Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How To Know it's Time for New Running Shoes

How do you know it's time to get new running shoes? One of the most asked questions about running you hear.  I was going to try to wait until Christmas so that Trevon could use my new running shoes as a gift, but it was time. Let me tell you how I know when it's time for me to get new running shoes.

Most running shoes last for about 300-500 miles.  That's quite the range, and the length of time totally depends on you. Your weight, how often and how far you run, and your form and heel strike. So knowing when it's time can be a little tricky. But here are 3 ways to know it's time to get new running shoes.

Your Body Will Tell you

Pay attention to your body.  One of the first signs that it's time for new shoes is random naggy aches and pains during or after doing a regular easy run.  You're going to be a little sore after your harder runs, but you should feel good during and after your easy runs. This is usually how I can tell first that it's time to get new shoes. My feet were starting to hurt after my run so I knew it was time to trade my Brookes for some new shoes. These aches and pains don't just happen with worn out shoes, but if you just got new shoes and they are a different brand than normal, it may mean that you got the wrong pair of shoes for you.  If you're noticing random aches it's time to start noticing your shoes more.

Your Shoes Look Tired

Look at your shoes. You can tell when your shoes are worn down by looking at the bottom of your shoe and the midsole of your shoe. Look at the tread on the bottom of your shoes. If the tread is worn down a lot or worn down unevenly, it's time to replace them.  This all depends on running gait. My feet pronate a little so my wearing gets uneven. You can definitely tell where my foot lands when I look at the bottom of my old shoes. Running on uneven tread can eventually lead to injury.

Most new running shoes are pretty stiff and you shouldn't be able to twist them at all. So with your old run try twisting them. one hand on the shoe heel, one hand on the toe and twist them the opposite ways. If they twist fairly easy, they are worn out and it's time to get new shoes.

When the foam on the midsole of the shoe has a lot of creases in it, it's time to start thinking about new shoes. A well-worn pair of shoes will have lots of big, deep creases in the foam.

If you think it might be time to change shoes, go to a running store and try on the new model of the same shoes you have. If you put your old shoes back on and they feel dead or flat, get the new shoes.

The Miles Add Up

Like I said at the beginning, running shoes usually last around 500 miles. Try to add up the miles since you last bought the shoes.  I can also estimate this on the amount of time I've had the shoes because my training hasn't changed a lot since I've bought the old shoes. So for me, these shoes lasted about 18 months. (That's pretty good for running shoes).

When was the last time you bought new shoes?

What is the easiest way for you to know it's time for new shoes?

Friday, November 24, 2017

Our Thanksgiving and Friday Favorites

How was everyone's Thanksgiving?  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. My favorite is the 4th of July, and then Thanksgiving and Christmas are a tie.  I started the day off with a run on my own instead of a race (actually I don't think I've ever done a turkey trot race).

We made it to one of my families Thanksgiving traditions, the turkey shoot.  We all gather with our guns and ammo and shoot clay pigeons. Whoever hits the most takes home the trophy.  We didn't participate in the big competition but we let the girls have a turn shooting their turkey (the color of the month blender bottle was a turkey for November).

We also took some random goofy pictures, because that's how my cousins and I are. We are getting better at jumping pictures. It's only taken us 10+ years.

Then I got to work finishing the pies that I was asked to bring our feast! I love pie. My mom has the best pies ever and I attempted her pie crust recipe ON MY OWN! Trevon and I have been married 8 years and I've only made this pie crust when I've had my mom helping me. This year I was brave though and did it while V napped and I sent the kids out to play in the backyard the day before. Then I made the pie filling Thanksgiving morning.

We ate Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's house with some of my mom's side of the family. I have always loved that I live close to my cousins and grew up being friends with my cousins. Having a friend at every event was the best. Cousins make the best friends! It was also really amazing weather here, so the kids all went outside to run around and play while us adults got to sit and visit.

Then we went over to Trevon's dad's house and brought the pie I made to share with him. So much pie! We are so thankful for our family, our country, and each other!

