Thursday, June 24, 2010

More Running Questions

Recently Janel left a comment asking me some questions about my running routine. I thought maybe others had similar questions so I'm going to take a few minutes & teach you everything I know.
Fasten your seat belts.

I got started running gradually. That's a word you will want to remember - gradually. You can get hurt running. You can get obsessed with running. Neither are really good for you. I had begun walking very regularly, pushing myself to go as fast as I could. Bent elbows & all. I know, I'm a nerd. Anyway, one day I just went for it & I could run farther than I had imagined was possible. Now I'm hooked.

I have trained for the Indy Mini Marathon four times. Right now I am in the beginning of training for a half marathon in September. I have used two different programs to train for these big races. I have had success with Hal Higdon's programs. He uses running in combination with stretching, strength training & cross training. A very multi-faceted approach. The other program I have used is through a local running club & unfortunately they only publish the program to paying members. Basically it is a progressive overload approach built on four running days, two rest days, & one long run day each week. The first year I used their program I tried to follow it exactly. The results were somewhat frustrating because I had problems with tendinitis & plantar fascitis. The other years I tailored the program to better fit me & I had great results & my two best finishing times. Basically, I ran my guts out on the shorter runs (using a treadmill to have a better sense of my pace) & then speed walked the long runs, averaging a 13:30-14:00 minute mile.
So, if you are searching for a training program of some kind, there are myriads of them available online & most of them are free. But don't feel boxed in by the program. Listen to your body & pay attention to your schedule so that it works for you. Have a goal to work toward (such as a race). That always motivates me!

And the best advice I can give you involves how to stay with it. Don't allow yourself any excuses. I try to chart every run I go on, record what works & what doesn't. If you have panties that fall down & shorts that ride up, record it! That way you will never wear them again & end up walking on your run because of a wardrobe malfunction. You may laugh, but this has happened to me. I will spare you the details.
Find music that motivates you. Sometimes I listen to prayer songs the whole way because if I didn't pray & beg God for strength, I'd never make it. Sometimes I listen to something really silly like veggie tales. Have a variety. Boredom always leads me to be stagnant.
Vary your route, too. Don't always run the same roads or always run on the treadmill. Be safe & wear bright colors. I just about got hit four times on a two mile run a couple of weeks ago. So stay alert & don't let your music overpower your ability to hear traffic.
Remember that running is kind of like slow torture. Very seldom do I actually enjoy running while I'm running. It's the afterglow that is great - knowing how hard you pushed your body & how good it is for you...& knowing that it helps to dissolve the donut mistakes we all make :-)

Interview Time

Carrie over at Life on a Backroad recently had another reader submit five questions to her for an 'interview' type of post. I thought it would be fun to play along so Carrie sent me 5 questions to answer. If any of you would like to participate, you can see the "rules of the game" at the bottom of this post. A fun way to get a little glimpse into our lives somewhat beyond the blog...
Here we go!

1. How did you & Mike meet?
I think we have kind of a great story. I'll try to keep it succinct because it could be a long story!
When I was in high school I was in the marching band with a dude named Estel. He was a year older than me & friends with my sister first. I always had a blast with Estel & knew he had a brother in my class but I never met him. We went to a large public school & Estel's brother wasn't in band so our paths never crossed.
After college I came home & started working. Estel & Beth had gone through nursing school together so they were still good friends. Beth was married by this time & we were all working but we would still get together about once a week for cook outs, dinner & a movie, etc. Every once in a while Mike would come along with Estel for these gatherings. I liked him right away. He's a quiet guy, very kind, athletic, & super funny when he wants to be. But he wasn't around all the time & I didn't know him super well.
Fast forward to the summer of 2002. We decided that Beth, Brennan, Caleb, Estel, Mike & I would go on our version of a family vacation. We went to Lake Cumberland in Kentucky for a week. We had a super fun time & I think that's when I really started to feel like Mike was my friend & not just Estel's brother. We would hang out upon occasion, even once or twice just the two of us.
Estel got really interested in bike riding & I did, too. We spent some time riding bikes & Mike decided to join us. This was the summer of 2007. Estel got a job that involved a big commute so he wasn't around as often but Mike & I would still ride a couple of times a week. We usually left from his house & ended up back there. We would get to talking & then he would ask if I wanted to go grab dinner somewhere, etc. We eased into dating so fluidly that I had to ask him if that was what was going on. We had "The Talk" & if you went to Northland you know just what I mean by "The Talk". Funny thing is, Mike didn't go to Northland so he didn't know we needed to have "The Talk". After that discussion was over & I hadn't felt awkward or weird I knew that I could end up marrying him. And I did!
I promise, I really did try to keep that short...

