Costa Rican Getaway

Costa Rican Getaway

We FINALLY  did it!! My husband & I took a week long vacation without the kids!

I turned 40 in December & really wanted to get away to somewhere warm & new to us! We originally had planned on another couple joining us but they couldn’t make it so we decided to go on our own!

Thankfully I have the BEST parents ever & they agreed to watch our two boys while we were gone for the week. There was a lot to do for the kids with homework & running them to activities but they did a great job & my kids had a blast!

We started by flying out of Seattle with a couple stops in California & then on to Liberia, Costa Rica. I tried to sneak my sunscreen through security but got caught & had to give it up! Sunscreens expensive in Costa Rica so I was bummed that we’d have to buy some once we got there.

 

After a VERY long day we landed in Liberia & a hotel shuttle picked us up. We stayed our first night at the Hilton Garden Inn at the airport since we didn’t want to drive late at night.

The next day we got up early, picked up a rental car at Vamos, and hit the road.  We had a three hour ride ahead of us to Mount Arenal.

Mount Arenal  is a volcano that last erupted in 2010.  It’s not currently erupting but the area is full of birds, animals, and jungle.  The drive there  had lots of twists and turns. We had to pass a lot of cars but the scenery was beautiful with mountains, jungle, and the huge lake.

After our long drive we arrived at Volcano Lodge and Springs.  This hotel had a large pool and several pools that were hot springs.

 

We loved our room that looked out onto the garden & there was a creek behind our room with lots of wildlife. The hotel also included breakfast every morning  and I loved how they set up fruit for birds to feed on so you could watch the birds while you ate breakfast.

 

 

Around Arenal we hiked to the La Fortuna Waterfall  where we climbed down 500 steps to the beautiful waterfall and river. It was fun to watch spring breakers hang out in the river as we dipped our toes in the water and ate some snacks.

 

 

We also went to Sky Trek where we went on superfast zip lines! I kept saying “please don’t die” as I was flying through the air! It was much faster than the zip lines in Whistler that  I had gone on before. Mark loved all of it!  As we were taking the tram up the mountain we also saw Howler monkeys swinging in the trees. The guide said they hadn’t seen monkeys for a long time so we were very lucky!

 

 

Another day we went to Arenal Observatory Lodge.  The road was incredibly bumpy to get there.  The grounds here were amazing and we hiked for several hours and saw an animal related to the raccoon. We also saw lots of birds and we absolutely loved having lunch at the lodge while we looked out at the volcano.

 

 

Each afternoon, after some activities, we went back to the hotel where we lounged by the pool and hot springs and had cocktails.  It felt so amazing to lay out in the hot sun and relax!

Since the hotel included breakfast we ate lunch and dinner at local restaurants. My favorite way to find out which restaurants to go to is to check Trip Advisor.  We mostly ate a protein with salad or veggies and rice and beans. I found that the food was pretty healthy overall  and probably my favorite meal was fish tacos in La Fortuna.

 

After three nights at the volcano we then headed out and drove to the beach.

We stayed at the beach Playa Grande and our hotel was called Hotel Cantatana. We loved where we stayed! The beach was three minutes away down a cute path and we were away from the busy tourist town of Tamarindo. Our room overlooked the small pool and the hotel only had five rooms. Breakfast was included every morning and each afternoon the girls opened up a smoothie bar. We loved how the hotel felt like a cozy bed and breakfast.

 

 

The beach at Playa grande was amazing! It was incredibly shallow and ideal for surfing and boogie boarding. We attempted to surf our first day and failed miserably! So while Mark continued to try to surf, I traded my surfboard in for a boogie board and have the best time!

 

 

The next day we took a small boat across the river (where there are crocodiles) to the town of Tamarindo. The town was crazy busy, full of spring breakers, and it was a tourist trap! As soon as we saw the town we were so thankful we hadn’t stayed there!

We bought a few souvenirs including bird whistles and a stuffed sloth for Reid and then we headed out to lunch and had the best food ever at Pangas Beach Club.  We sat in comfy chairs underneath a tree, while Howler Monkeys climbed overhead. We had a beautiful view of the river and the ocean. Mark had an amazing lunch of smoked salmon lasagna while I had seared tuna salad.

