Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hints of Christmas

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and all the food is bought. Nothing is prepared yet, but it will be. Then Friday I will be like a whirling Christmas dervish trying to get all of my decorations up during naptime. I decorate then so little hands don't try to play with all the decorations and break things. They're less noticeable once they are up. But in the meantime, some hints of Christmas have been popping up.

These cookie trays magically appeared at the grocery store, so one magically appeared at my house. I'm not sure why I love these so much. Homemade are so much better, but there's something about these pre-made cookie trays that just say "Merry Christmas!" To me anyway.

Then, another box magically appeared via the UPS driver yesterday:

Candles! Christmas Candles! Yankee Candle Christmas Candles! I will admit, I have an addiction to Yankee Candle. I especially love buying Fall and Christmas scents. They had a buy 2, get 2 deal, plus free shipping. How could I resist? 4 might be a little much, but then I'll have some left over for next year. Right? Maybe...

I'm trying to keep my spirits up today. Our sewer is backed up, and despite spending 4 hours last night snaking out our sewer line, we still had to call in a plumber today. I haven't heard the damage yet, but I'm preparing for the worst. So the little things like candles and cookies are keeping me happy.

Also, I'm going to see Catching Fire tonight! Huzzah! If you don't know what this is, please come out from under your rock and read a book (or 3), and then go see this movie. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cheddar Chili Cornbread Pasta Bake

This weekend was bitterly cold up here in the Northwoods. Bitterly. Cold. Also, windy. Yay, wind! (where's my sarcastic emoticon?) I don't think the temperature went above 15 degrees all weekend. We also had a lovely little storm front roll in on Friday and stick around all weekend. It's still here, although the sun is trying to peek through.

Needless to say, it was a cuddle up and watch movies type of weekend. I also had a wicked sinus headache for 3 days, which really meant that I was going nowhere. We did have to deliver our turkey on Saturday night to the in-laws since they're hosting Thanksgiving this year. I'm more than happy to let someone else do most of the cooking!

But Sunday I was looking for comfort food. Light bulb!

Cheddar Chili Cornbread Past Bake, or in other words, a whole lotta yum. This recipe is quick and easy, with very minimal ingredients. Just my style. You're supposed to cook it with leftover chili, but that's like a magical unicorn in my house. Instead, I supplemented with Hormel & some canned chili beans.

5 ingredients! That's awesome. Ok, well you also need milk and an egg for this particular type of cornbread mix. But still, doable!

So basically, you cook your noodles al dente, then layer an 8x8 pan as follows (spray with Pam first, although I forgot and it came out of my Corningware dish ok):

- pasta
-cheese (a hefty amount)
- chili (I mixed the chili and beans together)
- prepared cornbread mix

Then just pop it in the oven for 35ish minutes at 425 degrees. In the end you get something that looks like this:
That picture is actually from the original blog where I found the recipe (via Pinterest), but that's really what mine looked like. You can use a spoon or fork to lift the cornbread up a little to check that it was cooked entirely. I could see lighter spots in the middle when I pulled the dish out around 30 minutes, so I let it cook a little bit longer.

Let me tell you what, it was so good! I really wish that I had brought some to work for lunch today, and I'm jealous that my husband likely ate it all for his lunch. We will make this again! The only thing I'd do differently is add one more can of chili, or brown up some ground beef to mix with the chili & beans. Just to give it a little more chili goodness. Enjoy!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Drive by (type by? read by?)

Just a quick post and run. I had to share this picture of me from this morning:
Here I am, all decked out to run in 8 degree temps. I doubled up and wore winter tights and sweatpants. Guess what? I was totally warm and had a good run! The neck gaiter still gets a little damp and then chilly, but I think I have to work on not breathing on it once I pull it down.

Anyway, I know I look sexy and slightly mannish in the picture, but I just had to prove that it works! Also, yes, that is Batman's utility belt, for those that were wondering.

Happy running!

Buffalo Chicken Bake

YUMMMM. Who doesn't like buffalo chicken anything right? I've tried several different recipes for buffalo chicken mac n'cheese or pasta, most of them utilizing the crock pot. This is the first one that I've thought, "I will make this again!" I found the recipe through Pinterest here.

