhibit, but the park was PACKED, so we weren't able to do that part, but we did explore some new (to us) areas of the park that we haven't done in quite a long time! My son has special needs, so he is eligible for a special needs pass that allows us to not have to wait in lines for the rides. If the wait is long, we get a fast pass to come back at a designated time, so we wait like everyone else...just not in a line.

There are some things that we do in a specific order though, and we kept to that tradition.

Stop 1: Cheetah Hunt to get our time for the Fast Pass.

Stop 2: Treat for the kids. Treat is ALWAYS a Churro.

Stop 3: Beer. Trio gets their treat, mama gets hers. Since I'm gluten free I had a Woodchuck Cider. It was SO GOOD

Stop 4: The skyride. And we get a round-trip and come back and it's usually time for our Cheetah Hunt ride!

Stop 5: But not this time...because of the crowds at the park, we still had some time before our turn on the Cheetah, so we went and explored Egypt. It's been a long time since we've looked at King Tut's tomb, but it was cold outside and Haley knew a lot of interesting facts about the Boy King, so off we went! And yes, I was so cold that I wore gloves and pulled out a Bondi Band to keep my head and ears warm. Wink

Stop 6: After Egypt we went and walked through The Edge of Africa. We saw lots of great animals, and the hippos were totally hauled out! We saw them from the skyride, but it was hard to see them from the exhibit.

Stop 7: CHEETAH HUNT!! We finally had our 90 minutes pass, so off we went for our favorite ride!! The girls rode together, and I rode with Ronin. That's typically how it goes, so no big surprise there! 

We're happy when we get on Cheetah Hunt and we're happy when we get off and ready to explore more of the park!!

Stop 8: Cutting back through Edge of Africa, and making a pit stop at Rhino Rally (thanks again Fast Pass!!) we came out at the hippo playground. The trio have loved this little playground since they were wee-ones, and they still love it now as elementary aged kids! 

Here is Haley at age 2 1/2 playing on the Hippo's!

Stop 9: After playing for a bit, we decided to stop in to the new animal care hospital. We've been in twice before and they have always had something cool going on, but today it was empty, just us and Emily the animal hospital guide. We stayed and chatted with her, and we told her all about how much Ella loves snakes, and wouldn't you know it...she called the herp caretaker and they brought in a boa just for us.

This snake was a female, full-grown, named Zeus. Surprised They named her before they realized he was she. Why they just didn't change her name to Hera, I have no idea. Wink

Stop 10: TIMBUKTU!! I love this land. Scorpion, Octopus, Sand Serpent, Merry-Go-Round, and Fest Haus, and then a quick jaunt up the "hill" to the bumper cars!!

This was the FIRST time all 3 were tall enough to ride the bumper cars WITHOUT me!! Ronin was just giddy with the freedom of driving his own car and chasing after his sisters.

A picture truly is worth a thousand words. This pictures makes my heart swell. Smile This is what Busch Gardens is all about!! Spending quality time with your family, watching your little ones explore and be active, and spending time outside.

If you are local, you should really invest in a Busch Gardens annual pass. There is so much to do at the park, and even though we are seasoned experts, we pick and choose what we are going to do, and no visit is ever the same.  The kids are still talking about what fun we had, and are excited to go back again soon, and so am I. Fun for the kids, fun for the mama. It's a win/win.

P.S. If I could just offer two bits of advice for Busch Gardens PR people...1) you need to have a Busch Gardens mom's panel that offers tips and tricks to making this a stress-free adventure and 2) you need to have a run through the park; a family fun run and a 10K would be perfect Wink


**Disclaimer: Busch Gardens provided me with passes to explore the park during Spring Break. All opinions are my own. And my opinion is that Busch Gardens is the BEST family friendly park in Florida, hands down. No tears were shed in the exploring of this park. And they serve beer."



CrossFit Chronicles Edition 5

CrossFit continues to amaze and inspire me. They are keeping me on my toes, I never know what to expect. And that's AWESOME!!

Today's WOD had me scratching my head when I first looked at the board.

 First off, what in the world is a strict press. And we're doing 5 sets of 5? Ok. But then...then we run at FULL EFFORT for 800 meters (1/2 mile) 3 TIMES. It's TRACK TUESDAY at CrossFit!!

We started with our joint mobility, moved in to our warm-up of jumping jacks, ring rows and squats, and then quickly went to strict press. Hands down, this is the HARDEST lift I have done yet. You don't use any momentum. None. You just lift the bar up over your head and back down to your chest, 5 times, with the 4th and 5th rep being VERY difficult. And let me tell you...it was!!! I started with just the 35# training bar, and it was tough but Coach Pete (Coach Jen's husband) thought it looked like I could go a bit heavier, so we added a 2 1/2 lb plate to the end of the bar, for a total of a 40# strict press. HARD HARD HARD!! He had to help me on Set 2, Rep 5, because I got it stuck at my nose and couldn't get it up so he gave me a hand up, and gave me some advice about how to hold my breath, totally suck in my core and butt and DRIVE it up with my arms. And you know what...I DID IT unassisted for the last 3 Sets.

And then too quickly, it was time for the run!! I'll admit it, I was a bit scared of the run. Why?? Because I haven't run since March 17th, when I screwed up my IT band. I've been rowing, walking with the kids, doing SHORT 100m runs, and doing lots of foam rolling, and I haven't had ANY pain in a week, and I was hesitant to run because of Iron Girl coming up in 2 weeks, but I also knew it was time to test the knee and see how I did.

I did ok!! My first 800m was 4:50, then 4:57, and 4:58, so UNDER a 10 minute mile which is HUGE for me. SmileI'm proud of myself and so glad that I went outside that comfort zone and did the run!

CrossFit is so much more than just the "burn" but I really like to see how many calories I burn, and what % is fat. I love my Polar and I'll never stop wearing it. Never, ever. Tongue Out

I'm feeling VERY strong, very empowered, and ready to take on whatever life has to throw at me. BRING IT ON! I'm ready for it.


Jenny's Healthy Italian Wedding Soup

I made this on Saturday and it came out SO GOOD!! My trio go back to school this week and they love to take soup in their thermos, and I thought they would really enjoy this, and they did!! YUM!

Jenny’s Healthy Italian Wedding Soup


3/4 pound LEAN ground turkey

1/2 cup brown rice bread crumbs

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon Italian Spice blend

1 egg or egg substitute to equal 1 egg



1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

10 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 (10-ounce) bag chopped fresh KALE

1 box gluten free pasta (I used Bowtie)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, garlic, Italian seasoning, and egg. Form into 30 to 40 small (1-inch) meatballs.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick spray. Arrange meatballs in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes or until meatballs are lightly brown and cooked through.

In a pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 5 to 6 minutes until tender. In a separate cooking pot, add chicken broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and add kale. Cook for 5 minutes. Add pasta and cook an additional 8 minutes. Add cooked meatballs and cook for 5 minutes.