Friday, February 28, 2014

Soul Searching

I have been doing a lot of soul searching these last few days. Which after thinking about my own education as a social worker, made me think about what I would ask someone else.

Personal Self Assessment
Personal Responsibilities:
1. My Family, they are my priority, meeting their needs (physical and emotion) is my primary responsibility.
2. My Job, there are anywhere between 75 to 85 elderly people, their families and loved ones that I am responsible to keep happy.

Financial Responsibilities:
1. In the position that Bill and I are in, we both have good jobs and they more than meet our financial needs, I don't worry about money the way Bill does, we have money, the bills are paid and all the kids have what they want & need with wiggle room, that is enough for me. :)

1. I don't talk a lot about my thoughts on spirituality and religion because I have been agnostic for about 5 years. I was raised in the christian faith, I find religion and many religious people to be filled with hypocritical beliefs. I think it's important to try to be a good person, to do your best, to help people when you can. I think that's a good belief system for me.

Goals & Priorities:
1. To be a good wife and mother.
2. To meet my goals as a runner.
3. To do a good job at work.
4. To take care of my health so I can be here for my family as long as possible.

Leisure Activities:
(Here is where I think lies my problem...) There are sooo many active things that I enjoy doing. Running, hiking, skiing, biking, rock climbing, archery, four-wheeling, snow-mobiling, ect that I know my girls love too that Bill and his son's do not enjoy... So that is a quandary. Do I enjoy these things with the girls, and just leave Bill and the boys at home or do them alone on the weekends we don't have kids, start crossfitting with my sister or go back to the gym with my girlfriends there? Or do I just continue giving them up? I have never enjoyed watching TV or playing video games, that's just never been something that I find much enjoyment in, so I don't feel like I can just fold and do these things instead.

My health is super important to me. I exercise. I try to eat right but also enjoy food. I take my vitamins. I research food and the changes in the research that's out there.

Running Self Assessment
The running self assessment above I really like, you just give yourself a 1-9 of where you would rank yourself to make a good assessment of where you can improve.

Endurance: I would give myself about a 6 on this right now, but I should be closer to a 7 or 8 by the first marathon.

Speed: 4... Yes, I know, my speed sucks, I don't deny it... Truly where I need the most improvement.

Strength: 5, my strength isn't where it was when I was doing CrossFit that is for sure, or lifting in the gym, but it's not all out shit either.

Flexibility: 3... This has declined a lot with the pain in back, and with that I have gotten stiff. My #2 area I need to work on. 

Technique: I would give myself a solid 7 here, I have read a lot and gone to a few people who know what the heck they are talking about and I feel good about my technique.

Mental Strength: Hmm, most of the time a 7, but occasionally a 6. 

Support: 9, I have a great support system. :)

Motivation: 9, no problems at all with this. Every day my grams is my motivation. 

Nutrition: I would say a 7, I like to eat healthy and I tend to be great about my eating but I do enjoy to at out occasionally and have wine. :)

Rest: I would say 4. I get roughly 5-6 hours of sleep a night... I know... I know...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Morning Run in the Rain and Family Time

Kimbo and I ran this morning in the rain, it was actually quite nice. I didn't leash Kimbo since we once again had the entire levee to ourselves. She stayed right with me, only lagging a bit toward the end with her whole youngest hanging outta her mouth. She's been such a nice running partner. 

The girls' school had a jumping fundraiser for the American Heart Association today at school, Bill and I went as volunteers. It was fun to watch all the kids. Graci went threw our station too, and she did great. :) 
Tonight is swimming lessons for the kiddos and dinner out with the fam.  

Kind of in a weird slump right now. I don't know if it's the drama at work, feeling bored with my running/workout routine, or what... Trying to identify what my issue is. I think part of it is that my social life has changed a lot, I used to spend a lot of time with friends at the gym and CrossFit, people that I could talk to about my running, my workouts, meet up with when I needed motivation, I think not having that has been more difficult than I expected. Do I join a running group? Do I try to find forums online that I can discuss running with? Is that what my blog is? A place for me to talk about the things that I love and the things that interest me? Or could it be the monotony of my workouts? Should I look at other places to run? Other races? Biking? Anyways, doing a little soul searching right now. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk

I know this is crazy, but I MADE VANILLA ALMOND MILK!!!
1c blanched almonds (I bought sincerely almonds on Amazon)
Pure vanilla extract, to taste (my MIL brought this particular kind back from Mexico, and it's amazing)
4c water
(FYI, You will need a mesh nut bag, I also bought this on amazon)

Bring almonds to boil in small pot of water for 4-5 minutes. Drain off water. To a blender or food processor add almonds, water and vanilla, blend til smooth. Set up mesh bag over pitcher and pour mixture into bag. Hold bag closed with one hand and squeeze out liquid with other hand. Store in sealed jar for up to 4-5 days. 

