Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New Blog

I haven't been blogging here lately because I have an exciting new project here.

My friend Megan and I have started a blog, Whimsicle, that focuses on raising family and making jewelry.  We are a start-up in every since of the word :-)  Please come check us out, like us on Facebook and check out some of the pieces we are selling.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sweet Teacher

I found this cute and easy teacher gift while perusing Pinterest.  All you need is a Valentine's tumbler, a bag of Valentine M&M's and some ribbon.  My daughter's Kindergarten teacher loves milk chocolate and caramel so we stuck a Godiva truffle bar in there as well.

I also made a tag which I'm attaching to this post.  Please feel free to use it for your own project!

Monday, January 6, 2014

ROC Race Phoenix Race Report

Time for a VERY overdue race report.  I completed the RIdiculous Obstacle Challenge race two months ago.  Moon bounce.  Giant inflatable slides.  Definitely my kind of race!  Also, my first race post-baby.  I convinced a team of friends to race with me - as running is always better with camaraderie.  The ROC race happened in waves, each split about 30 minutes apart.  The entire event ran from 7 AM to 6PM, both Saturday and Sunday of the November 2nd, 2013 weekend.  To ensure that all of my friends and I were in the same heat, we had to sign up as a team.  Thus, team "Salute Your Shorts" was born.  If that name has no significance to you, than you probably missed the relatively small age window and/or did not watch Nickelodeon.  Definitely an obscure reference here. We made neon yellow shirts emblazoned with the Camp Anawanna logo and my brother-in-law outfitted himself as Counselor Bud.
Camp Anawanna, we hold you in our hearts...
We arrived at Salt River Fields an hour before our heat as directed.  At first, I was scared about the parking situation due to the enormity of this event.  However, I had nothing to fear because the heat schedule works.  Yes, there were a lot of people, but everyone was so spread out that it really didn't feel crowded.  There was a gigantic pile of foam to keep us entertained which really helped us get into the ROC Race frame of mind. 
We are really gigantic four-year-olds.
 About 15 minutes before our heat time, we ventured over to the staging area.  Unbeknownst to us, there was a costume contest for teams.  Now, our team costume wasn't anything elaborate.  However, I thought the obscurity of our team theme might give us a chance if the MC got it.  He did :-)  Huge benefit of entering the costume contest as a team:  You get to start first in your heat and you get a bracelet which entitles each team member to a finisher medal belt buckle.  We were stopped by so many people at the end of the race, asking where to get the finisher medal.  Enter as a team and do the costume contest if you want one!

Jamie modeling the fantastic finisher medal.
The start of our heat was managed really well, too.  They let us go in five-minute increments in groups of 200.  This ensured that the obstacles wouldn't be too crowded when we reached them.  Our team was all about taking it easy.  Coming off a pregnancy, I was more than happy to walk!  

Our first obstacle was the monkey bars.  FYI:  I learned I have no upper arm strength.  However, when you fall off the bars, a huge moon bounce covers the bottom.  It was more fun for me to just bounce, grab a bar, bounce, grab a bar.  Props to our team member Sharon who crossed the entire stretch of monkey bars without falling!
Our next obstacle was the jump wall.  Luckily, they gave you a variety of heights to choose from.  Bridget and I were comfortable with the middle height.
 From there, we encountered the most exhausting obstacle of the entire race:  the concre-stadoors.  These are normal plastic security dividers that you would see for crowd control.  There were just so many of them! Think 25 of these.
We did a Tarzan swing:
Tried to jump across gigantic inflatable balls:
I was told to belly flop on each one, stand up and then belly flop to the next one.  Great strategy and would have worked but it was a pretty high platform and throwing myself off face first into an inflatable unnerved me so much that I closed my eyes and missed the landing.
We also did a giant moon bounce (my favorite):

And lots of slides of all different shapes and sizes:

Only one obstacle had an incredibly long wait.  The Wrecking Ball was the second to last obstacle and we waited for at least 10 minutes in line.  I almost made it across, but alas, that blur is me nosediving into the water.
The wait created absolutely no line for the last obstacle: The World's largest Inflatable Slide.  The pictures don't do it justice.  This slide is a behemoth! Amazingly fun!  Thank goodness I heard a tip from another ROC racer to hold my breath at the end.  The bottom of the slide is covered in foam.  If you breathe while going through it, you are guaranteed to get foam up the nose.  I briefly panicked because I couldn't figure out how to get the foam off my face to breathe since my hands and arms were encased in the suds as well.  It evaporates pretty fast, so my panic was short lived.

I would definitely recommend the ROC race to anyone wanting to have a fun run. It was a giant playground.  I would suggest bringing a change of dry clothes and your own friendly spectator to hold them for you :)

Big thanks to my sister, Jamie, for all the pictures of the event.  Today is also Jamie's birthday!  Happy Birthday to you baby sister!  As a birthday present to her, you should check out her blog at

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ten-Minute Manicure

For Christmas, my MIL gave me the book "Lessons from Madame Chic" by Jennifer Scott.  The book details 20 lessons that the author learned while living in Paris. She talks about what to eat, skin care routines, how to dress, enjoying the arts and more.  I'm obsessed with this book and I am finding ways to apply a lot of her advice to my own life.

