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Jen Emmert

She lost 100 pounds and wants to help make a healthier world.

Rain makes the garden grow.

I want to be a gardner. A garden with an abundance of fresh vegetables growing all summer long. I want to wake up on a sunny Sunday morning to birds chirping, begin brewing a donut appropriate blend of hazelnut coffee and while it's dripping away, head out to my backyard to fill a basket full of fresh produce I've grown myself.

But let's face it. I don't have a green thumb. I have a black thumb. When plants realize they've come into my posession, I'm sure they cry plant-tears. I kill plastic plants.

Every week, as I stroll through the produce isle, I cring at the prices of produce. Eating healthy is expensive. It's a constant struggle every week to balance my desire to eat healthy with the desire keep a positive balance in our checking account. I suppose I'm not alone in facing this difficult balance.

Luckily, for people like me, there is the below event.



I'm planning on swinging by, for not only the sampling of nutritious foods but more importantly, some tips on possible gardening options now that warmer weather is finally here.

Happy gardening, friends.

Channeling my inner Mighty Duck.

I had been looking online at different workout classes I could take around the metro and while some of them looked exciting, I wasn't in the mood for an actual workout class. I wanted to get a workout in on Friday but the traditional workout of the gym wasn't going to do. I had been to the gym six of the seven days previous and needed a change of scenery.

I thought about things to do in Minnesota. Healthy things to do, active things to do. It was a last minute decision, to go ice skating. I called my sisters and asked them to bring the kids. For some reason, it's less intimidating if there are kids around.

Something about their enthusiasm is contagious. My niece, Kayla helped me lace up the $2.00 rented ice skates.

We all met at the Maple Grove Ice Arena for open skate at 7:15pm on Friday. I hadn't been ice skating since I was really young. REALLY YOUNG. 

Skates laced, I stood up and took a deep breath attempting to channel my inner Mighty Duck. This was either going to be a total failure and I'd walk away with all-over bruises or I'd find a way to keep myself up-right. Luckily for me, it was the latter.

Oh you bet I held onto that wall for as long as I could! I wanted to let go, push myself to the center of the rink and spin into a double jump Russian squat but I decided I should probably figure out how to let go of the wall first.

Around the time I was psyching myself up to let go of the wall, my nephew Colton and my sister Alicia came up behind me. I figured then was as good of time as any to make my ice skating debut so I grabbed on to Colton, wrapped my arms around him, and with a huge breath, pushed myself away from the wall and prayed to God.

I held onto Colton while he squealed in delight as the wind blew through his hair and we both skated across the center of the ice. I opened my eyes once I realized I should probably make sure we don't collide into anyone. The skating rink was full of adults and children. Colton screamed "AGAIN! AGAIN!" so I fumbled to turn us around and pushed us back to the other side of the rink where my sister and my nieces Kayla and Kenzie were.

Kayla was giggling with excitement, Colton was screaming "MORE! MORE!" Becoming more confident, my sister, Alicia and I went back and forth with the kids. Music started playing over head and Kayla screamed "Oh, yeah!" and started bobbing and wiggling her little butt. Thirty minutes passed and I found myself working up a sweat. My legs were getting a workout and I could feel a little soreness in my arms from helping the kids skate.

I was surprised at how easy ice skating was. By no means was I twirling and doing fancy footwork but I was ice skating. Using an online calculator I found (here), it says I burned 231 calories in the 30 minutes I was there. More importantly though, it was an active Friday night out with my sisters, nieces and nephew.

I won't be joining the U.S. Figure Skating team any time soon but who knows, I may find myself at an ice arena sooner rather than later.

At the Maple Grove Ice Arena, it is $5.50 for non-residents, $4.50 for residents. The rink is open year round but check the online calendar for open skate days & hours. If you aren't close to Maple Grove, go HERE for a rink finder website to locate a rink in your area. A lot of rinks open year round. Ice skating makes for a great family night, friends night or date night activity!

Maybe we won't be included in the cast when they finally decide to come out with Mighty Ducks 3 but we can still get some fun ice skating in!