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 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.