Thursday, May 31, 2012

Another Smoothie Recipe For You!

I have another smoothie recipe to share with you!  I concocted this one myself this morning and it turned out super yummy.  I think I was getting a bit bored with my chocolate banana PB one so today I was ready for a change! 

Strawberry Vanilla Smoothie
8 oz milk
1 scoop protein powder
1/2 c. frozen strawberries (fresh strawberries would work too)
1 Tbsp. instant vanilla pudding mix

Blend and enjoy!  I really like this one because the frozen strawberries make it seem like a milkshake!  I estimate this smoothie it be about 280 calories (give or take a few), but I'm positive that it's under 300!  If you try this one out, let me know what you think of it! 

As my smoothie concocting skills improve, I'm planning to try throwing in some spinach to my smoothies for some added nutrition.  I need to get over my fear of drinking vegetables first.  I've heard that the spinach is tasteless when added into I SHOULD be bringing you a "green" smoothie recipe in the future! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Smoothie, Anyone?

I have a new obsession...smoothies!  A few months ago, I started eating protein bars after my class at the gym because I was starving and would usually overeat once I got home because I was so famished.  A friend told me about protein powder too, where you mix the powder with water or milk for a fast "shake".  I picked up some Jillian Michaels Protein Whew Something-or-other at Stuff Mart and decided to give it a try. I haven't tried it with water yet, and it's ok tasting with milk, but I don't love it.  If you've ever had Slim-Fast shakes, this shake tastes pretty bland.  (But bland can be good because that means there's less sugar and artificial taste-enhancing gunk in it!)  Anyhoo, I saw some recipes on Facebook a few weeks ago that a friend was posting to another friend.  They had both joined an up & coming weight loss program (which shall remain nameless) where you drink shakes twice a day, like the Slim-Fast plan.  But these shakes sounded AMAZING!  So I did some research and compared their powder with the Jillian powder that I was using.  I found that they were very similar nutrition-wise, and that you had to use only 1 scoop of the Jillian powder compared to 2 scoops of the other powder.  And the Jillian powder is way cheaper!

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, first of all, I'm bored, and secondly, I'm excited about my new found smoothies!!  I want to share my favorite shake recipe with you.  It's ultra yummy and approximately 365 calories.  It makes a great breakfast or lunch on the go.  I just had one for a mid-afternoon snack because I sort of snacked through lunch and was starving come 3 pm today! 

Ok, I'll quit rambling and give you the recipe!

Chocolate PB Banana Protein Smoothie

8-10 oz of milk (I use 8 oz to cut down the cals a bit and because it really is filling, so 10 oz is a bit too much for me)
1 scoop Jillian protein powder (I use vanilla, but you could probably use the chocolate too)
1/2 banana, sliced (or a full one depending on whether you have someone to eat the other half or if it will just get wasted)
1 Tbsp PB (I use my homemade natural PB that has a bit of coconut oil and honey it, but regular creamy PB works well too!)
1 Tbsp (or less depending on your taste) instant chocolate pudding mix

Throw it all in the blender and blend.  Then pour into a cup and enjoy!  I think the pudding mix and banana make this shake a bit thicker, so if you popped it in the fridge or freezer to chill it, it would taste like a milkshake.  I just love this recipe!  I'm hooked!  There are lots of other recipes that are yummy and I will share them with you too in future posts.  Let me know if you try this one and if you liked it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stoked About Compost!

I am stoked!  I am part of a group called Living On A Shoestring that meets each month to teach women in our community how to be frugal and fabulous.  Last month's gathering centered around creative gardening and we shared our gardening tips and such.  One of the ladies in the group told us about her compost trash can that she's been using for the past several months.  I fell in love with the idea!  And I'm stoked because my hubby finally (after 2 weeks) got my finished for me today!  So I've been a composting fool for the past 2 hrs in hopes to turn stuff like that below into awesomely organic potting soil/fertilizer!'s how to can make your own!

