Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Did It!

I ran my first 10k this morning. The longest distance I ran training was 5.5 miles, so adding that extra .7 miles was a bit of a stretch but not too bad. I ran a nice, steady 10-minute mile. I realize this is not record pace, but I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm thinking of doing a 10 mile run at the end of August. Should i do it? The training regimen is the only thing that scares me. I can't imagine myself running for two hours straight. But, when I started this I couldn't picture myself running 6 miles, either, and I did it!!!

It's such a nice feeling when you realize you're stronger than you thought!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

That Isn't Right

Just gotta love it when your 13-month-old gets motion sick in the bike trailer as you're out for some exercise; thank goodness Matt was the one towing and the one cleaning up.

I think we'll take a more leisurely ride next time.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Sweetest Thing

I went to a meeting at my friend Erica's house the other night. She had made the most fabulous coffee cake muffins; I didn't try one that evening but took one home for breakfast, and I'm so glad I did! They were superb. I wish I could credit her for the recipe, but it is one she got from a website called, "Picky Palate," and that site credits someone named "Beth R." for the recipe.

Anyhoo, to make a long story short, my thanks to Erica and "Picky Palate" for sharing this fabulous recipe!!!

(For a direct link to the recipe on "Picky Palate" click HERE.)

Beth’s Starbuck’s Coffee Cake
(half recipe)

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix (plus ingredients on back of box)
2 Sticks cold salted butter
2 1/4 Cups flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 ¾ Cups brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla
Powdered sugar (for dusting)
PREHEAT oven to 350.
PREPARE cake mixe in large bowl according to directions on box. Spray 9X13 pan with non-stick spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until center is just barely set.
WHILE cakes are baking, prepare crumb topping. In large bowl of electric mixer combine, butter, flour, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla until all crumbly.
IMMEDIATELY after cake is removed from oven, break crumb topping into marble size pieces with fingers, sprinkling over top. Put back in oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes (topping will begin to look a little less wet/raw). Let cool fully then dust with powdered sugar, using a sieve.
CUT into squares and serve.
****Beth doubles the recipe and uses a 8 or 9 inch baking dish in addition to the 9×13 inch dish, feel free to double it to make more if desired. I only had one cake mix, so decided to half it.**** 2 9X13 inch baking dishes would also work fine.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

On to the Next Thing

I did my triathlon and it was fabulous. Now, in truth, I thought I was going to die on the run, but knew I wasn't about to give up. I have way too much pride for that. I placed second in my age group and 17th in the fat tire division. I clocked in at 1:21:41. Not too bad since I really took it easy on the bike ride.

So now I'm on to the next thing. I'm going to run a 10k in four weeks. I ran 5miles today--the longest distance I've ever ran. My legs hurt, but I don't know if that's from running or more from all the yard work I did yesterday, though my hunch is the yard work.

My friend Erica, who is way more of a runner than me (stop shaking your head, Erica--you totally are) has convinced me to run a half-marathon with her in September. I don't know if I'm crazy, obsessed with challenges, or both, but I'm actually looking forward to doing it! We've found a few training plans online that look, oddly, quite do-able. I guess when you're already used to doing 5+ miles, what's a few more? It's not like I sprint or anything so I figure I just have to find a good pace and hold steady. I'm in it to finish not to win.

So if any of my friends out there want to train with us, let me know! I can promise it will be worth it--I haven't felt this good since my senior year of college!!! When I started training for my triathlon in late February I had no idea what a positive step I was taking. The changes in my body, mood, and self-confidence make all the little moments of training pain worth it! I'm never turning back.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Big Easy

Having a great trip at my friend Heidi's. We went from her home in Baton Rouge down to New Orleans last night for a fun crawfish boil and my first trip to Bourbon Street! We were joined by her two fun, partying friends Matt and Nikki. The Jack and beer were flowin' even before we left the hotel room.

