A life where arts & crafts meets food & fitness


Thursday, December 30, 2010

No dough

Well no dough for now since I didn't set up enough time for it to rise. (More dough of the other kind is always a good thing.)

I have a bad habit for bread. I decide I want to make bread but then forget that it needs to rise. True I can still make it now but fresh bread earlier in the day is always a great thing. Plus it makes the house smell so good.

I have make breakfast breads and egg twist (or egg braid if you prefer) before and both turned out well. There is a recipe in The Blue Ribbon Country Cook Book that I want to try for white bread. I have had homemade white bread before (my gram makes really good bread) and am hoping it turns out well when I actually make it.

Worst case, I'll have homemade croutons.

Do you have any bread success or horror stories?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 resolutions

I am hit or miss with New Years resolutions. I can honestly say that I forgot most of the ones I set up for this current year. In a way they were engulfed by the goal to be healthier, happier, and more active in the sense of trying new things rather than actually moving around.

This year having them set in print, or pixels rather, I have a way to look back at them for reference.

  • Try a new recipe at least twice a month. It can be a version of something that I have made before but that exact recipe must be a new one.

  • Yoga/stretch daily. I am usually quite good with this but making a conscious effort to totally relax even for 20 minutes is a smart idea.

  • Catch up with friends on a more frequent basis. I have friends from school (grade school through college) that I talk to via email every few months. I may not talk to them on a regular basis but it is always nice to see how they are doing.

  • Sleep and don't skimp on it when times get busy. The one more hour of whatever always catches up on me when I don't stick to a semi regular sleep pattern. This year I have gotten better. Next year I want this to continue improving.

  • Find a running routine and stick to it as best as possible. I am not saying a specific since I don't know how spring will be right now. Having even a small goal to say run 5 miles every week and a half is a good start. Later I may laugh at that and run 5 miles minimum a week.

  • Don't forget the little stuff for myself. I too often forget the little things like painting my fingernails something other than clear polish. (Toes are usually a color even during winter since I hate unpolished toenails.) I have bottle and bottles and I deserve little things to make me smile even on the days I feel like a frump for whatever silly reason.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Run remix

Since the uber (yes I just said uber) surprise this Christmas, I have been kicking my playlist building in high gear. I have two text files of songs that catch my attention on Pandora. I haven't figured out exactly how many but there are a lot. It is pretty eclectic too. Safe to say I am going to make category versions since they are all over the place.

Here are a few copy/pasted for reference purposes.

running down a dream - tom petty
paper planes - m.i.a.
wave of mutitlation - the pixies
girls just want to have fun - miley cyrus
party in the usa - miley cyrus
gold guns girls - metric
sexy bitch - david guetta
shove it - santigold
one hot coma - paris, texas
I can dream about you - dan hartman
i want to know what love is - foreigner
while you see a chance - steve winwood
something about you - level 42
cry me a river - michael buble
mary janes last dance - tom petty & the heartbreakers
strawberry swing - coldplay
More than a feeling - Boston
Satisfaction - Rolling Stones
I want it all - Queen
Sweet Child of Mine - G & R
strangelove - depeche mode
voices carry - til tuesday
Once in a lifetime - talking heads
Walk through the world - mark cohn
drive - the cars
against all odds - phil collins

When I have the all set and labeled with silly names I will post them periodically. I say silly names because I can't just call something "car mix 1" or "running mix 4". They end up "Breck trip ride roadmix" or "neon laces in my running shoes."

This is all coming from the gal who named her ipod after the cat in Hocus Pocus. Sadly I may need to get a new one since the old thing won't hold a charge the normal amount of time. It is from '04 though so I think it had a good run.

Do you have a crazy mix that you run to/workout to or is it more of one style?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow day

It is snowing again. I like snow but not driving in it. True, living in the Chicago area my entire life I should be used to it but I am still not a fan of it. The good thing though is since we had Christmas Eve at our house this year, the front walk and sidewalk were shoveled and salted. This will definitely help later with shoveling.

I am not surprised though that it is snowing today is it is one of our friend's birthdays tomorrow. We are all going out to celebrate tonight. Last year it seriously snowed. It probably did the year before. Winter birthday's always equal major carpooling to avoid parking problems and whatnot.

My exciting plan for today pre-party is a mix of laundry, snacking on leftovers from yesterday/Friday including cookies that my mom made - the already mentioned kolackys, pecan snowballs and chcochip cookie bar, misc crackers, veggies, and ham, catching up on some TV watching, and reading one of my new cookbooks.

My family has always believed in hints for gift shopping. It is not necessarily exactly what you want, though it can be at times, but ideas for shopping. My uncle had no ideas for me and so I gave him a few cookbook ideas. He was able to find one on the list - Small Batch Baking - which I have wanted for a long time. Hubs isn't a huge sweets person and while I do have a sweet tooth, I can't eat an entire batch/cake whatnot by myself without getting sick of it. I hate when home baked stuff goes stale too and I too often forget to freeze things. This book will fix all of that and of course, if I need more of something for whatever reason I just make more than one.

The other cookbook is Blue Ribbon Country Cookbook. I have never heard of it nor did my uncle but we both agreed it looked good. It is a mix of recipes and techniques which makes me happy. I'll be parking myself with it on the couch later with a cup of tea next to me and a dog sleeping on my feet. I love reading cookbooks as much as novels. It is easy to imagine making it as I read them.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

That Christmas Eve when they all ganged up on me

I mean it in a good way of course.

First present was from my BiL:

Woohoo! No longer will I need to run with the bottle + carbinger + keyring + cellphone combo. (Yes, it is as awkward as it sounds.)

Then my in-laws gave me this:

SWEET! New reading material + tips/tricks/whatnot.

But there was more to the book than just the book. It was what was IN the book too:


My MiL wasn't sure the best options/sizes/whatnot and so, after talking to Hubs, decided this was the best way. Plus, a lunch out w my MiL is always fun especially since we get along extremely well.

I was super happy especially since this was something that took thought. Easy presents are fun too but taking a bit more time to make it a themed idea I love even more.

After all my inlaws left (including aunts, cousins, second cousins incl the 3 month old little girl who stole everyone's attention for a good part of the night), Hubs brought in my gift which my MiL was keeping safe.

I unwrapped the box and shrieked.

Hubs had heard me talk about them before. When the Amazon sale was tweeted about a ways back (wanna say Emily @ The Daily Garnish started it but not sure - she replied to one I sent her) I was bopping about the house talking about what a great deal was going on.

Safe to say, that is when the plan started. It was a good plan.

A very good plan.

Hubs did well though - NHL11 for Xbox360, a wool sweater, & Death Troopers (Star Wars + zombies book.) Plus multiuser setting for the 305 means he can use it too. My inlaws loved their presents. My family loved their presents and we got some great stuff from them too.

Overall though it is not the stuff you get but the time you get to spend with family. Both going well is just an extra bonus.

Now you must excuse me, my mom's homemade kolaczkys are calling me from the pantry.

Merry Merry

Thursday, December 23, 2010

All I Want from the radio is some Christmas music

Mariah Carey is on the radio - All I Want for Christmas is You to be exact. I'm dancing about here, swinging my hips, lip synching along, and arms flailing about (when not typing of course). Thing is, I generally can't stand The Lady of Multiple Octaves. She bugs me, not as bad as Rush ::shudder::, but she still bugs me. Then the Christmas season starts and I'm bopping along to her music. Funny how the holidays can do that to you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Put down the knitting needles lady! You need a break!

The holiday knitting is done. If you are not a knitter, think of it as needing to bake, decorate, and package no less than six dozen cookies in a short amount of time. Oh and they all all cut out with a cookie cutter and frosted with homemade frosting, colored sugar, and various little add ons. Hubs and I always have the same conversation with my holiday knitting. I keep saying that I need to finish this and he says all I am talking about is finishing it. Yup. It makes sense to me but that's because I am a knitter.

We are having Christmas Eve at our place this year as a potluck. We've done some clean up and whatnot around the house but I know there will be much more. There is a spot cleared out and designated as the ham spot in the fridge. I have several boxes of cake mix and some of that spray frosting in the pantry. (Seriously spray frosting is crazy good - not as good as homemade but the fun factor of it being in the same state as spray cheese makes it amusing.)

The pups are getting a bath today. They will not be happy. Carrying one of the plastic mixing bowls w the handle upstairs is the cue for them to go into no-way mode. We are able to get them upstairs and into the shower but they don't go willing. Yes, we put them in the shower and turn it on for Cosmo. Molly is a mix of that + bowlfuls. They will willingly stand outside in the rain so this is basically the same thing. Plus all we have is the shower now. They have gotten baths outside when it is warm but that stressed Molly even more so we don't do that anymore.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Meow, NOM, Meow

Hubs bought a tree skirt this year. We didn't have one in the past and had used a red plastic tablecloth from the dollar store last year. It worked but the cats were quite interested in it.

