Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Recap


Ok, now that Thanksgiving is over, we can start to enjoy all things Christmas. ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS.

Yes, that deserved capitals.

You know I'm crazy about Christmas, right? But first, here is a cute photo of my daughter all dressed up and ready for our "Thanksgiving Feast". (Her words)

My little turkey! We had a really great Thanksgiving Day. I started it off with an easy 5 mile run, followed by about 30 minutes of pilates. Loving pilates right now.

Then we enjoyed breakfast together, watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and basically lounged around until it was time to go to Grandma's house. It was basically a smorgasbord of food all afternoon/evening/night. I definitely enjoyed my fair share of everything, which led me to feel like this:

All the way until Friday afternoon. Thankfully, both Travis and I had Black Friday off, so we could sleep in and hang out around the house. 

Or, in my case, decorate for Christmas.


magically turned into this:

It really only takes me about 2-3 hours to get all the decorations out and put everything else away (including our Christmas dishes and wine glasses - no stone left unturned when it comes to Christmas decorating). We save the tree for last so that we can decorate it at night with the lights on. Emily loves to help put all the ornaments on, and while I love her enthusiasm, I usually end up having to rearrange an ornament or two after we're done. 4 ornaments on one branch? Totally acceptable to a preschooler. 

She's also really getting into the holiday music, and loves to dance to some of her favorite tunes. Although, since she only knows a couple of songs (not Christmas songs), she'll start singing those to the tune of whatever carol is playing. Too cute! 

Our weather was unseasonably warm this weekend, which was quite nice for a little outside playing and just life in general. However, we're expecting to get our first winter storm starting this afternoon - the weatherman is predicting 4-6" by morning. I guess winter finally decided to show up!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving with your families!

Do you have an ornament-placement strategy when decorating the Christmas tree?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

From my family to yours, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with joy, love, family, peace, and good food!

May your blessings be abundant, your home warm, and your life filled with love!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesdays on the Run - a Link-up

A new one for me! "Tuesdays on the Run" with MCMama, Marcia, and Patty.

Tuesdays on the Run

Today's topic is the Runner's Gift List. Or, what you all can buy me for Christmas. Please take notes.

1. The first thing on my list may seem boring, but I promise you that I would rave over these if I opened them on Christmas morning:

Smartwool Outdoor socks. Seriously, these are the best socks for winter running. Warm, cushion-y, and no blisters!

2. Columbia Glacial Fleece 1/2 Zip. Another must have for me. I have 2 of these now, and use them from October to May. With a short or long sleeve tee underneath, with a vest on top, under a shell layer - this is a staple for me. I'd love to have a few more!

3. Books on running. Not necessarily "how to" books, but more inspirational stories. I love to read, so I'm always game for a book. But even non-reading runners will likely thank you for one of these titles.

Another item that looks interesting are these shoe laces. A runner-up gift, if you will. I know nothing about them because the link looks awfully spammy, but they would be nice for running in the early, dark mornings:

Safety First! I did find some on Amazon if you're actually interested. Go here.

So, what's on your running wish list? Link up and tell us about it!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lazy Weekend and Warm Drinks

I don't have a ton of important things to say, except one thing:



I went out for an easy 3 miles on Saturday morning, and my foot felt great while I was out there. A little discomfort post-run, but I feel like I'm maybe on the upswing of this injury. I taped it last night with some KT tape, and went out for 4 easy miles this morning. Again, no pain! It feels much better post-run today than Saturday, so again - feeling very hopeful!

The one thing I have to contend with now is the cold and snow. Booooo.

I had to break out my Yaktrax for both runs. I probably didn't need them so much on Saturday, but this morning we had about an inch of snow on the ground so they were definitely necessary. I also need to review my cold weather apparel guidelines. Saturday morning it was about 10 degrees starting out, and I only had on one pair of thin gloves. I'm pretty sure I got a little frostnip on my middle fingers. They were frozen solid and so painful by the end of that 3 miles! This morning was warmer at 25 degrees, and I was quite comfortable with just that same pair of gloves again. 

New rule: Double up on gloves/mittens below 20 degrees.

One nice thing about this time of year though: lots of cuddling up on the couch, drinking yummy warm drinks. This particular mug contains coffee, a bit of creamer, and Kahlua. Yum!

Besides my run on Saturday morning, some hurried errands, and church yesterday morning, this was a pretty low key weekend for us. Lots of couch time, football, and enjoying each other. With the holidays right around the corner, I'm taking all the downtime I can get!

