Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shaklee Saturday: Shaklee 180 intro

In November, Shaklee announce a new program to be launched on January 1, 2013.  Just in time for all those resolutions.  I did not attend the regional meeting to learn more but I sure wish I had.  There is so much to learn, I hope I can do it all before I re-launch my Shaklee business.


Here is a clip about the new product, I hope you enjoy it:

Shaklee Videos: Shaklee 180: You're Invited

I am loving the new look and can't wait to try the Crisps.  If you would like to join me in the new year, please leave a comment here, so we can get started together.  Here's to our health.

Off n Running,

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jars... Save or Recycle?

I started this post in early October.  I never made the time to take the photos and actually post this.  With my 21 day challenge, I thought it was time!  Here is what I originally wrote and how I am doing with the situation is below that.  

So I have been reading a lot about jars lately, I don't know if it is a sign that I have too many or a sign that I need to get them organized. Mark thinks they should all be put out in the recycle bin.  I think jars are kind of cool.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  I think it would be cool to have some of the blue glass ones.  Since reading these blogs and looking on Pinterest, I have had a few ideas of how to use them.  I have also had ideas on how to store them.

I first read about jars in Laura's blog HEAVENLY HOMEMAKERS.  She loves jars.  If you go to her site and type in jars, you will get a number of links for her writings on jars.  I am curious how she stores them when they are empty?  I do know that she has sparked my interest in gardening next summer, so that I can use my jars.  I made her Tomato Soup recipe and have 4 quarts put up for the winter, which is not enough for my family.  We love to have soup and grilled cheese.  :)

My basement looks like this:

I would love for it to look like some of Laura's shelves.  Today I was reading my emails and read this blog post about 15 ways to use glass jars at Eating Rules.  It just got me to thinking about  how to re-purpose my jars and the ones coming into my home.

Do you have jars?  Do you love them as much as Laura loves hers?

As part of my 21 day challenge, I am organizing this space and moving stuff around.  I don't like this shelving unit for jars, it is too unstable.  So, I need to figure something else out.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

First Great Date Complete!

8 Great Dates For Moms And Daughters: How To Talk About True Beauty, Cool Fashion, And Modesty! (Secret Keeper Girl)

I found this book a year or so ago.  SwimChick is in middle school, the age when all of these things matter the most.  I read through the first few chapters of this book and was nervous and excited about it.  I want my kids to be able to talk to me about all kinds of stuff.  I want them to be honest with me and not be afraid of my reaction when they are.  I thought this might be a good stepping stone.  

I wanted to start these dates over the summer.  Here we are December and we FINALLY did it.  As I stated, I was a bit nervous so it was easier to keep putting it off.  Then one day it became a reality and I couldn't put it off any more.

The school has incentive days.  These are days when they take the classes to movies or roller skating.  First quarter incentive was the week of Thanksgiving.  SwimChicks class went to see the movie "Wreck it Ralph", which she reported was good.  She also reported that a boy and girl in her class were kissing during the whole movie.  WHAT?!?!  There are so many wrongs with that.  First off, this was a school function, where were the teachers?  Second, this was a school function, why would it be ok to make out in front of all your peers?  I thought I have got to do these dates ASAP.  SwimChick was grossed out that this girl and boy were kissing with tongues and everything.  Good deal, I thought, keep thinking that way until you are at least 18 girl!

So, for our first date we went to the Anaba Tea Room in Shorewood, WI.  What a great place for our first date.  We listened to Dannah on the ride to the tea room.  She told us a story of a beautiful tea cup and we learned that we are all pieces of art that God is still perfecting.  I had called the tea room and made a reservation.  At that time I found out they only serve in "common" cups, so I brought some of our "fancy" cups.  I am praying that our first date is still working on her and will continue to do so as she grows.  

Here are some photos taken with the cell phone, because I forgot to bring the real camera:  

We ordered the Tea for Two.  We got 4 kinds of sandwiches, a salad and 3 desserts.  Yummy and fun.  We took food home there was a lot of it.  The atmosphere was perfect and it was not crowded at all, so no one looked at us funny for bringing our own tea service!  

As I said, I hope that the lesson about God's beauty in all of us got her to thinking and will open doors for great conversations in the future.

Off n Running,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Um, I lost the challenge, I think?!?!

Self-discipline Challenge 

Not sure who read my post on this great eBook and the challenge I was going to do.

