Monday, February 28, 2011

In like a lion. It better go out like a lamb.

Today when we were walking to the Jeep after E's dance class, Luke and I officially declared it, we're done with winter.  So I can't tell you how happy I am that March is upon us.

Great things about March:

1. St. Patty's Day.
2. Thaw.
3. Tipp Hill Shamrock Run.
4. Irish Soda Bread.
5. Daylight Savings starts Sunday March 13.
6. First Day of Spring is Sunday March 20.
7. Almost Easter, which makes me think of flowers, which makes me think of re-birth, which makes me think of Spring.

I'm not even going to tell you my mileage this month.  Let's just say it was lousy.  But the great thing about the first day of a new month, is that you can fill it with miles. 

I'm going to channel my inner EMZ and get to it.

Happy March!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The ice won't break, right?

We're back home after a few much needed days in the Adirondacks.  It seems winter is here to stay, so we made the most of it, and spent some time outside.  I didn't run at all, but I took Frankie on a few walks, he went nuts sniffing out all the animal scents in the snow.  I took him to the vet this week, and the dog that was supposed to be 20 pounds max, is already 41 pounds. And still growing.

Mike and I were able to go out on the snowmobiles once by ourselves, it was really pretty out, and we went out onto the lake, and even though I know it's frozen solid, I still get a little nervous, but it's so much fun.

Then we took the kids out onto the lake, they weren't scared at all.

There was a bonfire and fireworks in town on Saturday night, so before that, we went out for pizza and wings, as well as adult beverages.  Mike ordered peanut butter wings, which sounds weird, but they're really good.  My brother in law described it perfectly, it's like they're coated in a Thai peanut sauce.  Reaaaly good.

I hit the bathroom before heading out to the fireworks.  Total non-sequitur, but whenever I use a public bathroom and I see a toilet plunger next to the toilet, to me that means the toilet isn't trust worthy, and I'm going to flood it.  I did that once at work, I was the first one in the office, and I flooded the toilet so badly that I had to run to the lobby and get the security guard to come and help me.  So now I have a fear of faulty toilets.

Anyway.  The great thing about fireworks in the winter, is that you don't have to wait until nine o'clock for the sun to go down. They started at seven, which meant the kids got to bed at a decent hour.  It was pretty cool to watch them over the bonfire.

 Winter break is o-ver.  Tomorrow, back to business. : )

Thursday, February 24, 2011

what I'm eating....Thursday?

How is it Thursday already?  I had all sorts of plans for this winter break week, but wouldn't you know it, sickness invaded..... AGAIN.   I've had a bit of a cold all month, nothing terrible, but I caught something from a friend of mine over the weekend, and yesterday it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I spent the day on the couch, I got up only to feed the kids (by calling for a pizza) or to let the dog out.  L&E were really good about keeping themselves occupied, because Mom's don't usually get to take a sick day.  E did crack me up at one point, when she asked me if I was sick because I had a baby in my belly.  No E, there is NO chance of that. : )

I'm a million times better now, so I figured I would do my What I'm Eating Wednesday post today, about my favorite rice.

We'll eat rice along with stir fry, or in burritos, but mostly as a side dish.  Brown rice kind of bores me, so we keep these two varieties on hand, one is called Black Japonica and the other is a Jubilee mix.  These are great because they cook perfectly, and you can taste each different kind of grain, I had never even heard of mahogany rice before I tried these.  I cook it with a mix of chicken stock and water, and usually add cooked onions and mushrooms to the mix.  But the other night I had a box of frozen chopped spinach, so I defrosted it, drained out the water, and mixed it in with the finished rice.  I was surprised at how well the spinach worked:

Looks good, no? 

So tell me, how do you make grains? Are you a straight up rice person or do you experiment with things like quinoa?  I'm always up for something new, so I'd love to hear it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

learning to trust myself

The past few weeks I've been in relaxed running mode.  I'm still putting in miles, but I'm not following a training plan for anything, yet.  I'm having fun doing strength work, or whatever I feel like doing that day.  But this mode is coming to a close very soon.  My first race of the year is coming up on March 5, a Shamrock Run four miler.  This is a fun one, but the course can be challenging, there is a half mile hill that leads to the finish line, the kind of hill where you feel like you're running in place and not getting anywhere.  I made it to two of the training runs, and both times I felt comfortable with the hill, and the course in general, so I'm not worried about it.  But like most runners, I do want to beat my time from last year. 

