Fitness Friday – 6.29.12

This being the last week in the month, it’s also time for me to check my measurements and weight.  In this past month I’ve made a few changes to my routines:  I cut out about

via theRUNiverse

50% or more of my regular gluten intake and started actually running.  By running, I mean keeping a steady pace of 3-4 mph for up to 1 entire mile stretch.  The total distance has been between 1 mile and 4.5 miles in a given workout session.  Considering that prior to this month “running” was the 5 minute free run during my exercise classes and I wasn’t really rocking those, I’m pleased. It had been 32 days since I’d last weighted myself.  I lost 8.2 pounds.  Since February, this is the most weight lost in a month time.  Needless to say, I’m thrilled!  Even more so since I did allow myself to indulge in chocolate cupcakes the last few weeks as we celebrated Liam’s potty training success.

I’m participating in the Color Run in 3 weeks.  I’m nervous.  I plan to survive.  I’m just trying to be realistic in that the race is in Columbus at the end of July and it probably won’t be a very comfortable run.  However, I’m looking forward to experience and the color!  I can’t wait to see the photos afterwards!

Typically, I do a workout in the morning and then again in the evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Yesterday it was blistering hot even still at 630p, so running class was cancelled and I went on a 15 mile bike ride with the running instructor. After the first 6 miles, we had returned to our start and decided to go for an “even 10”.  I wasn’t keeping an eye on my odometer, so everytime Brooke asked if I wanted to keep going, I said sure!  In the meantime, my thighs were screaming: “Are you CRAZY?!”  “Why do you hate me so much?”  And on the final return trip: “You have to walk on us all day tomorrow, please don’t hurt us anymore!”  I survived thanks to Arnica.  Yep.  Three doses before bed.  One at 1 am and then 1 first thing this morning and I’m totally fine.  I pink puffy heart Arnica.

Also, if you are outside working out, running, biking, whatever your choice of physical activity is, make sure you are hydrating enough AND consuming enough calories to get through your workouts.  I did a great job hydrating yesterday, but had only had 10 cheeto-type snacks between 1 and 7pm.  My belly was so full of water I didn’t notice I was hungry.  By the time I hopped eased off my bike at the end of the ride, I was shaking and felt weak.  I thought it was the heat, but a cool house and more water only made me feel worse.  Almonds, however… Anyway.  Active.com has a great list of summer running tips to keep in mind while the temps are toasty during the Go Green Get Fit Challenge!

The Go Green Get Fit Challenge is made possible with the generosity and support of these partners:

Presented by – PlanetShoes.com
Affilate Partner – Active.com
Media Partner – http://HealthyHomeMagazine.com/
Sponsored by – http://NatureBox.com/
– http://ElyOrganics.com/
– http://My-Mamas-Love.com/
– http://EarthMamaAngelBaby.com/

 

Wordless Wednesday – Summer Bucket List

  This is my second summer doing a bucket list for our family.  I love it because it gives us some fun things to look forward to for the summer and as the kids get older, I look forward to having their input.  This year, Liam wanted to make sure his birthday got a mention and his beloved watermelon was eaten on the porch.  The location was super important, apparently.  Anyway, I wasn’t sure how many posts I could justify sharing our fun until I realized that’s the point of Wordless Wednesday!  Problem solved… but my posts will probably still have… words.  Whoops.

NPN Blog Blitz!

It’s that time again! You might remember the great post in December 2011 that highlighted the Natural Parents Network Volunteer’s most popular or favorite posts from the year. Or what about the March 2012 post which featured Do It Yourself projects, How To’s, Tutorials, Recipes, and anything related to a step by step guide or informational how-to from the NPN Volunteers? Well, we are back and this time we are bringing you a collection of posts that focus on what our lives really look like!

Yep – we are giving you a sneak peak into things like a typical day in our life, special or fun outings, or photos which show all of you what motherhood looks like for us. Basically, we are keeping it real!

There are a lot of really wonderful posts here that show that even though we blog about our parenting ideals, we really are just regular moms, getting by one day at a time! So enjoy our typical day in the trenches!

Laura at WaldenMommy: Life Behind the Red Front Door shares “Just Another Monday.” This post appeared in March of 2012 and is a typical busy day with the Herd. You can also find Laura on Facebook.

Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares a typical day in her life, complete with a blood test, a stop at the thrift store, and lots and lots of books. You can also find The Hippie Housewife on Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.

Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares A Day In The Life: Two Years Old, a photo journal commemorating her daughter’s second birthday by attempting to capture a sense of the daily routine at this busy stage. You can also find Vibrant Wanderings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Networked Blogs.

Laura at Pug in the Kitchen shares A Busy Day in the Life of her family. This post is a whirlwind look at life two children under the age of 3. You can also find Laura on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Momma Jorje: a slightly crunchy mommaMomma Jorje shares Typical Visit to the Pediatric Cardiologist + Results. Read her post to see what it is like to take her infant son for regular visits to a cardiologist. You can also find Momma Jorje on Facebook.

A Little Bit of All of It shares Our Last Days as a Family of Three as she, her husband and 3 year old daughter wait for baby #2. She also wrote A Day in the Life of This Mom when her daughter was 2 and she watched a 5 month old. You can also find A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Networked Blogs.

Hybrid Rasta Mama: A reggae loving mama’s thoughts on Conscious Parenting, Natural Living, Holistic Health and General MindfulnessJennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares A Hot Day In The Life of Jennifer. This post appeared on a friend’s blog and is a humorous look at a typical summer day for Hybrid Rasta Mama and her sidekick Tiny. You can also find Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Networked Blogs.
Emily at Embrita Blogging shares an Ordinary Day with a pre-crawler from almost two years ago. You can find Emily on Facebook, Pinterest, and on Twitter.

 
Gretchen at That Mama Gretchen showcases A Day in the Life of her busy summer as she waddles around with a baby in her belly and a toddler in tow! You can also find That Mama Gretchen on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes shares A day at the Solstice Parade, a picture post about her trip to one of the local summer parades in Seattle. You can also find Shannon on Google +, Flickr, Pinterest.

Hobo Mama: A Natural Parenting BlogLauren at Hobo Mama shows what unschooling looks like in her house through Meetups and play dates. Far from staying indoors or isolated, you can find Lauren or Sam and their kids out at one or other fun and educational activity several times a week. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.
Kat of Loving {Almost} Every Moment wrote this post after having One Of Those Days. She was pregnant, exhausted and had a lot of errands to do with her two older kiddos in tow. In the end she was reminded of a thing or two…especially to always keep her chocolate stash well stocked!

Fine and FairJoella at Fine and Fair shares A Summer Sunday in Our Life. This day in the life photo project shows a busy Summer Sunday filled with gardening, friends, family, and shared parenting. You can also find Fine and Fair on Facebook and Twitter.
Erica at Childorganics shares And The “Play” Goes On. This post takes a peek of what a whole day of play looks like at their house. You can also find ChildOrganics on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Visit Code Name: MamaA day in the life of Dionna at Code Name: Mama and family in downtown Independence – from 6 month old EC’ing to the farmer’s market to nursing at the Main Street Coffee House. By the way, join us for the August Carnival of Natural Parenting when our topic will be Farmer’s Markets!

Anktangle 
Amy at Anktangle shows
us (through photographs) a glimpse into a typical week
in her world. You can also find Amy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares The School Bus Comes Early. She speaks of how unschooling allows her family a flexibility in their lives to accommodate learning. You can also find Living Peacefully with Children on Facebook.

Visit African Babies Don't CryChristine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares “A Week With Jesse, in Pictures.” This post is one in a collection of posts, where Christine shares the weeks happenings with her son Jesse with a picture for each day. You can also find African Babies Don’t Cry on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Networked Blogs.

ourfeminist{play}school 
Lyndsay at OurFeministPlayschool shares “Day in Our Life… This post looks at her family’s day and their trip to a museum. You can also find Lyndsay on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

A twist on a favorite standby

I love Pinterest.  For me, it’s the best way to get out of a meal rut.  I just like seeing all those photos of people’s creativity.  And then, I try to figure out how to make it work for me!  Pinterest inspired this recipe, of course, but you know… I changed the original… a LOT.

This recipe, I will be completely honest, is not a favorite of my children, but Matt and I love it. This is our new date night meal.  Yep.  We’re parent of two children under 3, meatballs and pineapple = dinner and a movie.  Personally, I am totally ok with it.

