My Food Diary

‘1st Place Families’ Articles

Meet Team Arnie!!!

Meet the Arneson sisters!  These active siblings love to spend their spring and fall playing softball for the township of LaFayette in Chippewa Falls, WI. Their dad, Shane, has coached both girls’ teams!  Most of the year, the girls played on different teams in different leagues.  Kelsey (11) and Gretchen (10) were both pitchers for their respective teams.  However, going into their first tournament this past fall, Kelsey needed a catcher.  Since this was a team made up of players not on their regular team, Gretchen reluctantly agreed to catch for her older sister.  It was one of those mommy moments where Mom was just SURE it was going to lead to a not-so-pretty sisterly fight.  Much to Mom’s surprise though – Gretchen quite possibly found her niche as catcher.  She was fantastic!!  Her years of watching the older girls play definitely sunk in, and she was right on for every play!  Friends and teammates have now nicknamed the sisters “Team Arnie!”  Kelsey even ended up pitching 17 innings with 31 strike outs…AMAZING.  Talk about a work out!  What the Arneson family loves most is that the team has really promoted total family involvement.  Parents, players and siblings are involved, practices are many and long, but the coaches know how to keep the girls active, interested and involved.  It truly is a life sport and they are gaining so much more than just the technical part of softball – they are learning to improve their personal skills as well as learning to be a team player and how important family and being active are in our daily lives.  Way to go Team Arnie!  Keep on keepin’ on!!!  YAY!



The Smiths are Winners cuz they TRI harder!!

Emily (9) and Ben (7) Smith recently TRI-ed their best while participating in the Oregon Kids triathlon in Oregon, WI.  Mom and Dad cheered them on while they swam, biked and ran their hearts out!  This super-fun event is hosted by the Oregon Community Swim Club, and is just for kids ages 5-17.  The great thing about triathlon is it sounds really cool and tough, but is actually made up of shorter distances of activities almost anyone can do.  Plus, kids absolutely LOOOOVE getting their race numbers written in PERMANENT marker on their arm & leg!  Fun stuff!  More and more adult triathlons are now offering a kids distance either before or after the grown-up race.  It’s good, clean fun in an unbelievably positive and supportive environment.  Here is the breakdown:


Age Group




13 – 17

200 meter

5.5 mile

1.6 mile

11 – 12

100 meter

4.4 mile

1.2 mile

9 – 10

100 meter

4.4 mile

1.2 mile

7 – 8

50 meter

1.0 mile


5 – 6

50 meter

1.0 mile




Log on to to find a kids triathlon in your area and the whole family can train together!  Thanks for TRI ing to inspire all of us, Smith family!  Love it!!!  Check out these action shots of Emily and Ben:

The Fabulous Foslids!!

This week we’re falling for the Foslid family!  The Foslid’s have found a cool hiking trail near their home where they visit frequently to take in the changing scenery.  They recently took a trip to their favorite state park and had an awesome family time.   They try to go hiking here 2-3 times per week, and every time they go they say they are walking a little further! Rock on!  The Foslids love going back over and over to see the beautiful and ever changing scenery.  They especially love the challenge of climbing to the top of the observatory tower and pointing out faraway landmarks!  A family walk in nature is not only a great way to reconnect, but it’s also a great way to log some activity time for everyone- even the family pet!!  Bennett, Patty, Ray and Auggie the doggie have found a great way to make fitness a part of their everyday lives!  Nice goin’ Foslids!


There are tons of beautiful state parks with gorgeous hiking trails!  If you live in Wisconsin, you can paste the following link into your browser to see a list of state trails:


If you’re not in our home area, try or to find great hiking trails in your own backyard!

And the Gold Medal for Fun Family Fitness goes to……

The Boyle family for hosting the Boyle Family Olympics complete with opening ceremonies featuring the burning torch of Uncle Chuckie’s Undies!  This hilarious and active event featured such grueling competitive events as the bike race, water run, cannon ball jump, wheel barrel race and, of course, the  shoe fling!  Cousins and siblings gathered in their team shirts to compete and laugh in a fun-filled day of family activity! What a GRRRREAT idea, and, what an awesome and active family tradition- hopefully, they’ll hold the games more than once every four years!   Boyle family, way to go for the gold!  You’re true Olympians at having fun and staying fit together!!!


