Fitness, Food and Photography

Follow me on my road to fitness… Because it's all about the journey, not the destination.

Weekend Update: No Green Beer for Me!

The weather was simply gorgeous this weekend with highs in the 70’s both Saturday and Sunday.  I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a long run.  We took the kids to my favorite park.  Hubby let them play on the playground while I ran.

car seat

I had to keep reminding myself that I am running a Half Marathon in 3 weeks!!!  So far, this run was my longest to date: 6.5 miles.  I guess I’m not too worried because I also did the same thing last year.  I focused on more anaerobic training rather than long runs and I got a PR!  So I figure now, if I can run 6.5, I can 13.1.  Right?

lakeshore trail

But I’ve got a small dilemma in the shoe department.  These Asics are fairly new (since Christmas).  I like them ok, but after about 4 miles, my feet start to hurt.  And they rubbed a huge blister on my toe.  So that’s not going to work for the marathon.  But I’m afraid if I buy a new pair now, I’m not going to have time to break them in before the race.  Or I could wear an old pair with a hole in the toe.  EEK – what would you do???

running legs

I was so excited to try out my brand new heart rate monitor!!  I ordered the Polar FT4 after seeing more than a couple of bloggers using this one.  I had a Timex brand, but the chest strap would never consistently pick up my heart rate.  So this was my first run using the Polar.  I’m converted.  This one is WAY better.  There was still a period of time (about a mile or so) where it didn’t detect my heart beat.  I readjusted the strap, wiped off the sweat, and a few minutes later it started working again.  I love how it displays the time and the calories burned at the end.  And it also keeps a training log so I can go back and look at my workouts.  Now that’s pretty cool!

polar heart rate monitor

When the run was over, hubby and the kids met me in the parking lot with Subway in hand.  We found a nice spot in the grass to lay our blanket and devour eat our sandwiches.  I was starving!!!

kids

This month’s featured $5 footlong sub is the buffalo chicken!  One of my favorites.  Hubby and I always split a foot long.  The kids are hit or miss whether they will eat Subway or not.  Luke likes the bacon, egg & cheese on flatbread.

subway!

Not my favorite pic here but the only one we got of me and the kids.  Ignore the red face and dried sweat….  and little bit has jelly all over her face.

me and the kids

My 7-year old spent the night with a buddy, so hubby and I enjoyed a semi-quiet house on Saturday night.  He grilled us some salmon while I opened a bottle of wine.  Aaahhhh……  relaxing!

salmon dinner

Sunday was a busy day.  So busy, in fact, I never took a single picture!  I am happy to report that I finished my Anatomy & Physiology class.  I got a 95!!  Yippeeee!

So that was my Marvelous weekend.  No green beer.  No St. Patty’s Day celebrations.  Nothing too wild.  Just food, fitness and fun.  (and a little studying)!  🙂

I’m hoping for more days just like that.  I need the warm air and the sun for my mental health!!  Winter is so depressing.

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Weekend Recap: A Night Away

This week I am linking up with Katie at HealthyDivaLife and her Marvelous in My Monday post.

We had a marvelous weekend and I can’t wait to share it with you!!

Let’s back up and talk about Friday, shall we?  If ever there were a day of temptation, this was it.  A carrier rep brought in 4 boxes of pastries this morning.  And my friend, Kara, brought in homemade cupcakes from the bakery she co-owns, Panache Bake Shoppe.  The pastries I could easily pass up, but this cupcake, it was calling my name.  I had to.  It was worth every single extra calorie!  Do you see that oozing lemon center?  Oh, but the frosting was by far my favorite part!!  YUM!!!

lemon cupcake from Panache

Lemon Drop Cupcake from Panache

I think that extra boost of sugar was what I needed to clean my desk off.  Seriously folks, this is clean.  I should have taken a ‘before’ shot.  You wouldn’t believe the chaos.  Granted, it was organized chaos.  I knew where everything was.  But it needed a good cleaning!!

clean desk

I was already planning on running after work, but once I ate that cupcake, I knew I had some calories to burn.  I ran an easy 4.2 miles at Lakeshore, and I should have pushed another 2 but I was ready to get home.

