12.14.2014

This Weeks Eats 12.14.14 (and Baking Lately)

I just posted this to Instagram, but it bears repeating.  Those Linzer Muffins I tried the week of Thanksgiving turned out AWESOME.  I really had to restrain myself from devouring a dozen in just a day or two.  Doubling the recipe was definitely called for the next time around and I decided to sub in half whole wheat/half all purpose for the flour (still using the almond flour required) and they're just as tasty.  And really, who doesn't love a little surprise inside their baked goods?

I'm also in the midst of making bark for gifts and I tried this Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark I found on Pinterest, from Mama Say What.  It's very rich, but very good! 

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!

12.11.2014

Year of Running 2014

I'm so glad that Miss Zippy is doing this link up again!  It's a fun way to reflect on the year in running.  Here's last year's, and here goes for this year:

Best race experience? 
I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the Seattle Rock n' Roll half marathon.  It SO COOL to do the whole VIP thing and meet Apolo Ohno, as well as have a yummy brunch with lovely local peeps afterward.  
But even without all of that, I really enjoyed the course, it was really well organized and fun.  I ran it less than a month after my worst half with the goal of just enjoying myself.  Which I totally did and even went a bit faster.  

Best run? 
My second leg of Ragnar, the night leg over Deception Pass Bridge.  NO QUESTION.  
The new fancy Ragnar lights for the bridge were awesome.  But also I loved my long downhill coast through the woods on my way to the bridge, while the cars lit the majestic trees.  And Ragnar just makes me happy!
Best new piece of gear?  
I think this was the year of good footwear!  I did a lot of running in Brooks Pure Cadence in 2013, and I don't think they did me any favors.  I love the way they feel and look, but they just weren't right for me.  I went back to the Adrenalines and they felt so clunky.  So I tried the Ravennas and looooooove them!
I'm already on my second pair and am feeling really good running in them.

Best piece of running advice you received? 
Ah, will it always be Lauren Fleshman giving the good advice?  But she gives the BEST and most inspirational advice!  During our retreat in Bend, she talked a lot about goals and making sure that they have meaning to us and not be about external influences/expectations.
Since I've been THISCLOSE to a sub 2 hour half marathon, it's just something that's stuck in my head and seems to be an obvious goal.  But, really, is it something that is meaningful to me?  I'm not so sure.  I kind of love my run streak goal, it just feels like me.  I love the daily check-in with my body and having this challenge to keep me on task.  I DO still want to get faster, and did get at least one PR this year.  I've even signed up for the race where I set my current half PR.  But I really like the idea of continuing the run streak, obviously, and to work on speed for shorter distances.

Most inspirational runner?
Argh, this question is always so tough!  I must say that I'll never forget hanging out at a bar in the early hours of the day screaming at Meb as he won the Boston Marathon.  That was really amazing to watch.  I also really enjoyed watching Deena Kastor set the world masters record for the half marathon.  I loved listening to her on the Another Mother Runner podcast.  She just seems really down to earth and infectious with her love of the sport.  And, as always, all my running friends and teammates who inspire me daily.  Which, come to think of it...

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?  
I can do just one word: Inspired.  Our Bird Camp retreat to Bend was a big part of the year and you just cannot help but be inspired by so many women from all walks of life coming together and encouraging one another.  It was really something special and I can't wait for next year!  I also feel like I'm starting to get back some of the speed I had back in 2012 and I just feel healthier.  Running every day has made me inspired to run that much more.  
  

12.09.2014

Books I Read in November 2014

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler

This was a predictably fun read, very much like Bossypants.  Not quite as funny, or at least the same brand of humor as Tina Fey, but maybe I should also listen to the audiobook.  It's always fun to read a memoir of someone who's life mirrors your own in many ways.  Being a 40 year old mother of two, I identified with all of her fun pop culture references of the 70s onward to what it's like with two little ones stealing your heart.  I also love how it reads like a self-help book - stating the obvious stuff mostly, like Daring Greatly, but in a MUCH more entertaining manner.  

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The Dinner by Herman Koch

WHOA.  I had heard this novel compared to Gone Girl on several occasions and as I was about a third of the way into this book, I could see why.  The shift in perception of the characters happens much more subtly, over time, in this book.  But, it's still fraught with tension on every single page that you have to keep turning.  This would be a helluva book club book - lots to dissect about right and wrong and 'what would you do in this horrible situation?' kind of discussions.  

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The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

I was intrigued by the premise of this book after reading this Bookriot post on books set in the afterlife.  There was a lot of good stuff in there - beautiful ideas about what might be in store for us in the afterlife, commentary on our potential future as a consumer driven society, and about the importance of connections we make with others.  I furiously turned the pages until the very end, it was a quick read, but leaves you hanging.  Though, I was happy to draw my own conclusions in some ways, I would have liked a little more closure in others. 

