Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Camp Cooking 101: Grilling with Pillsbury Pizza Crusts


Disclosure: Special thanks to MyBlogSpark and Pillsbury for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. 

Our family loves to go camping. My kids have traveled the world and stayed at some of the fanciest hotels, but they will take a tent in the middle of the woods over an elegant hotel any day. 
We have a couple of camping trips on our horizon still this summer, and I've been gathering ideas for gourmet campfire meals.

One recipe idea that we'll be putting to the camping test in July is Grilled Pizza. It never even dawned on me to make pizza while camping - mixing, kneading, and rolling out dough in the middle of a forest didn't seem feasible. But when MyBlogSpark send me some pizza grilling ideas from Pillsbury, it dawned on me: I can bring Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust, which transports easily in a cooler, unroll it onto the grill atop the campfire, add healthy toppings, and voila - a healthy and delicious campfire meal. Pillsbury's Artisan pizza crusts even have 16 grams of whole grains per serving. 

Just imagine these pizzas, grilled over an open fire: 
Is your mouth watering yet???

Check out this great video tutorial on how to grill pizza. It really becomes a no-brainer camping recipe when you have a pizza crust ready to go. 

Also on my camp cooking radar: Grilled Pie! Again, this is a new concept to me that I learned about on the Pillsbury Pinterest Board. It never even dawned on my to cook a PIE over a campfire, but when you can count on a crust ready to go, it's as easy as...pie! Check out these recipes for easy grilled pies:
I know I'm ready for a more gourmet camping experience this summer! 


Happy Camping!


For more information on Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crusts, visit pillsbury.com/Cooking-Occasions/Artisan-Pizza
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Monday, June 24, 2013

#makesmesmilemondays The End of the 2012/13 School Year!!!@#)%^*@)^*)!@*!!!!!!


Finally...Finalmente!!!!... We've arrived at the end of the school year!!#!)*$)!!!*%)!*$_)!*!!!


This has officially been the longest school year ever. From the CTU strike in September to the extended last -day-of-school date, this has been one looooong year.

As usual, on the last day of school, I wonder, "How did I manage to pull all that off????????????!!!!!!!"

I taught over 140 students, keep up with my writing, and kept my own two kids fed and dressed and most of all, loved.

It's been a whirlwind of a year, and so many times I felt like I might not ever have a chance to come up  for breath of air.

This quote is painted on a wall outside my classroom.
 It's been a great daily reminder throughout this year.

Whenever I was felt overwhelmed by the sea of life's craziness this past year, I reminded myself: These are the good old days! Because they truly are. There were challenges this past year but here is all that matters: We are all healthy; my kids are bright and happy. I love the work that I do, bothteaching and writing. I've had so many fantastic and fun opportunities this past school year.I've been able to give back. I've made some amazing memories with my friends and family. I've been able to complete a few items on my bucket list. I am blessed, but more than that, just plain thankful.

Here's to a great school year, and a wonderful summer! 



P.S., to all the teachers out there, a message from Ryan Gosling from http://heygirlteacher.tumblr.com:


Review: Theraderm Skin Care Regime

I turned the big 4-0 this year, and the time had finally come for me to establish a firm, clinical skin care routine. I have always taken good care of my skin - even wearing sunscreen daily since my teens - but the time had come to step things up a notch. I don't wear a lot of makeup, either, so having naturally healthy skin is all the more important. 

I was introduced to Theraderm by Tracy Beckerman, author of the hilarious summer read Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir, when she treated a group of Chicago moms to an evening of pampering that included a blow-out at Blow by Blow salon, where a stylist curled my hair into a Great Gatsby-esque wavy bob. Tracy has awesome skin and when she recommended Theraderm, I decided to give it a try, too. 

I need products that are easy to use, don't require more than ten minutes to apply, are unscented, and are gentle and soothing. I have sensitive, combination (but often dry) skin, and strong fragrances and concoctions will irritate it; my skin simply won't tolerate harsh ingredients. I am lucky enough to have few wrinkles, but I can feel them settling in on my face as the years go by. With this in mind, I began the Theraderm Skin Renewal System with Enriched Moisturizer regimen.

