A Treadmill That Takes You Around the World in HD

I’ve logged plenty of treadmill miles while enduring Cleveland’s frigid winters and Arizona’s blazing hot summers.  Most treadmills are pretty boring, that’s why real runners–of which I am definitely not one–always say they prefer to run outside.  I get it, really I do.  I just find it too easy to quit if I’m running outside.

I recently came across this new treadmill that may just be the perfect solution for this travel-loving mama!  The LiveStrong LSPRO2 has Passport media technology.  It sounds really fancy and complicated, but once it is all hooked up, it is amazing and makes workouts fly by!  The Passport system connects to your TV, and it communicates wirelessly with the treadmill.   The treadmill delivers a high-definition experience designed to enhance the cardio workout of even the most serious runners.  All your stats pop up right on the TV screen.  Of course, you also have the option to use it like an old school treadmill, without the Passport media technology, and your information will show up right on the treadmill.

Livestrong LSPRO2

This is unlike any machine I’ve ever tried before in that the HD quality, real scenery and ambient sounds really make a world of difference (no generic scene views!).  The LiveStrong LSPRO2 comes with both the American Southwest and Northern Italy scenery, so you can hike the Grand Canyon and run through the rolling hills of Italy in the same day. More sceneries are available for purchase. So what’s it like to exercise on the LSPRO2?  It’s tough to describe, but imagine doing a killer workout in your own personal I-MAX theater.

Pretty cool, huh?  You really need to try it out for yourself, though, because–at $2,000– it’s a big investment.  A word of warning, not all big athletic stores carry this, so call around before you spend your whole day looking for one.

Not only are you doing something good for yourself when you buy this machine, but, with each purchase of the LSPRO2, money is donated to the Lance Armstrong Foundation to support the 28 million people living with cancer today.  Awesome.

 Disclaimer: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Phix NATURAL Energy Drink

PhixLet me start off by saying that I’m a tad bit leery of anything that claims to give you energy.  I have friends that down red bull and, frankly, it scares the heck out of me.  Maybe it’s flashbacks to all those NoDoz I took in college.  Well, recently I was sent a few boxes of Phix Energy Drink Mix.  I’ll admit it, I was sceptacle.  Phix, however, appealed to me because it is natural…blending green tea antioxidants, energy-restoring NADH, and yerba maté for enhanced vigor, plus vitamins and minerals. I recently started a job where I’m anchoring a morning show.  The last time I anchored a morning show, in Cleveland, I relied on coffee to get me through the day.  It works, for a bit, but then you crash and hit a wall.  A cat-nap turns into a 3 hour slumber!

I was willing to give Phix a try.  I can honestly say, it did its job.  About 30 minutes after drinking it I felt much more alert. It was as if I had a long-lasting energy boost, without crashing…and no jitters!  The Phix packets are super convenient to take to work or the gym; they come in packets and you can just dump them in your water bottle and shake.

GIVEAWAY & DISCOUNT ON YOUR NEXT PURCHASE:

One winner will receive 3 boxes of Phix and a coupon for 25% off a future purchase. To enter, just “Like” the Phix Energy Facebook Page and Follow Phix on Twitter. Leave a comment for each and you’ll be entered to win!

For an extra entry, tweet this Giveaway:
I entered to win the Phix Energy Drink Giveaway @aMomKnowsBest. You should too! http://www.aMomKnowsBest.com #win #Giveaway @thePHIXisin

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry below. Giveaway ends December 15th. Only valid with U.S. residents.

 

Disclaimer: MomSelect & Phix provided me with samples in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

The Skinny on FullBars

I first tried a FullBar about 18 months ago.  I was anchoring the evening shows in Providence.  I had gotten really busy and didn’t have time to eat and I was starving.  I’m almost always in a good mood, unless I’m hungry or tired.  Those in my inner circle know this about me.  So, whenever I would start getting testy (rare, I promise) my boss would give me food.  This was actually pretty genius on his part…and kind, too!