Sadly, they are much more interested in the tree skirt. Bond is especially fascinated in it.

Seriously Mom! I was having fun. Why are you bothering me with that flashy box thing???

In between resituating the tree skirt and misc other stuff around the house, I noticed the bananas in our hanger were getting spotted. I am not a fan of sweet sweet bananas. RIGHT when they start turning yellow works the best for me. Dalmatian bananas mean it's time to bake.

I wanted an easy banana bread recipe that I hadn't tried before and one that included ingredients that I had in the house. I did a search for banana bread + easy + blog and ended up with a few options. The one I settled on was this one from Simply recipes that had been mentioned as a crowd winner. Perfect.

It was.

It browned on the edges but since it didn't include brown sugar it really didn't burn. It was moist, banana-y, and springy. I've made banana bread before that is more bread-like. This one was more cake-like texture wise. I will definitely be making it again. Next time I am contemplating cinnamon or a walnut crumble on top.

I'm comfy. Mommmmm just go back to eating that good smelling stuff you made on the oven this weekend yet won't let me have.

I've just given up for now and let him play in it. When he's done rolling around in it, it goes back on the bottom of the tree. He's not chewing on it. Nor is Frankie. So for now that is fine.

If they start, I'm getting the duct tape and taping the skirt to the tree.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lost in Fiberland

Well, not really lost, more like dancing about happily but clearly not in foodland.

Oh wait, did you think I meant fiber as in the kind that is found in food? I meant fiber as in two regular skeins and one double skeins of sport weight yarn.

Before I was hunting down recipes online, I was searching for knitting patterns. I've been knitting for a good number of years now and I love making things for people. To be completely honest, I think I have knitted more for other people than I have for myself. Lately Hubs has been taking over most of the cooking since I have been knitting up a storm when I can find any extra time.

If I was an extremely fast knitter, there'd be a bunch of scarves wrapped around tins of cookies for Christmas gifts this year. Someday this will be a plan especially since I know a lot of people who would love this. It's personal and useful at the same time.

Ok, back to the knitting. There is a pair of 10 1/2 straights and orange yarn calling my name.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blog-mas: Day 12

On the twelfth day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
Twelve cameras snapping
Eleven hoopers hooping
Ten pies a baking
Nine dancers zumba-ing
Eight runners a pacing
Seven blenders a blending
Six mixers a mixing
Five jars of nut butter
Four race bibs
Three new blends
Two bowls of oatmeal
And a smoothie that is very very green.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cookie weekend

A few years ago Hubs and some of the guys went to a Bears game in Detroit. (If you are a Bears fan and do not want to spend a fortune on decent seats, this is a good deal. If you have a friend who lives in the 'burbs of Detroit, it's a even better deal.) With the guys out of town, the Annual Cookie Party was born. It's a mix of ladies night, movie night, and an excuse to bake and eat cookies until the sugar makes your teeth hurt. It has since evolved from a dozen cookies per person to a half dozen to bring something to share. Believe me, the evolution is good. No sugar coma and yet a successful night.

Yesterday was this year's cookie party. I brought out my default always amazing cookie recipe from Hershey's Cocoa: Easy Baking. It is a book I found years ago and I absolutely love it. The recipes are easy but everything I've made so far have been a hit. Plus is is one of those books with the cardboard pages like a little kids book so I can wipe it clean if I spill something on it. Now that I have ever spilled a single thing on it. It's more like multiple things.

I call them my double fudge cookies because I add extra cocoa powder. The batter ends up looking and tasting like brownie batter.

I think they look like brownie cookies as well.

Still warm quality control testing.

This batch ended up being topped with melted chocochips and the sugar snowflakes. The second were plain and a bit flatter since I melted the margarine more so. The batter ends up a little mushier when that happens but they still taste amazing.

This morning we woke up to snow. The animals always go wacky when it snows. The cats get super lazy in Bond's case or super snuggly in Frankie's case. Bond napped upstairs most of the day. Frankie tried to either sit on my lap or glared at me as I knitted. (He gets annoyed that the knitting is where he wants to nap.)

The dogs wanted to play outside in the snow. They did and then they wanted to play more inside.

Tug of war w Hubs.

The baby gate at the patio door is our attempt to not have the dogs run through the screen door. Cosmo has done it once already. The squirrels sit on the fence and taunt them.

Cosmo is worn out.

Molly wasn't and wanted to go outside and run around more.

Food wise, today was another slow cooker Sunday. With it being so cold lately, I've been wanting soup. I tried a new version of chicken soup today. I included rosemary and thyme as the base rather than basil and oregano. I had to tinker with it a bit since it went a bit mellow. A few dashes of black pepper and some crushed bay leaves later, it is working out well.

Blog-mas: Day 11

On the eleventh day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
Eleven hoopers hooping
Ten pies a baking
Nine dancers zumba-ing
Eight runners a pacing
Seven blenders a blending
Six mixers a mixing
Five jars of nut butter
Four race bibs
Three new blends
Two bowls of oatmeal
A smoothie that is very very green.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blog-mas: Day 10

On the tenth day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
Ten pies a baking
Nine dancers zumba-ing
Eight runners a pacing
Seven blenders a blending
Six mixers a mixing
Five jars of nut butter
Four race bibs
Three new blends
Two bowls of oatmeal
A smoothie that is very very green.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Blog-mas: Day 9

On the ninth day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
Nine dancers zumba-ing
Eight runners a pacing
Seven blenders a blending
Six mixers a mixing
Five jars of nut butter
Four race bibs
Three new blends
Two bowls of oatmeal
A smoothie that is very very green.

Things that make you go grrrr

I'm a chatty person. I have always been. The parent/teacher conferences for years always included some form of "excellent student but she talks a bit too much at times." Sometimes I don't make sense. Sometimes I ramble. Sometimes I just start small talk with random people in public situations.

I've ridden public transportation as long as I can remember. The bus steps used to be HUGE to me. I understand that traffic gets messed up the first major snow of the season even though this is the Midwest and snow is no new thing. I understand there are traffic jams due to accidents, power outages, construction and people who generally do not know the basic rules of the road. (My favorite bumper sticker ever is one that says "If I can't trust you to use your turn signal, how can I trust you to use the rest of your car.") I understand that schedules change. I'm just not going to be happy especially this time.

::pauses to take pizza flier away from the orange meowing rubber band chewer::

I am glad that I have started/joined in random waiting-for-the-bus small talk. One of my bus friends today (or "the bus people" as Hubs calls them) let me know of the schedule change that starts Monday.


I had no idea.

If I hadn't seen her and she hadn't showed me the notice that she was given YESTERDAY, I would have been standing there in the snow Monday morning thinking the bus was late. Nope. New time. I check occasionally but usually when there is a major change there are notices out for quite a while. I must have missed them if they were because I only recall one with a different number. My guess it was not part of that header and therefore I didn't pay attention. Not my bus equals a quick glance then back to my book.

The thing that really frustrates me is that the evening buses are shifted to where I either have no chance to make one bus or have to wait a good chunk of time to catch the next. I have a long commute and have gotten used to the long commute. It doesn't bug me anymore for the most part. I talk to my bus friends. I read. I knit. I play too much of that Bubble Breaker in Megashift mode on my cell phone. I just wasn't ready for an even longer one.

While it is frustrating, I know it is not the end of the world. There are much worse things going on in the world than a bus schedule changing. We have just dealt with a lot this year and got through it all so now it's like the last bwahahahaha of the year. I do have another option to take a train and luckily I can walk the added distance to get there.

For this weekend, there will be some added yoga and I know I'll be finishing the rest of the box of Zen tea.

::ends venting::

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Blog-mas: Day 8

On the eighth day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
Eight runners a pacing
Seven blenders a blending
Six mixers a mixing
Five jars of nut butter
Four race bibs
Three new blends
Two bowls of oatmeal
A smoothie that is very very green.

Hey runner, you're a STAR!

The video from The Hot Chocolate 5k/15k is up today. Of course being part of the 5k meant I was excited to see it.

After seeing this however, I started squeaking.

I'm in the pink hat. Stina is in the gray jacket/black headband next to me. Sarah is with us there too. (She is blog-less.)

You can see the few seconds of us go "WOOHOO": we appear about 56 seconds in.

BEP's I Got A Feeling was actually playing as we crossed the starting line so having it be there at the part when we appear makes the song even cooler now. True, I liked it before. (The CD is sitting if five feet from me right now.) Now it means even more.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Frosting on the cookie

I have limited experience making cookie frosting. I can only recall one year I made elves (My mom still has the cookie cutter.) for Christmas. There is a Polaroid picture somewhere of me grinning and holding the plate of decorated cookies with a big grin on my face. I even dyed the dough with food coloring so there were REALLY red ones and REALLY green ones.

