Lets Do This 2015!!

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I’m more committed with a plan!!

Call it a resolution, goal, resolve, plan of action or whatever you like but the New Year always seems to make me focus on what’s next and how I can improve.

My biggest goal this year? To continue running!

After a LONG (think decade plus) pause I started running again last winter and ran consistently throughout the spring and summer.  I even did fairly well in a couple of local short distance races – 2 5Ks and a 4-mile. This was HUGE for me since I hadn’t run at all (not even for exercise really) since high school cross country. Having got “back in the saddle” I set my eyes on my first half-marathon EVER late August 2014.

I’m proud to say I ran that 13.1 but it was ROUGH!?! I made some rookie mistakes such as:

  • Last minute I decided to jump up a pace group (8 min. miles vs. 8:30). This killed me as I went out too fast and lost A LOT of steam before the halfway mark.
  • Not accounting for the weather – it was not too hot but really, really muggy. I think my race outfit could have been better planned.
  • I was to wrapped up in time/pace before the race. Obviously bettering pace could be something to think about after doing multiple races but for my first I should have kept my goals less lofty. Meaning, I got down on myself once I knew I wasn’t going to keep the pace I’d hoped for…which of course made me slow down even more. Running is as much a mental challenge as physical!
  • A huge one (and by far the dumbest!!) – I ran in wet shoes. Yep, that’s right. Miss Silly competed in the kids race the day before and I ran along with her.  It was pouring! AND I wore my good shoes. What was I thinking!! This led to some severe foot pain throughout the race that then translated into knee pain by about mile 8.

But I finished!!! And my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and parents got to cheer me in which was so fun. (D was home with the 4 kiddos unfortunately – we knew Baby Girl would have FREAKED out if I ran past her. Not at all fun for dad, mom, or baby!)

Unfortunately my feet took a beating and I lost some toenails (sorry for the TMI). It was pretty painful to run after that and my shoes were shot.

So, as I have a tendency to do, I let the couple weeks of recovery turn into a couple of months. Then my family had the December from hell – influenza, Baby Girl broke her leg, strep, etc. and running again got shoved to the end of the priority list as we scrambled to make the holidays festive and fun despite the chaos.

Things are going to change in 2015 though! Running keeps me sane, keeps me healthy, gives me a physical outlet, provides for the ability to compete, and all around makes me a happier person. Which of course translates into me being a better wife, mom, friend, and daycare provider!

I’ve got my race’s selected through June, the training plan is in place (WinterSpring2015HalfTrainingPlan), and the first 3 workouts are complete!

Lets Do This 2015!!

Blue Skies & Blessings, Lindsey

I choose RUNNING!! {Treadmill Cheat Sheet}

Lately I’ve been trying to own my decisions about how I spend my time.  I HATE feeling like time just slips by and all I’m doing is the same-old things.  Granted I have chores to do, errands to run, etc. but sometimes as an adult it feels like that is all there is – which kind of sucks!

So, 4-5 days a week since late March I choose to run instead.  For as long as it takes me to do the miles I have planned for that day I put the other stuff aside.  No more excuses, no more complaining about exercise.  I just do it!  And, it feels great {rewarding, awesome!!}

We did kick-start my re-entry into running by buying a treadmill.  While I prefer to run outside and try to at least two times each week, the treadmill allows me to sneak in a run whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Typically this is right before dinner OR after the kids are in bed during the school year (i.e. when I do daycare during the day) This summer I’ve occasionally gotten a run in during nap as well.

Now that the running habit has been established I’m trying to work on speed.  To facilitate this I created a treadmill cheat sheet so that I can quickly see what my mile per hour speed equates to as a mile pace. 

Treadmill Cheat SheetThis is getting laminated and stuck on my treadmill.  Feel free to print and use for your own training as well :)

I added the saying on the bottom after seeing it on Pinterest – love the sentiment!

I choose RUNNING!  For my mental sanity, my physical health, and to be part of a community of people focused on something good.

Blue skies & Blessings,

Lindsey

This Boy is on FIRE {Fireman Birthday Party}

The set-up!

Fireman birthday – the set up.

Where did the time go???  I have NO idea but Little Man turned THREE the other week!  I can’t believe it – he is living up to his nickname these days…full of questions, full of adventure and ruckus, and quite the chatterbox.