FullBar promises to do a lot that, frankly, I’m not really interested in.  From its website, “fullbar, being inspired by weight-loss surgery, uses the same fullness principles of surgery to fill your stomach with less food. This causes you to feel full and satisfied on smaller amounts of food, resulting in consuming less calories and helping you lose weight.” I’m not trying to lose weight, so I’m not really concerned with all that stuff (now, if FullBars could make my body look like Brooke Burke’s, I’d buy them by the case!)

Here’s the deal.  I like fast, easy, food–that’s good for me–and that I can eat on the run.  I’m a busy mom and sometimes I forget or don’t have time to sit down to a full meal.  I need something that is going to give me enough energy until I get a chance to have a real meal and get rid of that pit in my stomach.  I’m a fan of Luna bars, Fiber One bars and FullBars.  They all pass the taste test (but taste very different).   I think Fullbars taste like a mix of rice krispy treat & rice cake. My 22 mos. old daughter loved them and kept asking for a bite.  Could I lose weight with FullBars? Not sure. But if you are looking for a snack and a healthier alternative to a lot of other stuff you could nosh on, you might want to give FullBars a try!

The Benefits of Changing it Up!

change ahead

This has been a year of changes for me. Or shall I say I was forced into making some changes, and now I am embracing those changes and making new ones. I am pretty much a routine kinda girl. I find out what works, and I tend to stick to it. Some people call this anal, I tend to prefer the term disciplined. A back injury last year forced me into some physical activities that did not include running. I did not run for 3 months and then slowly added days back in, with rest days in between, a strategy that I am still employing. However, as any runner will tell you, running is addictive once you get past the point of hating every second. And the withdrawal of running also comes with a withdrawl of those little addictive endorphins, which make you feel so good, you actually forget that running is hard and you go on your next run. And so on, and so on.  So for me to go from running 6 days a week without fail(unless sidelined by pretty much death) for years, to NOT running… was going to take some getting used to.

hot yogaLike I said, I was forced to change, so I decided to take up hot yoga. This was intense hot yoga.Not just your average take it easy but the room will be hot yoga. No, it was more like power yoga at 105 degrees where they practically bolt the doors and encourage you “not to drink” if you don’t have to. I chose to ignore that part since it is already hot in Phoenix and I figure as a “runner” I know my body well and I know when it needs water and when it does not. Plus, that’s easy for you to say when you are just standing inthe front of the class telling me not to drink! Anyway, the class was so intense that it made not running a little bit less sad. Plus, part of the class was a flow period where they played four songs and you basically rocked it out as hard as you could until the seated series. I strengthened muscles I didn’t know I had. I intensified my ability to withstand some serious heat while being very activie, and I was able to unload some stress in the meantime.

And then, well, the classes became harder to get to because of my work schedule, and I couldn’t resist not pushing the poses that I wasn’t supposed to push because of my back so I took up something else. Enter CrossFit. If you have not heard of it, CrossFit is a short but intense workout (45-60) minutes that incorporates a lot of power, strength training, elements of gymnastics, fast-twitch muscle fibers, balance and coordination. It wasn’t a ton of cardio, but what we did was intense and fast. Think push ups, jump rope, deadlifts, overhead presses, box jumps, burpees, sprints with weight, etc….I was sore after Every. Single. Session. It really gave me a boost in my overall strength. I was surprised, however, how much weight some of those ladies could handle, but that many of them could not run a half mile without stopping. There was something to be said for not getting so wrapped up in one activity (for me this was running!) that you lost the benefits that come from crosstraining. Soon though, I could not resist the temptation to push myself on exercises that were not good for my back. I needed to make a change.