This meal is a perfect freezer meal.  I double bag the sauce to protect against leaks, and then bag the veggies and meatballs.  Finally, I typically add in a bag of rice, just so it’s all ready to go.  Freezer to table, this meal takes only as long as it takes to cook your rice!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chopped peppers and onions
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 6 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 cup brown rice
Using the ground beef, egg, whole wheat flour and seasonings, make meatballs.  Fry them in a saute pan until they are browned.  Drain them on a paper towel. (Cool them if you are planning to freeze, before you put them in a Ziploc bag.)  Cook the rice.  Saute the onions and peppers for 5 minutes.  Then, mix together all the sauce ingredients (chicken broth through sesame oil) and pour into the pan with the peppers.  Cook until the sauce is thick.  Add the meatballs and thoroughly coat with the sauce.  Serve the meatballs and sauce over the cooked rice.

Fitness Friday – (06.22.12)

It’s Friday again!!!  This week was the official kickoff for the EcoMom Alliance Sustain Your Self™  Go Green Get Fit Challenge sponsored by Planet Shoes and I have been loving reading the other 30 bloggers’ posts on their goals, challenges and progress.

Did you set any goals? I’m still working toward my goal of completing the Color Run next month.  This week was a roaster in Ohio and I haven’t run in the heat since I was in college in Oklahoma.  I need to relearn how to care for myself while the temperatures are above 90 on such a regular basis.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Personal triumph this week was more of an emotional one.  There was a new mom at class who was frustrated with how hard class went for her.  I felt terrible for her because I know what it feels like to make the effort to come to class and feel like you are the slowest, least fit person in the class world.  I can’t remember her name, but I do know who she came with, so I sent one of those sappy you can do it! sort of emails.  Someone needed to hear it, even if I didn’t get a chance to say it to the new girl.  Who knows, maybe I’ll see her next week and I can say it and give a hug… before class.  Like right when we all get out of our air conditioned cars before class…

This weekend promises to be fairly quiet around our home.  No big plans and I’m excited to try my new armband for my phone so I can “map my run” and listen to music AND be prepared to call 911 should the need arise.  I have been doing well with my caloric intake; I’m considering cutting more wheat out of my diet for the summer.  This week we are experimenting with some new side dishes and they are all either low or no gluten content.  So we’ll see!

Follow along with the challenge on our Facebook page; giveaways from amazing and GREEN companies are upcoming!  Get involved, set those goals and be the strongest, healthiest you YOU can be this summer!

The Go Green Get Fit Challenge is made possible with the generosity and support of these partners:

Presented by – PlanetShoes.com
Affilate Partner – Active.com
Media Partner – http://HealthyHomeMagazine.com/
Sponsored by – http://NatureBox.com/
– http://ElyOrganics.com/
– http://My-Mamas-Love.com/
– http://EarthMamaAngelBaby.com/

Lasting summer

Last night, I had a dream that it snowed.  I was really disappointed when I realized that it was already in the mid-70s at 7am.    Confession: Summer is not my favorite season.  I love the fresh food and the pool opportunities and all, but I really, really hate being hot.  Really a LOT.  I love all the summer fun, I just don’t like being hot.

However, when I pop open a jar of my jam in the dead of winter, I sure am grateful for that heat that helped the fruit grow and ripen!  This recipe was inspired by the Strawberry and Lemon Preserves from Canning for a New Generation.  I adjusted the flavors a bit to give the jam more what I was looking for: a sweet jam than that finishes with just a little bit of a tart zing!

Strawberry Lemonade Jam

  • 3 pounds strawberries; cleaned, hulled, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 lemons; skins washed and sliced thinly
Once all the fruit has been washed and sliced/chopped, place it in a large bowl or lidded container.  Sprinkle the sugar over the top and then stir to combine.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.  This time allows for the berries to thoroughly macerate in the sugar and form a thick syrup.
Transfer the berry mixture to a large, heavy bottomed pan and mash well.  Heat over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until the syrup begins to thicken.  You will need to skim foam from the top of the jam after about 10 minutes of cooking and the jam was thickened to my liking at about 20 minutes of cook time.  Remove the lemons from the jam and do a final taste test to make sure the jam is sweet enough for you.  I wanted this jam to have the tartness of a lemon as a primary flavor, but if you need more sweetness, add up to another half a cup of sugar.
This jam only makes 4 half pints of jam, so clean and sterilize those jars, lids and rings.  Bring a pot of water to boil, making sure that there is enough water so that the top of the filled jars will be covered by an inch of water.  When the water is at a roiling boil, lower the filled and capped jars in using tongs, make sure the water height covers the jars sufficiently (if not, add more hot water to the pot) and return the water to a rolling boil.  Once the water is boiling, set your timer for 10 minutes and make sure the lid sets securely on top of the pot.
When the time is complete, remove the jars from the boiling water with tongs and place on a towel to cool.  The jars will need to remain on that towel for a minimum of 12 hours while they cool and set.  Once the jars are cool to the touch, you can check the lids to make sure they have sealed.  Place any unsealed jars in the refrigerator.  Label and store the jars… ready for a cold snowy day when you are longing for some summer fun!

