Birthday week;Lightweight;Rest

I like to celebrate birthdays and plan the themes. I start planning it out about 2 months in advance... but the theme maybe 3-4 months before the birthday.  Happy Birthday week to my little guy who turns 2 on Sunday! I can't believe it. For this week, I have a list of things to finish up for our train party on Saturday. It pretty much stinks that I'm feeling like junk.. but hopefully taking some rest and immunity drinks w/ Vitamin D, Zinc and Vitamin C + smoothies will help me recover quickly! This past weekend we celebrated Nick's birthday with family. Nick had a BLAST! Here is a mini "train car" that I made for him to blow out and Nick in his "2" shirt. I love it!

For next weekend's party, I made Angela's pb graham crackers. They turned out great! They will be a party favor in the kid's favor bucket.

Probably as a result of eating soup and crackers and fruits and veggies for the past couple of days, I've lost a couple of lbs and am officially back to lightweight status! Lightweight for college rowing... haha. It's been 3 years!!!!! since I've seen below 130 on the scale.  Hopefully I can keep that around.

I'm taking getting sick as a sign that I need to rest. I'm not going to try to swim and run through it - I think that will just prolong getting better.   It's kind of amazing how stress-less a day is when you have zero goals and sleep in.  But geez - I just love the feeling that I get after a good workout! I couldn't do this if I didn't feel totally run down.  I almost just gave nick this "cake" for lunch because I didn't care...but then he agreed to eat his soup.  Since this is the second time in just 2 months that this has happened, I know that I need to change my habits. I guess my plan is to sleep more when I'm better and get to bed earlier and try not to stress about dumb things.  Thank you to all the mamas & non-moms for encouragement and the "you're not alone" support! :) I really appreciate it.


Sick Again?

Ughhhhhh - seriously! Last night I started feeling exhausted and I woke up this morning feeling like garbage.  I was sick just over a month ago the week of Christmas and from that little fun week of feeling like junk, I swore I was eating every immunity food on a daily basis. Since that day, I have been drinking the smoothies with spinach, bananas, blueberries, various fruits and sometimes other veggies and echinacea.  And I've been a super good eater too! So what gives?!  The only thing that I can think of is that I'm not getting enough sleep: 6 to 6.5 hours (on occasion 7). It doesn't sound that bad... what do you think? How much sleep do you get? Usually I go to bed around 9:30 but don't fall asleep until 10. I wake up at 4:45 to pump and workout then usually don't nap or rest during the day. I promise myself I will get back in bed or take a nap when the kids are napping usually when I get up in the morning but it rarely happens. I'd rather not waste my very limited free time to myself on sleep!  Looks like I'm going to have to - I can't take being sick any more!

pretty views on this beautiful snowy morning

Even though I felt like crap and should have slept in instead of going running this morning, I didn't want to miss it. My sister (new blogger!) is in town and we made plans to run with the group.  I kind of "slept in" - till 6 and she came over and we drove to Valley Forge to run 10 miles. Around here, there is snow everywhere. It was hard for the hosts this week to find a route that was safe to run on. We ended up doing 2 loops of Valley Forge park that start and ended from the visitors center. It was exactly 10 miles.  We had to dodge a good amount of snow and ice and climb through some snow too. I did have a nice little wipeout  - it was all one motion. I fell and kind of ran through it. I guess you feel embarrassed when you fall. It was a good laugh and I came away from it unscathed.  We ended up at around 9:40 pace, but being that I didn't feel well, the hills and the snow, it wasn't a big deal. It felt fine and was a nice run with my sis! I love when we can run and chat.
Kimp running down the hill

Post run, we stopped for bagels and a guy that I swim with is the same age as Kimp and wanted to meet her. They are both college swimmers and have alot in common and both single. It went well. I describe him as high energy and he's a morning person. It was a nice breakfast and maybe it will go somewhere except that he lives here and she lives in DC.

I'm still feeling quite lost in terms of the day-to-day. Before having Nick, I felt bad for stay-at-home moms and planned a return to work in 8 weeks. I didn't want to feel the isolation and inferiority (that I feel now). Sometimes I question if I should have just tried it to see how it would have been. Don't get me wrong, I love being able to be home with the kids, but I like how I feel when I am out swimming or running in a group and having an identity away from the kids. What set some of this off is when we went to get our numbers for getting a mortgage and one salary isn't going to get us the type of home we want to settle into. I'm working on what to do about this - it is causing stress in my home life. I don't think that full time teaching is going to work out for me with small children - and I feel like if I did that, I wouldn't feel right leaving on the weekends for long runs and such. I'd count the time at work as my "me" time.  However, part-time jobs are very very hard to come by. I'm on the look out while at the same time making sure that I am counting my blessings.  I know that I am going to miss this time. I'm just ready for this phase where I am having a hard time with it to pass!


Wild rice pub burgers

Chari had posted her menu plan and included these wild pub burgers.  I decided to try them out. I followed the recipe as shown on the website but added an egg. It was otherwise crumbles and I couldn't form burgers. They were tasty, but I will say that it needed cheese and some ketchup or sauce. The picture on the other blog is a good recommendation - slather it with a bunch of stuff and it will be super tasty!  Probably good with a beer too!

My brother's girlfriend and my sister are training for Big Sur together.   Both of them just started blogs for it (and happened to pick the same design on blogspot which I thought was funny.   This is Miranda's first marathon and Kristen's 2nd. I did part of the Disney Marathon w/ my sister when I was pregnant with Nick - that was in 2009 and she said she was doing one and done. She does triathlons and she is back to run a faster marathon! Miranda stole my brother and moved out to San Diego last year in March.  Rich has always wanted to move to California and talked about it for YEARS. I was hoping it would never happen but he's happy and it's a great place to visit.  Both of these 2 swam in college and are going for a fun 26.2 at Big Sur. Totally jealous I am not joining them but with the 2 little ones and the same day as Broad Street - I can't swing it. Hopefully they'll be up for another marathon in the next couple of years and we can all do it together.  Anyway- check out their blog sites! And money saving mamas can check out Julie's new blog.