I then decided to do something that really scared me. I decided that I could no longer be a 6 day a week runner and I needed a new challenge. So I signed up for a half-ironman distance triathlon in Oceanside next March. Yep, I would be swimming 1.2 miles in the ocean, biking 56, and running 13.1. I’ve never been a swimmer before. I dabbled in it once for about 3 months or  a few years ago, but this was going to require some serious prep. And some extra hair washing and drying… that gets really old (yes, I am a girl). But you know what? Yesterday (after my 15th time or so in the pool), I actually enjoyed it! It started to flow and I felt that Zen feeling that I can sometimes get when I run. Don’t get me wrong, I still have goggle issues, I look really dumb in a swim cap and I am super scared for the beginning of that swim. All the hitting and kicking in the face, the feeling of getting pulled under, the shallow out of control breathing at first, it scares the heck out of me. But I think it will make the completion of it that much sweeter.

I also signed up to hike the 7 Summits of Phoenix. It was a one day, 23 mile hike that I had never done before. Normally I would be in marathon training mode and therefore would not have wanted to forgo my Saturday long run for something like this. But I did. And it was great. I did it with some fabulous friends and it was not competitive at all! I don’t even know what our time was. It was great to be physically exhausted without the stress or goals that I usually place on myself when competing.

7 Summits

I signed up to be a pacer for a “Girls on the Run” program where I run next to a 3rd grade girl for her first 5 k! It will feel so great to encourage her to do her best and to give some of my time to hopefully help this girl develop a love for running, or at least make her feel strong and able bodied in hope that she can carry that in her pocket and call on it when she needs to.

Not all my changes have been physically based. I decided to respond honestly when asked “how are you?” I decided not to sweat so much of the small stuff. I am not perfect, I don’t have to be. I can have friends over and be undecided regarding what to make. I can (gasp!), not serve an appetizer. I can let my kids dress themselves in outfits that I don’t particularly like and let them walk out the door. I can skip a workout. I can ask my husband to lighten the load. I can slow down, mess up, and downright suck. It’s okay, the world will not end.

Elenor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing per day that scares you.” And although one per day may be pushing it for me, I think there is something to be said for shaking things up a bit. It makes you sit a little straighter, pay more attention and be more adaptable. And if I fail? Well, the failure really is in the not trying.

Matters of The Heart

heart disease

I had to look away as the needle plunged into my skin, I hate needles, and as I felt the pinch, (admittedly not as bad as I expected) I remembered that I was not supposed to have eaten before I came. Not only did I forget to fast before checking my cholesterol, but I had also polished off a McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (don’t judge me!) just moments before.   To save myself a trip back to the lab, and needle…and o.k. the disapproving look of the phlebotomist, I decided not mention my lunch.  The following week I got a congratulatory note from my doctor on my excellent cholesterol count!

That was almost a year ago and I’d been feeling pretty confident about my good health since.  Until today.  I went to an event planning committee meeting for the Go Red for women campaign.  Go Red is a campaign by the American Heart Association that serves to heighten awareness of the risks of heart disease in women.   We were shown a great 3-minute movie called ‘Just A Little Heart Attack’ which I think every busy mom could identify with.   Then I heard a survival story from a woman who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.  She had been around my age, fit, with healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure.  She was slim, ate well, and exercised regularly.  The fact that she survived at all is amazing, 95% of women who suffer a heart attack do not.

Watching the movie and then listening to her speak, the message hit home.  It actually could happen to someone like me (I don’t eat McDonald’s that often, honestly!).  A representative from the American Heart Association then rattled off some pretty startling statistics.  Heart Disease is the number one killer of women over the age of 25, and every year it kills more women than men.  Yikes! Like many other people I had believed heart disease to be more of a risk for older, unfit men.  Clearly not!  The good news is that with lifestyle modifications in diet and exercise, the risks of heart disease can be greatly reduced.   I left the meeting this morning armed with all sorts of new information,  and as soon as I got home I went for a run!

How do you keep your heart healthy?

 

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Our Little Miracle, Born at 24 Weeks

preemie

I will never forget the day we got the call from my sister-in-law, Jill.  She was in the hospital and had just had her baby.  How could that be? She was only 24 weeks pregnant? The terror in her voice was palpable. My husband and I felt helpless.  We were in Cleveland, Ohio, where my husband was going through his own health scare with cancer and my sister-in-law was thousands of miles away in Arizona.  To top it off, it was right around the holidays.  Little John weighed 1 pound 8 ounces, when he was born, and was 12 inches long. He spent 110 days in the NICU before coming home on March 20, 2006. John is a true miracle and an inspiration to all that meet him!  You can read more about his amazing story here (grab the tissue!)

