5 not-so-scary ways to celebrate Halloween with your toddlers

October 26, 2016
A Fit Mess

Last year, our girls were a bit too small to fully understand Halloween. They loved dressing up for the occasion and really enjoyed wandering around our neighborhood block party. We went trick-or-treating to ONE house and our neighbor was dressed as a banana which seemed to take the girls by surprise. I still remember the look on their faces. It was pretty hilarious. After that we went home and had some gluten free brownies that I made earlier that day. Easy-peasy.

Those faces – they were so small!

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Halloween 2015

This year, the girls seem pretty excited about Halloween. While I know they are mostly excited about wearing their costumes outside of the home, I suspect they are also wondering what “treats” they will get. To date, they have had very little candy – aside from chocolate chips during potty training (<– a necessity!) and the occasional Dum-Dum or gummy bear (I love this kind!).


While they do enjoy the Paleo goodies we make at home and other GF snacks, they aren’t aware that the brightly colored wrappers strategically placed at eye level in the checkout line are candy (don’t even get me started on that). When they ask me what it is, I usually say it’s for big kids or adults. Other times I’ll say, “It’s not good for your body.” So far this has worked. 🙂

A Fit Mess
October 2016

We are planning to attend the annual Halloween parade and potluck in our neighborhood. The kids will get to dress up in their costumes and there will be a fun party with games, prizes, and food. I look forward to this gathering every year because it’s so much fun for the kids (and parents, too!). I also love that it puts the focus on activities and community – not sweets. If the girls are up for trick-or-treating we can visit some of our neighbors (hopefully banana-man). Yes, I’ll likely let them have a piece of candy or two (provided it’s gluten/dairy free), but I’ll be ready with some better alternatives at home, too.


If you have little ones and are trying to avoid making candy the center stage on Halloween, here are 5 fun ways to celebrate the occasion:

1. Watch a “spooky” or festive Halloween show. Pair it with some homemade popcorn (we make ours on the stove with coconut oil and olive oil). If you’d prefer to have it pre-made, I am mildly obsessed with SkinnyPop (who isn’t?).

2. Prepare little goodie bags that include some non-candy items like fun Halloween-inspired books, stickers, bubbles, and toys. Throw in some fall snacks like these gluten-free bars, individual raisin packs, and applesauce pouches.


3. Stock your house with non-candy items for the trick-or-treaters. Let the kids help hand out the goodies and show off their costumes. There’s so much to see!

4. Go to the movie theater. I love this idea because going out to the movies isn’t something we often do, so it is a special occasion. I think it could be a fun family tradition for Halloween. What’s better than cozying up with some popcorn and kid snuggles? Plus, movie theaters have changeddddd. They are way more fun now (especially for adults!). Local readers: I’m a big fan of Silverspot.

5.  Attend a neighborhood or school Halloween party. Gathering together with other kids and parents is a win-win. Your kids can run around and play with other children and you can have some adult conversation. And even though there will likely be tons of sweets and candy around, it’s easy to screen the items and keep your child from going crazy.

Want to make a sweet treat for you and your little monsters? Try one of these delicious desserts! Links below.

Pumpkin creme bars by My Whole Food Life

Chocolate almond joy bars by Elana’s Pantry

Ooey gooey chocolate chip pumpkin bars by PaleOMG

Nut butter cups by Elana’s Pantry


What are some of your favorite not-so-sugary ways to celebrate Halloween?

Parents of older kids: how long can I live in this fantasy that I will forever be able to shield my little ones from candy?

Any tips for controlling the candy-chaos? 

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Last week’s workouts

A Fit Mess

Hey there. How are you doing? Do you feel like the holiday season is already here? I saw Christmas decorations at Target this weekend and for a second I couldn’t remember if we already had Halloween! I think we are going to be thrown into holiday shopping, parties, and travel soon, don’t you? Which makes me feel like I need to get a head-start on things. Which makes me think that having Christmas decorations in stores may, in fact, be a good reminder to get on it! What do you think?


Anywho, I wanted to share a few things with you today, including last week’s workouts. I managed six days of workouts, including two Orangetheory classes and a run outside, which was absolutely gorgeous. I am not sure how to describe the feeling I get after finishing a run outdoors, but the only word that comes to mind is “grateful.” Coming back from my hip and hamstring injuries was tough. I remember the days when I couldn’t even jog across the street. So I really appreciate being able to do the physical activities that I truly enjoy once again.


