Schiele Museum: A Charlotte day trip must!

Schiele Museum: A Charlotte day trip must!

Top three reasons to visit the Schiele Museum of Natural History: Pirate Ship playroom, Planetarium show and lots of room for kids to run around! I’ve been seeing Schiele Museum pop up on Charlotte Parent calendars for YEARS. And then I see it’s in Gastonia and in my head I seriously think it’s on another continent. “Gastonia is SO far away, let’s just stay home and drive each other bonkers.” (Reality: it’s 43 miles from Matthews, 22 miles from Charlotte and about the same in minutes because it’s straight highway).

I’ve been going a little nuts with the kids (5 and 3 year old!) being done summer camp and home every day; and school is still 2 weeks out.  So I decided it was worth the drive and we’d check it out! We arrived around 11am, meeting up with some friends. We purchased our tickets, including tickets for a 1pm Planetarium Show. Prices for the museum and planetarium shows are separate but are quite reasonable, see the full list here (varies for resident/non and age of children).

First we went to explore the outdoor areas before it got too hot. There is a .7 mile trail that winds through the woods and it’s a beautiful area with several different exhibits. Unfortunately, most of them were not open when we visited. We could still walk around but the buildings were locked up, same with the Catawba Indian Village, which looked awesome from the outside! According to museum pamphlets, they only run certain hours and they finished up for the summer on 8/5. But that didn’t stop the kids from running around to check every building, and running down all the trails. (Parental supervision required for little ones, the bridges have very wide railings easy for little ones to slip through and also the pond has no fence!) We checked out the Stone Age Heritage Site and ended up at the outdoor playscape and pond, which was a big hit. Turtles sunning themselves on the rocks plus some cool houses to play in and rocks to jump off of. We also found a painted Gastonia rock (which was our hidden treasure for the day!).

 

After exhausting the kids on the hike, we grabbed our coolers and ate at a shady picnic table at the edge of the parking lot near the hiking trail. After lunch we went inside to cool off.

We went through the dinosaur exhibit rather quickly (not very interactive, just dinosaurs to look at, which is only fun for so long and then your kids want to climb over the exhibit walls and try to touch the dinosaurs). Yeah, the dinosaur exhibit did not impress. The Pirate Ship room was a different story!!  There is a huge pirate ship playground the kids can climb up into, pretend to shoot cannons, climb into a crow’s nest, go down the slide, climb into the bottom of the boat and up the rope ladder and then repeat, repeat, repeat. All the while shouting Aye Matey and Aarrrrgh! We went back to this room 3 times in the almost 4 hours we were at the museum. Yes, that long! We had to drag the kids out of there to go to the Planetarium Show at 1pm!

 

After a short wait in line for the show, we went inside and grabbed some very comfortable reclining seats. The show was Totality, which explained the upcoming solar eclipse in a fairly kid friendly way. I lost focus around the Albert Einstein part and may have dozed a little bit at some point, but that was more so the dark room/momlife/reclined chair effect than a reflection of the show. Both my 3 year old and 5 year old sat still for the entire 30 minute show without asking ONCE for a snack. This is a feat in itself. I would say the Planetarium is a must see when you go. It was really a cool experience; I want to go see another one.

After the show, we explored the rest of the museum. It just kept going! We dug for dinosaur fossils, moved a robotic dinosaur egg arm, pet some turtles (statues but Shea loved them, mommy turtle and baby turtle); saw a live skunk, possum, turtles, snakes and groundhogs. My kids enjoyed the Indian exhibit mainly for the telephone like recorded information stations at various exhibits. Button pushing is fun, even if you don’t listen to what comes out! We explored the everglades and the animals found there. The fish tanks provided a bit of entertainment as well.

 

The green roof was recommended, but somehow we missed seeing it, I am totally bummed but we will make a point to see it next time! I thought we explored everything before we ended up in the Pirate Ship room (again). The kids also enjoyed the huge T-Rex standing fossil in the entry way – they really wanted to climb it, but settled for running circles around it’s feet instead every time we passed it.

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We finally headed home around 3pm, and I got a nap out of my 3 year old!!! Ya’ll, the things that happened today just don’t happen every day. Which leads me to conclude this was worth driving to another continent to explore.  You can follow the museum on Facebook at the Schiele Museum of Natural History  for upcoming events or on Instagram @SchieleMuseum for up to date happenings.

