Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Peace Out 2014

I think my least favorite week of the year is the week between Christmas and New Years.  All those super cute Christmas decorations have now overstayed their welcome and beg to be put back in their tubs.  Every time I open a cabinet or drawer, I am reminded that I need to clean it out.   The kids are on technology overload and finding new ways to pester one another. I'm going to be making all kinds of lists, cleaning all kinds of things out and making all kinds of New Years Resolutions.  My family is super excited. (sarcasm font).

I don't know how many people make New Years Resolutions.  I haven't asked any of my friends if they do. Some might find it on the hokey side. I used to be one of those people.  But if there is one thing I have learned in 2014, its this.  To do things you want to do, you have to be intentional about it.  That goes for all areas of your life.  In your marriage, your finances, your family life, your work, everywhere.  Its so easy to be unintentional.  The day can get away from me by noon if I'm still in my pajamas and looking to have one more cup of coffee before I start anything.  And there's nothing wrong with those days.  I'm having one right now.  But if you want to accomplish anything of significance, you have to make your mind up to do it, and put everything else aside to make it happen.  And if you don't do that, you can't complain that it didn't happen.  You can't get upset that your marriage isn't amazing when you haven't done anything to make it amazing.  You can't get upset that your family hasn't had any quality time together when you don't insist that it happen. At the risk of sounding like Tony Robbins, its your life, if you want to do something, make it happen!

I'm looking forward to 2015.  There are a few things on the horizon that are scary.  But the thought of a new year, an entirely crisp, new, clean, calendar, it makes me excited.

One exciting thing 2015 is bringing, is me blogging over at the City Moms Blog!  I have officially joined their team of contributors and am looking forward to new friends, new content, and learning more about the city I call home.  I hope you'll join me here to check it out!

I dare you to be intentional about this new year.  Make some resolutions in a few areas of your life.  Write them down.  And look back on them often, making sure your taking steps to make them happen.  And in a year, lets meet back here and share all the things that happened in 2015 that made the year a great year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas is over

Christmas 2014 has come and gone...sniff, sniff.  I'm sad to tell it goodbye, however, its time.  Our real Christmas tree is officially dead.  I look forward to vacuuming up all the fallen needles and then my vacuum smelling of pine for the next month when I use it.  That's an added bonus of a real tree people don't know about!  If your allergic, I'm so sorry.  I truly am.  Best thing about Christmas.  Team Real Tree!!

I'm pretty sure I could spend an entire post on all the sugary deliciousness I have indulged on.  What I don't understand is that I'm completely 100% over sugar.  Yet every time I walk past that stocking shaped candy tray I grab another thing to eat.  So I took care of that today.  I put that stocking shaped tray away, and hid all that candy in the pantry.  Then I had this brilliant idea!  Andy's cousin's kids were over playing, and I knew they'd be getting hungry.  So I pulled out all that candy and left it on the table, along with a veggie tray, for good measure.  And thankfully, those kids helped clean up half of that candy.  AND THEN, I sent them home.  I'm terrible.  I know.  But I had to deal with the wrath of my own sugar overloaded kids so I didn't really do anything beneficial except move some of that candy.

My next few days will be much like yours, I'm sure.  Taking down all those Christmas decorations we were so excited to put up.  Then looking at my empty living room and deciding I need something from TJMaxx to spruce it up.  I'll be weaning myself and my children off sugar, which is never a pleasant task.  Pray for us all.  And then I'll be looking towards the New Year, hoping I can do all those things I didn't get to last year.  I think we finished strong this year.  This picture is proof.  And proof that I should have been a model and not an accountant.






Sunday, December 21, 2014

Have I mentioned how much I love Christmas?

I'm trying not to think about the fact that this week is the last week to enjoy the Christmas season.  Its always good things come to a close, so that you want them to happen again.  But it still makes me a little sad.  Party on though.

The Texas crew was in town this weekend and good times were had.  We did a little ice skating.

Cousins...love.



                                                 We did some downtown strolling


                                    

And I drug myself out of bed to do an early morning Christmas light run with friends that ended with good conversation and a Starbucks latte.



Best. Time. Of the year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Nutcracker and some dress shoes

We had a weekend full of holiday cheer.  Two of the highlights were Neely's piano recital and the Nutcracker.

My mom is a better shopper than me.  She asked me two weeks ago if I had a dress for Neely's recital.  I was just sure I saw a fancy dress in the last batch of clothes we got from a cousin who has grown quickly.  "Yeah, I'm pretty sure we have something".  Thursday night, 36 hours before the recital I'm digging in the girls closet…I don't know where I dreamed up that dress but we did not have one.  So Friday after school I was whisking Neely off to a plethora of stores to find just the right dress.  And when your a girl, and you get a new dress, you have to get new shoes.  After 6 stores, and I am not exaggerating, we were empty handed on the shoes.  My frustration was evident when we arrived home.  Andy, shopper extrodinaire stepped in to finish the task and attempt the mall with her, which I had not been willing to do.  He was successful and I was relieved.  The recital went off without a hitch.



What do you buy for your 95 almost 96 grandmother for Christmas?  A ticket to the Nutcraker.  Sunday morning as we are all donning our holiday best I have a nice realization.  Karly has no dress shoes.  WHAT??? Dress shoes were the bain of my existence this weekend.  A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do, so what did I do?  I skipped a portion of church in order to purchase some elegant shoes so Karly's attire would be up to par for the ballet.  Nevermind they were too small.  She looked fabulous.  While I caught a few times of nodding off by GeeGee, I think she enjoyed the ballet. I know I did.


So here is what I need you to learn from this.  The Nutcracker is a great gift for your Grandmother who has absolutely everything and needs nothing.  And as soon as those fall dress shoes come out on the shelves in the fall, you make a day of dress shoe shopping with your daughters.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Oh Santa...

We play the Santa game at my house.  I've only got 2 believers left.  And this year is a pivotal year for my 4th grader.  She's toeing the line.  I tried early on to get my two youngest to write their letter to Santa, because, you see I was going to get all my Christmas shopping done by December 1st so I could kick back with some coffee and gaze at my tree the rest of the season.  While I made a valiant effort, it didn't happen.  And the girls blew off the Santa letters so I was left to my own prying to figure out just what he was bringing this year.

And then there's last night.  When I walked into the kitchen to see them with letters and pens and glue and glitter…..writing their letters to Santa.

Me: OOOoohhh, your writing letters to Santa huh
Them: yes
Me: Well I don't know if you've given him enough time to get things now
Them: He's got 2 weeks mom, and he's Santa

I calmly walked back to the bedroom to promptly freak out saying to Andy "They're writing letters to SANTA!  What are we going to do???  What if they don't ask for what we are getting them????" He just looked at me.  I spun around with an "Ugh" and went back to the kitchen to see if I could sway their letters.  It didn't work.  So I'm left with a decision.  Do I try to make their little dreams come true, this one last year for Neely, before the magic of Santa is gone, or do I just say "well,  your letter to Santa was late you know…?" come Christmas morning.  I'm going to kick back and look at the Christmas tree and drink my coffee and then decide.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Murphy's law and a little home remedy.'

Right now, as I type this, behind me is a 7 year old and a 12 year old playing this game where one is videoing and the other runs, throws a squishy brain stress ball, catches it and lands on my bed.  They've been doing it for about 30 minutes.  Kids do not need electronics people.