Here's a breakdown: 


What it is formulated to do:



  • Delivers radiant skin by improving skin health
  • Defends skin against the environment and signs of aging
  • Enhances skin’s natural ability to restore itself
  • Combats oxidative damaged caused by free radicals
  • Enriched Facial Moisturizer is ideal for dry, mature or dehydrated skin

    System Includes:
  • Cleansing Wash (4oz)
  • Fruit Acid Exfoliant (2oz)
  • OPC Reparative Gel (1oz)
  • Enriched Facial Moisturizer (1.7oz)
  • Gentle Action Application Pads (100ct)

    Active Ingredients:
  • Unbuffered Lactic Acid
  • Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPC's)
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Lanolin

  • After just two weeks on this system, my skin looked noticeably brighter, with a more even skin tone. It really did reduce the appearance of fine lines, especially those around my eyes. My skin feels smoother and overall, it looks more radiant. The longer I follow this routine, the better my skin appears. I also haven't had to deal with any irritation issues, a common occurrence on my sensitive skin. 

    There are just four steps I need to take, morning and night:

    Directions:
    Step 1: Cleanse. Apply one pump of Theraderm Cleansing Wash to a wet washcloth and gently cleanse face in a circular motion. Rinse and pat dry. 
    Step 2: Exfoliate. Squeeze approximately 10 drops on a Theraderm® Gentle Action Application Pad then apply to neck and face, including eyelids. Do not rinse. Avoid contact with eyes. 
    Step 3: Repair. With fingertips, apply Theraderm OPC Reparative Gel thinly over entire face including eyelids up to lashes, neck and other sun-exposed areas. Do not rinse. 
    Step 4: Hydrate. Apply a small amount of Theraderm Gentle or Enriched Facial Moisturizer with fingertips, smoothing over face with gentle upward strokes. 


    I'm very happy to have discovered a great fit for my skin. And since I can just order everything online, it takes the headache out of having to run to to the store every time I need a new product. The products all fit together well, taking away the guesswork I experienced when trying to fit several different products into my previous mis-matched skincare routine.

    Give Theraderm a try and let me know what you think. Sign up for the Theraderm newsletter and you'll save 15% on your first order!
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    Disclosure: Theraderm offered some products for me to review as I established my new skincare routine. All opinions are my own!


    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    Yesterday I had a meeting downtown and I brought the kids with me. Afterwards, we wandered through the Chicago Cultural Center, spending some time at the Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good exhibit (definitely worth a visit).

    Then we headed to Millennium Park where Chiara splashed around in the Crown Fountain and both kids peered at themselves in the glistening bean. We stopped for some late-night churros at Rick Bayless' XOCO to end our fun evening in the Loop.

    Are you on Vine? Follow me! Here is my daughter, joyfully splashing around the Crown Fountain.
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    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    A #Coppertone summer in Chicago

    I'm happy to announce that once again, I'm an official Coppertone Mom! 

    Our family happily spends so many days under the sun during the summertime - and sunscreen is a constant companion - so this a very fitting partnership for me!

    I was a teen that coated her fair skin in SPF-free suntan oil and sprayed Sun-In in her hair and baked in the sun for hours, until I was sprinkled with freckles. I love the sun! But now I know better and you'll always find me with my hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Even in the winter, I apply sunscreen every day to my face. 

    My daughter is my mini-me - same blue eyes and fair, delicate skin. She adores spending summer days outdoors, and more specifically, on the beach. She is just tickled pink every time she looks at the Coppertone logo because she thinks that she is the Coppertone girl! (And indeed she does look like the Coppertone girl, with her blonde hair and just barely sun-kissed skin - the Coppertone dog even looks like her beloved dog!) Protecting my daughter's skin in the summertime is a necessity, and I'm thankful that Coppertone offers such a wide range of lasting sun protection products for kids.  
    My son is the lucky one in the family. He inherited smooth, wonderful Brazilian skin that never burns . He does need to wear sunscreen, but I don't have to worry about him turning into a lobster as I do with my daughter and myself.

    Visit Coppertone.com for your own Summertime Suncare Toolkit and here's a link to a $1 off coupon for any Coppertone summer sun protection product!

    Disclosure: Special thanks to Coppertone for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. 