What's your preferred warm beverage on a cold, wintery day?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Prep

Hello bloggers, and happy Friday!

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, my brain has been focusing on one thing and one thing only:


I love to eat. I love good food. Thanksgiving is probably my second favorite holiday, after Christmas of course, because it's all about sitting down with the family to share a good meal!

But this girl is on a diet. Saaaaaad face! However, calories don't count on holidays so long as they're within reason. There's plenty of tips out there on how to not undo your diet during the holidays. Some of the tips I will be trying to practice include:

- Savoring the meal and not getting seconds. If I like something, I can ask for leftovers to take home, or the recipe! I'm planning on bringing some of my own Ziploc containers so we can bring some food home.

- Keep exercising. I'm going on a test-run tomorrow to see how my foot is doing, but I've been keeping up my workout routine with my indoor bike trainer. Also, I found these great YouTube videos by Blogilates - I love them! She even has a calendar that you can follow, with different workouts each day. I'm thinking of starting that up for December. In the meantime, I've been picking and choosing which ones I like best. So far, lower abs and her glute/thigh videos win.

- Make your favorite foods lighter by subbing healthier ingredients. One of the recipes I'm planning on bringing is this Broccoli Casserole. Instead of mayo, I use Greek yogurt, and I swap the Ritz crackers for Panko or whole wheat bread crumbs. I made it that way last year, and everyone loved it!

I'm also planning on making this pecan pie again. But I'll be honest here - I'm not making it lighter or healthier. I will enjoy a small piece, with no regrets, because at the end of the day - life needs to be lived and enjoyed. Pie makes that happen!

Also, pecan pie is the easiest thing ever. Here's the super simple recipe that I got from a friend's mom.

Pecan Pie
1 unbaked pie crust
1/3 c melted butter
3 beaten eggs
3/4 c corn syrup (we use dark, but you could use light)
1/3 tsp salt
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c pecan halves

- Line your pie pan with the unbaked pie crust. Beat your eggs in a medium size bowl, then add all ingredients besides pecans. Spread pecans into the bottom of the pie crust, then pour egg mixture over them. Pecans will rise to the top. Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees.

If your crust is getting a little too done, you can always cover just the crust with some tin foil. I like to brush on some melted butter to the crust, but it's not necessary.

Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving? What's your favorite dish to make or eat?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

THANKFUL - a Circle Link-up

It's been awhile since I've joined in on a Circle Link-up, hosted by Kiki at In Its Time. This month's topic really spoke to me though - thankfulness. Specifically, an acrostic poem noting the specific things we're thankful for on each letter.

I know we typically only see these kinds of posts in November because Thanksgiving is coming around, but it really is a great reminder to think about all we have to be thankful for. I am blessed beyond measure in the life I lead, so it's good to write those things down.

I am not so great at poetry, though. Here goes nothing...

T - Travis. This one is obvious, right? My husband is my favorite.
H - Home. I am thankful for the home & life we share.
A - Age. I'm thankful for the years God has given me thus far, and I pray for many more to come.
N - Necessities. I never have to worry about where my next meal is coming from or if I'll be sleeping somewhere safe at night. I have clean clothes, shoes on my feet, shampoo and toothpaste. The Lord has provided for me in abundance, and for that I am thankful.
K- Kid. Specifically, my kid! Emily is the best, and I'm not being biased when I say that. She really is.
F - Festivities. I love the holidays and that I get to share them with my daughter. I am thankful for days set aside in the calendar to spend time with my family, do festive things, and create new memories.
U - Underwear. The clean kind. I'm thankful for a washer and dryer!
L - Love. I am loved and I have people to love - and that's kind of the best thing in life, right?

What are you thankful for? Link up and tell us about it!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Wine and Hockey

Those two things go together, right?

Let's be honest - anything goes with wine in my book.

This weekend, Travis and I headed down to Duluth for a little adult getaway. I won tickets to a UMD hockey game, so we decided to stay overnight since the game would likely let out late. Thanks to my sister-in-law for babysitting!

Little did I know that our stay would also coincide with the last night of "Eat Downtown Duluth". We made reservations at Bellisio's, an upscale Italian restaurant right down the street from our hotel. They have an extensive wine list. Like, one of those books they bring you with pages upon pages of different wines. You can also do a wine flight of 4 different varietals.

I chose to do a flight so I wouldn't have to decide on just one wine.

