So. . .I Did It!

Way back in this post in January, I said that I was going to do a 10K. I decided to do the Plaza 10K in September which seemed a really long time a way and I was sure I would have plenty of time to train and get ready. And before I knew it- Race Day.

Here I am fake smiling with my running partner, Angela, before the race. Notice I’m holding my stomach- that’s because I felt like I was going to throw up. I am really thinking “Why can’t I just go to Starbucks and do some shopping at Anthropologie?? What was I thinking? Sometimes I can’t even walk without tripping- how in the world am I going to run 6 miles?”
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The start.
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Can you guess when these were taken? Yep, right about mile one when we were still smiling!
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And the finish- not quite as smiley now.
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But about five minutes later we were back to being really excited and happy!
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If you ever decide to run a 10K, I thought this was a great one. The course is as about as flat as you are going to find, it was well organized and the atmosphere and scenery of the Plaza is really nice. Even got some window shopping done while we were running by stores. :) Believe me, if I can do it, YOU can do it! Congrats on a great race to my friend Angela who just starting running for the first time in January. She got a little angry at me (I may have kind of talked her into starting to run and signing up for this) around mile 5 but she was very glad at the end. :)

My goal was to just finish the stinkin’ thing but I knew that if I didn’t run the whole way I would be a little disappointed. No speed records were broken (301st place in my age group with a time of 1:10:25- woohoo!) but I ran the whole 6.2 miles! I haven’t decided what my challenge will be for 2015 yet but I do want to continue to try things that scare me a little- not anything too crazy or dangerous but just scary enough to be really exciting if I complete it! I’ll take suggestions as long as it doesn’t involve roller coasters, enclosed spaces filled with a lot of people, or anything outside in Kansas in August!

Napa

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I got to go to Napa for the first time with some friends and it was. . .wonderful!

These were growing everywhere it seemed- it was so beautiful!
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Our favorite winery was Reynolds Family Winery. It was small, beautiful, and a lovely relaxing place to spend a few hours on a sunny day.
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And even better than the wine was the food! Especially Mustard Grill. They have a HUGE garden right outside of the restaurant. I may or may not have made us almost miss our flight because I was wandering around the garden trying to look at everything! :) I still managed to get a few pictures before I was dragged into the car. . .
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Ready to go back any time girls!

The End of Summer

It’s official now. Summer is over. Labor Day has passed,the little kids started preschool last week, the high was in the 70s this weekend and I planted mums today! Here are my three babies on their first day of school. And by the way, Lainie has decided she wants to pick out her own clothes now so you will only be seeing her in this dress, a striped dress, and a shirt with a cupcake on it.
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I am sad to see my summer of fun end. I would imagine I am like a lot of moms who have a several small kids and who are on a budget- extensive travel just hasn’t really been a part of my life over the last few years! But somehow this summer, the stars aligned- we had a family trip to Omaha, a work trip to San Diego, extended family vacation to Table Rock Lake, a trip with friends to Napa and a quick weekend trip to Colorado with my husband. I will likely never go to so many places in one summer again but I loved every minute of it. . .well, maybe not every minute of the 10 hour hike up a mountain in Colorado but more on that later! :)

A few more pictures from our family vacation- we took the kids hiking on the same trail we went on last spring. The boys really, really wanted me to get some shots of these bugs. Just lovely, aren’t they?


These kids are great hikers!

Blake is really working on being brave and doing all the things his brother can do- we finally found a great way to talk him into doing things- his brother bribes him for $1. He owed him $4 by the end of the week! :)

Such a fun trip!


Dogwood Canyon

During our trip to Table Rock Lake, we spent a morning at Dogwood Canyon. We had thought about coming here on our weekend trip but paying for a trip to a park seemed kind of silly. I wish we would have though- it’s so beautiful there and worth every penny! A great place for a family bike ride with beautiful waterfalls all along the trail.
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And some fun caves to explore along the way too!
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And a few fun family pics to wrap it up. A great place to spend a day!
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Table Rock Lake

We had a great family vacation to Table Rock Lake a few weeks ago. They all look relaxed, right?
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Yeah, well we all kind of needed to sit in hot tub because my dear husband brought all kinds of equipment with him so we could all do family workouts in the morning! Hurray!

This was a favorite during one of the circuit workouts, not! Bear crawl through the sand.
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As you can see, the kids participated as well!
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And the course finishers!
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And some other favorite activities from the week.

Number one, of course, was chasing each other with fly swatters.
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And bean bag toss. We had some pretty intense face offs.
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Water Slide!
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More from our lake trip next time!

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Oh, goodness, this is delicious!
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There have been several times this week that I wished I still had some of this ice cream in the freezer. . .

1. My oldest is back in school. That means the helper and peacemaker is gone for most of the day and his younger brother and sister are a bit lost without him. And I have to pack lunches again- boo!
2. My husband did a fitness challenge at work and did a plank for ten minutes. What?!? I innocently wondered out loud how long I could do a plank and the next thing I knew, I was down at the elementary school doing a six part competition against my friend. It involved a bear crawl 100 yards across a field, pulling a sled 100 yards with 65 pound weights, 100 squats, and more. I will never open my mouth and wonder anything ever again.
3. I had to stop at DSW with all three kids and return a pair of shoes. I also wanted to look down ONE aisle of shoes. But apparently to a five year old boy, if a store has a slatted wall, obviously it’s because they want you to attempt to climb it up to the ceiling. I have a feeling his father would agree. Once I got my son pulled off the wall, the boys thought it would be a great idea to play tag. TEN MINUTES BOYS- that’s all I’m asking for!!
4. Somehow in the process of drying off his hands, my son managed to drop the hand towel into the toilet. . .that he had forgotten to flush. I suppose I should be grateful that he remembered to wash his hands.
5. I have a two year old daughter. Enough said.

