Archive | December, 2011

Happy New Year!

31 Dec


Playing Wii, enjoying lots of desserts, and time with friends.

Hope you have a great night and a happy new year!

Looking Back and Ahead

31 Dec

I don’t really do resolutions but I do like how the new year prompts a look back and a look ahead, and I like setting goals. So here ’tis the obligatory New Years post…

In 2011, I…

…ran 276 miles (from May to December – I didn’t keep track before that. Stupid!)

…biked 458 miles.

…swam 16.4 miles.

…raced in 3 sprint triathlons, 1 Olympic, and a 5k.

…started a new job.

…started writing a nonfiction book.

…read 26 books (beat my goal of 25!)

…combined my running and spiritual blogs into Life, Really

…went on my first trail run and loved it.

…adopted a new dog, Charlie, found on an Indian reservation in New Mexico.


It was a very good year – like I mentioned in my Best of 2011, this year could be summed up as Busy, but Fun.


In 2012, I hope to: 

…get pregnant.

…run 700 miles.

…finish writing my nonfiction book.

…read 50 books.

…consistently track my workouts so I have accurate totals on 12/31/12!

…grow in being a loving, supportive wive to my amazing husband.

…accept who God created me to be.


And because I like cheese, here are 12 more goals for 2012, one for every month:

  1. January – Forego sweets for an entire month.
  2. February – Read or listen to the entire Harry Potter book series.
  3. March – Try Bikram Yoga.
  4. April – Finish a memory book about our first 5 years of marriage.
  5. May – Make a time capsule for our 5-year wedding anniversary.
  6. June – Run a marathon… in Alaska (more on this coming soon, hopefully!)
  7. July – Bike 50 miles in one ride.
  8. August – Climb a 14er.
  9. September – Complete at least one big home project in preparation for moving in 2013.
  10. October – Make Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread with Buttered Rum Glaze
  11. November – Make our own Christmas stockings.
  12. December – Watch the movie classic, It’s a Wonderful Life

I will try to do those goals in order but the Harry Potter series might take me longer than a month to get through. I have already requested the first audio book from the library though!

I also posted these goals on my new page, 2012 Goals.


I am excited for 2012. Bring it on!

New Running Gear!

30 Dec

Even though my family is wonderfully generous and I got lots of great presents for Christmas, I didn’t get any running stuff (which was secretly what I wanted the most, but it’s also the hardest to buy for someone else so I totally understand why they bought other things).

So after thinking long and hard about the running gear that I would most like right now, and shopping around for the most reasonable prices (I think I can only handle spending $100 on running tights once in my life), I bought the following:

Underarmour Coldgear Compression Tights – $49.99

For every run I’ve gone on that’s been colder than 40 degrees, I’ve worn Smartwool long underwear under my regular running pants. It works but the long underwear doesn’t stretch at all and I don’t like having to wear 2 layers. So hopefully these will solve my dilemma.

I bought a medium because that’s almost always what my size is, but according to my waist/hip measurements and their size chart, I would be an XXL. So I’m crossing my fingers that they’re the ones on crack, not me.

Nike Windproof 1/2 Zip Jacket – on sale for $29.23!

I’ve been wanting a running jacket for a while but am so cheap that I almost pass out every time I look at their price tags. {Side note: What happened to me?!?!} This jacket is cute, on sale, windproof and water resistant (which is all I need because I don’t usually run when it’s pouring outside). I also bought a medium in this.

I’ll let you know how I like them after they come and I have a chance to try them out.

I haven’t tried out my new shoes yet because I was a big lazy butt last night and this morning. I watched Sweet Home Alabama on TV (love that movie!) and then slept in until 7. I’ve just been so tired this week – I don’t know what my deal is. Usually, I’m wide awake once I get up but this week, I get up late after getting 8+ hours of sleep and still want to go straight back to bed.

Anyway, I’m going for my run after work today. And I’m actually excited because it’s supposed to be about 45 degrees and almost all of the snow we had has melted, which means no more slipping, sliding and accidentally stepping in ankle deep puddles.

What is the most important thing for you to have/wear on cold runs?

The Day After Christmas

30 Dec

If you can believe it, on Monday, we did even less than we had on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We moved from our bed to the couch to watch Little Fockers and DVRed episodes of Bones and Desperate Housewives and there we stayed. Glorious.

But! Monday was officially the start of my marathon training (kinda, sorta, more on that later) so I had to get in a 3 mile run and strength training. We had also talked about going to buy new running shoes at Boulder Running Company, since Travis was in dire need. And we had a 15% off coupon so I figured I might as well buy a new pair too – even though I don’t need them right now, I will soon! I think I’ll start rotating my shoes when I run on consecutive days.

