Wednesday, December 26, 2012

4 days of Christmas

We had a wonderful & crazy busy Christmas this year with 4 days of celebrations.

It all started Saturday afternoon when I met up with my family at one of our local Nature Centers for a nature walk. We were give a small bag of bird seed and were told about the birds that we might see on our little walk. We then put the bird seed in our hands and got to hand-feed chickadees. It was really, really neat.

In the evening, we headed over to my husband's Dad & Step-Mom's house. It was a full house with all of his siblings (he has four!) and their kids. We had a lovely meal, pot-roast for the meat eaters, homemade macaroni & cheese for the vegetarians, glazed pearl onions, a lovely salad, & bread sticks. Then we opened presents. Pat & I got matching robes with our initials on them. I had been wanting a big soft cozy robe and this was just perfect! The kids got fleece pillow & blankets engraved with their names on it.

On Sunday morning, I was up early to do some last minute errands. Then I headed over to my parents house to spend some time with my family. I mostly played with my 4-year old nephew. He is such a funny kid! Then at 4pm, I headed over to my Mother-in-Laws house were I met up with my husband and 3 of his kids plus the extended family. It was another full house filled with excited kids. We had another great meal and got to open more presents. We got three new tree ornaments, two first-Christmas ones (one from MIL, one from my husband's Aunt), we each got a sweater, then gift cards. My gift cards were to Macy's. We were home by about 8:30 and I was exhausted. I managed to fight through it and put together a spinach dip and gave the kids the project of prepping luminaries for Christmas Eve.

I was up early on Christmas Eve to make a potato salad and clean like crazy before we had company coming over. Pat's second oldest son came over about 10am and we made Cinnamon rolls and open presents with the kids. We played a few rounds of ping-pong and then relaxed until my family came over around 12:30. I wanted his kids to see my niece & nephew since they would be at their Mom's on Christmas Day when we would be at my parents house so I invited my family over for lunch. I didn't want the stress of a bigger meal for Christmas Eve dinner so I kept things simple. Pat's work had given us a ham so we cooked that up, then got some really good bread, sliced Turkey, pastrami, & cheese. We just did sandwiches with potato salad. We had a nice long visit and the kids got to play with each other which is really cute. My family left around 4:30 and shortly after it was starting to get dark. So we bundled up and took out the luminaries and light them. Most of my subdivision does it and it looks so pretty. We also took the dog for a little walk to see all the pretty lights. Then it was time for dinner. I wanted to start a new tradition with Pat & the kids so I made fondue for dinner. We had a traditional Swiss cheese with bread, veggies, & left over ham. Then a little while later we did a chocolate fondue with fruit, vanilla wafers, & marshmallows. It was so good & the kids loved it! Then we dropped the kids off at their Mom's house and we headed home to bed.

For Christmas we like to have a relaxing morning with just the two of us. This year we wanted a healthy breakfast so we just had cereal. Then we exchanged presents. It was perfect! After relaxing for a while we bundled up and took the dog for a walk in the woods before headed to my parents house for the day.

Everyone was anxious for our arrival so we could finish up the present exchanging. It was really cute to see how excited my niece & nephew were over the whole thing. Then we had sauerkraut & dumpling for lunch. We headed home around 4:30 and I was so exhausted. 4 days of Christmas had officially worn me out. Brady & I took a little nap then I got snacks ready for Pat & I to take to the movies. We have both been wanting to go to the movies for a while now. We saw "Silver Lining" and both thought it was a little odd, but cute.

And that wrapped up Christmas, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday too!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

I truly have so much to be Thankful for this year. A new husband who is absolutely wonderful & supportive. He's by my side through thick & thin. I'm thankful for 4 Step-kids who in such a short time have taught me so much. The sweetest puppy in the whole world who has gotten me though tough times all with a puppy kiss and a wag of a tail. A family that has been healthy. A great job that pays the bills, feeds my stomach and adds to my savings. A roof over my head. Amazing friends. I could just go on & on.
I'm also Thankful that I got to spend Thanksgiving this year at the same place that I've spent most of those holidays since I was a little girl. We affectionately refer to it as "the farm". It was my Great-Grandparents house, then my Grandparents house, and now my parents own it. This year I shared it with 17 other family members including my 95 year old Great Aunt Helen and my cousin's 6.5 week old baby girl, Savannah.