So I say to Andy 2 days ago, you know, we have been so lucky.  We have not had sickness in this house for over a year.  We must be doing something right.  Fast forward 24 hours when my middle one is telling me she doesn't feel good.  I should have known...its because of what I said yesterday.  It happens every. single. time.  Murphy's law is real.

Now that corporate job I had for 5 years, it was a blessing in its own annoying way, but when I had a sick kid it was not.  I hated feeling obligated to be in the office when I had a little one at home who just wanted her mama.  My kids have an amazing dad who would always put on his nurse's scrubs when needed.  And I am so very thankful.  But I was more than happy to take them from him this time.  A day of waiting on her every little sick need, obliging her by snuggling on the couch, and watching TV all day sounded perfect to me.  I will admit though, once her fever was gone, and she was still bossing me around, I was over it.

Speaking of that fever - since she is my adventurous eater and will try anything, I talked her into a little concoction that I will put my money on speeds up the getting better process.  Its not tasty, by any means, but I don't find it terrible either.   And she took a tsp of it on the hour for about 4 hours.  Her fever was gone by morning...and who knows, maybe it was because of this. Mix some up, leave it in your refrigerator and make a smoothie out of it if you have an unadventurous family member.

2T apple cider vinegar
2 T honey
4 T water
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.

Its got a kick, I won't lie, but it will also kick that virus, fever, or whatever is ailing you to the curb.

Murphy 1, me 0


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Brown Butter Crunch Cookies

When it comes to cookies, I stick with what I know.  My dad makes these amazing chocolate chip cookies.  I try to do it like he does, but it never happens, however its the most requested cookie at my house.  So its always chocolate chip cookies.

A Christmas classic is the cookie exchange.  I'm headed to one tomorrow.  And while I love those chocolate chip cookies, they really aren't cookie exchange fare.  I'm on this "get out of my comfort zone" kick so I did just that with my cookie choice.  These were fun to make, totally different, and you can eat 5 and feel like you didn't really have any.  Get out of your Christmas cookie comfort zone and make


Brown Butter Crunch Cookies

1/2 C salted butter
1/2 C light corn syrup
2/3 C packed brown sugar
1 C old fashioned oats - not quick oats
3/4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp pure vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Or if your super fancy line them with your silpat liners. (Christmas list alert Andy).  In a medium sauce pan melt the butter, corn syrup and brown sugar over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat to high and when the mixture boils remove it and stir in the oats, flour and vanilla.  Drop half teaspoonfuls 3 inches apart on the cookie sheets.  Make sure there is plenty of room as these spread out. Bake for 6-8 minutes (bubbling and golden brown).  Let the cookies cool completely.

Chocolate glaze
1/4 C heavy cream
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp light corn syrup

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until scalded.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and corn syrup.  Cover and let stand 15 minutes.  Whisk until smooth.  Drizzle or spoon onto one end of the cookie.  Decorate with holiday sprinkles if your into that sort of thing.  Allow to set/dry.






Wednesday, December 3, 2014

City Moms Blog guest post!

I'm guest blogging over here today at the Oklahoma City mom's blog!

I've got a great dinner suggestion for you! Go check it out!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Mystery of blogging

I've been blogging for a long time.  Minus that 5 year break I took.  But my original days of blogging were done right here, at RegularWithHalfandHalfandRawSugar.blogspot.com.  The mere length of that blog name will tell you how blog savvy I was…not.  When I had 3 kids under the age of 4, it was my sanity.  My 2 readers made me feel like I had this line to the cyberworld that was super important.  There's a few funny reads there so if you have 20 spare minutes like we all do, head over for my mom-of-3-small-kids-commentary.

Insert 5 year working full time mom of 3.  No blogging.

Enter now, part time working mom who still has the itch to blog and we find me here at Just Finish Strong.  Now I read a lot of blogs too.  They just suck me in.  Its so weird!!!  These strangers who I'm pretty sure are my imaginary friends now.  Because I totally know them!  There are 2 or 3 blogs I read who have thousands of followers.  And now here is where the mystery of blogging comes in.  I am going to do a sample blog of what my blog would be like if I followed their format….that thousands of people read….and they get paid for….so here goes.

Hi everyone!

My morning started out with me dragging myself out of bed and throwing the cereal boxes on the table and making 3 kids lunches and then all of us heading into the van where we listened to Christmas Music all the way to school.  We listened to this CD.   

     Its our favorite.

I headed home where I did a quick you tube workout, ate some oatmeal with pecans and cranberries sweetened with agave and got ready for work. I'm so sorry I forgot the picture.  I got sucked into a Hallmark Christmas movie and then had to make myself turn it off so I could run some errands before work.

I worked all afternoon then went to pickup my kids from school.  Carson had a dentist appointment and I secretly planned on the way home to somehow talk Andy into taking him so I could call my sister, Traci who lives in Germany.  Hi Traci!

It was a quick and easy dinner tonight with hot ham and cheese rolls and sweet potato chips.  Have I told you how much I heart these chips?  

I heart them.

The girls and I made these cookies for our Angel Tree gift basket where they fought over exactly how many cookies they each got to cut out.  I sent them both to bed early since I let them stay up late and watch Elf last night.  

Now I'm going to sit on the couch and admire my Christmas tree and drink hot tea!  And probably watch a Hallmark Christmas movie I've seen 3 times. Till tomorrow….!

I don't know about you, but there isn't a whole lot of content there that is worth sharing with the Internet world, if you ask me.  Those girls get 30-50 comments on a post like that!!! (Insert a very blank look from me)  But EVERY DAY I go back to my imaginary bff's blogs to see what they did.  Along with thousands of other people.

It is a blogging mystery…..

Just so as to not alarm you, I will not be following that format, I just can't make myself do it.  It was painful to write. Even if I do want thousands of readers.  I need my mark on the world to have a little more content, even if I am self proclaimed shallow. Gotta stay true to Just Finish Strong style.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tulsa Half Marathon

Most people have their thing.  To be your "thing" - its just has to be something you love. You don't have to be amazing at it.  You just have to love it.  Maybe something sporty, maybe something crafty, maybe sitting on the couch watching TV and eating popcorn.  And your thing can change.  That's the beauty of it.  Its yours.  Because its your thing. Whats your thing?

My thing, is running. (A close 2nd is sitting on the couch, watching my fav shows eating popcorn) I'm not super amazing at it.  I just like it.  I like how I feel when I get back from a run.  I like getting up before the world and watching starts fade and the sun rise. I like the gear. You really only need shoes but believe it or not, there is a whole lot of unnecessary gear that can suck you in.  I have been sucked in.  When I'm out running, its just me and the pavement.  I don't have answer my phone or texts.  I like that fact that when I run, I really only have to compete against myself. And if I don't want to do that, I don't have to.

Three months ago, I set a goal for myself.  Well, I really set two.  I set this one goal that was a stretch, given my past performance.  And then I set this other goal that I was pretty sure I could attain.  That's probably not really good goal setting technique.  But I did it anyway.  I was competing against myself, my age, and I was determined to win.  I normally run by myself, but I was happy for the opportunity to run with some of my friends who I had never run with before.  And I'll be honest.  I was intimidated.  They are much faster than me.  I didn't want to slow anyone down, or make them feel like they had to wait on me.  But I decided to go.  I'm so glad I did.  They pushed me.  I had some of my fastest long runs with those girls.  So it was fun to meet up with them in Tulsa.

Waiting in the start corral....