2. How did you start running? Was it hard to get motivated at first?
This is a great question & hopefully Janel is reading this because she asked me a similar question on my last running post.
I started running shortly after I graduated from Northland. I have been a chub-a-lump my whole life & when I came home from school I was frustrated with the state of my physical fitness. My schedule was so light compared to college life; working just meant an eight hour workday & no homework or projects for the evening so I found I had time to be more active.
I began walking briskly on a regular basis (at least four times a week). Beth had taken a jogging class in college & she was running some & she talked about how she just really loved it. So one day I was by myself at the track walking & I just decided to try to run one lap. I was able to run one mile without stopping & I haven't looked back since. At first it was very easy to stay motivated because I had never been able to do such a difficult thing before. And I'm a big time charter. I would write down every time I ran, where I ran, & for how long. Looking back on that record is very motivating for me.
*Janel, I'll answer your other questions in a separate post coming soon!

3. What was your favorite class at Northland?
This is a tough question! I think I am going to have to say that my favorite class was probably The Life of David. It was taught by Mr. Janke & it was a small group of maybe 7 students all together. At first I was extremely intimidated because I was the only girl in the class. Mr. Janke is a big tease & he let me have it several times but I discovered that it wasn't all that bad. He did such an excellent job of pulling together the different experiences of David's life & making application that was so relevant to my life. Some of those applications still surface in my mind occasionally. It was just a very thought-provoking class.

4. What is your favorite old movie?
I have thought about this question long & hard. The truth is, I don't watch many movies & I really haven't seen a lot of the old classics. But one I have seen many times is "Little Women". The version where Katherine Hepburn plays the role of Josephine.
I was introduced to the story of "Little Women" at a young age by my great Aunt Phyllis. She was a wonderful eccentric lady & she did not approve of the names that my parents had chosen. The names did not match our personalities, she said. So she renamed us. I was renamed 'Josephine' because I reminded her so of Jo from "Little Women". Shortly before her death I went to visit her & she had no idea who I was when she was told that Mary Ann had come to visit. I told her my name was Josephine & she knew who I was right away. For that reason I have always loved "Little Women".

5. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
This is a GREAT question! I have been blessed to have enjoyed the opportunity to travel a little more some people. Every time I go somewhere new, I find that my wanderlust is not quenched at all. However, my husband is a homebody. And he has taught me to love being rooted. I'm grateful for that, but I do dream now & again about flying off somewhere new...
So, I would have to say that if I could go anywhere, I would sign up for The Amazing Race. I would let them decide where all I would get to travel. I love the whole premise of that show - a worldwide scavenger hunt! I'd probably croak out on the first or second leg, but maybe, just maybe I'd make it farther than that. Beth would be my ultimate travel companion & I think we would be able to get through it without any major fussing. We got that worked out of our systems when we were in junior high & we fought around the clock. I would hope that the show would take us to India & Africa. Both places are fascinating to me for a whole bunch of reasons that would take too much time to post.

Carrie, thank you so much for the 'interview'! I really enjoyed thinking through my answers. This is probably the longest post I have ever written. I wanted to add some pics but ran out of time :-)

If you want to play along:
1 - Leave a comment with your blog URL, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your blog with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Training for my half marathon in September has officially begun. Therefore, it's time for the weather to get extremely cantankerous.

I was a little concerned about training for this race all through the hot summer months. I don't have a treadmill. I don't have a gym membership. I don't have the inclination to spend the moola to obtain either. Call me cheap, but I'm thinking that our money could be used better elsewhere. I don't like spending that much just on me.