More than half a million American babies are born prematurely each year.  That’s a staggering 1,400 babies born prematurely in the United States every day. Because premature babies immune systems haven’t had time to fully mature, preterm infants are more likely to develop infections.  Preemies have underdeveloped lungs, so they are more susceptible to respiratory problems.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a highly contagious virus which is quite prevalent during the winter months. It is transmitted primarily by hand-to-nose, hand-to-mouth, and hand-to-eye contact. The severity of the symptoms vary depending upon the age of the child and whether he has any chronic medical problems.  RSV can be particularly serious in infants born prematurely and children under the age of two suffering from chronic lung conditions.

For otherwise healthy children, RSV usually amounts to little more than a cold. However, for preemies and other at-risk infants, the health consequences can be much more serious. In the U.S., approximately 125,000 children are hospitalized each year with serious RSV disease and, sadly, some of these children die.

To help protect your baby from RSV, there are simple steps that parents and caregivers can take:

  • Have family members and caregivers wash their hands with warm water and soap before touching the baby
  • Avoid being around the baby if you have a cold or fever
  • Avoid exposing the baby to other children with cold symptoms
  • Keep the baby away from crowded places
  • Never smoke around the baby
  • Talk to your baby’s pediatrician about RSV risks and prevention

Symptoms
Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:

  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
  • Blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails
  • High fever
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Not eating well

To learn more about RSV please visit www.rsvprotection.com.

As we prepare to celebrate my nephew John’s sixth birthday, I can’t help but think of all the other babies born too soon. November 17th is World Prematurity Day, an important day designed to help raise public awareness about the problem of global prematurity, which affects more than 13 million babies worldwide.

preemie as a child

John (6) with his mom, dad and sister

I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

 

 

The Right Place at the Right Time

My parents always seem to be in the right place at the right time when I really need them.  It seems to happen by coincidence or by some other miraculous way.  Here is a time when they happened to be there for me when I really needed it.

My parents were visiting for the birth of my second child.  They came to help out with my 2 1/2 year old daughter (at the time), and they came in from DC as we were living in Peoria, IL at the time.  They were great at helping out and taking care of things at home.  In any case, things were moving along smoothly.  I had a normal delivery and I was headed home a few days after the birth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About two days after being home I started to get sharp pains in the middle of my stomach.  My husband said to take a warm bath (that’s the cure-all in his family for ailments), but even after the bath I felt terrible.  My parents and husband told me to call my OB just in case it had something to with the delivery.

I called my OB and she asked me a few questions.  It wasn’t until she asked if I was nauseas that it became more serious.  I said, “No, not at all.  In fact I am not hungry at all.  I’ve haven’t had much to eat in a couple of days.  I just have no appetite.”  She said to go into the ER immediately.  I got a bit nervous and it was almost midnight.  I had a newborn at home that was a few days old and would NOT take the bottle at all, and my young daughter was fast asleep.  My dad said he would drive me to the hospital so my husband could stay and tend to the kids.

I got there, did some tests, and found out that even though the pain was not on my side I needed an appendectomy ASAP.  My dad was tired, so I told him to go home and help  there.  I knew my husband would be up most of the night with our newborn, feeding him with a small tube along his finger.  Other than breastfeeding, that was the only way to feed him.

I went into surgery at 4:30am.  Everything went well, but it was strange being right back in the same hospital that I had just spent days in.  My parents were there to help my husband with bringing our newborn back and forth to the hospital.  I would feed him when he was there and then pump for them to take some milk home.  They also helped with my daughter and it was just a blessing they happened to be there.

Another time when they were visiting in Peoria we ended up in the ER again.  My son, daughter, and I all picked up a vicious virus and could not stop throwing up.  My husband was not in town and they were super helpful during that terrible time as well.