1.  Buy a trash can that has a locking lid.  (In other words, one that won't blow away in a windstorm).  Or used one that you already have.  Or steal borrow one from your neighbor.  (My neighbor leaves theirs out by the road every Sunday night...that's how I got mine....JUST KIDDING!! lol)  Honestly, it doesn't even have to be in decent shape.  Mainly it needs to have a lids that locks on...and preferably no holes in the sides of it...although cracks on the sides would probably work.  We store both our chicken feed and pig feed in trash cans like these and one of ours had a crack in the lid that would let the rain through and turn our feed into mush.  So when I saw one advertised at our local hardware store for $9.99 I jumped on it!  And when I went to pay for it, the clerk told me that it was actually on sale for $7.99 instead!!  Woohoo!!

2.  Cut the bottom off the trash can.  I wasn't there to witness just how my hubby did this...however I did hear mention of a Saws-All possibly being used.  If you don't have one, steal borrow once from your neighbor.  Or use scissors, but you may not get it done until next year...once you recover from your carpal tunnel surgery!  The use of a knife could possibly land you with some recovery time choose your method wisely! 

3.  Find a spot for your trash can to live.  As I'm writing this, I just realized that I think you are supposed to put it in a sunny the sun can heat it up and help it to decompose.  AND I put mine in a shady spot.  Oops.  (Mental note:  Move trash can and its contents to a sunny spot) 

4.  Dig into the ground a bit so your trash can will have a bit of stability.  I imagine breaking up the ground under your can will also aid in helping the worms to burrow their way up into the goodies you put into your can...which helps to break it down into compost.

5.  Go crazy filling that sucker up!  I need to do some more research on what NOT to put in the compost bin, but I know meat is a no-no.  Not sure about dairy yet...I've heard both a yes and no from fellow composters.  I know I've read somewhere that you should use a ratio of so many parts food scraps to so many parts leaves/pine needles, etc scraps...but honestly, that's too complicated for me.  So I just throw it what I've got at the time, cross my fingers and hope it works!  I have a cookie jar-turned compost jar sitting beside my sink for fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, and tea bags for convenience.  I use it until it's full and then will take it to the trash can composter.  Mine it similar to the one below...except mine is a beautiful teal color...and doesn't have a handle, which would be very handy.  But it didn't cost me anything since it was sitting in my cupboards.  And since I'm swapping out the cookies for a walk to the compost bin, not to mention all the fruits and veggies I'll be eating in order to fill it up, I'll lose these last 25 lbs in no time!!  lol

I also will throw my weeds, grass clippings, and pine needles in there.  You can even throw your Sunday paper in there (take out the coupons beforehand of course!!)  And it doesn't have to be on Sunday...Monday thru Friday's papers work too! 

So there you go...get composting girlfriend!  I'm so excited to see how well this works and to have awesome soil next year for my hanging baskets, potted plants, or even on my garden!  Let me know if you make one and how it works for you!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May Goals

I'm all about goals if you haven't figured it out yet.  Whether or not I reach those goals is another story.  And that makes me sad.  I am toying with the idea of starting a monthly goal list since a yearly one, to me, allows me the opportunity to slack off for 11 months, and then try like crazy to achieve the goal during that last month.  I've started making daily goals to an extent with a to-do list that helps to keep me on track (somewhat).  So today (actually just a few mins ago) I decided to make a goal list for this month and focus on that.  So here goes:

1.  Freezer meals - I have started participating in Money Saving Mom's 4 Weeks to Fill Your Freezer series (you can read more about it HERE.  Her blog is great by the way!!)  I'm not following her plan exactly, but I have already made the baked oatmeal, granola bars, banana bread, and baking mix.  I will probably do the waffles this week at some point.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE her idea of freezing PB&J sandwiches!!  But I need to buy some sliced bread during my next trip to the store first.  Anyhoo...I'm not really sure how many meals I would like to have, but I want to have a good feeling about the amount of meals each time I open the freezer door.  These meals will be super handy for when the kids are home from school and I have 3 extra mouths to feed for lunch!