I opted for a “Fireman Birthday” for two main reasons, none of which are overly sentimental:

  1. Because we had some of the “decorations” (hey, I’m cheap!) – the firetruck was a gift from his grandparents a while back, the dalmatian puppy we’ve had around, and even the fire hat was in our dress-up clothes stash.
  2. I have some themes I’d like to save until he’s older and has friends invited.  We opt to keep the party really small until age 5 – less work AND less additional toys via gifts.  More toys is something our already full-of-toys house doesn’t need!

Little Man was ecstatic about the affair – nothing beats a three-year-old’s reaction to stuff:

This excited EVEN after seeing the prep work.

This excited even after seeing the prep work.

He wasn’t able to nap from excitement AND I couldn’t distract him enough to stay out of party central so he saw the set-up before it was complete but was still over-the-moon excited when it was “all done, right Mom?”

I decided to make a home-made cake this time around.  In the past I’ve tried to do a”fancy” decorated cake (like this Ladybug Cake or Miss Silly’s Rainbow Cake) but I’m always doing them last minute AND I have not researched and/or practiced cake decorating techniques so the results are typically cute but mediocre.  One thing I can do well?   Make a cake and frosting from scratch!  So, I stuck with what I know.  This cake was AWESOME and I thought the mini-chocolate chips sort-of resembled dalmation spots – or at least thats what I convinced the kids of!  For the cake topper I made the fire hat out of paper and stuck it into the cake with popsicle sticks.

The Cake

I wrapped his gifts in brown paper and added simple “windows.”  Miss Silly added the doors – I dig the 3-dimensional effect!  Just a bit of red, orange, and yellow paper to create the flame and – ta da – buildings on fire!  I really, really liked this part of the decorations.  Plus Miss Silly helped which made it more fun.  She helped a ton with party decoration – as our budding artist she really gets into the creative side of things.

The gifts - all wrapped up!

The gifts – all wrapped up and on fire!

Notice the “Fire Man” drawing on the table in front?  Its a coloring book Miss Silly made for Little Man.  All but the front page were black-and-white drawings of fireman gear for him to color.  It makes this mommy smile when the kiddos do nice things like this for each other!

I got lucky on Little Man’s outfit:

Already owned - the first piece of clothing that he picked out for himself:)

Already owned – the first piece of clothing that he picked out for himself:)

Fireman overalls - found while thrifting for $3!!

Fireman overalls – found while thrifting for $3!!

Some more pics:

One happy mommy, one happy boy.

One happy mommy, one happy boy.

Our little family - so blessed to have our THREE year old boy.

Our little family – so blessed to have our THREE year old boy.

It was a great afternoon and evening. Grandpa & Grandma were able to join, we got in a walk, Little Man was really, really excited, and all of the kids stayed happy.  Can’t get much better…except for the fact we got to eat STEAK!  {Little Man’s favorite food – he’s not spoiled or anything, huh?}  This was a whole lot yummier then past requested birthday fare – think Mac-n-Cheese, Cheetos, etc.  Life is GREAT!

Thanks for taking a look!

Blue Skies & Blessings, Lindsey

This project might be linked up to some (or all:) of these LINK PARTIES:

I {heart} Nap TimeImpatiently CraftyUnder the Table & DreamingI should be mopping the floorMaking the World CuterThe Trendy TreehouseSewing BarefootReasons to Skip the Housework Sun Scholars, Fingerprints on the Fridge, Funky Polka Dot GiraffeGinger Snap Crafts, Sugar & Dots, The Thrifty Home, Lil’ Luna, Th 36th Avenue, My Repurposed Life, A Creative Princess, Beyond the Picket FenceBe Different, Act Normal,  Classy Clutter, Flamingo Toes, Tater Tots & JelloToo Much Time on My Hands, Craft Envy, Blissful & Domestic, Cheerios & Lattes, Fine Craft Guild, The Dedicated House, C.R.A.F.T, Today’s Creative Blog, WTFabDIY Home Sweet Home, Pin It Wednesday, Navy Wivey Peters, Fall into the Holidays (Horrific Knits), The Gingerbread Blog, One Creative Mommy, A Lived in Home, Sugar Bee CraftsGingerly Made, Diane Rambles, Western Warmth, Serenity You, Homemade Ginger, Project Inspire, Skip to My Lou, Keeping it Simple, Sew Much Ado, Easy Living Mom, Fluster Buster, Watch Out, Martha!, Say Not Sweet Anne, Ladybug Blessings, Our Delightful Home, Wednesday Whatsits, Handy Man, Crafty Woman, The Frugal Girls, Make Along Monday

“SNOWBALL” Granola Bites

Snowballs

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be doing themes during daycare again!  We started last school year doing a new theme each week.  That worked, for awhile, but then we added a newborn AND I got pregnant.  Two infants plus early pregnancy ≠ a good combination for a more structured program.  But I was gung-ho about starting up again after maternity leave in January – switching to monthly versus weekly themes.  That way we can really explore the topic and it provides me with plenty of time to get through the activities and crafts planned while still being flexible to the needs of everyone, especially Baby Girl.