Now, don't think bad about me! I behaved myself so I wouldn't feel awful today; after all, I have a big race tomorrow! I haven't trained for this triathlon for months to go and ruin it. Besides, having been to Bourbon Street sober, well, I think it would be a pretty damn scary place to be drunk!!! Certainly an eye-opening experience. I've never seen so many strip clubs, drunks, and bars in my life. And, you gotta love the signs for "Big Ass Beers."

Here are some photos (taken with Heidi's iPhone) of our fun night dancing the night away....

Nikki, Heidi and me
Those poor little crawfish are no match for me!!!
Lucy's (a very fun New Orleans hot spot).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Back to the Future

I feel a bit like I'm traveling back in time for at least a few minutes every day, as is to be expected when you're living in your childhood home as an adult. My dad was very generous and left behind a set of furniture in the basement. Yes, the furniture on which I spent way to much time making out with my boyfriend (sorry, mom, if you're reading this!). But, it's all good as we are now married and have two wonderful children. Now this furniture, big and blue with poofy armrests (all very '90s) is the perfect worn, comfy furniture for our playroom.

With this furniture inheritance came a set of coffee tables and end tables that are currently sitting in our storage room (and two very ugly blue lamps I'll post on later). What shall I do with this coffee table? It's in excellent condition but it's just not my taste. I like simple, Pottery Barn-esque decor on a dollar-store budget.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm Back!

Okay, so I've been MIA for a while now. What can I say? I've spent too much time reading blogs as of late than writing! Guilty!

Anyway, here's some food for thought--or for your tastebuds!
I am obsessed with quesadillas. I think it's something about the warmer weather that makes me want to go for the spicy, simple foods. And, I just love the endless variations of food in a browned tortilla.
Today's lunch was a barbecue chicken quesadilla (chicken, refried beans, shredded cheddar cheese, and homemade barbecue sauce). I ate the first half before I could restrain myself enough to take a picture.

My "Mexican" flavoring for my chicken is simple. But, sorry, I don't measure. I merely sprinkle some cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper on the 1lb chopped chicken breasts, saute in olive oil with about 1/4 cup chopped onion, and voila!

After the chicken is prepared, I melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat and then throw on the tortilla and top it with shredded cheese, refried beans, chicken, avocado, salsa or whatever else sounds good! Today I used barbecue sauce instead of salsa and it was fab!

Quesadillas are a great way to dispose of leftovers. Keep tortillas on hand and the possibilities are endless!

My Favorite Homemade Barbecue Sauce (courtesy of my friend Ashley's very talented husband!)
In a small sauce pan combine:
1Tbs olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 small chopped onion
Cook until translucent (4 or 5 minutes) then...
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses (found in Meijer cereal aisle since we couldn't find it)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Bourbon
Simmer for 10 minutes to burn off alcohol.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Almost Done

My baby had his first haircut today. On the eve of his first birthday (Happy Birthday, Logan!), we decided to make him endure twenty minutes (give or take) of torture. And, I must throw out an apology not to Logan, but to the poor unsuspecting man whose quiet time at the barber shop we totally ruined. To the wonderful, extremely patient man who gave Logan his first trim--you are a saint. You gave him a nice cut and responded to his tears with nothing but kind words and understanding.

Logan, welcome to the world of being one! I promise there is so much fun in store for you (after those vaccinations at the pediatrician, of course). We love you, little man!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oh Dear!

We've had a heck of a week around here (colds, fevers, diaper rash that will make you cringe, etc), but one of my best friend's has had worse.

Her 2 year old had a fence gate fall on him and break his leg. He had to have surgery and will now be in a spica cast for at least a month. This is a cast that goes from the nipple level, down his broken leg to the toes, and to the knee of his non-broken leg to stabilize the broken one. In other words, no movement on his own.

She also has a nursing 4mth old and an almost four-year-old who have been passed around to friends because her husband has a herniated disc and a piece broken off that is pushing on his sciatic nerve. Plus, he's up for tenure and supposed to be observed soon for his college teaching job. He's the income for the family. He's also due for a surgical consult this upcoming week.