Anyway, my whole point is that the weather has been downright unruly! Yesterday the high was something like 94 degrees. I waited until nearly 8 p.m. to go on my run & since there was a chance of popcorn storms, I ran at the track. Three miles. Twelve laps. I thought I was gonna lose my mind. I felt like a hamster on a wheel. And man oh man, did I get hot! We are talking sweat in your eyes, clothes soaked through kind of sweat because it was still 90 degrees at 8 p.m.! That being said, I prefer 90 degrees over 30 degrees. I'd rather sweat than shiver!

Today there are more storms threatening. The temperature is at a friendly 79 degrees - perfect for running. However, I once upon a time read an article about people who had survived being struck by lightening. I'm not sure this article was helpful for me. Now whenever I am outside & I hear a crack of thunder I throw my arms up over my head, bend low at the waist, & run for cover screaming like a little girl. Lightening Freaks Me Out.

This afternoon I don't have time to wait around & see if the storms clear up. I'm headed up to Camp Assurance this evening because my sister is the camp nurse this week. Madison is a Camp Kid & Caleb is a Camper. Therefore, today I will be completing my miles inside. Today is an optional cross training day in my training program so you guessed it, I'm going to become a Mall Walker. Just typing that made my cheeks glow with embarrassment. Nothing like walking with the retirees to make a girl feel old. Oh well. I'm grateful we have a little mall nearby that actually has some flights of stairs. I'll be chugging up & down those every lap.

Here's hoping for sunny skies tomorrow!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Completed Sewing Project

Here are the photos to prove that I did use my sewing machine!

Step One: Scoot all of Michael's mess of tools, etc. to his side of the dining room table. Lay out the fabric. Take a deep breath.
Step Two: Set up the ironing board. Fill the iron with distilled water b/c it's gonna need to be steamy! Remind myself that curtains are just a series of hems.

Step Three: Make sure to have some good tunes on. I had my ipod set to play the best of Don Williams. He sang some of the best lovey songs ever. My dad is a huge fan & that is something I definitely inherited from him.

Step Four: Remove shoes/flip flops. I must have skin on foot feed contact b/c my major difficulty with sewing comes from regulating the speed of the machine. I'm convinced that if my skin touches the machine it will "know" the speed I need to go. And it won't run away with me. And cause me to sew through my finger *wince*
Do you like the red polish? It's called "I'm Not Really A Waitress" Love.It.
Step Five: Turn the machine on to find out that the light bulb is burnt out. Stomp your bare foot & moan loudly. Then decide that you're going to sew anyway! It actually wasn't that hard to see. I was just flat out determined to get this project done once I started.

Step Six: Get out a broom & knock down all the scary cob webs & spider webs in the back door entry way. Hang the new curtains. Take lots of pics. Post pics & blog about it!

We liked the new curtains so much that we bought a new floor mat that evening. Our little back door is kinda cute now.

Don't you just love these stripes? They make me smile. Especially since they are now curtains & not a pile of material laying around making me feel guilty *grin*

Out With The Old!

For quite some time we have been looking to replace this sweet ceiling fan light fixture in the dining room. I know you find it hard to imagine that we would want to give up this lovely rattan bladed, frilly sconced beauty but we did. I kind of hate the idea of having a fan running over the dining table so we never used that feature anyway. Our only problem was that we just couldn't decide what kind of fixture would look best in our dining room. Should the lights point up or down? Or have some of both? How big is too big? Should it hang from a chain or be flush mounted? What to do? What to do!
Wait long enough to make a decision that this little light fixture goes on sale at Menards. We are super happy with how it looks & the light it gives. Sometimes it's good to not be in a hurry.

And it's super good to live in town. Last Saturday we hauled that old ceiling fan out back by the alley just to see what would happen. Sure enough, within a couple of hours a tinker had come by & picked it up. No haul away for us!

It's also super nice to have another little improvement marked off of our list.

