I’m Such a (Book)Mooch

Yesterday a fun package came in the mail.

A Fun Package

Oooo I love packages! So what’s inside, what’s inside!?

Why it’s a book!

Intuitive Eating

Have you read Intuitive Eating? It quite literally saved my sanity early this year when I was having a tough time with food.

I’ve never really had a difficult relationship with food. I’ve never been a “dietier” per se, and have always known that it’s better to just live an active lifestyle with a regular diet full of the whole foods – instead of eating diet foods, avoiding treats and junk food for a short period of time while you’re “on a diet” to lose weight. Once I figured out the math behind losing weight (calories in < calories out) weight loss came pretty easily. I counted calories to lose weight but what it boiled down to was smaller portions, not going back for seconds and cutting out mindless eating combined with regular exercise. What you don’t find out until after you’ve lost a significant amount of weight (35 lbs qualifies as significant for me) is that maintaining your weight can almost be harder than losing it in the first place.

Last year at this time I’d reached the weight I’d dreamed of for almost 15 years. I'd run my marathon. Awesome! But now what? I was out of goals to work toward and felt like I had nothing exciting to look forward to anymore. I found myself turning to food for excitement and fun. I would restrict and "be good" during the week and then overeat – and as horribly embarrassed as I am to write it: binge on the weekends. Seriously, I want to backspace that last sentence right out but I'm leaving it in because I know now that I'm not alone. I sure felt alone back then though. "Back then" being only 9 short months ago.

I honestly thought I was losing my mind and that I was heading for an eating disorder. I felt like it was almost completely out of my control. Unable to stop eating treats once I finally let myself have even one. I would get caught in that “well, I’ve blown it, might as well go nuts now” mentality. I would feel so guilty come Monday that I would restrict calories all week long to feel like I was making up for what I did over the weekend. I would continue restricting calories for the second half of the week to save up calories so I could splurge the following weekend. But an innocent splurge would almost always turn into eating so much of some otherwise forbidden food that I would reach the point where I felt sick – both physically and mentally. This restricting and binging cycle allowed me to maintain my weight but it did a real number on me from a psychological stand point.

It was nasty cycle. I realized soon that this was not the way I wanted to live. I had to get to the bottom of what was going on, I'd never experienced anything like this before. I knew it had to be possible to have a healthy relationship with food and also maintain my happy, healthy weight. These things couldn't be mutually exclusive!

Enter: Intuitive Eating. I wasn't blogging when I read this book but I have to give it a shout out because it truly turned things around for me. It pulled from me from the vicious cycle I'd gotten myself into. I read this book feeling like it was written just for me! The book describes 10 principles toward eating intuitively and while I found value in all 10 principles the big ones for me we’re honoring my hunger and making peace with food.

I got Intuitive Eating from library earlier this year and didn’t buy it because I got everything I needed from it while I had it on loan. It showed up in mailbox yesterday through thanks to this awesome website called Bookmooch! It’s a site that allows you to mooch books for free from other people – provided you list some books you have and are willing to allow people to mooch from you. All you have to do is pay for shipping your own books to other people and they pay to ship to you. I love Bookmooch and it’s a great way to swap out books I’m done with and get new books I want without having to pay for them OR pay late fees at the library! SCORE! I’ve mooched a bunch of great books and have emptied my book shelves of books I’m done with too.

I’d had Intuitive Eating on my “wish list” for a while and I got an email just recently when someone listed it in their inventory. I logged in and snagged it immediately and it came yesterday. The arrival of it prompted some reflection and lead to this post today. I’m very glad I own it now, and I’m even more glad I didn’t have to pay for it! I want to be able to refer to it if I ever need a refresher and I want to be able to loan it out to my friends and family if they’d like to read it.

Today was supposed to be a juice day but I dawdled too long at the computer this morning and before I knew it I was really hungry. I decided to honor my hunger and eat a bowl of cereal NOW rather than spend a half hour start to finish on juicing.

I was excited to bust out the cacao nibs from yesterday!

Cacao Power!

Yesterday Averie left a comment saying that she found cacao nibs to be bitter, and I thought the same thing when I sampled them straight up.

Sprinkled on fruit cereal this morning though the sweetness from the fruit easily masked any bitterness and they gave the cereal a subtle chocolaty flavor with a very nice crunch! Plus I love that they made the cereal completely raw. (Unsweetened cocoa powder is not.)