And, Graci and I started our own sprouts today! More in a few days about that! Graci and I also made the fam Swedish meatballs. They loved it! 
And I had Kale Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta and the sauce was made with Greek yogurt and Miracle Noodles!!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins & My Furry Running Partner

Had a terrific morning strength training workout followed by a chilly, raining run with my furry pup! Took her off the leash today since the path was empty, and to my surprise she didn't get more than 5 feet from me. She's a terrific running partner and finally gaining a little speed. 
Tonight, since I just heated up a pre-made freezer meal that I prepped last week, I had time to make some delicious and super healthy Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins for my fam!!!
Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
2c plus 3T whole wheat flour
2/3c plus 3T pure maple syrup
1/4c unsalted pecans, finely chopped
2t ground cinnamon 
1/2t plus 1/8t sea salt
1/4t plus 1/8t nutmeg
2T organic unsalted butter, melted
2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1 apple (I used an organic honey crisp apple), peeled, cored & chopped
1 large egg
1c reduced-fat buttermilk
1c unsweetened applesauce
3T safflower oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, line 12 count muffin pan with paper liners. Prepare topping, in small bowl, combine 3T flour, 3T pure maple syrup, pecans, 1/2t cinnamon, 1/8t salt and 1/8t nutmeg. Drizzle with butter and stir with fork until moistened. In large bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Divide batter into muffin cups. Crumble topping over muffin batter evenly. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. 

Even Bill, who doesn't dig healthy food, loved these! Sweet success!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Foodie Sunday!

Sundays I reserve for making a menu for the fam and a menu for myself, looking up recipes we would like that I want to try and make, making the grocery list because I don't like a bunch of un-needed junk in my pantry, and grocery shopping.

Started the morning with Overnight Oats (check out the earlier blog, they are soooo good) and they just give me tons of energy, and a pile of Strawberries. Yum. 

For lunch, I made Chili Chicken Pasta, which was delicious, and because I used Miracle Noodles, was way low in calories. Yum!
1 large boneless, skinless chicken thigh (I prep mine on the George Forman, as thighs are fattier, but it prefer them, so I try to get the fat off first)
Onion (I had some medallion ones hanging around the fridge, so I used those up, but any onion would work)
Peppers (bountiful basket had a bag full of the little ones, so I used four of those)
Miracle Noodles (whole package)
4T Chili Sauce 
Sautéed the onions & peppers in the chili sauce til soft, then after cooking the chicken thigh on the foreman tossed it diced up in the pan. Added the miracle noodles til they were warm. Yum. 

Got a great 8 mile run in, it was snowing, so I was on the treadmill but I watched What Not to Wear of TLC, I love that show! Great run, legs felt great, and lungs felt like I could've ran much longer. Haili followed me on the treadmill for a run of her own. 

For dinner, I made Bill and the girls Pork Tenderloin Meddalions & Loaded Red Potatoes, the potatoes had bacon in them, I don't eat pork, so I ate a delicious Quinoa Black Bean Corn Salad in a spinach wrap. 
1# small red potatoes
Salt & Pepper
1T butter
1/4c fat free sour cream
6 strips of over-cooked bacon, crumbled
2 green onions, chopped
1c cheddar cheese

Preheat over to 400 degrees, line baking sheet with aluminum. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out flesh into small saucepan, add enough water to cover potatoes, cook over medium heat until soft. Put the potato skins, face up on baking sheet, brush with oil, and season with salt & pepper. Place the skins in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Drain potatoes, combine potatoes, butter & sour cream, mash til smooth, then add bacon & green onions, mix until combined. Pull skins from oven and fill with mixture, top with cheese. Bake additional 5 minutes. 