And now for some Friday Favorites!

One of my favorite traditions at this time of year is making a photo book of the whole year. I've used a couple of different websites to do this and I loved using Mixbook because they had so many creative options to make it totally my own! And now through the 29th, they are giving everyone 55% off everything (books, holiday cards, prints, gifts etc..), plus free shipping, if you use the coupon code: CYBER17A. Be sure to check that out!

I think that the phase V is in is one of my very favorite post-baby phases. He is so so busy, and he's into everything! But, he makes up for all the mischief with cuteness. He's learning animal noises and body parts. And he gets excited over things he recognizes, like songs or certain kid shows. As long as he takes a nap, he's happy! I love it!

If you missed them, here are the favorited posts are here:

- Favorite Blender Bottle 

- Fixer Upper Season 5 Workout

- Preventing, Detecting, Stopping and Healing Injury  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How I Save Hundreds a Month on Groceries

When Trevon and I started our family, we decided that I'd be a stay at home parent if it was at all possible. We felt very strongly that what was important for our family is that our kids would have a parent at home to help them, love them, teach them, and raise them.  We both believe that a child deserves that. Even when the kids are all at school, I will be home as much as possible because I really feel that every kid deserves to have a parent at home when they get home from school. So from the start, I became a stay at home mom.  This has been challenging in several ways for me and for our family.

One of those ways is financial.  It's hard in today's world to have a stay at home parent and afford the cost of living.  And I've found myself several times thinking "what can I do to help us save more?" also fully knowing that I'm not in a position to go get a full-time job, nor do I want to.  One way that I can always save a little more here and there is at the grocery store.

The average amount for a family of 4 to spend on groceries is around $750 a month. We have a family of 5 (and really Trevon could count as two because he eats A LOT!) and we spend right around $500 a month without doing ultimate couponing or anything like that and today I'm going to share a few tricks with you to help you cut down on your grocery bill.

I've tried several of the frugal trends. I gave the coupon thing a good try but ultimately decided that it was a lot more work than it was worth to me. I tried the less shopping method, where you only shop once a month or every two weeks, but I found that the food we did get either spoiled or ran out before it was time to shop again.  I tried freezing meals, and that worked well for a little while but we had to stop because we ran out of room in our freezer and have no room in our house for a second freezer. The thing is, these plans work well for some people and that's great! But it doesn't work for all of us. So here are a few things that I do in order to make sure that we are saving as much as possible on our groceries every month.

The first thing I do is make a dinner list and a grocery list. I do this once a week.  Sunday nights I plan all of our dinner meals for the week and then from that list of meals I make of list of groceries that we need in order to make those meals. I only do this for dinner. Lunch and breakfast are pretty easy for me to keep cheap and quick and filling. But for dinner I always want to make sure that I'm making something that will fill our family, that is healthy, that will help my kids grow, and that they all like. That's kind of challenging sometimes but it can be done! After the things that we need for dinners are all on the list, I go through the kitchen and add things that we've run out of or that have gone bad.  I split that into two different lists. One for our local grocery store, and one for Costco. I split these by the price. If I know something is at Costco that is cheaper and that we will for sure go through before it goes bad. Mostly this is some fruit, meats, milk, cheese, bread, diapers, wipes and kid snacks. Now a lot of people think that the money I save on food at Costco comes out of my pocket by paying for a membership, but we use the Costco credit card and we have always earned enough back to pay for the next membership plus much more that goes right into our savings account. I'm talking hundreds back.

Next, I go shopping and I follow my list as closely as I can. I only go down the isles that I need something on. I If there happened to be a coupon that I found, I use it.  If I know that we have a good amount of room in our budget left for the month, then I will let the kids pick a treat or I'll splurge a little bit here and there. But mostly I just stick to the budget. Most of our grocery list usually consists of things like produce and eggs.  don't often impulse buy, and I don't buy a lot of junk food. We don't usually buy chips, pre-cooked meals, or other foods that we know will not hold us over or fill us up and we honestly don't miss those things all that much.