    Monday, June 17, 2013

    Recipe: Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Roasted Garlic Yogurt Dressing


    In honor of June, National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month, I took on a challenge and created a salad recipe using Stonyfield Greek plain yogurt and fresh baby spinach from Earthbound Farm - two products that you'll always find in my fridge. 
    My goal was to create a recipe chock full of power foods, and this Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing is indeed chock full of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and protein. It's also super easy to prepare. 
    Here are just some of the benefits of the ingredients contained in this salad: 

    • Walnuts are the only nut that contain a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids.  
    • Did you know that there are 23 grams of yogurt in one cup of Stonyfield Greek Yogurt?  
    • Butternut squash provides significant amounts of potassium,  vitamin B6, and folate. A 1-cup serving contains half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C. 
    • Dried Cranberries are a rich source of Vitamin E. I purchased Trader Joes Dried Cranberries fortified with Cranberry Oil, giving an extra boost of antioxidants.
    • Spinach is truly a nutritional powerhouse, rich in vitamins A and K, fiber and flavonoids (phytonutrients with anti-cancer properties)
    • And last but not least, Garlic, nature's natural antibiotic, which some say works well as a natural mosquito repellent

    On to the recipe!

    Butternut Squash and Spinach Salad with Roasted Garlic Yogurt Dressing
    Ingredients:
    • 1 bulb of garlic
    • 1 1/2 cup Stonyfield plain Greek yogurt
    • 7 cups of Earthbound Farm's organic baby spinach
    • 1 medium-sized butternut squash
    • 3/4 cup whole walnuts
    • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
    • salt, pepper and white wine vinegar to taste

    1. First I roasted the garlic and the butternut squash: Preheat the oven to 400. For the butternut squash, cut into small cubes, place on a baking tray, and drizzle with oil olive then toss. For the garlic, chop off the top of the bulb, and place on the same baking tray as the butternut squash. Bake for 25 minutes. 
    When the garlic is done roasting, you'll be able
    to squeeze the caramelized cloves right out of the bulb
    2. While the garlic and butternut squash are roasting, prep the salad. In a large bowl, add the Earthbound Farm organic baby spinach. Add the walnuts and the cranberries and toss gently. 
    3. Prep the salad dressing: Add the yogurt, a dash of white wine vinegar, and a dash of sea salt and black pepper to the food processor. Squeeze the caramelized cloves of garlic out of the bulb and add to the dressing. Process until smooth. 
    4. Add the room temperature butternut squash to the salad mixture and pour the dressing on top. Enjoy as you also reap the benefits of this superfood salad! 
    Disclosure: Special thanks to Stonyfield Yogurt for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. 

    #makesmesmilemondays Our Dog, Gizmo

    I asked him to smile for the camera...and he smiled. 
    He really is the sweetest dog ever. 

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    Friday, June 14, 2013

    #BikeToWorkWeek Chicago - Recap

    I biked to work this entire week! Not even El Derecho stopped me! 
    Bike to Work Week Chicago was a success!

    For the first half of the month of June, I traveled 71.7 miles (!!!), I saved 3.4 gallons of gas, about $16.88, and I burned 3,812 calories (!!!)

    Start biking and tracking your miles today at Drive Less Live More!
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    Learning to Ride a Bike With a Balance Bike - Review of the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike


    How did you learn how to ride a bike?

    I remember my father running with me down our sidewalk, holding my bike balanced until I finally was able to balance on my own. I can still remember the thrill when my father let go and I was pedaling away all by myself on my Green Schwinn bicycle. I was about 5 years old when the training wheels came off for good.


    My son had a bicycle with training wheels, and I did the same thing my father did with me: I ran beside him, trying to teach him balance, until I knew I could let go. He was about 5 years old, too.


    This time around, I bought my daughter a balance bicycle a.k.a. "run bike". Allegedly a balance bicycle helps a child better learn how to balance and steer a bike - the most important skills to know when it comes to riding a bike. (Pedaling is a no-brainer if you have these two skills down pat). A balance bike has no pedals and no training wheels. My daughter was never really interested in riding her tricycle but she loves her balance bike. She puts on her bike helmet and scoots down the sidewalk. She has indeed developed great balancing skills, and I believe that in a few months, when she gains a bit more practice, bike coordination, (and perhaps and inch in size!), she'll be ready for the a small, standard children's bike. 