 We did follow it pretty true to the original recipe. I just added some bleu cheese crumbles to the top at the end. It was cheesy and creamy, and didn't get dried out. The top layer of pasta and bread crumbs get just a little crispy for a little bite. Served with a side of peas or a salad, this is a great recipe for a cold winter's night!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Santa's here!

A little early, though, right?

I love Christmas. LOVE. But I'm all for celebrating holidays in their correct months, and not getting to ahead of things. I've written about this in the past, and I still feel like "hey, let's have Thanksgiving first, then on to Christmas!"

That's not to say that I don't start preparing for Christmas early. Most of my gifts are bought, and we do have outdoor lights up on the house already. Well, to be honest, some of them never came down from last year. But that's neither here nor there. Come Black Friday our tree will be going up. There are just some things you have to do early.

One of those things is family photos. I like sending out and receiving holiday cards, and I really love making photo cards now that we have Emily. They're so easy! Create, put in an envelope, address & stamp, and off they go! But the past few years I felt like our pictures weren't quite up to par. One year was to dark, the next looked a little fakey with the LED lights from our tree blazing behind us. So this year, I wanted to do professional photos.

We have a fantastic photographer in town that would be more than happy to do a session with us. Unfortunately, she's a bit out of the budget at this time of year. So, I had the brilliant idea to do a session at JCPenney's. Maybe not the best option, but a dang good one (and cheaper too!). Plus, they had a sale going where we could get the CD with all our images for $50. Local photog charges like $300 for this. No brainer, right?

So I put outfits together for us, buy Emily something new and cute, and off we go to Duluth (nearest mall with JCP portrait studio). The drive is 1.5 hours away. I figured, we'd get there a little early, see Santa since we're there, and maybe look around for another top for Emily. I liked the one I bought, but you never know what you can find at the "big" mall.

We stopped to see Santa first, and Emily loved him! She ran to him with open arms, and sat in his lap for 5 minutes. We were the only ones in line, so Santa really took his time with her. I guess my daughter is turning into a fashionista, because she told Santa that she wants boots for Christmas. Boots! She's so funny!

So, off we go to JCP for our pictures. We were a little early, but that's how I roll. We get there, they tell us it will be about 20 minutes, so I take Emily to the restroom to change into her picture outfit. When I get back, all of a sudden the wait has gone to 45 minutes. What the heck!?! Now, it's 5pm. Close to dinner time. What am I supposed to do with my 2 year old for 45 minutes this close to dinner? I was so worried that she would get crabby and our pictures would be ruined.

I sent Travis off for a pretzel and some water, so we could tide things over for awhile. The studio also had some toys, and a really wonderful staff that helped keep Emily in good spirits. She got so comfortable that she was playing peek-a-boo with everyone in the lobby and even walked herself behind the counter at one point.

When it was finally our turn to take pictures, Emily was fantastic. She is such a ham! We got some really great pictures, and I cannot wait to make our Christmas cards and get some prints made! But, you my dear blog reader, will have to wait until after I send our cards out to see them. No spoiling the surprise here! I will leave you with this cute picture though.
I know, my daughter is the cutest kid in the world :o)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Life Mantra

I recently read another blog that mentioned having a mantra for running. Or just for doing hard stuff, and getting through it. I think this is a fantastic idea. The blog showed a chart of 4 columns with different words in each column, and you picked one word from each column to create your phrase. So it could be something like "run swiftly, think power" or "be fierce, think courage". So I'm sitting there thinking about what my mantra is, and I realized that I already have one. 

When I'm running, especially on those long runs, there is a lot of thinking involved. But eventually I wear myself out with my own inner talking. Usually I rely on music, or (just recently) an audiobook. But in the really tough spots, I pray. I pray to God for strength to get up this hill, to make it to the end of my run, to not poop my pants (hey, let's be real here), and I thank him. I thank him for the ability to run, for my family, for my health, for my water bottles and energy chews. Whatever, He's listening. 

A few months ago I found this pin on Pinterest:

On shoes! That's cool!
I thought, that's really cool! But maybe a little flashy and not quite my style. But the Philippians verse has really stuck with me, and it's been my motivation in tough spots. I guess you could say it's my mantra. I really do chant this to myself at times when I'm running. Especially up long hills. 

