Oh Fudge, Foiled Again

When we were youger, we mainly played educational computer games. I have fond memories of a game called Museum Madness that I don’t think anyone will ever understand but my brother. I actually found a download for it, but that might ruin the memory. One of them that I don’t recall the name of was a spelling game. It involved a castle, and a knight/king/dragon, and when you spelled the word right and got to pass, one of them always said “Oh fudge, foiled again.”

And that phrase has been repeating in my head for the past few days.

The past few weeks have been really busy. We threw ourselves right back into our regular schedule when we got back from our cruise, and I still feel like I am playing catch up. I felt like I needed a day off last week, and decided to swap a Friday rest day for a Thursday rest day. No big deal, right? But then Friday we had a playdate at 10, and Simon didn’t wake up until 9. He never sleeps that late! Okay fine, I can really run two days in a row.

Saturday I was getting a little sick and had probably the worst run of my life. Ever! Like bending over panting because I couldn’t take a full breath. And that was with walking 85% of it. Sunday we had to meet a friend at 10 and not only did we not have enough time, there wasn’t anyone to watch Simon at my parents’ house anyway.

So we got back home on Sunday night. I am doing a good job of not beating myself up about it, and I figured we would just have a do-over this week since I had some extra time on the half-marathon training schedule.

“Oh fudge, foiled again.”

We have pretty much spent the last two days like this:

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Remember the playdate we went to Friday, the one we missed the run for? All the kiddos had fevers over 100 degrees by Monday afternoon.

This is really Simon’s first time having anything more than an annoying cold. But I chose to deal with it as naturally as I try to deal with his colds. And for a fever, that meant I didn’t do anything. I believe that a fever is your body’s natural and most effective way of fighting off whatever bug/infection/virus you are dealing with.

I did a quick search for natural relief from fevers, and found a pretty nice list. In the end, we went the “lukewarm bath” route, with a bath morning and night. We also went for a walk, and it was by far the happiest he was all day, both yesterday and today.

He is pretty much better now, although it has been a rough 48 hours. But considering how contagious this virus seems to be, there is no way I can bring him to the gym tomorrow. Solutions?:

1. We can run outside
Problem: It is supposed to rain

2. We can use the weather shield
Problem: It was lost in the move and I haven’t ordered another one.

3. We can wait until Thursday, run Thursday, Friday, and Sunday.

I think option 3 is the only viable option, so I suppose we are putting it off for another day. If it gets nice out later on we will walk again, but I’m disappointed to be so off schedule already.

Last week was only week 2, and it didn’t get completed. Is it just me, that something always comes up? Something always foils my plans. I’m trying not to get frustrated, trying to tell myself that I still have more than 12 weeks, that I still have time to even start over if I want. I guess I’m just worrying that I’m going to keep doing that until I don’t have 12 weeks left, and then what happens in week 9 when Simon or I gets sick again?

At any rate, right now, I do still have plenty of time to train. Hopefully with the weather getting nicer, any more debilitating sickness is behind us for awhile. At least I can hope. So we will for sure be back to the treadmill/pavement on Thursday, but for now I’m going to spend one more day enjoying the only good thing about having a sick baby:

Baby snuggles.

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Half Marathon Plans

I have good news!  Remember when Simon used to scream when I left him at the Y’s childcare?

Now, he screams when we leave.  He has found a new love, and that love is:  Trucks.

Trucks, trains, cars, anything with wheels, and he is in love.  When we get into the childcare room, he squeals, leans over to be let down, and doesn’t even look at me when I say goodbye.

I could be emotional about it, but I love that I don’t have to worry about him and can stay at the gym a little longer.

This came just in time, because I felt a little bit like I stepped off a clif last week, when I signed up for a local half-marathon.  The longest race I’ve ever done was 8.14 miles, the Great Alhoa Run in Hawaii, but that was 5 years ago, and it didn’t go awesome.