And here’s the recipe from Epicurious! We don’t eat a lot of desserts or ice cream, but every once in awhile (see above!) a little treat is necessary. I am lucky enough to have a huge pot of mint growing out on my deck, but if you don’t, this amount of mint can be pricey to buy at the grocery store. I would suggest checking out the farmers market- I’ve seen it for $1 for a large bundle. I also use raw milk and cream.

Isaac Mizrahi’s Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ingredients:
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 cups fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions:

1. In large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar. In heavy medium saucepan over moderately low heat, stir together milk, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and mint. Heat until steaming but not boiling, then remove from heat.

2. Ladle about 1/2 cup hot milk mixture into egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent eggs from cooking, then slowly stir the egg mixture back into the hot milk, whisking constantly. Place over low heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat back of spoon (finger drawn across spoon will leave clear path), 5 to 6 minutes total (do not let boil or custard will curdle). Strain through fine-mesh sieve into large bowl, pressing on and then discarding solids. Whisk in heavy cream. Cover and chill until cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

3. Process custard in ice cream maker, adding chopped chocolate during last minute of churning. Transfer to airtight container and freeze until hard, about 3 hours.

Update!

It’s been awhile since I have done a post! I decided to take a few weeks off from blogging and have been busy traveling, hanging with my kids, running (that 10K is coming up soon!), and doing some redecorating. Well, actually trying to stay out of the way while my friend Angela decorates. I contribute smoothies and that’s about it! :)

I have also been doing some updates to my pages- hopefully this will make it easier to find recipes and other information. Check out my new and improved Eating Green page for some new healthy recipes. Here’s a few of my favorites:

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I will be posting some new recipes and pictures from our travels over the next few weeks if I’m not too sad from going back to getting up early and making lunches for school. :)

Thank Goodness for Chicken Wire

It’s been a weird year for gardening. We started with our bunny problems now that our dog Sadie is no longer patrolling the backyard. Despite small children chasing them screaming and being sprayed by water jets, it would seem the bunnies are here to stay. After having my garden eaten down to the ground, we finally put chicken wire all the way around the garden. Hopefully I can get most of the plants to grow back before the end of the summer!

And guess what the bunnies never even nibbled on?
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I haven’t had a lot of luck growing fruit so was thrilled with our cherries this year! We didn’t get a ton this year, our tree is still fairly small, but had a handful every morning for a week or so.
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And little did I know when I bought a lime tree that limes from Mexico would come under the control of the drug cartel and double or triple in price!
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I got my first jalapeƱo!
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And the out of control green onion plant.
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I have no complaints about the cooler weather and rain so far this summer but the tomato plants aren’t crazy about it- still waiting for our first big red tomatoes.
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The watermelon and basil are a little behind as well but we’re getting there! I’m not sure I’m going to get to basil bush status like last summer. :)

But it does look like I will have cucumbers coming out my ears! I think these baby cucumbers are so cute!

I love my pot of mint! A recipe for amazing Mint Chocolate Ice Cream is coming soon.
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Hoping for less bunnies, gentle rain showers every other day and an average temp of about 87 degrees the rest of the summer! :)

Easy Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread

We have been trying to eat sprouted or sourdough grains as much as possible but it’s not always easy. Our family can go through 5+ loaves of bread a week! We do buy Ezekiel 4:9 bread which is made from sprouted wheat but it is from the frozen section and to be honest- it’s a little on the tough side and just not our favorite. I was so happy to find this recipe- it only takes minutes to make (love my stand mixer!) and it’s soft, delicious, and slices up great for our pb&j sandwiches. This recipe is from Cultured Food for Life: How to Make and Serve Delicious Probiotic Foods for Better Health and Wellness- I would highly recommend this book!

Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups warm water (105-110 degrees)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
2 teaspoons Celtic Sea salt
4 to 5 cups sprouted whole wheat flour

Directions:
1. Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, and mix on low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball.
2. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise until the dough doubles in size, about 2 hours.
3. Punch down the dough, form it into a loaf, and place it in a greased loaf pan or baking sheet. Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned.

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Penne con Salsiccia

This pasta is one of my favorite ways to use up some of the arugula that’s coming in from the garden. And my kids will pretty much inhale anything with sausage! I’m not sure who to credit for this recipe- I clipped it from the Kansas City Star about five years ago.

Penne con Salsiccia
makes about six servings

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
4 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
16 ounces tomatoes, drained and chopped
ground pepper and salt to taste
1 pound penne pasta (I use the Jovial brand)
4 bunches arugula, rinsed and drained
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:
1. In a large skillet, heat three tablespoons olive oil on medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the chili flakes and sausage and cook until the sausage in nicely browned.
2. Add garlic, cook one minute more. Add vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan.
3. Cook several minutes until the vinegar becomes syrupy. Add tomatoes, cook another 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and toss. Add sauce from skillet; toss well. Add arugula; toss. Serve with grated cheese.

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