Because...the more, the merrier, right? Right.

Their menu for Eat Downtown included a soup or salad, 3 different entrees to choose from, and tiramisu for dessert. I originally planned to just order an entree off the menu, and then Trav and I could share the dessert. But I ended up wanting chicken marsala, which was one of the 3 fixed entrees. So no sharing dessert!

After dinner, we were able to walk over to the Amsoil arena at the Duluth Convention Center, where the Bulldogs play. One of the things I love about staying in Canal Park when we're in Duluth, is that you can walk everywhere very conveniently.

The game was a good one. I don't know much about hockey, but it seemed like Denver's goalie was very good. While Denver only had about 12 shots at the goal, we had well over 35 and the game still ended in a tie.

Our seats were really good - row 2, right next to the visitor bench. However, the Denver's 2nd string goalie decided to stand for most of the game, so anytime there was action on the far end of the rink, we couldn't see anything! The couple sitting next to us were complaining about how annoying it was. We eventually goaded some high school boys sitting in front of us to poke the guy, and then pass a note to him saying "Sit down please!" It was hilarious!

I'm not sure if he ever actually read the note, but he did sit down with about 10 minutes left in the game. Success!

After the game, we retired to our hotel to enjoy some more wine and salmon pate. Northern Waters Smokehaus makes the best smoked fish and a salmon pate that is amazing. Whenever we are down there, we try to get some. It sells out quickly, but we've been lucky the past 2 visits!

I tried to sleep in on Sunday morning, but that old internal clock had me up at 7. Dislike! We still managed to have a lazy morning, followed by a little shopping at the mall before heading home. We spent an hour in Barnes & Nobles - I forgot how much I love to peruse a book store! It's much easier without a kid in tow. I also found a Christmas album by Pentatonix. Emily is obsessed with their song "White Winter Hymnal". It also includes a bonus track of "Let It Go". I am the best mom ever.

How was your weekend? Are you a hockey fan?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Life Lately

Hello and Happy Friday!

This is what I woke up to this morning:


It started snowing yesterday, and just didn't stop until sometime last night. Then the wind picked up, so the roads are basically glare ice this morning. What fun! I guess winter is here. It's supposed to warm up this weekend though, so I'm hoping it will melt so that Trav can get the Christmas lights up.

Yes, we put our Christmas lights up in November. If we wait until December, we'll have much more snow and the job is that much harder. Don't worry, I don't turn them on until the day after Thanksgiving!

In other news, Emily got her school pictures back this week.

While I still think she's the cutest thing since the dawn of time - could no one help her with her hair!?! My goodness, she looks like the Tasmanian devil. I'm so glad we have some good pictures from our photographer instead of just these. 

Much better. Her hair is messy here, but wind-blown and stylish messy. Out in nature, got caught in the breeze, messy.

My foot is still bugging me, but I had a deep tissue massage last night and the masseuse really focused on that area. I'm hoping that will help. Plus, another week of no running. It still doesn't hurt to walk on it, it just feels very...full? I hesitate to say swollen, because I don't think it's that. Anyway, fingers crossed!

Trav and I have a fun date night this Saturday, which I'm really looking forward to. More details to come!

How's your life lately? 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wednesday Word: Ageless

Today I'm linking up again with DebRuns for Wednesday Words, a weekly link up for all bloggers to share their thoughts surrounding one word.

Today's word is Ageless.

I've always felt like I have an "old soul". Growing up as an only child, with 2 brothers much older than me, I was usually in the presence of adults. I'm a pretty good listener so I pick up on a lot of things, and I've been called "mature" more times than I can count.

I was also a year younger than almost my entire class through school, due to moving from Michigan to Florida and some different rules regarding starting ages. So that meant that I was only 17 when I moved away for college, compared to most of my friends who were 18.

I was always the youngest, and kind of took pride in that fact. I could hang with an older crowd with no problem.

Now that I'm 31, age doesn't seem to matter as much. Although I do still run into the whole "you're only how old?" occasionally at work.  But for the most part, I'm an adult with a mortgage payment, a kid, and run-of-the-mill responsibilities.

What a drag.

Now I'm actually looking back at things, thinking how I can slow down time and be younger. How times change!

There are a few things that I try to do to stay young and feel ageless:

- Run, exercise, eat right & take care of my body. You're only as old as you feel, right?
- Play with my daughter and be goofy with her. Being silly every now and then is good for the soul.

