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,