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Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's Official....

After many many long weeks of training I have officially signed up to run a 1/2 marathon. Previously I wrote about the Denver Rock n' Roll Marathon and how I wanted to run it. After this training I think 13.1 miles is as far as I think I ever want to run! So I'm sticking to my bucket list and doing the 1/2 marathon this August. Which is also months ahead of schedule. But my plans aren't always the plans God has for me. So I'm going with it.
 Running came back to me a little over a year ago full force after climbing a 14'er. I realized I needed to get into better cardio shape and lose weight. My training has me running 4 times per week and from 3 to 12 miles. I wake up pretty early in the morning and run my short distances. On Saturday's I still wake up super early and run my long runs. We have had such a heat wave if I'm not up and out by 5:45 am it's just so hot and I hate sweating! Each week I add 10% to my miles. So far my longest run is 11 miles. That's really long and hard for me since I've always been a sprinter.
As you all know I just love challenging myself and this is just something I never thought I could do, I still find myself saying I can't do it every once and a while. I actually just got home from a 3.5 mile run and I was in pain and felt like stopping...how on earth am I going to do 13? But I have paid for this 1/2, so I'm all in!
I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I'm going to be running the Georgetown to Idaho Springs 1/2 if you feel like looking it up.

Have any of you run a 1/2 marathon? Which one and how did you like it? What do you recommend for food before and after? I'd love any advice anyone has. Come back in August to see how I did and if I liked it!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

White Water Rafting Trip

Bucket List item #3 can officially be marked off the list! I took my family to Buena Vista to White Water Raft this weekend. We live about 3 hours from BV, so we packed up the car and headed out in the morning...a little late I only gave us 2 hours to get there. The ride down was pretty easy and we officially made it in 2 hours. The water is triple the height it normally is due to all the snow the mountains got this year, and it was at about 47 degrees! I put the boys in wet suits and R and I got splash jackets.
We carried the raft down a very steep hill to the cold water and jumped in. We drifted along easily for about 1 1/2 hours with minimal work, enjoyed the scenery and learned a bit about some history in the area. Then the next 1 1/2 was thrilling and tiring. The boys were screaming "let's do that again" several times as I kept thinking I better not fall off this raft.
R, myself and several other rafters got to cliff jump at one point. That was cold but so awesome! We all agreed it was a great family adventure but none of us really care to do it again.
                                I needed Dylan to weight 50 lbs, so he set up a buffet on the kitchen floor!
                                                               Eating lunch super fast
                                      My boys ready to go...Yes D is wearing pink water shoes!
                        (I got them from a friend to save on money renting them, he was a great sport)

This is just before we went. The helmets, jackets, and vest smelled so bad I almost threw up. R and I are planning our next summer adventure!
Anyone else white water raft? What did you think? Is it something you would do again?


Monday, July 25, 2011

4th of July Cupcakes and fun!

I know, I know I'm a little behind on my July 4th posts! I honestly keep forgetting to bring my camera almost everywhere I go these days. Shame on me, what a bad blogger I am! I'm trying to keep it in plain sight so I can actually snap a few photos of our summer as well.
We had a busy 4th of July weekend this year with some great friends. We started off on Sunday with a 4th/going away party combo with neighbors, friends and complete strangers. We had 100 degree weather without a cloud in the sky to kick off our drinking, I mean party.
We had a street full of kids, bikes and games with a sea of Red, White and Blue. The kids of course loved the fireworks the most. Our leaving neighbors were the prideful owners of some illegal fireworks call the Redneck Party Pack!
Saturday we headed on over to our fellow across the main street neighborhood for another party. We ate, drank, met new friends while the kids played kickball, football and more. We had front row seats to another evening of fireworks this time by teenagers. We then ended the night with my best friend and her kids doing sparklers and little fireworks.
By the end of the weekend we were all sleep deprived but no one was complaining!
Firework cupcakes
(Martha S. made these with cookies)
                                                     Red Velvet Cupcakes with R,W & B icing
                                                        to replicate the firework Popsicle

                                                             T and D, having a blast!