We got pounded with snow today - and yesterday!  I went swimming Wednesday morning and snow was coming down really quickly. I made it home safely - luckily - lots of spin outs and we were homebound all day yesterday. This morning was a treadmill run - we got over a foot of snow!  I did about 4 or 5 1/2 mile repeats whenever I felt like it and then 2 miles tempo at the end. It was a pretty good effort and I was able to do 10 miles in just under 1:23.  I'm pretty sure when I was pregnant with Nick I did a 1:22 treadmill 10 miler... I guess I'm getting there. 

Tomorrow I'm supposed to get some help on my stroke with a guy that swims with the team in the mornings and plan a matchmaking of him and my sister. Yea... I'll let ya know how that goes.

note to those I wanted to reply to

I've had a few comments where I've wanted to reply to you, but there's no email address so that I can do so and you don't have a blog so here goes...

Thank you for the encouragement on my lost post! And great idea about having all the same kind of "cake." You make a great point!

Sounds like you are on the right track to keep your supply going. 9 months is my goal too. To keep up my supply,  I've been doing the 5am pumping which really seems to help and then before bed also.  So pump at 5am, Kara eats at 8, 12, 4 and 7 and then pump around 9pm.  Good luck :)  I feel like we just have to eat enough to make sure we are supporting the training (and nursing!)


half training, marathon, nursing

Half Training
I decided instead of running the OD 10 miler to switch to a half marathon on the same day because I'm doing Broad Street (10 miles) and I want to get in a half distance before the fall.  My goal for the fall is sub 1:45 so I want to see where I'm at in my comeback this spring. This is in about 8 weeks. I've been running without a plan:
Tuesday is a hill workout (which will become track in March)
Thursday is a longer tempo run
Saturday is a long run. 

I've been building up my mileage and last week I hit 27. I am going to get back to 30 for this week and probably continue to hit 30 or above for the next 8 weeks. I've never really run more than 30 to 35 miles a week (even in marathon training) and don't want to burn out, but want to rock this half and Broad Street. I'm not sure what my best course of action is as far as training for a PR. Do you have any tips on my weekly mileage?

I am thinking in the back of my head that if I start having a good spring, I am going to want the opportunity to run a marathon. I will decide by the beginning of April probably and if I am up for it, maybe train for a mid May one? I have checked around to get an idea what is out there. I will probably wait until the fall, but it's in the back of my head for sure!

Nursing - 
I feel like my supply is better. I bought liquid fenugreek and put a dropper of that in water (when I remember) and that has helped and going back and still feeding Kara before bedtime (and then pumping before bed too). Who knows what is up with that but I think if I can make it to 9 months, I'll have enough pumped supply to make it to the year. That's my goal without dealing with too much stress to get there.

trial #3: the winning loaf

Thank you for all of the tips! What I ended up doing was using Amber's tips with an edited version of Averie's bread recipe. They were to use the vitamix for the wet ingredients + flax and then fold in the rest. Also, take out baking soda and use 1.5 tsp baking powder instead. I also took inspiration from Heather's apple cider vinegar, decreased oat flour, and added more ww flour, Last I decreased the temp to 325 and cooked a little longer - thanks RunBlondie. With all of these changes I was able to obtain the fluffiness that I was looking for. I used the train pan to see how it would turn out. Nick's cake will be the engine.. then there will be a bunch of cars all decorated differently. I'm not sure if I'll make different flavors for the cars or just stick with this. No one will want to come to our parties but at least it will be healthy? ha. What do you think? Should I make regular cake mix for the cars and just make the engine with this nice fruity bread recipe? Thank you for all of the inspiration bloggers!

Sugar Free Banana Apple Bread

1/2 c oat flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 bananas
1 apple
1 1/2 tsp baking POWDER
2 T flax ground
vanilla splash
3/4 c almond milk
1/4 c water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Put apple cider vinegar and milk in a bowl - let sit. In the vitamix -all wet ingredients -vanilla, apple, banana, then milk after a few minutes, and flaxseeds. Place into a bowl when finished and fold in all dry ingredients. Add water at the end until the consistency is right (1/4 to 1/2 c). In a sprayed loaf pan, place the batter and cook at 325 for 50-55 minutes. 



out of the oven

just out of the pan

get an idea of the consistency

compared to the first loaf (on top) - it doesn't compare!

PB Pizzert

I didn't think to add peanut butter to Katie's pizzert but the non dairy queen did so I tried it this morning. It was good!


1/2 c ground oats
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c almond milk *
1/4 to 1/2 c water* I kind of just added water until it looked right
2 T maple syrup
4 T peanut butter

Cook at 400 for about 15 minutes.

Nick had a train shaped piece for breakfast :)

Hope to do trial #3 today - snow day here. Stay tuned :)


trial #2: vegan whole wheat bread

Taking inspiration from Heather's Strawberry Shortcake muffins which I just love, I changed a few things and made a bread out of it. It turned out much less dense than the first trial and not as sweet. I'm not concerned about the sweetness because all of these will have some kind of sweet icing. I'm more concerned about it being fluffy and tall enough for a train : )

Here's what I used:

  • 1 C Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 t Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 c ground oats
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/8 C maple syrup
  • 1/3 C Unsweetened Apple Sauce

Amber gave me some advice on the 1st trial to make it more fluffy so stay tuned for that tomorrow! Thanks Amber!

trial#1: no sugar vegan banana bread

I took inspiration from Averie's pb banana bread for trial #1. A really yummy recipe but too moist- how do I get it to be more fluffy. It is really good! and no added sugar!  And really easy to work with too for icing and such... I don't know. If I can edit this a bit, this could be a keeper. Any tips? 