After I get done shopping, I check my Ibotta account. I love Ibotta because I almost always get some little bit of a rebate back. Even if it's 25 cents, it's still more saved than nothing.  So I go through and make sure I didn't miss anything that I bought that would count towards a rebate. (Ibotta is great for more than just groceries. You can get rebates for a lot of different stores, anything from Joann's to Amazon, to grocery stores and more).  When I reach around $20 back in my Ibotta account I transfer it to my PayPal and then to my bank account. I can't say that I get to cash out from Ibotta on a monthly basis, it usually does take a few months for the money to add up, but $20 after a couple of months is better than nothing.

I cook at home every night. I pick from the list we made, or I let the kids pick between two on the list. Then, if we have leftovers, we save them for lunch the next day (I don't think there's anyone who doesn't do this...). It is pretty rare that we will go out for dinner or pick something up. And a lot of times when we do get something we feed the kids something easy from home and then Trevon goes out to get us some dinner while I put kids to bed. It counts as our date night and we don't have to pay a babysitter. When we go out as a family, we splurge and don't worry so much about what it will cost. If the kids will eat it then we are ok with it.

By doing these things, we save a couple hundred dollars a month (according to the norm) in groceries. These aren't hard things to do and most of it is just habit now. (I'll add a little disclaimer here that I honestly do not buy many "organic" things. In my opinion, an apple that has been sprayed with a pesticide and hasn't been eaten by any kind of worms or bugs that I need to wash or peel, is just as good as an organic apple that costs twice as much anyway that I don't have to wash but could have a worm or bug bite on it. We buy whole produce, just not organic.)

What is your favorite way to save money at the grocery store?

What is the smallest amount you've paid at the grocery store in a week?

Do you have a favorite money saving app?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Fixer Upper Season 5 Workout

I have a fun workout to do while watching one of my favored shows (Fixer Upper)  for you today, but Before we jump into today’s post, there are a few things I need to talk about. Most important, the winner of the blender bottle giveaway is Autie Leigh! So excited for you, email me Autie!

Next, we had a crazy week last week and it didn’t stop over the weekend. This weekend Trevon and I both got sick and then our computer decided to bum out on us.  So all of my blogging or any other kind of connecting online for the next few days will either be done on our slow 10 year old computer or my little iPhone. Thank heaven for modern technology but both of those are a little trickier than my nice computer. Fingers crossed that the store fixing it doesn’t mean that the hard drive will be wiped out and that it doesn’t take too long. So depending on those circumstances, I might be a little more MIA this week. But I will do my best to post like normal!

Now for today’s post. We've all been long waiting for season 5 of Fixer Upper to start and tomorrow is the day! And I'm a little bit sad that this will be their last season!  This is one of my favorite shows. I love Chip and Joanna's relationship with each other and with their family. And they are incredibly talented and I wish I could live in one of their houses (or be their best friend). And today the wait is over! Season 5 starts tonight on HGTV.

The struggle comes in when we want to watch but it's also our workout time (especially if you don't have a treadmill to run on or something). So I put together another Fixer Upper workout similar to this one that I did for last season.

Every time...

They show a new house --- Do 10 jumping jacks

They talk about budget --- Do 10 squat jumps

Chip and Joanna are interviewed --- 10 calf raises

When the couple picks a house --- 30 plyometric lunges

Duration demo day do 3 sets of:  15 pushups, 15 crunches, 15 tricep dips

They go antique shopping --- 1-minute wall sit

They show the Gaines kids --- 30-second mountain climbers

They have a set back in the plan --- 1-minute plank

Joanna has a special project made --- 25 1 leg squats each leg

Duration of reveal day do 3 sets of: 20 bridges, 15 pushups, 20 flutter kicks

Every other commercial break, do as many sets of: squats for the length of one commercial, plank for the length of one commercial, arm circles for as long as one commercial.

