Father’s Day Gift Guide!

Father’s Day is one of my favorite days! Cory works so hard for us to enjoy our lifestyle, and he does it without complaining. He is my favorite human on the planet, and Father’s Day is the day dedicated to show how thankful we are for him.

Father's Day

Father's Day

I chose Cory to be my husband because I had such an incredible example of a father. My dad, Mike Rogers, loved me when I was an unexpected surprise for him and my mom, a bratty middle schooler, a hard to love teenager, a rebellious college student, and every moment of every day since. He once wrote in a card to me, “I have loved you your whole life.” That was all that was written, but it’s all that needed to be said. He hugged me, kissed me, and encouraged me through the hard parts of life. He showed me that I was worth a great man like Cory.

Father's Day

As a mom, I get to witness my dad with my boys, Will and Wyatt. He is tender with them. He plays, wrestles, fishes, laughs, and hugs them. My boys are so blessed to have such great male role models to follow!

Father's Day Father's Day

Today’s post is not only about how wonderful fathers are, but also how to show appreciation! We’ve put together a few lists to give you ideas including a few things from the Sawgrass golf shop and top picks from our own C.W. Cook.

Father’s Day gift ideas

Father's Day gift guide

(1) Camp Chef flat top grill, (2) Blackstone tabletop grill, (3) What I Love About Dad, (4) Digital BBQ Fork, (5) YETI Rambler mug, (6) Mark & Graham overnight duffle bag, the other 6 shows the bag open! (7) YETI sidekick, (8) Just Me and My Dad, (9) Hands free travel drink carrier

Funny Father’s Day gift ideas

Father's Day gift guide

(1) Best farter mug, (2) Stop staring at my dad bod shirt, (3) Dad-isms golf balls, (4) Beard King, (5) Face socks, (6) Dad is Fat book, (7) Belly fanny pack

Is the dad in your life a golfer? Stop by the pro shop for some new must-have arrivals like 2 UNDR briefs and new items by Stitch like shirts, knit and leather head covers, golf bags, and coolers! And if you don’t know what to get, pick up a gift card. Let him pick out what he wants!

C.W. Father’s Day picks

What do you get the dad who is sophisticated? We asked our own C.W. for his top picks from an awesome website called Mark & Graham. They carry monogrammed leather goods for men who like the finer things in life. See his picks with links below!

Father's Day gift guide

(1) Leather charger roll-up carrier, (2) Gentlemen’s 8-piece set, (3) Leather keychain, (4) Baseball leather luggage tag and passport carrier, (5) Canvas convertible backpack

There’s no doubt that these types of things are appreciated, but so are gifts picked out or made by the kiddos. We asked C.W. about his favorite Father’s Day gift, and here’s what he had to say:

“I actually have 2 favorite Father’s Day gifts both compliments of my girls. The first was a hair brush. Somehow they found humor in this one. The second was a craft project they made with a simulated iPad, but instead called it the iDad complete with my favorite things as the apps on the screen.”

Have you seen the adorable printables that moms and kids can fill out for dad? It asks about what makes dad happy or mad, what is dad’s job or favorite food, and what makes dad laugh. It’s really cute! Here’s a link to one in case you want to try it at home. It works best for preschool to lower elementary school aged kids, and it even works to give grandpa!

Father’s Day is just around the corner! Let the dads in your life know just how much you love them! Whatever you choose, it’s the thought that counts.

Memorial Day: Beach Fun & Blueberry Pie!

What a fun weekend of beach fun and blueberry pie! I’ve always thought of Memorial Day as the beginning of summer although the season doesn’t officially start until June 21st. However, for us Florida people, the heat and humidity are here! It was certainly a hot Memorial Day, and we had so much fun playing in the ocean and relaxing with friends.

Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass

Cory’s mom, Shelley, was in town this weekend to visit, so we got to show her Sawgrass and all the wonderful things about our club.