What does the word "Ageless" mean to you? How do you try to stay young?

Link up and tell us about it!

Deb Runs

Monday, November 9, 2015

That's a Hot Dish!

No, I'm not complimenting your latest recipe or culinary masterpiece.

I'm talking about the famous "Minnesota Hot Dish". You probably know it better as a casserole.

I don't know why they call it a hot dish here. The name mystifies me; although it still works. Maybe "casserole" just sounds too fancy for these blue-collar, church going, Midwestern folk?

Anyway, a recent Minnesota transplant asked me for some good hot dish recipes, as she has to make one for her daughter's Brownie troop. Besides the obvious Tater Tot Hot Dish, I suggested a Chicken Wild Rice Casserole. Wild rice and Minnesota are like peanut butter and jelly. It grows in abundance here, and is very popular.

But besides that, I didn't have a lot of recipes to offer. I'm not a huge fan of the hot dish, mostly because it's normally filled with heavy cream, canned soups, sour cream, frozen veggies, and/or some kind of mystery meat. They're really not all that healthy.

So imagine my surprise and pleasure when I was given a free cookbook from our new church this weekend - filled with hot dish recipes! We recently started attending a local Lutheran church, and they had a bazaar this weekend - Widows Weekend.

Let's stop here for a moment to clarify. This past weekend was our deer hunting opener. "Widows" means hunting widows, not women with deceased husbands. But for all intents and purposes, every weekend until December the hunters will be in their cabins or deer stands from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening, thereby creating "widows". Some even take time off of work to get out there during the week.

Prime shopping time for the ladies - while the guys are away, the girls will play!

Emily and I stopped by a few, had a delightful turkey salad lunch at our new church, bought homemde Christmas cookies by the pound (good thing I have that extra freezer in the basement), and got a free church-ladies cookbook.

Here are some of the better recipes:

See? Casseroles. Some with mysterious ingredients. Like what the heck is canned Veg-All? I'm guessing a can of mixed veggies. I'm sure there are ways to lighten these recipes up and make them a little more diet-friendly.

Truth be told, I will likely never make any of these casseroles. Unless a friend needs some good freezer meals. 

Have you ever had an actual "hot dish"? Got any good casserole recipes?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Rest & Recovery

We all need a little R&R every now and then, right? My body is especially unhappy with me after running a marathon, and has let me know it in no uncertain terms.

Tendinitis that is not getting better with even easy running. Whomp whomp.

I've been having on and off foot pain since the race, and I kind of half-heartedly rested it. But then I ran that really fast 5k, and this week I tried to get back to a normal running routine. My foot did not like this. At all.

After trying to run 2 days in a row (Wed & Thurs), I decided it's not worth it trying to push through it. Even though my foot doesn't hurt while I'm running, it does afterward and that's not a great sign, right?

I think the pain is in that Peroneus Longus that attaches to the bottom of the 5th metatarsal (pinky bone). Sometimes I have a pulling sensation in the Extensor Digitorum Brevus on the top of my foot, too.

So I've prescribed myself 2 weeks of no running, only biking. Hopefully that will give my foot time to heal up and let me get back to a base mileage routine before I have to start training again on Jan 1st.

Better to happen now than when I'm actually training, right?

In the mean time, I'm trying to focus on the holidays. We had our family photos done this week, and my fantastic photographer already got our photos back to us! So, of course, I spent most of my morning being really productive at work - designing our Christmas cards and getting them ordered. Bad employee!

Here's a sneak peak:

I had such a hard time picking just a few for our cards! Luckily I found a card I liked that had 4 photo slots to choose from. Can't wait to get them in the mail!

What do you do when you're injured? Are you getting ready for the holidays yet?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

SWOP Halloween 5k

Early in October, I signed up for this Halloween fun run thinking that it would be a good idea to have something to look forward to after my marathon. Mostly so I didn't feel like it was THE MARATHON and then nothing.

This is the first time I've run a race on or around Halloween, so I decided to have a little fun with it! I picked up some striped "witch" tights and a little hat that seemed easy enough to run in. Emily was a black cat for Halloween, so we made a cute pair!

This was a very small race in a local park, and I believe it's the first year they've held it. Also, the weather was pretty crummy. 40ish degrees, misty, and windy. I think there was a total of 65ish runners, including a couple of kids that wanted to do the 5k. One was in a stroller though, so I'm not counting her!