 

What you need to know before playing at the Mecklenburg County Sportsplex

What you need to know before playing at the Mecklenburg County Sportsplex

Playing at Mecklenburg County Sportsplex for the first time, from out of town or just not familiar with the area?? Read on – learn what you need to bring, pack and what to do in the area.

You can read a general overview of the Sportsplex here on the Mecklenburg County page, which tells you the basics about it and you can apply for reservations for conference rooms, fields, tournaments, etc. Here’s on overview map below showing the fields and areas. But here’s what you really need to know:

Mecklenburg County Sportsplex January 2017 map with edit
Playgrounds are circled in red!
  • Shade is scarce. This is a brand new complex – and while the landscaping has some small trees, it’s not something you can sit under. Bring a chair with an overhead shade thing, or better yet bring a tent canopy for the team. It gets HOT especially on the turf. There are several covered picnic areas (two at area A, one at area B) which have a substantial amount of picnic tables, but if you there during a tournament and need somewhere to relax between games and athletes want to lay down and chill – BYOS (bring your own shade!)018
  • There are no bleachers or seating for watching the games aside from the main stadium – so bring your own chair!!
  • There is no concession stand or food sold on site currently and area A doesn’t have vending machines. Area B MIGHT have a drink vending machine, I will update the next time I am there. So – BYOS (bring your own snacks and plenty of drinks!!).
  • Walkability – there are approximately 2 miles of paved trails/sidewalks that go around the perimeter of the fields and connect areas A & B. It’s great if you want to get some exercise between games and it’s very handicap/stroller friendly.
  •  The playgrounds are great for kids of all ages – there is a smaller, toddler playground at each one along with a larger one and some great features, like the racing ziplines in area A. See pics below! Each playground is conveniently located next to the restrooms, which are very LARGE (tons of stalls!) and have been immaculate every time I’ve been there.

 

 

 

When the Sportsplex was in the planning phase, I read in the local paper that originally a landfill was discussed for the land. WOW. Pretty happy that got changed!! I play in the Charlotte Women’s Soccer League and this is one of the locations we play at in the area. The soccer fields tend to be on the wide side in my opinion, FYI!

There are a TON of food options (as in, anything you could possibly want) and lodging accommodations in the Matthews area, all within a few miles of the Sportsplex. I’ll be adding my local recommendations soon, with the best local food and drink joints. Check back soon and follow my page for local updates!

Healthy chocolate banana waffles!

Healthy chocolate banana waffles!

First timer over here for the chocolate waffles, and I have to say I am definitely a fan!! My kids: one had already eaten a plum and declined waffles. The other ate Cheerios and also declined a waffle. Whaaaat!?  I ate 2 eggs with a turkey sausage/mushroom and onion scramble, and being the good mom that I am, had to eat at least one waffle to taste test it and make sure it was edible. It was good plain and that’s how I ate it! It would have been over the top amazing with butter and syrup, as would pretty much anything, but I decided to not go too crazy since I’m *trying* to stick to a lower carb plan for this week following the week 3 Shift Shop nutrition plan and workout. More about that in another post!

The original recipe can be found here – this is listed as an allergen free recipe. I didn’t have buckwheat flour, so I used whole wheat flour+ almond meal so it took away the gluten free element. It also resulted in a drier mix so then I had to modify and add more egg & milk. Here’s what I did below and it turned out perfect.

Chocolate banana waffles

1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c almond meal or almond flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder (baking cocoa)- I used Ghirardelli 100% unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 medium banana, mashed
1 TBsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 – 3/4 c milk

Combine dry ingredients, set aside. Combine wet ingredients until mixed – start with 1/2 cup milk. Combine wet and dry ingredients. If you think the batter is too thick, add an additional 1 TBsp of milk at a time and combine. I probably added 2-3 TBsp in addition to the 1/2 cup. Scoop into waffle maker and cook according to your device’s instructions! I have an Oster large waffle maker, I had mine on second to highest heat setting and cooked for 5 minutes. This yielded 3 full size waffles for me. I think next time I make this, I will add another banana (or applesauce) to make it a little sweeter, which will probably change the consistency a bit but I think it will be good. Let me know if you try them and like them!