The first theme was Snow(men).  We did LOTS of fun stuff – I hope to (but don’t promise:) to summarize soon.  For the last “Friday Fun Food” – i.e. Friday afternoon snack…always a dessert, typically the kids help me make them – I decided to make SNOWBALLS.  Actual snowball cookies weren’t what I was wanting – this girl needed some chocolate on a Friday afternoon!  I remembered these No-Bake Energy Bites I’d repinned from my sister-in-law and decided that was a good starting point – with my own tweaks, of course, plus a powdered sugar coating.  

The result is a delish little nugget of chocolaty goodness!

Snowball Close-Up

Want to print the recipe?  Just click on the image below and it should print nicely on 8 x 11 paper.

Snowball Recipe

Only “problem” with these is they are a bit messy – especially with 7 kids needing to be cleaned up after – but the kids and I all loved them.  Poor Baby Girl, who’s often in the baby carrier, suffered an unfortunate side-effect…

Snowy Baby Girl

As for Little Man, he was rocking the cowboy boots, a dusting of powdered sugar, and a super-chocolaty smile:)

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The big girls managed to eat these without getting messy so I think these will make a great little treat for their packed lunches next year.

Thanks for taking a look!  As always, let me know if you give it a try.

Blue Skies & Blessings, Lindsey

A Minnesota Winter Dilemma

Ridiculously cold temperatures?  Check!

Super-bundled (and VERY tired) preschooler?  Check!

Mini-van ride with the heat cranked up?  Check!

So Sleepy

Carrying in a sleeping Little Man and having him not wake up AT.  ALL. {even when I bonked his head on the door frame – whoops!}: BEYOND CUTE!

He managed to sleep for 40 minutes like that.  Just screams comfy, huh?

Here’s my dilemma – over-bundle so that they don’t’ freeze on the walk to the van OR under-bundle so they don’t overheat on the road?  Of course on long trips under-bundling is the way to go but running errands around town with lots of in-and-outs – I lean towards over-bundling.  ESPECIALLY during one recent Polar Vortex – although admittedly I barely left the house on the days when it was stupid cold out!

Added to that dilemma is the sheer hassle that results from kids taking off hats and mittens between stops (and sometimes boots, ugh!) that results in additional time this momma has to spend standing in the cold putting the winter gear BACK ON.  I’m not one of those people who dislikes winter.  In fact I enjoy it for the most part even with the bitter cold but hauling 4 kiddos including an infant during the cold months?  Definitely not my favorite:)

Oh, and don’t even get me started on what the he*# kids can do with their mittens!  They’re the socks of winter, don’t you think?!?

Blue Skies & Blessings,

Lindsey

 

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

Perfect with fresh garlic breadsticks!!

Perfect with fresh garlic breadsticks!!

Nothin’ says WINTER to me like a hearty soup.  And if you are anywhere in the upper Midwest right now it is definitely winter – like the -20 degree wind chill  sort-of winter.  BRRR!!  With a new baby in the house this has meant many, many days where the kiddos and I haven’t ventured out at all.  Preparing and eating delicious food has helped prevent stir-craziness – although I knew I really needed to get out once a trip to the grocery store seemed like a treat:)

In the world of hearty soups, wild rice soup has been a long time favorite.  But I’ve struggled to find a simple recipe that I loved.  I got a hankering a few weeks back.  This recipe from Betty Crocker looked close so I modified to meet my preferences.  The result is simply delicious!

An added bonus?  The recipe freezes well.  I froze individual portions in mason jars.  Once thawed I just microwaved to reheat.  The soup will look curdly – is that a word? – until its heated enough but it is just as scrumptious once it is stirred thoroughly.

Obviously you could add chicken, bacon, cheese, etc. but for me this isn’t necessary – the recipe tastes delicious as is and provides a yum, yum, yummy meatless option for our family.  We are always trying to find recipes where we (or more specifically D:) won’t miss having meat and this fits the bill.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup Recipe

Want to print the recipe?  Just click on the image above and it should print nicely on 8 x 11 paper.