I need to find the photo and scan is mostly due to the title of the picture. Scrawled in my kid handwriting is something along the lines of The Evil Cookies. Since they were evil we didn't eat them. Actually, it wasn't due to their moral standing it was due to the shortening being expired. OOPS! and GROSS! at the same time.

I don't even remember why I didn't check the date since it was so long ago but every time I see a larger tub of shortening it makes me think of that plate of cookies, especially around Christmas.

Blog-mas: Day 7

On the seventh day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
Seven blenders a blending
Six mixers a mixing
Five jars of nut butter
Four race bibs
Three new blends
Two bowls of oatmeal
A smoothie that is very very green.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Blog-mas: Day 6

On the sixth day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
Six mixers a mixing
Five jars of nut butter
Four race bibs
Three new blends
Two bowls of oatmeal
A smoothie that is very very green.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nine as in the temperature, not just a number

This morning it was nine degrees out. True, being December Decembrrrrr it shouldn't be that shocking but with it being hoodie only weather not that long ago, it was a bit of a shock to the system. My eyes feel like when someone turns on the overhead light after you have been in bed awhile. The AHHHH! bright light! bright light! a la Gizmo which I honestly do from time to time.

Cold weather instantly means I start thinking soup. I am unsure if it will be a 12 bean, a chicken veggie noodle, or a potato based one but there is a crockpot plan set for the near future.

The near near future though is the annual cookie party. It's a ladies night of food, wine, and chick flicks.

Does anyone else have a holiday related get together tradition?

Blog-mas: day 5

On the fifth day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
Five jars of nut butter
Four race bibs
Three new blends
Two bowls of oatmeal
A smoothie that is very very green.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mews News

I had planned to write about a cookie recipe I tried today. Thing is though, there are no cookies. Not even is there dough chilling in the fridge for later. Nothing.

I had meant to bake. I seriously did but needed ginger. This lead to going shopping w The BFF but I went to pick her up. It all went downhill from there especially since last week I found out she had mews.

No not news, mews.

2 1/2 week old mews to be exact.

These little cuties are currently being called Tinsel and Garland. I like naming pets people names that seem fitting. The calico also meows like a grumpy old lady. Therefore she needs some sort of old fashioned name that can be shortened to a cute nickname.

Sadly, they aren't mine to name. I've been teasing Hubs that Frankie and Bond need a sister. I know that right now time, money and destruction wise, there is very little chance we'd get a new kitten. (I'd take Garland in a heartbeat if I could.) The destruction part being including is a result of my jokingly asking Hubs about us getting a new cat and then Frankie proceeding to start chewing on the faux fur fuzz on my coat. Yelling "Stop eating my coat!" doesn't help prove a point.

They both will find homes since The BFF has fostered probably over 100 animals the past ten years. She is amazing for doing it. We wouldn't have Frankie and Bond if it wasn't for her and her huge heart.

I'll get to the cookies later. Ity bity purring fuzzballs are more important. Plus I couldn't find ginger that wasn't under $3 for a tiny container.

Blog-mas: Day 4

On the fourth day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
Four race bibs
Three new blends
Two bowls of oatmeal
A smoothie that is very very green.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blog-mas: Day 3

On the third day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
Three new blends
Two bowls of oatmeal
A smoothie that is very very green.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Blog-mas: Day 2

On the second day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
Two bowls of oatmeal
A smoothie that is very very green.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back to green

Holiday season means rush rush RUSH! way too often. Find this or that or both though one is currently out of stock at this location so you need to go back in the car and go to the next closest. Repeat.

I know people who thrive off the rushing about. More power to you. I've been there. It was called college. Give me a can of Coke, some regular Twizzlers (great computer food since no crumbs!), remix music and I was off and coding. Computer coding that is, not flat lining. Hmmm Flatliners.... young Kiefer Sutherland.... I digress.

Too much rush mode would wear me out. I'd get then not sleep well which then leads to one of the best oxymorons in the world, being overtired. I'd take breaks and whatnot too but it didn't work all the time.

Fast forward ::cough:: years later, there are moments that the RUSH RUSH GOOOOO wants to rear it's ugly head. It gets kicked into submission. I am not saying to be lazy. No way. It is more so the remembering to take a deep breath or a moment to play with the cat/dog/all four for a minute or two.

If I don't and I'm cooking something will get burnt or spilled. My favorite is when cabinets decide to vomit their content on the floor. (Yes, Tupperware I'm talking to your section!)

The plan this year is to have Christmas Eve at our house. It will be a potluck which helps everyone. I am starting to think of ideas and whanot now. 23 days is a good number.

12 Days of Blog-mas

On the first day of Blog-mas
My true love gave to me
A smoothie that is very very green.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

So here's what I think about....review tba

Recently, I got an email about an opportunity to do product review for CSN Stores. I like reading other people reviews about items and especially if it becomes something someone ends up using quite often. This being the first review opp I thought to give it a shot. They are kindly giving me a $35 credit to pick out an item (super sweet!) of my choice. The thing is according to their site there are over 200 stores so I am going to have to set aside to really look at everything. It is everything from furniture like tv stands to fitness items like a foam roller (which I have read about so much lately w the running bloggers) to kitchen stuff (the owl on this makes me laugh.)

I saw The Sign

It's right here actually.

I think NKOTB is haunting me. First, the tour w Backstreet Boys gets announced. If there was money to waste, yes waste, on that I'd so be going. Then the mentioning of them with Erin. Today they literally appeared. Well not in person especially since if they have been sitting in a hatbox in my coat closet for over a year and not uttered a single "step by step", I'd be pretty upset.

I keep my yarn in the coat closet since that was the first place it was put when we moved into the house. Plus it is a pretty much cat proof resistant location when it is up on the shelf. I have other bags of it on the floor of the closet which is the main reason Frankie got yelled at numerous times this evening. I knew the yarn I was looking for was in that closet but with him trying to explore made it a bit harder to find it. All is well now and I'll be parking myself on the couch with a large cup of tea in a few moments.

One of the reasons I love knitting is that is is so relaxing when it is a simple pattern. I have collected numerous patterns and magazines (Mmmmm Vogue Knitting) over the years and someday I'll be adventerous and try something more intricate.

It's easy to compare knitting patterns to recipes too actually. You have your ingredients/yarn, utensils/needles, pattern/recipe, cooking time/WIP (work in process) to finished product timeline.

The thing to remember though is you can't survive on yarn alone.

Yes I know, shameless plug withing my OWN site but know you have part of the backstory to why the name is such.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Snow! Cue the holiday music!

There are flurries today! It may be barely visible but it is there. SNOW!

For me, it is not truly Christmastime until after Thanksgiving. Lights hung up and lit, Christmas items in the stores, and misc other thing pre-turkey day result in TOO EARLY! I don't care if it is the week of Thanksgiving. It's too early to me.

Now the day after Thanksgiving equals CUE THE SILVER BELLS! FIND THE SINGING ANGELS AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE READY FOR THE HARK! SANTA BE READY TO ROCK AND ROLL! RUDOPLH ARE YOUR RUN RUN-ING SHOES READY? It is like a switch goes off and all the lights are oooh inducing as that holiday warm and fuzziness hits me.

True there will be times of Christmas related arg-ing like burnt cookies and paper cuts from wrapping but it's hard to focus just on the negative. I try to be a positive person as much as possible. It is not realistic to say that I am always positive but I can't let the bad moments and the emotional vampires win out.

I have Christmas music on right now and I'm sitting here with my foot tapping. I have even added New Kids on the Block (holiday) to my station after Erin's mention of their themed release. I actually still have my cassette tape of that. I also have The Happy Hamsters Christmas tape. It is basically a Chipmunks rip off that my Great-Aunt found years ago. It has the same elements but the names are different and the voices are obviously not the same. It's still cute.

I think I'm going to have to drag out the old radio with the tape player now.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Like It's Quidditch

I like the G6 song mostly because it is sooo catchy and will be included in my spring running mix. Now I find out that there is a Harry Potter version?!?!?!?!

I've already tweeted this but I'm already playing it again and so have to share the greatness.

Rain rain rainrainrain

I recently lost another umbrella to downtown Chicago weather. If you have never had to deal with the crazy wind/rain combo in the city, kudos to you since it is truly a pain in the butt. Many times I have decided just to forget about the umbrella, put up my hood, and get semi wet... or you just put a garbage bag with a hole in it over your head. That works too.

So sans my umbrella and sans a replacement in my bag, of course it rains today. Luckily it was on the way home and so if I got wet it wasn't a huge deal. I get off the bus and it's coming down a little but just enough to be annoying so I decided to run home - or rather run/jog/slow to a walk to readjust messenger bag/RUN. That's when Mother Nature decided to mock me.

