Saturday, September 29, 2012

Virtual 5K: I DID IT!!

Many moons ago, this idea came up over at Catholic Exchange for a Virtual 5K to be held in September. Since I'm a huge fan of Clan Donaldson, I thought it would be fun to join in.

Hey, no competition, just virtual fun and a 5K. I had in my mind that I wanted to do a 5K all summer and was afraid of the training time and not being ready. So when Cari mentioned the run/walk/limp/crawl idea, I figured it was the ideal no-fuss/no-pressure way to attempt a 5K.

How fun would this be? Plan and train and then join in with people all over the world. Super fun!

And then the summer slipped by with me exercising, but hardly getting in real time to actually train. I remained uncommitted and said nothing to hardly a soul. You know, just in case I didn't go through with it. Rather not disappoint anyone but myself.

A few weeks ago I set my mind to it. Come heck or high water I was gonna try, darn it.

I decided that I would run if I was able or at least I was going to walk like a speed walking maniac.

This morning, the weather dawned perfect and I wanted to get out early before it warmed up too much. We had a forecast high of 83 degrees.

Just before 8:00 I was out and ready to go.

I wore my bright pink shirt in the event hubby needed to hunt me down on the side of the road somewhere.

I started out on a brisk walk for the first 1/2 mile to get myself going and then, with the tunes cranked up on my iPod, I started running.

Well, more like a jog really. Just a touch faster than my fast walking. I know this wasn't a time competition, but I wanted to see IF I could do it and HOW FAST I could do it.

But really, how is it that as fast as I felt I was going, I wasn't really getting anywhere??

I kept going on my flat surface, easy-peasy route on the county road that runs past our house. The locals that passed by on their early Saturday morning drive by clearly watched in amazement at my swift pace. And I dare say, the cows I passed in the pasture were equally impressed.

Or confused how a human being could possibly 'run' that slowly.

I ran until my half way point and then went to a walk for a bit lest my heart fail me and I keel over on the side of the road.

My legs were jello. Shoot. Should have kept running.

The whole time while I was out I was composing this blog post in my head and reminding myself that I was gonna get this done. After all, Colleen, my bloggy bestie was going to be doing this today. And my coach, Cari, was surely going to have a hilarious post all about it later.

I needed to do this.

I picked up the pace and set to running again. This time it didn't feel nearly so bad.

I kept running. And running. And running.

How Forrest Gump of me, huh?

And, finally my house was within sight. Oh this place never looked so good.

With the cheering and adoring fans to welcome me, I finished.

I was proud of myself. I had finished and I had ran probably about 2 miles of the 3.1. Not all of the race, but at least I didn't have to resort to the limp or crawl.

To prove that I have a long ways to go, but at least didn't take the better part of the day racing:

My goal was around 45 mins or less, even though I know that's nowhere near runners pace.

All in all, I feel accomplished and reached my goal of actually doing a 5K this year. Not bad seven months after baby and without training near as much as I would've liked.

I just may be up for this again.

Thanks Cari and Catholic Exchange for hosting!

**Truth be told, my family missed my finish. I was already walking a cool-down when they appeared outside to cheer. Of course, we did a re-do ending. You know, because it would look good for the blog post and all.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Autumn At My Door

After a brief hiatus, I've made a return to Pinterest. 

You know the place, right? Where all the cool super-crafty, arsty-fartsy, chic types all hang out.  

Where everything you see looks so awesome and totally do-able.


However, I use my discretion and a dose of reality to pin what I may actually do. You know, someday.

I ended up getting an itch for a quick craft project. Fall wreath for my front door? Can do. Will try.

I pinned this one and followed the directions and used her template for rosettes. After a quick stop at JoAnn Fabrics, I was well on my way.

* 1 grapevine wreath

* 4 fall berry picks

* 6 total felt squares (dk.brown, lt. brown, maroon and orange color)

* 1 1/4 yds. brown ribbon for hanging

* 1 pkg.of command strip hooks (for hanging 3 lb items)

With the super sale they were running last week and my coupons, I spent just over $10 total. Throw on some hot glue and double-sided tape that I already had on hand and I was set.

The rosettes turned out to be kind of fun once I got the hang of them. The project maybe took a little over an hour if I don't count interruptions.

Hey, not bad! I'm pleased with the results.

I'm no Martha, but I don't mind trying.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Where Two Or More Are Gathered...

There is Christ in our midst.

That is exactly what we did.

Over fifty of us came together last night at my parents' home for Mass on a beautiful autumn evening.

Since their new priests arrived in July, they have done many different things to gather their flock. It's four communities that share these two wonderful priests (our buddy, Fr. G, and his young associate, Fr. JP)  and they need more unity rather than division.