But for the first time, I feel like I have actually set myself up for success with my plan for this half-marathon.  Normally I will sign up for a race as an impetus for starting a workout regimine, and while that is great idea, I never give myself enough time to start up a base as well as train, and I get frustrated or hurt, and don’t do well.

Most standard half marathon training plans are 12 weeks long, and the race isn’t until the 2nd of September, quite a bit longer than 12 weeks from now.  On top of that, I already did the first week of Hal Higdon’s half marathon training plan this past week, and it felt good; I don’t have shin splints, my quads aren’t sore, there is no twinge in my knee.  And while I’m not against it, I didn’t have to walk at all.  I feel like all of those 20 minute workouts have put me a step ahead of where I need to be.

I made myself a training spreadsheet to track my workouts over the next few months.  I can’t help but track my progress somewhere.  I will not be following the program exactly because I have extra time, so I will be repeating a few of the weeks, but the basic plan is pretty easy to adapt for extra time.

So hopefully in a few months I will be able to have one of these:

Although something like this is probably more my style:

So this summer will be spent running:  on the treadmill, with the jogging stroller, on the trail with friends, I will be doing whatever I can to be prepared for my first half-marathon!

As an aside, if things on here look weird for a few days and I don’t post as much as usual, it is because the power cord for my computer died this weekend.  So while I wait for my knockoff power cord to arrive, I will be using my husband’s computer, and I’m not used to it.  But hopefully it will get here hastily!  I miss my Mac already.

Vacation Pictures

Well hello!  We are back, and we had a fabulous time!  I am still running around a bit crazy-like, trying to get unpacked and cleaned, whilst restocking the fridge and preparing for our upcoming weekend visitors.  It never ends, does it?

Since I’m still feeling a bit in a whirlwind, I thought I’d just do a quick recap to share some favorite photos from our trip!

We spent the first two days at sea.  We didn’t do anything fancy, just walked around, looked at the water, took pictures, napped, and played in the pool.  Oh, and Mommy did get her hair cut!

 

On our third day, we got off the boat!  We stopped at Grand Turk, and discovered that Simon loves playing in the sand!  Then it was back on the boat for a nap and some more pool time.

Our second port of call was Carnival’s private island, Half Moon Cay.  This was definitely our favorite day, we had such a great time!  Simon took a nap on the beach, we swam in the gorgeous water, ate lunch on the island, and really got to spend most of the day relaxing on the beach.  Perfect.

Our third and final stop was in Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island.  I have been here before, back in high school, and we were not impressed, so we decided to do an excursion to the botanical gardens.  Simon is happy anywhere he can run around, but since there were also ducks, he was thrilled!

 

Back on the boat, and back to Baltimore!  We had another relaxing day playing in the pool with Simon!

And then we had to leave.  We got some time to hang out on the boat before we had to disembark, and Simon found his way into a window.

For our first family vacation, this went so well.  Everything was completely stress free, and we all had a great time!  Carnival has a lot of kids programs, but Simon was too small, so we did hang out with him for the entire week.  He had a great time just walking around, climbing the stairs, and playing in the pool.  If you’re looking to go to all the shows and hang out at the bar all night, you’d probably want to wait until your kiddos are a little older (at least over 2, which is when their kids programs start).  But at the end of the day we just wanted to spend time together, and this was perfect for that.

Now I have a pile of laundry staring me down that I must take care of.  Hope everyone had a lovely week!!

 

Mr Nibbly Sweettreats

While I was at the gym this morning, Rachel Ray was on.  I could have changed it, but Alyson Hannigan was the guest, and I like her, so I kept watching.

After Alyson’s segment was a “double duty” Easter decorating segment, which sounded promising.  Until it started, and I realized I had already seen each idea:

Using plastic eggs as table weight – genius!  It is still too cold to eat outside here, so I didn’t pin this one, but you had better believe this has been all over Pinterest for weeks.