I am completely serious.

I would speed up and it would start coming down harder. I'd slow back to a walk and the drops would magically shrink. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me so I kept focused on the sidewalk. Yup. It was true. Half dollar sized drops that I was anticipating becoming hail made me finally give up. I didn't want hail.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's a bit chili in this house

Today was another Slow Cooker Sunday. I woke up this morning wanting chili and Hubs was game. (He was also focused on watching the Bears game.) This way we could each have a relaxing Sunday and not have to stand in the kitchen making dinner.

It was a pretty basic combo of ground beef, beans - black, chili and kidney, canned tomatoes, frozen sweet corn, and a mix of spices including cumin, chili powder, onion salt, red/black pepper shot, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and paprika. It ended up a nice heat that didn't hit right away rather than other times when it is super spicy the moment you taste it.

Today was a total lazy day especially after a busy long weekend. I managed to catch up on some recorded TV and knit. Frankie wasn't happy that he couldn't sit on my lap/chest like he does all the time. Luckily I stopped him before he plopped down on my circulars. True, they would have probably scared him more than actually hurt him since these knitting needles aren't very sharp but I still would have felt bad.

The Family Stone is on right now and even though I own the movie and have seen it numerous times, I am watching it again. My knitting project is garter stitch based so it will result in that zone out to both mode.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Excuse me do you have the time?

Early bird shopping yesterday has seriously messed up my internal clock. I kept forgetting what time it was today and at times what day it even was to begin with, though I always loving long holiday weekends! I had planned a mellow night of tv watching and knitting all curled up on the couch but I'm thinking a nice nap will work as well. Naps rule! Tired drools!

We ran out of pumpkin pie this morning. I should say I did rather than we since there is still a slice of my grandmother's pumpkin pie in the fridge. It is for Hubs and I won't eat it since I know he loves pumpkin pie. I actually considered making a pumpkin pie this morning until I realized we didn't have any condensed milk. I normally don't keep a can in the pantry but we had discussed it before while thinking holiday related food shopping. Safe to say it will be on the next shopping list!

Since the baking fairy was buzzing around my head (like a G6 - yes I know I'm corny but that song has been stuck in my head all day!), something was going to be made. I remembered seeing a bread recipe Jenna has posted awhile back that included walnuts and cranberries. It technically is Cranberry Walnut Orange Bread. I only had walnuts and so modified it a bit. A tiny jar of maraschino cherries and a bit of the juice replaced the cranberries and I omitted the orange all together. It turned out extremely tasty even with it being a bit burnt on the edges. A mix of my wacky oven and the added sugar from the cherries I think were the main reasons since I did watch the time. I will definitely be making this recipe again be it the modified version with a bit more baking time watching or the original if I can remember to pick up fresh cranberries. Hopefully it will be a bit more photogenic too since right now it sort of looks like a less dense fruitcake.

The remainder of the loaf will not be the base of a doorstop joke though. I had to put it away in the microwave before I ate the entire thing. The microwave keeps ity bity kitty teeth from attacking baked goods. They will gnaw through plastic wrap AND tinfoil if they are that determined. Frankie was head butting me earlier after getting a few crumbs. This bread is now on the "Annoying Cat Wants to Eat..." list.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gobble wobble and early alarms

I have my Thanksgiving traditions. Dinner at 1pm at my parents house. A table filled with everything from turkey to sweet potatoes to brussel sprouts. My Gram's amazing pumpkin pie. Cheesecake for an evening snack. Pumpkin pie and/or cheesecake for breakfast the next day. Bowl of stuffing made using great-grandfather's recipe for lunch. Yesterday and today had all those traditions as well as adding the dog show and a football game on TV.

Hubs and I decided to start a new tradition last night. Perhaps it won't be a new tradition but early morning shopping on Black Friday wasn't something we normally do. If someone wants to stand in line outside of a not yet store in the cold, more power to them. I like my warm bed. Now getting breakfast in bed pre-going to the stores that have already been open for a short time super early works perfectly to get me moving.

After my brain registered that it was in fact 3-something am, we were out of the house by a little after four and done by 7am. Kohls was packed but the lines were moving ok. Best Buy was a mad house and we stood in line for 40 minutes. On the bright side I now know which microwave, dishwasher, and oven/range I want if money was no option from inching our way through that line and the major appliance section.

The best part is we are mostly done with our holiday gifts and saved a good amount of money. Being able to stay within budget and get things for a good number of people is great. Now I have to wrap and keep the cats from lounging on the paper while I do so. Seriously they are little purring homing devices for anything paper. (As Frankie now scampers through the living room merrow singing.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Today, I tried the saltine challenge that has been blogged about. I like saltines. I may be weird but I can eat an entire sleeve of them. Plain. So I figured really how hard could it be since I am "used" to eating them.


There is no video and there most likely will be no video. It was a cross between Cookie Monster and that moment when someone wants you to answer a question the moment after you popped a piece of taffy into your mouth. Hilarious and crumbly messy. Am I glad I tried? Sure. Why not. It was worth the laugh. Will I seriously try this again? Nope. I'll just stick to eating them.

Speaking of food challenges in the more large scale sense, I was happy to see Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman challenging Bobby Flay. I've watched Throwdown with Bobby Flay before but this time was much more OOOH! inducing since this was a big deal to me. "BLOGGER! I read! TV!" is probably what Hubs heard when I had him set the recording for me. I loved watching the episode as well as seeing her get more recognition. C'mon she IS a big deal. If you don't agree with me, go read her stuff, look at her pictures, and then get back to me.

Watching the show and the traditional aspect of the meals hit home especially with the lasagna disaster that recently happened. Maybe disaster isn't the best word but when the majority of it isn't eaten because it really isn't that edible, it's not that great. Crunchy noodles are supposed to be in Chinese recipes not Italian ones. Hubs didn't realize that my plan was spinach with roasted red pepper. He was thinking a traditional meat based one. I like both and think both are very possible but it was interesting to see his thoughts. I ended up realizing that I was going about four steps beyond the norm with some things. Four steps might not be that far but when you are expecting classic stuff and get something wacky, it's a big jump.

I don't plan to stop being creative but I do want to step back and slightly go back to the basics. I found myself trying more and more and not getting the basic stuff down. I won't let the lasagna beat me but it won't just be noodles, meat, sauce and cheese either.

That would be boring.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Please say yes to turkey comas

I was a bit scared earlier this week that I had the flu. With early Thanksgiving last night at my in-laws and actual Thanksgiving coming up, I didn't want to be unable to enjoy the festivities. It looks like it is pretty bad sinus congestion and the cough is back which is making me feel gross. My appetite comes and goes with things tasting off at others but I'm keeping things down. Gross to include but it was more put together than if I posted earlier.

Early Thanksgiving went really well. We had the early edition since my BiL and SiL were in town. (They are stationed overseas.) Turkey, ham, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and some sort of citrus perhaps orange juice, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole and rolls were the main course. I brought a peanut butter cup pie (one of those Jello No Bakes that everyone seemed to really enjoy.) There was pumpkin pie, apple pie, black & white cookies, and cheesecake. I ended up having a slice of apple pie. I hadn't had apple pie in ages so that made it especially good.

Just thinking about all that food makes me want to go take a nap!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

BFF Potluck with a side of Harry Potter

The BFF and I have known each other for a long time. By a long time I mean since we were three years old. I honestly do not remember life without her and her siblings (sister who I also consider a friend of mine and was also in my wedding party and brother who will forever be about 6 and annoying in my mind no matter how old he gets.) Her family is like my family and vice versa.

I know I can walk into her house, kick off my shoes, grab something to drink out of the fridge as I ask mid-walk what is in there to drink, and then curl up on the couch. It's the same here for her. She just has to deal with the dogs going bonkers because she is here and Frankie obsessing over her purse. (He insists on rubbing his head on it over and over again in random bouts of kitty weirdness.)

We had decided a while back that we were going to start doing potluck dinners, for lack of a better term with it only being two people. It technically works but I always think potluck as more so a group deal. Our work schedules mesh finally and we had been able to see each other more so on a regular basic.

I had recorded some specials on BIO for us Harry Potter geeks as well. There is a special on the characters, one on the creatures, and the actual bio show on the cast or kids as they call it. I will be speaking in a bad British accent at least twice tonight.

Tonight it is meatloaf w mashed potatoes and veggies with chocochip cookies for dessert. I'm in charge of the non-meatloaf parts. The meatloaf recipe is actually from a Disney cookbook that her mom found years back. I was really hoping it was this recipe though I didn't remember the Disney part. Her mom passed away less than a year ago so the recipe is even more special since it isn't just a recipe. It's a memory based in food. It still makes me teary eyed to think about her because I do still really miss her at times since she was my second mom but knowing we can keep her memory alive in numerous ways is important.