Anyway, we started after the race director yelled "GO!", and off we went to run a figure 8 in the park. There's a pretty steep hill at the first curve of the 8, and I could feel that I was working too hard already so I backed off the pace a bit. My witch hat started falling off with the first little puff of wind, so I yanked it off and held it for the rest of the race. I started picking off some runners, and then we cruised down a hill and out of the park to the flat roads for the last 2 miles on an out and back course. 

Around a mile and a half, I fell behind 3 other women in my age group. They were going a bit slower than I wanted, so I hopped off the sidewalk and passed them quickly. Then I started feeling like I had maybe passed them before I should have, and could I really keep up this pace? 

There was a water stop at our turn around, and the only other girl I could see stopped there. I kept going, and then could see the other women who were behind me - and not that far behind. Even though this was supposed to be a "fun" run, I knew I was the lead female at this point and didn't want to let that go! 

I managed to hold on to my lead for the last mile, and cruised across the finish line in 23:48 and first female finisher! 

Technically, I'm not counting this as a PR because the course was short - 3.02 versus 3.10. But I think it probably would have been a PR. My current 5k best is 25:06, and I think I could have held out for another .08 mile in under 78 seconds. Either way, I'm pretty pleased with these results!

Instead of a tape for me to break like you see in the big races, the management team had to improvise with a ratchet strap from someone's truck. Ha! Oh well, it still felt good!

My splits were 8:02, 7:50, & 7:49. I have definitely never run consecutive miles at those paces, so I'm pretty happy with myself! My foot and it's ongoing tendinitis is not so happy, but it was fine on race day and Sunday. Just a little unhappy with the easy 3 miles I did Monday morning. Hopefully with some more rest and icing, we can get back to a happy place.

Have you ever run in costume? 

Monday, November 2, 2015


I know most people do not look forward to Monday, but after our whirlwind weekend...I'm happy to get back to a bit of normal!

Saturday morning started off with a fun Halloween themed 5k for me. Emily and Travis came along to cheer me on, and we got to do a test run of Em's Halloween costume.

A witch and her black cat!
 More on that in my next post. It was a good race!

After the race, we ran to Target and had a quick lunch, then it was home for naps before we went out trick or treating. The weather did not want to cooperate, so our original idea was to go to City  Hall where they had indoor trick or treating. Well, the line was really long, and once inside it was basically just walking around a table, getting candy thrown in our bucket, and out the door we went.

Waiting in line at City Hall

Not exactly trick or treating fun! The rain seemed to be holding off though, so we decided to make a quick tour of our usual ToT'ing neighborhood, about 2 blocks away from our own neighborhood.

Emily was trying to convince Travis to hold her bucket at this point, because it was getting heavy. She didn't like the payment terms though. ;o)

Give me all your candy, little girl!
That ended up working out really well, and we hit a bunch of houses before the rain started. Then we went home to eat dinner, a little candy, and hand out our own candy. I always go overboard when buying candy to give out, and this year was no different. We had a sum total of maybe 10 trick or treaters, so I was giving out handfuls just to get rid of it all. We'll still be eating Halloween candy come Christmas!

With the time change, we got that lovely extra hour of sleep, but we were still up early to get to church in time on Sunday morning. This is the second time we've gone to this church, and we're really liking it. Travis said "any pastor that can end a sermon with lyrics from Eric Clapton is okay by me." Ha! 

After church we had to run home so I could get dinner started in the crock pot (Pinch of Yum's Veggie Lasagna - really good!), and then we were off to a birthday party for one of Emily's daycare friends. The party was at a center that offers rehabilitation programs for special needs individuals, but they also rent out for parties. They have an indoor pool, which is nice. Of course, the party included swimming! 

Emily is just getting the hang of the doggy paddle, so she mostly stayed in the shallow end. Fine by this mom. The time change and no nap was starting to get to Emily about mid-way through the party, and I just started praying for things to wrap up quickly! 

Once we got home, I had a major sinus headache/migraine, so I laid down for a bit. My daughter should have done the same, but instead she watched a movie with Dad. Come dinner time, she basically dissolved into a fit of tears over having to turn the TV off. Oh what fun! I gave her the choice to eat dinner and then finish her movie, or go straight to bed. She chose bed! Fine by me! So Trav and I had a quiet dinner and evening sans kiddo, and she got 12.5 hours of sleep. Wow!

That's the end of our whirlwind weekend, which took it's toll on some more than others! 

How was your weekend? Did you celebrate Halloween?