Well, I started and had very good intentions BUT...?!?!?!  I don't know where I am with this.  And I am afraid to tell you that I only read the book to day 4, I think.  I have not taken any photos lately of the progress and I knew that it would not get done in 21 days.  With that being said, I am going to update you all now.  :)

Sometime since declaring that I was doing this challenge, the holiday stuff started to happen.  My children are wanting bigger and better items from us and Santa.  I mentioned one morning to ChessMaster that maybe he would like to try to sell some of the things he no longer plays with and wouldn't want to keep for his little cousins or own children some day.  (They play with toys that were mine when I was their age, so we have talked about this!)  He thought that would be ok.  So, we started with the Fisher Price Little People Noah's Ark.  He got this when he was a year old.  He got most of the animal sets too.  (Thank you God-Parents!)  I suggested he set it up and we could take a photo.  He had it all set up nice and cute, and... we can't find Noah.  How can we give away the ark and animals without Noah?  The great search began.  My DH even got involved.  We took all the boxes of toys down from the shelves, out of the toy box and dug through them.  This allowed us to sort EVERYTHING and toss some stuff, donate others.  No Noah!  We even dug around in the box outside.  He will show up, to this day we still can't find him, maybe he likes our house and doesn't want to be sold?

I did organized the shelves in the "pantry" area.  I moved the boxes of fabric and craft stuff away from that area.  Moved the crafts off the smaller shelf, donated some craft books and started more pantry shelves there.  I also defrosted the freezer.  It looks empty now.  Wishing I had more yummy fruits and veggies to put into it.  Next spring and summer won't come soon enough.

I did get a start on the corner with the boxes and boxes of clothes and stuff, but now some Christmas items are hiding in that area and will have to wait.  LOL!

It is a start and if I get a chance I will take some photos of the progress.  The new year is coming, I think one of my goals is to read this book through and honestly do the challenge.  Will I continue the basement project with my next challenge or pick a new project?  Hhhmmm, I have a few days to decide, stay tuned to find out.

Off n Running,

Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Review: Come to the Table

I love this writer!  I was so excited when I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for my honest review.   I couldn't wait to read it and see what happens next to Kat Davies.

So let me give you a bit of background first...  I first found Neta Jackson's Yada Yada Prayer Group Series at the Christian Book store.  I read the back cover and couldn't wait to read about the group of women from the Chicago-land area.  The main character, Jodi Baxter was attending her first Christian Women's Conference with her "boss" and church friend, Avis.  The women get put into groups at the Conference and end up bonding in ways they never knew existed!  I read 4 of the books in this first series.  

One day I saw Ms. Jackson had started another series:  The Yada Yada House of Hope Series.  I have not read any in this series, but can only imagine that it is an extension of the Prayer Group Series. 

Sometime ago, I received the first in a new series "SouledOut Series".  The first book called STAND BY ME, was AWESOME!!!!  We meet Katheryn 'Kat' Davies the day she becomes a Christian.  She is at a music concert and meets Bree and Nick there.  She realizes that she needs more in her life and these new friends help her become a Christian.  The three friends attend a Christian College in Chicago together and in book one, Kat finds the SouledOut church.  She also finds Avis Douglas' daughter and reunite the two. 

One day last week, COME TO THE TABLE arrived in my mailbox!  I remember seeing it on a list of books and filling out the "raffle ticket" online, but I was shocked when I got it.  Thank you, Lord.  I read this fabulous book over the weekend while I was at the swimming pool watching SwimChick!

This book starts where the first left off.  Kat, Bree and Nick are elbow deep into their summer.  Kat was volunteering with a summer program at Avis Douglas' school, working in a coffee shop and enjoying the summer.  She also is still looking to teach a nutrition class at women's shelters.  She connects with some of the folks we met in the first book and learns to allow God to lead the way.  I really enjoyed this book.

As I read, this I got an understanding in prayer.  I think that is why I enjoyed the Yada Yada Prayer group series so much too.  Kat is still fairly new in being a Christian and "learning" the ropes, but aren't we all still learning?  I forget sometimes that anything I say to the Lord could be a prayer and we all need to just ask for help sometimes.

Go here to get yourself a copy.  Happy reading!

Off n Running,

Monday, November 5, 2012

Beer Run Half Barrel

I did it!  I ran under 2 hours and completed a half marathon.  WOO HOO!!!!!

I had been dreaming of this for a few years.  Last fall when I joined the Team Challengers to raise money for the Crohns and Colitis Foundation, this was also a big goal.  I must admit I was a lot disheartened when sidelined by my cancer and hysterectomy.  But I have bounced back and am on a roll.

I think I mentioned in the past how I met a nice lady in the park one Sunday this past summer.  Mrs. H and I chatted it up and swapped information.  We have been running together ever since!  We meet early in the morning, like 5:45am.  I told her about this awesome race I was thinking about and how I had run the 1/6 barrel (4.1 mile) race two years ago.  I really wanted to try the half barrel race (13.1 miles) this year.  I emailed her the information (If anyone is interested on running next year check it out here, and click on events.) and she registered.  We were luck to register when we did, they sold out!  AND then added an additional 125 slots.  IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!