2.  Simplify/Organize Clothes - We just have too many.  And I know for a fact some of the clothes in my kids' drawers are too small.  So I need to go through all the clothes and pack up or get rid of extras, and make a list of what my kiddos need to round out their wardrobe for summer.  I'm finding what happens is that my kids will try something on in the morning before school, then they A. don't like it, or B. it's too big or small, so it gets thrown on the floor.  And eventually ends up in the dirty clothes to be washed.  Since I don't know that it's too big/small, I wash it and back into the drawer it goes to repeat the vicious cycle!  I feel like I am CONSTANTLY doing laundry.  Yet I see my kids wearing the same things over and over again.  So the excess needs to leave!  Same is true in my own closet! 

3.  Plan some outings with the kiddos this summer - Ideally I would like to plan an outing every other week if not more often if my budget can handle it.  I need to do some research to find some free or cheap outing ideas for us to do!  This also includes planning/booking some camping weekends too.

4.  Print off/put together Summer School Folders for kids - I know...I'm a mean mom for making my kids LEARN this summer!  I have found that once summer hits and school is out, that my kids prefer to lie around the house doing NOTHING and watching TV.  And we all know what kind of junk is on tv.  I actually did this last year for awhile and it wasn't terrible...once the crying and complaining quit.  I have read that kids lose quite a bit of their skills over the summer that they learned the previous year in school. 

5.  Organize some sort of chore schedule for the kids - Like I said, my kids aren't going to sit around all summer...and I'm surely not going to spend my entire summer cleaning and doing laundry!  So we'll need a plan of who's going to do what and when. 

6.  This goal is strictly selfish, but I want to lose 5 lbs. - I realize we are already 1 week into the month and maybe 5 lbs is too much, but I'm going to try.  Once May is over, I will have another 2 or so weeks before we go to the beach...and I REALLY don't want to be fat on the beach!  I understand that 5 measly lbs isn't going to transform me into a super model, however I will feel a ton better about myself, so that's my plan!

Ok, I think 6 goals for the month is a pretty good start.  I could make goals all day, but I need to be realistic about the time frame that I'm working with too or I'll be destined to fail.  Do you have goals for this month?  If so, I'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blue Moon Bay - By Lisa Wingate

The main character in this novel is Heather Hampton.  She lives in Seattle as an architect for an upscale firm and has it all.  When she finds out that her mother is stalling on selling the family farm to a broker with which she is working and avoids all questions as to why, Heather decides to hop on a plane and fly back to her hometown of Moses Lake, Texas in search of answers.  Moses Lake floods her mind with endless memories from her childhood, especially of her father's mysterious death.  What Heather was hoping would be a very short trip to settle things concerning the sale, turns into a longer trip that will change her life forever. 

During her stay there, she eventually finds out why everyone seems to be avoiding her questions, which in turn gives her a different perspective on their actions, instead of seeing it as a way to alienate her.  While she is there she also finds real love, not some false sense on intimacy and companionship.  She also finds the answers to her question concerning her father's death. 

All in all Blue Moon Bay was a good read.  It seems to take awhile to get to the climax of the story, but was still enjoyable.  My biggest complaint about the book would be some of the details at the end of the story seemed to be left out, which leave the reader feeling a little unsettled.  It would be nice to see a sequel to the story of her family being reconciled, getting married, and Heather developing her relationship with Christ to give more of a feeling of closure. 