Feeling cheap?  Those free paint chips have been turning themselves into garland all over Pinterest – Easter eggs included.  I also didn’t pin this.  I prefer to decorate with Peeps.

Okay, this Pinterest tip really is genius.  I did have this pinned, and I think we are actually going to dye our eggs on Easter.  Because Mommy waits until the last minute like that.

I’m not trying to bash Rachel Ray, I just really couldn’t believe that this is where their ideas are coming from.  Pinterest?  Why should I spend an hour watching the show to get three tips, if I can get hundreds of Easter tips from Pinterest in a matter of minutes?

Anyway, I normally have a few things planned for each holiday, and then give myself a hearty pat on the back if I manage to get one crafty thing done (check!  see: Peep wreath).  I did start a second craft for Easter, but only got partway through…it was oh so cute though:

Unsure what exactly you are looking at?  Well, I have a…let’s call it glorious, collection of Boyd bears (and bunnies, and pigs, and lambs, and cats, and…).  A few years ago, I got the little guy on the right who came with a carrot of jelly beans.  I did refrain from eating them, but after a year or two they were melted and disgusting, so this bunny was left with his hands stuck together and nothing to hug.  Nothing to hug?  So sad.  Poor Mr Nibbly Sweettreats.

Well, in trying to move forward in my crochet adventures, I had decided I was going to crochet a couple of little carrots, because it would be cute for Easter.  It did come out really cute!!

It, as in one.  Not a bunch.  I was trying to find someplace to display my lonely carrot and lo and behold, it fit snuggly into Mr Nibbly Sweettreat’s waiting arms.

The pattern is free on Ravelry, with a whole set of crocheted vegetables.  I was really surprised with how easy it was, since this was my first little knitted or crocheted toy.  In fact, it was so quick and easy, that now I have my sights set on the whole set.  I have dreams of Simon wanting me to make him a whole grocery store full of crocheted food.  He did have fun with it…

I am hoping that our garden this year might help him get a little interested in having his own “food”.  At the very least, it seems that Ivan will play with him!

Did you make any Easter decorations or crafts this year?  I had one more pinned that I really wanted to do, but didn’t get around to:

I guess this one will just be first on the list for next year!!

Strawberry on a Cupcake

I had a great birthday!  Having your birthday (practically) on a weekend is great because it lasts all weekend.  Friday Simon and I went to our friends’ house where we were treated to (delicious) clementine cupcakes, and I got the nicest gift from some of my friends.

I was, and still am, so touched!  Making friends is hard to do, and I’m so glad that I have found a great group at this duty station.

After that, Simon and I came home to an Edible Arrangement from my in-laws, which we shared,

balloon included.

Saturday my family came to visit!  My parents as well as both of my brothers were able to come.  We went out to dinner, played some games, and had more cupcakes.  I made these, I had strawberry frosting on the brain.

This recipe came from Bittersweet, and Hannah always makes amazing stuff.  When my search for vegan strawberry frosting pulled up a post from her site, I knew it was meant to be.

This was simple, but not fast.  The strawberry puree had to be cooked down, then chilled, then cooked with cornstarch, and chilled again.  Then whipped with (vegan) butter, and sugar.  Not powdered sugar, regular granulated sugar.  That was easily the most interesting and appealing part of this recipe.  A tsp of powdered sugar does have fewer calories (~10cal) than a tsp of granulated sugar (~15cal).  But when you consider that most frosting recipes call for around 2 cups of powdered sugar per 1/2 cup of butter, you can see where the mere 1/2 cup of sugar was appealing here.

But that isn’t why I made this frosting, in fact, I had to add a little bit of powdered sugar at the end (just a bit, about 1/4 cup).  It was my birthday, not a time to be cutting calories.  I just made these because they looked plain delicious.