If you’re interested in freezing left-overs I would recommend doubling the recipe.  As written it only makes about 4 cups – not a lot, especially since it is nearly impossible to resist seconds.

The original recipe gives alternatives to cooking your wild rice – frozen or canned – so if you need to save time there are alternatives that make this a really quick meal.

Thanks for taking a look!  As always, let me know if you give it a try.

Blue Skies & Blessings, Lindsey

This project will be linked up to some (or all:) of these LINK PARTIES:

I {heart} Nap TimeImpatiently CraftyUnder the Table & DreamingI should be mopping the floorMaking the World CuterThe Trendy TreehouseSewing BarefootReasons to Skip the Housework Sun Scholars, Fingerprints on the Fridge, Funky Polka Dot GiraffeGinger Snap Crafts, Sugar & Dots, The Thrifty Home, Lil’ Luna, Th 36th Avenue, My Repurposed Life, A Creative Princess, Beyond the Picket FenceBe Different, Act Normal,  Classy Clutter, Flamingo Toes, Tater Tots & JelloToo Much Time on My Hands, Craft Envy, Blissful & Domestic, Cheerios & Lattes, Fine Craft Guild, The Dedicated House, C.R.A.F.T, Today’s Creative Blog, WTFabDIY Home Sweet Home, Pin It Wednesday, Navy Wivey Peters, Fall into the Holidays (Horrific Knits), The Gingerbread Blog, One Creative Mommy, A Lived in Home, Sugar Bee CraftsGingerly Made, Diane Rambles, Western Warmth, Serenity You, Homemade Ginger, Project Inspire, Skip to My Lou, Keeping it Simple, Sew Much Ado, Easy Living Mom, Fluster Buster, Watch Out, Martha!, Say Not Sweet Anne, Ladybug Blessings, Our Delightful Home, Wednesday Whatsits, Handy Man, Crafty Woman, The Frugal Girls

1 + 1 = 6 {She’s here and she’s PERFECT!!}

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Baby Girl – by far our “cheesiest” newborn – really, really needed that first bath:)

Eight years to the day of our “1+1″ I had the privilege of telling D that we were expecting baby #4.  What an exciting anniversary gift, don’t you think?  Mid-November the little lady arrived and we couldn’t be happier.  She is our “last but not least” and we are enjoying this last opportunity to snuggle and smooch a newborn.

Baby Girl was 8 pounds 3 ounces.  Amazingly, this was the EXACT weight of her two older sisters.  The nurses and doctors said they’d never seen that many from one family born at exactly the same weight…I think the little lady is already trying to keep up with the Big Girls!

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Hospital – Day 2

The delivery – planned, repeat cesarean – went better than anticipated.  Since this was my fourth c-section the doctors prepared us that there could be complications.  We were beyond fortunate that there were none – the surgery was quick and routine, I healed well and quickly.

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Loodle LOVES her new baby sister!

The “big kids” all adore Baby Girl – in fact Miss Silly and Loodle have had their fair share of fights over who gets to hold her and for how long.  Little Man will come up to me and tell me “She want her Little Man” when he wants to give her a snuggle – so stinkin’ cute!

First COMPLETE family photo - Thanksgiving 2013

First COMPLETE family photo – Thanksgiving 2013

In all the busyness of bringing Baby Girl home from the hospital and maintaining as much routine as possible for the other kiddos we didn’t manage to get a family photo until Baby Girl was already 6 days old.  Oh well, I’ve come to realize that as a mother of 4 I’m going to have to except that sometimes my plans/expectations will be derailed…I did get a ton of cute photos of all four kids together before that though!

Its amazing with each subsequent baby how much more they are exposed to at a younger age.  With Miss Silly (i.e. baby #1) we were pretty much at home for the first few weeks.  With baby #4?  We were at a family get-together before she was a week old!  Baby Girl had the PERFECT outfit – got to love a little Turkey Tush, right??

Turkey Tush

Baby Girl – 6 days old

By three weeks, she’d already completed her first volunteer opportunity – ringing the Salvation  Army bell with her older sisters and me.  It was an inside location, of course!

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I’m guessing one of the littlest bell ringers they’ve had!

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In their Christmas jammies – Little Man (2), Loodle (4), Baby Girl (5 weeks), and Miss Silly (6).

Baby Girl is our Serious Baby – always seeming to ponder and study her surroundings.  She is also a “milk monster” according to her siblings.  Indeed, this little girl LOVES to eat.

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I just can’t get enough of Baby Girl!

I am so lucky to be her mommy.

Blue Skies and Blessings,

Lindsey