It was super humid and in the 50's.  Once I got going and figured out my hydration, I felt great.  If you've never run a race, one of the best things about races are peoples signs along the way.  Some are funny, some are inspiring and some make no sense at all.  Its such a great distraction.  And they're always clapping and cheering you on.  Its funny how total strangers can give you a boost.  At mile 12 my headphones somehow got disconnected from my phone so it was just me and my mental banter.  That last mile was the hardest mile for some reason.  I just kept saying to myself, "Just Finish Strong, Amy, Just Finish Strong". As I glanced at my watch a few feet before the finish line, I figured out that I had reached that goal that was a stretch for me.  I can't tell you how amazing it felt.

Running may not be your thing.  And that is totally ok.  But everyone should be able to experience that feeling of setting a goal, working towards it, and reaching it.  Find something that you want to do, and figure out how to do it.  And then...just finish strong.




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Its the little things - healthy changes for your family

Lets start this off with a disclaimer:  I am not an expert in any way in this area.  However, I am a mom who is in charge of the meals at my abode and have done quite a bit of research on how we can make some healthy changes at our house.  You don't have to go all vegan to be healthy.  You can make some small changes that will reap benefits.

So now that is out of the way, I want to share with you a few things that my family has done to ramp up the healthy.  Its important, and I really do think it will pay off in the future.  Moms (and dads) have a lot of responsibility.  Everyone in our little homes look to us for meals, advice, and clean clothes. I can't help you with the clean clothes part.  The laundry is just never done.  Learn to accept the pile on the couch and have your kids fold it and put it away before they can eat.  Thats the only thing I can say about that.   But with everyone looking to us for guidance, especially those little ones, its important to at least make some changes in our homes.  We can't control everything they eat, but at least what we have available we can control.

1.  Cut out the soda.  This is so easy. And so important. Everyone knows how sodas are loaded with sugars.  I want to encourage you to watch your children's behavior in the 2 hours that follow giving them soda.  I've done this with my kids.  It completely changes their behavior - for the worse.    I cringe when I see kids drinking diet soda.  There is so many harmful things for growing bodies in those.  And bonus.  When you go out to eat, you will save $2 per person.  I don't know about you but I can use an extra $10 a week for sure.

2.  Try to eliminate processed foods  This is a hard one.  Especially if you are a busy family.  I used to be that mom with a corporate job that had me working 45+ hours a week.  And to come home and actually cook a meal was very taxing.  But with a little planning, it can happen. Sometimes faster than you can get through the drive through.  Some things that don't' take much time and make a big taste difference are biscuits, soups, enchiladas, and pancakes.  All those things have easy quick options you can pick up at the grocery store, but the preservatives in them are numerous.  A good rule of thumb is you want your ingredients to be as close to their natural state as they can be.  With the world of pinterest there is no good excuse to not be able to find a good recipe.

3.  Buy grass fed beef  I won't lie here.  This part isn't cheap.  But with the elimination of soda from your budget you'll have the extra money to spend here.  I don't know if you've ever seen how cows and chickens can be treated but after you did, you wouldn't want to be eating them. They are mistreated and confined and injected with countless hormones. Something I've been meaning to do and haven't yet is go in with some other families and buy a cow.  Most local farms have cows you can purchase and have butchered.  And you can see the field they were raised in.

4.  Add more fruits and vegetables  This is really an easy one.  Sometimes I just cut up peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower and put it on the kitchen table.  I don't tell anyone.  I just set it there.  My kids find their way there, and if its sitting there, and I'm not telling them to eat it, they eat it.  Imagine that.

These are just 4 things.  I'll do a part 2 at another date.  If it sounds too hard, just pick one thing to start! Or dive right in and do all 4.  Your bodies will thank you!!

I tell my kids all the time.  You only get one body.  Its so important to take care of it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What I've learned Wednesday

As I'm delving into the blogger world, I've noticed everyone has these cute little things they do on their blogs on certain days.  Like "Wordless Wednesday" where they post pics,  "Friday Finds" where they post all the cool things they've found over the week.  Well today, I'm going to jump on that bandwagon.  I can't promise I'll stay on it, because thats how I roll, but today, its "What I've Learned Wednesday!"  I can FEEL your excitement.  We are always learning, are we not? Ok.  Here goes.   This is what I've learned in the past week.

  1. Spotify is better than Pandora.  Who knew?!?!?  
  2. My kids really think I'm an awful singer.  And I really don't think I am. Does that make me one of those people who try out for American Idol and are awful but don't really know it???
  3. Online shopping is seriously easy.  I just might do all my shopping for Christmas online.  Except, of course for the things I find at TJMaxx.  Because I can't stay out of that store.
  4. I have just found a love for One Direction.  I don't know if I should admit that or not.  I blame Spotify.  (Everybody wanna steal my giiiiiirrrrllll)
  5. It is really, really hard to drink water all day long.
Ok, first theme day in the books.  I'm a real blogger now.

What have you learned this week??  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Winter haters...I still love you.

I can already hear the backlash from my warm blooded friends who feel all year should be sunny and 98 degrees.  But I just have to point out the amazing things about winter.  Someone has to stand up for it, and it shall be me.


Coffee. I just don't understand those who don't relish a cup of coffee in their hand, at any time of the day.  When your outside freezing for some reason, and your hands are warmed thanks to that mug, or red holiday Starbucks cup, it just feels right.  And if you preset your coffee pot to have a pot of fresh coffee when you roll out of bed and stumble into the kitchen...oh my goodness I so heart that.

Fireplaces. And why doesn't the world want to sit in a room that is only lit by a fireplace?  Its what our ancestors did.  History people.  Put down the cell phone and watch the flames dance.  Its mesmerizing. Oh, unless you have those fireplaces that you turn on with the flip of the switch...I guess if you have one of those we can still be friends.  You are welcome to come over anytime and sit by mine.

Soup.  There are so many soup recipes out there.  And they are so easy to make!  Please don't open a can of soup.  I promise to post recipes soon of our favorite soups.  Again...soup in the summer - eh.

Beanies. Alright.  This is just for the ladies.  Boys in Beanies.  I heart them.  Now There are really just 2 boys in beanies I heart, but I'm sure the men in your life look good in them too.  I can not resist Andy in a beanie. I think he wears them around the house sometimes claiming he's cold, but he really knows my secret love for them.  And Carson gets absolutely annoyed when I shower him with kisses due to his beanie cuteness.

Hallmark Channel.  I'm a girl.  I can't help it.  I could watch those Christmas movies 100 times.  And its a good thing because they do play the same ones over and over.  But we love them!!

Now if those aren't 5 reasons for you to love winter, there is just no hope for you.  Just buckle down and pray your hot weather comes quickly.  But I'm going to be over here with my coffee by my fireplace eating soup, watching the Hallmark channel with my boys in their beanies.  Well....not that last part.  But still. You get my point.  LOVE WINTER!!!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

New OKC Natural Grocers! I got the inside scoop!

Its Saturday. Ahhh. I love Saturdays. First thing this morning I hit the pavement for my last long training run till the Tulsa Half with my awesome friend Heather. Rewarded ourselves with a couple of lattes from Starbucks afterwards!

Then Andy and I headed to an insider event at the New Natural Grocers in OKC!  


Their regional manager, Patty gave us a rundown of what makes them different from other local grocers and they served some delicious brunch items.  My favorite was the Coconut water green tea lemonade.  