1t oil (I prefer extra virgin)
1 diced onion
3T garlic
3/4c uncooked quinoa
1 1/2c vegetable broth
1t cumin
1/4c cayenne pepper (optional, but yummy)
Salt & Pepper
1 can corn
2 can black beans 
1/2c chopped cilantro

Heat oil, stir in onion & garlic, mix in quinoa, cover with broth, season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper. Bring mixture to boil, cover, reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in corn & black beans til warm. Add cilantro and ENJOY! So good!!! (Leftovers are good heated up or cold). I topped mine with some hot sauce and had it in a spinach wrap. Seriously, so good. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Running w/ my Girl & Bountiful Basket

Went to the track this morning with Haili. 
Could she be any cooler?
While we were running she said, "we should get BFF Runner necklaces", then yelled "BFR's!!! Best Friend Runners!", I just wanted to kiss her whole face at that moment!
Also, I haven't talked about Bountiful Basket before but let me tell you, it is great. It's a co-op for produce. On Monday at noon, you go online to You select your basket for $15 then any add-ons. Then the following Saturday you meet and pick up your basket. It's awesome! 

This weeks load, again only $15, and this week mostly organic:
Then I added on a case of strawberries for $14!!! Miss Graci and I have already eaten a full clamshell and have plans for smoothies!!
And Bill & Graci love their Organic Multigrain Bread, 5 loaves for $12. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

And Finally it's Friday

All week this week I have thought, "Just make it to Friday". Work has been exceptionally challenging this week. I love my job, please understand that, but working in Skilled Nursing Facilities has its challenges. Skilled Nursing has an annual survey every year, no matter what state you live in, this is a federal regulation. They have these regulations in place to protect vulnerable elderly adults, I appreciate what they mean, I understand their importance, but I struggle with having a "mock survey" by our "peers"... So yes, a lot more than I usually share about my professional life, but it was a very long, very frustrating week at work. And when you work in a workplace that is 99% women, it can get quite dramatic at times, so my Friday afternoon, after the "survey team" left, there was just more drama and fireworks at work. So with utmost agreement with the term, "Thank God Its Friday".

Thursday, February 20, 2014

No run + shitty day = grumpy lady

Thursdays are my scheduled rest days for this portion of my training. Having a rough few days at work added to not running makes a a giant, grumpy jerk. 
The girls had swimming lessons. Then Bill took me out to dinner. He's so thoughtful sometimes. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Most Delicious Chocolate Green Smoothie Ever & Haili's 1st Marathon Mile

Amazing. Totally Amazing. 
The amazing recipie...
1c kale
1c spinach
2t 100% cocoa powder
1 scoop protein powder (I totally love dymatize Isolate 100)
1T almond butter
1/2c almond milk
1 banana
3T flax
Enough water to make it drinkable... Seriously, amazing, TRY IT. 

So this is what I had post workout. And no, the weather wasn't as predicted, it was perfect. Cold, no precipitation, and the sun came up earlier than yesterday! Hurray for spring. Forgot to make my overnight oats last night, epic fail. Instead a Hammer Fuel and a nutrition bar, not nearly as awesome. 

Work sucked. Plain out. Sucked. 

But watching my baby girl run her first marathon mile???? Awesome. Totally awesome. 
Tonight, Graci helped with dinner, they had pepperoni pizza pasta casserole. 
My dinner, refried bean tostadas. Yummy & healthy & simple to make. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wile E Coyote

This morning was a chilly run in the rain. It was actually quite refreshing. Running outside is quite refreshing, breaking up with my treadmill has felt so good. Unfortunately, the weather channel (well app) seems to think it is going to snow tonight, I hope not... But it's not supposed to stick. I hope. This morning I ran the levee, there is a pull out that is just down our hill and I do a loop and back. Today I made it to my turn-around, turned back and out of nowhere ran a coyote. It was clearly more scared of me, than I was of it, but geez I was caught off guard. 
And yes, I look like the road runner when I'm surprised by a coyote. Ha. 

Busy, hectic day at work. Nothing I'm not used to! Ha. 

Tonight, back at swimming lessons with these cuties. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Officially Marathon Training & So Is Haili!!!

This morning was the first day of my Hal Higdon training plan, CDA Marathon is 18 weeks away!!!
Ms Kimbo and I ran on the levee. It was windy and she's still pretty slow but running outside after being tied to my treadmill FOREVER felt sooo good. And the Mizuno pullover is becoming my new favorite thing. So warm, perfect length, sneaky pockets, and cute. Love it. 