Saturday started out beautiful, so I took the little one for a walk/run in the stroller.  My neighborhood is super hilly so this was a major workout.  At the bottom of every hill, I would sprint to the top behind the stroller and then recover at the top.

As you can see, Mickey and George are enjoying the ride as well.  After the 3 mile jaunt, I did some squats and lunges, along with some arm work.

jogging stroller

Once the workout was done, the house was cleaned up, and everyone was packed, we headed out the door for Pigeon Forge.

First stop, Tanger Outlets.  Apparently everyone else in East Tennessee had the same idea.  That place was CRAZY!!!

tanger outlets

I’ve never seen so many people in the COACH store before.  You’d have thought they were giving these things away.  That is literally the line to check out.  I’m not kidding.  I mean, I love COACH, but I’m not standing in a line like that UNLESS they are giving them away.

Coach line

I did manage to get a few really cute items at the Banana Republic – 2 dresses, 2 tops and a Spring-y sweater, all for only $68!

It didn’t take long to get annoyed with the crowds, so I took the boy to the arcade!

arcade

I had to play Skee Ball ….  my favorite game ever!

skee ball

From there, we went to check into our hotel.  This is the view from the balcony.  So peaceful.  The weather was incredible this weekend!!

view from balcony

The kids loved the hotel room.  It was actually a suite with two rooms separated by the bathroom.  It worked out perfectly.

kids

For dinner, we decided on pizza.  The Big Daddy’s had a wood-fired brick oven style pizza, which sounded really good.  And the pictures of the pizza on their website looked really good too.

dinner menu

But oh how pictures can be deceiving.  Or maybe I set my expectations too high.  But we were seriously disappointed.  The pizzas were small, not a good value for the price.  For what we paid, I wish we had gone to Mellow Mushroom instead.

daddy & daughter

mommy & son

On Sunday morning, we got up and headed to Gatlinburg for the day.

in gatlinburg

We walked up and down the main drag, enjoying the sights and sounds.  This is a great people-watching place!

main road

The boys, of course, loved the car museum.

car museum

For lunch, we found a little local place to get some sandwiches.  I had to try their Bloody Mary, which was really yummy.

sunday lunch

The whole reason for the trip, though, was because my Groupon was about to expire.  Months ago, I had purchased a Groupon for tickets to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!  Thankfully, I didn’t pay full price for the tickets because Luke thought the place was CREEPY!!!  And yes, part of it is creepy, but he’s a 7-year old BOY.  I would have thought he’d love the weird stuff.  I know I did when I was a kid.

This might have been my favorite thing in the Ripley’s ….  Eminem made of M&Ms.  How cool is that?!?

eminem

Or ….  Jimi Hendrix made of Rubix Cubes….

jimi hendrix

And of course, we all had rub the Buddha belly ….  can you read what this guy is made out of ….  a million dollars!!!

buddha

 

kids on a bench

It was a really short trip, so we’re already planning another weekend soon.  We started making a list of all the things we’ll do next time.  Oh, and I won’t forget to bring my Nikon with me (I can’t believe I left it at home).

Question of the Day:  Have you ever been to Pigeon Forge/ Gatlinburg??  What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re there??

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Weekend Recap: Chocolate Wine and Cake Ballz

Once again, better late than never.  🙂  I seem to have a hard time getting a blog out on a Sunday or a Monday.  Not sure exactly why that is all about, but I’m not going to let it stop me from posting a weekend recap.