I recieved a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

2012 Cap City Half Marathon

Well, we did it!  My running buddy and I (along with some other friends) ran the 2012 Cap City Half Marathon yesterday.  It was full of ups and downs, but overall I'm proud of our accomplishments!  We went into the race with the finish time of 2 hrs 15 mins in our heads.  Then we saw the weather forecast of a high of 81 degrees and partly cloudy, we started to wonder if that time was even possible.  As race time drew nearer, the forcasted temp decreased and I think the actual temp at starting time was around 65 degrees and overcast...perfect weather for running!  I guess it was a bit muggy according to other runners, but honestly I didn't even notice.  I felt awesome and was determined to reach my goal time.  Then around mile 4 or 5 Jenny told me it felt like her skin was crawling.  This is due to overheating as I read in an article that you can find HERE.  So we abandoned our plan to stop at every other water station and stopped at every one so she could get some electrolytes and/or water into her system.  And her pace also slowed down.  We had gotten a pretty good head start and was averaging a 9:22/mi pace (and to meet our goal time we knew we needed at least a 10:18 or faster average pace), so had some extra time to play with.  And honestly up until about mile 8 we were right on track with meeting our goal time.  But with each mile we both starting slowing down a bit more.  I was still feeling good so it was harder to not put a good gap of space between us with me running faster and her running slower than normal.  Every now and then I would look behind me to see if I could see her...eventually I didn't see her anymore.  So I started contemplating what to do.  Should I go ahead and run to the finish to try to meet my goal?  Should I stay behind and cross the finish line with her?  What if I ran ahead and she ended up collapsing or needing medical attention?  What would she want me to do?  I thought she would want me to go ahead without her, but what if she would be upset that I left her behind?  I tried to think of how I would feel had I been the one not feeling well.  In the end, I decided that we had trained for 12 weeks together in preparation for this race and we would finish TOGETHER.  The problem was when I stopped at the Mile 12 water station, I couldn't find her.  So I waited and started to panic at the thought of not being able to find her.  I decided that if I didn't see her, I would go ahead and run to the finish and stop just short of the finish line and wait for her so we could cross together.  Then out of nowhere there she was!  So we finished the last mile or so together and crossed the finish line at 2 hrs 20 mins and 49 secs.  Not too shabby considering the humidity and her not feeling well!  Last fall our time for the Nationwide Columbus Half Marathon was 2 hrs 24 mins and 29 we finished almost 4 mins faster.  A new PR.  We'll take it!  Below are some pics from the marathon...FYI - I'm NOT a photogenic runner, but Jenny is, so look a total goon in most (if not all) of the pics!  I will have to work on my runner face a bit!  lol 

 This was the night before the race after doing some carbo-loading with friends Dana, Shannon, me, and Jenny!
 This is a picture of part of our corral.  We were in Corral C..and I think there were 5 corrals altogether.  So just take this picture times about 10 and that will give you an idea of how many people were at this race!  (BTW - Dana, Jenny, and I are in this picture and we are waving, but's it's REALLY difficult to see us!)  Somehow our hubbies spotted us waving and took a pic!

 A closer up view of us as we were waking to the starting line.  We are the ones with the 3 pink visors on...I'm in the middle.
 Pre-Race pic of Dana, Jenny, and I!
 This pic was taken by our friend Hope.  She was planning to run this race, but a few weeks ago tore her calf muscle and couldn't run for 4-6 weeks.  That was such a bummer, but it was great to have Dana take her place in the race.  Dana ran the quarter marathon instead of the half because she's training for her first half in June!

 Another pic of us running.  I think I look a tad chubby in this picture..ugh.

 This was when we spotted Hope waiting to cheer us on!  We were stoked to have a fan!

After the race in Runner Recovery.  I was eating a bagel and Jenny's hubby decided to snap a picture!  Like I said, I'm not photogenic!   

 We met up with Shannon after the race for a pic.  Not sure what was going on with my hair, but hey, I had just ran 13.1 miles, right?

Enjoying a post-half-marathon-recovery lunch at Dave & Buster's with Dana and Jenny.  I look tired in this picture and rightfully so I guess.

So there's your offical Race Recap!  I hope I've inspired you!  Or maybe convinced you NOT to run ever...who knows.  lol  I actually had a great time on this run.  I just wish Jenny felt the same.  I actually thought this race felt way easier than my last half.  I guess that's a good sign, right?  If each one gets a bit easier, I will keep on running them!  For now, the plan is not to run another one until next year.  But you never know which one of your friends will get the idea to run another one and try to talk you into running it too, so only time will tell!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Pre-Race Chaos

I'm starting to freak out.  And stress...ALOT.  Ever have one of those days/weeks where you feel like you literally have a BAZILLION things to do, but you know it's just not all gonna get done?  Well, that's me and my life right now.  Tomorrow is Race Day.  I'm running the Cap City Half Marathon in Columbus tomorrow.  And even though I'll be running 13.1 tomorrow, today I'm running behind.  Needless to say, this post will be short so I can get to work! 