I am lucky to have such wonderful and helpful parents.  They are coming to visit us in Rhode Island this Thanksgiving.  I hope we have a fabulous and uneventful time together with no trips to the ER!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have family that is there for you when you need it?  What time were they the most helpful?

 

Kristin Wheeler

Pumpkin Spiced Smoothie (all the taste, none of the guilt!)

A few years ago I stopped buying flavored creamer for my coffee because of all the ingredients.  If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t really want it in my body.  My motto is, “most things, in moderation, are okay .”  That being said, I drink coffee seven days a week, not just on occasion.  I was so excited to learn about Coffee-mate’s new Natural Bliss line, featuring just four ingredients in each of its three flavors.  The Natural Bliss line currently comes in Caramel, Vanilla and Sweet Cream.  I have always been a fan of Coffee-mate, but recently I had only been buying it around the holidays.  With this new line, I can feel good about adding it to each cup of coffee.  I picked up a bottle of the Sweet Cream and it was delish!  Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t also pick up a small bottle of the Peppermint Mocha or Belgian Chocolate Toffee (those yummy flavors Coffee-mate is known for), because we all deserve to indulge a little around the holidays.  😆

pumpkin smoothieThis recipe, courtesy of the Foot Network’s Claire Robinson, should get you in the mood for the holidays.

Pumpkin Spiced Smoothie

 

  • 1-1/2 cups ice
  • 1 (6 oz.)  low fat coffee yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup NEW all-natural Coffee-mate Natural Bliss Sweet Cream

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    Picky Eater Solutions (Giveaway included!)

    As you read in my previous article, I wanted to check out the book “The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley.  I have been having an awful time dealing with my 4-year old son and his eating habits.  He has been increasingly getting worse too!  He seems to always ask for sweets, and when I offer him a healthier food instead he just doesn’t eat.  I feel like this kid is either starving or eating junk.  I have been feeling extreme guilt from this as well.  Everyone wants to be the best parents they can be, and when your child is continually asking for food that is not healthy, it makes you feel like a failure as a parent.

    I just finished reading “The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution” by, Elizabeth Pantley.  It is seriously one of the best informational parenting books I’ve read in a long time.  A big THANK YOU to Elizabeth Pantley for making me feel better and to give me strategies to deal with picky eaters.  It was nice to hear that I am not alone, and that my child and I are both “normal.”  There are many other parents out there that are dealing with my same issues, feel my same guilt, and it was nice to learn that a lot of it could be a natural instinct for my son to gravitate towards these sweeter foods (although apparently it didn’t help that I craved sweets and indulged while pregnant with him).  Here are my favorite things about “The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution”:

    1.  The book gives you some background at why kids can be picky eaters.

    2.  The book helps you to understand if your child is a typical picky eater or something more serious.

    3.  The book gives you facts about eating and about foods with listed solutions.

    4.  The book describes the “fundamental four” when dealing with picky eaters: Attitude, Environment, Amounts, and Rules.

    5.  The “Rules” section is great!  It lists the rule, if you should break it or keep it, and tips about the rule.

    6.  The book has tricks and tips to get picky eaters to eat!  Here’s the one I am trying this week (as my son is addicted to PB&J):

    “Begin by replacing one slice of bread with whole wheat, keeping the other slice white.  Place the sandwich on the plate with the white bread on top.  Over time, experiment with replacing both pieces of white bread with whole wheat bread.” Pantley then goes on to explain replacing the peanut butter and jelly portions with healthier alternatives.  Such a great idea and a slow transition that will be easier for the kids.

    7.  There is a list of healthier alternatives for food that is not-so-healthy.  Pantley says not to use words like fat and junk food.  She says it’s best to state things positively to kids about food, such as “Once you are finished with your healthy meal you may have a dessert” instead of “No junk food until you eat that healthy food.”

    8.  LOVE “The Experts’ Favorites” section at the back of the book!  It has wonderful recipes for kid-friendly healthy meals.  Yes, there are even yummy desserts!!!