First of all, do you remember me telling you about this chocolate wine I found for Valentines Day??  I never imagined I would see it again until next February.  Well, imagine my shock and surprise when I found it at a local liquor store on Friday… AND there was a $10 mail in rebate if you bought 3 bottles.  Duh.  Guess how many I bought???  lol

chocolate rouge

That was my idea of a fun Friday night!!  🙂   And this was the kids’ idea ….  naked and playing video games.  They are so funny.  Of course, she is not actually playing that Nintendo DS, she is just pushing buttons.

kids playing

Saturday was a beautiful day!  So I had to take my daughter out for a walk in the neighborhood.  I actually started out on the treadmill with an episode of Biggest Loser, but then realized that I would be much better served to take it outside.  Our neighborhood is really hilly, so it’s a great workout pushing a stroller up all the hills.

You do realize that you can’t take a walk without Mickey, Minnie AND George, right??

walking the neighborhood

After the walk and the shower, we were headed down to my in-laws house for an afternoon gathering.  It’s an hour-long drive in the car.  The little one wouldn’t nap.  So that made for a really evening… and night.  Why is it that if they don’t get their nap in, they then don’t sleep well at night.  You would think they’d be so tired that they’d sleep great!  Not with this one.

Dinner was Taco Soup with a variety of toppings.  It was fun watching how everyone made their soup.  Some put chips on the bottom, some on the top, and of course, mine are on the side.  Everyone’s was different.

taco soup

You know me ….  I have to take a pic of the beautiful sunset ….

sunset through the three

If it’s a birthday in hubby’s family, then carrot cake is standard issue.  It was delicious!!

happy birthday

And finally, no birthday is complete without cake balls!!  Red Velvet Cake Ballz.  (My specialty)  And a favorite with the fam.

cake ballz

Most of Sunday was spent doing homework.  I still had a massive chapter on muscles to finish reading, homework to do, discussion questions to answer, and a test to take!  But I am happy to report I got a 93 on my test!  Yipee.

It was another beautiful day so I made sure I took the time to get outside for another walk with the babe in the stroller.  My workout actually started on the treadmill with an episode of ‘The Biggest Loser’ but then decided I would be better served to take my workout outside.

Question of the Day:  Have you ever made cake balls before?  And what is your favorite treat on your special day??

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Weekend Recap: Snow and Putt-Putt

As I told you on Friday, I was planning for a fabulous, productive 4-day weekend.  My To Do List included lots of housework, studying, running and playing with the kids.

looking out the window

On Saturday, they were calling for snow flurries. I was surprised when it really started coming down!! The kids were thrilled!!

let it snow

It wasn’t enough for snowballs or snowmen.  But they were some big fat flakes!!  And just as quickly as it started, it was gone.

sky

On Sunday, hubby woke up with a stomach bug.  ;(

So he spent much of the day laying around, while I spent the day doing homework and studying.

It was still so cold outside.

Therefore, I kept the workout inside on both Saturday and Sunday.  45 minute interval with some incline, some speedwork, and some weights.

workout

Thankfully, it warmed up on Monday because we were ready to get out of the house.

We’d promised my son at the beginning of the week that if he had an all-blue week we’d take him to play putt-putt.

me and the kids

kids

It was actually his first time to putt-putt. He had so much fun.

She enjoyed just running around from hole to hole, watching everything that was going on.

at putt-putt

Hubby and I had a little bet going to see who would win. I had an early lead but I lost it. I think I got too cocky.

Now I owe him a back rub!  😉

me

For dinner on Monday, I made us salads.  Can you guess which one is mine?!?  (Hint: I think I’m addicted to sriracha).

And, while I was at it, I went ahead and made my lunch for the next day too.  (Love it when I’m on the ball like that)!

salads

That’s the weekend.  And then it was back to the grind on Tuesday.   But I’m happy to report that I got a lot done!  Including 100’s on my homework and my test.  YAY!

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Friday Fun: Day Off

I took Friday off so hubby could go to a car show in Chattanooga.  It was already going to be a 3-day weekend with President’s Day on Monday.  But taking Friday gave me a 4-day weekend!!  Woo hoo!!