    A balance bike needs to be small enough so the child can walk the bike while sitting comfortably in the seat. I bought my daughter the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike, a smaller, lighter balance bike, and it's worked out wonderfully. Some of the wooden and European balance bike models are incredibly expensive, while the Chicco Red Bullet cost me less than $50 on amazon.com. Her 12-year-old brother was able to put it together in less than a half hour. The handlebars and seat are adjustable. It's also very lightweight, so I can easily pick it up and pop it in the trunk to bring to the park or wherever. 


    We've had a couple of skinned knees, but I chalk that up to being part of the learning to ride a bike and childhood summer experience. 


    There goes my daughter, age three, down the street, faster than a speeding bullet on her red bullet balance bike!

    Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I purchased the balance bike. All opinions are my own!
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    Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    Give a Child a Shot @ Playdates!

    One child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that could be prevented from a vaccine. Why? Because one in five children lack access to the life-saving immunizations that keep children healthy. 


    Shot@Life is a movement to protect children worldwide by providing life-saving vaccines where they are needed most. 
    Join @OnlyLaila at Peekaboo Playroom to learn more about Shot@Life and give children around the world at a Shot @Playdates! 
    For a $20* donation your child (up to 2 children per $20 donation) can enjoy a morning of fun, a fun photo session with Byrdhouse Photography and a special treat fromBuilding Blocks Toy Store

    For more information about Shot@Life visit www.shotatlife.org 
    Register for the Playdate at http://shotatplaydates.eventbrite.com/

    *$20 will give a child a lifetime of immunity to protect them from pneumonia, diarrhea, polio and measles. 
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    The Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights

    Check out these adorable little passports for little ones to use on their adventures this summer!


    I believe that kids should spend as much time as they can in the summer exploring the great outdoors. The Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights, the key component to the Chicago Park District's Passport to Nature, lists activities that every kid should have the opportunity to pursue this summer:

    Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights

    Every child should have the opportunity to:


    • Discover wilderness – prairies, dunes, forests, savannas, and wetland
    • Camp under the stars
    • Follow a trail
    • Catch and release fish, frogs, and insects 
    • Climb a tree
    • Explore nature in neighborhoods and cities
    • Celebrate their natural heritage
    • Plant a flower
    • Play in the mud or a stream
    • Learn to swim

    Each passport page gives ideas on where to complete each activity right here in Chicago. Kids are also asked to reflect on what they learned while trying out each activity.

    You can pick up your passport at your local park. If you complete all 12 activities,
    you can turn in your passport for a prize at one of the Chicago Park Districts 6 "turn in" events throughout the year. For more info, visit the Parkways Foundation, sponsor of the Passport to Nature Program.
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    Monday, June 10, 2013

    #makesmesmilemondays A weekend of all things Chicago!

    This weekend took our family all around the city - to some of our favorite Chicago places.

    We spent Saturday morning at the Adler Planetarium, where Daniel presented his research on a potential moon base, all part of a Planet Explorers program. I was super impressed - here I thought the moon was made of cheese all this time.
    Daniel (on the iPad) and his team present their data.
    We also had the chance to peek into the largest telescope in the Chicago area in the Douane Observatory. We climbed the ladder to reach the eyepiece and were able to catch the sun and all its spots.
    The Douane Observatory

    We had a great lunch at the Adler's revamped cafe (the food was actually good! and the outdoor seating looks out upon one of the most spectacular views of the city) and then played for awhile on the terrace. 

    Then we rode our bikes over to Lincoln Park, for my son's school's summer fundraising picnic. (I am fast accumulating bike miles and meeting my June Live More Drive Less goals!)

    On Sunday, my daughter and I attended a lovely birthday party at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, one of Chiara's favorite places in the city. 
    On the rooftop of the Notebaert Nature Museum

    We had a lovely little walk through Lincoln Park on our way there and back, where we spotted turtles in the lagoon and saw three geese families, with little geese in tow. The party was just perfect for the preschooler set: Instead of birthday cake, the hostess served pineapple, which had been cut from a whole pineapple with a butterfly shaped cookie-cutter, placed on a stick and tied with cellophane and a bow. The kids seemed to love that dessert more than cake! The party space was fantastic, too. Chiara wore a butterfly dress, and as always, adored exploring the butterfly haven.