Do you have a recipe or food based tradition that is also based in the memory of a loved one who is no longer with us?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2 to 30

It is officially two months until I turn 30.
I'm not freaking out.
I'm totally honest.

Tonight was volleyball.
I played well and did not get hit.
I got some good hits.

Last night I destroyed lasagna.
Not in a good way.
It must be chopped up and mixed together when reheated.

I am just back from volleyball.
So my mind is still set in sets of three.
So I thought to be clever.

If its not, I apologize.
Tomorrow will be more rambling.
Maybe there will be a photo as well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mail Call!

I got a package in the mail today from a stranger. This was a fellow runner from the Hot Chocolate 5k that was kind enough to pass along her jacket to me. Now I am the proud owner of a large jacket that fits me properly and I can wear it out now proudly.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Me me meeee

Today's plan: wash bedding, do misc other laundry, clean out fridge, vacuum.

Plan completion = 100%

Tonight's plan: deserved reward = glass of wine and a Netflix movie. EDIT: Add choco chip cookies to the mix. Yay to baking!

Sometimes the best idea is just attacking part of the list rather than the entire giant list.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Salt and Sweet equals EEP EEP EEP!

This entire week I have been in Muppet mode at least twice. Muppet mode for me is when it is fast paced yet still with PAAAUUUUSSSSSSSSSE moments but at least once a day I feel like at least mental I go into WAAAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHA! state similar to Kermit running around flailing his arms or Animal wailing on the drums. Plus all the days blur together and at least one day is called the previous or next day at least once.

Usually I know it's if I eat too much sugar, salt, or caffeine. Survey says! All three! The reality check is that I know once I watch it again, the zipping about, at least mentally, will be gone. On a bright side though, I do get a lot done, or at least a good amount of my to-do list attacked.

With the crazy weather changes I haven't gotten my winter clothes settled which is starting to bug me. I know I have things to donate and I have things to keep as well as add to the decide later list. I just keep finding myself pushing one thing back to finish another or reordering my priority list for things around the house. The canned good might be migrating to the front of the pantry which leads to things getting lost in the back but I also have three pairs of matching clean socks. There are others that are clean but The Vortex (the thing that eats things in the house) has not released the matches yet. I have two stinky dogs that need baths (and hopefully a husband who will take care of at least the furrier of the two which is Cosmo) but I also have cook books ready to fall off a shelf and on to my head. Add the fact that I really want to sit and knit and not think of anything else at the same time. Yup. Not gonna happen any time soon but overall it's more of a grrrr than a whine I think. I know I will get to it all I just want it all POOF! done at once.

I tried to find Kermit freaking out but I found this which is much better to leave you with for tonight.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thwunk there it goes

I managed to launch a volleyball off my own face yesterday.

It was just a sign that I needed to go home right then and there.

I went to volleyball in sort of a "ih" mood. Mentally I wasn't all there but I figured I'd be fine. I was even more frazzled by the guy on the bike that darted out in front of my truck. Luckily I had seen him even though he was in dark clothing with headphone and riding with one hand since the other held a cigarette. I hit the horn and he just waved me off like it was nothing. Wow. Luckily I know people cross the street in that area and always take extra effort to look or I would have been extremely close to have hitting him or scaring him pretty well.

So back to my athletic greatness... I was there but really not. I was playing but my head wasn't into it. I decided to step it up and try harder in an attempt to get my out of my funk. Well the funk turned into a THWUNK due to a really poorly executed bump. I managed to hit myself in edge of the left eye socket. OUCH! I saw stars, got all teary and had to go sit down.

I was totally not there after that and add the worry of hitting myself in the head again. I ended up not playing the last game which is technically not for rank and more so just for fun. I was out of it and obviously getting on others nerves. Since these are actual friends of mine and not random people I am playing with, I decided it was best to go home rather than in a stupid argument.

Was I happy I left? Of course not. I was in pain, frustrated, and a bit embarrassed. I just knew that for me it was best to get myself out of the situation and home. Home sweet home made even sweeter but Hubs bringing me home ice cream. He could tell I was upset when he called. He was getting groceries for dinner and asked what I wanted. Chocolate ice cream is what popped into my head and he ended up bringing me the Hot Cocoa flavor from Edy's Slow Churned. Yum. While I am not a frequent emotional eater, I am a true believer in the healing powers of chocolate. A small bowl later, I was in a better mood.

I was in an even better mood this morning when I didn't wake up with a black eye. I have a tiny bruise that I can see sans makeup but nothing that would worry anyone and not to cause my to have to wear a little sign saying "Guess who hit herself in the eye with a volleyball."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'll take a Number 0 with a side of tummyache please

Years ago I was a fast food/takeout lunch person at least twice a week. This was pre-Hubs so I was single, sans mortgage as well as major bills, and didn't care that I was spending at least $8 on lunch when I could make it at home for much much cheaper. Add grab and go breakfasts and french vanilla capps to that as well. It was pretty expensive and not the best food to be consuming at large quantities. On top of all of that add two cans of Coke a day to the mix.

I look back at that, minus the Coke since while I have seriously cut down I won't cut it out, and wonder how I seriously didn't feel like crap every day. Perhaps I did but can't remember it now. Hubs and I do eat fast food/takeout but nowhere near that amount. Today I really wanted a cheeseburger, a salad and a walk (great combo right?) so I went to one of the local fast food places. I was happy until my stomach decided it was angry with me. NOT COOL!

I've found that the better we eat in general the more processed food doesn't like me. I don't know if it is becoming healthier means my body isn't tolerating the "nonsense" like it did before or I just am associating the ick result (which isn't always the result though) afterwards because of this.

Fall Back with the time is taunting me now. After Saturday's 5k, the "I wanna go run!" for after work is there but it is too dark for me to feel safe. It's not that we live in a bad neighborhood but general safety especially with cars seeing me (Note: I need reflectors or tape or something) or me tripping on something (Note: This is very possible.) makes me wary. Plus I want to take Molly out with me. She is a good dog and does listen but if she somehow gets away from me, it would be even more nerve wracking if it is in the dark. The dogs both have gotten out of the yard before and it is quite terrifying when I can't find one of them. Luckily they have never gotten far but it is still so not fun.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Creak crack creeeeeeeeeeaaaak

I woke up today wanting an egg sandwich and a massage. I made the sandwich but no deal on the massage. After yesterday's napping, two pain relievers before bed and a good night's sleep, I was sore but not as bad as I had anticipated. Tomorrow I know the owwww delay will kick in because that is just the norm with my body. I need to read much more about post-run recovery.

Today we finally got to the grocery store. I wanted apples and bananas. Hubs wanted a ham. I'm not joking, a ham. He had a taste for one and until we got one home and in the oven it would keep bugging him. I've had that happen to me before including a time in college that I really wanted a sugar butter w M & Ms cookie from the place in the mall. After three days, I drove just for the cookie to the mall. I laughed the entire way home.

With all the sweets due to Halloween, I was just wanting fruit. I splurge on holidays and celebrations especially since I know after awhile I'll get sick of it. For me if someone bakes, cooks, spends time making something, I'm going to have some if I can (excluding anything with peanuts due to my allergy or something that I know I will get sick from having.) Eat a cookie, not the entire package/tray/etc. I know this doesn't work for others but it does for me.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Race results

I was finally able to get my race results from the RAM racing site rather than the actual Hot Chocolate site. I knew it'd be hard especially with thousands of people trying to see how they did.

This was a run/walk combo and so I am happy. My goal for the next 5k is to beat it by at least a minute which is realistic even if it is a baby step. EDIT: I meant my pace to be at least one minute faster, not the entire time.

Pace: 13 min 53 sec

Total time: 43 min 07 sec

Another runner is sending me a large women's jacket after I responded to her post. I am super happy because now I can wear it out more. The only deal was that I pass mine along to someone else who got stuck with one that didn't fit right. I plan to do this once the one from her arrives.

First 5k of many

Today was the Hot Chocolate 5k (also the 15k but I stuck with 5 for now.) I am officially done with my first 5k EVER.

I ended up being totally wired last night which in a way was not a good thing. I ended up getting to Target a bit later than planned in an attempt to beat the crowds. No deal and I got the poor girl at the register who had tons of technical problems with the two groups ahead of me. That pushed me home a bit later than planned which pushed bedtime a bit later. Realistically it didn't matter because I kept waking up rethinking if I needed anything else, which I didn't, and doing the "OMG I'm running tomorrow!!!!"