The temperature was hard to prep for.  It has been years since I trained in cold weather, like since 1999, when I trained for the Disney Marathon in Florida in January of 2000.  A friend lent me a great Brooks jacket that I am putting on my Christmas list (hint, hint!!!).  Another friend gave me a pair of tights by Mizuno, that I am in love with too.  Anyway, it was snowing when we got to the race site, but that stopped by the 11:30am start time.

When the gun went off so did my partner.  She was like a rabbit, zoom she was gone!  I saw her back for a few blocks then again when she found me at the finish line.  Man o' man is she fast!  She placed 3rd in her age group, finishing in 1:42ish.  I came in hard and finished in 1:57ish.  WOO HOO!!!!  We did it.

I am resting today.  Hope to get to yoga tomorrow.  I am meeting Mrs. H to do 3 miles on Wednesday.  I hope my tight muscles don't hold her back too much.  LOL!  Praising God for a fabulous partner on this new running path I am on.  Hoping to chat about some upcoming races to prep for and a plan to complete them well too.

Off n Running

Thursday, November 1, 2012

21 Days to A More Disciplined Life

So, I follow a few blogs.  Some time in the past two weeks, a couple of these blogs sent me information about a book called "21 Days to A More Disciplined Life" written by Crystal Paine.


These bloggers received the book and have completed the first reading, I think.  All of the bloggers are part of a 21 day challenge.  And today, November 1,  is the first day of their challenge.  I am joining this challenge.   I just re-read the beginning of the book and day 1, yesterday.  My plan is to post about my 21 days.  I am not going to commit to posting every day, as I see my last post was almost a month ago.  But I am going to do my best!

Day 1 Recap:  I love this idea.  It is like she is in my head and just got it together before I figured it out.  She is explaining how to make your list of big tasks and take baby steps to complete them.  So, for today we need to complete one simple task, I ironed on Dancing Princess' AWANA patch to her Sparks Vest!  Pretty simple task, but I am one to put it off.  (For example, Swim Chick is no longer a Junior Girl Scout, she bridged up and now has a new vest.  BUT, I still have to sew badges onto her Junior Vest!  Not my idea of fun, obviously, and this is why it didn't get finished.)  I have also found buttons to replace the two that are missing.  I can check that step off.

Next she has asked us to write up our big list of things to do.  I started my list.  I also started to break down that list into smaller chunks of projects.  Here are some of the tasks I continue to put off...

*Clean up the basement and get it organized
  - Clean off my desk
     Sort piles
     Recycle what I can
     Put things in their proper place
     Basically, make this a useable space for my Shaklee Business!
   -Clean off the "work table"
     Sew up projects on the table and chairs
     Donate Home School stuff
     Basically, finish projects, toss or donate so this table can be used for scrapbooking or other fun stuff!
   -Organize the play area
     Dress up
     Kitchen stuff...
   -Organize the boxes of clothes for kids to grow into
   -Sort stuff for donation boxes
   -Clean up the sewing and craft supplies
   -Clean up the shelves for food storage
   -Defrost the freezer...  This list may get longer, but it is a start!!!
*Sew up my t-shirt quilt
*Sew patches on Swim Chick's vest and messenger bag
*Get  Chess Master a sweatshirt and sew his scout patches onto it
*Blog more, get into a routine!
*Scrapbooks completed
   Christmas Album caught up and ready for the 2012 photos
   Dancing Princess:  First year, school days, Girl Scouts...
   Chess Master:  School days, Cub Scouts, fun books...
   Swim Chick:  School Days, Scouts, Swimming, fun books...**Note:  These are all books I have started and need to catch up on!!!!

The last task for today is to do one of the first tasks in your big job.  So, I took before photos of the basement.  I figured if I can complete this organization, then we can seriously talk about remodeling this space!  (We would like to put in a small bathroom and family/TV room.  You will see here, that can't happen if there is no where to put it because of stuff!!)

This is the start of our donations.  The table was put up for a Girl Scout event and never put away. 

Part of the play area.  My DH got fed up and banned the kids to the red carpet only for their toys and playing. 

The other part of the play area, here you can actually see the red carpet.  As you can tell there is not much room and it is in need of organization!

"Mark's Workout Area"  this is the front of the play area.  As of today he has banned the Wii and TV.  This is how he expects the basement to look ALL the time!

This is the storage corner of the basement.  You can see boxes and hanging clothes here.  Dancing Princess and I have started to go through the 4 boxes of 6/6X clothing.  I NEED to get this organized, because I am tired of tripping over it, myself.

Laundry area, a start of the organization!

More laundry space, but this corner is where we have too many other things that need new homes, too.  There are 3 shelving units and one cabinet.  The cabinet holds food stores, next to it are the canning jars and ice cream pails of oatmeal and flour.  The smaller shelves in the middle of the photo have craft supplies and food stores.  And the white shelves on the left are my bed sheets, I don't have a big linen closet so I have them here.