Memorial Day at Sawgrass

Memorial Day at Sawgrass

The staff really go all out on holiday weekends! The Sandbar had a grab-and-go option for most of the weekend featuring burgers, hotdogs, and grilled chicken sandwiches. It was so easy to come up for lunch, then head back to the beach. There were games at the family pool, and this weekend marked the start of beach rentals including chairs, umbrellas, and paddle boards.

Overall, it was a great weekend! We spent time at the beach Monday and ended the day with burgers, pizza, and ice cream sundaes!

Here are a few highlights from the weekend!

Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass

Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass Memorial Day at Sawgrass

Memorial Day means more than just beach fun. It’s a day set aside to remember those who served our country, the men and women who never came home. They were fathers, brothers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, sisters, and mothers. They had families that prayed for their safe return but mourned their passing instead. May we always be grateful for their sacrifice and the freedoms we enjoy because of it.

Tennis: Kids Clinics at Sawgrass

tennis clinics at Sawgrass

“Ready? Swing!”

“Wyatt, stop playing in the clay.”

“Everybody pick up at least 10 balls!”

“Lilly, do you need to go potty?”

“Molly, nice forehand!”

This is just a small sampling of my Monday and Wednesday afternoon soundtrack. Will (8) and Wyatt (6) have been taking tennis clinics at Sawgrass since March! Will loves it more than Wyatt who just tolerates it. But he loves being outside, so it works out. He’s more concerned with making his shoes as “green” as possible from kicking the clay!

tennis clinics at Sawgrass tennis clinics at Sawgrass

I have developed a love for tennis (an addiction, really), and I picture tennis as a way for our family to be active together. Will confessed recently that he wants to be a professional tennis player! My heart just swelled. I think his real motive is to beat mom and dad one day, which won’t be a challenge the older we get! But whatever the motivation, I hope he thrives in the sport. I hope he learns sportsmanship, how to work hard, how to succeed, and how to fail. Tennis is a sport where you’re not successful 100% of the time, it’s a game of percentages. We have to learn how to trust our forehand when we’ve totally messed up the shot right before it.

I really appreciate how the coaches are teaching them not only the game of tennis, but are being role models for our kids.

Tennis clinics

Tennis clinics are offered in the afternoons throughout the school year at Sawgrass. Kids from about three to ten work on strokes and skills while playing games. The older kids work on higher level skills and consistency. The coaches do a great job at making the lessons fun! The last week of afternoon clinics coincide with the last week of school, the week of May 20th. For the summer, the club focuses on day camps for kids. (More on tennis camps later!)

tennis clinics at Sawgrass tennis clinics at Sawgrass tennis clinics at Sawgrass

Clinics for younger children are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30, and the older kids play (ages 9-12ish) from 4:30-5:30. The coaches offer private lessons for those that really want to accelerate the learning process or who can’t make the clinic times.

tennis clinics at Sawgrass tennis clinics at Sawgrass

The coaches are patient and kind and really want to see the kids be successful in the sport. On Wednesdays, there is a group of tiny humans, ages 3-5. These are the most comical to watch! One day, one little boy was not having it and was literally throwing a fit on the court. Coach Matt calmly scooped him up and walked him over to another court. They sat there for a few minutes, and the little boy calmed down. Matt continued to sit with him and they talked quietly. A few minutes later, he brought the little boy back to the court and he engaged in the lesson again. It was so sweet to watch! I don’t know what Matt told him or what was said by the little boy, but apparently Matt knew just what to say. I was with the little boys mom, and she was very impressed that coach Matt took control and didn’t just send the little boy to her to calm him down.

Summer tennis camps

Summer at Sawgrass is filled with things to do! The tennis club offers tennis day camps to members and guests starting the week of June 3rd through August 8 (except the week of July 4th). Camps will be Monday-Thursday, and daily drop-ins are available as well!