So when you think things can't get any worse, consider having an invalid husband, a nursing baby, a kid in a body cast, and a preschooler running around the house.

Gives a bit of perspective, doesn't it?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Playhouse Rules

And so it has begun. I think I'm going to dig out a copy of The Berenstein Bears No Girls Allowed. Anna told me this morning, "No babies allowed!" in the playhouse. She even said, "There's a sign," which, of course there isn't. I wouldn't be surprised if one showed up soon. So much for the constant admonishments to share.

Good thing they actually play together pretty well in spite of the rhetoric.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What We've Been Up to: Photo Journal

Oh, yeah, and Logan has RSV--so you can guess just how recent some of those pictures are. Poor baby. Send well-wishes his way!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Evening Laborer

My poor hubby has been banished--to the bathroom. Every evening he spends some quality time getting up close and personal with our guest bathroom. No, not in that way. He's attempting to remove lingering wallpaper glue. This has been quite the ordeal. Our adventures in wallpaper land began when we bought my childhood home in 2008. We tackled the master bedroom first. And, it still looks like this:
And then the dining room and the downstairs guest bath. The dining room is the only room "finished." It's the only room in the house that looks like us. The rest, well, not so much. The downstairs bath paper had to go--it was discolored from water dripping from the towel rack when people dried their hands and peeling in places. In other words, not the impression I want to make with people. But, it's been sitting in a state of disrepair for over a year now. Bedrest and a newborn in the house didn't help much.So, here's the only thing Matt's found to take off glue--a steamer and a drywall sponge. We've tried water and vinegar, putty knives, DIFF, you name it. Instead he gets to wax on and wax off until he wishes his arms would fall off at the elbow. Great fun. If you happen to have a magic wand for vanishing wallpaper glue, please let me borrow it. My hubby will love you forever.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Death of Me

Today I hosted cooking group. The theme was "Chocolate that Warms the Heart." More like, "Chocolate that Clogs the Heart." I made a very scrumptious chocolate cake FROM SCRATCH with a chocolate ganache. Sounds fancy, but it was not really that hard. I stole the recipe from my go-to website for this sort of I highly, highly, highly suggest you try this recipe. It's FAB. In fact, it is so yummy that I couldn't resist eating some of it before bed tonight and then sitting down to type this because I think it criminal that all of you, my fabulous readers, do not have the taste of this heavenly, artery clogging, chocolaty goodness in your mouth (and clinging to your thighs) at this very moment.

Now, a note on this recipe. The baking temp is 275. Who ever heard of baking a cake at that temperature? I tried it (in 9in cake pans, because that's what I own) and it was still a runny mess after 40min. I then had to bake it at 375 for about 15min before it was set properly. So, use your discretion on the baking temp and check frequently with a toothpick to determine doneness (is that a word? If not, you know what I mean--yeah, yeah, ignore that I'm an English major).

Colette's Chocolate Bourbon Coconut Cake
Recipe courtesy Colette Peters, New York, NY and taken from

Prep Time:45 minInactive Prep Time:2 hr 0 minCook Time:50 min
Serves: about 20 servings
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups hot coffee
1/4 cup bourbon
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Chocolate Ganache:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate (either blocks cut into small pieces or chocolate chips)
8 ounces heavy cream
2 teaspoons your favorite liqueur or extract, optional

Place the sifted flour in a medium bowl and stir in the baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, place the chocolate and the butter. Pour the hot coffee over the chocolate and butter and then add the bourbon. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand until chocolate and butter are melted. Remove the cover and whisk to fully incorporate. Set aside until mixture has cooled.

Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

When coffee mixture has cooled, add the sugar and whisk until blended. Add the flour mixture, half at a time and stir until just combined. Add the eggs, vanilla, and coconut and whisk until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for about 10 minutes and then cool completely on a rack before icing.