Fruit Cereal with Cacao Nibs

This morning’s fruit cereal combo was a diced banana, the last beat up pear and three chopped medjool dates all coated in ground flax. Sprinkled with some hand crushed walnuts and some cacao nibs and topped with unsweetened vanilla hemp milk.

Medjool dates in fruit cereal? Bliss. PURE. BLISS! I expected the cacao nibs to be the star but those chewy sweet dates stole the show!

Later this morning I had a couple of almond butter stuffed dates before I headed out for a nice leisurely Sunday long run. Yes. More dates. I’m making up for lost time apparently.

Dates Stuffed with Almond Butter

I was going to run 7 miles but felt so good at the 3+ mile mark that I opted to go the long way and do 8 instead. I was back in just over an hour.

Lunch today was a no brainer! We’ve got salad leftover from last night’s birthday dinner making lunch easy peasy.

No Brainer

Red leaf, carrots, orange cherry tomatoes, green pepper, cukes, alfalfa sprouts and a sprinkle of raw hemp seeds too. Heather told me this morning that she sprinkles hemp seeds on salad, so that’s what I did with the ones I bought yesterday. You can see them in their untidy glory around the edges of the plate. Honestly I couldn’t even taste them. I sampled a small handful before I put them on the salad though and they had a nice nutty flavor.

We’re off now to a picnic with friends to say good-bye to summer and welcome the official arrival of the new season. Autumn is near!

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One Armed Carrot Jokes

Who doesn’t want a little AliSUN in their day?

AliSUN

Anyone who doesn’t read this blog, apparently.

I ran to the soothing sounds of having New Moon read to me. Finally someone who reads TO ME!

New Moon - Visitor

I set out to run 5 miles and was back in about 40 minutes. I was ready to be done running but not ready to head back inside yet so I hopped on my bike for a 20 minute cool down ride and took advantage of the opportunity for a slightly longer work out today.

Home in time to be joined by a one armed carrot for lunch.

One Armed Carrot

What do you call an elephant with a carrot stuffed in each ear?

Anything you want, he can’t hear you!

I’m sorry. I googled one armed carrot jokes but I got nothing.

Google Carrot Jokes

At least the next person who googles “One Armed Carrot Jokes” should wind up here. Too bad I’ve got nothing. FOOLED YOU!

(If you are reading this post because you googled one armed carrot jokes, please report back with any good one armed carrot jokes you come up with so I’ve got one for next time.)

Moving on.

After listening to the sound of a one armed carrot clapping I enjoyed a giant salad and sound of Jillan yelling.

Jillian

Oh Jillian how I’ve missed you!

The phone rang tonight during bathtime and it was Zachary Green Juice Lover calling to report his motorcycle was out of juice and he needed to be rescued. I pulled my two prunes out of the tub and off we went on a rescue mission.

Rescue

Can you make out Zak in that pic? Are you making out with my husband?? *slap slap slap*

Words from the Weeds on the car ride to save dad?

Ava: Look! A wishing star! I wish I was a princess who never burped or farted! Isn’t that a good wish, mom?

Why yes, that is a good wish. I can’t say I haven’t wished that one myself. For both of us.

After rescuing the man I rescued the leftovers. Can we say bean soup and hummus? I think I just did.

Post Rescue Meal

Do you like that bite missing from the hummus on Ezekiel toast? Are you admiring how perfect my bite is? Two years of orthodontia baby! All leading up to this moment. You can thank my mom and dad in the comments for that.

It’s late and I’m feeling punchy (in case you couldn’t tell) from googling one armed carrot jokes and rescuing men and leftovers and wishing I was burpless fart free princess. I’m wishing that for you tonight too. You’re welcome.

Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right

Immediately after I hit Publish this morning we were off for a homeschooling meet up with some friends at a playground.

Tube Crawlin'

Do you remember being a kid and running without wondering when it was time to stop? Running to try and catch a bird or running like you were being chased by a monster in the basement that was going to pull you back down if you didn’t get to the top of the basement stairs before the door closed at the bottom of the stairs behind you?

Run Ava Run!

(See her out there running like it’s nobody’s business?)

No?  I guess that last one was only me.

Watching Ava run like she was being chased by a swarm of bees after her honey reminded that kids don’t worry about their form, their stride, their pace or their heart rate. They run just to RUN.  Too bad she won’t appreciate it until she’s 30.