                                                                     Me and my man!

I hope everyone else had a fun and safe 4th of July! Feel free to leave a post in my comments with any of your creative baking/cooking for the 4th too!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Chews

I decided to make a rainy, stuck inside bored day with the kids, better by having them help me make some goodies! My boys just love helping me in the kitchen, I just don't let them often enough cause most of it ends up on the floor or in there mouth.
Here is our day:

Only D put some mixture in his mouth and both kids ate plenty of Chocolate chips. I messed up a bit with the oats but these still turned out fantastic.

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Chews:

2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 Cups all purpose four, divided
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C. butter melted
1 C. butterscotch caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup chopped Pecans (optional)
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray rectangular baker with vegetable oil. Combine oats, 1 1/2 cups of the flour, brown sugar and baking soda in a bowl. Add butter, mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom of baker. Bake 15 minutes.

2. Combine caramel topping and remaining 1/4 cup flour in small bowl; whisk until smooth using whisk. Drizzle over crust; carefully spread to edges using spreader.

3. Combine pecans and reserved crumb mixture. Sprinkle crumb mixture and chocolate morsels evenly over caramel mixture. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Remove and let cool. Cut into bars.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Homemade Graham Crackers

I'm always looking for a way to be more frugal and of course make something from scratch. I came across a recipe for homemade Graham Crackers a few weeks back and HAD to try making my own. My hopes were that if we had a lot of crackers around we would make S'mores and the boys would have a good filling snack.
My boys are 6 and almost 8 and they already eat like football players so I'm a bit nervous when they are teenagers and actually football players how much will they be eating? I envision 2 full sandwiches each, a bag of chips each and a bottle of soda! OK back to the crackers!
The crackers were pretty easy to make, but it takes a long time. Make sure you leave at least an hour the first time you try this recipe.

Happy to report the hubby tried these over the weekend and he loved them! He said they were way better then store bought. Dylan had them frozen yesterday as a snack and he loved that too. When we were younger I used to eat them with Cool whip or frosting frozen in the middle...YUMMY!
This is definitely something I will be making often!

Graham Crackers:
12 Tbsp Butter
1 C. Packed Brown Sugar
1/3 c. Honey
2 Eggs
1 1/2 C all purpose Flour
1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour (I would put a little less of this next time, you could totally taste wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Cinn/sugar mixture for topping!

Beat butter, honey and brown sugar in mixer until fluffy. Add eggs then mix. Add Flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, white sugar and salt to mix. Put in fridge for 1 hour. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
On floured surface roll out dough about 1/8" thick. Cut and place onto greased cookie sheet.
Dip a pastry brush into water and brush tops of crackers.
Use fork to poke holes in crackers. Sprinkle the Cinn/Sugar mixture on top as desired.
Bake 10 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 30 minutes.
Feel free to link my post to your blog ;)
Do you eat your Graham Crackers a special way? I'd love to hear how!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Applesauce Muffins

My lil' guy just loves Applesauce. I buy the biggest jar and he will eat the entire thing in 2 days if I let him. So to get it more incorporated with his meals I decided to make muffins with some organic applesauce from Sprouts.
He LOVES them! I ended up making 3 dozen and freezing them in batches for him. I take them out the night before and when he gets up his breakfast is all ready for him. I also make all my batches half big muffins and half mini muffins.

Anyone have a good muffin recipe they want to share? Post a link in my comment box to your blog.

Recipe will be added shortly...cannot find it ;)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July Goals

Another month of summer and the boys will be back in school! Time flies when your having fun. Like I said in my June goals I set goals but if I don't get to them all I'm fine with that. It gives me something to look forward to on my spare time.
July is a very busy month for us so I'm going to go easy this month.