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This was an equal parts hilarious and yet disturbing read, which is quite the feat to pull off!  Though I thought one of the big reveals at the end was predictable (even when Moriarty tries to throw you off), the question of who dies at the school fundraiser and how it happened was certainly shrouded in mystery. Yes, the book kicks off with and revolves around a sort of 'whodunnit' theme.  I furiously turned the pages in the last quarter of the book.  As a mom of young kids, I really identified with each of the characters in different ways and it made for a more relatable story.  Although, I'm hoping that people who DON'T have kids realize that it's a SATIRE in much the same way as Where'd You Go Bernadette.  

12.07.2014

This Week's Eats 12.7.14


It's been such a lovely weekend of family time, I've barely had time to pull my grocery list together we've been too busy enjoying each other's company.  

We've been doing lots of Christmas light viewing!  So a quick check in to post the weekly menu and back to couch sitting and snuggling.  I'm feeling a little slow today after date night at Daniel's last night...
As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!

12.03.2014

December Goals (and November Check In)

Recap on November Goals

Post every day on the blog for national blog posting month (NaBloPoMo).  
Really pleased with this goal met.

Keep up with the run streak.
Still goin' - 192 days and counting.

Try some new classes while I'm not training for a race.  
I tried Barre3 and Flywheel

Go to the chiropractor.  
Fail. With sickness sweeping through our house and the holiday, I just didn't get it in.  Maybe this month...

Get shopping and prepped for Thanksgiving.
Ah, t'was a lovely turkey day.


December Goals

On one hand, I want to reeeeelax in December.  It's my favorite month of the year, kicking off with a visit from Grandma (and this year BOTH Grandmas!).  The homework has eased up - we have a family traditions project to work on throughout the month, rather than the usual reading/spelling packets, which is WAY more fun.  And soon, there will be two weeks off of school!  Normally I am a fan of school.  But around the holidays, we have enough fun stuff going on to keep us busy.  I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune by January 1st...  Anyway!  As much as I want to kick back, there's always a list of stuff to get done in December.

  • Set up and decorate the tree.  Done!  (Sometimes you've gotta put something on your list, just so you can cross it off.)
  • Hang the outdoor lights.
  • Get all the Christmas shopping done.  I'm not too worried about this as it's early yet, and we have Amazon prime.
  • Send out holiday cards.  I'm feeling pretty accomplished already, since we've taken our annual family pic and the cards have been ordered.
  • Make and deliver gifts for teachers.  I usually make bark and include gift cards in a coffee mug or some such reusable container.
  • Make an appointment to see the eye doc first thing in January and maybe squeeze in a visit to my chiro. My contacts are almost gone and I'm waiting until January, when those flex spending dollars kick in, to renew my prescription.
  • Decide on Christmas day menu and get shopping.
  • Keep up with ye olde run streak!

11.30.2014

This Weeks Eats 11.30.14

Ah, last post of NaBloPoMo!  We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner and weekend.  So lovely, in fact, I just now realized that I took zero pictures of our table or food.  We were way too busy eating.  So, now we're on to leftovers.  Although, the only leftover that lasts more than a day in our house is the turkey.  The stuffing and potatoes don't even hang around for a full 24 hours.  But that's okay, I love making Turkey Cranberry Salad Sandwiches...

Now we kick things up into high gear this week, starting with my husband's birthday and going right through until Christmas.  I shall set my scale back 10 pounds, as they say.  
As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!

11.29.2014

Things I Learned During NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Part of me is ASTOUNDED that I wrote something every single day in November.  Well, I will have by tomorrow, as This Weeks Eats is pretty much written.  Yet, another part of me has realized that I make time for stuff I love to do.  Running, reading, cooking - all stuff I make time for every day.  One of my favorite classes in high school, and one that I got consistent A's in, was rhetoric.  So, yeah, I enjoy writing.  

One thing I learned was that if you have the time and the inclination, and the words are flowing, write a BUNCH of posts.  I think there have been nights when I've banged out up to three in one sitting.  Then I'll just go re-read and tweak them the day I publish.  This is basic blogging for dummies.  But, it's come in handy for someone who only writes two to three times a week.  I find it similar to when I get a bug to clean and then end up cleaning the whole house when I meant to do one bathroom.

And if I didn't have the inclination, I just gave myself a set time to write - even a few minutes.  Some nights I'd sit with a topic, look at the clock and say, "OK.  Write for the next fifteen minutes and then you can shut it down."  More often than not, I'd get in a groove and be able to finish what I started and go beyond that fifteen minutes.  Much like exercise - just get out the door and give it fifteen minutes and usually you want to keep going.

I also learned that even the weirdest of topics can be expounded upon and resonate with others.  I mean, who would've thought a post about LAUNDRY would spark conversation?  But it did!  Maybe in the future, I'll try to post a little more and just run with it even if it seems like a small or random topic.  (Not for awhile, though - I'm gonna take a little breather in December!)

Hopefully it wasn't all total filler.  I did have the opportunity to try Class Pass and a few new workouts to talk about, which was timely.  And it was cool to utilize a few fun prompts, which definitely got some writing cobwebs out of my brain and some entertaining interaction with my family and friends.  That right there is the best part of blogging, the connections I make with family and friends, new and old.

Thanks for putting up with me over the last month!