A Little Trial

Just over a week ago I cam home to find this box of goodies on our front porch.
Evidently I had filled out an online survey that made me a candidate for a trial of Herbal Essences new stuff. I think the major change has to do with new fragrances for their products. I have to use the shampoo, conditioner, & body lotion exclusively for two weeks.
This made me a little nervous for two very valid-to-me reasons.
I just got my hair colored. I paid good money for the work. This shampoo & conditioner do not mention that they are safe for colored treated hair. Oh no.
I like the fragrance of the products. But I am going to be running a lot. I am going to be outside tending flowers, mowing grass, visiting family members at camp. Is the lovely fragrance going to attract every tick & mosquito in the county? Oh no.

We will see what happens. I do have to admit that I am totally pumped to receive all three full sized bottles for absolutely free. And one week into Little Trial, I think I like the products. And I only have one mosquito bite.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The New Me

This isn't a goal-setting post.

Or a revelation of a personality change.

I actually just got my hair cut & colored. Usually I go with a brown shade that's essentially my natural color. Cover the gray & be done with it. In the pre-Michael days I would sometimes have a three color process (base brown to cover the gray, highlights & lowlights). I would be at the shop for at least three hours :-) But I have now recovered my sanity & decided simple is best. And Mike doesn't go for blondes or streaky brunettes trying to be blonde.

But I was getting bored. I wanted something a little different. Time to shake things up, I said!

This is the end result. It's really not that dramatic. But it will do for now. I somehow feel like less of a boring person. Should so much of my feelings be tied up in my hair? I don't think so either, but that's the way it is. Today, at least.

Now that we have that necessary, super important business out of the way, let's talk weekend plans!

Last weekend was great. Not much going on (& no, I didn't sew; but I did sew on Tuesday so we're good!). This weekend will be a lot different.

My parents are coming over for dinner tonight. The menu consists of homemade beef & noodles, mashed potatoes, whole wheat bread, & buttered carrots. Since it is Father's Day weekend, I am surprising my dad with Peanut Butter Bonbons for dessert. I think he will be happy. We will eat dinner, get online & find a Christmas movie DVD to order for his gift & he will feel muchly celebrated. Yeah, my dad loves sappy Christmas movies of the Hallmark variety. He has an entire collection. My personal opinion is that he likes them because they are so sedating. He never makes it to the end of a movie without having a good nap.

Then on Sunday we are going to have Mike's parents & his sister Jackie over for dinner. Jackie is a teacher in Illinois & we get to have her around some in the summertime. She makes the most fabulous spinach pies & so I love her. Dearly. And for reasons other than the spinach pies. They just sound good to me now so I had to mention them. Spinach pies. Just had to be mentioned again. Sorry.

Anyway, we are going to feed them barbecued pork loin sandwiches, feta pasta, & green beans with red potatoes. For dessert we are going to have a dessert that is a specialty in my family, Aunt Libby Bars. I have no idea who Aunt Libby is. I think my mom got this recipe from the newspaper. Either way, they are YUM.

So last night I scurried around doing some preliminary meal prep & getting the house all cleaned up. I was so wound up at midnight that Mike & I ended up watching 17 Again on the laptop in bed. The lights didn't go out in our little house until almost 2 o'clock in the morning. That made me feel like I was gonna die when I got up at 6:15. *yawn* I'm only feeling slightly like I've been hit by a Mack truck. Therefore, I rejoice that today is FRIDAY!

Happy weekend to you, too!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It Just Figures

We received one of these little dudes last year as a wedding shower gift. Except ours is white. And it's not the programmable kind. It just has an on/off switch. Small, simple & does the job. Makes me happy to get up on Saturday & Sunday mornings - wonderful, aromatic coffee!

The sad thing is, I broke the little carafe. It was the Saturday about a month ago when I loaded up with Beth & Madison for a whirlwind trip to Kentucky for Aidan's birthday. I promised Beth I would have fresh hot coffee ready when she picked me up. I knew we would need fuel for the road. Since I was going to be making enough for two coffee fiends, I decided to use my 12 cup maker. Said 12 cup maker was hiding behind the baby coffee maker on the shelf. In my rush-rush state of being (I was only running about 25 minutes behind my self-imposed schedule) I knocked the little carafe off the shelf & onto the unforgiving kitchen floor. It shattered & I yelped. Not happy sound effects. Not happy at all.