First there is the packing.  Hubby and I are staying at a hotel tonight so we don't have to make the long drive in the morning.  (That would TOTALLY stress me out)  So there is packing, not just for me and hubby, but for the kiddos too.  They will be staying with the grandparents while we're gone.  I tried like crazy all this week to get lots of laundry done, so that's a plus...hopefully I won't have to hunt around for clean clothes!  My other dilemma is what to pack for me for Race Day.  The original plan was to wear my running capris and a shirt I made with my name on the front and a saying on the back that read, "This would be fun if it weren't for all the running!"  When we (meaning my running buddy Jenny and I) ran our first Half-Marathon last fall, we were surprised to see everyone running with these sayings on the backs of their shirts.  At first it seemed sort of odd, but then it became some what of a life-support.  Those sayings kept us going!  We would be thinking about our aching muscles or blistering feet and then read a new funny saying on a shirt in front of us and laugh!  But Mother Nature has different plans for this race.  It's going to be quite warm!  The high tomorrow is 80 degrees!  Luckily we won't be running at the peak temp, but the forcast shows that it will be 67 when the race starts and 72 around the time we'll finish.  Trust me, that's WAY better than running in 80 degrees...however when you run, a rule of thumb is to dress as if it's 15 degrees warmer than the temp outside...which means tank tops and shorts are in order.  I have one pair of running shorts that I haven't run in but once this year (it's not a good idea to run in something for the first time during a race), and one tank top that is race-worthy.  And my shorts are pretty supportive at the waist, which in turn create a nice muffin top on me.  Pair that with the tighter fitting tank and it's not a glorious sight to behold!  So I'm packing like 5 different option of shirts/shorts/capris and will decide what on earth I'm wearing tomorrow morning I guess!

In addition to the clothes, there are numerous running paraphernalia that needs to be packed, socks that won't give you blisters mid-race, my Garmin 405 (which I LOVE btw!), anti-chafing cream, chapstick, Pretzel M&Ms (my fuel of choice right now), my runner belt, ipod, numerous chargers, lots more!  I may need a suitcase just for my own things!!

Next up is the house.  It's a mess right now!  And we have small group at our house on Sun even, which means if the cleaning doesn't get done today, that is what I will be doing when I get home!  I wish someone would invent a self-cleaning house!  And self-cleaning kids and husbands too!  lol

I also have a slew of perennials to plant that I receive in a plant exchange early this week.  I started planting last night, but only got a few in the ground.  That is one of those things that may just have to wait until we get back!  AND my hubby picked up a truck-load of mulch for me there's that to do too!  (But that will most definitely wait until next week!)

Despite all the stress involved with this race, I'm looking for to it.  Well, maybe not the race, but everything else.  When we leave today we're heading straight to the Expo to pick up our shirts and our packets containing our bib (that's race lingo for the piece of paper with your participant number that you pin to the front of your shirt).  There are also vendors there, so we can do a bit of shopping too!  (Goodbye stress!)  Afterwards we are meeting up with some friends for dinner at Buca di Beppo for some old-fashioned carbo-loading.  After that we're heading back to the hotel to relax and unwind a bit before trying to get some sleep.  When we booked our hotel, we paid $20 more to get a romance basket filled with snacks, champagne, etc AND late check-out!  When you run a race and are all sweaty, the last thing you want to do is to go out for lunch and/or ride 1.5 hrs home in a car!  So we'll be coming back to the hotel to SHOWER!!!!  That, my friends, is money well spent!  lol

So there you have it...that is what is going on in my life one day prior to a big race!  Makes you want to start running too, huh?  lol  Wish me luck!  :)