Here is my recipe: Sugar free vegan Banana bread
3/4 c oat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 bananas
1 apple
1 tsp baking soda (this was too much - I could taste it)
2 T flax ground
vanilla splash
3/4 c almond milk
1/4 c water

I put everything in the vitamix and then baked it for about 30-35 min or until it was set. Just before
going in the oven
just out of the oven

cake project

When I started making Trader Joe's vanilla cake mix over the weekend, I realized it's just too sweet. I don't like super sweet sugary bad for you things anymore. I was going to make a pound cake for Nick's birthday cake and I just can't do it! Sorry to all of my guests in advance - but I'll be doing you a favor instead! Today is the start to my cake project. I'm going to attempt to make a healthy cake for Nick's birthday party in less than 2 weeks. I'm hoping one of the first ones works out. I'm using a bread pan to make train cars. The icing itself will have enough sugar in it as well as the decorations (candy) so the cake itself is going to be a non-sugar laden somewhat healthy base. I'll keep you updated as I go through my trials.


Group Run #2 and Best 2010 Running Blogs

Yesterday at 7am and 8 degrees warm, I started the second group run with about 25 other people. I cannot believe that many people wanted to run at that time and temperature. So motivating! I was up at 6 to pump, and left the house around 6:40. There wasn't too much hanging around. We started along the bike path from Valley Forge towards Philly and ran out just over 3 and back. I started running in the front behind 2 people I ran with last week and then linked up with a girl close in age and we chatted - I love chatting when I'm running. It passes the time so quickly. She was speedy and training for Boston - only her 4th marathon and this will be her 2nd Boston! She was great to run with - even paced and a good pace. We started out at 9:45 warming up, then 8:56. Then I linked up with Jen and followed her lead - 8:39 for mile 3, then 8:30, 8:36 and 8:36.   I need to run with you Jen more often!  Good conversation and kept me moving. 

When we picked up the others, the plan was to run on the trail - which was snow covered. I was not happy running on this and my ankles which have been bothering me since last week's hilly adventure run were not happy either. When I saw some people going the other way after about a mile, I made a u-turn and followed them.  I kind of wanted to stick it out, but running on snow was not enjoyable at all and it was super slow. Those miles were 10:03 and 10:24 and I followed 2 others to the bike path. They were running a bit slower also, and I just wanted to get done so I ran with them for a little while and then turned around to finish 10. By the time I got back, I circled around a little bit - slowly. My stomach was in disarray so I finished at 10.26 and 1:35+.

I was kind of disappointed with the second half of this run, but my stomach wasn't 100% so maybe it was meant to be.  I think this group is awesome - drinks are provided, and post run food. It's a big group with varied paces and I'm psyched for the spring.  I'm making a lofty goal for Broad Street and that is a 1:15. That will be my "A" goal. My current PR is 1:18 in 2008 at Broad Street. I plan to put in the miles and train hard.

Thanks so much for the support/encouragement on the "I'm lost" post.

This was a fun thing. Jake from Broken Hearted Runner compiled a list of best running blogs for 2010 and featured Lil Runner. Thanks Jake! Check out all of those other running blogs that he posted - there's a little post it on my sidebar that will take you to the post too.


calling all cake recipes

It is now time to start experimenting with what cake recipe I'll use for Nick's train cake. Do you have a favorite recipe that is somewhat healthy that you'd recommend? I was thinking about using TJ's Vanilla Cake mix but forget that. The first ingredient is sugar and it's just wayyyy too sweet. I bookmarked this one from wholesome baby food and might adapt and try it as follows

Vanilla Cake adapted from a recipe for diabetic cooking -

1 cup ww flour
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 T flax + 1/2 c warm water

I'll let you know how it turns out... in the meantime do you have a recipe to share?

A little lost & daily mile

 This week I've been feeling a little lost in terms of staying at home.  Don't get me wrong, I feel lucky that I have the opportunity but sometimes I really miss my job. And I'm sure if I was at work, I'd miss the kids. The grass is always greener. I've kind of stopped looking for part-time teaching jobs because there aren't many out there. If I could teach a class one night/week at a college, that would be perfect. While I have odd jobs here and there - tutoring, online math scoring, writing for examiner, I miss the connections that I have made with students being a teacher.  Yesterday I woke up and just wasn't feeling it. The weeks get really long and 2 days/week if I could teach, I see that as the happy medium - although I'm sure it would have its downfalls of getting everything done. If you work part time do you enjoy it? or do you feel like you are basically doing full time work in less days?

As far as preschool I decided to wait until Nick is almost 3 (one year) mostly because it is $850 extra (for 4 months:2 days/week for 2.5 hours)to start him in Sept and I just feel that is a lot of money right now. I think the break from him will be needed and great so I'm looking into cheaper programs for next fall.

Some mornings when I'm going through the process of everything, I question if I have the patience for this. Some mornings I am awesome w/ tons of patience but by the end of the week, I am done.
  • The fight to keep Nick's pants on (he likes to take them off) and get his jacket on and get him out the door - sometimes I want to scream.
  • The "no" and making a complete mess of whatever he is playing with and refusing to pick it up (he goes to time out or to his room)
  • Kara "biting" me when she's eating - no teeth yet but clamping down. Yesterday I'd had enough and just said ALRIGHT! you're done! Haha. Not right or fair to do that to a 6 month old but I'd had it.
  • And then the "do you want milk? " No. Then I put the milk away and it's a meltdown "want milk! want milk!"
These are all small things as compared to all of the little things that I cherish.  Learning new things, hearing things come out of Nick's mouth for the first time and knowing that I'm the one (and Bill) that has taught him everything he knows!
  • Nick saying GOOD to himself when he answers a question right. Hearing him say Mommy and Mommy runnin.. and run like mommy and getting him in the morning
  • Kara's big bright smile when I get her in the morning...
Stay-at-home moms - how did you find balance? I feel like I put 110% into the kids and don't want to miss anything, but at the same time, I definitely need more me time.  Getting up and working out with other people is one of the highlights of my day.  Most of all, I'm trying to enjoy every minute because I know it goes so quickly and that I will really truly miss these days... but I think I need to find a way to do a bit more of what I love.  I am probably just going through a phase where I miss work with the 2 kids and Kara being 6 months and being confined to a feeding schedule, etc.  With Nick, it took me 13 months to be comfortable at home. That first year is hard! Now it's the first year with #2 and dealing with a toddler with opinions.