They totally were.  There was so much real strawberry flavor, it was well worth the time invested.  The cupcakes were just a plain vanilla cake, it was really all about the frosting here!  A tiny tip for anyone who might be making this, when you add the puree to the creamed butter and sugar, mine almost looked like it broke.  It looked gloppy and just plain gross.  Just put your mixer up to a really high speed and keep on going, it’ll come together.  Persistence here, pays off big time.

I hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend.  For some reason I really feel like I stepped away from reality for a few days, and even though my regular routine wasn’t interrupted, I’m having a hard time getting back into it!  We have a fun and busy week planned though, so I had better snap back to normal soon, or things are going to get crazy around here.

A Wreath Full of Peeps

I just plain love Peeps.  Every year my husband (and others) tell me how gross they are.  In his words “They just don’t seem like food”.  As far as I’m concerned, they’re just a sugar covered marshmallow.  What’s not to love?

Generally, I do try to avoid marshmallows and all gelatin, but I definitely admit to slipping in Peeps around this time of the year.  I just can’t resist those day glow yellow chicks.  At the very least, I’ve stopped eating the Peeps they now make for Halloween, Christmas, Valentines’ Day, etc.  Well, unless someone buys them for me.  Most people know that I love Peeps though, so I can’t say I’m never gifted them.  I’ve even gotten the occasional box that already has a slit cut in it because I like them stale (I’m not the only one!).

Anyway, this year I am seeing Easter decorations involving Peeps, everywhere.  I figure this satisfies both the Peeps lovers and haters.  The haters get to poke them with sticks, scald them with hot glue, and leave them out to get rock hard and really inedible.  While the Peeps lovers get a lovely reminder of their favorite treat, and get to eat the leftovers.

Some examples included traditional yellow chicks, some multicolored chicks, some multicolored bunnies.  Some had mounds of Peeps, others lined them up in neat rows.  I kept mine nice and simple, and tried not to waste too many Peeps in the process.

I kept it all yellow, but went with bunnies.  Because, they’re kind of cuter.  Yes, the chicks are signature, but those bunnies just look so friendly.  Perfect to hang on the door to say, “Welcome, we love Spring”!

I wrapped a foam wreath with glossy brown ribbon, then hot glued my Peeps on.

I thought it’d be a good idea to do this in the garage.  I’m not really sure why, but it worked out, because I was able to glue my Peeps while Simon played with his new favorite ball.

He is pretty sturdy standing up now, and is walking (very) short distances.  I still wouldn’t call him a walker, but it seems like any day now he is just going to run away from me(!!).

After some playtime, I found some leftover ribbon, and hung my Peeps proudly on the front door.

I thought about ways to preserve my Peeps, because I wanted to save my wreath.  I searched for awhile, and didn’t find much in the way of Peeps preservation.  The best that I came up with was that they dried up so rock hard that they should last wrapped up in a plastic bag anyway (I suppose that proves my husband’s point in some way).  I did find plenty of people worried about ants and other bugs getting into the Peeps.  Gross.  I am hoping that our storm door will protect the Peeps from most buggy creatures.

I am so excited about my Peeps wreath, that I am considering making some other kind of Peeps decoration for our Easter party.  Easter is my favorite holiday.  I told you I really like spring, that is part of it.  Why I like Easter:  I like looking for my present, I like candy (specifically sugary candy like Peeps and jelly beans), I like Easter egg hunts, I like egg salad sandwiches (we always had tchristmasvhese after we dyed our Easter eggs), and I like that it is usually warm enough to wear a cute dress.  I also like that it doesn’t have the same pressure that there is around Christmastime.  Sorry Christmas.

This year we will mainly be celebrating Easter with our playgroup friends, and then the actual holiday with just my husband and Simon.  I have such fond Easter memories, I do wish we were going to see our family, but we have a lot of traveling in our immediate future, and it is just too much driving for a little boy.

Do you love or hate Peeps?  Have you ever made anything with them (or conducted any experiments?)?  Does anyone else love Easter?  I can’t wait for Simon’s first real Easter egg hunt!  Perhaps by then, he’ll be toddling around with the bigger kids!