Here’s how tennis camp at Sawgrass works:

Half Day
10:00-10:15 – Warm up/Roll call
10:15-11:15 – Stroke of the day
11:15-11:30 – Snack break
11:30-12:15 – Tennis games
12:15-12:30 – Cool down/Child pick up

Full Day, everything above plus:
12:30-2:00 – Lunch and pool break
2:00- 2:50 – Practice matches/Tennis games
2:50-3:00 – Cool down/Child pick up

Campers must be at least seven to participate in the full day camp, and at least six years old to participate in the half day camp. If you want more information, give Sarah a call (904-273-3740) to ask questions or to sign up. Or, you can sign up on Foretees.

tennis clinics at Sawgrass tennis clinics at Sawgrass

Shout out to Matt, Kyle, Josh, and Lennon for all their hard work teaching our kiddos the sport of tennis!

12 Ways to Welcome Your New Neighbor!

Sawgrass is a wonderful community with new neighbors moving in all the time! We have so much to offer like great schools, a friendly and safe community, the beach, gorgeous landscaping throughout, and rising property values. What’s not to love?!?!

Whether it’s moving across town or across the country, the moving process is quite a headache, especially with children! There are things to learn about the community itself as well as the area like finding the best grocery stores, home improvement stores, day cares, recreational sports leagues, and the best ice cream shop. It can be a lot to take in when you’re new and having a neighbor to guide you is helpful.

We encourage you to be that friendly neighbor. Having a great relationship with neighbors is beneficial to us all. Your new neighbor might be the one that helps you find your dog one day or who checks on your home when you’re on vacation. It’s really an investment into where you live and spend your time.Moving boxes

If you have noticed a new neighbor next door or down the street, personally welcoming them to the neighborhood is a great way to introduce yourself and find out more about them.

If you’re stuck on what to say or what to bring, we’ve put together a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Say hello at a time that’s appears to be convenient for them. The best time to say hello might not be when they are carrying a gigantic TV into the house (unless you offer to help!). Give them a few days to settle in after the moving trucks have gone, then walk over and introduce yourself.
  2. If they look like they need help on moving day, offer extra hands! Keep in mind that this is a stressful time, so a little grace and patience can go a long way if they look scattered.
  3. Host a casual get together and invite your new neighbors. Keep it small otherwise they may feel overwhelmed! It might be wise to serve both alcoholic and nonalcoholic options as well as light snacks. Someone once told me that a slightly messy food item will break the ice and get people laughing and talking. This is a great time to find out what brought your neighbors to the area and what hobbies they love!
  4. Bring food to their house! Everyone likes food, and no one likes to cook when you have to search for pots and pans to do it! A lot of families tend to have a dietary restriction or allergy these days, so keep that in mind when making a dish to bring over. Honestly, if you showed up at my house with a bag of chips and salsa, we’d be instant friends. The key here is to aim for something simple that can be eaten that day or saved for later.
  5. If cooking is not your thing, bring a gift card along with fresh flowers. We have so many local restaurants close to Sawgrass, and this can be a great way to introduce your neighbor to the local food choices. They can order what they want when they want it.flowers
  6. Summer is on its way! Bring over an experience. For example, gift a few tickets to a Jumbo Shrimp baseball game along with directions to the stadium and parking tips!
  7. Bring over a map of the area with landmarks highlighted. Places like the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, Guana Reserve, local workout spots, and the nearest Starbucks, Publix, and Target will be great to know for newcomers.
  8. Give them useful information that fits their season of life. Are they a family with small children? Put together a short list of useful information like local babysitters, the Ponte Vedra Cultural Center, preschools/daycares, and maybe even a local handyman to help hang pictures and change light fixtures. Bonus points for bringing over a simple craft project for the kiddos! This blog has a PDF printable like the one pictured below! welcome printable
  9. Bring over contractor recommendations. There are so many houses undergoing remodeling projects in Sawgrass. If you happen to know that the house needs a bit of work, you could give the new owners a list of trusted contractors and resources for various home repairs like a plumber, electrician, or even the carpet guy who did a fantastic job at your house recently.
  10. Bring a gift basket full of snacks, sodas, a RedBox gift card, and directions to the nearest RedBox. They may not have cable hooked up quite yet, and this will give them a chance to sit down at the end of a very long moving day and enjoy a movie together. neighbor gift basket
  11. Do yard work as a welcoming act of kindness. If they are new to the area, they may not have scheduled a lawn service or purchased the right equipment yet. Cut the grass, pull weeds, or plant a new flower to say “Hi!”
  12. Is talking to people not your thing? Don’t worry, you can still be “friendly” without saying a word. Drop a business card along with a short note at the front door to welcome new neighbors.