Last week’s workouts

Monday – strength training at the Y

4 rounds:

  • 20 feet elevated push ups (slow tempo down, hold for 1 count, and then press up fast)
  • 5 strict chin ups (or AMAP)


4 rounds:

  • 12 dumbbell external rotation on the knee
  • 20 ab wheel rollouts


5 rounds:

  • 10 pistol squats to bench (per side)
  • 20 DB calf raises


4 rounds:

  • 10 shoulder presses (I used 20 lbs.)
  • 10 single arm low rows (20 lbs.)


10 minutes of core: ab pull ins, reverse crunch, plank taps + hip raises prescribed by physical therapist


Tuesday – workout at Carpe Diem Personal Training

Tricep, biceps, and abs


Wednesday – Orangetheory

Strength portion looked like this:

Round 1:

  • Row 600 meters + 2-3 rounds of the next three exercises
  • 5 lateral lunges to single arm row
  • 10 tricep extensions
  • 10 plank jacks


Round 2:

  • Row 300 meters + minimum of 3 rounds of next two exercises
  • 8 DB lunges off the bench (per side)
  • 10 crunches on bench


Round 3:

  • 150 meter row + 5-6 rounds of the following two exercises until time is called
  • DB thrusters
  • full burpees


–> begin with 2 reps of each and add 2 to each round (2,4,…12)


The treadmill portion included a lot of incline work alternating with base pace and push pace. The final round included repeated 30 second all out sprints which left me WIPED!


Thursday – REST


Friday – 4.25 mile run outside 


Saturday – Orangetheory 

Treadmill work included 25 minutes of what seemed like endless sprints. It was SUPER hard which may be why I’ve blocked it from memory.

A Fit Mess

Strength work included the following:

Round 1: complete 2-3 rounds

  • 5 DB snatches
  • 10 froggers
  • 10 weighted toe touches using the same weight as the snatches


Round 2: complete 3 rounds of the following:

  • 8 dead lifts (I used two 35 lbs.)
  • 10 low rows using TRX
  • 20 spidermans
  • 150 meter row (I did mine in 30 seconds and completed 3 rounds)


Round 3: AMRAP

  • 10 squat to curl
  • 10 plank jacks
  • 150 meter row


Sunday – strength at the Y

3 rounds of each superset:

  • 12 DB shoulder presses
  • 12 rear delt flys
  • 12 DB front raises
  • 12 seated Arnold presses
  • 12 DB lateral raises
  • 12 seated bent over rear delt raises


3 rounds with no rest in between movements:

  • 15 reverse crunches
  • 15 leg raises
  • 15 oblique crunches (each side)
  • 15 toe touches


10 mins of foam rolling + PT exercises


If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of super-setting, check out this post.


How I’m feeling + physical therapy

I’m feeling pretty good overall. I was really glad to be so active this week. In general, I aim for three strength workouts per week (outside of Orangetheory) so I was really glad to hit my goal. Friday I was planning to practice yoga, but a run just sounded so good. It was threatening to rain in the afternoon so I took advantage of the window of time right before the weather turned. I felt like I could have run for another hour, but since I’m still trying to be careful with my shins I decided to cap it at just over 4 miles.


A couple of weeks ago I went to see a physical therapist about my shin pain. To be honest, it has gotten MUCH better over the last month, but I decided to meet with her to get an overall assessment and maybe learn some practices to continue to manage/prevent these. The PT I met with was super thorough and tested my leg and foot strength. It was really helpful to get her thoughts on what the issue(s) may be and how I can manage these better.


She came back with three initial conclusions:

  1. Strengthen hips to prevent my alignment from being thrown off.
  2. Properly warm up before a run.
  3. Prioritize recovery following exercise.


A lot of my lower leg pain is most likely due to weak hips. There are many factors which may have contributed to my hip issues. No doubt, carrying twins, tearing my hamstring, and running have all played a role. When she tested my strength it was obvious that my right hip is extremely weak. She gave me some exercises to do on my own, including side lying hip raises that make me feel the fire like no other. And she offered some ideas on how to up my recovery game. Suggestions included more foam rolling, using a tennis ball to work into my shins while seated, massage, ice cups, stretches, etc. I’m going to put a lot of effort into doing all of these things and really focus on recovery.


What did your workouts look like last week? Any OTF members doing Hell Week?

What are your favorite recovery practices?

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Pumpkins, Prosecco and Postmates

October 23, 2016

Hi, friends. Hope you all had a fabulous weekend. It’s Mondayyyyyy. Get excited! Our weekend went well and I just wanted to briefly share a few highlights from the past couple of days.

A Fit Mess

Anna and a frog. I can’t even stand the cuteness. The Anna costume was a Walmart find and I am renting the frog costume from Kim’s Halloween Costume Rental.