Love my Peeps!

Luck in a Bottle

To every thing there is a season.  To every season there is a holiday.  And for every holiday, we have a party.

This week:  St Patrick’s Day!

Admittedly, not my favorite holiday.  I’m not Irish, and I never really bought that “everyone is Irish on St Patrick’s Day” excuse to go out.  But an excuse to have a party during playgroup for the kiddos?  Count me in!

My husband is Irish, and I had intentions of making my mother in law’s Irish soda bread recipe, but one of our friends is vegan, and since I’ve never had Irish soda bread before, I didn’t feel comfortable making substitutions.  So I did end up making this whole wheat vegan Irish soda bread.  Pretty yummy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also made some limeade.  Limes are green.  Limeade isn’t.  But the intention was there, and it was good!  I don’t like to drink sugar (I prefer to eat it), so I used liquid stevia, which frankly, is a lot easier than using sugar because you don’t have to make a simple syrup, you just drop it in.

{5 parts water to 1 part lime juice, lots of ice, and about 10 drops of stevia per cup of liquid.}

What was really the most exciting this time was that we did a craft:  St Patty’s Day sensory bottles!  All of the kids are under 2, and I think we just assumed they wouldn’t really be able to do much (without making a gigantic mess).  But they proved us wrong today!

Everyone brought their own empty water bottle, and we set up a bunch of different things to fill it with:  glitter, beads, pom poms, shamrock confetti, plastic flowers, etc.

They obviously needed a little guidance, but they did really great putting the smaller objects into their bottles!

 

 

 

Maybe Simon needed a little more help than the others!  He is one of the younger kids, but he got a few of the things that actually fit in the bottle, inside of it.  It was impressive enough for me!

We filled them to the top with water, and they came out so cute!

We sealed them with hot glue, and let them shake away with their new lucky sensory bottles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m so happy we did these!  First, because I know Simon will love playing with it, especially in the car.  Second, because it was so much fun to see how much the little ones can do.  Watching Simon grow up can bring a tear to my eye; he isn’t such a baby anymore.  But it is always accompanied with a smile.  Lately it seems like he is doing something new every day, and watching him discover how smart he is makes every day so worthwhile.

I’m already excited for our next party!

State of the Family

While this blog isn’t dedicated to keeping my extended family updated on what we are up to, the fact is, a lot of family and friends read it. And because we aren’t close to them, and don’t see them as often as we might like, I thought it might be nice to do a general update about how things are going with everyone around here lately.

Simon: Yesterday, Simon officially turned 13 months old! We are done with the onesie pictures, and I honestly didn’t realize until the day was almost over. Silly February being such a short month, threw me off.  I still haven’t updated my watch with the correct date.

Some of Simon’s most exciting news is that he had his first swim class this past week! He was so cute in the pool, he loves the water, loves bathtime, so we had a feeling it would be a hit. He was the wettest baby there, he was splashing and playing and having so much fun. Plus we got to see some friends we hadn’t seen in awhile, and meet some new friends.

He has started taking steps here and there. We met someone today at the library who couldn’t believe that he wasn’t walking, because he moves around so fast. But really, he still stands up, crawls over, stands up, cruises, crawls over, stands up, etc. He is a very mobile guy; on the go, all the time. His 12 month Dr appointment was last week, he is still pretty low on the weight percentages, and with how active he is, I don’t expect that to change.

He is still a great eater though! My friends with slightly older kids are always telling me to be ready for that to change, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts. I’m sure he will have a picky phase at some point, but I don’t have to look forward to it! He loved his dinner tonight, which was something that every vegetarian probably tries at least once. Recipes for it pop up in multiple books I own, and it has definitely been featured in many of the magazines I subscribe to. The simple, classic, Red Lentil Pasta Sauce.