Also, the fenugreek seems to be working really well! I bought drops and have put in water. Seems to be helping?! (yet the taste is pretty nasty)

I'd also like to say that I find DAILY MILE so motivating! So glad I got into this training log - facebook for athletes! :) I'm under Natalie D.


Party planning

Nick's 2nd birthday is coming up in just a few weeks and I've been planning a train party since he's obsessed w/ trains. So far, I ordered him the shirt with the "2" on it which just came and is super cute.
I've also picked out what I'm going to do for favors - pictures when I'm done w/ that. I was back and forth on conductor hats for the kids or just for Nick and figured he probably wouldn't even wear it. I think it's so cute though. I can't decide on that.

I made a train birthday sign. I also have last year's sign which I feel like I spent sooo much time on. Luckily I can reuse it!  I'm working on a couple of railroad signs, and we'll pick up balloons for the party weekend and that's about it. I've been enjoying the planning for this. It gives me something to work on.

I know what I'm doing for the table:

And going over that is going to be the cake which will be similar  to this

I wasn't sure exactly if I should serve this as cake or have cupcakes or something else to actually eat, but I decided to make a really long train w/ a bunch of cars and slice pieces out of it. Otherwise what's the point - it looks nice but no one will eat it? So I'm pretty psyched to decorate a bunch of train cars for a long train along the table for his cake. I think I'll make the engine super big and put the candle on that. I haven't decided yet.  Has anyone else ever done a train cake like this? I'm going to be hitting up the bulk bins at Wegmans for all different candies to go on it.

Besides cake, what else do you serve for a 2 year old birthday party? We are having 6 of his 2 year old friends and our parents, and that's it. My brother lives on the west coast and my sister is coming home the weekend before to celebrate his birthday and my parents birthdays in late Jan.  It is a late afternoon/post nap party.  I'd like to keep costs down and not get a huge tray of anything, and also like to keep it somewhat healthy so what would you serve? I was thinking maybe apps/tapas? Veggies and dip, fruit, crackers and hummus? + the cake? Is that lame? What have you seen for kid parties - real food and cake? Just cake? snacks?  I'm also going to make "2" cookies for the favor bag and to serve and maybe train ones if I find a train cookie cutter. 

Any other ideas? I love searching for ideas and seeing how creative people are!

Next up is gift ideas. Christmas was not even a month ago. My ideas to tell family/friends so far are a robe, slippers, a pullover fleece, and maybe the Leapfrog Tag Jr. Does anyone have that for your kids? I got him a personalized book from PBK book and story reader but it is for age 3+ and the stories are quite long so I might save it for next Christmas.  Ideas for a 2 year old?

On Monday swimming was frustrating - a fast guy that is out of shape led our lane, went super fast then needed tons of rest. I was kind of cranky. Today he was there again so I decided to move over to a faster lane. The set was only 50s and 100s so I knew I could hack it, but not so much when it's longer distances - I'll get plowed over. It felt good though, even though they sit around and gab a bit also. I'll just have to go with it and be a little more social than I'm used to.


Eating habits & wrapup

Wrap up - thank you for all of the support and advice on the nursing. I like how you get advice from one end to the other. I land in the middle usually and I appreciate everyone's point of view.  While I'm not going to go nuts trying, I'd like to make it as far as I can, so I am going to put some effort into doing what I have to go to keep going without making myself miserable doing so.  I liked the fenugreek advice - capsules of that + pumping (whenever I can) after feeding Kara to keep the supply up. Thank you to everyone for offering your point of view and support!  Did you know there are even cookies that are supposed to boost lactation?  Thanks to KT for sending me that link.  I don't think I'll make the cookies, but I will keep pumping my body with oatmeal and flaxseed(both of which I eat daily) and try the brewer's yeast as well. KT has just started a blog and has 3 kids under 3 (Holy ****) - check it out.  Heab also posted about these cookies which I might have to attempt to create.

This morning it is icing here so my workout was indoors. I did 10 x 800s sprint (it was 80% until the last few - I find it hard to sprint on the treadmill).  It was a great workout and I got in 10 miles.  I did some visualizing of the hill to get myself to work harder at the end.  It's so great to run outside!  It even helps when you are stuck on the treadmill.  I finished this workout in 1:24 +.  I think my goal for Broad Street this year is going to be a 1:15.   I have to look at the pace of that.

This leads me into eating habits. In the past month or so, I have become even more crazy rigid with my eating habits - I think it is in a good way, but a pain for Bill and my family to be around me. I try not to judge but it is hard for me to watch my parents eat takeout food very often.  And I'm hard on Bill even though he eats healthy about 70% of the time.  With me, it's all or nothing, so sometimes people don't fit into my cookie cutter 110% effort view. I don't judge people but do have a hard time with my own loved ones. I've really been eating clean for a while - little processed foods (biggest offenders are  power bars, luna bars, clif bars - something to grab on the go).

I used to love to bake - cookies, cakes. I'd try to experiment with the recipes and make them healthier. Now I just find healthy recipes. I don't make full fat real recipes anymore - I'm using flax for eggs, apple sauce/pumpkin for butter, maple syrup for sugar, and ground oats for flour most of the time.  With motivation from several blogs that I read for their recipe ideas, I feel like I've really been able to lead a healthy lifestyle and have really good eating habits. My goal is to not only be in top shape for this spring racing season, but also just to pump my body with good stuff.

One of the quotes that I picked up from Fran Crippen was "my body is a temple" - totally true! It is going to run on what you put in it and I'm dedicated to giving it the best stuff.  That being said, Chocolate does go into my body on a daily basis - and I think that is fine.

Here is a sample day:
Pre-workout - rice crispy treat balls, raw chocolate chip cookie, fudgie babies (dates + cocoa + nuts)

Breakfast - variations of oatmeal pancakes or oatmeal or a bowl of cereal + Milk
peanut butter protein pancakes:
1/2 c ground oats
1 tsp maple syrup
1 T almond butter
1/4 - 1/2 c almond milk/milk
1-2 T hemp protein powder
1 T flax or chia seeds
+ apple sauce for apple pie pancakes

I add baking powder and more milk and let it sit a bit if I want to make them into pancakes.