 

 

 

That afternoon we hit the beach, played on the boogie boards, and grab some wine while we watched the sunset. We made it a priority to watch the sunset every single evening & they were just as good as the Hawaii sunsets!

 

One day we decided to drive to Hacienda Guachapelin which is a place where you can do a full day’s worth of adventure! It was a 2 hour drive from the beach but we had so much fun! First, we went horseback riding through the mountains, next we went innertubing down a fast river with rapids, then we had lunch, and last we went zip lining and rappelling in a canyon.  It was only $90 for the whole day and totally worth it!

That night we drove to a little Italian restaurant called Cafe Del Pueblo and have the best pizza and homemade pasta. We even met a nice family there – they were from Kansas & we overheard them joking about Nebraska!

On our last day we decided to completely relax. We started out with a nice breakfast at the hotel and then decided to drive north to check out Playa Conchal.  We went to this beach because we heard you could get $20 massages and we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was true!  It felt so amazing to get a massage right next to the roaring waves. Mark and I both enjoyed it!

 

 

After our massage we hung out at the beach for a little while but it was super touristy and lots of vendors were coming by asking us to buy stuff!  It was super annoying so we headed out back to Playa Grande and went to lunch at Taco Star.  We went to this place twice because it was a little taco shack that had really good food and it was right next to the beach.

 

 

Our last afternoon we spent boogie boarding which was super fun! We spent three hours boogie boarding and my stomach hurt so much!  That evening was our last nice dinner so we went to the Rip Jack Inn Restaurant where Mark had steak and I ate shrimp. We had a few good laughs because we were watching this guy dance around with his beer!  On our way back to the hotel we were so surprised to see an ant eater with a baby on its back crossing the road!

 

 

We had the best trip! It was a very long flight home but I will always cherish the memories of hanging out with Mark and remembering why we are best friends!  It was so great to see our kids and we hope to go back to Costa Rica next year for two weeks. We know our kids would absolutely love it and it would be the best family vacation!

 

Have you been to Costa Rica? What part? We’re planning on going back next year &  would love to know your favorite place and advice!

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BEST Steak Marinade

Best Steak Marinade

This is the ONLY & BEST steak marinade I use because it’s really just that good!

The sun has been coming out lately & it’s inching towards spring which means I’m outside cooking dinner on the grill.

Now, you definitely do not have to grill your steaks outside … under the broiler or a grill pan would work just as well. But I personally love the flavor after cooking on a grill!

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder

3 T Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 t ground white pepper

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Place the soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and pepper in a blender.

2. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds until thoroughly mixed.
3. Pour marinade over desired type of meat.

4. Cover, and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Cook meat as desired.

Enjoy!

Have you tried this recipe? What did you think? Comment below!

Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/143809/best-steak-marinade-in-existence/

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Kauai Family Trip

Kauai Family Trip

 

I haven’t used my blog for family highlights but I’m going to start!!

We recently took a trip to Kauai since my husband had a conference (really rough, right?) so we were super excited to tag along & extend our trip! My parents also came with us!

None of us had been to Kauai before & I had heard sooooo many great things about the island that we couldn’t wait to check it out!

I’m a huge travel researcher & before we go on any trip I have a general itinerary planned along with restaurants we want to try out! I joke that when I grow up I want to plan trips & lead tour groups!

My research included “The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook”, TripAdvisor forums,  & I turned to my Facebook friends for “must sees” on Kauai. I got quite the list!

Off to the airport!!

We were all packed up, got to the airport in plenty of time & as we were going through security my oldest got randomly selected to get searched. They did a test on his hands & put the paper through some kind if machine and HE TESTED POSITIVE FOR EXPLOSIVES!!

Soooooo … I got a full body pat down & then they had to go through ALL our luggage! Still have no clue why he tested positive for explosives but thankfully after all this hassle they let us go & we made it to the plane on time!!

Our days in Kauai!!