Remember, it’s really the thought that counts. So what if they don’t actually eat your baked goodies or call the electrician you recommended, but they will remember that you took time out of your day to say hello and welcome them to the neighborhood!

So, the next time someone moves in close by, try out one of these ideas! You might just be meeting your new best friend!

Easter at Sawgrass: A Delicious and Colorful Tradition!

What has 12,000 eggs, colorful outfits, and a boat load delicious food? Easter at Sawgrass!

My family is so blessed to be members of Sawgrass Country Club and to get to enjoy events like this. The staff goes over the top to make them special! From the Easter Bunny made of balloons to the costumed Easter Bunny greeting us, no detail was left undone.

Easter at Sawgrass

Easter at Sawgrass

Pre-Party, 4th annual Keg Hunt

What a fun event this was! The 4th Annual Keg Hunt was put on by the fitness staff. Randy and Rachel organized what is essentially a scavenger hunt for adults. Each of the 20 teams were tasked with finding the Golden Easter Keg by following clues that led to different locations. Each location required the team members to work together to complete challenges like rolling a gigantic tire, playing ladder ball, or flip cup. I was the WORST at flip cup!

Easter Keg Hunt

My team had the slowest golf cart, which died halfway through the event, but we had so much fun! The last stop took teams to the beach for beer and pizza! Kudos to the winners of this year’s event, John & Laura Dillingham & Luis & Shanel Pontigo! Although I didn’t get a picture of the four of them together, here are some great shots of the event and the crazy outfits that contestants wore! Next year, we’re dressing up for sure!

Easter Keg Hunt Easter Keg Hunt 2019 Keg Hunt Winners

Easter Brunch

Oh the food. There were sweet stations, savory stations, and everything in between! My boys enjoyed the french toast casserole, homemade donuts, bacon, and sausage. My husband’s favorite was the roasted pork. It was tender, juicy, and so full of flavor.

Easter at Sawgrass Easter at Sawgrass

Easter at Sawgrass Easter at Sawgrass  Easter at Sawgrass Easter at Sawgrass

If you’re new to the club, these events are amazing because there is such a variety of food to sample. The Chef Mike changes the menu items to match the season and type of event while having options that both kids and adults will love! I would venture to call this one an Easter feast. Meats included lamb, prime rib, and roasted pork. I put the omelette station to the test as well as the shrimp and oysters. Who am I kidding…I tried just about everything! The salads, cakes, donuts, bagels (which were from a neat little bagel shop outside Palencia called Joint Bagel Co.), and savory dishes like asparagus.

It was all so delicious!

Easter at Sawgrass

Easter Egg Hunt

Next, we headed to the practice range for the famous Sawgrass Easter Egg Hunt. Lacie and her staff filled egg-zactly 12,000 eggs for the kids!

Easter Egg Hunt 2019

I love that they divided the area by age groups to keep the big kids from trampling the little ones. You should have seen the mad dash to the eggs once Lacie blew the whistle. A few were SO excited that they tripped and fell before getting to the eggs…it was hilarious! Of course no one got hurt, just bruised egos :).

 Easter at Sawgrass Easter at Sawgrass

I was mom-of-the-year and forgot Easter baskets, so we utilized my husbands shirt (and his friend, John Daly’s) to collect eggs!

Easter at Sawgrass Easter at Sawgrass

Easter at Sawgrass Easter at Sawgrass Easter at Sawgrass 

The boys had a great Easter filled with all the treats that come with it. I love this holiday because it is a reminder of hope and life, and the sacrifice made for us by Jesus.