Mid morning - Half a power bar (I like the harvest ones but know they are pumped w/ a bunch of ingredients and added sugar) and/or fruit leather

Lunch - Smoothie w/ almond milk, handful of spinach, 1 frozen banana, one orange, blueberries and echinacea drops (thank you for the tips Chari)

A wrap with whatever is in the house - last week was smoked gouda (I do eat cheese here and there), hummus and spinach or ezekial bread w/ hummus and leftover bean patties or dr praegers

Snacks: nuts, scoop of almond/peanut butter, cereal, chickpeas baked w/ honey, piece of chocolate, rice crispy treat balls

Dinner is some combination of beans and carbs.
Black bean sliders
Lentil burgers or lentil loaf
Mac and cheese - healthified w/ a veggie in there and nutritional yeast
pasta w/ tomato sauce and chick pea meatballs
Kale and barley

At night sometimes I'll eat a combo of ground oats, more pb + maple syrup, some protein powder + maple syrup and water ("hemp fudge"), or some processed newman's oreo cookies if we have them.

Sometimes I get bored with the dinner rotation and try new recipes.   

What is in your dinner rotation?

What are some good snacks?  Favorite breakfasts?


6 months and nursing

Feel free to skip this if you aren't interested in reading about nursing.

This post is me questioning what the heck happened to my milk supply! Once Kara started sleeping the night, I started getting up at 5am to pump, feeding her either 4-5 times a day, including the bedtime feed, then pumping before bed. The early morning feeding was to keep my supply up, as I lost it around 9/10 months with Nick. As a result of the pumping, I have one entire mini freezer full of frozen milk, and our freezer attached to the fridge which is already small is being overtaken by milk also.

Everything was going well until around 4 months - I do not know what happened but I felt like Kara was eating for very short periods of time like 5 min/side. I was still pumping the same amount at night and in the morning.  Lately, I feel like it is even shorter - about 2 minutes and she is visibly frustrated and still hungry when done. Sometimes I give her 2-3 oz in a bottle after, and she's just started oat cereal as well so I give her that at lunch post-bottle w/ more milk mixed in. I don't know what is going on, but it's all this work to pump and I feel like my supply is down? At 6 months?! 

I'm not sure if she just wants it faster and is getting frustrated to finish and my supply dropped?
Should I be making sure that I'm hitting a certain amount of calories? I feel like I eat when hungry and I'm not walking around starving so I don't think that should be a problem.
Drink more water?
I'm drinking a cup of that fenugreek tea once a day. It doesn't seem to help.

Any advice? My goal was to make it to one year. I think if I can make it to 9 or 10 months, the frozen milk can get me through to the year, but stopping now isn't going to cut it.

Apple Pie Pancakes!

Happy Pancake Sunday! These are really tasty :)

Apple Pie Pancakes
1/2 c ground oats (food process the oats till a flour)
1/2 to 3/4 c almond milk
1-2 tsp maple syrup
1 T almond/pecan butter
1 T flaxseed
3 T apple sauce
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 T protein powder (I use TJ's hemp vanilla) - optional

Mix all that together - add more milk as needed to make it a nice batter. You could also add more apple sauce. Let sit 5-10 min.  Cook using coconut oil for added taste! Delicious.  And if you get lucky, there's a chunk of almond butter when you bite in. Yummy.

and happy 6 months old (yesterday) to my little peanut Kara. Wow the time flies!


Group long run

Thanks so much for the winter running recommendations! I'm not sure if I will get the yaxtraks but some gloves are on the way.  Some of you made a good point that while I'm running on some snow here and there, it is not like I am running on snow for my entire run.  Bare necessities!  Really considering the bank robber mask though :)

This morning I did my first group run! It was 10 miles at 7am with 19 degree weather. It was chilly and I was nervous I was going to be cold. I had serious layers. I had to rush and was just grabbing things - I don't think that Kara wanted me to go so she woke up at 5:20am and was making alot of noise. I ended up feeding her at 6 and putting her back down just in time to grab my things and go.  People don't wait when it's 19 out! 

There were about 30 people there when I arrived. I cannot believe this many people meet up to run in very very cold weather at 7am on a Saturday. How motivating! There were groups doing 8, 10 and 12. I opted for 10 since my longest outside run has been 8 this training cycle.  I started going with a group up to the Valley Forge arch - 4 of us took the lead while the rest of the group lagged behind about 1/2 mile. There were water stops every 2-3 miles, which was really nice.  Out of the 4 of us, it ended up being me and one other woman, Sabina, who were ready after a quick water break. The other 2 who were running with us were still chatting/delayering so we took off. It was a hilly challenging course for sure! In the beginning I felt like the pace was too slow but then it ended up being comfortable. Pushing up some of the hills was hard! And by 8.5 miles I was very hungry and ready to be done.  AT the end, there was a great spread. I was on that right away :)

I love this Garmin! Here were the splits: 9:15, 8:50, 8:39, 9:27, 8:41, 9:44, 8:55, 8:46, 9:35, 8:50.
They are totally all over the place.   It felt good, my only complaint is that my ankles hurt a bit. I'm not sure if it is my shoes or maybe my gait. Going to try to stretch them out. Any suggestions?

Here is a look at my layers - one pair of gloves with warm socks over my hands. Hat. Fleece zip up, puma pullover, tshirt underneath. Adidas running skirt (last minute add-on to keep my booty warm), cep compression socks, under armour tights and not shown - sneakers of course! Horrible quality on the pics but you get the idea. I think I'm going to do the running skirt again. It looks cute and it's not one that I can run with without tights because it rides up. This way it gets put into use!

I'm baaaaaaack baby!!! I feel super motivated to get out there and push myself everyday, and then I also feel like I earn my day off.  It feels so good! I like running on Saturdays so that I have 6 days in a row then Sunday off.   Since I easily achieved my goal/resolution of running with a group, I'm going to come up with some serious running goals for this spring. 


wimped out & daily mile

8 miles this morning
Wimped out on the group run this morning at the faster pace than I've been running but had a great treadmill run sub 8:30 pace. Next up- group 10 miler on Saturday. Looking forward to running in the cold (WHO AM I?)!  I feel really good about running right now.