Despite a chilly and windy day, we managed to spend the whole afternoon at the playground.  This was the perfect set up for another soupy dinner, so it was worth it.

Tonight I made Black Bean and Salsa Soup, one of my all time favorites. Not only is this soup fast and easy but it’s delicious too.

I made some changes tonight to my usual recipe for Black Bean and Salsa Soup, but the changes made even it easier.

I sauteed a little garlic in extra virgin olive oil and added two 15 oz cans of rinsed and drained black beans with a couple cups of water, a cup of vegetable broth and a 16 oz container of medium salsa.

I brought everything to a boil and reduced it to a simmer. I ladled out about half into the food processor (instead of the blender, which is harder to scrape out) and pureed it until smooth.  I poured the pureed beans, broth and salsa it back into the pot with the unpureed soup. This is my absolutely FAVORITE way to make a base for soup!

Black Bean and Salsa Soup

With the base ready to go, I added about 8oz of frozen corn. I took a cue from my new best friend Brendan and decided to replace white rice with quinoa. I love to add rice because it makes it feel more like a meal. But the addition of rice means I have to cook the rice in a separate pot, dirtying another pan (BOO!) and more time too. To add quinoa I just rinsed it and then added it to the pot with everything else.  it cooks up in 15 minutes or so and VOILA. Ready to go, extra protein to boot. (YAY!)

The quinoa was perfect and honestly seemed no different than it does when I make with rice.

I added a couple shakes of cilantro, cumin and a smidgen of roasted red pepper for a little spice.

Why does soup taste better out of a mug? And why does soup taste better with big chunks of avocado on top? Why does anything taste better with big chunks of avocado on top?

Soup in a Mug

I’m going to leave you tonight with a special post from the first runner I ever knew. My dad. But a little background first.

For as long as I can remember, my dad has run on his lunch hour at work. He runs every day, with out fail. Like a mailman, he braves all kinds of weather. People say “You’re not going out TODAY?!” and look at him incredulously as he heads out to run on a 100 degree day with 99% humidity or 30 below and it’s snowing so hard you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

He runs Every. Day.

The other day he calls to tell me a story.  A story that gives new meaning to the word dedication.  A story that had me wiping tears from my eyes.  I asked him to write it down so I could share it on the blog. This was too good not to share.

Like most runners, I have a closet with more than a few pairs of running shoes in it. Some still in service, some awaiting the end of the road as lawn mowers or painters. We feel good about squeezing the last bit of toothpaste out of ’em.

So a couple of dark Monday mornings ago, I was too rushed to simply hit the light and see what I was grabbing. After all, I know where my bag and trusty Nike summer trainers are. Feeling around, I grab my shoes, shove ’em in the bag, load in the togs and towel, out the door.

Now, I run at lunch. Have for 30-plus years. You can forget a thing here or there but you are not getting it done without shorts or shoes. Open the locker, start getting ready, shorts on, shirt on, pull out the shoes. You idiot. Two different shoes. Two different LEFT shoes. One Nike summer, one Asics trail. Both lefts.

Panic.

But wait, I can always just go to the weight room, shoeless, but at least I can get that in anyway.

Hold on here, I muse. How bad can it be? I mean, what if I were getting my shoes out of a dumpster?  It could be worse.

OK, let’s see. I try the left Asics trail shoe on the right foot. My foot looks like it was caught in an elevator door. It feels like walking in a brick. But now the left Nike on the right foot…hmmm, kind of unstructured, a little softer. I unlace the whole thing, slap it on. It actually looks believable, feels a tick weird, but OK. I figure to hit the weight room for twenty minutes and see where I come out with this idea. Oh, the idea? Why running in two lefts, of course.

Nobody has noticed at this point. Maybe it’s just that we are all so used to each other. Maybe it’s because they wouldn’t DARE say anything. Well, I assure you that I have running companions who live to torture, deride and insult each other, me included. But they are nowhere in sight.

By now I’m actually comfy! I decide not to look down. If I can get even a paltry three miles in, I’ll be happy. Off I go. Past the bank, out the front door. State Street. Noon. Nobody notices that I look like I play in Green Day.

Two miles. OK, I’m a little crampy. I look down. Even I have to start laughing. What am I DOING? Should I turn back, heck it’s going to be four miles!  No way. Point of no return straight ahead. I vow for six. I mean hey, there’s this guy who runs mega in bare feet.