I've been thinking of my goals for this year, and I decided on a new one: to stop being scared of pushing myself, and to really test my abilities.  I know I hold myself back, because in the past when I've pushed, I've gotten injured.  I'm feeling stonger now, so today I decided to test myself.  The kids are home on winter break, and while they were playing in their rooms, I snuck down to the basement for a quick run on the treadmill.  I keep it on an incline of .5 to mimick outdoor running, so I hopped on, and got moving.  I ran three miles in 26:10, and I was happy with that. 

That just shows I have it in me.  I can do it.

Now I just have to remember that.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I never know what I'm going to see when I take Frank for his walks.  I live near a golf course, and when we were walking by it last night, I saw two men on the course, playing golf, in the snow.  We're having a heat wave today, which means the temperatures are in the 50's, and I think everyone I know is ready for winter to be over.

When I dropped E at school this morning, one of the Dad's asked me if I was going running today, and I said "Oh yeah!"  I mentioned to Mike last night that I haven't run in a week, taking care of things while he was laid up with the flu, and he said "Oh I know."  Hm. Maybe I have been a little crabby lately.

I took Frank for a quick walk before my run, and even though the snow is melting, there were some really slick, icy parts.  I was thinking I should be wearing my new bike helmet, because I was convinced I would crack my head open if I fell.  Then I thought, Bike. Run? Bike? Why not both!

After I dropped Frank at home, I figured I had enough time to do 13.1 miles before I had to pick E up from school.  I got out my bike and took off.  It felt so good to be doing something different, I kept my bike in a high gear, since the roads near my house are fairly flat, and I wanted to work my legs.  It was windy at times, but the sun kept breaking through the clouds and when it did, it was warm, which was lovely.  I did 10.07 miles in 50:49, which I know is slow, but this was about getting time on the bike, and working different muscles, and not about time.

I ran in the house, drank some water, and remembered not only to take off my helmet, but to switch G-unit from biking mode to running mode.  Off I went, and by this time the sun had completely come out, and it was like summer.  Well, not reaaally like summer, but it was nice out. It took me a minute to figure out my stride, at first I felt like I was jumping up and down on a pogo stick.  But after a little while I felt okay, and ran 3.10 in 28:50. 

My friend and neighbor Heather was outside when I got home, so I was all "take a picture of me for my BLOG!!!!"  Which she did.

Nothing like starting the weekend on a great note. 

Have a good one : )

Thursday, February 17, 2011

per your request

I participated in Zoe's Love Yourself Valentine Challenge, she sent me a lovely valentine along with a tattoo, which I had to put on my favorite body part, and the reason why.  You'll have to check out her blog to read why I chose this part, but in the meantime, can you guess what it is???

I had some requests for the venison stew recipe I posted last week, if you want to skip my tutorial on how to use hair rollers, scroll on down for that.....

I had even more requests for hair photos after using rollers.  I bought some plastic velcro rollers in the drugstore a couple of weeks ago.  I was watching the movie Kissing Jessica Stein for about the fifth time, and there is a scene where she's running around her apartment with the rollers in her hair. I love Jennifer Westfeldt (Jessica)'s hair, so I figured I'd buy some and try 'em out.  They were $4.50 for four large rollers. 

This is how I do it (first photo courtesy of little Miss E.)

start with clean, dry hair. Most of the time I air dry my hair, but in the winter I tend to blow dry it.

Take small sections of hair, and wrap it around the roller.  Go do something for 15 minutes, like the dishes, fold laundry, or, more likely, read blogs.

Unroll, shake, spritz with hairspray, and you're good to go.

Doesn't it look fuller????

Now, onto the stew:


3 lbs venison, cubed
2 large vidalia onions
3 lbs peeled potatoes, cubed
2 lbs carrots, peeled & chopped
1/2 bag frozen peas
2 cans Guinness
1 bay leaf
1 tsp garlic powder
small handful of kosher salt
several grinds of ground pepper
veg oil & butter
stock pot or crock pot
sautee pan

1. toss the venison in flour, and shake off the excess
2. in a heavy sautee pan, coat it with oil, add 2 tablespoons butter, bring to medium heat
3. brown the venison, then transfer to pot
4. deglaze the pan with the Guinness, then pour everything into the pot
5. without cleaning the pan, brown the onions, add to pot
6. add carrots, potatoes, bay leaf, garlic powder and salt & pepper to pot
7. add some water, but don't completely cover the meat and veg
8. bring to a boil, simmer on low for several hours.
9. about a half hour before serving, add peas, then serve

love to pair this with crusty bread....enjoy : )

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Does this helmet make me look fat?