Continue Training
White Water Raft
Volunteer at the church

Purpose driven life
Finish bible study book and I may re-read it
Book Club Book
Blogger review book

Homework 4 days per week (ongoing)
Be more strict with reading every night
Teach them scripture verses
Attend VBS

Make something with Oats

Like I said going easy on myself. In August when school starts I'll have more personal goals. I also need to get back into doing menu planning. I've recently just been making things on each page of a new cookbook. So far 3 of the recipes are fantastic and making it into a monthly menu item!
It's been raining a lot here so I've had time to work on some projects, can't wait to show you!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Updated June Goals

I didn't realize how busy our summer was going to be this year with 2 big boys in my house. We have hardly been home yet this summer. It's been fun but I'm getting tired!
Why is it kids think you have to entertain them every single second of the day? Why can't my kids still nap?
I also find that I have to wake up between 5 and 6am to get my run in, by 2 I'm ready for a nap. The weather has been really nice too and the last thing I want to do is cook in my 78 degree house. So even though I set a lot of goals I'm ok with not meeting most of them. If my family is happy then that's all that matters to me.
I'll set more goals for July that most likely I won't finish as well ;)


Run my 1st 10K race if one is close enough (if not I'm running another 5K on July 4th)...Didn't race due to finances
Start back up Rock Climbing...just haven't been able to fit it in with my training

To make in the Kitchen:
Homemade lasagna noodles...on hold cannot afford attachment
Graham Crackers
Mozzarella Sticks....boys ate the sticks for snacks
Granola bars (or something with oats)...July goal now

Make a 'C' wall art....Started but harder then I had planned
Re purpose an outdoor umbrella candle holder....Bought the stuff and it's all sitting in my garage

Memory verses from Bible..I'm not going to cross off this is ongoing
Homework at least 4 days a week (I'm going to make a curriculum)....doing good on this, but ongoing

Book club book
Love at Last sight
The purpose driven life...Started this
Real Mom's Real Jesus (June and July book for bible study)...almost done

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Old Fashioned Whoopie Pies

If you know anything about me and my family, you know that desserts are very important to us! We just love our after dinner sweets. I follow a few blogs that are for baking, and almost everyone is making these Whoopie Pies. They looked delicious so I of course had to try making them. Here's how that went.

Mix ingredients in a large bowl.
                                                          In blender mix the fluffy filling
                                                           bake and cool on wire rack
Take one pie and put on filling, then add another pie...Tada!

Old Fashioned Whoopie Pies:

12 TBS unsalted butter
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 C. Milk
1 Lg Egg


1 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 Jar Marshmallow Creme
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 cookie sheets. In small bowl microwave 6 TBS butter. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Add melted butter, milk and 1 tsp vanilla and egg. Stir with wooden spoon until mixed well.
Drop batter in small heaps on baking sheets. Make 34 cookies. Cook 12 minutes.
Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
In large mixing bowl beat remaining butter 3 minutes. Add confectioner's sugar, beat in marshmallow creme and vanilla until combined and fluffy.
Spread 1 TBS on 17 cookies top with rest of cookies.

Now this made way more then 17 cookies and we would take months to eat all of them so I put small portions of cookies (2 each) into freezer Ziploc bags and froze them. I take them out when the kids ask for a pie! They should last up to 4 mths in the freezer. Thaw and Enjoy!!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Homemade Pita Chips

Here at the Casa, we just love hummus. We can seriously eat an entire package of hummus in one sitting. I have made some of my own but just plain. We love all the red pepper and pine nut flavors. Maybe some day I can try making one of those flavors.  We usually eat hummus with carrots or Pita chips. But I hate the price of pita chips! So I decided I would try and make my own. They are actually very easy and yummy. Not Stacy chips good, but healthy and half the price.

Pita Chips:
Pita pockets
Olive Oil
Seasonings (Italian or sea salt)
Garlic Salt

Cut the pita pockets into small strips. Place on a baking sheet and cover pita with olive oil and seasonings. Then bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them they can burn. When golden brown remove from over and cool. Feel free to add more seasoning if needed. Serve with hummus!

Anyone else have a good recipe they like to follow for Hummus or Pita chips?