At mile five, I’m almost home free – well on the way back. No. Can’t be. The King of Insults, Mikey with Paul and John in tow. I decide to just act natural as we pass on the venerable river trail. Mikey spots the two misfit shoes immediately and starts to heckle…then I stop, hands on hips, posed like black and white TV Superman. Then they realize that it’s two lefties.

After they get Mikey back on his feet and stop him from convulsing in laughter we are off on our separate ways, echoes of “idiot! moron!…” fading.

I can’t wait to tell my daughter, I call her right away…basically repeating the story you have so kindly indulged me in telling. She is such a good sport, and nothing is as sweet to me as the sound of her giggles or uncontrollable, stomach holding laughter…which I assure you, she provided.

I told her that NEVER again will I tell my granddaughters that they have their shoes on the wrong feet.

Two Left Feet

I don’t know about you, but if I showed up at the gym with two left shoes, that would totally would have been my sign that it was a day to go out to lunch – not my sign to figure out which left shoe was a better fit on my right foot! Chipotle here I come!

Half Marathon Race Recap

I’m going to spoil the ending by jumping ahead and saying right at the start that today was probably one of the best runs of my entire life.

The day started at 4:55 AM when I woke up a half hour before my alarm was supposed to go off. I slept like a rock and felt great when I woke up. I called Shawn at 5:30 to make sure he was awake and moving around.

Shawn and I went over our strategy last night, but I was still feeling unsure about our approach this morning. Fast at the beginning? If so, how fast? Save it all for the end? How much do I hold back? Maintain a steady pace throughout?

I really wanted to finish in under 1:50 but I just didn’t know if I was going to happen. My dad, an avid runner, had called yesterday to predict a time of 1:48:15. My step dad, an avid cyclist, predicted a time around 1:45:00 when I saw him and my mom Saturday afternoon. I was touched they both had so much faith in my speed, but I was still wary.

This morning I remembered the McMillian calculator, a tool runners can play around with to predict times for various distances based on your best time for a given distance.

I entered my 22:56 5K PR from early August and it predicted a 1:46:00 half marathon time for me, meaning an 8:06/mile average pace. Given that’s about my average pace for a maintenance run, I decided I was just going to go out there and RUN and not give it too much thought.

I was also undecided about breakfast. I thumbed through Thrive for some guidance and decided on a smoothie. Brendan Brazier says (I feel like I start every sentence like that these days!) that whole foods in liquid form save your digestive system the work and basically provides you even more energy. I channeled Angela and decided it was a Green Monster for breakfast.

A Green Monster, and coffee for the road. Yup, it’s been two weeks but I definitely wanted the caffeine boost this morning.

These are a few of my favorite things!

There Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Given how long I’d be running today, I used the same approach to fueling this morning as I used for my last 10 mile training run – aiming for my pre-race breakfast to be 60% carbohydrate, 35% fat and 5% protein.  My Green Monster contained two bananas, a couple handfuls of spinach, a good pour of unsweetened vanilla hemp milk, ground flax seed, and a scoop of almond butter.

Green Monster

This was the best combination of flavors! I’ve been so busy drinking green juice these days that it’s been a while since I’ve had a green smoothie!

While I waited for Shawn to arrive I made a breakfast picnic basket for the family, knowing that they would have little time to get out the door by the time they were awake and dressed… this way they could eat breakfast on the road or once they got there.

Picnic Basket for the Fam

Shawn showed up and we were on our way. The race started at 7:45 and we got there at 7:00.

Alison, Before the Race Shawn, Before the Race

With a big travel cup of a coffee on the ride I definitely had to use the restroom before the race started. We grabbed our timing chips and used the restrooms at the stadium near the finish and then began the 1/2 mile walk to the start.

A 1/2 mile later I felt the urge to pee again. Nothing urgent, but I would have liked to have a completely empty bladder! I guess my cup of coffee was just a little too big.

We got in line for the porta-potties and it was probably 200 people long! We had 10 minutes until the start. I kept looking at my watch. Looking at the line. My watch. The line. My watch. Eventually we had two minutes until the start and with 20 people ahead of me I realized I was out of time. We jumped out of line made our way to the start.  I figured that when I had to go bad enough I would just use a porta-potty at a water stop.

The timer sounded and we were on our way.  We were among a sea of 1800 people. I started my watch when we finally crossed the start line about a minute behind the official start.