While cakes are cooling, make ganache:
Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan just until it starts to boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate, making sure that all of the chocolate is covered. Cover the bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk the chocolate until dark and shiny and then let cool to room temperature. The more you whisk this icing as it cools, the stiffer it will get. If you refrigerate the icing before you put it on the cake, it will get very hard and you will have to microwave it for a few seconds to soften it to a spreadable state.

Frost cake:
Spread ganache over bottom layer of cake. Place the second cake layer on top of the ganache. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining ganache.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I heard about this charity from an email discussion group and had to make it the cause of a quick and easy service project for our local MOMS Club chapter. There was a drop box for the cause in our local mall, and we filled up the whole thing (and broke it in the process, but that's my hubby's fault and not mine). I should have taken my camera but didn't think about it.

If you have not heard of Soles4Souls, it was founded in 2004 by Wayne Elsey to help victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia. A rather simple concept, Soles3Souls collects new and gently used shoes around the country and redistributes them to those in need in the US and around the world.

The method is simple; clean out your closet and protect someone else's feet. This would be a wonderful cause for a shoe drive (like we had) or just as an incentive to get rid of stuff you don't use to benefit a soul who really needs them.

If you would like more information on Soles4Souls, please visit their website:

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Ow. It's so uncomfortable I just handed my yummy biscotti to my nine-month-old. Can't even gum that. I'm a wimp. I'm smiling but that's just because I can't NOT smile at a camera.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Metal Mouth

I'm getting braces tomorrow. Why now? Well, the beginning is a good place to start.

I love my new dentist, who appears to be much more competent and actually has bedside manner-unlike my previous dentist, who shall remain nameless. During my new patient consult he told me to bite down in the typical exam manner. To which I responded, "I am biting down." And he counters with, "No, bite down on your back teeth." To which I responded that I thought I was. And, after a few minutes of him trying to coax me to bite using my molars we discovered that I thought I was biting down but in essence I wasn't. My molars don't touch. (I'd post pictures but they'd probably gross most of ya'll out.)

A "normal" person's bite aligns with the points of teeth locking in a grid rather than tip-to-tip. My front teeth hit tip to tip and my back teeth don't touch. As a result, my new, wise dentist tells me that I'm wearing down my tooth enamel as I am only chewing with the front part of my mouth and, that's a front part that doesn't align properly either. Great.....

So, he recommends I see an orthodontist. And, here I am, going to be a metal mouth in just over twelve hours. I'm opting for the clear top brackets in spite of the options for Invisalign and iBraces. I really don't want to have to remove the Invisalign when I eat in public. Kinda yuck. And, iBraces (which go behind the teeth) were significantly more expensive, and when you're unexpectedly spending over $3000 on mouth metal, you really don't want to spend any more than necessary.

I'm enjoying my "last supper" of popcorn and wishing I had a whole bag of caramels to consume. Perhaps I'll grab some to eat on my way to the orthodontist in the morning. I'm sure it will be worth it in two years when they come off and when I'm fifty and I still have teeth!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Woman in Training

I ran for the first time in several months today. I do not know how far I ran...I'll have to use the car to find out tomorrow. But, it was a short leisurely jog. My legs will undoubtedly hurt tomorrow and the day after.

Why am I running? I've decided to do a mini triathlon with one of my very best friends, Heidi, in Baton Rouge, LA, at the end of April. Keep in mind that this is a very MINI triathlon, but it's one nonetheless. It's called Rocketchix and it's an all-women event. The swim is in a pool, only 350M, so it's doable. Now, only if I could actually make any of the times at our community center. I will probably be doing this swim having gone swimming only a handful of times before the race. I hope to make up any deficits in that area with a decent run and bike. We have an exercise bike, so I feel pretty confident I can be well-prepared on the road.

If any of my friends reading this would like to "train" with me, please let me know. The RocketChix website has a recommended training program but I don't think I'll be following it simply because the life of a very busy mom is not conducive to the flexibility that the training regimen demands. I think I'll stick to alternating days running and biking on the stationary bike, and attempting to get to the pool at least a couple of times starting at the beginning of April.

