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!!