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Summer and Fall races and Training update!

Summer and Fall races and Training update!

The end of June we traveled for 2 weeks to see family in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We hit the Jersey Shore (Long Beach Island) where I got in a few runs but mostly beach, beer and candy. Then on to central Jersey where I think I got rid of my tan lines at the pool, got to catch up with Jersey friends and got back on track a little bit with nutrition and workouts (and gave my mother in law’s neighbors some entertainment, at least). Townhouse courtyard workouts for the win! Then we traveled on to Pennsylvania to see my family. We visited Hershey Park; I got some great runs in with my brother but got sidetracked with ice cream and cupcakes. The sugar struggle is real. I have a really hard time resisting it when it’s right in front of me. I just can’t. When I don’t buy it at home I’m all good but elsewhere, forget it!

So after I got back, I started up Shift Shop, which is a 3 week agility and strength training workout that progressively gets more challenging (and each workout increases by 10 minutes!). I just finished up week 2 so I’m pretty stoked to see how the final week of workouts are!

After I wrap up Shift Shop, I am ramping up the long distance running to start training for the South Carolina Ragnar Relay Ultra I will be running in the beginning of October. I will be running an 8, 10 and 12 mile leg each over a 2 day period so I need to get the training started! I am pretty sure I will be cross training with Sagi with the program Body Beast, which is a lot of weights and strength training. I need a break from Autumn Calabrese. Although I love her, we have spent a lot of time together with 21 day fix extreme over the past year and we need some space. I’m pretty excited to be doing more with weights and I think it will compliment my running very well.

I’m also running two 10k races during the Ultra Training, one in August and one in September to keep me motivated! If you’d like to follow my journey a little more please find me on IG at jodiprice55, I keep things a bit more updated there!

 

Label Reading Simplified: What to look for

Label Reading Simplified: What to look for

When you start changing your diet, one of the most important things you can do is to start looking at the labels of foods you buy. Unfortunately, you can’t trust the marketing lingo on the front of the box. A product may claim to be all natural, whole grain and no sugar added – and still be full of chemicals, sodium and artificial sweeteners. So you may think you are being healthy but in reality it is that food that is bringing you down! The best thing to do is to look at the ingredient labels and compare that to the nutritional label to see if it’s a healthy-ish option.

I look at the ingredient list first. The ingredients are listed in order of the ingredient that is in the highest concentration in the food. So if the number one ingredient is sugar….yeah, it’s going back on the shelf! I look for the top ingredients to be foods that I recognize, whole grains, etc. I look for a minimum of things I don’t recognize. If I don’t know what it is, do I want to eat it?? There are a lot of sneaky words for added sugar, which often are things like fructose, sucrose, syrup of various varieties (corn, rice, etc). I don’t mind if honey or pure maple syrup are added, as long as the overall sugar content in the label isn’t that high – a few grams or less. Women should consumer less than 20g of added sugar per day and men 36g.

sugar

Sodium is the next thing I look at, because sodium is often added in large quantities to make food taste better. Everything tastes better with salt! But I would like to be the one to add it in small amounts. As with sugar, I look for the sodium level to be in the single digits and as low as possible.

salt

I don’t buy a ton of processed foods, because they are usually high in one of these! Milton’s crackers and cereal and gluten free pretzels are probably my only “staples” that I buy in the snack category. Oh and Z Bars, which are organic, I am pretty comfortable with all the ingredients and my kids love them. So I feel less guilty about them being “processed.” More about cereal in another article (my 5 year old LOVES cereal, I used to eat it every day but after reviewing the sugar content on pretty much every box of cereal I save it for an occasional treat meal!). My husband is a celiac so he likes the gluten free pretzels.

There are a number of other things you can look at…calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat…I try to stay away from GMO (genetically modified ingredients), MSG, partially or full hydrogenated oils…

And added vitamins and nutrients are all well and good but I’m not going to consume extra sugary items for that reason! I feel it’s sort of a marketing strategy to make it appear healthier than it is!

There are a lot of things but I focus on the ingredients first, because the ingredients will tell me if there is crap in it and if the sugar is high then the calories and carbohydrates will be too! This is a very broad overview, and if you’d like a more indepth one you can read more about it on the FDA’s page here. When I’m in the grocery store with both my 5 and almost 3 year old, I have about 10 seconds to scan a label before I get interrupted and the ingredient scan and sugar and sodium scan give me a really quick idea if I want to buy the item or not. Rule of thumb – stick to the perimeter of the grocery store for clean eating!