Finally, we got motivated at 2:45 to get running. Unfortunately, my pre-run fuel choice of nachos and caramel corn set off my acid reflux and I hadn’t drank enough water so I had a headache for the entire run. At mile 2.5, I decided to walk the rest. It just wasn’t worth it.

Ok, not quite the start to marathon training I had envisioned…

But no biggie. I know that bad running days happen and I have gotten acid reflux on enough runs that I know it’s just plain stupid that it continues to happen. I need to stop eating tomato-based foods (like salsa!) on days I’m running and start taking antacids before every. single. run. Even when I don’t think I need them. At first on this run, I thought it was the caramel corn attacking my esophagus. It seemed a little weird but the combination of chocolate and coffee once sent me to the ER – so why not caramel corn? But then I remembered the salsa-laden nachos and that made a lot more sense. Even ketchup gets me. It’s so sneaky!

After our failed run, I did 15 minutes of strength training, wiped myself off with a fancy cleansing towelette, and we headed down south to BRC and to get us a juicy burger and some fries for dinner (after all that candy, I was craving something hearty… but still not healthy).

At the running store, I stuck with my tried and true Nike Zoom Structure Triax:

It’s been so long since I bought running shoes that I actually skipped a version, going from the 13 to the 15. Sad. These feel less squishy than past pairs so I’m going to try them out at the gym first, just in case I don’t like them (please, don’t let it be true!).

Travis went with the Brooks Ravenna:

He had ran in the Racers for several pairs and while he liked them, he wanted something with a little more support, since we run on concrete 95% of the time (hey, it’s convenient and free of traffic). Plus, these aren’t horrific colors like the new Racers:

I told Travis that he would look like a Kenyan in those. He didn’t buy it.

After a quick stop at JCPenney to do an exchange, we went to Red Robin for some juicy deliciousness. As we sat there debating menu choices, I had the grand idea to sub a beef burger for a Gardenburger – I mean, I’m not a huge fan of meat so would it really make that much of a difference?

Big mistake.

It did make a big difference. I was craving a juicy burger and while my veggie burger was tasty, it didn’t have the juiciness (ahem, fattyness) I wanted. At least my heart thanks me.

On our way home, we got a call from my family – we were planning a conference call for that night so that we could all talk together a bit, since we were in 3 different locations (Colorado, Indiana and Minnesota).

After we talked for about 30 minutes, we hung up and Travis and I watched Hall Pass. It was a bad, dirty movie. Which made me sad because I really Owen Wilson and Jenna Fischer as actors.

Anyway, this has been so true this week:


Christmas Day

29 Dec

Christmas morning wasn’t as relaxing as I had hoped… I woke up extremely tired and practiced my math skills while lying in bed trying to figure out the latest possible time I could get up.

Nevertheless, I was still able to make our special Christmas breakfast:

Monkey bread and fruit salad. I LOVE monkey bread and could eat the entire pan all by myself.

Then we went to church, where we thought we had to do projection and lights. But silly us, we were confused. So we got to hang out for an hour before church started. Bah! That could have been sleep!

My church outfit:

After church, we went home and bummed.

Worked on the puzzle, which we finished!

Called our parents.

Ate a lot of mini Snickers bars.

Walked the dogs.

Made our Christmas dinner and devoured it – chicken wild rice soup, green beans and crescent rolls. (There was also supposed to be Watergate salad but I used the cool whip to make the Christmas Trifle, which we ate for dessert.)

Watched Red Dawn – the classic from 1984 with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen.

It was a very low-key Christmas – just what I wanted.

Christmas Eve

29 Dec

Travis’ and my main goal for the Christmas weekend was to be bums. That’s the only upside of being without family on Christmas – you get to lay around in your pajamas watching movies all weekend and no one can tell you not to.

So Saturday morning, I slept in until 8:00, then got up, made coffee, fed the dogs and read the Christmas story in Luke. Then Travis got up and we opened presents.

First up was our stockings stuffed lovingly by Travis’ mom.

Katy said she wanted to open my stocking.

Charlie just wanted to sniff things.

Before unpacking my stocking, I decided to give the dogs their Christmas present: a big bone for each. That kept Charlie occupied for 4 hours and Katy occupied for 4 days.

The contents of my stocking (plus a Target gift card, unpictured).

The contents of Travis’ stocking (plus candy, unpictured). Man stuff. The rolls are hockey tape.

This was part of what Travis got from my brother Jeremy (my side of the family draws names). It’s a hound dog that sings and makes farting noises with his armpit. Let’s just say that this was a very fitting gift, for both the giver and the receiver.