Take a break during the other commercial breaks.

Get both your workout and your Fixer Upper fix all at once.  Do it with a friend and you'll enjoy it even more!

Do you have a favorite TV show that conflicts with workouts?

What TV show were you most sad about it ending?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fast Friday Favorites and an Update

Let's start today out with an update. It's been a little bit of a crazy week at our house. It all started out with this nasty little bug.  Lice. That's lice and it was in J's hair.

We spent Monday with plastic bags tied on our heads and cleaning every single piece of cloth that was touched in the last two days. Luckily, we only found 1 lice and 1 egg and we were all clean after that. We have really great friends around us who helped out big time by bringing us dinner. Since we had the lice problem we didn't make it to the store and didn't have anything in our house.

I did also get a workout in while we were waiting for the girl's hair treatment to be done so we could wash it out. It was such a perfect day outside so I did a strength training outside. 

Thank heaven that was all over quickly and we caught up with all of our other chores the next day. We had a lot of amazing sunrises this week which made getting up for running way easier. We also had some really great sunsets, this is one of the best things about November. It's almost consistently every night that we have a great view.

I caught this guy climbing all over the place lately. He's gotten really good at quietly sneaking M&M's from our candy dish.  He's getting so busy and I can only imagine what he will be like in a couple of months. 

And I'm loving that little M is always wanting me to do her hair in different ways. I'm not great at doing hair but she's giving me a lot more practice.


Now for some Friday Favorites. Most of these are food ha. 

My dad lived in Italy for a couple of years before he married my mom.  They got to go back there a couple summers ago and they went to a pizza cooking night. Now he makes the best pizza crust and he gave me some the other day to make dinner with. If I had the recipe I'd give it to you, but I don't. But this was my favorite dinner this week.

I've been listening to some podcasts lately. And my two favorites are RunEatRepeat which is a random podcast all about running and eating, and Tiny Leaps Big Changes which is a self-help podcast to help you get more out of your life. 

I think I've mentioned this a couple times here before, but I started getting breaded Tyson chicken breast to make lunch easier for me. It really helps me eat lunch so much better. I've made salads with it, had it with roasted veggies, but this sandwich was really good and I think it might be my favorite way to have this for lunch.  

I talked about my favorite blender bottle that I've used so far the other day. You can read more about that HERE and enter a giveaway to win one! 

I hope you all have a great weekend! 

What are you doing this weekend?

Have you ever had to deal with lice?

What was your favorite thing you ate this week?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Favorite Blender Bottle and Giveaway

I'm really excited today to share with you all my favorite blender bottle products and give a few away! This post is not sponsored in any way, although I am an affiliate for Blender Bottle and would get a small commission for anyone who buys any of their products through my site (thanks!). These opinions are completely my own and totally honest. I love blender bottle and their products and I'm excited to talk a little bit about them today.

Last year Trevon got a job working at the Blender Bottle warehouse. Not only do I love this company because they treat their employees really well, but I love their products. Before Trevon worked there, I hadn't tried any of them and I wasn't super interested in trying them because I don't drink a whole lot of protein drinks. But as part of the blender bottle company, Trevon got to bring home some blender bottles on occasion to use or try. Since then, I've tried several of products made by blender bottle and these are my unbiased, honest opinions on them. And I want to start with my least favorite and work my way up to my most favorite product and tell you why I like them/don't like them and how they are different from each other.

First, The Classic. This is my least favorite bottle. I remember when these started coming out a few years ago and thinking they looked cheap and ugly and bulky and my opinion of that is the same. I just don't like the way they look. I also don't like that they don't fit in my hand very well (I have pretty small hands) and I don't like that you can't put them in a cupholder well. In all fairness, since I tried the classic the first time, they have started making classics that fit in a cup holder. Still not my favorite one though. You can get these bottles in a lot of different colors. And you can also get them in your favorite sports team, the color of the month club, DC comics, and in the just for fun themes.