It was just me and the little girl all day.  It was fabulous.  Made me realize how much fun I would have if I could be a stay-at-home mom.  AND … how much I would get accomplished!

my baby playing

Not only did we have time to play, read books, work on our ABC’s and hang out together, but I also got 4 loads of laundry done, the fridge cleaned out,  the kitchen spotless and all the hardwoods swiffered.  I even had time to study while she was napping.  It was fabulous.  BEST. DAY. EVER!

salmon and egg spinach salad

my lunch

I also realized how well I would eat if I were home all day.  I made myself a wonderful lunch while drinking more than my fair share of water!!  (Detox water, at that!  Recipe to come soon.)

I picked up big brother and we all enjoyed some leftovers for dinner.

kids dinner

I enjoyed a leftover fajita from the other night.  It was still yummy!!

leftover fajita

After I put them down for bed, I caught up on 2 old episodes of Revenge (on Netflix).  I’m still on Season One.  I have 2 episodes left.  Then I have to figure out how to catch up on Season 2.  Man, that is such a good show.  I’m totally obsessed.   I just happened to find this review of Revenge that cracked me up.  I totally agree with that list of 7 things.

And as much as I enjoyed my time alone with the kids, I am so glad to have hubby back home.  All is right with the world.

Have a great weekend, everyone!!!!

Katie  🙂

 

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Weekend Recap: Ice Storm and Warm Weather

We woke up to an ice storm on Friday morning.  The freezing rain produced icy conditions which prevented us from leaving the house.  Schools were closed and with my hill of a driveway, there was no way I could get to work  (Yay!!)

the grill

Doesn’t the 4Runner look mean with icicles hanging off it?

icicles

So we stayed in our pajamas most of the day!!  The kids had fun playing with play doh ….  (why does that stuff have to make such a MESS!?!)

playdoh

While I made a crockpot of White Chicken Chili for dinner.

Yum!

My recipe is adapted from a local restaurant.  But I apparently can’t ever leave an original recipe alone.  All my recipes look like this …  marked up.

chili recipe

And the end result ….  YUM!!!

bowl of chili

I also took the day off as an opportunity to get in a really good treadmill workout while watching The Biggest Loser.

treadmill

 

fog

Hubby made me eggs for breakfast ….

eggs

Breakfast

The temperature rose quickly and melted all the ice so we were no longer stuck inside.  Which was great since we had plans to go out for my Aunt’s birthday.

L with Gregg

We went to Aubrey’s, which is a great local restaurant.  In fact, the same people own Aubrey’s that own Sunspot, which is another one of my favorites.  So when I saw Salmon BLT on the menu, I sure hoped it was exactly like the one at Sunspot.  If you’ll remember, Hubby and I ate there on New Years Eve before our concert.

salmon blt

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same.  While the salmon was tasty, I was disappointed in the bread.  If I pay $12 for a sandwich at a restaurant, I expect it to not be on the same bread I can buy at the grocery store.

But the sweet potato fries were really good.  (That’s something they don’t have at the Sunspot)!

salmon 2

The kids had fun, and we discovered how much my daughter LOVES honey mustard.  She was dipping fries in honey mustard and sucking it off.  LOL  She may as well have just drank it from the ramekin.

laughing

To celebrate my Aunt’s birthday, I made Magic Cookie Bars.

Nothing special about them, really.  I just went through a cookbook til I found a recipe with ingredients I had on hand.

Magic Cookie Bars

Butter, graham crackers, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.  That’s all.  Nothing healthy about it.

playing together 1

My kids were so good to play together all weekend.  Makes for a happy Mommy!!  🙂

kids 2

I’ll leave you with a picture of my lunch on Sunday.

wrap1

Egg Wrap.  Kinda like an egg salad but without the mayo!  YUM!!

egg wrap 2

Sunday was a super lazy day.  But that’s how I like them!!