Here you see the white linen shelf and another large black shelf with more craft supplies and it is in disarray.  You are also getting a glimpse of the office space.  

THE Office space:

Wall 1:  I am embarrassed to show this but it is my desk.  Nice piles don't you think!  That little basket is the Christmas Cards from last year that need to get into a scrapbook! 

Wall 2:  Mark's desk.

Wall 3:  Shelf full of scrapbook stuff, piles of Homeschool stuff and Girl Scout stuff...

Wall 4:  Work table=more piles!!!!
So, as you see I have my work cut out for me.  Wish me luck.

Off n Running,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

When did it become October?

I can't believe how quickly this year has gone by.  One month ago today, I was sitting in orientation for the K5 program at school.  My baby is getting on the bus every day, and I think she is enjoying it a lot.  I think she likes the ride home on Thursday's the best.  On Thursday's, ChessMaster gets out of school early to go to chess practice, so Dancing Princess has to come home on the bus all by herself.  (sigh!)  They grow up too fast.
Waiting for the school bus, September 6, 2012

This has been the prettiest fall that I can remember.  And the colors on the trees has lingered!  Seems the leaves started to change two weeks ago, and are just now starting to fall to the ground.  Thanks Mother Nature for the beautiful scenery.  And the warmer temps.  I got to hang out some towels on my clothes line yesterday, and they dried before the bit of rain came.  I hope there are a few more clothes line days left in the month.  I wouldn't mind if it was still above 50 degrees at 5am, but I am getting used to my new running routine too!

What is your take on the drought?  Will we be having a warmer and drier winter?  My kids are praying for lots of snow so we can go to the farm and sled on the drive-way!  We will have to wait a few months to see, but I am afraid we are going to have a warm winter again this year with not too many snow days.

What does your October look like?  Chess Master is playing soccer, so most of the rest of this month we have games on Saturday and Sunday.  Swim Chick starts short course season meets next week.  Dancing Princess wants to start at a real dance school, we are currently not dancing at a studio with a teacher.  She is only dancing every chance she gets in the house and out of it!  To music on the radio, TV or just in her head.  She loves to dance!  We also have Parent Teacher Conferences at school next week, don't forget the Halloween Parties and Trick or Treating, Scouting stuff...

Happy October to you!

Off N Running,

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Review: Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks (The Confessions of April Grace)  by KD McCrite


Book Description

December 6, 2011 8 and upThe Confessions of April Grace (Book 2)
Just when April Grace thought the drama was over . . .
After an automobile accident, Isabel St. James—resident drama coach and drama queen—needs help putting together the church play. Mama insists April Grace and Myra Sue will help. April’s fall is now devoted to spending every afternoon with Isabel and Myra Sue—if anyone is as big of a drama queen as Isabel, it’s Myra Sue. Plus, she’s dumb. (Okay, not dumb, but "older sister dumb.") If that’s not enough, Isabel is wreaking havoc in the community trying to get Rough Creek Road paved, the new boy at school will not leave her alone, and then Mama drops the biggest bombshell of all . . . April Grace is no longer going to be the baby of the family . . .
Girls will completely relate to April and love her sense of humor as she deals with siblings, boys, and the many changes that come with growing up.  ~from


I received this book to review from the folks at  I read it last fall or maybe it was in the Spring, I don't remember.  I do know that I thought SwimChick would like it, but she has not read it yet.  In time, I don't know that I read everything my mom suggested for me when I was her age either. 


It was so long ago that I read the book, and now that I borrowed it out, I am not sure I can give it a proper review.  I really did enjoy this book.  I liked the drama of the older sister, and how they connected during times of worry and family strife.  It reminded me of belonging to a close knit family!  I think any middle schooler/tween would like it as well.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars, only because I can't remember the whole story now.  Enjoy.

Off n Running,



Women of Faith Event


I just returned from the 2012 Women of Faith Event here in Milwaukee.  This year I did not attend as a guest, I opted to volunteer.  If you attend as a guest, you must first purchase a ticket.  This year they offered the $99 ticket, plus a $10 box lunch option.  The fee for the ticket was more if you wanted to sit on the floor level and less if you got a big group to come with you.  I saw on the web that there was a free option if you volunteer.  That is my price range, LOL!  So, some months back I filled out the paperwork and signed up to be part of the ARENA TEAM.  I assumed that meant I would be inside the arena and get to see all the action.

It was a fantastic line up this year.  The theme in Milwaukee, WI was Celebrate What Matters.  Patsy Clairemont was back with her friends, Marilyn Meberg, Sandi Patty, Mandisa and Andy Andrews.  She also brought some new friends, Brenda Warner, Elisa Morgan and Amy Grant.  I was really looking forward to see all the them.  I prayed that Mandisa was going to get us moving this morning with her GOOD MORNING song...