So I swept up the floor, woke Mike up to tell him he wasn't allowed to walk barefoot in the house for a week (those little glass shards are nasty devils) & made coffee in the other maker.

I am now going to get to the point of this whole post (you're exhausted already, aren't you?). That following week while I was out & about grocery shopping I remembered that I needed to replace my little carafe. Saturday was fast approaching & I needed (read: wanted) to make my usual little pot of coffee. I was afraid they wouldn't have a replacement carafe in the store & that I would have to order it online - what a hassle! the surfing online, the paying for shipping, the waiting for delivery - Ugh!

Lo & behold, they had replacement carafes right on the shelf by the little coffee makers! Yeehaw! I was tempted to dance with glee. Until I noticed the price stickers. The coffee maker was $15.99.

Guess what the replacement carafe cost.

I dare you.

The replacement carafe was $12.88.

For only $3 more I could have a new whole deal. But I didn't need a new whole deal. I just needed the carafe.

My dance of glee turned into a growl of disgust as I picked up the carafe & put it in my cart.

But I smiled on Saturday morning as I drank my cup 'o joe.

I'm addicted. I need help.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

For Better or For Worse

It's been almost a year since our lovely wedding day. Last night we were reminiscing a little bit about all the hectic activities that led up to the ceremony & how I was counting the days down & we were both dying for some good old rest & relaxation.

As our first anniversary draws closer I have been having these moments of reflection about what I have learned, what Mike has learned, & all the fun times we've had. It's been a good 340 days so far. We have both changed a lot & I'm sure that we've just begun to scratch the surface.

Part of my musing has been to think about what habits of mine Mike has picked up & what habits of his I have picked up. I think this is kind of fascinating - kind of like how you might pick up a friend's accent if you hang out a lot, but on a much deeper level :-)

I think one of the habits that Mike has picked up from me is list-making. I take it to an almost compulsive level. Planning the wedding did nothing to help me curb this addiction. I make a list every day - things to do, things to read, places to go, & so on. It just helps me unclutter my mind. Mike has started making lists. I use paper - notebook, journal pages, post-its. Mike uses the iphone. He's so techno. But it is organizing his life. I like that.

As I pondered what I have picked up from Mike, the thing that kept popping into my mind is that I have rediscovered my love of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch & Frosted Flakes. I have always love them; as an adult I have spurned them in my search for fiber & whole grains. I have been very happy to welcome them into our pantry. And Mike is sweet to share. I just have a couple of bites of what he is having at the time & everybody is happy!

So that kind of sums up our first year of marriage - kid's cereal & lists.

I know we are weird. That's just how we roll. *grin*

Friday, June 11, 2010

Today I am a happy girl. Admittedly, I can be a moody girl. This week I have been tempted to fall into that moodiness quite a bit & I hate to say that upon a couple of occasions I have been the Queen Of Mood. It hasn't helped that I have been a bit of an insomniac this week. I should be out of bed no later than 6:00 every morning (and that means I have to hit the ground running!) but I haven't been getting to sleep until about 1:00 a.m. Do that math people - five hours or less of sleep takes a toll on a body! Especially this body!

So today, I am happy. Today is Friday. Today the weekend begins. In about two hours, actually. Pause & breathe a grateful Hallelujah! with me. Feels good, doesn't it?

Part of the reason that I am rejoicing about this weekend is that we have absolutely no plans. No getting together plans, no shopping plans, no major project plans, no plans whatsoever!

Not that our lack of plans means that we will sleep in until noon, have bonbons for breakfast, & watch entire seasons of our favorite shows on dvd.

Mike & I both have lists of things we would like to get done. All of my 'chores' are just regular things. No major spring cleaning or yard work. Just the maintenance stuff. And I have discovered that if I set the kitchen timer I can get things done a whole lot faster! Simple, kind of silly motivational tool but if it works, I gotta use it!