What a wonderful, unexpected 3-day weekend.  I could seriously get used to those!  Back to the grind on Monday.  😦

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Friday Fun – Pizza, Friends and Live Music

I’m a week late in posting this.  But better late than never, right??  Well, last Friday night my favorite band, The Delta Saints, was playing at Barley’s.  I had been looking forward to this night for two months!!!

greek pizza

Our friends Kara and Remington  joined us for some pizza and beer before the music started.

k and r

Their pizza is so good.  Definitely one of the best in town.  Hubby and I split the Greek.

me and hubs

And split a pitcher of the Sam Adams Winter Lager.  YUM!!

the delta saints

The band didn’t start til almost 11:15pm.  Which is really late for this old timer.  Good thing I drank a Red Bull before dinner!!  🙂

the delta saints 2

I absolutely adore their music.  His voice, their sound, the lyrics, the harmonica, the bass, the drums.  So much talent in one band.  I seriously can’t get enough.

And live?  They ROCK!!  If I could quit my job, follow them around and become a groupie, I totally would.

If anyone is keeping track, this makes the fourth show we’ve seen of theirs.  We were introduced to them in Feb, 2012 when they opened for The Dirty Guv’nahs.  Then they did a free concert in Market Square in October when they opened for The Black Cadillacs.  It was there they told us about the CD release party at Exit/In in Nashville, so we had to go.  And finally, back in Knoxville at Barley’s.  I’m not sure when I’ll see them again.  Looks like all of the Spring tour dates are in Europe.  Hmmmm…. wonder how I can work that out!?!  🙂

the delta saints 3

Their latest album, Death Letter Jubilee, was just realeased.  (Of course, I’ve had my copy since Nov 30th when I purchased it at the CD release party in Nashville.  It hasn’t left my CD player since.  Actually, that’s not true.  There was a week or two there that I swapped it out for the previous album, Bird Called Angola.  But I have seriously been blasting the Saints religiously for the last 2 months).

I’m not sure I even have a favorite song anymore.  I love them all.

Especially the title track, Death Letter Jubilee.  Check out their new music video HERE.

the delta saints 4

They played for a good 2+ hours.  We didn’t get home til after 2 o’clock in the morning.  And I was totally wired.

If they come to a city near you, I highly recommend you go see them now.  Do it soon while they are still playing in small venues.  These guys are going to be huge.

Question of the Day:  What band have you seen the most?  And if you could be a groupie, who would you follow around??

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Snow Day!!!

When the meterologists were predicting snow, I didn’t believe them.  You tend not to when you live in the valley.  Usually it’s only the higher elevations that get the snow.

weather map

Schools let out early.  My office closed early.  And everyone was on the road at the same time trying to get home.  The interstate was a mess.  (Thankfully I took the back roads).

bush

I must admit …. normally, I am not a fan of the snow at all.  For one thing, it’s cold.  But also, us Southern folk can’t drive in it.  It really just makes a mess of everything.  But days like today make me giddy.  Why?  It’s Thursday.  And I don’t have a thing on my work calendar tomorrow.  So if this ices over, it could very easily be a 4-day weekend!!!  Now that makes me happy!!!  🙂

windshield

Within 30 minutes, my deck was covered.

deck

The kids LOVED it.   Not sure who was more excited …  them or me!

kids

This was Lucy’s first real snow fall.  At first, she wasn’t sure what to do.  But she quickly learned how to form a snow ball and then throw them at her brother!!

snowballs

But he was throwing them at ME!

snow covered trees

That’s the view past my driveway.  A winter wonderland.  So pretty!

sunset

The sunset tonight was amazing.  This picture doesn’t do it justice.  The snow clouds were so thick, but you can see the yellow peeking through the edge of the cloud cover, just over the ridge.  To the left, the sky was so red.  It was gorgeous.  But it was a view to be seen in person.  Cameras do have limits and this was one of them.

Question of the Day:  Do you like snow?  What’s your favorite thing to do on a snow day??  (I am predicting lots of board games and hot chocolate in my future.)