We actually have never tried any version of this before. The lentils are meant to be a substitute to chunky meat based sauces, and they do add some nice texture. I thought I would be creative and wing it, and..well I did wing it, but it wasn’t creative. I had a jar of pasta sauce, I had lentils. I cooked a cup of lentils, added the pasta sauce, threw in some extra seasoning, and called it a dinner. Simon loves gnocchi, and these are made with sweet potato and whole wheat flour, so it makes me feel like I’m giving him something healthier than plain dried pasta (not that he doesn’t eat his fair share of that).

We also put his crib in our room shortly after his first birthday (the following day, actually).  It is nestled up against ours, as a sidecar, so he is still close to Mommy and Daddy, but not too close.  He might not be the biggest baby around, but our queen size bed was getting a little snug.  So far he is loving it!  While he does still end up in our bed sometimes, he mostly prefers his own space.  There are plenty of times that he will be in bed with me, and will crawl over into his crib and fall back to sleep.  I’m really hoping that it will better prepare him for being in his own bed, in his own room.  Which we are hoping to accomplish before his second birthday.  I know that will be an adventure though, so when the time comes, I’m hoping to make it as gentle a transition as possible.

Daddy: Speaking of adventures, my husband is gearing up for one as well. Obviously due to the nature of his job I have to be somewhat vague, but we are really excited and proud of him! He has a lot more responsibility, which means longer hours and more stress, but it is a great opportunity for him.

The weather has been nice, so on his days off he has been taking care of some house maintenance.  Of course we were back to 10 degrees and frozen pipes today, but it should warm up again by mid week. Oh, and his birthday is coming up! Next week he will be so old. Unfortunately he is going to be away on his birthday, so we will get to celebrate the weekend before.  I see cookie cake in our future.

Mommy: Not that Daddy’s birthday isn’t important, but my birthday is this month also! It’s really kind of fun having everyone’s birthdays close together.  I’m also really excited for Easter.  I know that isn’t until April, but its always pretty close to my birthday, so I kind of think of them together.

I have been trying really hard to stick with a menu plan, but it isn’t working so well. Does anyone else have this problem? I make a menu, buy the food, and then I don’t want to make what I thought sounded yummy a few days prior.

Our gym visits are still not regular, although we get there at least once a week. That makes me cringe, we used to almost every day! Last time I took him, he screamed as soon as we walked in the door, although he was apparently fine while I was gone. I am still going to keep trying to go with him in the morning to get my short cardio workout in, but I’m also going to start an “at home” program tomorrow. My husband has been trying to get me to start doing something at home for months. Many months. Since Simon was born. I just wasn’t interested in the things he wanted to do. I finally found something I wanted to do though, and I think I can stick with it. I’m going to start it tomorrow, I’ll keep you updated.

Mommy with friends.

Other than that, Simon and I spend a lot of our time with friends, or making new friends. Most weeks, we have something planned every day. Today Simon’s Grammy visited, and we still went to storytime at the library and had playtime. This kid adores the library.

Simon with toys.

I’d like to think that I have a little bookworm on my hands, but as much as he does enjoy being read too….he’s really just there for the toys.

Everyone:  I almost forgot our most exciting news!!  We are going on our first family vacation!  In a few weeks we will be boarding a big old boat and cruising to the Bahamas for a week to relax.  This is Simon’s first ever vacation, and really our first vacation that we’ve gone on by ourselves.  We went on a few little 4 day trips when we lived in Hawaii, and we have been on vacations with both of our families, but never just us.  All the vacations we have taken with our families are wonderful, and I’m sure there will be more in the future, but it is really exciting to be doing something this “big” with just us.

If you are looking to keep up with us on a more regular basis, check out the Facebook page for our blog!  This applies to everyone visiting, as I said, this isn’t meant to be a family blog.  But if you are coming here from my personal Facebook page, you’re only seeing about 10% of our posts!

So that, is pretty much what is going on with us.  Nothing too terribly exciting, but we are having fun!