Fitness Friday – (06.15.12)

I’m anxious for the kids to go to bed tonight.  I can’t wait to close that last door, zip to my room and put on my running clothes.  I’ve been thinking about running all day.

I know, there’s something wrong with me these days.  But I maintain that it’s a good thing to have wrong.  I motivated myself through several solo workouts this week, and really looked forward to yesterday’s classes.  I have been extremely fortunate to have the support of my husband and aunt in the last few weeks as I’ve been pushing myself harder and harder.  My aunt had the kids in the morning and I was really grateful because I was a nervous wreck over our class route.  The last time I did a class at that location was about 9 months ago.  It was horrible.  As I stretched, I had to say a few prayers that I wouldn’t let my mind beat me before I even started.  Yes, there were moments of huffing and puffing, but the class was amazing.

Coming off that fitness victory, I went to my running class at night with the knowledge that on Tuesday morning, I had been able to keep up with a running partner and run 1/2 mile stretches.  Wednesday though, I could barely drag myself off the couch.  I was sick, had an unexplained fever and shook most of the day.  I was proud that I survived the morning class with enough of a challenge that I felt like I was still strong.  I really wanted to run, so I figured that I’d get through half mile sets and call it a day.

Here is where I talk about the power of support.  The Get Fit Go Green Challenge begins on Monday.  I’m getting to read amazing intro posts from the other participants like Amanda and Tiffany (they’re from Ohio too!!!) and Gretchen and Katy.  I am so jazzed and inspired.  I’m loving seeing my new bloggy friends’ posts to their facebook pages of their workouts.  I’m proud of these women who I barely know because every one of them is doing this for strength and health.  I am too.  But even though I really want to succeed, in the back of my mind a nagging fear has been telling me that I’ll have to walk through these races and I’ll have the worst time on record for the tri.

Last night, Brooke has us run 1/2 a mile to warm up.  It hurt.  I was tired.  Really tired.  I stopped once, and the negativity flooded in.  One other girl had joined us for class and she is used to running longer distances than I, so she was ahead.  Her workout was different from mine, so Brooke ran with her and assigned me a mile.  NO STOPPING.  It did not happen.  I ran slower and slower and stopped a couple of times.  I walked a 5th lap in an effort to get a grip on my head game and Brooke and I talked about getting my legs stretched out well.  I struggle with pain in my left calf because my left side is no where near as flexible as my right.  I would be the one who “fight” the stretch even though I know I shouldn’t.

After my pity party, Brooke asked me run another mile for a timed trial.  I wanted to cry.  I mean… seriously.  I told her I would run 1/2 a mile and see how it went.  I can always tell when someone is praying for me, because I have strength I didn’t have before.  I slowed myself way down and finished 1/2 a mile and then 3/4 a mile and as long as I listened to my music and kept my head down, focused on my feet, I was ok.  Before I knew it, I was across the mile line and I did it.  I have not run any distance since the winter of 2005.  I didn’t know I could do it, and I was flushed with amazement for the rest of the night.  I may have even made a few triumphant phone calls shocked that I’d actually done it.

I get to officially start the GGGF challenge on Monday with the knowledge that I’m 1/3 of the way to my goal and feeling pretty darn strong.  I didn’t know I could run that far and now I’m excited to keep finding out what my body can do!

Wordless Wednesday – Lots ‘O Learning

To be completely honest, the idea of unschooling my children is becoming more and more enticing.  For such a structured person such as myself, it’s so freeing to really enjoy each moment with them, getting dirty, reading about that day’s interest or practicing fine motor skills .  I’m excited to see how our educational journey develops in the coming years!