I finally bought myself a decent bike helmet yesterday.  I don't usually buy things unless they're on sale, or I have a coupon, or a gift card.  Yesterday I got an email from Dick's Sporting Goods (I can't just write Dicks. Well, I just did) with a $15 off coupon, and since I already had a $25 gift card to use there, I took it as a sign. So Eliza and I headed off to the mall with all the last minute Valentines Day shoppers.

I can't seem to take a photo without looking like a dork.  It doesn't have any bells and whistles, but it's comfy, and I think it's pretty.

I also bought a swim cap, because I'm hoping to start swimming this week.  After I showed Mike the Former Swim Team Captain my purchases, he told me how he and his teammates would bring a cap into the pool, four of them would each take a corner of it, then stretch it far enough so that a fifth person could get into the cap and sit there.  Swimmer party tricks I guess.

Since we're talking about things that go on your head, I recently discovered the beauty of rollers. 

I don't know what I've been waiting for all these years, I love these things.

I may never have a bad hair day again.

Monday, February 14, 2011

V-Day, Movie Edition

I worked some fun jobs in my formative years.  I was a camp counselor, babysitter, gate guard at the beach, a busgirl at The Pig N Whistle, and a check out girl at a local video store. (video store? whats that?).  The video store was a blast, I had a deal with my Mom, she would bring me dinner, and I'd slip her a new release.  My coworkers and I would sneak Reeses Peanut Butter Cups from the sale rack while doing homework and watching whatever movie struck our fancy. 

In the spirit of this day of Love, here are some movies that made their mark on my heart.  If you haven't seen some of them, I highly suggest you check 'em out. Or at least download them. : )

This started my love affair with John how can you go wrong with pork rinds and beer?

I saw this as a kid with my Mom, its a NYC romance during the seventies, Richard Dreyfuss won an Oscar for it....and I still want the little girl Lucy's American Flag lunchbox.

Watched this as one with my Mom as well, and when she visited last fall it happened to be on a movie channel, so we made Mike watch it with us, and he really liked it.  It's one of those movies where they find love later in life, when they didn't think it would happen at all.

My heart belongs to John Hughes, and the ending of this, when Watt's gets the earrings, just makes my heart explode with happiness.

ANOTHER movie I watched with my Mom, I dare you not to cry at the end. And I dare you not to laugh when the little girl in the chorus sings "it's your conscience."

I had the poster to this one, the John Cusak love lives on. But I'm still mad that she actually gave him a pen.

This is my favorite.  You want it to go one way, but it goes another way, then you realize, that was the right way.  Plus the music is beautiful, and you can run to some of it.

Do you have a favorite movie for this day?
Happy Valentine's Day!

And Happy Valentine's Day to my Mama, who introduced me to so many of these great flicks.

Friday, February 11, 2011

this post is not random

This weekend, I am determined to put these on:

and go cross country skiing.  Every time I plan on going, something comes up.  There is a golf course by my house that has a trail, it hasn't snowed in a couple of days, and it's bitter cold, so the snow should be perfect.

I took it easy this week.  The last time I ran was Saturday with my running group, it was a great run of 5 miles on hills and in the cold, I kept it between a 9 - 9:30 pace.   On my way home I spotted a bakery that I hadn't noticed before, and I decided to run in and get Mike and the kids some donuts.  NEVER go into a warm bakery, that smells like fresh bread and cake, when you're starving after a run.  I walked in and could not concentrate at all, it was sensory overload.  I was good though, I only had one bite of Mike's cookie, but I waited and gave it to him first.

Then we took the kids out for lunch at a place we hadn't eaten before, we had a gift card to use that Mike bought on Groupon.  He is a Living Social/Groupon Junkie, it's seriously becoming an issue.  Anyway, I ordered a salad, no meat, and it tasted fine when I ate it.  But Saturday night I had MAJOR stomach issues, and I didn't start to feel better until it was time to watch the Superbowl.  No one else got sick so it must have been my lunch.  But everyone IS sick with this fever/cold/throat thing. Mike has it now and I'm reeeeally hoping that I don't catch it. 