For starters, every store has a Certified  Health Coach. Jessica is our local health coach and she is a free resource to us (the consumer), there to answer any questions you have, provide you free one on one nutrition and supplement coaching, and teaches cooking classes.  She was super friendly!

Got a little Natural Grocers swag too!! 


They started in Colorado (seriously so many awesome things come from CO) as a family owned business. All their produce is organic. All their dairy products are soon to be from non confined animals. And they believe in making healthy foods affordably priced.  

One of the things that I will most definitely be taking advantage of is their free cooking classes! Can't wait to try some of those. And their staff was amazingly friendly and knowledgable. Andy is the king if asking questions so I let him take the lead on that one. That's him on the right asking lots and lots and lots of questions. 


The store was small, bright, and cheery. Call me shallow but I just can't shop in a store where the atmosphere isn't pleasant. (cough, wallmartimtalkingaboutyou, cough) Well, I can, but I'm bitter and cranky the whole time. And no one wants that.  


I just want to note that there are like 10 different varieties of apples here, calling out to you that they are just waiting to be baked in your oven in an apple crisp next week when the weather is in the 30's (whaaaatt???)  

Check it out! You'll be glad you did!! 7001 N May Ave. Thanks Natural Grocers! See you soon!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wisdom from an unsuspecting 7 year old

If your one of my good friends, then at some point, I have had this great idea to do something for you.  To surprise you with a cup of coffee, or a little gift that reminds us of an inside joke.  Or maybe make you cinnamon rolls and deliver them to your doorstep.  Now if you think we're good friends and have never received anything like that from me, don't get mad.  We're still good friends!  I just have this terrible problem with follow through on my great ideas.  I don't quite know what it is.  Its usually due to my overcommitment issues, of trying to fit entirely too much into one day.  And then, when I remember to do it again, its usually 3 months down the road and that little "thank you" gift for whatever sweet thing you did for me, would just be a nice reminder that I didn't thank you properly 3 months ago.  So then I forgo it completely.  Every. Year. Its on my list of things to improve on.  Every. Year.  Sigh.

I somehow had this little person who is literally the most giving thing I know.  She will give up her candy (and that is like $100 to her) to her older sister, just because she loves her.  She will give up her seat at the table to her brother who insists on sitting in the same seat at every meal.  I have an entire drawer full of notes from her telling me how much she loves me.  It means the world to me when she gives it to me with that little freckled face smile. She can create something out of nothing and has a specific person in mind the entire time she is creating it.  Last weekend, it was her teacher.  She found two duct tape rolls that were just left with their cardboard shells.  She worked her magic and had a super cute ghost container for her teacher.  Inside was some of her hard earned trick or treating candy - the good kind.  Her teacher had made mention how much she loved the little Snickers candy bars.  Karly was on it.  She's got your back Ms. Work!

She amazes me.  She drops everything - and makes something special for the people she loves.  And its not a rarity, its a common practice for her.  Granted, she doesn't have a house to clean or dinner to make, so she has some spare time.  But honestly, dinner can wait, and my house will most likely not see sparkling for 10 years. So I have decided, I'm taking lessons from my 7 year old.  Next time I have that great idea to do something for someone I love, I'm going to drop everything, and make it happen.

This week, when you think of something nice to do for someone you love, remember this cute little Ghost container and drop everything and make someone's day!


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween recap

I've already discussed my non love for Halloween.  I really don't like going to the grocery store and having the guy behind the meat counter serve me with his face painted like he is bleeding. (Thanks Sprouts meat counter guy.)  But really, we always have a good time.  Once I have gotten past putting together the costumes.  Our Halloween celebration consists of "Happy Halloween" activities.    Like pumpkin carving, trick or treating, and s'mores.

I decided to do a Halloween recap, simply because we did something on the fly that revolutionized our pumpkin carving forever.  Our kids always want to carve pumpkins.  And it usually involves a lot of tools, some really complicated templates, and a huge mess.  Its not my favorite thing to do because lets be honest, the ones who end up carving the pumpkin with the complicated templates are the adults.  Because sometimes I'm a slacker, we could only fit pumpkin carving into a 2 hour window the day of Halloween.  I looked high and low for one of the 3 pumpkin carving kits I had bought on sale last year.   They are no where.  I'm going to give props where props are due - Pinterest saved me this year.  I saw some super cute pumpkins that had pictures drilled into them. All it involves is a drill and a whole lot of drill bits.  PERFECT!  We have all those!  So our drilled out pumpkin commenced.  In 40 minutes flat, we had a super cute carved/drilled pumpkin, in my opinion.  And the bonus was that my kids got to work on their power tool skills.





And this is our cousin trick or treating crew with our easiest pumpkin carved ever made. (minus the middle schooler who opted for an evening of video games and passing out candy at his friend's house)


After the candy buckets were full and the kids were completely pooped out we fueled them with s'mores on the back patio of my parents house.  



Halloween 2014, thats a wrap!
Thank goodness. Now we can move into the real holidays!!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall requires Apple Crisp

Its a requirement.  If you don't have it at least once during the fall, then well...I guess you'll just have to redo fall.  Because it is not fall without having apple crisp.

I've had many an apple crisp.  And they are not all equal.  Can I get an amen? Amen!  I'm going to share with you Aunt Sydney's Apple Crisp topping.  Aunt Sydney is Andy's aunt. We no longer have Aunt Sydney with us here on this earth and I am so grateful to have known her.  She was known for her cooking.  I am so sad I didn't take lessons from her. But we still have her apple crisp recipe, along with great memories of her.  This one's for you Aunt Sydney!



Aunt Sydney's Apple Crisp Topping

Before you start the topping, peel, core, and slice 10-12 granny smith apples. (Or any other firm apples). Toss them with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Mix together:
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup flour
1 1/2 sticks soft butter (remember, just say no to margarine)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Pour your apples into a buttered 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle topping on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and hot.

Now ideally, you enjoy this on a crisp evening in CO by the fire outside in the front yard with a cup of coffee.  As done in the picture below. (But if someone is going to take a picture, make sure you are looking at the camera when they do, so you do not look like a dork)



But if you can't do any of that, just enjoy it with coffee on your couch when the kids have gone to bed.

Or, if you want to somehow apologize to your kids for yelling at them earlier in the day, then serve it for dessert.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's funny, just laugh.

So when my mom drove a Honda Civic hatchback, my older sister, Traci, came up with this game when she was in High School. We would be sitting at a stoplight.  I was in the front seat, she was in the backseat directly behind me.  I would then look over at the car next to me and make eye contact.  As soon as I did, she would take her foot and hit the lever that dropped my seat backwards, so I would disappear from view of the person I was still making eye contact with.  Ohhh the laughs we got from that game.  We made so many drivers laugh too. And now, as I'm telling this story, I'm wondering - why was I the one who had to fall back dramatically and she was the one who got to push the lever and pretend like nothing was going on?

I've got this laugh that is so loud.  I can't help it.  I know it most likely annoys people.  But what can you do when its a part of you? I've gotten really good at the silent laugh, though.  Because sometimes you have to use it when laughter is not appropriate. I don't know why, but when its not appropriate is when it is funniest to me. This, was one of those times that I blogged about long ago. Its a classic.  Go read that, then come back.  I've had to break it out in important corporate world meetings, Dr's offices, and church.