 I guess if you're not religious, this specific idea might not work for you. But I like to think that God is with me at all times of my life, and he's giving me strength to get through challenging situations. It's so great to hand over the issues or problems that I feel are to big for me, and know that He will help. I loved this quote so much that I bought a wall decal and hung it above the main door in our home.

It's not as wonky looking in real life. 

I think this can apply to so many areas of life, not just running. Preparing for a tough day at work? Here's my reminder before I step out the door that I will get through it with His help. It's kind of nice to know that someone has my back when I need help. So while it may not be your traditional mantra, it's mine and it works. What's your mantra?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Live for the Applause....

Recently, an article written by Chad Stafko has made it's rounds through all my running blogs. "Ok, You're a Runner. Get Over It" talks about how runners are so full of themselves. We wear running clothes labeled with running quips, shop at running stores, and put stickers on our cars so the world can know that we are (AWESOME) runners. He makes fun of those of us that are up at 5am, out the door and running in our reflective gear, stating that we're doing it for attention.

I'm not too sure if his rant is simply that: a rant meant to air some steam about an innocuous group that maybe he has a thing or two against. If that's the truth, I have a simple idea to Stafko: get over it. Or maybe, he just had a deadline and picked an easy target. It's true that the number of runners is up in the past few years. I'm one of those that have joined this sport in the past few years, so I can't deny that fact's truth. Whatever the case, I figured that I would air my ideas and thoughts on this as well.

Truth: I do get up before 5 am to go running. I wear reflective gear. Guess what? It's really dark when I run, and the idea of getting run over does not appeal to me. But also, I typically see less than 10 cars at that time in the morning, and maybe 2 people. I sure don't run at this time to show the world how awesome I am. If that were my true intent, I'd pick a busier time of day to display my athletic prowess.

Truth: I shop at running stores. Uh, duh. Runners work there. They test out the stuff. They have good feedback on what works. I do not like blisters or uncomfortable clothing or shoes that will hurt me. The typical worker at Box Store Sports USA does not have this information. However, I also shop at Box Store Sports USA once I've found tried and true products that work. I like saving money, too.

Truth: I am a new runner. I'm one of the millions that have started running and racing in the past 3 years. I think Stafko quotes a stat of 2.5 million more runners this year in races than in 2010. But let's look at the facts behind that: running is relatively cheap. When you get to the bare bones of it, really, all you need is a pair of sneakers. Your average Couch 2 5K'er is going to be working out in t-shirts and discount store running shoes. I've been there, and that worked for me. For a very low start up cost, this sport is easy to get into. When you look at other sports, the costs are much higher. This I know since I used to ride and compete in the equestrian world. When you consider board of a horse ($500/mo minimum), show clothes ($500 min again), entrance fees ($100?), trainer fees ($100), trailering, stall fees, gas, lessons, shoes, vet care....oh the list goes on and on....running is cheap. In our recent economic downfall, running has been a no-brainer when it comes to choosing a sport.

Truth: I have a 13.1 sticker on my car. It's new. It's shiny and pretty. It was well earned. I spent many, many Saturday mornings running my butt off, taking time away from my family, and getting blisters on my feet, to earn that sticker. There literally was blood, sweat, and tears put in for that sticker. It may not be as fancy as a 26.2 sticker, but I'm damn proud of it.

You know what though? I'm not ashamed of being proud. I'm not ashamed of flaunting my achievements in other drivers faces. I'm not ashamed that I like to talk about running to whoever will listen. I'm not ashamed of posting my workouts for a few "likes" on Facebook. You know why? Running is tough. Not in the one-foot-after-another sense of things. That is the easy part. A friend told me once something along the lines of  "your body will do what the mind allows it".

Running is an incredibly mental sport. Do you know what kind of motivation it takes to get out of bed at 4:45am and get your butt on the road by 5:15am? When it's 20 degrees outside? If you do, please let me know. I do this, but it's not without HUGE mental hurdles. One of my favorite blogs is called "Shut Up + Run". This is what I have to tell myself most mornings. I don a headlamp and reflective gear not because of the attention it gets me, but because running is good for me. It's good for the body and soul. But before 90% of my runs I have to say "Alison. Shut up and RUN". Yes, it is easier to stay in bed, to sleep another hour, to be cozy and warm at home. But my body will not thank me for that  in years to come.