My body was feeling tired this week, and I have this weird ache on the side of my knee, so I decided to cut back, take a couple of rest days, and only do my floor exercises.  Besides vacuuming and mopping the floors, I use these:

I need a new kettlebell, the 10 lb is too light.  My new favorite time to use them is while watching Kathie Lee and Hoda.......I know.  But somehow they grew on me and now they crack me up. 

Has anyone else noticed that February is a popular birthday month for bloggers?

I love Sprite.  I bought some to have in the house for when my father in law was visiting us, and I opened an ice cold can last night. I never drink it, but it called to me. It was delish. 

I'm excited for the new season of Survivor....although Russell and Rob both annoy me, so it will be interesting how it plays out.

in closing....

I might find out about Mystery Marathon around the 18th.  I just want to know already.

cross your fingers for me

: )

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I'm Eating Wednesday

I'm all about leftovers. I don't mind making a big meal on Sunday, then having whats left for lunch during the week.  I'm also a creature of habit, usually when it comes to breakfast. 

I went through a cereal phase, an oatmeal phase, a yogurt phase, and a smoothie phase.  Now I'm back to oatmeal, and the smoothie is now an afternoon snack.  I used to eat that flavored oatmeal that comes in individual packets, but now I'm trying to be mindful of my sugar intake, since it's pretty much in everything, so now I make my own, on the stove top. 

This is my latest favorite brand:

I cook it so it comes out sort of al dente, and I mix in cinnamon, slivered almonds, and dried cherries.  It's a tasty combo:

I love soups and stews in the winter.  Back in my days of working in an office, I ate canned soup for the convenience of it.  But so many of them are loaded with sodium, so I'd rather make my own, and control what goes into it.

Sunday we had a stew made with veggies and venison, which is really lean.  I can only eat venison if it's in chili or stew.  I love peas in stew, the trick is to add them at the end of cooking so they don't get mushy.

Is it lunchtime yet?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

didn't this happen yesterday?

I'm all for winter.

I think the snow is pretty, I don't mind driving in it too much, and it doesn't stop me from being outside, either running, walking, or cross country skiing.  I don't get Seasonal Affective Disorder.   But honestly, I'm starting to feel like I'm in the movie Groundhog Day. 

So far this winter, we've had over 120 inches of snow.  And schools were closed just once.  When it's not snowing, I feel like it should be snowing.

Went to bed last night, it was snowing.  Woke up to see this outside the front door:

And this:

Looked out the kitchen windows to see this:

And this:

It's beautiful.

I'm just starting to feel like I'm on a different type of treadmill.

That is all. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

53 Runners Commandments

I'm sure you've seen this list before.

I read it again recently, when it was posted on the message board of my running group.  The author is writer/publisher/ distance runner Joe Kelly. What I find particularly interesting about him, is that he's one of the organizers of the Boilermaker 15k, the largest 15k in the country. The Boilermaker is one of my favorite races, and I plan on running it again this summer, for the fifth year in a row. 

I can relate to several of these, like number 10, number 33, and number 38.

What about you?

The Runners Commandments

1. Don’t be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.

2. Walking out the door is often the toughest part of a run.

3. Don’t make running your life. Make it part of your life.

4. During group training runs, don’t let anyone run alone.

5. Keep promises, especially ones made to yourself.

6. When doing group runs, start on time no matter who’s missing.

7. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.

8. Keep a quarter in your pocket. One day you’ll need to call for a ride.

9. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.

10. All runners are equal, some are just faster than others.

11. Keep in mind that the later in the day it gets, the more likely it is that you won’t run.

12. For a change of pace, get driven out and then run back.

13. If it was easy, everybody would be a runner.

14. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.