All of it

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

***

I stumbled around writing this post.  This month’s carnival topic is on embracing your birth experience.  I didn’t have dramatic births.  Both of them went essentially according to plan, even though Liam’s birth was much harder than I had imagined.  I wasn’t short on education in the field of birth.  I had the best instructor and a wonderful team mate.  When labor started, I felt prepared.  After all, I had watched many, many births both in reality tv format and Old Western Movie format.

That being said, I didn’t count on how I would feel.  I didn’t realize I was going to be in such an unladylike… ah… position for so long.  I didn’t count on my personal modesty being such an issue.  While in labor I kept apologizing about being so… ugh.  Ok, look.  Other women I know were freaked out about pain or tearing or vomiting or pooping.  I did not care one cent for any of those certain moments.  Not at all.  The hardest challenge for me above missing my mom, above Liam twisting and turning inside me with each contraction, above the agonizing back labor… my biggest challenge was that I was at my most vulnerable for much longer than I had planned on being vulnerable.

When my friends would talk about their favorite moment of delivery, it always had something to do with the birth itself.  I love that first contraction.  I love the last contraction.  I love even that freakishly wobbly feeling as your child slips out.  Honestly, I even loved the moment I tore right before Liam came out because I knew all the pain was over and I was finally getting to hold him.  I did not love not wearing my underpants for 16+ hours.

When I was in labor with Sylvi, I was still embarrassed that I wasn’t as modest as I’d like to have been.  I tried all sort of ridiculous options to be covered, but as it turned out, they just wound up on the floor and I had to give up.  The moment I embraced the whole process of my labor and got over the fact that I was embarrassed that I had asked for help and for Tylenol (again!) and had sat in the bathtub and sobbed, my labor came to a complete lull.  For one glorious, peaceful hour, I got to embrace the nearness of birth without fear, without care, without pain.  Of course, at 1001am, the wicked contractions kicked in again and 24 minutes later, I was holding Sylvi in my arms.

This isn’t a really cohesive post and for that I apologize.  I don’t have one epic moment to embrace in my birth experiences.  I have to embrace it all.  If I hold on to fear of failure or pain or potential “failure” from my plans, I can’t embrace the method by which my child comes to my arms.  If I allow myself to focus solely on the fact that while in labor, I am decidedly unladylike and downright primal, I cannot let go enough to birth my child.  I know that if we have another child, I will struggle to accept naked vulnerability once again, but I know how to do it now.  I’m grateful for simple birth experiences that are filled with my own personal struggles.  I’m grateful I’ve gotten to have my own desires in how these births have played out.  And I’m so grateful for healthy, beautiful children.  I grateful I have birth experiences to even embrace.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)

 

My library of canning inspiration

Since you’ll probably be reading more than a few posts on canning this summer, I thought I’d go ahead and let you know my favorite resources so you can check them out of the library or add them to your own collection!

Ball Blue Book of Preserving: This is the first book I owned with any sort of canning instruction.  I’m attached.  I love the clear directions and photos.

All About Canning: I have both this book and the original Joy of Cooking cookbook.  Both have simple, easy to follow recipes and instructions.  It should be noted though, that the Joy of Cooking does not have images that are remotely helpful in the text.

Put ‘Em Up!  I was given this book for Christmas and I already have it dogeared and noted.  I’m very anxious to try some new recipes from it!  I’m hoping to find some good rhubarb at the farmer’s market this weekend so I can make the sparkling rhubarb jelly.  I especially love the variety of recipes and the icons on each page providing a quick referral of the potential storage methods (freeze, can, dry).

Canning for a New Generation: Also a Christmas gift, this one is also showing my plans for the summer.  It is packed with recipes and ideas and as a bonus for those of us who can extra specifically so we can give our goodies away, there are gift tags in the back!

Simply in Season: a stand-by of mine for the last few years, I find myself flipping through this book every time I need a new recipe for seasonal produce.

These are my favorites and I do hope that by the time my children are my age, they’ll find them stained, worn and noted.  I know some people don’t write in their cook books, but I can’t control myself.  I need to know what I had thought while I was cooking.  I like to mark how much we enjoyed it (or didn’t!) and any changes I made.  I’m always making little changes, so that last part is awfully helpful.  Now that you know my favorites, do you have any you’d like to add to the list?