So, you might be saying "well, do you have to do it to the extreme? Do you have to do 13 miles, or 26 miles, or whatever?" No, I suppose not. But you know what's not fun? Settling. Ok, so you've run 3.1 miles. That was fun, yay for you. You run the same 3.1 miles every run. What fun is that? I mean, if I'm going to do something that is hard, I at least want to have fun at it. You know what is fun? Besting myself. Pushing myself to limits that I didn't think I could reach. Ok, maybe not when I'm actually doing it. But when I get home, after the shower, after I eat a banana and put on my comfy clothes, when I sit on the couch and finally relax, I think: wow, look what I just did. That's pretty cool.

That's why I run. Because there's not many chances that I, your average mother and wife, get to actually do something myself that is COOL. My daughter is cool every day in the things she does and says. My husband tells me cool stuff all the time about things he finds on the internet or something he's made. But it's not often that I get to say that I did something cool myself.

What's your cool thing? It doesn't have to be running. It doesn't even have to be physical. Maybe you're a crafter who's proud of your newest creation. Maybe you're a musician that just wrote a song. But I am a runner. My "cool" thing is a PR, or a long run, or a race.

The races are the coolest. The races are where it all comes together. The training runs, the eating right, the research and buying the right clothing. All that comes together at a race. It doesn't matter whether it's a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon. We all run races because it's the time where we get to prove ourselves. But who are we proving to? I learned awhile ago that even though I am a very competitive person, I really can't compete in running. There will always be someone faster than me. Someone younger, taller, thinner, with longer strides, or more experience, or whatever. Races are where we get to compete against ourselves. But then, that mental thing comes back. The what if's, the "I'm tired, I can just stop now, why am I doing this???", the negative thoughts.

Even though running is an incredibly singular sport, we rely on those supporters. Those dads, husbands, moms, brothers, sisters, friends, and strangers, that are willing to come cheer us on. Who make signs and take pictures. Who maybe don't understand, but are willing to support us anyway. The people who are the direct opposites of Chad Stafko. The people who say "You are a Runner! Keep going! You're doing great! You can do it!". Because we all need a little cheering every once in awhile. We all need the applause.

So I will continue to run. I will continue to run at 5am because that's what works for me, not because people are watching. I will continue to shop at running stores because it's nice to have camaraderie in a lonely sport. I will continue to be proud of my 13.1 sticker. I will continue to hope that my next race has crazy supporters with signs that will make me smile at mile 10, just when I need it. Because I don't run for anyone but myself, but I live for the applause from what I do.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fast and Easy Stromboli

On Friday nights, I don't want to cook. I don't want to do dishes, think about preparing a meal, set the table. Nothing. But that's kind of hard when you're trying to minimize how much you go out to eat. Sometimes we'll get a take n'bake pizza from Papa Murphy's. I love me some Chicken Herb Mediterranean pizza! But the same old gets a little boring after awhile. 

Enter this little gem: the stromboli! 

I found the recipe on Pinterest, and thought "well, that looks really easy!". Until I read the recipe. The original recipe calls for making your own dough. 

Uhm, I'm not having any of that. 

So, I bought a pre-made Pillsbury pizza crust. You know, the kind in the tube. It's already square, so that's perfect. Even better: I don't have to make it. This recipe is so simple. You basically roll out your dough, layer provolone cheese, salami slices, and banana peppers. Then roll it up into a log, brush on some olive oil, sprinkle a little Italian seasoning on top, and bake it for 25-30 min at 400 degrees. I also warmed up a little spaghetti sauce to dip it in. Yumm!

The best thing is, you could totally make this your own by adding different ingredients. Winner, winner, stromboli dinner!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Book alert!

I need to write this quick little post to tell you about one of my favorite authors, Joshilyn Jackson. You need to read this, go look at my links, and buy her books. I think she is an amazing author, creates amazingly strong female characters, and writes a pretty funny blog too.

Jackson has just come out with her newest book, Someone Else's Love Story. She's doing a Virtual Book Tour for those of us that cannot actually go out and meet her. Sad face right here. I sent this info to hubby no less than 5 times to tell him what a great Christmas gift this would be. I sure hope he reads his emails.

If you don't live in the frozen tundra, and are a little closer to civilization, check the list of real book tour hot spots here.

If you'd like to read her blog, start following it, and laugh all the time go to Faster Than Kudzu. So go forth and read, I say!