I joined daily mile this past week and am searching for friends. If you are on there, let me know! : ) It looks fun and motivating!

Running wants - now that I'm running outside, I realized that a few things would be nice and want your feedback on them if you have them or have tried them:

*Cool running gloves - I think the Brooks adapt look sweet - the fold over effect. My hands are definitely cold in the gloves that I have
*scary bank robber mask to cover my face

What else do you use for cold weather running? What are your must haves?

Here is a road ID code if you are looking to get one. It's $1 off. That is my must have for outside running during all seasons!

www.roadid.com code ThanksMiranda2326400


Groups and immunity booster

This morning I didn't make it to swimming - what a bummer! Last night I wanted to go to bed at 9, but Kara ended up being awake and didn't go to sleep until past 11. I had been up since 4:45 that morning and the hill workout kicked my butt - again. I loved it. I feel like I'm on a team when I go. Love the feeling of being part of something, especially now that I'm home with 2 kids all day.  When I got home from that at 7am, I felt like I could go to sleep standing up. Then the day started... and ended very late. I needed to sleep this morning and slept in and missed swimming. I did some Jillian workouts but for some reason, everytime that I do lunges, I hurt my knee. It is hurting tonight.  I found a group to run with tomorrow morning and am debating it! They are running 8 to 8:15 minute miles for an hour. I'm not there yet and don't want to risk injury but am thinking about trying it?  Not sure if that is a bad idea.  I think I could hang.  I feel good after the hard swim workout, hill workout and an easy day today.


I remember what it was like starting a blog and getting people to read it. It started small and then grew little by little. Now almost 3 years later, I just love the blog community.

My sister works for the Nation's Tri and wrote her first blog post about swimming. She was so pumped that people commented on it that she didn't know. Feel free to make a comment!

One of my friends will be transitioning from 2 to 1 salary and stay at home with 2 kids come April. She has started a blog on budgeting and motherhood - check it out!

I was supposed to run with Abby on Sunday morning - we haven't run together in a long time and I was excited. Then I found out the running group that I joined (and haven't done a real group run with yet) is running about 5 minutes from my house on Saturday morning. I felt like it was destiny and that I should go. I signed up to run at 7am on Saturday. I hope it goes well. Yikes.  All part of my New Years resolution of running w/ groups!

I've been giving Nick and drinking a smoothie myself everyday. The ingredients are:
1 frozen banana, sliced
1 handful of spinach or kale
1 clementine or half an orange - freeze it and chop it
1 c coconut, almond, skim or rice milk
1 carrot
Blend away!
It tastes delicious and is a great way to get in the fruits and veggies!

What else can I add to boost immunity even more?


group running & vegan rice crispy treats

The best thing for me in 2011 with running and swimming so far has been group workouts: running especially. I have been swimming with the masters group for almost 2 years - Monday was the best workout yet. I have been complaining that the intervals are too slow and there is too much rest time. I shared this with a friend in my lane and she led the lane with another woman in my lane and it rocked. No men were in our lane Monday - they totally slow us down. For the most part, the ones in our lane just don't want to work, ya know?   Instead of doing 50s on :50 or :55 we were doing them on :45. 100s on the 1:30 (instead of 1:40 or 1:45) and 200s on the 3:00 instead of 3:15/3:30. What a great workout!! My arms hurt today and I'm ready to do it again the rest of the week. We'll have to get the guys in gear to work it.

Running the hills week 2 went well. I think last week was harder because I was struggling to keep up with the group cooling down. They ran a little slower this week. It was a good workout.  I love running with people.  I want to find people locally to run on Thursday early mornings and on Sunday but I don't know how to find people! The people that I run with on Tuesdays have their own friends/small groups and right now they are faster than me.  I don't want to invite myself and most people know I'm looking for running friends. I just joined daily mile in hopes of finding some local friends. There are other group runs at 8am on the weekends but right now I just like to sleep in and enjoy some family time on Saturday and Sunday so I go a little bit later.  Once I start going to them, I can probably meet more people that will give me more ideas of running partners on Thursdays. How do you meet people to run with?

OSG posted these 5 ingredient almond butter chews. I'm going to call them vegan rice crispy treats. They are very yummy! In my second batch I amped up the protein factor by using Kashi Go Lean instead of rice crisps. Use the rice crisps for a rice krispy treat w/o the marshmallows! I had to add a little more cereal to them - too sticky. And I omitted the chocolate chips.

  • 1/4 cup peanut/almond butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup to 1 1/4 c crisp rice cereal
  • 3 T brown rice syrup (find this at natural food store or healthfood section of grocery)
  •  1 T chia seeds

 Microwave 30 seconds - peanut butter, vanilla + brown rice syrup. Add in cereal. Form into balls. Stick on wax paper in the fridge for 30 minutes or till firm. Great pre or post workout treat, especially if you use the kashi go lean - added protein!


Preschool & Parenting

Thanks for commenting on my deep thought post.. I always like to hear what other people think!

This past week was a good one in terms of running and swimming.  The best run was the hill workout on Tuesday outside. Thursday and today I ran on the treadmill - it's brutal after running outside with people, but I could not motivate to run outside today - it was 19 out!  I was able to do 10 on the treadmill at a good pace. I also signed up for daily mile and added in my workouts for 2011 so far. Are you on there? Do you have "friends" on there and use it more than just logging workouts? Looks like a facebook site for athletes! So far it is pretty cool!