The Start

Shawn very generously offered to carry my camera since the pocket of his shorts were so big. I thought it could be fun so I agreed.

We weaved through the masses and after the first couple miles it thinned out.  Thanks to Shawn’s garmin we knew our average pace was at about 7:30/mile. We both felt great so we held on to the pace, calling it “money in the bank” for the end if we needed to slow down.

Shawn kept running ahead and then stopping to turn around and take my picture.

During

At least he entertained me!

Again

I remember around mile 5 he asked how I was feeling. I told him I felt like I could cry – I was just feeling so good I had a hard time believing it. I honestly felt incredible. I felt fast and strong and from the pace we were holding I started to believe we just might come in under 1:50.

At mile 6 I snagged a Gatorade at a water stop. I didn’t want to stop running – since I wasn’t feeling very thirsty I managed a few small sips and tossed the rest.

Around the half way mark we passed this guy with crazy hair and a funny shirt.  Shawn told this guy he was going to take his picture and fortunately the dude laughed and didn’t care. His hair was in the upswing in this picture!

Zoom Zoom Sucka

We were still feeling great around the mile 7 mark. Our average pace had dropped to 7:50/mile. I decided it was time to whip out the sport beans.  Shawn and I each had two. I didn’t need them yet but I thought it would be better to have a little cushion – because if you wait until you really NEED to refuel you’ve gone too long!

At 8 miles the urge to pee reared it’s ugly head again and I told Shawn I had to stop at the next water stop to hit a porta-potty. I really did not want to stop but I knew I would be more comfortable if I did.

The next water stop came at 9 miles and the urge had lessened some and I thought “ok – 4 miles to go. 4 miles is like a morning run. I can hold it for 4 miles”. Our average pace was now at 8:00/mile and I had my heart set on finishing in under 1:50 at this point. I knew that as long as our pace stayed under 8:23/mile we’d be good, but I just didn’t want to waste a single second in the stupid porta-potty! I could pee after we finished!

Around mile 11 I began to notice how tired I was starting to feel. I could feel my pace slowing too.  I decided to look on the bright side and told myself that if I was feeling really fantastic at mile 11 then that meant I could have pushed myself harder earlier on. Shawn said he wanted to push the pace for the last couple miles so we picked it up, easing off if necessary and then picking it up again.

Just before mile 12 we came off the park path we had been on for the past 5 miles and were back on the city streets. It was at this point I told Shawn that there was a good possibility I was going to pee my pants when we crossed the finish line. I was half joking, half serious.

We saw the the balloon archway for the start of the last mile to the finish and we picked up the pace and held on to it.  It was not easy but we did it.  We decided right about then that we were going to sprint hard as we rounded the last corner for the last .1 mile to the finish line.

I was tired, no doubt, but I had enough in me to finish hard. We saw the finish line and went balls to wall.  (Please note that my step dad took this picture earlier in the race – we did not spot the finish line at 1:35!)

The Finish

I heard my mom and step dad cheering us on as we blew by, their support meant so much! We probably passed 15 people on that last stretch. I’m sure they all cursed us as we ran by. Shawn kept saying “keep going! We’re almost there!” and I needed those words so much, I’m positive that’s what kept my feet moving fast! From Shawn’s Garmin stats that he emailed me this afternoon I can see now that our pace for that last stretch got down to 5:00/mile!  I totally believe we were running that fast, it certainly felt like it!

Sprint!

We crossed the finish line and somehow I had enough wherewithal to hit the stop button on my watch. I hadn’t even looked at the clock because I knew the time would be off given we were about a minute behind the official start.

My Watch Says 1:47!

YAHOOOOO! And I didn’t even pee my pants!!  Shawn’s watch had the same time and said our overall average pace was 8:06/mile.

They took off our timing chips, hung metals around our necks. We walked through the tents and scored some post race food! I bypassed bagels, chocolate milk and pizza and went straight for the boxes of bananas and oranges.  Playing “Brendan Says” yet again, I took his post-exercise nutrition advice to heart and went with simple carbohydrates.  Protein comes later.

We found my mom and step dad in the crowd and they took our picture while we regaled our tale. Having Shawn as my running partner was amazing – everything fell perfectly into place and unfolded beautifully. He could have ran faster but stayed with me and pushed me along – but without pushing me too hard either. It was exactly what I needed and was a huge part of what made today’s race so fantastic.