15. Getting out of shape is much easier than getting into shape.

16. A bad day of running still beats a good day at work.

17. Talk like a runner. “Singlets” are worn on warm days. “Tank tops” are worn to the beach.

18. Don’t talk about your running injuries. People don’t want to hear about your sore knee or black toe.

19. Don’t always run alone.

20. Don’t always run with people.

21. Approach running as if the quality of your life depended on it.

22. No matter how slow you run it is still faster than someone sitting on a couch.

23. Keep in mind that the harder you run during training, the luckier you’ll get during racing.

24. Races aren’t just for those who can run fast.

25. There are no shortcuts to running excellence.

26. The best runs sometimes come on days when you didn’t feel like running.

27. Be modest after a race, especially if you have reason to brag.

28. If you say, “Let’s run this race together,” then you must stay with that person no matter how slow.

29. Think twice before agreeing to run with someone during a race.

30. There is nothing boring about running. There are, however, boring people who run.

31. Look at hills as opportunities to pass people.

32. Distance running is like cod liver oil. At first it makes you feel awful, then it makes you feel better.

33. Never throw away the instructions to your running watch.

34. Don’t try to outrun dogs.

35. Don’t trust runners who show up at races claiming to be tired, out of share, or not feeling well.

36. Don’t wait for perfect weather. If you do, you won’t run very often.

37. When tempted to stop being a runner, make a list of the reasons you started.

38. Never run alongside very old or very young racers. They get all of the applause.

39. Without goals, training has no purpose.

40. During training runs, let the slowest runner in the group set the pace.

41. The first year in a new age group offers the best opportunity for trophies.

42. Go for broke, but be prepared to be broken.

43. Spend more time running on the roads than sitting on the couch.

44. Make progress in your training, but progress at your own rate.

45. “Winning” means different things to different people.

46. Unless you make your living as a runner, don’t take running too seriously.

47. Runners who never fail are runners who never try anything great.

48. Never tell a runner that he or she doesn’t look good in tights.

49. Never confuse the Ben-Gay tube with the toothpaste tube.

50. Never apologize for doing the best you can.

51. Preventing running injuries is easier than curing them.

52. Running is simple. Don’t make it complicated.

53. Running is always enjoyable. Sometimes, though, the joy doesn’t come until the end of the run.

Friday, February 4, 2011

what a cheese head

Most times I feel like the weeks go by in a flash, this past week however, was so full that it went by at a snails pace.

My Mom went home yesterday, after she was here for over a week. And we were pretty much home bound the whole time, because of the snow and cold.  Mom was a big help while she was here, and Eliza was her little shadow.  When my Mom says goodbye, she does it way too fast, and I realize now she does it that way so she won't cry.  

Anyway, I started the week off with some birthday snowshoeing, I had asked Jeannine if she wanted to go at the nearby nature center, I was in the mood for some cross training.  I woke up in a fog, I had a horrible night's sleep, I got maybe 4 hours, and almost canceled when I saw that the outside temp was zero. However, after some coffee, and getting the kids to school, I was ready to rock.

We did 3.2 miles of trails, here is J checking out the valley view:

Trees, trees, trees.

This week really sucked sleep wise. Today I was trying to remember the last time I had one single night of uninterrupted sleep. Luke has been sick all week with some fever that keeps coming and going, so he was up a lot, Eliza had a couple of nightmares, and even Frank was up for two nights in a row. Besides those valid reasons for being awake, I never, ever sleep for a whole night without waking up. Ever. I've been like this since I was a kid, and I'm tired of it.  It takes me a while to fall asleep, and once I do, I can't stay asleep.  When I was a kid I would sneak into the bathroom to read because I couldn't sleep.  I have a hard time napping too, because I start thinking of everything else I could be doing.  Oh well.  Maybe I'm like Martha Stewart, who claims to only sleep four hours a night. Um.....probably not.

So once again it's Superbowl Weekend.  Since the JETS blew it, I'm hoping Green Bay makes it, and to bring them a bit of luck, I hauled out the Cheese Hat. 

And........put it on Frank:

which he then took off with:

I've been looking for new music, I have a couple of itunes gift cards to redeem, I'm open to new music suggestions is you have them.  But I do have a new favorite running song, for your listening pleasure.

Happy Weekend.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What I'm Eating Wednesday

Thanks so much for all the birthday comments! It was a great day : )

For the past two Wednesday's I've posted exclusively about food. Which isn't surprising if you read my blog, but I figured going forward I'll keep the food photos to once a week, and it will be known as "What I'm Eating Wednesday."

I know, I'm very creative. 

I drink smoothies pretty much every day.  Every summer we go berry picking, and I end up with several gallon sized bags of fruit, that I freeze and using during the winter.  After the party on Friday, we had a ton of fruit salad left over that my sis in law made.  Mike had the great idea to freeze it into snack sized plastic bags, which is the perfect amount for a smoothie.  Just peel, then throw it in the blender. 

He's a smart one, my husband.