I got up earlier than planned which resulted in me getting downtown about 30 minutes earlier than I needed. After an extra Orange line trip around the Loop, I was off and meeting up with Stina and Sarah. We got to the park and got everything settled before making out way to the corrals. I had anticipated actual corrals like horse corrals but my bib ended up saying 5k open even though I had registered as a 12 min mile. I had no actual estimate and so this was the best option. We ended up climbing over a railing - yes literally climbing over though I was pulled over a bit -- SCARY!!! -- to get to a large in the crowd in the 11 min mile pace. Three others actually followed us over with people around helping and not complaining. It was actually pretty funny/amusing. Then we realized there was an opening maybe 20 feet ahead of us.

There was a bit of a wait but it worked so that I could finish pinning my bib on. Wait wait. Walk more. Wait. Waaaaaaaaait. The speakers were pumping music. Oh look the START! Black Eyed Peas - Got a Feeling started and we did too!

There were a lot of people running. A LOT. The totals were 30k people, 15k in each race. I saw parents with their kids, adults, young adults, teens, the whole gamut. There were people who looked like they had done this before and there were walkers who kept just below a jog. The wide range made me feel good.

Having Stina and Sarah with me really helped to keep going especially with it being colder than I was used to. I did have to slow down as well as go to a power walk at times but my goal was to keep them where I could see them and catch up to them with a minor amount of effort. That worked, for awhile.

The course wasn't too great from what people were saying. This being my first run made me not have anything to compare it to but at times it was a bit tough. If I was set on running the entire thing at a semi fast pace then I probably be a bit annoyed. About a mile in I was slowing down, even slower than before too because of a bottleneck with the hydration tables and an underpass that forced even the faster runners to slow down. I hit the tables to get a Gatorade which I didn't realize I had needed, downed a shot blok from my hip bag (yes a fanny pack but black and not bright pink and teal like the one back in the day) and felt better. With the slow down of everyone, I had lost Stina and Sarah. I knew I'd find them later though.

The second half of the run snaked around the museum campus at the lakefront. For those at HLS, this was where lots of people ended up for the Sunday run/walks. It wasn't the one right at the waterline but one above. It got narrow at points where people slowed to a fast walk minus those who were running up on the grass - on an angle at times plus jumping down to climb down and then back up across the stairways. I stuck to the right side and tried to keep my elbows in so that faster people could pass me more easily.

The last leg actually seemed the easiest for me. I think it was the realization that I was almost done plus we could see the 15k people who started after us. I ended up running faster and with less slow down points for that. The speakers were close enough to hear the music and I could hear the announcers calling out random people's names as they crossed the finish line.

The mass exit was pretty crazy. I ended up cutting behind the tents and through some trees to avoid the crowds. About 10 mins later, I found Stina and Sarah and we headed to the chocolate tent. The lines were crazy but we found one that was moving along well. The fondue was a scoop of chocolate - YUM! - two marshmallows, a poundcake cube, a rice crispy treat cube, half a banana, two medium sized pretzels and some apple slices. I was hungry and it all tasted really good. I also managed to not get chocolate off my face when a photographer took a pic of us. I am looking forward to seeing that pic because I know I am going to laugh. We made it across Grant Park to the hot chocolate tent. It was good but by then I could only have about half of it. There was live music, misc tents including a Ghirardelli one that was handing out small squares of chocolate, and other fun stuff but we were all ready to head home.

Overall it was mixed for me. I am super proud of myself to completing this. I am a bit mad at myself because I know I could have trained better but overall knowing that the parts that I ran were run was important. Even a year ago, I wouldn't have had the focus and dedication to be up at 5am on a Saturday to get myself downtown to run in cold air. This was a big deal. With there being so many people I was glad I wasn't alone because I would have been confused on where exactly to go for some stuff. True there were signs and whatnot but being all wide eyed and newbie to this could have gotten me a bit mixed up. I really liked running on the lakefront but not in the places where it got so crowded. I think if we ran north rather than south to start it might have saved the crowding. There were people totally supportive of each other - smiling, being polite when people wanted to get around you, cheerleaders from a local high school yelling their support from the sidelines which almost made me teary eyed. There were also people yelling at each other because they weren't at the pace they wanted and complaining that the walkers were in the way. I guess this is just a sampling of people in real life. Some are just happier than others. Some were just frustrated due to the course or from the goose poop. EEWW!

Definites for my next 5k:

  • Train better - be it strength training or actual running
  • Beat my time from this run
  • Bring my ipod - I was much better mentally and physically when there was music
  • Bring the small Camelback rather than my bottle - even with the drink stations I brought my bottle since I knew if I needed a drink it was a better option to have a bottle with me
  • Wear my compression shorts under my running pants - they have a mesh lining and at times were a bit too swishy and if I hadn't realized it beforehand could have led to some pretty painful chafing

I am looking forward to seeing the race photos. I tried to smile when I saw the cameras on the course but I know one spot I was cheering with others so I bet it will be amusing.

For the rest of the night I have a "date" with the TV, the couch, and a large mug of tea. I already managed to fall asleep - like totally zonked out - twice while watching TV with Hubs earlier. After my adventure today, I think I deserve a nice mellow night.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Back to regularly scheduled blog blabbering

I am in a much better mood today rather than yesterday. After venting to/with Cate, Stina, and Jenn, I feel much much better. Plus I have a plan of attack to make the jacket-thing fit better, make Hubs put it on as best as possible. Yep. I know it is silly but having my 6ft 4in, broad shouldered hubby stretch it out should make it more comfortable.

With tomorrow being my first "real" run, today is prep. That way I am not rushing tonight to get all my stuff settled and I didn't have to run out earlier in the week to get the Shot Bloks that I keep forgetting. While I do think there is one hiding somewhere in the pantry, I always like having at least one in the house or a pack of something similar.

I've recently tried to take more of a relax mode in the evening in the sense of dinner and some TV watching with Hubs. I can get into go go go mode too easily and then get crabby when I don't even realize I am doing so. Lately we've been watching Eureka on Netflix which both of us enjoy. While it is quite silly in terms of the reality aspect of some of the gadgets and whatnot, it is clearly sci-fi in more of a sitcom manner which I always enjoy.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Marshmallow dog

All four of our pets loved marshmallows. Yes that includes the cats but they only get a tiny piece.

Cosmo has now decided that licking the spoon used to make marshmallow treats is a good idea as well.

Almost to the first, 5k that is

Saturday is my first 5k ever.

I have been excited, a bit nervous, and a bit guilty since I know I could have run/trained more/better. This is all super new to me - the jargon, the gear, et al.

I went to the expo today to get my bib and the swag bag (as well as stop at the Bondi Band booth.) I had heard that this was a great bag in terms of stuff so that was an extra perk. Plus I had registered early enough to make the group that got the technical zip-up runner jacket. SWEET! I have no real technical gear especially in the jacket sense since my running is more so warm/warm-ish weather.

While I am running this more so as something I want to do as a personal accomplishment as well as for charity, I can't help but think the jacket was a buzzkill. I was expecting technical jacket to be more synthetic based and not have a fuzzy sweatshirt interior and sizing way too small. My armpits are tight to the point where I worry about chafing and it is a medium, which is the size my runner - as in 1/2/full marathon serious runners - friends recommended. I didn't want to get something too oversized since I've read and been told that more fitted is better. This is just a bit ridic. I am hoping to stretch it out so I can actually wear it to run though I highly doubt it will be this weekend. I wanted to wear it as a badge of honor, a "look what I pushed myself to do" and now I don't even know how often I'd wear it zipped up. if I was large chested, I doubt I'd ever wear it zipped up.


On a much better note: I did make it to the Bondi Band booth and get two that I abso love.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

This pumpkin is pooped!

One chocolate covered Friday.

One great Saturday night Halloween party hosted by Hubs and yours truly.

One Halloween Sunday with an approximate count of 136 tricker treaters.

One creepy Lifetime movie.

One camera that needs photos uploaded.

One bed calling my name and telling me I need to get extra sleep.

This gal is happy but WORN out!

Fun food photos soon!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Feeding the spirit note by note

I know that there is always the push to feed the body the right food and get the right exercise to be healthy. For me there is always the push to feed the spirit. I know if I am eating right and what not but I am in a funk about something that can be just as bad as if I am doing nothing and eating fast food takeout and frozen overly processed dinners every meal.

I've been a music junkie my entire life. I still have my cassette single of Poison's Every Rose Has Its Thorn with the paper sleeve. As a kid I dragged around my blue and white Care Bears cassette player. I remember getting my "boom box" for my Communion and the day we went to get my flute to be in 5th grade band, starting my band related career that would go all the way through high school.

It is an escape: a reason to shake my butt like a crazy person to AC/DC to shake off a bad mood; an old school hip hop beat to go at the punching bag; or an endless loop to hoop to in the middle of my living room and get lost for a moment or two.

I realized I hadn't been turning on the radio, whatever kind it might be, for awhile not too long ago. I was cranky. I hate being cranky since I think it is a waste of energy to be angry especially for no reason. I don't remember exactly where we were headed or what was in the works but I turned on the clock radio in our room. It was a simple push of a button and my entire mood lifted.