Ah! Do you love sunshine & warm weather? Like, it just makes you so happy? Me too!!

As soon as we walked off the plane I was just so thrilled to be able to pack my coat away & wear a tank top! I was so thankful for sunshine + warm weather + Gods beautiful creation the entire trip!

One of the first things we noticed as we waited for our rental car were the chickens everywhere!! Bright, colorful roosters were all over the place & we learned that they have no predators in Kauai so they just keep multiplying!!

The first night we stayed near the airport at the Hilton Garden Inn since we couldn’t check into our condo in Poipu until the next day. We immediately dropped our bags off in our room & headed down to the beach! Just hearing those waves crashing at sunset was awesome!

After we ate dinner at the hotel (food was so-so) & got fun drinks, including Mai Tais for the adults, we were exhausted & went to bed.

The first day the kids spent the morning swimming in the pool & beach and I worked out! I have all my workouts on my iPad through the Beachbody On Demand app. My goal was to workout most mornings & then drink Shakeology for breakfast. I was pretty proud of myself for doing workouts even on vacation!

We checked out & stopped at Wal-Mart so we could stock up on some groceries for the week! Thankfully Wal-Mart carried boogie boards too so we were all set!

After grabbing some groceries, we stopped at Kauai Beer Company for lunch & had some REALLY good food including homemade mac & cheese for the kids & a fresh green salad with ginger & fried avocado for me!

The really great thing about this trip is that my parents we’re able to join us! We picked them up from the airport & drove to our condo rental in Poipu. We rented our condo through Nihi Kai. It was a three bedroom, ground floor unit, over looking the ocean. While the condo was dated & the beds were super hard, we absolutely LOVED our view!

Each morning I woke up early & worked out to Beachbody On Demand. I was able to pull up any workout through an app. It’s really easy to workout every day when you have this view!

My days are jumbling together so these were some of the highlights:

Poipu Beach: This beach was just a 5 minute walk outside our door & was perfect for the kids! Nice sandy beach + boogie boarding! We spent hours here & I actually got to relax & read a book!

Sunsets: The sunsets in Hawaii are just amazingly beautiful! Each night a group of people would sit outside our condo with drinks in hand to enjoy the show! Some of those sunsets even got applause! I love how everyone make sure watching the sunset each night a ritual. What a perfect way to wind down each day!

 

Wimea Canyon: Called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” this was high on the list! The drive up takes about an hour & a half but we stopped at overlooks & waterfall sightings! We had planned on some hiking but once we started out it was really steep & muddy so we opted for lunch in the car!

 

Napali Coast Boat Tour: This a great 5 1/2 hour boat tour! We had to get up early to get on the boat & I was worried someone might get sea sickness but everyone did GREAT! We booked our tour through Captain Andys because they got really fantastic reviews on TripAdvisor. The highlights included seeing whales, the best snorkeling of the whole trip, & lots of dolphins! The scenery of the coastline was just incredible from the boat & we ate a yummy BBQ lunch too!

 

Lydgate Beach: This beach was right next to the Hilton so we visited here the first day! We loved it so much that we came back two more times! It had a protected area which was perfect for snorkeling & then there was another section with large waves where the kids could boogie board!

Driving North: Since our condo was down with in Poipu we wanted to check out some of the beaches up north. It was a little bit of a drive but so beautiful! It was so green & the mountains near the ocean were awesome!

We drove all the way to the end of the road which is where the Napali hike starts at Ke’e Beach. Hoping to hike a little bit, we soon realized that was NOT going to happen. There was at least a mile and a half car line up & no parking spots. Then we thought we’d hang out on the beach … nope! Lifeguards said no going in the water because the waves were too rough!

Soooo…. we drove to the St. Regis (which is amazingly beautiful) & ate lunch overlooking the pool & ocean.

After a great lunch we jumped in the car & snorkeled again at Lydgate Beach. I loved that my dad was totally into snorkeling with my boys!

Gaylords Plantation: This stop was not originally planned but I’m glad we did it! Lucas (my oldest) & Mark (my husband) decided to go zip lining since Lucas was celebrating his 10th birthday! They had the best time!