My next least favorite bottle is probably the radian. A lot of people really like these and I really wanted to like this one! I can see the appeal. They are made of glass, Insulated Stainless steal (for cold drinks) and plastic.  The insulated bottle is pretty cool. I love the idea. But the reason I don't like this bottle as much is that it's top heavy.  Every time I've used this bottle with a drink that needs to be shaken up, I feel like I'm about to drop it.  A lot of people use this bottle because it's not plastic (even though all of blender bottle's products are BPA Free). The main reason that I prefer other bottles to this one is the weight. Granted I haven't tried this one in the plastic so maybe that one isn't so heavy?

Next up is the sports mixer stainless. This is a neat bottle. I like the shape of it, it's easy for me to grip and isn't too heavy. But if this bottle didn't have a rubber grip on it, my hand would freeze. It's a cold bottle. But, this does help keep drinks cold (not as long as the radian) and it's a good size.  It also doesn't fit in a cup holder. You can get this in a few different color combinations which it's always fun to have it be more like your own personality.

The next bottle up is the Sports Mixer girp. This is exactly like the stainless but it's BPA free plastic and it comes in several different colors. This was my first favorite bottle. I like the size, I like that it could shake my drinks up without feeling like I was going to drop it. It's not top heavy. And I liked all the colors it came in. It still doesn't fit in a cupholder though.

Blender Bottles has accessory type products that I want to talk a little bit about before I share my favorite bottle that I've tried. There are some storage attachments that are meant to be used for protein. You attach them to the bottom of some of the bottles (they only have specific bottles that have the attachment bottom) and then you can pour the protein in when you're ready for it. These are called Pro Stacks. I don't use these for protein but I do use them for a lot of other things. I use them for snacks to take with us to church or to the store or to the doctors or anywhere that I might end up needing snacks for the kids. I use them to make dips for the kid's lunches (because making fry sauce and honey mustard on a daily basis is pretty time-consuming. I just make a big batch and store it in one of these in the fridge).  I also use them to store mine and the girl's hair things (because with 3 of us in the house there are a lot and it can get out of hand).  They are really great for traveling and making sure things stay put. I use Pro Stacks for basically any kind of storage that I can think of.

Another storage accessory they have is a lot like the prostack but they are a little bit smaller. These are GoStacks. I love these! These save me every day. J is one of those kids who doesn't like food touching.  She's also a home lunch student because she's so picky.  So I use these every single day to pack her lunches. You can read all about that HERE.

And finally, my very favorite blender bottle that I've tried (Because remember, I haven't tried them all) is the Sportsmixer Signature Sleeks. This bottle is so simple and for some reason, it's my favorite. It comes in lots of fun patterns and colors. It is lightweight and fits in my hand really nicely. I don't feel like I'm going to drop it when I'm mixing drinks up. And it fits in any cup holder. I use this bottle ALL THE TIME. The only thing I would change about this bottle is that I don't love the spouts on any of the blender bottles. I prefer a spout more like my Contigo bottle. Not sure what it is about Contigo bottles but I just love the spout on them.

So today I'm going to be giving away one Signature Sleek of your choice and a set of GoStacks (check the pictures below for the different options) to one lucky winner! All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog. Tell me anything you want. What your doing today, what your favorite water bottle is, what your workout is. Anything. Then for extra entries, like me on facebook and follow me on Instagram. Leave an extra comment letting me know that you did (I'll check it). Winner will be announced on Monday 11/20!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Preventing, Detecting, Stopping and Healing Injuries

I can't tell you how many times I've heard that runners are the worst when it comes to healing.  And I'm not about to disagree with that. I have been guilty several times for not taking doctors orders, which only lead to more, longer injuries and more people telling me to stop running. So let's talk about this for a minute. Maybe it's the way that they say it? "You need to stop running..."? I dunno, all I know is that no runner wants to be told to stop.