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Recognize that? No, a cat didn't just walk across my keyboard. That's my interpretation of the opening song to Lion King! One of my all time favorite Disney movies. Who doesn't love Simba, and that crazy monkey? Or Zazu, major domo, and his awesome rendition of "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts"?

I can remember when my nephew was really young, like around age 5 or so (he's in college now!), this was his favorite movie. We were visiting them in Missouri one time, for a week or so, and Lion King pretty much played on repeat. It became a thing when something crazy or weird was happening, my mom and my brother would start singing the coconut song. Even to this day my mom will start singing it at random. A little known fact about my mom: any song that she starts singing will immediately ingrain in your head and you won't be able to get it out. You'll start singing a random song and think, "where did I hear that? So weird..."

So, in the hopes of continuing the love of Lion King in my household, I suggested it as a gift for Emily last Christmas. My parents obliged, and low and behold, we now own the DVD. Emily watched it a few times, but it never really grabbed her attention before, until this:

A few nights ago, she stood exactly like this for the first 10 minutes of the movie. Honestly, she did not move a muscle. I finally moved her to the couch so she could at least sit. She was enraptured by Mufasa, Scar, Simba, and the gang for the entire movie. Now all she asks is to watch "King". It's a very pleasant change from Cinderella, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and "fishes" or a Turtle's Tale.

We're getting her The Little Mermaid for Christmas this year. I can't wait to see her reaction to that!

Monday, November 11, 2013

I am a BEAST

No, really. At least, that's what I have to tell myself so I get out in the dang snow and cold to run. FYI, these things are amazing:

I ran 9.5 miles on Sunday with these bad boys strapped on, and ice and snow were no match for me! There was one spot where I think I touched my toe down instead of the ball of my foot, so there I slipped a little. But one spot out of thousands? I'll take that.

Six more long runs (and a taper weekend) before the next half-marathon. For some reason I was thinking 9, and that seemed like a really long time. 6 is doable. Now I just need to buck up and keep running in the cold. I am a beast, I am a beast, I am a beast!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Winter Running Gear

I've received and read a lot of really great advice on what to wear for cold weather runs. Since I'm pretty determined to run a half marathon on New Year's Day (who's crazy idea was that?!), staying warm is pretty important.

Oh, and also, there's the whole fact that I'm from Florida and don't really DO winter. I've gotten better at it over the past 4 years, but I still prefer our other 3 seasons better.

Anyway, so what I've learned so far is: layers. Lots and lots of layers! First, there's your long sleeve tee, then a middle layer like a half-zip fleece, and then a waterproof/windproof outer shell if it's really bad. Plus hats, gloves, insulated socks, and thermal pants. On my last early morning run, it was 10 degrees when I started out. Brr! So I included all the layers I could think of and actually stayed quite warm. Here's a list from head to toe:

Hat: I was going to post a picture, but you all know what a beanie looks like. I don't think any one is better than another. I like longer beanies that you fold up, so then I can put my hair in a bun and the hat still fits like normal.

Base layer: I really like this Under Armour ColdGear long sleeve tee. It's softer on the inside, and a bit thicker than your normal tee. It wicks sweat away, and is nice and snug which is perfect for under layers.
Not exactly the one I have, but same idea

Middle Layer: for this, I've been using two different Columbia half-zip fleece sweaters. I bought mine a few years ago, so the style has changed a bit, but something very similar to this. 
Bright colors are important. You want to be seen!

Outer layer: this layer doesn't seem to be so much about warmth, as it is about weather protection. Sure, one more layer is going to help you stay warmer, but you don't want it to be too thick. Basically you're looking for a shell. I have this exact jacket in green. I would have loved (loved!) pink, but they didn't have it in my size. Sad face :o(
The pink rocks, right?
Pants/tights: Now, your legs are working a bit harder than your core while you're running, so you're not going to need tons of layers here. I'm finding that a good pair of thermal tights is working well. But for really cold temps I may add sweats on top. I have two different brands, but my favorite is the Under Armour ColdGear tights. They have a super soft fleece lining that make them really cozy to get into.
Love love love
Socks: Socks are sooooo important! My feet blister like no bodies business if I wear the wrong socks. You're typical cotton socks are not going to work here! I have some UA socks, I have some Asics socks, but my favorite for winter running are my SmartWool Outdoor socks. They also make a running variety, but the Outdoor have a little extra cushion to them. 
Bonus: no blisters!
Shoes: So far, my everyday running shoes are doing ok because we've not had snow yet. However, I bought these YakTrax running shoe grips for when it gets really bad. I haven't used them yet, but they get really great reviews. 