Family Campfire at the Beach

Beach. Music. Campfire. S’mores….A recipe for a fantastic spring night at Sawgrass. The Family Beach Campfire was a great night of socializing for both kids and adults! Lacie Petry, Recreation Manager, put together this FREE event for families on March 15th.

Sawgrass Country Club Family Campfire Sawgrass Country Club Family Campfire

There’s something really peaceful about a campfire on the beach. The cool breeze, warm fire, and soft glow of the light creates a special ambiance on the beach, especially in the midst of a very busy TPC weekend. It created an opportunity for families to unwind and enjoy our beautiful club in a different way.

Sawgrass Country Club Family Campfire Sawgrass Country Club Family Campfire Sawgrass Country Club Family Campfire

Sawgrass Country Club Family Campfire Sawgrass Country Club Family Campfire

The live music was so perfect. Have you heard of Gabriel Storm? He’s a rising star in our little corner of the world and has built quite the following on both Facebook and Instagram. He played classics like “Let it Be” as well as less popular ballads (haha!) like “Baby Shark” for his little groupies. The little girls were so smitten! It was the cutest to see their faces all starry-eyed!

Gabriel Storm at Sawgrass Country Club Sawgrass Country Club Family Campfire Gabriel Storm at Sawgrass Country Club

My boys enjoyed the S’mores (great idea, Lacie!)! She does such a good job coordinating recreation activities like the campfire, themed Kids Night Out, and the various camps throughout the year. I really could go on and on about her. Every time I see her, there’s a smile on her face and a pep in her step! As summer approaches, look for more info about the weekly camps, and sign the kiddos up! The picture below shows Nate getting the fire ready!

Sawgrass Country Club Family Campfire

The family campfire was a great way to gear up for summer and it makes me day dream about all the memories to be made in our slice of paradise in the coming months.

Give Golf a Go with Laura Baugh

“Just do it.” It’s a phrase Nike has coined and trademarked to not only sell gear but to encourage generations to conquer fear and perform at their highest levels.

Brittany Darling & Laura Baugh

Today, it was my mantra to try a sport that I don’t have any confidence in….golf. My husband is a good golfer, and he would LOVE for me to learn to play. It’s time we can spend together, we can plan vacations around golf courses, and we can take the boys out as a family as they get older. What wife can complain about that?!?!

He bought me golf clubs three years ago, and I took a few lessons then. But it never really took because I was working at the time and didn’t have as much free time to learn. Now I do…and thank goodness for a fantastic female golf pro, Laura Baugh. She was friendly, kind, and VERY patient with me. We went through a few of the basics, then she let me start swinging!

Y’all…It was so fun, but I’m glad that the range was less crowded that day. I missed the ball completely, topped the ball, hit the ground with my club, etc. Of all the ways you can hit the ball wrong, I did them all!

But, there were a couple of beautiful shots that kind of went straight…haha! I just giggled and kept going. You have to start somewhere, right?

Brittany Darling & Laura Baugh

Beginner tips for success!

Over the course of our lesson, Laura gave me several beginner “tips for success” to keep in mind as I get going in the sport of golf:

  • Figure out your pre-shot routine, and stick to it. Whether you do normal things like look at the target, the ball, take a deep breath to release tension, lay your club behind the ball, and swing….or, if you sweet talk your club or the ball, blink 10 times,
  • Your weight shifts from right to left as you swing. The weight transition was an easy concept, but harder in practice. But thinking of the basics of shifting weight was a great start. We practiced shifting my hips from right to left to get the general motion down.

Brittany Darling & Laura Baugh

  • Stick your booty out! Laura said that stance is important. Stand athletically with knees bent and your booty out! This will set you up for a nice loose swing.
  • Practice punch shots, then go to full swings. Laura said this was great for getting the feel of the contact range in your swing. Punch shots help you make contact in the middle of the swing. You start the same as a regular swing, go only halfway through the backswing, then forward about halfway into the follow through. For a newbie like myself, this was a great exercise in condensing the swing.