 

I Run For Jordyn. Who Inspires you?

I Run For Jordyn. Who Inspires you?

Who do you run for??

Last year a friend shared some information about an organization called IR4, or I Run 4. Runners are paired with people who are unable to run. The organization started with a runner named Tim Boyle and a named Michael who was physically unable to run, and he told Tim he could run anyday for him! Tim found a whole new inspiration to run and started IR4 as a way to connect and inspire runners by friends who are physically unable to run. Each runner keeps in contact with their buddy via the designated Facebook groups. There are also branch organizations, called Kerri On: I Run 4 Remembrance and IR4 Siblings: The Unsung Heroes.  It’s about more than miles; it’s about building relationships and bolstering support systems.

I decided to join the IR4 Siblings: The Unsung Heroes support group. I was quickly paired with a sweet little girl Jordyn, whose sister already participated in IR4 and had a runner through the group. Jordyn’s mom helps us to keep in touch weekly and it’s fun to be able to share my workouts and runs with her and have her cheer me on as well, as well as send silly pictures back and forth during the week.

If you already run and would love some additional inspiration, you can sign up here to have a match made for you!

I recently ran the a 6k Brew Dash at the National Whitewater Center. If you are looking for races for a great cause or local events in general, check out EventBrite’s page for finding existing events or for planning your own non profit event!

Running in the USA is also a great resource for finding local races, you can sort by location, date, distance, etc.

My next race is TBD – I am looking to run two more this summer before my first Ragnar Relay Ultra in October! Any tips appreciated from previous RR!!

 

22HardCorps Results!

22HardCorps Results!

One week after completing my first marathon in March, I decided to try out a different workout program – 22 HardCorps. This is a 22 minute, military inspired 8 week boot camp workout. There are actual military veterans in the workouts, which is pretty cool. The trainer is Tony Horton, who was also the trainer/creator of the very popular workouts p90x workout series.

Going into it, I thought 22 minutes sounded like a really nice break from the long distance runs I had been completing. It started out at a pace I was comfortable with, but by the end of the 8 weeks the workouts ramped up and were really challenging!!

Jodi droid 5.23.17 071
The calendar suggests 6 days of workouts each week and 1 rest day. 22HardCorps follows the portion fix nutrition plan, identical to 21 day fix.

22HardCorps alternates cardio days with resistance days and the workouts gradually intensify. 10 minute core workouts are recommended every other day, but are optional. I generally stuck pretty close to the schedule, but on days I had soccer games (Thursdays and Sundays) I did not complete a 22HC workout, so that did end up extending the 8 weeks to closer to 10 weeks.

A pull-up bar is recommended for this program, but I didn’t have one so used the acceptable alternate of a band and door connector. It wasn’t as challenging as pull-ups would have been (but who am I kidding, I can’t do a pull-up so would have been very assisted anyways!). So, here are my before and after pics! At initial glance it’s hard to tell a difference. To be honest, I didn’t weigh myself before and after, because I wasn’t really trying to lose much. I had a few lbs around my waist (inches, rather!) that I could feel and wanted to get them off. And I did!

Inches lost:
-3.5 inches around waist (my biggest goal accomplished!)
+1 inch around hips (so my hips got bigger. I think my gluteus maximus got bigger, which I am fine with. #gainz, right??)
+.5 inch on each arm – yay for slightly bigger muscles!
-.5 inch on each thigh – still some work to do there with toning.

22HC B&A2

Overall, I loved the combination of cardio and resistance this program offered, along with the quick yet intense workouts. There are a lot of cool full body moves in this program, such as the Mountain Squats, bear, spider and gorilla crawls and MULTIPLE burpee variations. If you love a good burpee, this is a program to try because they are in a ton of the workouts, along with pushups!

If you think you’d be interested in trying out this program, message me! Beachbody’s subscription service is available with a 14 day free trial and you can try out 22HardCorps, along with any other Beachbody workouts you’d like!! Click here to sign up and try it out. Let me know if you’re trying it out so I can answer any questions you may have and support you!