A lot of things make me laugh.  Like the fact that my youngest daughter keeps taking these spanish Accelerated Reader tests and failing them.  Why does she not stop the test and tell her teacher she can't understand the questions? Or when I'm riding with my mom and someone flips her off due to her driving and she is completely oblivious.  Or when Andy and I are "disagreeing" so we settle it with an all out wrestling match.  Yesterday, this man in his suit and tie was out in the middle of a very busy intersection, trying to direct traffic away from the phone he had somehow dropped outside his car (how does that happen??) and was trying to retrieve it.  I had a good laugh, all by myself, in the car.

Some people don't do it enough.  I know this because I was looking at all the cars passing by me as I was stopped at a stoplight and looking at their driver's faces, wondering what their story was.  Laughter is free. Its good for the soul. Why do we take ourselves so seriously?  Why do we take others so seriously?  I know there is a lot of heavy stuff that goes on in the world.  I've experienced it.  There is quite possibly some on the horizon for me.  But the truth is, sometimes you just need to laugh.  Here's your Just Finish Strong dare for the next 24 hours.  Play the "passenger falls" in the car game. Your not going to do that, I know. So find something super funny in a totally serious situation and do the silent laugh.  Then come back and tell me.  So I can laugh about it too.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Just over this ridge!


We took a trip to CO this weekend. It's one of our favorite places to vacation with the added bonus of spending time with Andy's entire family. There is always a lot of time spent outdoors in the mountain air and equally good food every meal. It's that vacation we can do with our eyes closed. 

Since I'm smack dab in the middle of training I mentioned to Andy's brothers, who are also runners, that I needed to get in a scenic long run while we were there. Oh they had the best little loop they called it. One with a gradual incline. You don't even know your increasing your elevation...is what they told me. Perfect!!  

As we were driving to the trailhead, that word should have been my first clue. Trailhead. I've always wanted to do some trail running. We don't have that really anywhere near where we call home. So I was still excited. As we started, when they told me they like to run a little and walk a little, that should have been my second clue. They're seasoned runners with fast PRs.  They have no reason to walk. 

The next 3 hours, I'm going to say that again, so it can sink in. The NEXT 3 HOURS encompassed some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen while running/walking/gasping,  some of the most rigorous terrain I have ever run/walked/gasped on, and the most tired my body has ever been. They would look back at Andy and I and say "just over this ridge and we are home free". I'm pretty sure they were laughing to each other as they waited for us to catch up about every 15-20 minutes. Needless to say I got my run in, even on vacation. And I have the entire 11 hour drive on they way home to plot just how I'll be getting them back. 

I'll share some pics that of course do no justice to the spectacular scenery that I could see when I was not trying not to trip on the rocky terrain, or said I needed to stop for a picture but really just wanted more air. 

This is the start. Not daunting at all! I was feeling super confident. 



Overlooking Colorado Springs 





Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nerf Wars and a few 12 year olds

Since I have 3 kids I told them they could have a "friend" birthday party every other year. I am not one who gets caught up in extravagant, expensive parties. I'm happy to send my kids to them, I just don't want to throw them.  I thought this has worked out nicely until I forgot who had what party when.  After Carson's invitations were sent out for his Nerf party, he informed me had had a friend party last year, with a grin of course. I guess if I'm going to impose a schedule for parties I should somehow remember it. 

He had it all planned out, a Nerf gun party where they divided up into teams and played capture the flag in the backyard. Since it meant I didn't have a bunch of 12 year olds in my house I agreed. The boys complied their guns, we bought a bunch of ammo, and Andy and Carson made some sort of defensive  obstacles.  

Once the kids arrived, they went straight into the backyard and I'm not kidding when I say we didn't see them but for 5 minutes for a pizza break for 2 1/2 hours. We got ourselves Chinese food and had a little date at the kitchen table.  I did try to snap some pictures but they scattered every time they saw me coming.  I'm sharing because I am all about copying and when I find something easy, I'm going to copy it. So I should make it easy for you to do the same. Middle school kids love shooting nerf guns at each other for hours. 

First middle school party down. I have a feeling girl middle school parties will not be as easy....

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I prefer the term "butter"

I don't claim expertise in any area of food, other than taste.  And my taste expertise tells me that its imperative to use butter.  Not margarine.  Ever. Except in Texas Sheet Cake.  But that is the one and only time.  So if you learn anything from me - anytime  you see the word margarine - you substitute it with butter.  No second thoughts, no looking back. If you have some in your refrigerator, go grab it and throw it out.  I promise you'll thank me.  Here's a secret.  I grew up on margarine….  They say the body can heal itself of anything, so I am believing all my running has purged my body of any remnants of chemical laden margarine.  I'm joking.  Love you mom! That was a rant.  I'm not even talking about butter in this post.

You can call them "butter beans" or you can call them "lima beans".  I prefer the term "butter beans".  So I am going to share with you yet another salad recipe I love to stock my lunch box with.  I grabbed this one from Runner's World magazine a few years ago and its a staple.  3 out of 5 of my family members approve.  And its perfect for runners with lots of iron, which helps transport oxygen to your muscles.

Now one other thing I need to tell you, that will most likely revolutionize your meals.  If you eat things in pretty dishes, they taste even better.  Like my absolute favorite pink glass dessert dishes I inherited from GeeGee.  This is a trick I learned a few years ago.  Your welcome.

Butter Bean Salad

2 cups cooked lima beans
1 red pepper diced
1/4 cup of sliced black olives (sometimes I get crazy and do 1/2 cup because I love olives)
2 Tbsp olive oil
crumbled feta cheese to your liking
salt and pepper to your liking as well.

May your pretty dishes be used often!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I, am the parent of a middle schooler

And it is becoming more and more obvious to me.  I can't deny it.  Even though I try.

I think I've mentioned before, I'm not the queen of sentimental.  Andy jokingly and lovingly? calls me Black Heart when he thinks I should have responded to something with a little more empathy.  I'm really not that bad, I promise.  But I was not the mom who cried when her kids went to school all day.   However, blame it on my old age (are you tired of that yet), I have reminisced a few times this year as my oldest has gone to middle school.

He's 12 today.  This time last year he didn't care if his clothes matched or if he had combed his hair.  Now I'm getting requests before I go to the store for cologne and hair gel.  Its all a part of the circle of life, cue Elton John.  This mom is a little bit sad her boy is growing up.  The other night it ended up just being me and him for the evening.  I thought I might be nice and let him have a friend over, since his little sisters wouldn't be there to demand some of their time.  But I decided to keep him all to myself.  He still likes to hang out with me.  I know that time is coming to an end - possibly tomorrow so I'm going to scoop up what little time I have with him and try to make the most of it.  Its usually full of eye rolls when I am trying to impart some sort of motherly wisdom.  But I know he listens.  I love that he asks me questions and wants to tell me things.  I read somewhere a long time ago that if you listen to the unimportant things when your kids are little, then they'll tell you the important things when they get older.  I've really made a point to do this.  Even when the conversation requires me to watch lego videos on you tube (which is torture).  But I really do want him to know he can talk to me about anything.  That's going to be super important in the next 6 years.

He loves playing soccer, listening to Adventures in Odyessy while he does 2000 piece puzzles, pizza, reading, watching Denver Bronco football with his dad, making lego movies, and all things Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.  He's got a spiritual sensitivity that I think he got from his Grandad Sodowsky whom he never knew.  I hope he learns from his mistakes, tries his very best at everything he does, and continues to love God with all his heart



Happy Birthday Carson!!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Its been 4 years…

Are you tired of me changing my blog background yet?  Warning: I'm not done yet.