    This book is my new GO-TO parenting book!  I will be keeping it in the kitchen to refer back to!  I will also be setting a good example to my kids by eating healthy and having all of us sit down together at the table for meals.  It’s a hard thing to do with our hectic schedule, but Pantley emphasizes how helpful this is for healthy eating.  We will try our best!  Kids learn from parents!

    You can get a copy as well.  It’s a must have for any parent who is dealing with a picky eater (and there are more out there dealing with this issue than I even realized).  Here’s how to get a copy:

    1.  WIN this awesome book in my giveaway!  The author, Elizabeth Pantley, will send you a signed copy of this book that was just published this month!  The more you do on the Rafflecopter below the more chances you will have to win!  CLICK HERE to go to the Rafflecopter and WIN!

    2.  Order “The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution” on Amazon!  It’s on sale right now and a fabulous deal!!!

    Happy reading!!!  After you finish, please let me know what you think of the book as well!


    Kristin Wheeler

    Rediscovering Me

    The summer is over and school is back in session for my children. Their school break was a whirlwind of vacations, summer camp and classes, with very little down time. To say I was anxious for the school year to begin is a major understatement. Add to that the extra several days that Tropical Storm Irene brought us and it was clear from both my children’s and my perspectives that school needed to start. When the day finally arrived, I packed the oldest three on the bus for their full days of school with smiles all around. I then settled down with the youngest of my brood, who is only three, for what she endearingly calls ‘Mommy school’. No rest for the weary, as the old saying goes. At least I was only going in one direction instead of four.
    Then I got the game-changing email. My dear sweet three-year old was accepted into Playschool! Our town runs an absolutely incredible program though the high school in which they run a model preschool for the students interested in child development. One of my other children was lucky enough to be able to participate as well, so I knew what an opportunity this was. So now I anxiously prepared my youngest for school. New backpack, new lunchbox, new folder, new crayon box. She was good to go, and more then eager to kiss Mommy good-bye and walk off with her friends. I have to admit, as I left my three-year-old ‘baby’ at school I did get choked up. Another milestone. Another era over.
    I went home that day and sat on the sofa, and then it hit me. I had the next precious ninety minutes all to myself. I could not tell you the last time I actually could plan to have time with no direct responsibility for any of my children. What would I do? There is always a long chore list in my house…laundry, cleaning, cooking, preparing for this or that. I sat there for about ten minutes trying to decide which chore to pick. I got to thinking. I had ninety minutes for me. What did that mean? Somewhere amid the science homework and soccer games and ballet classes, I lost sight of what I could spend my ‘me’ time on. I love my children, but the role of Mommy almost always comes first. Now, I was thinking about what I craved, needed, wanted to do. I thought of A Mom Knows Best…all the contributors have something exciting to offer you as readers, but also me as a fellow contributor. I am still sporting mommy jeans and sweats, yet I read with excitement Carrie Humphreys’ awesome fashion tips. I love a glass of wine now and then, yet I know nothing about it. Jessica Granatiero and her amazing shop, The Savory Grape, are always hosting tastings and informational get-togethers. Why haven’t I attended? Carla Izzard lives in the same town as I do, and we both share an interest in running, yet I couldn’t tell you the last time I slipped into my running shoes and hit the road. Maureen Umehara always has such wonderfully supportive and thought- provoking comments. I decided right then and there, when Cait was at school, I was going to take those precious few hours a week and work on me, rediscovering the me that is not the mom, the nurse, the educator, the volunteer…but the me that is a person with lots of ideas and dreams. And where better to look for guidance and help then the amazing group of ladies that contribute to this website. Each week I will be looking to work on something about me that needs looking at…and asking for the input of these amazing women. Won’t you join me? Look inside yourself and take a look at who you are, and who you want to be. I am sure the ride will be bumpy, with lots of twists and turns. The destination is a better me, a better us. I know the trip will be worth it.

    Do you have a personal or professional goal you’ve been working toward?

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