I am debating between sending Nick to preschool next fall (2.5) or in one year - in Jan (almost 3).  Here are my thoughts and I would like to know what you did or plan to do for preschool. I didn't think this started until age 3, but it turns out most of my playgroup friends are sending their kids at 2 1/2.  Pros and cons - if he starts in the fall, I'd like to do toddler time with him this winter/spring - go with him like a mommy and me so that he's ready in the fall. We already do gymboree 1x/week but this would be nice because alot of the time I have to hold Kara at gymboree also. Kind of takes away from his time.   Is it necessary at 2.5? Probably not. I feel like it is basically daycare. It would allow me to have 2 mornings a week with just Kara which would be nice, but I like the time that they are together building their sibling relationship, and he'll be in school until he's 21 once this starts! I feel like he was just born and now I'm sending him to preschool? I kind of feel more comfortable sending him at 3, but in the back of my head I think how nice it would be to have the time one on one with Kara!  It also scares me to drop him off at school already- and makes me sad.  And I feel like he would be getting a better start being with me rather than starting early - one on one, teaching/learning.
When did you start your kids in school?

Do you ever feel burnt out of parenting? What do you do? There have been days lately where I just want my time. I just want the entire day to do what I want with no interruptions. Does that sound horrible? I feel that I have 10 things that I've started, a to-do list and nothing crossed off.  I think back to the days without kids and just want to go back for one day. I would appreciate every second of it - but then I'd miss the kids and want to come back.

Here they are(for you Nicole)

Deep thoughts : parents and children

This may be a controversial post, but I'm sure many of you have heard the news of the Congresswoman in Arizona who was shot.  When I hear things like this and shootings in school, I wonder what was going through the mind of the shooter. Many times the shooter is a young person. What are your thoughts on this - do you blame the parents? fully? somewhat? at all?  Is it environment & demeanor?

All around me when I am out, I see children with parents who I question if they are fit to be parents. I try not to judge but sometimes I just wonder.  I do not believe in abortion, but I will not judge someone for having one. Maybe they are being unselfish.  I feel that there should be some kind of screening for parents to be able to have the opportunity to raise a child.  I am not blaming the parents of this young man who was the shooter in this case, or the parents of those who have become criminals, but it makes me wonder. If a child is raised with love and care, could they still become a criminal? What makes them this way?


Swimming, Caffeine and Raw Food

Swimming has been going really well. I'm in the lane that is a bridge between the really fast collegiate swimmers and the lanes that are recreational swimmers. There's no in between besides the lane that I'm in and I so want to be with the super fast people but they will DESTROY me. I tried one day and seriously was trying hard and was being passed left and right.  It is my goal to move to one day a week with these speedsters but it will take alot of courage!

The lane that I am in now is a fun lane. Everyone is really nice. Sometimes though, it is frustrating. I can't stand having more rest than we need and I don't like chatting between the sets. I want to get in, work hard, and get out. I would love to be social before and after and here and there in between but that's it! It is hard when I start to get chilly because we're resting too long or I just don't feel like I'm working hard. The thing is, the fast people take too much rest between sets too, but they swim on faster intervals. Maybe I should just be enjoying the people and chatting, but I'm there to swim, not chat!

I was annoyed on Wednesday when I asked the fast guy leading our lane if we could go on a faster interval and he said we couldn't make it. We could totally make it. He just didn't want to push himself - and he's already fast!! A nice guy... but I so needed to be pushed. Doesn't seem like there's a happy medium here so my goal is one day/week with the fast people until I can move over there full time (I hope!) It is such a jump though.

My friend from work gave me a gift card to this raw food place by me. I've tried it once with my sister and the service was crap and food decent. Yesterday I ordered and picked up. Yum. I love raw food and healthy eating. I totally want a chef that could make me this stuff every meal.  I think I want to put together a cookbook with all of my favorite recipes online.  It was good. I'd go back. It's expensive though.  What a great gift!

This was called Cashew Vegetable Collard Leaf Wrap - shredded veggies, cashew dressing wrapped in a fresh collard leaf. Least favorite of the 3 but very fresh and yummy.

Flax Enchilada - so I got this for Bill and saved half for him -he wasn't impressed. I was mad that I saved it!

Hand made flax tortilla with spicy pumpkin seed pate', tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and cashew creme.

This was my favorite. "Living Pizza"
Marinara sauce, cashew creme, zucchini, brazil nut parmesan on a crispy buckwheat crust.  Again, saved some for Bill and I totally shouldn't have! Nick and I were big fans and I want it right now even though it's not even 8am yet.
I will have to try to make these things on my own. Yum yum and yum!

Caffeine - I need to look this up, but did you drink caffeinated coffee when you were nursing? I don't want to drink too much but the dingy 3-4 oz that I am drinking in the morning is a waste because we have a keurig and I'm dumping out about 2-3 oz.


NON Meatloaf for your Sunday dinner

I followed Angela's recipe for Lentil Loaf yesterday. Whoa.. I was definitely cursing when I realized how intense it was - probably a good Sunday activity.  But.. when I got to the part to put it in the pan and tried it for seasonings, it was delicious!! It turned out a huge success. Nick loved it and Bill thought it was good too! I'd add more of the topping because that made it over the top : )

Ultimate Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf by OSG

I made a few changes seen below.

* 1 cup dry lentils
* 3 cups vegetable stock
* 3 TBS ground flax seed
* 1/2 cup warm water
* 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup sweet onion, diced
* 1 celery stock or green onion, chopped finely (optional) - DID NOT USE
* 1 medium carrot, grated
* 1/3 of an apple, peeled, grated (makes 1/3 cup grated apple)
* 1/4 cup raisins - DID NOT USE
* 3/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
* 1 tsp kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
* 1 tsp dried thyme
* 1/2 cup regular oats, ground into a flour (I processed the oats in food processor)
* 1 tbsp ground flax seed
* 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used 2 slices of Ezekiel bread, lightly toasted, and processed in food processor)

Sweet Glaze

* 2 Tbsp ketchup
* 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar - DID NOT HAVE - Used apple cider vinegar
* 1 Tbsp maple syrup
* 1 Tbsp apple butter - DID NOT USE


Cook green lentils: In a medium sized pot, add 3 cups of water and a vegetable bouillon cube and boil water until cube is dissolved. Alternatively, you can also use already prepared veggie stock. Rinse lentils and pick over being sure to remove any small pebbles that may be in the mix. Add lentils, bring to boil, and reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender (about 40 minutes). Be sure to stir the lentils frequently so they do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Once the lentils are cooked, remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a loaf pan with parchment so that parchment paper hangs over the edges by 2 inches.