Its been 4 years since I ran a race.  When you run, and decide to do a race any distance that seems scary, its going to take some time to train.  So in other words, you really have to want to do it, or its easy to fall off the bandwagon.  I've fallen off, jumped off, and slid off. But this time, I've committed.  Tulsa Half Marathon, here I come.

I got the competitive gene.  I think my mom has it.   However her competitive gene was never used in any area of athletic competitions.  So combine the competitive gene from my mom and then the athletic gene from my dad, and you've got me wanting to prove all kinds of things to others as well as myself.  I never used either of those genes together when I was younger.  Which makes me wonder, had I found a sport and stuck with it, just where might it have taken me?  You know I keep singing this "I'm getting old" song. It's the reason why I am determined to do another race.  I am determined to beat my prior half marathon time, which was 4 years ago, when I was 4 years younger.  But that dang competitive gene has me wanting to prove to myself, (and then a few people who shall remain nameless), that I can beat that time.  I've only run 2 half marathons, and my finishing times were 2 minutes apart. I just can't live with that.

So I've found a few new training tools to help me get there.  One is the lake run.  I'll admit it.  I got really bored looking at houses and dodging cars. Neighborhoods just aren't the most motivating scenery. I get that scenery is hard to come by in the part of Oklahoma I live in. So I can't get too picky.  I finally found my perfect run spot right next to the lake.  You have your regulars, most of who are of the "mature" crowd, and they are always so sweet to cheer me on.  I saw a beaver the other day.  And I just love to sit in the chairs by the water when I'm finished and sucking air, and wishing I didn't have to move for the next few hours.  I like the whole experience of running.

I also found my perfect fuel for my long runs.  My first half marathon I made the mistake of not fueling enough and had to actually sit on a curb for awhile until I could regain my composure and make it to the next water stop.  So I am always stashing these in my spy belt now - Cliff Bar Shot Bloks.

And there are my new shoes - my Hokas.  My husband is the king of research.  And if something passes his inspection, it has to be good.  But he doesn't get the credit for finding these - his brother Matthew does.  But now, everyone who runs in the fam has a pair.  If you run, you have got to try these shoes.  LOVE!

I'm going to get on my soapbox.  If you have ever entertained running, you can do it.  This girl who had never run more than 100 yards at a time ran a couple of half marathons.  Find that competitive gene, or pretend you have one, and prove to yourself you can do it.  Because you seriously can.



Now, for a little blog maintenance.   I want this here blog to be interactive, because, you see thats the beauty of blogs.  They can be interactive.  So I want you to experiment and see right below here where it says "Comments".  If your brave enough, I dare you to post a comment.  I won't hunt you down.  I won't call you out in blog land.  I'd just love your feedback.  Ready….GO!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Halloween post - Quinoa - is it scary??

I hate Halloween.  I think its because I have to come up with costumes to dress my children in, and I certainly don't want to spend $50 on one and I'm not crafty enough to make one.  So this will most likely be my only Halloween post.  And I'm into happy, feel good things, like the Hallmark Channel and Christmas cheer.  Moving on.

For a girl who really wants to eat healthy, but loves her some chocolate and mexican food, trying to eat better is a struggle.  I get in there and do my research, reading articles (blogs) with healthy recipes.  But none of them look good so I'm doubtful they will taste good.  But in the name of living a healthy lifestyle, (and wanting to fit into those pants Andy bought me that were a size too small (thanks honey of thinking I was that little)) I took a gamble and ordered some quinoa as a side dish.  And to my surprise, gasp, it was good!  So now when I make my Friday run to the grocery store, I head to the deli section of Whole Foods and pick out a healthy, prepackaged quinoa salad of some sort and call it lunch.

Now eating quinoa and preparing quinoa are two different stories.  But one of my friends forwarded me this quinoa pancake recipe and said it was delicious.  And since I am officially on the quinoa bandwagon I bought a bag.  ( I just might have to count up how many times I am typing the word quinoa).  Knowing my kids would completely revolt if I tried to serve them quinoa pancakes, I just put the bag in the back of the pantry and promptly forgot about it.  .  Not actually cooking it.  I can boil water, pour it in, stir, and cover.  I think the thought of making a quinoa dish had me freaked out.   But I came across another recipe, a salad of sorts, that I decided to give a go.  And I'm here to report to you that it was delicious, by adult salad standards.  Andy and I can't get enough of it.  I won't be serving it up for dinner.  But it is a great "go to" for lunch.

Don't be afraid of quinoa my friends. Your an adult - eat healthy sometimes.

I'm filing this one under Just Finish Strong wisdom.



Everything and Quinoa Salad

1 12 oz pkg cooked and shelled edemame
1 c diced celery
1 c red peppers, diced
1 can corn, drained
1 c sliced almonds
1 c dried cranberries
2 c dried quinoa
5 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook Quinoa according to package directions.  Add all the other ingredients.  Toss well and stash in the refrigerator for a dish no one under the age of 18 will touch.

For the record, I said Quinoa only 11 times.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

It's a family secret. And now you're one of us.


I think every family has those things they require on special occasions. Something they can always count on when they get together. We have one of those. My Aunt Linda always has Brigadeiros at every family birthday. Her family spent many years in Brazil and this is one of the things she brought back with her. This contribution to our family celebrations. We heart her for it.



Tonight was one such celebration where we got to indulge. They are little balls of deliciousness. I had 10. Give or take a few. I felt like I needed to share, just in case you are looking to add something amazing to your family celebrations. She was kind enough to share the recipe with me tonight. If you bring them once, just know, you will most likely be required to bring them every time thereafter. 

2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp cocoa

Heat all in saucepan over medium heat stirring constantly until it boils. Turn heat down to low and continue to stir until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan.  Refrigerate until cool. Butter hands and form into small balls. Roll in chocolate sprinkles. Place in mini paper cups.  Try your best to not pop 7 in your mouth. Or hide them from everyone so you can keep them to yourself. 

Now for some pics from the evening. 

A little trampoline football anyone? 


Some wagon pulling


Some Carmel apple making


Another perfect evening on the farm. 

Happy 3rd Birthday Ezra!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Don't blink

One day, you are swinging on the swings with  your friends on the playground at school, then your cheering on the football field in middle school, then  you get your drivers license and are driving yourself to school in your really large new/old car,  then you go on your first date, then your moving into the dorm with your best friend, then your getting married to your college sweetheart, then your starting  your first "real" job,  then you find yourself in the hospital giving birth to your first child, then you do it 2 more times, then your dropping them off at their first day of school, then your son wants you to drop him at a friends house instead of the school.  Don't blink.  Just the other day I was on that elementary school playground.

In less than 30 days,  I"m ticking off another year.  I've never been afraid of birthdays.  Why would I be?  I usually get more attention than normal, and hear from people I haven't in awhile.  I open presents, get the night off from cooking, and go to bed feeling loved.  For some reason, the impending birthday this year, has me a little nervous.  And I'm not going to be 40.  I'm going to be 39.  What is it with 39?  I would think I would really be freaked out about 40, but I'm not.  Its 39 I can't quite stomach.  

I feel like I've learned a lot from my 30's.  It has held the best years of my life, and its held the worst years of my life.  I've learned I don't need to apologize for who I am.  I've learned I have a lot more strength on both the inside and the outside.  I know what hard work yields.  I know who are my friends and who aren't.  I've learned sometimes you have to let things go.  I've learned your metabolism really does slow down as you get older.  I've learned I really don't like ice cream.  I've learned being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done, and its the most rewarding thing I've ever done.  I've learned you can't kill a toyota camry.  