While they were ziplining we decided to go on the train ride at  Gaylords Plantation. It was a great tour that talked about the early days of the plantation, all the different fruit tree so growing on the land, & we stopped to feed pigs, goats, & donkeys. Reid loved feeding the animals!


 

Ho’opi’i Falls: I read about this hike in our Kauai guidebook so we drove up north to check it out! It was a little tricky finding the trailhead & when we asked a resident she wasn’t too friendly in pointing  it out BUT we were happy to get started! This trail is 2 miles round trip & perfect for kids & my parents who don’t love hiking!

The first thing my oldest discovered was a HUGE toad! He was actually able to grab it & pose for a pic!

The trail went through jungle-like vegetation along a river & it was beautiful!

After a half mile or so we arrived at our first waterfall! Reid cracks me up every time we hike because he gets so happy!!🤗

After that we were a little nervous because there was a NO TRESPASSING sign posted & we read that there’s a resident that does not like hikers near his property. We ignored the sign & kept on trekking along to the second waterfall which was as equally as amazing as the first!

 

If you’ve made it this far then you’re so nice to read about our family trip! We really had the best time! AH, I’m such a good mom on vacation – less stress, less crazy, sunshine, and fun! I told the kids we should just homeschool them & travel!

Too bad we actually had to go home & get back to normal life!!

Until next time Kauai…❤️

 

 

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Free Instant Pot & Crockpot Recipe Group

FREE

Instant Pot & Crockpot

Recipe Group

 

It’s the New Year & you’ve got a resolution to eat healthier!!

Plus, you might have a new Instant Pot & want to try it out!!

I’m hosting a FREE FIVE DAY – INSTANT POT & CROCK POT CHALLENGE GROUP for my friends & followers!! This is an opportunity for you to learn how to make healthy + quick meals that your whole family will love!

You will be added to a private Facebook group this Thursday to meal plan & prep. I will provide the meal plan & recipes. Then we will eat our healthy dinners Sunday – Thursday (January 15 – 19).

Can we all give high fives for having dinners planned ahead of time?!!!

💥Starts Sunday, January 15.💥

Please fill out this simple form & I’ll add you to the group:

Click HERE to join!

Also, if we are not already friends on Facebook please add me so I can add you to the group! www.facebook.com/KendraKMaraman

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Super Quick Blender Muffins

Super Quick

Blender Muffins

 

If you’re looking for a healthy + easy muffin recipe that’s a hit with your kids then try these! I love that they contain no white flour & have Greek yogurt for some added protein. My kiddos don’t even realize these are good for them since I add a few chocolate chips on top!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups old fashioned oats
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add a few chocolate chips on top!

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 400ºF. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

2. Combine the oats, bananas, applesauce, yogurt, brown sugar, egg, honey, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a blender. Pulse 10-15 times, or until the batter is smooth. It doesn’t need to be completely smooth, just well combined.

3. Add the batter to the liners. You want them to be about 3/4 the way full. Add chocolate chips to the top of the batter.

4. Bake for 14 to 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean.
Adapted from iheartnaptime.net

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Healthy Instant Pot Recipes

Healthy Instant Pot Recipes

 

Recently I celebrated my 40th birthday & I received an Instant Pot! Have you heard of it?

It’s a pressure cooker, crock pot, rice cooker, yogurt maker, etc. all in one! I already own a crockpot so wasn’t really sure I needed something else but my friends raved about the Instant Pot so I figured I needed one too!!

So far I’ve owned it for two weeks & have probably used it eight times! It’s pretty amazing, especially the pressure cooker option.

You can cook frozen chicken breasts in 30 minutes & they’re juicy & not dried out like slow cookers! I made a pork roast that had such great flavor!

Here’s a list of recipes that are all healthy & 21 Day Fix approved!

Shredded Chicken

Barbacoa Beef

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

White Bean Chicken Chili

Hard Boiled Eggs

Skinny Sloppy Joes

Butternut Squash Soup

White Bean Chicken Chili

 

Can’t wait to add more recipes to this list!!