Safety: Duh, this is important. So listen up! When winter hits, daylight gets pretty scarce. That means, for most runners, running in the dark is inevitable. I've gotten really great advice on this, and my two favorite products by far is my Petzl headlamp and my Amphipod safety vest. I know I am much more visable with both, and I can see with the headlamp too. However, don't take it for granted that drivers are going to notice you just because you're glowing! I nearly had someone run me over at a stop sign because they simply didn't stop when I thought they would, and I'm pretty sure they weren't even looking my way. So be careful!

So there you have it, all you need to know for winter running! Some people use a neck gaiter that you can pull up over your chin and/or mouth. I think this would be helpful in really dry conditions, so you're not breathing in really dry, cold air. Our winter is a bit more humid, I think at least, so this hasn't been a big issue for me yet. I tried wearing the fleece one I bought this morning, and it just got wet from my breath, then cold and frosty. I ended up pulling it down, then my neck got really hot, and I basically wish I hadn't put it on to begin with! But I think it's good to have just in case. 

Happy running!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cheesy Sausage Tortellini

This month, I've vowed to spend less money on eating out. The past few months have been a little ridiculous. For the average person, this is probably not that difficult but there is nothing I love more than going out to eat...

Ok, of course there are things I love more. Tons of things! But I really like going out to eat: no cooking and no clean up! Now that we have a family of 3 though, eating out is getting expensive. We rarely spend under $35 at a restaurant, and that's on a good day!

So, I'm going back to my recipes and trying to have fun/exciting things in the weekly meal plan. It's a little easier to eat at home when you're not having the same old boring stand-bys. Not that they do not have their place. Spaghetti on book club night or a pot roast on a Sunday are sometimes perfectly fine and almost necessary. But on nights where dinner is the main attraction, why not make it attractive?

My first recipe up for review: Cheesy Sausage Tortellini from Kevin & Amanda's blog.

Yum yum! I mean, who doesn't love cheesy goodness, right? This recipe is quick and easy. It's very creamy, and Emily loved it. Here's the basic recipe, and you can find tons more pictures on the blog.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked turkey sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup tomato sauce (or your favorite spaghetti sauce)
1/2 cup regular or heavy cream
9 oz tortellini
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke. Add sausage and cook until well browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Add garlic and stir until golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add both, tomato sauce, cream, tortellini, and salt and pepper and stir to combine until simmering and bubbly.

3. Cover and simmer over low heat for 12 minutes until tortellini are tender and heated through. Enjoy!! :)

There are a few things I did differently from the basic instructions. I followed most of it to the T, but I simmered it without the cover for the last 5 minutes to boil out some of the liquid. I don't like too much soupy-sauce, and that's kind of how it was looking for a minute there. Then I let it stand for about 5 minutes to let it really thicken up. Because I'm lazy and did not feel like making a salad, I also added frozen peas (and carrots because that's what I had on hand) to the mix while it simmered. Gotta get in those veggies!

One thing I will do differently next time is get the more expensive tortellini rather than the bargain brand. The bargain brand is a little bland, but that's my fault and not the recipe! I think next time I might try it with our new favorite spaghetti sauce: Prego's Creamy Vodka sauce. This stuff is so good! It's never on sale, but I buy it anyway.

I recently started a Pinterest board called "Recipes Tried and Liked". Original, right? If you're interested, check them out over here. Hopefully I'll have some more reviews coming soon!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Say what?

I've been meaning to write down some funny things that Emily says. She comes up with some doozies! I always wonder what's going on in her little mind, and what things must seem like to her. It's easy to forget that the world is still full of wonder and amazing things. It's pretty neat getting to explore it again with her.

Sometimes we'll be driving down the road, and she'll call out an object that she sees because it's so amazing. So amazing!! Lately, it's been a particular pond we see driving home from daycare, or any kind of truck or tractor we happen to drive by. "Mama, I saw a tracor!" (She's not aware of that second "t" in tractor yet.) She also loves pointing out a flock of geese that are spending some time near our house before they fly south for the winter. "Geese! Geese says honk honk!"