So, every week on Tuesday evening while the weather is still pleasant, they are gathering for Mass on the Road. Parishioners offer to host the Mass and then each week a name is picked out of a hat to see who is chosen.

My parents were the hosts this week, so the big kids and I headed on over to celebrate Mass with their community.

The scene was set and the fine details were finalized.

Before Mass begins, Father asks the host/hostess to share a little about their home and their family.  They also choose the Mass intention and share that with the crowd. Upon discussing with Father, they chose to also have a votive Mass to the Holy Spirit rather than the mass of the day. Their intention was for a new evangelization in our Church, healing of families and for those who have left the Church/no longer practice their faith in our families.

It was the IDEAL fall evening. With the backdrop of fall foliage, cows in the pasture gently lowing in the background and perfect temperature, it was the precious reminder of Christ present everywhere. I think it also won over the heart of Fr. JP who comes from a farm family.

The sunset shone so brightly on Fr. JP as it lingered over the horizon and cast light on his red vestment amidst the orange and green leaves of the maple tree.

A touch of grace, a glimmer of beauty, a glimpse of the Holy Spirit.

Again I was reminded of the depth of our beloved Catholic Church and all that I easily take for granted.

Reason #183 why I {heart} my Catholic faith.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Perfect '10' Birthday

How do you celebrate your first double digit birthday in style?

Why, with numerous celebrations, of course.

Miss Lily celebrated her TENTH birthday over the weekend and we did our best to make it memorable.

First, the celebrating actually started last weekend with a pre-birthday party with my parents who were visiting.

The best cupcakes topped with cocoa buttercream frosting.

On Lily's birthday day, we were off to Itasca State Park. Like last year, hubby had a work meeting there on Friday. It worked out well for the whole family to tag along and make a family fun day out of it.

The birthday girl was quite pleased!

How can she be 10 already??!!

The cool fall temperatures didn't threaten our outdoor plans, which was a blessing. A little chilly, but even the little girls had a lot of fun. We were able to enjoy the sights and beautiful fall foliage too.

Of course, back at the Mississippi River headwaters once again.

Saturday evening, we had the neighborhood gang over for cake and ice cream. Just a simple Funfetti (*gasp* BOX) cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, birthday girl's choice.

However, my children still think I am apparently a Cake Boss and can whip up any of their creations. I try, but am not always real successful.

This time around, it was a Shark themed cake since Lily has a fascination with them. We are still unsure as to how the desire to know all things shark related ever even found way to her radar.

So, this Cake Boss put together this little number after numerous consultations with the designer:

While Lily did seem less than enthusiastic initially over the end result ('It's nice. Not really what I was picturing, but it's ok'), the cake seemed to grow on her and she fell in love with it. C'mon, can I have kids that just ask for a plain old cake that's frosted and a few sprinkles on it??!!

Not bad, huh?

We concluded the double digit extravaganza with pizza and bowling with her two BFF's (they're sisters) and her brother today.

So much fun with friends and so many good laughs!!

Phew. I think we can say that we celebrated our pants off and Lily is officially birthday-ed out. I think.

 At least I know I am.

These are going to be some very sweet memories for years to come of her tenth birthday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Matchy Matchy

*Wardrobe credit: Big Sister Lily (She insisted that the girls all get the same shirt because it would be SO MUCH fun)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Yumalicious: Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

These muffins recently made it to my table after a quick Google search for a simple recipe. What was a thought of "I should make some muffins today" just before 7 am, quickly became yummy muffins hot out of the oven by 8 am. Kid you not.

I doubled the recipe, leaving some out for now and threw the rest in the freezer for another day.

This just might become one of my new favorites due to the ease of preparing/ingredients, texture and how quick my kiddos ate them up.

Give 'em a try!

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

(recipe can also be found at Taste of Home)

1 1/4 cups Flour

1 cup quick cooking Oats

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

2 tsp  Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Nutmeg (I omitted)

1 Egg, lightly beaten

1 cup (8 oz) Plain Yogurt

1/4 cup Butter, melted

1 cup fresh Blueberries (I used frozen)


In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Combine the egg, yogurt and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries.

Coat muffin cups with cooking spray or paper liners; fill 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean (my time was more around 16-18 minutes).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In The 'Hood: Toddlerhood

At some point along the way I forgot how busy a toddler can be. From sunrise to sunset, these kids can go, go, go.

How is it no one has figured out how in the world to bottle up all of their energy and feed it to us 30-something year old moms via IV drip?

Climbing, running, jumping, twirling, stomping, vaulting, pushing, pulling...the list is endless!