And as you see above, I've added the Vancouver Marathon to my training because HAILI WANTS TO RUN A MARATHON!! Crazy? An eight year old running a marathon? It's crazy! Haili will run 25 miles over the next 21 weeks, and then the Saturday before the marathon she will run a 1.2 mile race and they give all the kids their finishers medal, a MARATHON medal. I don't know who is more excited between Haili and I but last night I ordered her running clothes and this morning she fretted over what she would eat the morning of the race that would give her energy. Oh my, I could not love this kid more. We are planning to do her runs on Wednesday after I get off work. I even made her a little training schedule for Wednesday. Soooo cool. 
Tonight I made Teriyaki Stirfry with Brown Rice. Yum. Too much sauce, so no recipie til it's a little improved. Then I made my lunches for the week, Oven Fajitas!!! Yum!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentine's Day Weekend Getaway!

Valentines day was nice. Bill and I wanted to get away for our no-kid-weekend, so Kimbo had her first over-night with a gal I work with and their dog, which went great, and Bill and I took off to Silver Mountain for the weekend. Saturday morning we started off with my favorite Raspberry White Mocha and my other favorite Spinach Feta Wrap from Starbucks, a weekend starting out with that combo is definitely going to be a great one! And it was. Saturday mid-day, we were soaking in a hot tub with a Bloody Mary and a beer for Bill, followed by floating the lazy river, then a nice dinner, and finally snuggling and watching the UFC fights. We slept in today, ate a delicious breakfast at the local cafe with a yummy soy vanilla latte. We headed into Spokane for some shopping, got some cute new work clothes. Bill and I talked the whole way home. It was a really great weekend.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bill's Face Transformation!!!

Because I know you are all dying to see Bill's facial hair transformation, you are welcome!!!
Great day today. First, a great run this morning! 
Busy morning at work and I totally LOVE my job. 
Then a nice lunch with my Bill, followed by more work. It was so nice out, had my running bag in the car and SUDDENLY an aura which preced my migraines... Thank goodness I have Bill who rescued me with Excedrin and drove me and my blinded eyes home. 
After dinner, of a yummy breakfast bake, we went to Petco to get Kimbo some new toys and treats, then to Spot On Yogurt with our girlies, followed by Hastings (which is my favorite place ever!!!). Then Kimbo met her first friend! They played and had a great time. Now, she's exhausted. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Super Productive Day

Great morning run, busy morning routine, same ol', so I won't bore you. But after my AMAZING bowl of Over Night Oats, BOOM, I got 9 million things done. No I'm serious, 9,000,000 things. Saw both my mom and my sister today, score! Then came home to my honey to make Parmesan Chicken.
And then the girls' Valentines! Yeah, they are pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. 
Now, snuggling my honey and Kimbo. Great day!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lady Date Day

After a few days of a miserable cold, and taking it easy, I am finally feeling better. Hurray!

Spent Saturday with all the kiddos, actually got to play in the snow!
Today we had a lady date day! First mani/pedis, at home because no nail salons are open on Sundays. 
Then lunch with my amazing sissy, followed by some retail therapy. Ms Kimbo got a new bed. 
Followed by baking and frosting cookies. 
And now, snuggled up in our jammies watching a movie. Love time with these little ladies. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Flowers at work = One Lucky Girl

Bill snuck flowers into my office while I was in a meeting today. He's so sweet. Always knows just how to make me feel loved and appreciated. AND he came and took me to lunch. Yes, I'm a lucky girl. 

Still feeling like shit. But let myself get a full 8 hours of sleep, drank tea all day even in a doctor's meeting at the hospital, ate a salad at lunch and took another rest day. Tonight I feel much better. Thankfully should be able to run tomorrow. 

The girls were freezing this morning waiting for the bus and more or less guilted me into shifting my morning routine around tomorrow to drive them to school. The bonus will be getting to work sooner thus leaving a little earlier. I think I can handle a little change. Maybe...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bill is a Blue Banana

After a crazy stressful day, waking up with a cold, a 7 hour road trip, and now snuggled in for the evening, you get a day in pictures and that is it. I apologize...
Bill in a snow covered blue banana, I believe the banana is even holding beer. 
There was snow, there was ice, the temperature was everywhere from -2 to 20... What the heck? We got froze INTO the car. 
Bill showing his oldest son the Star Wars book collector app. Wow. Nerdy.