Brittany Darling & Laura Baugh

  • Finish your swing by turning your body all the way until your belt faces your target. My shots kept veering right, and she said this is one reason why. If I turned my body all the way, my shots would go straighter! Personally, I think a glass of wine would make my shots go straighter!

Brittany Darling & Laura Baugh

  • When practicing at the range, draw a straight line in the grass from the ball toward your target, and from the ball back to guide your backswing. The line forward and back should be straight. The goal of the line is to guide your backswing and your follow through. It’s a visual cue for your eyes and hands to follow.
  • Have fun! Be sure to let loose and smile! And if you’re nervous, grab a friend and go to one of the clinics in the afternoons. Clinics are every Monday afternoon from 2:00-3:00 and from 3:30-4:30. Each week focuses on a different aspect of the game and the cost is $20 per person. Sign up on Foretees!

Brittany Darling & Laura Baugh

I had a ball, and I definitely plan on taking more lessons in the spring and summer. In Laura’s words, “All you need to do is get to a place where you have fun playing the game.” This could mean that you take lessons every week and become a very good golfer over time. Or, if you’re like me, you take a set of lessons to get decent enough to play with your husband every once in a while and simply enjoy the time spent together. Whatever your desire is, just do it!

Chili Cook-Off 2019!

Cheers to another successful Chili Cook-Off! This year marks the 13th year of this fun-filled event at Sawgrass. Members came out in their best western wear to support their favorite chili chef in the competition of the century! Not really, but the competition was fierce!

Sawgrass Chili Cook-off

There was more than just chili…..delicious appetizers, western-themed drinks, live music, a mechanical bull, a hot chili eating contest, and FRIENDS made this a fun evening!

Chili Cook-Off

The main event was the chili contest. I was so excited to try my hand at chili as a contestant. I’m absolutely NOT surprised that I didn’t win! It might have won a soup contest, but it wasn’t thick enough to be a chili. On to the better chilis…. There were so many different flavors of chili. Some were very “tomato-y,” others had a sweetness to them. One of my favorites was one with black beans. My 5-year-old, Wyatt, asked for more of that one, too!

The winning chili was made by Ron Heller, and Best in Show went to Tommy Turrentine and Sarah Cook. Both chilis were excellent!

Sawgrass Chili Cook-off

Sawgrass Chili Cook-off

Hot Chili Eating Contest

Just watching this set my mouth on fire. The chefs prepared 8 courses, and the contestants made it through 6 of them!

Sawgrass Chili Cook-off

There were a surprising amount of brave young members who signed up. Four contestants were knocked out by round one, Thai Chili Noodles. Other rounds included fiery items like Hell’s Graveyard Wings, Carolina Reaper Candied Bacon, Jalapeno Popper filled with a Ghost Pepper & Serrano Cream Cheese, and Espresso Ghost Pepper Chipotle Truffle. In round five, Madison Schemitz dropped out leaving two members, Mike O’Malley and Chelsea Karol, left to test their taste buds.

Sawgrass Chili Cook-off

Mike finally threw in the towel in round 6 and Chelsea won! If you see her around the club, be sure to offer her congrats!

Sawgrass Chili Cook-off

Food and Entertainment

The appetizers were so amazing! From the corn cakes and cowboy cocktail to the mini steak biscuits and chili dogs, the chefs at Sawgrass put so much effort into the menu and the eating experience. My favorite appetizer was the mini herbed biscuits with chicken fried steak. The biscuit was soft and flaky while the steak was tender and full of flavor. My boys liked the chili dogs the best, and they were just the right size. Sawgrass Chili Cook-off Sawgrass Chili Cook-off Sawgrass Chili Cook-off Sawgrass Chili Cook-off   

What they really liked was the mechanical bull! I bet they rode it 20 times! The guy running it was great, he was easy on the kiddos. It was a popular attraction for the kids, and I think they did better balancing than the adults I saw! 

Sawgrass Chili Cook-off Sawgrass Chili Cook-off

The entertainment and atmosphere were great. The decorations were top notch, and live musicians, Mountain Brew, played country classics for members to dance the night away. I ran into members that I play tennis with and members I see around the fitness center. And I even made a few new friends!