Done!

I devoured my second orange while we waited for the results.

Second Orange

My jaw almost dropped when I saw the clock time on paper. My dad’s prediction was 3 seconds off!

Results

Shawn’s time is on the top and mine is on the bottom. That bastard finished 2/10 of a second ahead of me!  We were 298 and 299 of out of 1800+.  I’m still unsure of my official chip time or age group results and won’t know until later tonight or tomorrow when the official times are posted on the race website.

UPDATE: My official time was 1:47:15. 19th in my age group out of 146. 297 out of 1716 finishers. 77th of 967 females.

We met up with Zak and the girls and the 4 of us we’re on our way home. I was tired but not nearly as tired as I was last year after the marathon. Besides some mildly sore quads I was feeling fabulous. And HUNGRY!

I got home and immediately whipped up a huge salad and some of my mom’s gazpacho that I demanded she share with me she gave me yesterday afternoon.

Post Race Meal Mom's Gazpacho

Although delicious, I knew I needed some protein too and had a little dried fruit and nut combo for dessert.

Dried Fruit Dessert

A shower and food – what came next? A NAP!

I could not be happier with every aspect of today’s race. The weather was picture perfect. I went into this race feeling well trained, well rested and well fueled. I’ve spent the last two weeks following the principles in the Thrive Diet diet as closely as possible. I fully believe that a largely raw food and mainly vegan diet had a huge impact on how fabulous I felt today. Vegetables are where it’s at baby!!

I want to THANK ALL OF YOU for your encouragement and support, both on and off the blog!  I swear to god that I brought to mind all the fabulous, sweet, supportive comments from yesterday when I was hurting at mile 12. Thanks to everyone for cheering me on! And a huge thanks to Shawn for being the best running partner a girl could ask for.

We’ve just finished an unphotographed dinner (any more pictures in this post and I think it just might burst!) and now we’re off to get ice cream.  Shhhhh don’t tell Brendan!

Half Brained Half Marathon

I’ve felt so swamped this week I keep *forgetting* that the half marathon is on Sunday. Last year at this time I was gearing up to run my first full marathon and it was of course all I could think about. I began checking the weather forecast day 10 days out. I laid out my clothes and mixed and matched outfit possibilities in my mind figuring out what would work best. I checked the race website for updates multiple times a day. Re-read emails from the race director again and again, making sure I knew every last detail and didn’t miss a thing.

I was thinking about this today during my morning run and realized that oh yeah, the half marathon is just 3 days away! Sure, it’s only half the distance I ran last year but sometimes I need to pinch that soft fleshy skin under my arm between my elbow and my arm pit to make sure this is me who’s out there running most mornings. I think back to the person I use to believe I was. I was that girl who said I could never be a runner. Running hurts. It’s bad for my knees. My boobs are too big, I might give myself a black eye.

The right goal and some determination can do amazing things. Running’s a great way to lose weight? Hmmm, ok, maybe I’ll try it. I needed a goal and tried to train for the full marathon in 2007 but had no idea of the commitment, dedication and conditioning it took to run 26.2 miles. I told myself I just wasn’t built to go long distances. Some people can do it and some people can’t. I guess I’m one of those who can’t.

It’s funny the things we tell ourselves and believe to be true. These words and phrases we use to define ourselves and how it can hold us back from our full potential. Running is my personal example but it could be anything. Painting. Yoga. Underwater Basket Weaving. If you want it, reach for it.

After my 4.76 mile run this morning I wanted overnight oats so I reached for them. It’s been a while since I’ve had oats and I was in the mood yesterday so I knew overnight oat prep was in order last night.

Oats for breakfast makes me want to reach for coffee! But oh yeah, I’m not drinking coffee right now. If I dig a little deeper it’s not that I want coffee, I just want something warm to drink with oats.

Tea it is!

Honey Vanilla White Tea Chai

Oats, ground flax and unsweetened shredded coconut soaked overnight in unsweetened vanilla hemp milk, some mashed banana and a scoop of almond butter.

Overnight Oats

Topped this morning with sliced banana. I sweetened my chai tea with a tsp of agave nectar and a splash of 1% milk. Funny that I don’t need sugar in coffee but I do need something to sweeten my tea a little bit.

Thoughtfulness from a morning run aside, I’m suddenly excited that the half marathon is so close! I’ve got to go pick up my race packet tomorrow and start thinking about how I’m going to fuel up for the big day.