Aunt Helen, baby Savannah & my cousin Ann

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bad Habit

My bad habit of late: Zingerman's Cheddar Herb Scone (to die for!) with a Vruit Berry Veggie Blend Juice and an organic peppermint tea.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Meatballs

I was a vegetarian for a long time. Well, more of a pescatrarian because I would sometimes (but rarely) eat fish. I did this for about 8 years. I grew up eating meat & lots of it. I was always picky about it. My Dad is a big hunter and as careful as he is, I always seemed to end up with a bb or a bone. Totally disgusting! I've always loved my veggies way more than I loved meat so in my 20's I converted. I ate lots of veggies (of course), quite a bit of beans, tofu, and all kinds of processed soy alternatives. As I've gotten older, beans don't seem to like me as much as I like them. I love beans & wish I could eat them more often, but they do a number on my stomach and I end up bloated & cranky. No one wants that. I also realized that I don't want to eat all the highly processed soy "meat" alternative. There is some debate about if soy is good for you so I've also wanted to cut back on that. So I started eating a little chicken here & there. And some turkey too. It's opened up all kinds of options for dinners, especially when cooking for two kids who are a little on the picky side. The crazy part about it is that I like it. A little over a month ago we received a belated wedding gift card to Ciao Amici's, a really nice Italian (obviously!) restaurant in town. We went & had a really good dinner. My husband ordered risotto, I ordered Salmon. He also ordered a side of meatballs. The food was out of this world & the meatballs were glaring at me so I decided to take a bite. It was so lovely. But I don't really do red meat so I left it at a bite and I carried on with my ways. On Monday, I was talking to a friend of mine who had made meatballs with her boyfriend for dinner. She was telling me about how he had wanted to cook dinner together & they had decided on two meat (beef & pork) meatballs. I had memories of that delicious meatball at Ciao Amici's and I became obsessed with having meatballs. Joanna from A Cup of Jo has this little series call The best __________ you'll ever have. When I stumbled across the meatball recipe (Faith Durand's from The Kitchn's recipe), I knew I had to do it. And there was even a link for a four ingredient tomato sauce. I was in heaven. So I stopped by the grocery store on my way home from work last night & got to work. I was not disappointed!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Detroit & Fall Date

The best of fall...Downtown Detroit for the Freep Marathon expo, Little Italy in Windsor for dinner (best food ever!!!), sleeping in the day before a big race, walks in the woods, Cider Mill for yummy hot cider & spice donuts, snuggle time on the couch, DETROIT FREEP HALF MARATHON, Sub-2hour half, Cheerfest, Pizza and now a week of rest, well, leaf raking.



Amazing Restaurant in Little Italy

Me & Brady on walk at Cass Benton

My boys! Pat & Brady

I love fall!

Pretty colors

Me & Tom (Sister-in-Law's boyfriend) before the Detroit Half Marathon

Running over the Ambassador Bridge

The Detroit skyline from Windsor

The Detroit/Windsor tunnel

Cheerfest

Brighton JV White

Grace & her double Gold medals (Pom & Cheer)

Way too many leaves to rake

Front porch decorated for fall/Halloween

Brady enjoying an Indian Summer Day

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's beginning to look at lot like FALL...

It sure has gotten colder here. Temperatures have dipped into the 30's and I had to bring out my winter coat, hats, & gloves. Part of me is excited for this change, but part of me just wants to go into hibernation now & not come out until Spring.

I'm not usually a huge fan of TV. I do have a few shows that I like to watch but I usually try to just stick to one or two shows at a time so I don't feel like sitting around in front of the tv is all that I do. But lately, there has been so many good shows to get caught up on. I finally watched Downton Abbey and I'm so excited for the next season to air here in January. Homeland & Dexter are back on Showtime and so far I'm loving Homeland and on the fence about Dexter. I'm not sure that I like the direction that it's heading into but that could all change. Then on Sunday Season 3 of The Walking Dead starts and next week American Horror Story starts. I've been meaning to check out The Mindy Project, but haven't had a chance yet. Oh, and I love Parks & Rec. It's good stuff. What are your favorite shows?

This cooler weather has been good for running. I've been getting more miles than normal in and it feels good. I had a great track workout last Tuesday and plans for more long runs this weekend. Next weekend I'll be running the Detroit 1/2 marathon.