    In the evening, we all set sail on an Odyssey sunset dinner cruise. 
    The Odyssey sets off from Navy Pier. Photo courtesy of the Odyssey

    As a Chicagoan, this wasn't necessarily something that was on my to-do list - I thought of it as more of a touristy thing to do. Instead we had an absolute blast!

    Over an elegant meal we watched the sailboats and our city pass us slowly by, while the sun hid behind the skyline.
    Dinner with a view
    But perhaps the most fun was had when we put on our dancing feet! We stepped, we busted out our disco movies, we did the electric slide, we waltzed. I could not get my daughter especially off the dance floor - this is one trait we most definitely share: we love to dance!
    You can always count on your big brother, Chiara!

    Chiara asked her brother to dance several times. I could not help  but to tear up a bit as I watched them waltz and glide on the dance floor. I'm so happy that these two have each other!

    The boat ride did end on an interesting note: as we stood on the outdoor deck, enjoying the view on the as the boat slowly inched towards Navy Pier, a man approached me and said, "That water looks great!"

    "Yes, it looks beautiful," I agreed, meaning that it LOOKS beautiful. I did not think to add "But not beautiful enough to jump into!"

    Suddenly, the man, likely feeling superhuman after a few drinks, JUMPED INTO THE WATER from the top deck. We all just sort of stood there for an instant, all of us wondering if that really did just happen, and then I ran to look over the boat's railing, and saw that thankfully the guy was okay and afloat, if only in shock. (People from afar never realized that it can be warm outside and Lake Michigan will still be arctic). He managed to make it to a ladder attached to Navy Pier, was thrown a life vest and hauled up the ladder, where he was promptly arrested. My poor son, already forced to listen to 1,000s of lectures on the harmful side affects of alcohol, was forced to listen to lecture #1,001 = Alcohol and boats do not mix well.

    Have a wonderful week!





    Friday, June 7, 2013

    Drive Less and Live More! Don't forget to sign up for next week's Bike to Work Challenge!


    I biked to work three out of five days this past week, and took a long bike ride on Sunday with my son. On my Drive Less Live More trip tracker, I can see that I've not only traveled 31 miles by bike this week alone but I've also saved 1.5 gallons of gas (saving me about $7.58), and burned almost 1,700 calories. I've never really monitored this data, and I love seeing what I've saved, both calorie and penny-wise, by riding my bike to work. I really like the Drive Less Live More trip tracker. 

    Join me next week -June 8-14 - for the Bike to Work week challenge! At DriveLessLiveMore.com, you can create your own bike commuting challenges, or see if your employer already has a team in place. Every time you log in a commute, you have a chance to win prizes, too.Check it out!
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    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    Twitter Chat Alert: How to Be a Dad on the First Year of Fatherhood

    Disclosure: Special thanks to Norelco and Avent for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. 


    Just in time for Father's Day, join in on a special Twitter chat happening next Tuesday, June 11 at 8PM ET! 

    How to Be a Dad (@HowToBeaDad) will be hosting a chat on the “First Year of Fatherhood” – focusing on the unexpected things to expect for expectant parents – with Philips AVENT (@AVENT_US), the leader in childcare, and Philips Norelco (@ShaveExperts), the number-one electric shaving brand on the planet.

    Charlie N’ Andy with How to Be a Dad from will provide tips and advice on parenthood they’ve gleaned along the way while answering all of those new parent questions.

    Giveaway
    Philips Norelco will be giving away three of their state-of-the-art electric shavers –  SensoTouch 3D – and AVENT will be giving away a gift basket tailored to the winners’ little ones, perfect gifts for new dads this Father’s Day!

    To follow and join the conversation use the hashtag #NorelcoDad starting at 8 PM ET on June 11 – and be sure to follow Philips AVENT www.twitter.com/AVENT_US and Philips Norelco https://twitter.com/shaveexperts on Twitter.


    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Girl Rising!

    This past week, I pulled together a film screening at the school where I teach. I was so excited to share Girl Rising with my students!


    Girl Rising highlights the power of education to change a girl – and the world - by sharing the stories of nine girls from around the world. Each of the featured girls faces tremendous obstacles while striving to obtain an education. 