Now I'm back to having it on almost all the time. Getting ready when Hubs isn't sleeping, check. Cooking, check. Straightening up, check. Meandering the Internet, check. Getting my stuff in order for the next day, check. I just need to start remembering my ipod for public transit.

Is there one element of your life that helps your spirit?

Memories of meals past

Garden tomato & spinach pasta with mozzarella

Apricot chicken with quinoa and mixed vegetables

Tuscan tomato chicken with mixed long grain rice

Spicy Asian stir-fry wraps with chicken, shrimp and mixed veggies (made by Hubs)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Awesome muffins take 2 & crazy appliances

Today's major plan was to make the oatmeal applesauce muffins that I had tried a aways back. Being off today helped too in that I didn't have to make them at night. I included more of the brown sugar that the recipe called for and they seem a bit denser today. It may have been cooking time/over temp as well. Overall they turned out well. Successful baking of something two times always works for me. I have a default double chocolate cookie recipe that always works in a pinch (when I have all the ingredients of course.)

Last night I had a plan to do absolutely nothing but drink numerous cups of tea and watch recorded tv curled up on the couch. Add at least one cat using me as a sleeping location. I was warm, cozy, being purred on and then, the tv stopped working. Shut off. Done. Nothing. Ugh. It went goofy once before because something got loose. It was a simple disconnect/reconnect but it was still annoying. I really hope that it is this problem again because a new tv right now isn't in the budget. We DO have two tvs but during football season the battle begins. YAY for online tv and Netflix though.

My plan to be mellow last night was supposed to fuel super mode today. I'm not feeling it. I do have my garden Converse on. (They travel from everywhere to some places to mild errands to working in the yard.) The motivation to jump up and run out there is in the ih stage. Since it is sunny I will get some done especially since a bunch of my annuals are on their last leg. One day I hope to have one of those rolling compost containers. (Since they do sorta look like a legged version of the Death Star, I wouldn't be suprised if it gets outlines painted on it.)

Tomorrow's "plan" is a trip to the dentist. I can't help but become a giant ball of nerves. Everyone there is super great, nice, etc so it's not them. It's just the visit w the antiseptic smell and getting my sensitive teeth messed with.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two points!

Well technically two serves resulting in two points tonight for volleyball. I got my goal of one good hit per game so this was a plus. While I'm still not good (just being honest) enough to say that I'm good, I'm getting better. That is a plus. I did get hit in the hip though by a ricocheting hit. That was a minus but I was able to laugh it off since it didn't hurt horribly so. No tears. The guy was really nice and made sure I was ok later.

I'm actually thinking summer sand courts and playing again next year if my friends all do it again. ME actually preplanning group sports?!?!? I LOVE IT! (The planning, not the game. Like yes, love not yet.) Safe to say there is a point where I need to put on my big girl gym shoes and get out there.

So today I also almost saw Luke Wilson. The almost part is that I saw someone who, up until the 5 seconds before I squeeked OMG LUKE WILSON, I thought was him but it wasn't. It would have been amusing and hopefully the guy would have been flattered. I have a friend who looks like Christian Slater and years ago really did. He gets people doing double takes even now.

Have you ever accidentally yelled at someone you thought was a celebrity?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Adding it to the list

I'm not the best with to-do lists. I can easily get distracted especially doing things around the house. I get hungry. One of the pets do something bad or cute or decide to start tearing about the house like a tornado knocking things over. I remember I recorded something earlier in the week and watch that.

Yesterday I actually did pretty well though. Hubs and I attacked our room which was needing it. The dresser is finally completely finished. (We had used the wrong screw in one place and it messed up progress.) TONS of laundry was done. (Yet I still have more to do today.) That was all the majority of the indoor must-do list but it still really made a big result.

Today is the grocery shopping list day. If we don't go with a list the result is pretty crazy. We once ended up with about six boxes of whole wheat pasta after not making a list as well as checking the pantry. OOPS! True, it ended up being eaten but it took over almost half a shelf in the pantry. I know I will still end up with one or two things we had forgotten to add to the list but overall it won't be bad. Plus bringing my reusable bags help with seeing exactly how much I need to carry in.

Now I really need to get off the computer, eat lunch and get moving. The pumpkin granola cereal on special is calling to me. It better be there and not taunting me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

17 days away

This has been stuck in my head all day. Probably since it has a little something to do with me and Halloween this year.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh my gourd! Wait that is a squash!

The last few days have been all over the place. I am happy that the head cold, probably from one of my adorable 2nd cousins that I saw on Saturday, is not raging at full force. Will it come back to that level? Maybe. Is it gone yet? No. Is it as bad as when I managed to make soap soup on Monday? No.

Yes, that is correct. No typo. Soap soup.

In my I-feel-awful mode, I wanted soup. Made soup - chicken veggie heavy on Tuscan blend of seasonings. It smelled amazing and I knew that the hot broth part of it would make my head feel much better. I fix myself a bowl. Take a tiny taste since it was hot and the "something isn't right" alarm went off. Since everything food wise tasted funny (gotta love when sinuses do that!) I took another TINY TINY sip and was able to identify a soap/cleaner-esque element. Now that I have deliberately tasted cleaner but soap sometimes doesn't always get rinsed off and spray bottles down always only spray where they are supposed to spray.

So that was my second cooking fail for the week. I tried to make Angela's pull apart rolls from Oh She Glows. While I am not a vegan, I like a lot of her recipes since they look like they are able to be modified or I can email her if I have a question. I really should have emailed her with a question since I, being too lazy to go out of the house for more white flour, used mostly whole wheat flour. My rolls ended up Non-Vegan Sorta Springy Wheat Rolls. I am not adding the dinner part to it since it wasn't dinner worthy. They were too dense for my liking. The taste was ok but overall I wasn't thrilled. Hubs liked it with the broth from our pot roast. I had two when still warm but sadly that was my baking fail. I DO plan to make it the PROPER way and not be lazy about getting myself to the store.

Today was a long morning due to a funeral (someone who lived a long life surrounded by kids, grand kids, family and friends, but as funerals are, it was sad.) I didn't want to just settle for take-out especially since we had the luncheon afterwards. Banquet food, while this place was good, isn't take out but it's not homemade. (Plus with this cold my stomach has been out of whack.)

After a bit of searching and looking at recipes, I decided to try something from Cooking, Dunkin Style. I had a butternut squash waiting to be cooked and didn't want it to get forgotten. I ended up making the roasted butternut squash and topped whole wheat spaghetti with it and a bit of Parmesan cheese. I liked the recipe and plan to read more of her blog to see what else I might try.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Zombie.... soup?

The weather in Chicagoland has been way to wacky lately. First you need some sort of light wrap/scarf and this past weekend was shorts weather for some. I just opted for jeans and sandals. Crazy weather changes usually result in allergy attack or some sort of head cold. Since it is technically supposed to be October (yet it was like 75 today), the winner is a head cold! (And the audience doesn't cheer.)

Today it feels like half of my head is on some sort of swing - like top jaw and above - which means my sinuses are all out of whack. Not the worst thing in the world but really annoying. So my coughy sniffly self took a bit of a nap pre-making dinner which did help a bit.

When I'm sick chicken soup always helps. I know there is actual proof in it working but it's also that comfort food aspect to it as well. I just hope when it's done simmering it tastes as good as it smells. (That and I stop snacking and don't ruin my dinner since the nap has it set much later than normal.) Rather I hope it tastes like it should since everything I eat tastes just slightly off. Everything I had today had extra seasoning in it. I just don't want to over do it!

I did that with chili once. Too many peppers. It was good. Then the roof of your mouth started melting.


Survey says! This week is super duper tea, sleep, good food, sleep, more tea and more tea to make me feel better.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wa Wa Weezer

I am super excited for January. I was excited originally because that is my birthday month and I am turning 30. (Yes I am not panicking for leaving my 20s. I'm actually happy to be starting a new decade, but that is a new topic for a future post.)

The reason I am SUPER EXCITED is that Hubs and I are going to see Weezer at the Aragon in Chicago. This will be my sixth or seventh time seeing Weezer play live. I have gone to every Chicago show in the last 10 or so years that I was able to attend. I even got a chance to do a meet and greet where they signed my Blue Album tape insert. Yes, that is correct TAPE.

I was actually worried because it is a two date series in Chicago. The first is all the Blue Album + other songs and the second is all Pinkerton. I've heard songs from both live and they are all great. While Blue is technically my fav, I couldn't get tickets for that one. Of course, I'm not going to scoff and not see the second show and that worked out. Two tickets to paradise.