So as this last year of my 30's approaches, I'm going to be intentional about it.  I'm going to make it the best.  I'm going to buy more purses.  I'm going to run harder and faster.  I'm going to let the people I love know just how much.  I'm going to drink coffee out of a cute mug every. single. day.  Now I'm kind of excited about 39…...

Friday, September 19, 2014

She is still the queen. And here's her Buttermilk Pancake recipe.

I remember sitting on my couch in my apartment I shared with my roommate Shannon.  I was 20.  She had turned the TV onto some woman cooking something. That woman she had turned on, Martha Stewart, was soon to be someone I was going to learn a lot from. A little  known secret about me is that I used to make a mean box of macaroni and cheese when I was 10, and I instructed my imaginary audience all along the way.  So if someone has their own cooking show, I'm automatically jealous, and attentive.

I checked out her cookbooks, watched her TV shows, and followed her legal woes.  And I of course watched the made for TV movie of her life story.  I even looked into getting a job when I graduated at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.  I heart her.  And her buttermilk pancake recipe.

Breakfast for dinner is nothing new at my house.  It happens at least once a week.  And pancakes is the most requested dish by far.  Now I grew up on the box of Bisquick.  So I'm not going to knock it, if thats your go to.  Well, ok, I am.   This recipe is free of chemicals, and so much tastier.  So if your new to cooking, and are afraid to pitch the box, I dare you.  Or if you aren't new to cooking, and need a go to recipe for pancakes, search no more.  She's still the queen.  And I give you, Martha Stewart's Best Buttermilk Pancakes. (and no, you can not substitute the buttermilk for plain milk)

2 cups all-purpose flour (please use unbleached)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups buttermilk
4 Tbsp unsalted butter melted

Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine
Batter should have small to medium lumps

Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 tsp butter on the griddle (ok, so I don't do this part, I just slap some pats of butter on it)

Using a 1/2 cup pour in pools on the griddle.  When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, flip over.  Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

This part is from me: pour only 100% pure maple syrup on top and sprinkle with chopped nuts.  Or blueberries, or chocolate chips, whatever your little heart desires!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Important Information!!!

I feel like I need to share some really important information with you.  Because if I kick the bucket, and you don't know this, well, I might have to answer to it.

  • When the teacher makes a double sided calendar, one side with specials, and the other side with the snack calendar, you need to place it on your refrigerator snack calendar side up.  Because you once again, will be surprised with the snack bucket on the evening of all 3 of your kids soccer practices and parent teacher conferences.
  • Have I mentioned yet that I can't quit playing "Shake it Off" by Taylor?  I think it might be a serious problem.  
  • And while we're on the topic of music, Dan + Shay is completely on my radar.  They just might make my top 5 groups of all time.  And that is saying a lot.  Good luck Dan + Shay.  Its a coveted list to be on.
  • We went camping last weekend.  I think we need to go every weekend now this fall.  However the man who puts up the tents and lugs the food and supplies would most likely revolt. And we would miss church.  But this is what is important.  If you have not had coffee from a coffee press, sausage, scrambled eggs, and fried potatoes, in the middle of nature, with the lake a few yards away, in your camping pajamas, you have. not. lived. 
  • When you decide to let your children take music lessons, be sure to budget at least $300 for the purchase of music and instrument rentals.  Lest your family will be eating beans all week because you made up that budgeting shortfall in the grocery budget.  Or, get a bigger budget.  
  • It is ok to go to bed at 9, when you put your kids to bed.  It doesn't mean your getting really old, it means your really tired.  
Alright.  I feel like my duty is done today.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Geegee

There is something about grandparents that is special. And I'm not lying when I say my grandmother, aka GeeGee is seriously the best grandma ever. 

GeeGee is special for many reasons. It would be a very long blogpost if I were to list them all. She is 95 years old. She still fixes herself a well balanced breakfast every morning, prune included. She walks up and down the street for her exercise, and drives herself, fast I might add, to the beauty shop every Saturday. She writes everything down. And when I say everything, I mean everything. She said to me today, "honey did you know it was 6 years ago today you had an interview with such and such company?" She knew this because she had written it down on her calendar. She transfers events to her new calendar every year. She gives my children a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter every week and has done this since they were very small. She used to make the absolute best fried okra. Before birthdays we always receive a card with money in an envelope that is adorned with many stickers. And we need to make mention of each of them lest she point them out. She loves to tell me what pictures I need to be taking at every family function. And she always has tabs on everyone. But when she doesn't she will say "well where is so and so????" Very concerned. The answer is always "in the bathroom geegee"

I love her so much. She is beautiful, a prayer warrior, who has called my name before The Father probably more times than I could imagine, and I am so very, very blessed to call her my GeeGee. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August. I'm seriously over you

Oh its been exciting.  Don't get me wrong.  August you have brought all kinds of fun and excitement.  But what you are still bringing, that I am not liking, is really hot temperatures.  And its my blog and I can whine if I want to.  I.  Hate. Heat. Maybe I should say hot temperatures.  In the summer.  Give me the heat of a fire on a dark, cold, day.  December, I miss you.  See you soon.

Remember when I said this blog was going to be about family, food, and fitness?  This one is is about fitness, or the lack thereof.  So move along to The Pioneer Woman if you want a food blog.  I don't think I've done a food blog yet.  GASP!

So because I am trying so hard to actually do what I say I'm going to do, (Its a struggle sometimes, well, most of the time.  I get a star for admitting it), I had to go outside for a run today.  If I'm going to run that Tulsa Half Marathon like I've been saying for the past 3 years, (did I just admit that?), then I had to actually get out and run, during week 2 of the training schedule.  I had to run in the 79 degree heat.  With 81% humidity.  For more than 30 minutes.  I started out strong.  I was saying "Good Morning" to the couple reading their newspaper in their driveway, I jumped over puddles instead of running around them.  I even sang out loud with Taylor about how much trouble he is.  What was I worried about?  Then the lady from Runkeeper said my time, which I am not divulging, and that I had gone 1 mile.  It was all down hill from there.  The guy who was mowing the schools lawn flicked all kinds of dirt in my eyes, I'm pretty sure everyone within a 2 streets could hear my very loud huffing and puffing, and it became a serious mental game.  But I was going to win dangit.  And I did.  I was red faced, drenched in my own sweat, and seriously annoyed, but I won.

This is what I figured out.  I don't like being uncomfortable.  It was only for 40 minutes.  I have a lot more than 40 minutes in my day.  But I sure don't like being uncomfortable any of those minutes.   The truth is, sometimes, you have to be uncomfortable to see any sort of growth in your life.  Whether that be fitness, socially, professionally, and probably more importantly, spiritually.  You seriously never see better, if you don't push yourself past familiar.  So here is your Just Finish Strong challenge of the day or week or month.  I dare you to push yourself to uncomfortable, in the name of being, doing, or living better.  And if you do, I want to hear about it.  Because I'll likely need your motivation next week.  During week 3 training.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Back to School Week!