The event actually started last night.  I arrived at 3:30 to get orientation and check in completed.  I was then assigned to the Arena Team.  There were 9 of us!  Nine?  Really?  And I was one of 4 women!  "What did I do?"  I thought.  (I was thinking that a lot last night!)  Our first assignment was to place programs onto the seats for the attendees.  Once finished with that there was a big waiting around period before the doors opened, and our next assignment was to hand out a flyer with next years date on there.


We were then free to go in and listen until about 9pm, we had to get some more stuff to hand out.  I did get to see some of Mandisa's concert last night.  FANTASTIC, the 3 songs I heard anyway!

I didn't sleep well, I won't bore you with that...  Overslept today and go to the arena 10 minutes late.  No worries, we were given more flyers to hand out.  Then were told to meet at 10, right in the middle of Patsy and Marilyn's sessions.  I like those ladies and missed hearing them.  :(  Marilyn did mention that this will be her last season with WoF.  God bless you and keep you in His light on your next adventure Marilyn!  I missed about 2 hours of the event when I had to help hand out the lunches.  I got to mingle with the other helpers, but missed these speakers.  The upside is that my lunch was yummy and paid for by the conference.  Then we were free for about 3 hours.  I got to hear Brenda Warner speak and am looking forward to reading her book now! I also got to hear most of Amy Grant's concert.  She was fantastic.

Overall, I am not sure that I want to volunteer again in the near future.  Not until I get some serious soul healing anyway.  I do want to attend next year with a group of my family and friends.  So mark you calendars and start saving your money ladies, I will be organizing something in the new year!!!!

Off N Running,

Friday, September 14, 2012

Recipe crazy

I am really struggling with the menu planning here.  Anyone got any suggestions?  I am trying to cut the dairy, as it is not good for my body.  We are also not eating meat, fish yes, other meats no.  See why I am having a hard time?!?! 

Pinerest is not helping.  Although I have found some pins with great Menu Planning printables, these don't do the planning for me!  If you are interested in seeing what I have pinned, here are the sites:

The Project Girl ~ I like this one because it gives you space for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  I don't need all the lunch squares now that the kiddos are in school and carrying a lunch, but summer and vacations it is good.

The Sisters Cafe ~ I like this one for the same as above, plus you can do a grocery list.

Homeschool Creations/No Ordinary Moments ~ I just love everything Jolanthe puts together!  She has great homeschool printables and these menu planners.  I like that I can edit and print off each month with her planner.

I have also fallen in love whit Laura over at Heavenly Homemakers.  She has a post about menu planners, too.  What I am loving about her blog is all the great recipes she has made simple.  We LOVE Tomato Soup and grilled cheese.  Laura has an easy, yummy recipe for homemade tomato soup.  I have 4 quarts put away, but need to make more!    I made her Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe and used it instead of store bought canned stuff in a rice recipe.  YUMMY!!!!!

DH has been tracking our meals somewhere and said the other night that he has about 23 different dinners we have made at home.  Um, ok, but what about trying new recipes.  I have TONS of those.  And what about all the shopping?  One of the things I hope to get a grasp on now that the kids are in school, menu planning.

Off N Running Menu Planning,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Running has the power to change your life.

"Running has the power to change your life. It will make you fitter, healthier, even happier."

Selene Yeager, "Let's Get Started," May 2010 issue of Runner's World

When I posted about the kids first week of school, I mentioned that I was training for a half marathon.  This quote made me think about my running career.  When I told the kids I was training, Swim Chick said, "Oh, I thought you were just running to get some fat off of you."  What kids won't say!  I chuckled and said that is why I started running again, but yes I am training for something.  I started to think about my running career.

I miss running with my old teams.  I went to the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire.  I had been a cross country and track runner in high school and did not know if I wanted to do it in college.  I was young and naive.   Both in high school and my first year or two of college.  To me school was school, it was always hard.  I was not the best studier and am hoping that I am teaching my kids better habits, so they know better when they decide if they want to go to college.  Anyway, I was about 110 pounds at 5 feet 3 inches on graduation day from high school.  By November/Thanksgiving Break I had gained way more than the Freshman Fifteen!  I was topping the scales at 130/135.  I went home for the break and ran into the boy who dumped the day before I left for college.  He said hello, and that I looked good, did I gain some weight?  WHAT?!?!  I had some choice words for him.  And those that know me, would have been shocked by my choice words.

That night at the dance I decided, I had better join the track team.  I grew up on a farm, ate whatever I wanted and up to that point didn't worry about my weight.  I also knew that if I wanted to continue to eat what I wanted I need to run.  I join this amazing team of women and ran long distance.  Coming from a small farming community to the university, I was afraid to get too far from campus for fear of getting lost in town.  With the track team, I found places on runs that I had heard of be never ventured out to see.  It was great.  I got invited to parties and no one cared if I drank with them or not.  They all seemed to like that I was there.  When I was about to turn 21, the legal drinking age, my track friends took me out and made sure I was safe.  These women became my new family and I am greatful every day that they were there for me.  I miss them. 