Sawgrass Chili Cook-offSawgrass Chili Cook-off Sawgrass Chili Cook-off Sawgrass Chili Cook-off

Cheers y’all! See you at next year’s chili cook-off!

Fit Fuel Meals and Fitness Hacks for 2019!

In our last post, we talked about the cardiovascular fit test with Randy. It is a cardio test designed to find your unique starting point as far as cardiovascular health. I really enjoyed the test, and it showed me what kind of shape I’m in!

Today’s post will focus on food. We’re giving you a few food hacks and tips to make choosing healthier options easier, including the Fit Fuel Meals that Sawgrass offers.

Food is fuel!

Food is fuel for your body, but it is certainly meant to be enjoyed! There are those around us with the culinary skills to create delicious combinations of flavors, both savory and sweet. Those people should call me to sample any new recipes they try….I love food! Haha! I grew up in the south, the land of fried food and desserts where we all needed a nap after a meal!

fruit

It’s totally ok to love food. It provides ways to connect with one another, take care of the ones we love, and it creates the perfect atmosphere to recap our days and make memories. One of our favorite past times is telling corny jokes at the dinner table. We have heard thousands of knock knock jokes around our table, some of them (created by the mind of a 5-year-old) making no sense at all! But it’s the bonding time that matters.

So, yes, food is meant to be a positive experience. But, I want to propose we also look at food as fuel. Calories are simply fuel your body needs to function. Did you know that your brain needs on average of 330 calories a day to function properly? And it needs fat to operate at an optimal level. If we take the emotions out of food and look at it as fuel, we can better decide what to put in our bodies.

Fit Fuel Meals

Our first hack or tip is Fit Fuel Meals. If you haven’t tried these meals, you are missing out! They are easy, delicious, and affordable. Our club WANTS to promote healthy eating, and offering meals that are fully-cooked and ready to heat up is a great solution. I ordered several last week including, turkey meatloaf with potatoes and green beans, Thai beef with pad thai noodles and veggies, and Chinese chicken with rice and veggies. All three were great, but my favorite was the turkey meatloaf! It was full of flavor and heated up nicely!

Our weeks are generally crazy with work schedules, after school activities, and evening commitments, so anything I can do to ensure we have a healthy balanced meal is a win in our house!

The new menu comes out every Tuesday, and orders are due on Friday at 5pm. Take a chance and order a few meals this week! I bet you’ll love them!

Fitness hacks

I love life hacks! There are tons of people who are way more clever than I am thinking up creative ways to use things we already have or creating new devices we just can’t live without. The hacks and tips below are meant to help you choose wisely while still enjoying the food you put in your body! Let me say that I am NOT a nutritionist, and these tips are things that I have learned over the years in order to take care of my body. Please consult a nutritionist or your doctor if you have questions. Let’s get started!

  • Pay attention to portions. We tend to eat bigger portions of meat and smaller portions of veggies. Let me encourage you to reverse this! Is the chicken breast you’re eating one serving or two? Why not you and your partner share one chicken breast then add heaping servings of carrots and cauliflower?
  • Eat meals on a smaller plate. I know it sounds silly, but you will get a smaller portion if you are eating on a smaller plate! We have been doing this for years, and it has really helped our portion control.
  • Go meatless for one or two nights per week. Nervous about not getting enough protein in your diet? No worries, eat veggies that have more protein those nights. For example, did you know that both spinach and asparagus each have protein? If you know you’re skipping meat at night, you can eat eggs for breakfast or lunch to balance protein intake as well.