If the sky were the limit, what would you reach for? Be it big or small – what would it be? What’s your first step?

I want to be tidier! I want tidiness to come naturally and just be a part of my day to day life like running now is. I believe that with tidiness comes order and with order comes peace. My first step? I need to get rid of STUFF! Clutter! Papers! Magazines! Books! Can’t I just go run and forget about this mess I call a desk?

Oh yeah. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Interesting. I guess running and a clean desk aren’t compatible. Awww crap there I go with the definitions again.

She Missed the Bus

Today would have been Ava’s first day at school. Kindergarten, to be more precise. But as the saying goes, she missed the bus.

She Missed the Bus

I’m very grateful that the homeschooling seed was planted in our minds early on because it took me a while to get comfortable with the idea. I use to resist the instinct to hyperventilate at the idea of NOT schooling our kids in the traditional sense. But fortunately we have a large homeschooling community in our area and we’ve gotten to know a lot of homeschooling families and kids, including a couple of incredibly amazing grown up homeschoolers.  I know that homeschooling DOES indeed work and the pros easily out weight any cons. This confidence enables me to take a picture of a school bus driving by the house this morning and I can continue breathing in a normal fashion.

I had the alarm set for 5:30 and got up early this morning to get caught up on house work. I’m working on this being my new routine. Instead of sitting down at my computer when I wake up I head straight downstairs to the basement and start a load of laundry.  This primes the house work pump for me and it’s easy to keep rolling once I hear the washer filling.  It’s like it flips the “get to work!” switch.  I have no problem doing house work once I get stared, but that’s just it.  Getting STARTED is the hardest part. Now that we are “officially” homeschooling I need to get into a regular routine here. I kind of feel like I’ve been goofing off all summer long, keeping up (or not) with house work with no real system in place.  If I’ve learned anything from regular exercise, routine is key!

I worked on house work until the sun came up and then headed out for a 4 mile run and was back again in just over a half hour. I planned to run today and will run Thursday and then it’s REST REST REST until the half marathon on Sunday!

I came back to hear the juicer purring and to find Zak standing over a sea of produce.

Handsome Juice

Fortunately he left me more than just a couple of tablespoons. I hadn’t planned to make juice today so this was a nice surprise. The man is hooked!

The usual: romaine, a beet, a cucumber, an apple, a lemon and a couple inches of ginger.

Not Back to School Juice

Juice held me over well and it’s just now nearing 10 and I’m having breakfast. Today’s fruit cereal combo is made up a diced banana, a couple diced prunes tossed in ground flax, topped with a small handful of sliced almonds and a little spoonful of almond butter.

Tuesday Fruit Cereal

I suppose now we should go do something homeschool-y, in honor of NOT back to school today!

And We’re Back!

I didn’t know if I was going to blog tonight but after a weekend away at the family cottage, completely removed from all forms of technology, the girls are making up for lost time and reacquainting themselves with their forgotten friends, Computer and Television. I like to call those friends Peace and Quiet, respectively.

A little photo journal from our weekend away. We had picture perfect weather and lots of uninterrupted family time.

Nature Pics

Pretty

The exact same picture, but behind my sunglasses. Because I’m cool like that.

Same picture, behind sunglasses

Randomness.

Blue Flowers Fire!

Saturday was a rest day but I enjoyed a little unofficial exercise in the kayak. Holy shoulder work out batman.

In the Kayak

Yes, it’s really me behind the camera!

Yes, it's really me!

Rapids!

in_the_rapids

I see… a bad moon rising! There’s a bathroom on the right… or whatever the lyrics are to that song.

Moon Rise Over the River

Food Pics

Have veggies, will travel.

Have Veggies, Will Travel

I put together a couple of these little trail mix containers for easy snacking and packing. This was my pre-run snack this morning. Dried apples, raisins, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

Happy Trails

I love to run at the cottage because the change of scenery is a great way to mix it up. Plus the area is hillier than an SOB and is another great way to mix it up. The hills also give me a great chance to try out new curse words too.

Kids Pics

This would be Ava’s new favorite thing: being buried to her neck in sand.

Ava's New Favorite Thing

Rinsing off and Zak showing Ava he can float.

He Can Float

And of course she had to be buried again this morning before we left.

Again Today

This concludes tonight’s photo adventure. Back to regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow AM!