After graduation, I continued to run.  I have completed 4 full marathons in my running career.  I have completed one half marathon and am currently training for another.  This quote just made me feel like sharing how running has made me happier and fitter, although that is a work in progress.

Off n Running,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Had to share one of these beautiful photos from my DH trip to Oregon.  God has made some breathtaking wonders!

Off n Running,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

October UnProsessed Challenge

October Unprocessed 2012

I was surfing the web, on Sunday September 9, and found this awesome challenge. I think I am going to jump in with both feet. I love the idea of unprocessed food and homemade has always tasted better to me. If you want to join the challenge, go to Eating Rules and sign up. I will try to link up with them as often as possible.

I would like to have a freezer full of food to help with our new school year, making of the lunches and breakfasts, and those busy nights when there is not time to prep a full meal, but time to eat one!

So in my searching I have found some great food blogs.  I started following 100 Days of Real Food..., and found Heavenly Homemakers this summer too.  I am LOVING Laura's recipes at HH.  Over the weekend, I made my first batch of tomato soup from her site.  4 our of 5 of us liked it.  I have 3 quart jars and one pint canned on my shelf.  It was super simple to make.  Now I am hunting down tomatoes to do some more.  We have grilled cheese and tomato soup once a week in the winter, it seems.  It is an easy go to meal for super busy nights.  

Both of the blogs above have gotten me started on the clean eating and cooking process again.  Now that I am without children in the daytime, I am hoping to read more of their blogs and glean some recipes and tips to use in my own kitchen.  I am looking forward to this challenge in October, especially with it being Halloween month!

Off n Running,

Monday, September 10, 2012

Now what?

Swim chick one month old, 2001

Chess Master, a day old, 2003

Dancing Princess, a day old, 2006

Summer 2012

I can't believe how big my kids are getting.  And now that they are all out of the house, I am not sure where that leaves me.  I envision time to clean up and organized my home.  I envision time to read a good book, go to yoga, take a cake decorating class, knit up some socks, start on homemade Christmas gifts.  I see myself canning and cooking for Once a Month meal planning.  I see myself taking out unwanted toys and books to share with other families by dropping off at St. Vincent de Paul or Goodwill.  I really see myself taking time to get to know who I am again.  But as we all know, the best laid plans do not always go the way you thought they might.

My DH mentioned, a few weeks ago, that he would like me to get a job.  I am currently only working as a massage therapist 3 sometimes 4 days a week at a health club in town.  I love my job there.  I get free membership to the club, I get discounts on extra classes, I get free child care when I need it, and I think my clients like what I do for them too.  I have been doing massage for almost 19 years and my body is starting to feel it.  I have been trying to trade with other therapists to keep myself in top form, but I have come to the conclusion that I can't add anymore hours to my massage practice.  If I want to keep running and doing massage, I have to take care of me, so 3 days a week it is.

I need to chat more with my husband to see exactly what his thoughts are on my new found "freedom".  Just the other day, he was all upset.  He said, "I think I am frustrated because I don't know the new schedule."  I didn't comment directly but did say, "I don't know the schedule either."  I really got the feeling that he thought I had the last week off.  Dancing Princess and I had our normal Wednesday, in my mind.  Normally we get the big kids on the bus and head to my massage job, returning around 2:30 or 3 in the afternoon.  Last week, we had her first day of school and ran some errands and were home by 3:30.  Thursday I was invited to a women's group and had something at the club at 11, I was not home for more than a few hours.  Friday, a work day, I was gone from 8:30 in the morning until 4pm.  Not sure when he thought I would be home to clean and cook.

We also have different visions of what the house should look like.  I have to remind him that we have 3 kids.  I think he forgets that they are not grown ups and expects them to remember to pick up when they are done with something.  I want them to remember having fun times being creative and playing together.  I dread that they grow up and tell their kids, "When I was your age, I couldn't have my toys out in the open.  I had to sneak them into my room or hide them!"  (OK, that is a huge exaggeration, but kids tend to do that!)