Good grooming is an essential French attribute.  I must admit that most days my nails lack my full attention.  I love getting manicures, but I can't justify the expense because I wreck the polish within a day.  If I get a gel manicure, the nails look great for 2 weeks but then start to grow out and I never bother to find the time to get my nails re-done.  When I read about the 10-minute manicure, I felt this could be a solution.
The author also has a YouTube channel where she publishes videos on how to do all the things that she mentions in her book.  So my five-year-old daughter and I sat down to watch the manicure video. Here is that video:

I gave her a manicure (which she loved!) and then gave myself one.  Her before and after pictures are a little more dramatic than mine due to her choice of nail polish:
I'm not really happy with the polish on mine.  When I use pale pink, it always looks streaky.  I'm thinking that it's the age of the polish and I just need to buy some new stuff.
Definitely a work in progress.  Plus, if you look really closely, I still have some gel on the tips of my nails from a manicure I got in October.  I love this home manicure though and my goal is to work it into my weekly routine.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

Staying home this year has made me realize how much I can simplify things.  I have so much I want to do, however I need to prioritize some other areas of my life so that I make what I want to do a priority. 

I had this realization on Christmas Eve as Josh and I were rushing around to clean the house before family arrived.  I came downstairs to a messy white tile floor, courtesy of our dog tracking mud in the house from repeated backyard visits.  As I made my way to the backyard to let her out, I saw that the cat had peed in her food dish.. Again.  He is a naughty cat.  And the dog's food dish of all places, what nerve!  It was then I realized that I was living a very reactive life at home instead of proactive.  Thus, the need to create some routines that will simplify life in  2014.

First, I need to simplify eating.  Every New Year's Day, my family cooks pork chops and sauerkraut.  It's a German tradition meant to bring good luck in the coming year.  I was sad this year to miss my dad's pork chops and mom's mashed potatoes.  My six-month-old has been very difficult to travel with lately.  He's been known to cry continuously in the car for an hour and a half.  I decided to recreate the meal at home.  I did the pork chops and Josh did the potatoes.  All was delicious and the pork chops are the simplest recipe ever.  Here it is:

Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

4 bone-in pork chops
2 jars of sauerkraut
1 tablespoon canola oil

1. Heat oil in pressure cooker.  Brown all sides of the pork chops on the bottom of the pressure cooker at medium high heat. 

2. Put one layer of sauerkraut on the bottom of the pressure cooker. Layer 2 pork chops on top (or as many will fit in one layer on the pressure cooker)

3. Alternate another sauerkraut layer and pork chop layer.  Finish by dumping the remaining sauerkraut on top with all the sauerkraut juice.

(In the above picture I only used one jar of sauerkraut. The chops turned out a touch dry which is why I recommend using two jars)

4. Close and seal the pressure cooker. Cook over medium high heat. Once the pressure cooker starts releasing steam (about 20 mins), start the timer for 30 minutes.

5.  Once 30 minutes have elapsed, take the pressure cooker off the heat and release the pressure.  The lid should then open easily.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ravenous Beast

Running turns me into a ravenous beast. On days I walk, I can easily control my portions, make really healthy decisions and track all my food.  On run days, my thought process goes a little like this:

"Honey? Straight from the bottle onto my spoon?  Yes, that sounds like an excellent idea.  It'll save me the calories from bread.  Here, let me take 8 more spoonfuls of that."

"Wow, what a healthy well-portioned lunch I put on my plate.  I think it will be well worth my time if I ate straight from the leftovers container while it's heating up."

"After a fantastic Someburros dinner, I think I need a large frozen yogurt... With brownies, caramel and Almond Roca.  Mmmm.. I'm still hungry.  I'll have two bowls of Raisin Bran Crunch."

And I am not sorry for any of it.  In fact, it was fun.  

Running turns me into a ravenous beast. There is no way I burned as many calories as I felt the need to consume. I'm thinking my behavior might be my blood sugar spiraling out of control post-run due to not fueling up immediately after.  I let myself get way too hungry.  Tomorrow, I'm going to try a post run snack with a good balance of carbs, protein and fat.  I heard low-fat chocolate milk works well for that.  That sounds yummy.

By the way, I didn't track last night because I honestly have no clue what I ate.

Any runners out there have this problem?  More importantly, has anyone found a solution?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Just One Pound

I use a little trick to run farther when I am really tired.  I pick a spot not more than 20 feet away and make that my goal.  When I reach that spot, I have a mini moment of joy and I pick the next spot.  This keeps going until I make it to my ultimate distance.  While it may sound tedious, it works.  Running a long distance is more of a mind game than a test of physical strength.  

So I started thinking about weight loss.  I posted a while back when my baby boy was 6 weeks old that my starting weight was 168 lbs.  He is now 4 months old and I am at 161 lbs.  Not the fastest weight loss ever, but I am inching closer to my goal of 145 lbs which was my weight pre-pregnancy.

I was on Weight Watchers but I kept going to meetings and the weight wouldn't drop.  So I relaxed and took a step back.  At 3 months, I noticed my weight start to move a little.  I did the ROC race ( race report coming soon!) and my friend Bridget told me about an app called "Lose It".  It's pretty much exactly like Weight Watchers but uses calories instead of points, is easier to use and is free.  Here's what my food log looks like today: 

I've joined a pre-turkey day countdown on Lose It and connected with friends.  A few of the moms in my Bradley Moms group are on it.  It is really motivating for me to see other people logging their food intake and losing weight.

Thus now, I'm going to use that running trick for losing the last 16 pounds.  My goal is 1 pound.  I'll set my next goal from there.