If we take care of ourselves, though, in the first place, no one will be telling us to stop running. So today I wanted to talk about injuries. How to prevent them, know they are coming, how to stop them from getting worse, and what to do to make sure you get back to running as quick as you can.

First, let's talk about how to prevent them. You always hear the tips but do you actually do them?  Some of these are really hard for me to do.

  • Stretching- this is probably one of the hardest things for me to remember. Before and after a run, or any workout, there should be some good stretching. If you need to know what stretches are best for runners, you can find a whole bunch of them by googling it.

  • Warm up- This is one that I almost never do. It's not a good habit, but I always feel like "I'm running anyway...I'll just warm up while I'm running. I have been better at this lately thanks to Aaptiv, (which is an app that I'll be talking about again soon in another post).

  • Icing- This is something that I used to be really good at (do you see a pattern here?) I loved to ice after track and cross country.  When I graduated I realized that my freezer doesn't automatically make ice cups. And since then, I always forget to ice unless I'm injured.

  • Rest days- This is something I am good at! I make sure to get at least one rest day a week, two if I'm feeling like I'm extra tired or really sore. Giving your body enough time to recover is extremely important to make sure you are staying healthy and to reach your best potential in your running.

  • Good shoes- It's fairly rare that you will ever see me in heels or flats. I wear them to church or fancy events, but other than that I usually wear my old running shoes. Part of this is because I have tiny feet and it's hard to find anything in my size five shoes. But the other part of this is because wearing heels and flats can be really bad for your feet. It can cause a lot of injuries and soreness problems. Make sure you have a good pair of shoes that you can comfortably walk around in all day. 

So how can you know that an injury is coming? There are always a few signs that your body gives you to let you know that you might be getting injured and it might be a good time to add an extra rest day or take a few days off altogether.

  • Aches and Pains- For me, this is the biggest sign that something is going to happen if I don't change something. These are not big full-on pains, these are little annoying aches that are more just there and nagging you. Right now, for example, my foot starts to get a little ache-y in the afternoon.  Nothing that stops me from walking around or disrupts my day, but something I should definitely be paying attention to.

  • Pace- When you have several runs in a row that you just can't hit a pace that you normally can hit consistently, your body is telling you that it needs a break. Which can feel really frustrating because the first instinct to not hitting your paces for several workouts in a row is to work harder.

  • Tired- Feeling tired all the time is a sign that your body needs more rest. Especially when you're feeling like you're sleeping really well at night and you're still tired. This could be a sign that your body needs an extra rest day or that something isn't healing all the way before you work it again.

How to stop them from getting worse. This can save so much time, money and frustration!  When you feel like an injury might be coming on here are somethings to try to see if it will help. Always remember that if you are injured, you should talk to a medical professional about it. I'm not a doctor, I've just had a lot of experience in this area and my advice shouldn't be taken as a doctor's advice would.

  • Take a break- This is probably the best way to make sure that an ache or pain doesn't turn into an injury. It doesn't always need to be a long break. Even an extra day or two can be a huge help.  If this seems like the best option for you right now, stay off your feet as much as you can for a few days.

  • Cross Train- Cross training is a great way to help you strengthen your muscles in a way that you don't normally do.  It also helps with endurance and cardio. My favorite way to cross train is to strength train for my full body. I love doing HIIT workouts and adding some weights where I can. I also really like to go hiking as cross training because it means that I also get to see some pretty amazing places. But it can be anything else you want to do. You can bike, swim, play basketball, lift weights, yoga, etc... How you cross train is completely up to you.  You'll be surprised how much this can not only help sore muscles and potential injuries feel better but actually improve your running.

  • Make a change- This could mean so many things. Change your running frequency or pace. Slow down a little bit for a few runs. Switch a number of hard runs you do in a week. Change your running schedule so that you don't have 2 speed work days in a row, give yourself enough time to heal completely.