Keep your fingers crossed that I don't crash and burn! At least if I do, I'll have a friend to cheer me on!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting Organized--Is it Really Possible?

I try to maintain a decently ordered home. I sweep and vacuum on a daily (okay, sometimes every other day) basis. Between the dog, two cats, and kids there is always a lot of cleanup. I consider it part of my job to make the home front as livable and sanitary as my circumstances allow. There is no denying, however, that this is almost always a thankless job, and there is very little satisfaction gained from it as the work is perpetual. I guess you'd compare it to paper pushing. At the end of the day, no one is going to give you a big pat on the back because you cleaned dog hair out of the corner though you would certainly know it if your crawling, drooling baby started producing hairballs to rival your cats. And, so it must be done.

In October of 2008 we moved into my childhood home, and so there has been some adjusting to make a house that was once my home feel like home again. Of course, this is a joy and a privilege even if it does come with challenges. In our previous house, modest compared to the one we're so fortunate to live in now, everything had a place and it felt like "me." Not so here, at least not yet. And, with kids these things take time--time and money we are reluctant to use.

But, we have made a few minor changes and purchases to help us try to control the clutter, and, hopefully, ease the tediousness of the constant clean-up by providing items with a suitable home. We got this item on a pilgrimage to Ikea.My friend has the exact same shelving unit in her basement, and I had been coveting it for months. It houses all the kid clutter in our family room, provides storage for cookbooks, photos, and our cable modem and wireless router in a clean, hidden, and eye-friendly manner. Well worth the $200, if you ask me.

My husband, bless his hardworking soul, recently received a performance award in the form of gift cards and chose to use them at the Container Store. And, no, I did not suggest that. Our next project is to make our home office (what used to be my parents' formal living room we rarely used) into a friendly, usable space. So, he purchased this little baby to aid in the storage of a mishmash of cords, DVD-R's, CD-R's and various other office paraphernalia. I couldn't be happier with his decision. So, although the dust, the dirt, and the endless piles of laundry are not going away, at least our things are finally finding their niches in this place we call home. I hope one day I'll find my niche here, too.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Wish I Were So Talented....

One of my friends is a do-it-all kind of girl. She's got both the left brain and right brain going--a talent I covet. She is an engineer and a talented seamstress. Now, she's added entrepreneur to her list of accomplishments and opened her own business called Mia Dolce Originals.

She's made blankets for both of my kids and I love, love, love them. If you are in need of some homemade baby items, please check out her website by clicking HERE. Her blankets are so soft and have held up great through Logan's prolific reflux. And, I'm eagerly awaiting her to make me some bibs as my little man is a perpetual drooler as well as a very messy eater.

If you are not a seamstress, like me, but love the quality and sincerity of homemade items, check out her website or visit her shop on Etsy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Logan sleeps through the night (ie. 10pm to 8am) once or twice a week at most. Last night he last ate at 9:30 and didn't awake until 8am this morning.

But did I sleep through the night? Ha!

As much as I appreciate the rapidity with which our city clears the streets they need to seriously reconsider plowing the ends of courts at 3:20 in the morning. I did not enjoy the 25min interlude of "scraaaaape....Beep, beep, beep, beep...BANG! scraaaaape...Beep, beep, beep beep...BANG!" and I'm sure the neighbors (who also have young children) did not enjoy the truck backing into their driveway and dropping the plow either.

Ah, what fun to live in a snowy world.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Return to routine

How can a day not go well with a smile like this:
And harmonious play like this:
And when preschool resumes again tomorrow, I'll be smiling then, too! There's something to be said for structure with small children. I think everyone wins.

I'm understanding why even the end of vacation is something to celebrate.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Good Omens

I opened Anna's bedroom blinds this morning only to see this image jump out at me from some tire tracks in the snow on our driveway. I had to grab the camera to capture this moment. It just reminded me, once again, I have a lot of love in my life and a lot to be thankful for--what a nice way to start the new year.

Happy New Year!