Wearing my new pajamas that I got from my sister-in-law Jen.

And my awesome reindeer slipper socks. Thanks Jen!

This was my gift to Travis – Big Buck Hunter Pro that he can play on the TV without a game console. I tried playing it a little and got so frustrated that I had to quit. It’s not my thing. But Travis likes it!

The new dinnerware from my parents – we love it! Can’t wait to use it.

And I got an immersion blender and new bath towels from Travis’ parents – which are great! Now I need to get to work making soup. I’m not sure about the deal with the hat though…

Katy still chewing on her bone. Charlie actually finished hers by noon and grabbed Katy’s when she wasn’t looking. We grabbed it back for Katy, who then went and hid it in the backyard. Charlie made one small move toward the bone and Katy attacked her. We broke up the fight and Charlie left the bone alone after that. For the following couple of days, every time Katy was  outside, she was chewing on her bone, butt in the air. Hilarious.

After gift opening, we worked on a puzzle and watched the Broncos lose. Then I decided to end my week of inactivity by going on a 3.57 mile run (40:33, 11:21/mile). And I discovered that while the side streets and sidewalks don’t get plowed or shoveled (sometimes making it near impossible to get out of your neighborhood), the greenway (bike trail) does. That’s Colorado for ya! But I am a big fan, since that meant I was able to run on a fairly snow-free surface for the majority of my run.

I got back, stretched, took a shower and we headed over to our friends’ house for dinner with their family. This is what we did last year too, and it was a lot of fun. This year was just as fun – we drank some wine, ate a lot of good food (including a deep-fried turkey that I actually liked!), and played lots of Catch Phrase. Once again, the females dominated the males. I tell ya, we’re just smarter. 😉

We stayed there until about 8:45, then went home to feed the dogs, put my slipper socks back on and work on our puzzle.

It was a great Christmas Eve!

What was your favorite Christmas gift this year? Mine was my slipper socks. I love that they keep my feet warm and I don’t have to worry about them falling off. All my other presents were great too though. We have very generous families.

A Christmas Trifle

28 Dec

I got to start my Christmas weekend early by leaving work at 1:30 on Friday – there was hardly anyone in the office and I had nothing to do. So why stick around?

I stopped by Walgreen’s on my way home to buy ingredients for what I prefer to call Triple Decker Brownies (call me old-fashioned) and happened to see the cutest sparkly pink nail polish (called A Cut Above). So I spent the afternoon watching Lifetime Christmas movies and painting my nails.

That manicure lasted a whole 6 days.

Friday night, we had dinner and played Catch Phrase with our friends D and Doug. D and I dominated Catch Phrase by winning every single round.

For dessert, we had lefsa (a Norwegian tortilla made out of potatoes – we warm up them up and top with butter and sugar) and Chocolate Angel Food Trifle. I had attempted to make Chocolate Rolled Angel Cake… I even took pictures of combining the ingredients (box of angel food cake + cocoa 😉 ) and whipping the angel food batter into a poofy mess with my pretty white Kitchenaid mixer. I had the parchment paper in the pan. I had the baked cake upended onto a towel dusted with powdered sugar and rolled up all pretty. I had my whipping cream whipped, with what I would imagine were stiff peaks.

But then I made my crucial error. I was making this cake the day before we were going to eat it. The recipe said that you could only refrigerator the assembled cake for 6 hours so I decided to wait to assemble it until the next day.

The next afternoon, after I had painted my nails sparkly pink, I unrolled the towel and found that the cake was stuck to it. I tried to gently unpeel it and the innermost curl broke off. No biggie, I thought. I’ll somehow reassemble it. I painted a white stripe of melted whipped cream down the biggest chunk. But it wasn’t going to work. I couldn’t even get the big piece of the cake off the towel.

Ok, on to Plan B. I knew that the combination of the delicious angel food cake (I had sampled it), raspberries and whipped cream was going to be delicious, no matter what way I served it. So I decided to make a trifle instead.

I tore the sticky, gooey angel food cake into bite-sized pieces and placed them at the bottom of a large decorative bowl (I don’t have a trifle dish). Then I sprinkled on half of the raspberries and a layer of cool whip – I had discovered that my whipping cream was more of a liquid at this point than a cream so I used a small tub of cool whip I happened to have on hand. I repeated those layers one time – cake, raspberries, cool whip. And I topped the trifle with a few reserved raspberries. Voila! A Christmas trifle. And it was absolutely delicious, even if it wasn’t was I had initially planned.

Have you ever had a recipe go awry? How did you salvage it?