Here's a short list of some of Emily's funnies. I'm sure I'll be adding to this as time goes by.

- "I can't even...!"  - this is usually saved for moments of exasperation, like when she climbs up on our bar-height kitchen chairs and can't figure out how to get back down. "I can't even get down from here!" I'm not sure where the "even" part of it came from, but it makes me giggle.

- "Maybe, but I don't think so." - This is typically reserved for when I'm telling her that it's bed time, or bath time, or time to do anything that she doesn't necessarily want to do.

- "I'll tell Grandma." - This gem pops out of her mouth during any type of disagreement. I won't give her a cookie, I put her in timeout, I called her an endearing name like "sweetie" and she disagrees that that's her name. Which leads to...

- "No, I Emily!" - Pretty much anytime I use a cute or sweet nickname for her such as sweetie, sweetheart, love, baby, or even just Em, she corrects me. Oh that's right, that's your name! I'm only, you know, the person that gave it to you!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Long Run Recap (or my run full of fail)

For those of you who are not in the running "know", when you're training for any kind of race of distance then you incorporate "long runs" into your training schedule. You don't go out and run 13 miles every time because a) that would be super boring and b) you'd do more harm than good on your body. Running long distances takes a toll on your muscle fibers, hydration level, and personally: my feet! So right now my training schedule looks kind of like this:

Mon: rest
Tues: hill repeats 3miles
Wed: rest
Thurs: 5 easy miles
Fri: fartleks or 4miles at 5K pace
Sat: rest
Sun: long run

Ok, before I go on, I'm sure you're thinking "fart whats?". A fartlek is a Swedish term for "speed play"; basically sprints with no time or distance to them. Run fast from this mailbox to that tree, go back to normal pace, and repeat.

This weekend I was slated to do 9 miles. I got myself ready, geared up, and set out for my run. I was going on a similar route that I did last weekend, so I knew I just had to do a little more at the end to bump up to 9 miles. Things were going really well, until I decided that I wanted to add the extra distance in the middle of my run rather than at the end. So I got to a good place to do so, pull out my phone to check my mileage with my handy app, and noticed with dismay that it only said 2.10 miles when I knew I was right around the 4 mile point. Also, by the map, I wasn't even where I should be. Except that I knew where I was (duh, right?), so clearly my phone was wrong and had lost the GPS signal somewhere along the way.

Ok, no biggie right? I knew how to get home and all, so it's not like I was lost. But I do sure rely on that little lady in my phone to tell me what mile I'm at and my pace. At that point, I decided "ok, we'll just make this about running. Not about times, let's just run."

Luckily, I still run with my watch/fancy-pants heart rate monitor, so I knew when it was snack time. Another tidbit here: most trainers/runners/crazy athletes advise that you take in 30-60 grams of carbs after 60 minutes of exercise to refuel what you've burned. I like to eat these little energy chews around 45 minutes so I don't hit a wall of exhaustion before it's too late.  I'm also wearing gloves on most runs now because it's pretty dang cold here. In my fumbling to get my gloves off and stored in my pack, then get my chews out to eat, I drop the bag of chews. Thank goodness that they didn't spill all over the place, but what a PITA to have to stop and backtrack! So, I run the two steps back to pick them up, and continue on my way.

After that, things were going pretty well until about mile 7. Nature started calling around then - pretty loudly.  Now, my route is pretty rural, and on other routes I have been forced to "use the woods" so to speak. However, although this route is rural, there are still plenty of homes and people. I really didn't want my 15 minutes of fame to look like this lady. I kept going, because really, what other choice do I have? But I'm on the lookout now, when lo and behold: a McDonald's! I completely forgot that the last 2 miles brings me back into civilization and runs right behind a McDonald's. So I happily stopped to use their facilities. I always carry a couple of bucks on me just in case restrooms are for paying customers only, but they were so busy in the Sunday morning need-my-McFatty-food rush that no one noticed me. Well, no employees anyway.

The rest of my run was uneventful, thankfully, although I had to guesstimate my actual time and distance. I think I ran about a 9:10 pace, which is ok with me. It's funny how some runs can be right on and all the stars align for you, and some can be like this. Ultimately though, I did it. There's no regrets on that part.