So, in my near future I see a much needed talk with DH about what he expects of me now that the kids are in school.  I have been getting excited about making doctor appointments, because this is the first time in 11 years that I get to go alone.  Since Swim Chick was born in 2001, I have taken the children with me on every doctor and dentist appointment.  As they have gotten older, they waited somewhat quietly until I am done, but they were with me.  I know some may think this is crazy, but I feel that I have nothing to hide and it can be educational too.  How many of you HATE the dentist?  I don't mind, and when Swim Chick was tiny, I brought her in the car seat carrier thing.  She watched as the dentist cleaned, flossed and polished my teeth.  She saw that I was not in pain or being hurt and we got to go home with a new tooth brush!  Because of this, I think my kids look forward to seeing the dentist every 6 months.  And they don't get anxious about going to the doctor either.  On the other side, Swim Chick is terrified of getting shots.  I had my thyroid removed in 1999, and have to "donate" my blood samples for testing of thyroid levels to be sure I am on the right amount of medicine.  Again, she has been with me since infancy.  I sit in a chair, stretch out my arm and they tie a blue band around it.  I wince and look the other way so that I don't see them poke the needle in to get the sample.  Is this why she doesn't like shots?  Maybe?  Maybe not?  But Chess Master and Dancing Princess have been there too.  And they don't scream bloody murder, when it is time for shots.  They wince and tear up, but no screaming!

Anyway, how do you fill your days?  Do you have a job that lets you put your kids on the bus and be home when they get off in the afternoon? 

Off n Running,

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A new school year

The first day of school for my older two was September 4.  Man were they excited.  So much so that they went to bed BEFORE 8pm.   Because I am training for a half marathon, I told the kiddos that I need them to help me out by making their own lunches this year.  Dancing Princess was a bit concerned as it is her first year of school!  I told her I would help.

First Day of School!  ChessMaster is in 4th grade, Swim Chick is in 6th and Dancing Princess is starting K5!
 A week or so ago, I started to "stock" up on lunch box items.  My kids like chips and snacky things in their lunches.  I found some lunch box sized chips at the grocery and had the extra money to purchase these.  They were excited and actually didn't touch them until it was time to make school lunch.  Over Labor Day weekend, we visited my cousin, who has a Costco card.  I picked up two cases of Annie's Bunny Crackers, one case of Annie's fruit snacks and two huge bags of Veggie Straws!  This should last us until I can save up and head there again!  LOL!!

So on September 3, ChessMaster and Swim Chick made their own lunches.  I think I may have completed #65  in my 101 in 1001.  I will keep you updated on that!!!!  Dancing Princess had a rolling start to her school year.  They divided the K5 classes in half, so some started with a Parent Orientation on the 4th and some on the 5th then they all went to school together on the 6th.  Confusing I know, but she was fine with it and we made it work. 

After one week down, I think they are all happy with their teachers and the process.  I know it is going to take us some time to get used to the new routine.  I am going to post about how I hope to fill my days tomorrow!  I am an empty-nester in the daytime now, most days, so that is a post waiting in the wings!   Dancing Princess wants to go to school EVERY day.  Friday night after getting off the bus, she informed me that tomorrow is a day off of school, and that they go the day after that.  On Saturday night, she wanted to know if there was school tomorrow.  I am glad to hear she is liking it.  :)

Getting the new routine down is always a challenge.  Chess Master is going to play soccer again this fall.  We are with the school/park and rec team for the first time, so new schedules and routines there.  Swim Chick starts a new swim season this next week.  Need to get her registered and to practice 4 days a week.  And Dancing Princess wants to go to dancing school.  Got to find out more about that this week. 

How was your first week or two of the new school year?

Off n Running,

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Shaklee Saturday

Joint & Muscle Pain Cream
Today I want to tell you all about this amazing product.  I love it.  As a massage therapist, I trust this product and when clients come in to see me, I ask if they would like some on the problem area.  It is safe and kid friendly too.  SwimChick and BallBoy have asked me to put it on their sore muscles after meets, practice or games.  You all know I sell the stuff, but I wanted to share a testimony from a friend of mine:

It was another Friday night at the gym watching my daughter practice and all was going well. I looked over at one of her teammates talking to her mom.  She was holding her arm and crying. I went over to see what was going on. The gymnast told her mother that her shoulder was hurting and that she could not even raise her arm to scratch her nose. I asked the mother if she would like to try what I use on my aches and pains. She said she would give it a try because there was a big gymnastics meet the next day. She rubbed the joint and muscle cream on her daughter's shoulder.   

Then, I sat back and watched this little dynamo start rotating her arm around slowly at first and then faster and faster.  She ended up going back out to the gym to finish the practice. The next morning, I asked the mother how her daughter was feeling. She said she was a little sore and stiff, so I offered her the joint and muscle cream again. The mom said "yes" and put it on her daughters shoulder again.  Her daughter went out to compete, and she did fantastic. 

She ended up taking first place on all four events and placed first in the all around while setting the scoring record of the gym for her level!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Bob Kofoed

Thanks Bob, what a great story.  I know my running will be easier to recover from with this on my shelf too.  

Off n Running,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What are you running for?

I signed up to receive a quote of the day from  This is today's quote:

"I believe in using races as motivators. It's hard to keep an exercise program if you don't have a significant goal in sight."