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Weekend Recap: Christmas Part Two and Family Game Day

Whew.  We had a busy weekend.  Hard to believe it’s over already.  We had such a good time – first with hubby’s family on Saturday and then my family on Sunday.

I wore my ‘HO HO HO’ shirt, which backward is ‘OH OH OH’.  LOL  Even though it was the 29th of December, we were pretending it was still Christmas Day.

me

#ootd

One of my favorites parts of Christmas is always watching other people open the presents I buy for them.  I try to put careful thought into purchasing gifts and get things that I think they will really enjoy.  I could care less if I open anything.  Really.  I’m not just saying that.

more presents!!

Lunch was Egg Salad Sandwiches with chips and slaw.  YUM.

egg salad

my plate

my plate

My kids, however, were not quite as thrilled about egg salad as I was.

kids

Well, this picture was taken BEFORE we gave them the sandwich.  They look unusually happy here.  Perhaps they don’t know what we’re serving for lunch.

present time

After lunch, it was time to open presents!!

cowboy boots

My daughter stomped around in my cowboy boots all afternoon.

sassy pants

Then she wore her new socks on her hands while she carried her Dr Seuss tote bag around.  I’m telling you … this kid is a TRIP!!!  She is constantly cracking me up.

pants on the head

Now she’s wearing her pants on her head.  (Thank you, Uncle Alan, for teaching her that!)  lol

baby lamb

And after yet another wardrobe change (into her brand new pajamas), she’s examining her new baby lamb.  I guess she decided he was alright so she gave him a hug.

lamb2

Since today’s Elf4Health challenge was to do something for yourself, I tried to sneak away for a little quiet time with my hot tea by the tree.  It didn’t last very long, but it was the only quiet time I would get all day!

hot tea

Cute mug courtesy of Joy Tanner Pottery! 🙂

version5edited Elf for Health

Dinner was Chicken Tetrazzini.  I wasn’t thrilled about seeing all those carbs.  And it really just goes downhill from here!  (Might as well go ahead and take away my “Elf4Health” badge right now)!   🙂

chicken tetrazzini

Don’t get me wrong – it was delicious.  But I felt guilty for eating it.

dessert tray

I felt even worse after I had a piece of cheesecake.  Seriously, how can I resist cheesecake???  In my defense, I have not had one in over a year!  Yes, a full year.  The last cheesecake I had was the one I made for Thanksgiving last year ….  Southern Living’s Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake.  It was DIVINE! Here’s a pic:

last year's cheesecake

PhotoGrid_1356955671813

Who brought the chocolate????

mom and martha

I didn’t take any pictures while we were playing Apples to Apples.

Nancy and Andy

But this was towards the end of the evening when we played Scattergories.

games

So. Much. Fun.

Question of the Day:  What is your favorite family game??  (We might need a few suggestions for our next get together)!!

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Weekend Recap: Christmas Party

I must apologize that I’m a little late in posting the Weekend Recap.  It’s been a cRaZy week at work (more on that later)!  I just didn’t want to miss out on sharing pics of the Christmas party we had.  On Saturday night, we hosted a get-together for our Life Group.

family1

The kids decorated gingerbread houses and had a gift exchange.

gingerbread house

Luke was really excited about assembling the house until he saw there was going to be work involved.  First, you have make the icing, then hold the house together while the icing dries.  That was too much for a 7-year old.

cheese face

So hubby took over.

hard at work

If you’ll notice, none of the kids were actually assembling their houses.  It was a great idea in theory, but  I think next year we will try the Christmas Tree.  It is significantly easier to put together than the gingerbread house.

kids

I love this pic of all the kids together.  They had such a good time!

family2

I also took photos of all the families in front of the Christmas tree.  (I won’t post everyone’s pic since I didn’t ask permission first, but I thought they all turned out really well.)

That pretty much sums up the weekend.  I spent all day Saturday cleaning up the house and finishing my Christmas decorations.  Then I spent Sunday cleaning up after the party and resting up for a hard week at work.

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