    Here are some of the hard facts about girls’ education via The Girl Effect :

    • There are 170 million children across the world that do not attend school.. and of those children, 70 % are girls.
    • It is estimated that, of those girls who are enrolled at school, 100 million will drop out of school before they even complete their primary school education
    • In developing countries, 1 girl out of 7 will marry before they turn 15 and 38% will marry before they are 18.
    • Almost 50% of girls become mothers before the age of 18.
    • Pregnancy is the leading cause of death of girls between the ages of 15 – 19 worldwide.
    • Of the youth infected with HIV/Aids in Africa, 75% are girls.
    • Research has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child care and a higher level of schooling among mothers.
    • When women and girls receive an income, they re-invest 90% of their income into their families, as opposed to 30-40% for men.
    • Educated girls grow into educated women, who – research shows – have healthier babies and are more likely to educate their children.
    • When a girl in the developing world receives an education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
    Over the course of our film screening, 100 students each donated $2 towards 10x10a global action campaign for girls' education, producers of the Girl Rising documentary. The 10×10 Fund for Girls’ Education gets the money where it matters: Donations to the Fund are shared evenly among impact partners, who provide girl-focused resources like scholarships, health care services and critical life-skills training. Our donation of $200 is enough to provide a year's education for four elementary schooled girls!

    Our school is very thankful to Honest Tea and Kind Snacks for supporting our Girl Rising film screening by donating juices and snacks. Honest Tea offers delicious, truly healthy, organic beverages, free of harmful pesticides or hormones; Kind Snacks specializes in fruit and nut bars and granola that are 100% natural, healthy and tasty. (I personally love the Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan Bars!) Best of all, both of these companies make a point of giving back to the local and world community. Thanks Honest Tea and Kind Snacks for making our Girl Rising film screening extra special!











    I hope that through watching this movie, my students can see better the gift they have been given - a free education - and perhaps think twice before throwing it away. Even more, I hope that perhaps one day they will use their education and inherent gifts to initiate change in their own communities. 

    Here's your chance to host a film screening festival of your own! On June 16th and June 22nd, CNN will broadcast Girl Rising internationally on primetime television. Watch it with your friends, watch it with your kids, pop a bowl of popcorn and watch it by yourself. 10x10 is encouraging hosting a viewing party and is providing some tools to support you: Click here to find out more. 

     


    #wordlesswednesday #ShotAtLife #UNFoundation

    So proud to have been a part of this year's campaign! Want to learn more? Visit www.ShotAtLife.org



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    Monday, June 3, 2013

    #makesmesmilemondays Biking the Lakefront with my Son and Bike to Work Week 2013 Chicago

    Yesterday, my 12-year-old son and I unloaded our bikes by the Theater on the Lake - near Fullerton and Lake Shore Drive and set off to bike the lakefront. It was a bit chilly and misty, but Lake Michigan, as always, was beautiful, with rolling and turbulent waves. We pedaled along for 11 miles, to Promontory Point, near 55th Street, one of the loveliest parks on the lake.

    My son loves a long bike ride. He also begs me, at least every other day, to let him ride his bike to school. I believe in letting kids live a free range childhood, but I know I'd spend my entire morning and afternoon worrying if I said yes - the ride from our Logan Square to his Lincoln Park school can be treacherous. "High school." I remind him, "You can ride your bike to high school."

    My son is always up for a long bike ride! Here he is last summer, when we hit the
    Fox River Trail.
    Now that summer is just around the corner, I've been back on my bike, commuting once again to work. I log in about 8 miles every day I ride my bike to work. I've said it 1,000 times: I love riding my bike to work. It energizes me, keeps me fit, saves gas, and I feel more relaxed at the end of the day (despite having burned more calories than I would had I drove my car into work). Biking to work really is a win-win situation for me. 

    If you've thought about biking to work, too, next week is the perfect week to get off on the right pedal!June 8-14 is Bike to Work week, and at DriveLessLiveMore.com, you can create your own bike commuting challenges, or see if your employer already has a team in place. Every time you log in a commute, you have a chance to win prizes, too. I like keeping a log of the miles I've pedaled, and it's interesting, too, to see how much gas I've saved. Check it out!