Pumpkin party at Kidzu

The girls had fun at a little Halloween party that was held Friday evening at Kidzu, a local children’s museum/play space.

They weren’t really into scooping the seeds out of the pumpkins – it was too messy for them – but we had a blast running around and playing.

Prosecco is well deserved after spending two hours surrounded by dozens of screaming kids, right? Right.

Saturday morning workout at Orangetheory. Any local friends take class this day? I’m not sure why, but I thought this workout was SUPER hard, especially the treadmill portion. Of course, I’d take running over rowing any day of the week.


The girls and I ran a few errands on Saturday and we picked up some crafts to do for a “girls day.”

Omg their outfits. I am embarrassed to say I dressed them today. Mixing patterns is really big these days, right??
A Fit Mess

We decorated our pumpkins using adhesive felt pieces. No mess. Done and done.

A Fit Mess

Saturday evening we ordered takeout using Postmates. You guys, this delivery service is life-changing. Seriously. You can order groceries, food, or convenience store items right from your phone. A delivery person will bring the items directly to your door (usually within 45-60 minutes). Payments are completed using a credit card so no cash is exchanged with the courier.

We ordered dinner from Lucha Tigra which offers a Latin-Asian fusion. It was delicious! I got the Vietnamese chicken salad and paired that with one million chips and salsa.

Matt ordered Kim chi rice and braised pork tacos. I only took a picture of the rice, but the tacos were massive.

Sunday morning stroll. We start our day early around here.

Big girls!

Seriously – this face is the reason she gets away with so many things everything.

Almond butter blondies for dinner at my sister-in-law’s place on Sunday.

A Fit Mess

The End.


How was your weekend? OTF peeps, do you prefer running or rowing?

Catching up? Here are some recent posts:

Friday faves 17

Workout: biceps, triceps, and abs

The conversations that connect us

Twin talk

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Friday faves 17

October 22, 2016

After a busy Saturday morning with the girls, I was able to sit down and write a Friday faves post for you. I have so many things to share with you. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s pretend it’s Friday, K?

Friday faves 17

Kentucky Knows Bourbon Barrel Coffee – This is probably the best-tasting coffee you will ever have. Yes, truly. Our friends brought us back some of this coffee from Kentucky Knows and we can’t get enough of it. The flavor is so, so good. And guess what? They now ship! You’re welcome.

A Fit Mess

Black Salt Caramel Bar – True story: I bought this to send in a package to someone else, but I was worried it would melt and break since it’s so thin. So, I did what anyone else would do…saved it for myself. It was absolutely amazing. The salt and caramel was such a delicious combination with the dark chocolate.

Black Salt Caramel Bar

Nature’s Path pumpkin spice waffles – I bought these for the girls, but I can’t help but steal several bites every time I make them. They taste like everything fall. I usually top them with coconut oil and a little almond butter.

pumpkin waffles

ThredUp – I have been shopping and selling with ThredUp for a couple months now and I’m sold. I have been so impressed with this company. Every item I have purchased so far is in excellent condition and exactly as pictured. They are constantly adding new items every day and it’s getting to the point where I may need to cut myself off for a bit. #cantstopwontstop. I recently snagged this sweater for $8! The picture below is of the back.

Hey, want to try ThredUp and get $10 to spend? Use my referral link!


Nordstrom – I swear, the absolute worst combination for me is wine and online shopping. I really need to quit that habit. I always end up buying things that I probably shouldn’t. But these boots.

Orangetheory OTbeat app – Orangetheory friends – did you know that the OTbeat app works outside of class? I paired the app with my heart rate monitor and wore in on an easy run the other day. It was so neat to see how well it worked. The app is free so you simply download it and it automatically captures your class totals and tracks your weekly/monthly calories, etc. Neat, huh?

A Fit Mess

All the sushi! Definitely my favorite food and something I feel like I can’t get enough of lately. I actually don’t like to choose my sushi rolls so I usually let Matt order for me. I can never seem to decide and the choices are overwhelming. The struggle is real.

All the sushi

Around the web

This pull up bar for my home – I want to work on my pull ups and chin ups and I’d be forced to if I had a bar staring at me in my doorway. I’ve started a Christmas list for myself and so far that includes three pieces of gym equipment – HA!

I’m dying over these UGG Ankle Boots for the girls.

The best workout wear for petite women (Hello, 5’1 here!)

I’m not sure whether I love tor loathe this calorie chart on Halloween candy. I don’t want to know!

These tasty Whole30 snack/lunch ideas – you had me at loaded guacamole sweet potato fries.

Athleta sale – 20% off now through 10/23. Use code EXTRA20…get it!


What are you loving lately? Have a fabulous weekend!

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