Knoeppels are King of the Hill!

The Knoeppel family always stays healthy by regularly participating in swimming, football, soccer and softball together as well as jumping for hours on their own backyard trampoline.  But their latest active adverture took them all the way to Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire, Michigan.  The Knoeppel kids got in some crazy “dune climbing” at this famous and absolutely wonderful National Park.  According to the Knoeppels, the dunes are the perfect destination for active families and kids with lots of energy to release!  The “Dune climb” is not for the weak of heart though!  If you’re up for the challenge, be sure to bring lots of water, sunscreen and endurance because it is a 3-4 mile hike!  The magnificent size of the dunes was mesmerizing to adults and kids alike and what fun running down the huge sand dunes! WHEEEEEEEE!  Cool stuff, Knoeppel family!  Thanks for telling us all about it!  Looks like everyone had a blast!









Meet the Bohn Family!

The Bohns- Sue, Jon, Rachel (12), and Hannah (9) really know how to have a rockin’ good time!  This family loves to stay active and fit by regularly swimming, biking and playing tennis together.  And recently, they spent a day off taking a canoe trip to a nearby river.  The family had a great time dodging spiders, avoiding piles of muck, running into the shoreline, and learning how to portage a canoe when waters ran shallow!  They enjoyed lots of laughs, made some wonderful memories and got a ton of active family time!  Nice going, Bohn family- you are a true blue FIRST PLACE FAMILY!!!!

Meet the Groovy Gardner-Kasper Family!

Hats off to this active family for putting their best feet forward and WALKING to see all the sites on their recent trip to Boston!  Nice goin’ guys!  Kayla (12), Sam (4) and Julia (2) had a such a great time seeing new things that they didn’t even notice all the great exercise they were getting!  Walking on your vacation is a great way to work off those extra treats we seem to enjoy when we’re away from home, and it’s so easy anyone out of a stroller can do it! 

Nice going, Gardner-Kaspers!!  Way to get in the game!!

Sheesh & Co.!

Active fun can cross the generations!  Enroll your veterans (grandparents!) to encourage and mentor your rookies (kids!) into healthy fun!  Trips to grandparents can often mean tons of delicious but not so healthy treats!  Enlist those veterans to teach your team how to have fun without pigging out.  This week FFC would like to commend ‘Sheesh’ for showing the home team the ins and outs of blading on a park path.  Sure, a trip to the local ice cream stand followed but at least they’re keeping active and balancing it all out!  Congrats to Sheesh and company for setting a healthy example!  Nice goin’!

Zippy Zepeckis!

WOW!  We are SOOOO super impressed with the Zepecki crew for jumping right in and downloading Hal Higdon’s walking plan featured on the Family Fitness Coach gameplans page!  They’ve made the committment to start training for the Al’s Run 5K for Children’s Hospital in their hometown of Milwaukee, WI.  Marissa and Matthew have also enlisted their new pup, Lilly, to help them stick to their new training plan.  They’ll be feeling fit and supporting a great cause all at the same time!  These guys are blue ribbon winners as far as we’re concerned!  Three cheers for the Zepeckis!!!  Keep up your ‘A’ game guys!!

My Home Team!


My Home Team!What better way to start off our First Place Families section than with my very own team?!  Here’s a shot of my first string players at a recent fun run in Florida!  We went to visit the grandparents and while we were there, decided to participate in the Gate River Run!  What a blast!  The veterans took on the challenge of the longer race and then hooked up with the kids to watch them do the kids run.  I was absolutely tickled to see what a HUGE turnout of healthy kids there was!  There were jumping balloons, healthy refreshments and plenty of activities to keep us all entertained- what an awesome way to spend our vacation!  We’ll definitely be back next year- trying to beat our own personal records!