And after all the regular chores are cleared away, I have a few projects that must be attended to. But these are the funner kind of projects, not things like hand mopping all of our hardwood floors or washing windows or cleaning out all of the registers & cold air returns (all of which need to be done but not by me this weekend!). I need to haul out my cross stitching project. It's for a Christmas present, but trust me that if I don't get crackin' in a serious way it will be a Christmas '11 present. Also, after my surgery I started watching the John Adams mini-series that HBO put together. It's six or seven episodes & I have a couple left to go. Thanks Aunt Ruth & Uncle Allan for letting me borrow them indefinitely! And I have some curtains I need to sew. I tend to procrastinate about sewing projects. I am just not naturally gifted when it comes to sewing. Not at all. So I put things off. Mike knows this. Mike likes to have this particular conversation with me every couple of weeks:

Mike:, what did you get for Christmas from your parents?

Me: You know I got a sewing machine. And don't call me baby. Not when you are asking me about the sewing machine. (imagine me giving "The Look of Death" Seriously, that's what it's called. The guys I work with know all about it - heehee!)

Mike: Is that what you asked for? A sewing machine?

Me: Yes.

Mike: Why? Because you never sew...(he holds his hands up innocently & shrugs like he really just doesn't understand)

He's a punk. Good thing I love punks.

Here's hoping I get some sewing done this weekend. It's already been a week or so since we had that conversation & if I don't get that machine out soon, we'll be having that conversation again. We need help.

Happy weekend to you all!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Workin' On A Little Green

As I have mentioned before, I am the daughter of a landscaper. That being said, I feel the need to clarify things just a bit. Although I am the daughter of a man who has a wealth of information about growing things & although I am the daughter of a man who has a wealth of skills regarding the maintenance of plants, I do not possess this same knowledge or skill. It has something to do with the fact that my dad does not like working with a whiny teenage girl who doesn't like to get dirt under her fingernails. That's why I never mowed grass until I had my own house.
Anyway, we have this yard now & it needs a whole lotta something. Mike isn't much of a yard man. He prefers working with wood. And I love the things he makes when he's working with wood. So I usually just leave him alone with the wood & try to tackle the yard stuff the best I can. But he is very good to let me borrow his great muscley arms when I need them for tasks like edging the sidewalk & digging big holes. He's good at that kind of stuff.
Before I got into making any major changes or planting anything new or big, I decided to embark upon a couple of little projects just to build my confidence a bit. Here are some pics of my little confidence boosters:
My Aunt Ruth & Uncle Allan gave us these geraniums sometime around Mother's Day. It's been over a month, they've been transplanted & left out in the elements. I have even watered them & they are still alive! They are no longer blooming, but at least they are not shriveled up & dead. I count that as a success.

This a is start of basil. I bought a little basil growing kit at the neighborhood yard sale at my brother's. These little dudes are growing from seed & they don't know it yet, but they are destined to end up in some wonderful Tomato Portobello Mushroom Bruschetta before the summer is out!

And here is Maggie Magnolia all staked up & looking fine nearly a year after she was planted. She is definitely a success so far.

And now, these confidence builders have empowered me to go on & do all of this:
This is a canna. She is growing from a bulb that Mike & I planted several weeks ago. Once these guys get started it is amazing how fast they grow. At some point they will reach about three feet tall & have lovely red & orange blooms. I can't wait!

We have a whole row of them along the east side of the house in the full sun. Look at that garden hose - my wonderful MacGyver hubby hung that up for me. It almost makes me want to wash my car. Almost.

And along the front of the house I did some planting this week. This is a tricky area because it is full shade. We have two large maple trees right in front of the house so this area only gets sunlight in the fall & winter. Not exactly prime growing seasons. So I planted a couple of shade loving ferns.

And several shade loving, easy to grow hostas. I've been told by my parents, several friends, & the cashier at the gas station that hostas are easy to grow. If mine die, I will deny that I ever planted them. I will dig up the remains & throw them over the river bridge. This blog post will self destruct & I will burn my gardening gloves.
Did you hear that hostas? You'd better grow!

Anyway, here's what the little bed looked like after I got done. Here's hoping for the best - root! grow! fill out! bloom! live long & prosper!
Thankfully all of our little green experiments were given to us. The canna bulbs came from my dad & the hostas & ferns came from the G's. Thanks for helping us out! Feel free to come by & water, weed, hold prayer meetings, etc.
If they don't die, I might post a progress update later in the summer. Happy gardening to one & all!