  • Get new shoes- My favorite excuse...I mean...favorite way to stop an injury. You should be getting new shoes every 500 miles or so that you put on them. Once they have broken down so much, it's time to get new ones that are right for your feet. Also with shoes, every person is different and not every shoe is going to be perfect for your feet in particular.  I've had foot injuries pop up from having the wrong shoe for me. To make sure you're getting the right shoe for you, got to any running store and have them do a gait analysis. They will be able to tell you what kind of shoe you need and have you try a few out so that you can find the best one for you.

  • Massage- A full body massage is fantastic but can get expensive on a regular basis. I suggest finding a good foam roller or getting something like this body wrench to help you give your muscles some good attention.  I usually try to add these things into my stretching routine.  Foam rolling helps to increase blood flow to your muscles to help with loosening them up and repairing them after a workout. When my body is feeling especially sore or tired I make sure to foam roll and stretch really well so that my body can recover faster. 

So what happens if you really are injured?

  • Talk to your doctor.  If they give you the OK to continue to workout, take a break from running and cross train for a while. You might be surprised with how much strength training, HIIT workouts, Biking, and other workouts can actually help you with your running.

  • RICE- Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Every doctor will tell you these things are good for recovery. It's better to do them and get better faster than to not do them and have to take way more time off.

What is your favorite tip to prevent injury?

What is the longest amount of time you've had to take off for an injury?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fast Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Here's a quick update on our week this week.

 The other day we noticed that our camper, that we gave a makeover to of the summer, had started to leak a little bit :(.  Luckily nothing too bad. We spent some time over the weekend replacing the sealants on all the windows. And we are just hoping that this is the end of the fixing that Kit will need done at least until spring when it starts to warm up again.

I did some running, of course, and gave running outside a try. It was chilly but manageable.  I think the end of outside running is coming for me though because the weather is getting colder and colder now. As expected, but not looked forward to. 

M spent some time this week being a cat.  She wore her cat ears around for a day and then added a ribbon to her foot as a paw after that (she also has cats on her pants). I'm so glad she has a healthy imagination and knows how to have fun with the small things. I'm pretty sure this child has never asked to be entertained or gotten bored in her life. She's constantly coming up with something fun for herself to do. I hope this lasts. 

Like I said earlier, the weather is dropping quickly around here. We had our first little snow (nothing stuck to the ground) the other day... Snow might be a small exaggeration in the picture below. It flurried for about 15 minutes and then stopped. But it's there. 

And now for some Friday Favorites:

I decided this year that I'm going to work on being more excited about the season change. Winter is a hard season for me for the most part. So in order to look for the good in the season change, I decided that I was going to make a list of the things I do like about winter and remind myself of them everything I start feeling a winter funk coming on. So far I could only think of hot chocolate. I'm pretty sure this is one of the biggest things that get me through winter every year. My very favorite way to have hot chocolate is made with milk and a scoop of ice cream added to it instead of marshmallows. I hear more and more people having it like this, and I'm really glad people are starting to understand, but let's just be clear on one thing, I've been doing this way before it was cool. I started doing this with my grandma (my mom's mom) when I was little and I've never looked back. 

I'm doing a workout challenge this month with Monica from Run Eat Repeat called Pile on the Miles. You can read all about it on her blog HERE. I'm really loving it because it's keeping me motivated, accountable and active. She gives us a photo scavenger hunt prompt for every day, this picture's prompt was stretch, which I need to do more of. 

I've been having some foot pain here and there so I've tried to make sure to give my feet lots of attention and love this week.  Only wearing shoes with good support, resting them when I can, icing them a little bit and using THIS body wrench to massage them out. (It comes apart and I roll my foot on one of the balls. This is a really awesome tool to use to loosen up your muscles and get those tight knots out! 

I saw this bread at our grocery store this week and needed to try it. It didn't disappoint. M and I have eaten at least one piece a day since. It's hard to stop eating it but it's also much more money than I normally spend on bread, so I pace myself on it.  I suggest it for toast. 

Who has some Friday Favorites to share?