Bob Greene, fitness instructor

I had to share and blog about it, because it still truly amazes me how much everything is connected in life, and this quote just fits with my life at the moment.

A few weeks back, I went for a run into the park near my house.  Depending on the device I am using, it is roughly a 3 mile loop from the house into and around the park and back.  It was later than my usually 5:30am run, and in my opinion the park was crowded!  LOL.  (There are about 3 people I usually see on my runs, that day there were more than 3!)  As I ran my loop I was passing walkers and saying good morning, and then up ahead I came across a lady running.  When I got to her, I said good morning, and commented on the cooler weather.  It was not 75 at 7am!  She fell in step with my pace and we chatted for the next few miles.  I found out that she has a Husky, named Jake.  She is an early riser like me and enjoys running.  She gave me her email and phone number and we decided to stay in touch.

I emailed her as soon as I got home!  I have lived in my neighborhood for 11 years, and this was the first time I found an early riser who wants to run.  I couldn't let this one get away.  Mrs. H and I have been meeting at 6am for the past 3 or 4 weeks.  During our runs we chat about our families and work and it helps the time go faster.  One day I mentioned that I would like to run another half marathon.  I have not been on a regular running routine in years. (12 years ago I was training for the Flying Pig Marathon and my running partner had to have foot surgery.  Then we found out we were having a baby and I hung up my shoes.  Bad decision, but I will have to tell that story another day!)  I had been eying up the Tyrenena Beer Run, but had not committed to it yet.  She was game, so we are now officially signed up to run the half barrel race on November 3, 2012.  

This quote says he uses races as motivation.  I am motivated to finish my second half marathon.  Mrs. H is helping me achieve the goal.   We are following this program that she found.  We need to find a 10K in September as part of our training, got any suggestions?

I am excited to be running again, for real.  I have dabbled in running for the past 11 years.  SwimChick's birth changed so much in my life.  I love my kids and they are old enough now that I can start to focus on me.  Running has been a part of me for a long time.  (My 25 year High School class reunion was this summer!)  I became a runner as a freshmen in High School.  It wasn't until I joined the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire track team in the fall of 1987, that I understood running.  I miss that time out on a run with my friends and my thoughts.  I miss the way my body looked too.  As the quote states, I need a race to keep me motivated.  Having a running partner again, helps too!

Mrs. H, thanks for being in the park that day and becoming my running partner.  I look forward to our early morning runs and chats.  Thanks!

Off n Running,

Friday, August 3, 2012

101 in 1001 Update

Well, I have not forgotten about my list, I just have not been very good at updating it!

If you go to the link at the top of this page you will see that I have crossed out the items that I have completed.  Some of them are still in the works and some I am not sure that I still want to do.  But I made this list and we will move on from there.

Here are some more photos from Brewer games we went to this year (2012): 
Outside Miller Park in May.  Just me and the kiddos.
Gotta love the Racing Sausages!

I like this shot, might have to remember it for the Christmas Card this year. 

More Racing Sausages!!!!

Practicing his pitching!

I have crossed off #39!  I took the kids to a Brewer Game with the MOMS Club on half price day, May 23, 2012.  Then my parents took us as a whole family to a night game on July 2, 2012.  Both games were fun.  The photos above are from the day game.  We walked around the concourse and did some fun stuff for a bit. 

Off n Running,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How is your bucket list coming along?

Happy August to you all,

We have had a busy summer.  Baseball, swim practice, dance, ...  That is just the stuff we HAD to do.  We have been taking time to have fun too.  We have been babysitting the neighbor kids this summer too.

Just before school let out in the spring, I had the kids write down 10 things they wanted to do this summer.  We have done some of the items and since it is the beginning of August, I thought I would post some of what we have done.

They both listed swimming, visit the farm, go to Great America, go to the zoo...  Enjoy.

I will post a few photos here...

Ballboy at bat, early in the season.  Nice green grass there.

Swimchick and Dancing Princess at a Girl Scout 100 Year Celebration at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI.
In May, I registered Dancing Princess for Girl Scouts.  She is so excited.  She gets to be like the big girls now. 

At a beach on Lake Michigan, playing in the sand.

 We went to a Nature Center.  Here the kids are looking for frogs in one of the dried up ponds.   

 We ate lunch there too.

We then went on a walk to the tower, it was all enclosed so not too scary!  It was a fun day.

Playing at the mall fountain is always fun.  Especially on these crazy hot days!

Grandma & Grandpa took us to a Brewer Game.  It was great, we stayed the WHOLE game AND they won!!!

Sleepy boy!  Got up early and fell back asleep on the couch.  We have had the air conditioner running, so he was cold and snuggled into his Chess blanket.

Our latest adventure was a trip to Six Flags Great America.  We had fun, even though we spent more time in line than on rides.  Got to cross off this activity on their 10 things they want to do this summer!

Off n Running to another fun activity!