Ok maybe not paradise but Weezer-dise works. :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

O is for Onion, D is for Debate

Growing up my mom would saute mushrooms and onions in a bit of margarine (usually Country Crock or something similar.) We ate so many mushrooms in fact that when Hubs and I were dating he would automatically include "mushrooms" before I could answer what was for dinner that night. (We worked alternate shifts and so talked every day as much as possible and saw each other almost all weekend when we could.) It became a running joke for a long time.

Now though we have the onion debate. I don't like raw onions unless it is red/purple onion. He dislikes cooked onions. If I chop them up ity bity that will work or if it is not onion-ey tasting.

Tonight I ended up making dinner for myself and he took care of his dinner. What did mine include? A WHOLE onion... plus mushrooms, turkey meatballs (ih - frozen kind =
ok but much better when finished being cooked in the mush/onion/imitation Country Crock) and Parmesan cheese. SOOO GOOD. The house smelled of caramelized onion goodness. I was very happy and transported back to my childhood home for awhile. Then the cats knocked over something in the living room and brought be back to the current moment in time.

Is there something that takes you back to a prior moment in time when you make it? Can you eat a kind of food raw but not cooked or vise versa?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Therrorsday 1: Wobble Bobble

In honor of Halloween, that holiday we take pretty seriously in this household (thinking we have at least two large storage tubs and one small one of stuff for it)I am deciding to have Therrorsday. Each Thursday until Halloween will be one thing, supposed to be creepy or not, that manages to give me the creeps!

I can't stand bobble heads.

There is something unnatural, as natural an inanimate object can be really, about the way the heads move. Too wavery, too wobbly. It makes me want to grab it and keep it from moving.

Those little dogs that people put in their cars? I need to look away. It makes me feel like I'm a boat. I find my head wavering back and forth with them which doesn't help much either.

I know the whole concept is something that supposedly it a collectible but the thought of numerous ones sitting on a shelf, glazed eyes.... AHHHHH!!!!

What are your thoughts? Collectible or bothersome?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I swore we bought olives

Tonight was one of those nights when my brain decides it does not want to work properly. I "lost" a can of olives of the two I thought we just bought. We hadn't gotten two, just one. It, of course, was sitting right in front of me. Hubs looked at me waiting to see if I was joking. Sadly I was not.

Since my channeling Lorelei Gilmore is on high tonight, I will leave you with something while not actual words translates to "MOOMMMAAA I'm HUUUUUNNNNGRRRRRYYYY" & "Yup me too."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Adventure in Re-learning: Wilson?? Is that you?:

I recently signed up for a local community volleyball league and tonight was the first set of games. This particular park district has had leagues like this for awhile and the friends that I am playing with have been part of it before. One other girl and I are the newbies.

I say re-learning because I wasn't the first picked in gym class pretty much my entire gym class taking era. I remember junior high was when it was a contest to see out of about five of us who would be the last pick. While I excelled in school and band, gym wasn't that great. We weren't really pushed to try and more so got pushed to the end of the line for things. Looking back I might have been able to try to stop this more but at ages 13/14 there is only so much you can do. (However if you do call title 9 on a gym teacher because he refuses to let you play w the boy in the co-ed group during softball, you will get sent to the locker room early. Proof that I may not have been good at sports but I was no pushover.)

High school wasn't much better. I later decided to take a dance class and later when my academic waver was lost (AP/Honors statuses = able to not take gym until the school got rid of it) outdoor education (rollerblading, biking, camping, wall climbing etc.) These were fun and did not include the horror of team sports. I take that back. I am great at dodge ball.

When my friends first mentioned the volleyball team I couldn't help but think back to high school and beforehand. True it is blurry now due to it being over ten years, maybe 12?, since the last time I played volleyball. I was back as the braces wearing grunge chick w Bettie Page/Gwen Stefani style bangs in gym class with my skater shoes w the Mt Dew tabs in the laces. I has to shake this off and think that this was a long time ago and yet it led to me ignoring stuff because of it.

Hubs encouraged me to join the team and my other friends were bugging me to join as well. I was on the fence for a long time.They aren't super seriously growly competitive and so I shouldn't worry about being yelled at by a team member (which had happened years ago.) These are people we see on a constant basis, good friends that I text all the time and see at least every few weeks. I was in.

Tonight was a learning experience in that while I may have missed the ball numerous times and have a bruise forming on my right knee, I had fun. If someone had help to give me they actually told me or showed me, not barked orders like some sort of drill sergent. I am actually looking forward to practice. I also found out that we are technically a C team since the league had tiers. That makes me feel better since people who are incredibly skilled at volleyball are placed together (for the most part, but I will get to that in a moment.)

We ended up playing three games with two teams. The first two counted for the league and the third was for fun. The first team were worthy opponents. They were good but we did manage to get some good points scored against them. One girl was really good and the one to watch. Overall we lost but we had fun. I managed to meet my "one good hit" quota for each game. This week is one. Next week may be one more and so on. The second team was really good. I found out about the tiers after the three games were done and were surprised that they weren't a level up. One guy consistently slammed the ball to an extent that got aggravating. There is a fine line when showing skill becomes showing off and then become a little much. Part of me wanted to ask if he was having fun annihilating the ball. Oh and they had a line coach. I am unsure if someone telling them what was going on was allowed. I just pictured it as set back in high school and didn't let them bully me. If it makes you feel good to totally crush a team with lesser skill, go ahead. I'm just here to have fun.

I don't know who we are playing next week. I am planning to do my best, try not to slide in capri pants because that doesn't work (OUCH!), and try to get at least one really good block in.

There is something satisfying about that THWUNK noise when you are the reason the ball is sailing away and over the net.

Monday, October 4, 2010

More than just letters: HLS & HLBs

On May 19th I did one of the bravest things I've ever done. I sat in front of my laptop and opened a webpage. I was a bundle of nerves tied with a bow of excitement.

Tapping of keys.

Deep breath annnnd exhaaaaaaaaale.

Click of a Submit button.

I had just signed up for the Healthy Living Summit. I had registered to attend a conference with 200 people who were technically strangers. I'd only know later that I'd know someone in attendance in real life as well.

I did it because I was inspired by the other blogs I had been reading. It was their own words, thoughts, hopes, fears, successes and failures. I was inspired by their progressions from couch potatoes to runners (both for their own enjoyment as well as to raise money for charity.) I was inspired to try the recipes accompanied by mouthwatering photos. I didn't change my meals to limit calories. Rather I started adding MORE interesting things to it such as some vegetable I thought was odd before such as kale or something as simple as flaxseed.

I did know that walking in alone on the friday of HLS I wouldn't technically be alone since these women, and men I'd later realize, were all there for the same reason. The focus was on a happy healthy life. I knew taking a picture (or several) of my food before devouring it would be the norm. I knew that as a brand new runner there would be dozens of people who had once been in the exact same place and be able to give advice and honest answers.

That friday morning the excitement kept any fear at bay as I headed to the hotel. My babble level was set on high but it was due to being able to meet people in person that I had followed be it via blogs or tweets, comments on posts or a set of "must finds" created due to more frequent contact.

As a newer healthy living blogger, I am aware of that WOW factor in meeting a bigger blogger. I use the term bigger blogger not to set them up as some sort of elitist group but rather as in a more establish one in numbers of posts and followers. While someone might want to see them as larger than life, I use the local music scene to put it in perspective. The rockstar that is being fawned over and nervously asked for an autograph could easily be a person you have known since college or even before that.





This, even with my babbling tendency when super excited about something, was how I approached each and every fellow blogger I met. I may have had an awkward meet or two (or four) but I also had happy shrieky moments and genuine hello hugs.

Real people.


No Photoshop.

No use of "angles."

Often clad in tank tops and yoga pants to be comfy not to send off some sort of "look at me!!!" vibe.

That weekend I learned a lot about myself, about others, about life in general. I came away from it with new friends (or rather blends - blog friends) that I honestly look forward to seeing next year. These are people that if I am in their town I know we'd meet up and of course do the shrieky huggy hello deal.

The positive impact that these bloggers and the Healthy Living Summit weekend made on my life no one can ever take away. The truth can be altered. Words can be taken out of content. Filters can be added and edits made to change the positive light from these inspirational moments and people. The 200+ people in attendance know this and so do the bloggers who pour their hearts out, no matter how many times they post, know it. The thousands of readers reading the thousands of posts out there know this.

People might try to put a negative spin on this community because they don't know it and do not understand the strength hidden within its posts. They might hide in our midst with smiles on their faces but dark motives in their hearts. They might try to increase their worth by attempting to decrease ours. We have the proof, the support, the friendship and the respect for each other. We have each others blogs in our readers, emails in our inboxes, tweets in our follows, texts in our cellphones. We have the smiles on our faces when we think of each other.

We have the power within ourselves to cook a healthy and tasty meal that leaves everyone in a food coma, properly train for and complete a race, or vow to never pick up or purchase a particular magazine ever again.