Walnuts: Toast 3/4 cup of walnuts at 350F for about 6 minutes and then set aside to cool.

Flax egg: Mix 3 tbsp of ground flax with 1/2 cup warm water and stir well. Set aside for at least 5-10 minutes so it can gel up.

Prepare vegetable mixture: In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion and minced garlic for about 5 minutes on low-medium heat, being careful not to burn. After the onions are tender, add carrot and sauté for 2-3 minutes over low heat. Add grated apple, raisins, and chopped walnuts and sauté another minute or two. Add thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

Breadcrumbs: I took 2 slices of Ezekiel bread and lightly toasted them. Then I ripped up the slices and placed into my food processor and processed until small breadcrumbs were left. Alternatively, you can use store bought breadcrumbs too.

Since I was kind of lazy cutting the onions and carrots, I processed the carrot, apple, onion, garlic, walnut mix first. Then added the lentils below.

Process 75% of lentils and Mix everything together: Once the lentils are cooled, take 75% of the lentils and place into food processor. Process until mostly smooth (some small lentils will remain!). Now take the processed lentils and scoop into a large bowl. Add in the remaining 25% of non-processed lentils and place into bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, flax egg, veggie mixture, oat flour, and ground flax seed. Stir well with a spoon and then remove the spoon and mix well with your hands, pressing it through your fingers. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Dump the mixture into your loaf pan and spread out with a spoon. Now take your hands and press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan.

Preparing Glaze: In small bowl combine all glaze ingredients. Spread evenly over loaf and bake, uncovered 45 minutes at 350F.  I would double the recipe for this glaze next time!

Cool for about 10-15 minutes and serve. Serves about 8 thick slices.

Served with polenta and mushrooms
Polenta was a mixture of cornmeal, almond milk, 1 T butter, 1 T maple syrup, pepper, and water. I didn't measure it but had to keep it on low and stir it a while so it didn't stick to the pan. Delicious!!


a slip on shoe and crocs.com

Right around Christmas I decided I wanted a pair of the lined crocs. It was Christmas eve when I ordered them in pink and got a pair for my mom too - on crocs.com which I am now calling crap.com. They finally came yesterday - 10 days later and when they arrived I was totally disappointed to discover that I ordered men's sizes instead of womens. There is a tab on their site that defaults to men (yep, even for pink) and a tab for women.  How did I miss this on the checkout page - I do not know.  I called up crocs to see if they could do anything for me. Nope. I have to send them back and pay for the shipping. I refuse to order from them again and I am looking for a comfortable pair of slip on shoes for the winter.

Any advice?


Ringing in 2011

by getting destroyed on a hill workout this morning
No one said HARD. They just said HILL. I did basically a tempo run with a friend from swimming on Sunday at 8:38ish- a pace faster than I've been running in a long time. Then I get whooped 2 days later.  I show up to this hill after warming up indoors (KEY!)  and got destroyed!  We all have to start somewhere. I haven't worked HARD since spring '08 so here's to a hard working 2011 and getting my butt back in shape. I did about 2 miles warmup, 1.5 inside and then we ran up a hill 8 times and the downhill was recovery. Awesome workout! The total mileage was 6.5 miles and then I did another 1.5 at home to cooldown and stretch. It was a nice sized hill. I'll go back for sure!  I am LOVING the Garmin to track my mileage and pace. Love it. Thank you Bill!

by bringing back the mean green smoothies
Had one of these yesterday and it was a great start to the day. Inspired by Angela's flu buster. Nick sucked his down. It was too thick so he used a straw.
  • 1.5 large ripe banana, peeled, sliced, and frozen
  • 3 Clementines, peeled and broken into segments
  • 1 c milk (I used 1/2 c almond and 1/2 c skim milk)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract (optional)
  • handful of fresh kale leaves

by taking down the Christmas tree
It's down and out! Niceeee. Earliest I've done that but it seems like alot of you did the same thing!  I have my space back from all of the new toys we have now.

and by planning Nick's birthday
I need projects so this is my project. Train theme.  I ordered him the shirt most of you liked better with just the number on it. I think it's going to be cute.  The invites are out (etsy!), and I have a bunch of ideas I need to get moving on. I can't believe he'll be two (Feb 6).  It's insane.


Christmas trees, bikes and running

They don't all go to together : )

Christmas trees - Growing up, my mom always kept up our tree for a long time, at least till the end of January. It makes sense to me because it is nice to see it and brings a smile. I've tried to keep ours up as long as possible in recent years and usually can't wait to put it up. This year I'm ready to get it down already. I want the space back and all the Christmas stuff to be put away.  I've already seen some trees out on the curb. How long do you keep up your tree? Ours is fake so I don't have to worry about it drying out.

Bikes - I have a mountain bike and for the 2 triathlons that I signed up for this spring/summer, I want to use a road bike. I don't want to buy one of these just yet and hear they are expensive. Do you think I could borrow or find one on Craig's List for the tris? What would you do?

Running - opportunities abound! I think that I will meet my goals of running with people for 2011. I'm very committed to it. On Saturday I sent out an email to my master's swim team seeing if anyone could run with me on Sunday morning at a trail nearby mid-morning. Most of the clubs meet at 8am and it is much easier for me to feed Kara, put her down for a nap and then go.  A friend in my lane agreed to run with me. It was great! She led the way and ran an even paced 8 miles with average of 8:38. It felt like I was pushing it a little but I needed to be pushed!  When I ran with my sister just a week ago, we did the same course and I led the pace and finished 8 minutes slower at the end.

When I sent out the email, I had other responses telling me about group runs and I ended up on a list for a couple of local clubs. Tomorrow there is a hill workout in the morning about 15 minutes away. I'm thinking of going, but my only fear is the darkness and tripping from not being able to see. Do you run in the dark?  Maybe I should get one of those head lamps?  I'm really psyched to have people to run with!

Happy New Year!