I've also been trying to get back to the pool a few times a week. I only got in once last week and I've been once this week. It's always nice to get a lunchtime workout in.

We've been taking lots of walks in the woods lately too. It just so pretty & peaceful. We found a little unmarked trail that isn't too far from our house and hooks onto the trails at Brighton Rec. It's been a nice change to take the dog for a walk there instead of the usual neighborhood walk. We'll have to stop that as soon as hunting season starts but I'm hoping we can still get a few winter walks in there.






Monday, October 8, 2012

Last weekend

Friday night dinner date to Ciao Amici's, 8 mile long run, walk in the woods with Husband & puppy, 2 hour kayak with beautiful fall colors, bonfire with good friends, another 8 mile run, football, Chili, hot chocolate, snuggles on the couch.

It sure was a good one!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Three cheers for Friday!

I love Fridays and the end of the work week! It's been a pretty easy work week & seemed to go by pretty quickly. Sometime I feel like time is just going by way to fast and I never have time to get anything done on my to-do list.

Weekdays are crazy busy with work, workouts, & kid stuff. Weekends are sometimes more of the same, just no work.

Last weekend was one of those then went by too quick (I know it a little late for a recap, but here it goes)...


Friday night was Brighton High School's Homecoming. Grace wanted to go so Pat & I took her & one of her friends. Jack headed up their earlier with a friend. We were going to leave early but ended up staying for the whole thing.

Saturday morning, I was up early & out the door for a 9am run with my friends from NRR at Maybury. I love running at Maybury. The trails are relatively easy, and there is a nice loop of 5 or 6 miles. I only ran 5 since I had a longer run planned on Sunday. After the run I headed over to my parents house to get a shower in before meeting up with girls at Bar Louie. It was nice to have "girl talk" and I was digging my turkey burger & tater tots (I ran so I felt I deserved it!). We also did a little shopping while we were out (The Bar Louie that we met at is in a mall). I bought a new pair of jeans since my favorite pair has a hole.

Late afternoon we headed back to the High School since Grace was cheering. Pat had one of his volunteer duties and was the announcer of the game, he did an awesome job.


Then we had an easy dinner of grilled cheese & tomato soup and relaxed.

Sunday I was up early again for a loop of Kensington. Megan met me for the 8.4 miles. It was slow going, but I felt great and not tired. I ran errands for a while after while Pat went to Jack's baseball game & practice.



 Sunday evening was a birthday party for our niece who turned 20.


And now to end Friday by sharing two new favorites:
This razor is awesome! It came in one of birchboxes and I finally tried it out. So smooth!

And new running shoes always make me happy, especially when they are a fun color!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Good Eats

Pat was out of town last night so I was all on my own for dinner, this is what I came up with:
Tomato, mozarella, basil salad with peper & a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Cooked kale with Thai peanut noodles.

La Croix with lemon & mint from my garden with strawberries & raspberries dipped in melted chocolate chips. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dances with Dirt

I'm so, so sore today. I Danced with Dirt on Saturday and I can't believe how much it beat up my ego!
Dances with dirt is a 50K or 50 Mile Ultra, OR a 100K relay. I ran the relay with 4 other people. It's advertised as the Bloodied, Boned, Bruised & Burned series. It takes place in Hell, MI. Each team member is required to run 3 legs, the legs vary from 2.4 miles to 7.04 miles. They have names such as "Buttslider", "Purgatory", "Stripper Pole", "Styx, River of Death", & "Vertigo". One leg runs through a swamp that sometimes requires a second person to help you out, another has multiple river crossings and ends running through a river, and "Everything's Bovine" goes through a mud hole. It certainly was gruelling, but it was also so much fun!
Dances with Dirt Cake for desert Friday night.

The Shirts

Bags packed & ready to go...3 pairs of shoes, 3 outfits, sweats, water, & snacks.

The line of porta-potties at the Start/Finish

Dan coming in from his first leg.

Dan tagged off to Ryan.

Myself, Dan, Ryan & Doug, waiting for Mellissa to come in from the swamp

Mellissa after "This Sucks"

The mud

The mud was to benefit the Pinckney HS Cross Country Team, donations were taken and runners were cleaned up. Here they are power washing the shoes.

Mellissa adding her shoes to the line up.

The bath tubs

Me after my toughest leg, "Vertigo", 7.04 miles of rugged ups & downs. I earned that beer.