I'm Married to MacGyver!

Tuesday evening Mike & I headed out to Menards after dinner. They had some yard tools for sale with a rebate & my bargain loving self wanted to check them out. We also needed to go somewhere to find Mike & new lunchbox/cooler deal for him to take to work. I slipped on my trusty brown Old Navy $2 flip flops & we headed out the door.
When we got to Menards we had no idea where the shovels were so we just kind of wandered. That's how we shop. When I'm on my own, I'm kind of a straight to it, walk fast, & no nonsense kind of shopper. When we shop together, it's nothing but wandering aisles, looking at stuff we'll never buy, & taking our time. Mike is good for me in that way. My shoulders come down from around my ears & I relax. Ahhh...
So as we are wandering, looking at hoses & cleaning products & sheets of plywood, I was taking special care not to let my feet get too close to Mike's. Since it has been sandal wearing weather I have just about destroyed every toe on my feet stubbing them on Mike's shoes. Yes, I regularly invade his personal space. He signed up for it. So, I took a little step away from him & alas, my flip flop broke! I was aghast. I looked at Mike; he looked at me. I said, "What am I gonna do?"
The little post that goes between my toes had broken just above the disc that holds the post into the flip flop.
Here are the "trusty" flips. I guess $2 flips should only be worn for one season.

Here is the part that broke off. I tried walking for a little while just dragging my foot on top of the flip. Wasn't too graceful & made me feel stupid. Mike immediately found a salesperson & asked where the shovels were. No more wandering the store. We were in Crisis Mode. So then I took it off & walked one aisle before I kind of freaked out. I hate being barefoot in foreign places. I seriously feel like I'm walking around without my pants or something. Mike asked for the flip. He took his keys out of his pocket. Then he said, "You're going to owe me a keyring." I thought, "Huh?"
And then he did this:

He pulled the post through the flip where it should be. Then he unwound the key ring & jammed it through the post. Then he bent the ring out straight & broke off the long pieces. Voila! I could once again walk in my flip. It wasn't a permanent fix, but it made it possible for me to finish our shopping expedition in relative ease.
Then Mike took off his wig & mask & revealed his true identity - MacGyver! He has an awesome mullet :-)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This Is Why We Can't Afford A Full Cable Package

On Monday morning, Mike went by his parent's house to do a little touch up on a kitchen project. I was out grocery shopping. While he waited for the paint to dry, he watched the Food Network. Before I knew it, he was texting me with additions to the grocery list. He asked me to pick up some unsalted cashews. I was puzzled. As far as I knew, my man didn't have a big thing for cashews. And he likes everything salted, let me tell you. I was intrigued.

Turns out, he wanted to make cashew butter. You know, just like peanut butter but made with cashews. He had seen it on the Food Network & actually typed the recipe into his iphone. So last night we gathered in the kitchen with the ingredients & made some cashew butter.

It's a simple recipe. All you need is unsalted cashews, vegetable oil, salt, & sugar. I don't remember the exact amounts. You need two cups of cashews & then everything else is based on how you want the texture & sweetness/savoriness to be. We used about two Tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, & maybe three Tablespoons sugar.

Our little food processor got the workout of its life! We made some major demands on it with this cashew stuff. It got kind of hot & smelly at one point & I declared that we had to take a breather.
And no, that is not my fine-looking, muscley forearm. It's Mike's. He has great arms.

Sorry...I guess I've gone off topic - back to cashew butter! Are you wondering what we did with it after we made it? Are you thinking, "But Mary Ann, how do you eat cashew butter?" Let me tell you what we did. We made Grilled Cashew Butter & Jelly Sandwiches. Oh.My.Heart.

Today I couldn't button my pants.
Just kidding. But if I eat another one of these tonight...well, you just never know what might happen.
Cashew Butter - give it a try!

Black Thunder

My friend Stephanie is married to the guy that is the Assistant Camp Director at Camp Assurance. A group of us friends get together regularly & this past week we all met up at Camp so that we could try out their new attraction for this summer - BLACK THUNDER!
It's a little hard to see in the pics, but Black Thunder is a 100 foot slide made from some kind of plastic tubing. It's ribbed so it makes a funky noise. You ride down on a sled.