These little wonders can sure be little dickens, but you've gotta love them for their ambition. And they are pretty darn cute.

I'm finding that sometimes that cuteness needs some direction, in addition to quiet time.

Those little hands like to be kept busy and right now Gianna is right at the age where she can sit still. For a couple minutes any way.

Coloring delights the little artist to no end, but watch close or that table will become her latest masterpiece.

Give the girl some sidewalk chalk and she'll have the best of both coloring and taking in the fresh air.

A quick click or two on Pinterest led me to a concept called 'Busy Bags' and other little ideas for the toddler. There were a bunch of wonderful quick, easy and inexpensive projects for help working on fine motor skills.

This one is just a used butter container with a small hole cut out in the lid. Buy a cheap bag of different size pom-poms and the toddler can keep putting them in the hole in the lid. Gianna enjoys this one and I think the bright colors of the pom-poms are a hit as well.

While it isn't always easy to physically get out the door with naps for two, snacks for two and other randoms times two, we make the best of it when we do. Gianna is a little explorer so she finds adventure wherever she roams.

I also made sure that with school about to begin that I had a back up plan in the event the coloring, self guided play and roaming wasn't enough. I spotted these Lauri products on Amazon and pull them out only when needed, so Gianna hasn't even seen them all yet. So far, they are a hit!

With a pretty easy-going personality like Gianna's, she's usually content and a happy camper no matter what she's doing.

Unless of course it's Sunday morning and she's being confined to the church pew.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Saturday Scenes Including Mary

September 8th is a special day at our house and we do our best to celebrate the two special occasions:

#1- Our Blessed Mother Mary's birthday

#2- Reed and my wedding anniversary

We usually find some way to work Mary and her birthday into our anniversary. When you share the day with such an important woman, how could you not?

As with most Marian feasts a 'Blue Day' is declared in our house. We started this several years ago and our kids usually make the connection then to Mary. Whomever is able, tries to incorporate the color blue in what they're wearing that day. You know, because Mary's favorite color was clearly BLUE. However, if you have a baby in the house and she is a girl, blue is not even in her wardrobe combinations so she is excused from the obligation.

The day was beautiful and the morning dawned chilly, but that didn't keep Jonah from insisting on a bike ride. So, daddy took the three kids while I stayed home with Margaret. We both had acquired a little cold and decided to stay home and rest a bit.

In the afternoon, a trip to the Dairy Queen was warranted in order to continue the celebrating. This worked well since in that local city they also have a Catholic church with a Mary Garden alongside it.

They included a couple of different angel statues in the garden including Seraphim (I think that's this one).

One of the kids' (and mine) favorite, St. Michael.

A beautiful place to sit and pray on a perfect fall afternoon.

Eleven amazing years together and still going strong. We have been so blessed!

Happy Birthday Mary!

How was your weekend? Hopefully it was filled with family, fun and beautiful weather just like ours.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back To Life, Back To Reality


We're back in the saddle at the old homestead and school is almost in full swing. Being the wise realistic veteran (I can say this now that we're in our fifth year) homeschooling mom, I planned our lesson plans on the lighter side for the first couple of weeks. I've come to appreciate this when it's the evening before the first day of school and I'm running around frantically preparing. Phew. Not as much of a load this way.

With two official days down, we are thriving and successful. Despite the reluctance that reared it's ugly head in the last week of summer, Tuesday morning dawned hope and eagerness in the hearts of young students.

As in the past, the routine and schedule put a new spring in my step and lightness in my chest. 

The only wild card was the unknown of how the little girls would handle the new normal. 

Well, they hardly missed a beat and didn't notice a thing. They still got to crawl/run around and rain down toy disaster wherever they went. Alone or together they spent time going back and forth between the schoolroom and the playroom.

At the end of the day, as long as there was cake to celebrate the momentous First Day, all was well.

All they really cared about was how the new changes affected what time lunch was served.
Right on time. As always.

 With the big kids back to school, it did mean that Gianna had to step it up a bit and take on new responsibilities.
She'd tell you that nothing gets done without her. If only she could.

 When the day is done, big kids are happy (so far), they have plenty of free/play time and the little girls are glad their buddies are at home to play. Our homeschooling gig is definitely still working for us.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

For The Homeschooling Mom

I read this quote last week on a blog (sorry, I'd give you credit if I could remember who you were) and thought it an appropriate reminder for us homeschooling moms as we begin a new year:

'As your school year begins, your chances to grow in holiness are about to be multiplied.'

This one will be going up on my fridge for the next several weeks.

May your school year be blessed, whether you started weeks ago or if you are like me and starting today. May our path to holiness be filled with the graces we need for the journey.

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