Whats your favorite Instant Pot recipe? I know there are SO many creative uses for it! Some of my friends have even made yogurt with it!

Follow all my simple + healthy recipes on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KendraKMaraman) & Instagram (www.instagram.com/bounce_back_fitness)

 

 

 

 

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30 Day Results – Core De Force

30 Day Results

Core De Force

 

This is Day 30 of Core De Force!!

This is never a comfortable thing … putting a pic of yourself up for all to see.

I wasn’t even sure if I should post it because I’m definitely self conscious BUT I am proud of these last 30 days!

It wasn’t some huge physical transformation that I was expecting & I didn’t lose much in pounds but I feel a ton better & my clothes are looser!

Yesterday I heard someone say that as a coach it’s very easy to tell other people what to do but are YOU walking the walk?

These last 30 days I can definitely say YES!!

Results after 30 days:
Pounds lost: 1 lb.
Inches lost: 5.5

Every day I did Core De Force I felt powerful & confident & strong! It was one of the most soul strengthening workouts I’ve ever done.

Punching mental negativity in the face!!

Here are my non-scale victories:
** Went outside my comfort zone & tried a new program (which I actually loved!)
** Saw a change in my waist/Core
** Stronger upper body (doing full body push ups!)
** Planned out meals better & reduced snacking + chocolate chip habit

Are you ready to make a change this January?
Claim your spot in a fitness + nutrition accountability group!

Click  HERE to apply & I’ll send you the details!!

 

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FREE Water Challenge

FREE Water Challenge

FREE Water Challenge
FREE Water Challenge

Who needs a simple + FUN way to add a little “healthy” to your holidays?!

Do you struggle to get ALL your water in every day?💦

Join this group to complete a daily water challenge + earn prizes!!

🎄Starts Monday, December 12🎄

💥💥5 Prize Giveaways!💥💥

Click HERE to join!!

 

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Stuffed Chicken Sweet Potatoes

Stuffed Chicken Sweet Potatoes

Stuffed Chicken Sweet Potatoes

 

This recipe is SUPER easy & can be made for a quick lunch or dinner!

Theres no way my kiddos would touch this so I make it for lunch & enjoy every last bite!

On the weekends I cook several chicken breasts & use them for lunches throughout the week. They’re great for salads, healthy pizza, tacos, etc. It’s super easy to pack to work too!

You can also bake 2-3 sweet potatoes ahead of time.

INGREDIENTS:

sweet potatoes

chopped chicken 1/2 cup

Greek yogurt 1/4 cup

black beans 1/4 cup

1 t cumin

salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Bake sweet potatoes until done.

2. Mix chopped chicken, Greek yogurt, black beans, cumin, salt & pepper together in a bowl.

3. Split open sweet potato & top with chicken mixture.

Enjoy!!

Did you know I run a free health challenge on Facebook each month? Follow my page at www.facebook.com/KendraKMaraman to join the next group!

 

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Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Craving chocolate BIG TIME!!

This week I started a new workout program called Core De Force. I’m completely committed to 30 days of workouts, healthy eating, & an online accountability group! I’m LOVING the workouts so far (MMA style kickboxing!) & I am so sore! But it’s all good! It’s easy to get complacent & bored with workouts so this is the perfect jump start I need!

Every morning I drink a meal replacement shake called Shakeology & love the vegan chocolate flavor but come late afternoon I crave chocolate! Who doesn’t, right?

Usually a piece of dark chocolate hits the spot but I wanted to try something new! Chocolate + healthy was the goal & this recipe is perfect!! Chocolate Chia Pudding!

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Adapted from “Fixate”

Serves 4-5

INGREDIENTS:

5 T cocoa powder

2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk

3 T maple syrup

1/3 cup chia seeds

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine cocoa powder, unsweetened almond/coconut milk, maple syrup, Chia seeds, & vanilla in a large bowl.

2. Whisk until cocoa powder is combined well. ~ 2 minutes

3. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight

4. Divide between serving bowls & top with nuts or chopped fruit.

Let me know what you think! Have you made Chia Seed pudding before?

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