My camera has a terrible delay so we didn't have much success getting pics of us coming out of the slide. That blur up above is Sharon.

Here are Steph's two boys, Tyler & Brandon. They love living at Camp. I would, too!

Tyler even worked up the chutzpah to go down by himself! It was a ton of fun. We didn't get any of Camp's work projects done, though. Oh well, we'll just have to meet for dinner again soon!

Aidan's Fifth Birthday

A couple of weekends ago my sister, Beth & her daughter Madison & I all loaded up for a quick one day trip to our brother's house in Kentucky. It was the day of his son's 5th birthday party & also his neighborhood's yard sale day. Yeehaw! We hit the open road early!
My poor sister in law, Valerie, was kind of confined to their house so that she could operate their sale so Andy took us around to do some shopping. It was some good yardsaling, folks. I found a wonderful Labradoodle named Cooper. I would soooo have bought him (much to Mike's dismay) but he wasn't for sale. Hmph.
But I did score an Ann Taylor Loft leather purse for $5. I was delighted with that. And my mom scored a Longaberger basket complete with plastic & fabric liner for $10. Not too shabby!

Anyway, back to important stuff - Aidan's birthday! He is obsessed with monster trucks. It's hilarious. So Valerie made him a monster truck cake. It was super cool.

I forget what the monster truck's name was but it had something to do with being a Mutt. Sorry. Details aren't my forte.

Aidan obviously loved his cake. Way to go, Valerie! I personally was excited about the chocolate donut wheels. They were the kind that are yellow cakish in the middle. We call those wax donuts because the chocolate is so waxy. Doesn't sound good, I know, but I still love them.

Here is some of his birthday loot. It was a very good thing that Mike helped me pick Aidan's gift. I kept choosing things that Aidan would love but that his parents would hate - noisy, messy, millions of little pieces, etc. Mike kept reminding me that if we have kids someday, Andy & Valerie would totally go for paybacks. I married such a wise man *grin*

Happy birthday, Aidan! We had a lot of fun that day - but it went fast, for sure!
*DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend a one day trip to Kentucky for the faint of heart.

This Chef Has Been Pampered!

I came home from work a week or so ago & found these boxes on our front porch. A bunch of sorting later, our living room was practically covered in Pampered Chef orders. My little party totaled over $1,000 in sales (I'm still in shock!) & I was able to get some fabulous tools for my own little cooking endeavors. Thank you, Jenny for going along with my crazy idea for a long distance catalog party!

The Finished Product

Mike has finished our fabulous hamper! I am sooooo happy with the way that it turned out. To me, it looks like it came as a piece in our bedroom suit. It has three drawers in the center that hold typical bedside table stuff - books, lotion, etc.
It also has two very large pull out drawers on either side that hold our laundry. I have discovered that these two drawers can hold A LOT! And maybe not just laundry - heehee! If you are anything like me & you have lots of tidying up to do before company comes, you will be just like me & possibly stash a thing or two in drawers like these! So do me a favor if you come to my house, never open any drawers!

I love it, love it, love it!
Thank you, Mike!

Little Maggie Magnolia

Last year as a gift at one of my bridal showers, my dad gave us a magnolia tree. I love magnolias. They are so beautiful & they smell so good!

Little Maggie Magnolia had a rough start last year. I may be a landscaper's daughter, but I am no landscaper. I've been thinking that I need to post about all of my plants & some actual victories that my black thumb has had lately. But I'm afraid I will jinx myself. So we'll just talk about Maggie, at least for today.

The spring came & went & Maggie was all blown over. We knew we needed to stake her up but other things were more pressing (like, anything). So in these pics she is still listing very sadly. I was a little consternated that Maggie didn't bloom. I asked my dad, did we need to be worried? Was Maggie gonna be bloomless forever? He said that she probably just needed to have a good summer & then she would be able to set blooms this fall for next spring. *sigh* Spring 2011 sounded very far away.

Then one day, lo & behold! I got home from work & this is what I saw - a single beautiful bloom! Good job, Maggie Magnolia!

Soon after, she got staked up. And she's looking better than ever!