Its back to school week here.  We made it.  And when I say we made it, I mean by the skin of our teeth we made it.  I had this great idea that I was going to taper bedtime before school started so my kids would be these completely well adjusted children, where they bounded out of bed, ready to begin their day at school.  All these great breakfast menus were planned...I had it all worked out.  This mom was getting the Back to School mom of the month award.  How does the saying go?  The best laid plans, something something something.  That something that I can't remember has to do with how stupid you are to make grand plans because they most likely won't pan out.  People come up with sayings, because they really are true.  Or wait, that just might be scripture.  I need to look that one up.  And we all know if God said it....

The kids did bounce out of bed.  Day one and two.  But by day three, no one was as chipper.  I forgot half the ingredients at the store for my amazing back to school breakfasts, so they were stuck with cereal.  I was coming off a crazy weekend of work and could not find my mojo anywhere.  So we just muddled through.  Back to school is like New Years for me.  I like to make all these goals for myself for the new year.  Like I'm going to not lose track of what note came from what teacher, and I'm going to buy the yearbook before the earlybird price expires.  And I am not going to let that snack bucket surprise me this year.  I'll still keep the goals, I might get derailed, but hey, as long as I finish strong, right?

Monday, August 18, 2014

The cold hard facts.

I have to face it.  I am not the twenty something that I still think I am, in my head of course.

This first realization happened last year, when a few office coworkers were discussing earphone options.  I chimed in recommending the ever so popular "Dr. Dre Beats".  I was quickly corrected by my younger coworker, with a smirk and and eye roll that they were called "Beats by Dre".  I had that flashback of when my mom would try to give her two cents in my conversations with my friends and embarrass me.  I am my mother now.

My new part time gig at the local University has me planning events.  Its right up my alley.  I love to be in the center of everything.  (Although I should obviously do my research if I'm going to be in the center of a conversation with young people and make purchase recommendations)  So it was a big weekend of welcoming new freshmen onto the campus for their first year, and also welcoming our Alumni Board for their Alumni Board Retreat.  Which meant 4 days of up early and to bed late.  Everything in between included, but wasn't limited to, hauling large items across campus, taking down large tents, and lots and lots of set up/tear down.

Now I am the first one up in the morning, happy to get the coffee brewing for the rest of the world to wake up to, but come mid afternoon, early evening, my energy wains.  But I had to muster up a second wind somewhere, and I did. 4 days of this pace, to the girl who has lounged around all summer long, doing nothing on a time schedule, was a bit of a wake up call.  I found myself longing for a dark room and my bed at 9pm every night.

Its a sad day when you remember those college students you just welcomed on campus have all but started their evening while you crawl into your bed.  I'm pretty sure college days were the absolute  most fun days of my life, where I had little responsibility or awareness for all things adult.  As I laid in bed at 9:05pm, it made me a little sad those days were long gone for me.  My last thoughts for the day were how thankful I was to have had them, and that I didn't have to wear shower shoes in the shower every day and in all honesty, getting old isn't that bad.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Top 10

One of my favorite coworkers/friends from my old corporate life is Jen.  We used to get each other through the workday with nonsense banter.  Now that I'm not exactly in the corporate world anymore, we do some catching up via email with the top 10.  This was a favorite of ours.  Its a great way to impart a plethora of information in the form of a list, which makes you keep it to a summary.  We still do the weekly top 10.  So today you get a taste of my weekly top 10.


  1. I dropped my phone in the bathtub yesterday.  I now have to answer it on speakerphone in order to hear anyone.  So if your calling me, you've been forewarned that our conversation is being shared with anyone in a 100ft radius of me.
  2. There was this terrible random strong wind over the weekend that completely lifted my entire patio table, umbrella, and umbrella stand off my patio.  My umbrella is now broken.  Now I can no longer have coffee/breakfast under my umbrella on my back porch.  Its a sad day…
  3. Black Raspberry Sparkling Ice, I heart you.
  4. I had crepes over the weekend, compliments of a good friend.  I've now had them 3 more times since she made them.  I'm going to make up crepe recipes all week long.  Look out family.  Its crepe week.
  5. I love the anticipation of the new school year starting.  There is just excitement in the air!  But I'm also not a teacher.  For a reason.  Good luck teachers!  You're the best!
  6. We really really want a dog at our house.  All of us, of course, except Andy.  But if anyone has a border collie puppy for sale, if I bring it home, I think we can convince him.
  7. I'm just waiting for Sept 1 to come around so I can bust out all my fall decor.  Its still 100+ degrees here but I'm sometimes one to buck the system.  When it comes to fall decor, I don't mess around.
  8. I need a good fiction book to read.  I want nothing trashy, or self help.  Just a good story.  Ideas?
  9. Coffee.  I need coffee.  All. Day. Long. Today.
  10. I'm stuck at 9.  Sometimes that happens.
Ok. Your turn.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I'm Bloglovin


It amazes me how things can become addictive.  Smart phones, those sweet potato chips from Sam's Club, Sparkling Ice drinks in the flavor of black raspberry, BLOGS!  I used to be a real blog junkie.  I don't know how I found the time.  I had every blog I liked reading, bookmarked on my computer and I'd go to each one every day and click on all my bookmarks, searching for a new post.  Then I went back to work full-time, ran out of free time, and lost touch with all my blog friends.  But now I'm back!  And there is this new thing, of course.  I learned about it from my hair stylist.  Not only do I get a fabulous refresh of my hair, I get all kinds of really important information!

Its called Bloglovin  You create a profile, find all the blogs you like to follow and  when you log in, there are all the new blog posts from your favorite blogs right there for your easy reading pleasure.  No more clicking your 100 bookmarks!  I do believe it has revolutionized my life.  The Pioneer Woman, Mile Markers, Life at 7000 Feet, Tales from the Skymom, a few of my must reads, - all in one place.  And bonus....Just Finish Strong is there too!!  So follow me on Bloglovin!

Happy Bloglovin!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Garage Sale

Every year, I get this urge.  It comes over me, and I can't quit thinking about it until I take action.  I need to have a garage sale.  I mean, I get it in my head, and I have to make it happen.  I'm not a hoarder, thank goodness, I think I might be the opposite.  I'm quick to move something out of my house that I feel like has served its purpose.  But this can pose problems for me.  I think I once Good-willed a wedding gift from my husbands grandmother....I can't live that one down.  I don't usually have enough to have my own garage sale, due to this issue.

So when I get this urge, I usually rally the neighbors with a meeting in the street, "Hey, wanna have a garage sale?"  My neighbors usually oblige.  I sometimes rope in friend or two. We set the date, change it if the weather looks too hot, and then set a new one.  There is a meeting in the garage the night before where there is a lot of price analyzation going on.  Some think they're treasures worth more than we all know they will get paid.  Sometimes we're like "man I should have had more on that!" when it sells first thing in the morning.  Its all a game, I suppose.

Here is the thing about garage sales.  Now this is profound.  So get out your pen and paper.  I feel like this could be fortune cookie worthy.  Here we go.  Garage sales are people paying you to carry off your unwanted things.  Think about that.  People are paying you to do all the hauling away.  It is the American economy at its finest.

After 2 days of getting up early, hauling 4 families things out of my garage, displaying and redisplaying things, I'm usually completely over the garage sale.  It really is just 3 or 4 women, enjoying their early morning coffee together at the break of dawn, discussing life issues, and randomly telling our children to stop trying to purchase the things we want to get rid of.  I never profit more than dinner out for our family of 5.  And I'm tired and cranky when its all done.  But alas, I will get that urge, I can put my garage sale profits on it.  I'll get that urge again next year.