smoothie

  • Get on the smoothie bandwagon. We have a Vitamix at home, but a blender or Magic Bullet will work great! Smoothies are easy, filling, and delicious! Add protein, veggies, and fruit in about any combination, and you’ve got a whole meal! Modern Honey has some great smoothie recipes. Here’s a quick link to the recipes, but this blogger struggles with autoimmune disorders, and if you struggle with that as well, you’ll really like the full post.
  • Love chicken salad, but not the extra calories in mayo? Try using plain greek yogurt instead of mayo! It will add a bit of tang to your dish but will still be creamy and delicious. Plus, you will get more protein.
  • Hummus can be so versatile! Try mixing it in with sauces to thicken without using heavy cream. Or, try topping your next salad with hummus instead of dressing. If you insist on dressing, try to make your own at home. It generally takes less than five ingredients and will be much better for your body than store-bought.
  • Make eggplant ‘bacon.’ I found this recipe that I’m dying to try! Just slice eggplant extra thin, brush the slices with olive oil, sprinkle them with coconut sugar, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and sea salt, then bake at 275°F until crisp and browned (about an hour and 45 minutes). Recipe courtesy of Jackie Newgent. Find more recipes here!

Now you’ve got some quick tips and tricks to help you stay on top of your fitness goals for 2019!

New Year, New You – Cardiovascular Fit Test with Randy

It’s 2019! With the start of every new year comes new promises we make to ourselves. We want to be healthier. We want to be happier. We want to be more organized (or is that just me?).

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

Promises mean new goals, and goals mean different actionable lists that will accomplish said goals. After all, if you do the same things you did last year and the year before, why would anything change?

Goals don’t have to be as big as traveling the world or losing 100 pounds (although those are attainable). They can be smaller goals like losing 30 pounds in a year, or traveling to three new countries in 2019. There is excitement in planning and imagining what life will be like once you achieve your goal. What will you be able to do when you’re 30 pounds lighter: Wear that little black dress on date night? Play soccer with the grandkids, or coach their team? Go for long walks on the beach without fatiguing? Travel the world with your partner with the energy required?

It’s really about setting goals to achieve the lifestyle you want. For me, I want to be in better shape to chase down tennis balls and be able to stay in long rallies without getting tired, which means getting myself in better cardio shape and building muscle. Here’s where the Cardiovascular Fit Test comes in.

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

Randy Woodrum, the Director of Fitness, developed this test to help members condition their bodies to meet their goals, whether it’s simply to lose a bit of weight or to live longer by getting their heart in better shape.

The Cardiovascular Fit Test

To get into better cardiovascular shape, you have to know where you are at the beginning. The Cardiovascular Fit Test that Randy has created is designed to get your heart rate up using both speed and the incline (he went all the way up to 15!) on the treadmill. Next, you get recover time where he lowers the incline back to zero. Finally, he drives your heart rate back up with running. The time it takes your heart rate to go up, then back down, then up and back down is a good indication of how “fit” your heart is. He watched my heart rate the whole time and noted the number every couple of minutes.

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

Don’t be scared if running isn’t your thing. If you have knee or joint issues, Randy can use a stationary bike or an elliptical for the test.

By the end, I was tired! 40 minutes of incline walking and running was tough! No pain, no gain, right?

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

The results

It can be scary to be evaluated. Randy did a good job of coaching me through and reiterating that everyone has a starting point. From the starting point, he creates a cardio program that fits ME, and we set expectations on following through. What resulted was a personalized 30-minute cardio workout routine specifically for my starting point.

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

The workout pictured below is a list of intervals designed to burn through my sugars (the food I ate that morning), then go into fat burn. There was a point in the test where I got my “second wind,” and this is the point where my body switched from burning my sugars to burning fat. It’s important to get to this point and stay there for a period of time if your goal is to reduce fat (isn’t everyone’s?!?!?).

workout routine

Randy also told me that the routine will change over time. After going through it 5-6 times, my body will adjust, and we will need to make it harder…YAY! Progress! There is room on the printout he gives to note things like average heart rate, peak heart rate, etc. This data is gold! If you can track it, you can improve it. You’ll be able to see over time how your endurance is changing. Therefore, how your heart health is improving.

The bottom line here is don’t be nervous to get your starting point. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but there was a plan to build it and milestones to get through. The same applies to your health. You will see results, but give yourself time and celebrate the small accomplishments along the way!

See Randy at the Fitness Center, and get your plan started!