Is it winter yet where you live? What is the lowest your city usually gets for winter?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What You Need To Make Your Run Fun

Everyone has certain things in life that they love to do, that bring them joy, that they are passionate about. Everyone has had something that they have done and just thought to themselves "that was fun" but it's maybe not something that would be fun for other people.

I don't know what it was about this morning's run but it was a really fun one. Does anyone else have that happen sometimes?  Most runners who have been running for a long time know that sometimes there are runs that are just fun, but if you're thinking "I've never had a run feel fun..." then this post is for you!

Today I'm going to share with you, some ideas of how to make running fun for you if this is something you wish enjoyed more.  Here are a few things you need to have to make your run fun.

  • A favorite running outfit. Something comfortable. You can't have fun if you're not comfortable. Favorite shoes too. For me, this means a tank top and my favorite compression shorts. 

  • An easy pace. Running hard runs are fun in a different way (because they are challenging and it's fun to see where you are compared to where you used to be). But most other fun runs, at least for me, are easy paced where I don't worry about how fast I'm going and I can just enjoy moving and giving myself some me time. It is the only time of the day that I focus completely on me. 
  • A good playlist. Something with a good beat. Something you can sing along to. Here are some of my favorites lately:

    - Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith
    - Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
    - Can't Stop The Feeling - Justin Timberlake
    - Counting Stars - One Republic

  • A good attitude. Yes, running can change your mindset and your mood. But I find that most of my fun runs start when I have a happy attitude, to begin with.  I'm doing it because I want to do it, not because it's on my training, not because I'm working towards a race, not because my coach told me to etc... I genuinely want to run. (Which isn't abnormal for me).
  • This is optional but encouraged: A running buddy. It's so much fun to run with a friend to talk to and take your mind off of the run. It's also a great way to get closer to your running buddy. Running buddies have a bond like no other friendship does.
  • This is also optional: A fun route. If I'm running outside I always like to pick my favorite route to run for these occasions also fun to find a new route to take.  But lately, I'm on the treadmill since it's getting colder outside.
I hope that these tips will help you to enjoy your run more and more.  Having a fun run can help you feel so positive and relaxed afterward.  It's ok to take a break from your training cycle once in a while and do a run that sounds fun to you.  Fun runs can also help you get through a running slump or a burnout. Sometimes all you need to turn your day around is to get in a nice fun run.

What makes running fun for you?

What are your favorite running songs?

Monday, November 6, 2017

6 Tips for Running In The Cold

If you've been around here for a while, you know that I'm not a big fan of winter or being cold. Running in the cold is no exception.  And in all honesty, I really planned on making outside running happen more often as the weather got cold, but so far it's been exclusively treadmill workouts for me lately. When I run in the cold, my asthma flares up. When I run in the cold, my face hurts. I hate that I have to bundle up so much when I run in the cold. The list could really go on and on. I just don't like to run in anything below 60 degrees.

Since it's getting colder out, and we will soon be approaching winter, I decided to share with you some winter running tips today.

Take it Indoors

  • Treadmill. The obvious solution to running in the cold is to run on the treadmill.  Sure it can get boring and tempting to finish early. But now there are so many really great treadmill workouts that you can find and that will help you push through the mental game of the treadmill.

    Janae from The Hungry Runner Girl has also shared an awesome list of ways to beat boredom on a treadmill. And you can trust her because she does a ton of treadmill miles, including some marathon training. 

  • Stairs.  I love running stairs. This was one of my favorite workouts when I was in High School.  Stairs act as a really good hill workout and hills help you with strength and speed. The house I grew up in had two staircases and a basement, so I would run up one side, down the other, down the basement stairs and back up and around a few times. If you don't have access to a good set of stairs at your house, find a place where you could do stairs inside without, of course, getting in trouble for running inside. For example, I'm super lucky to live close to two universities. Both of which have indoor workout facilities.  One of the two allows you to use part of the facilities for free.  They have a basketball court with the perfect stair loop that works great when you need to have a good hill workout but it's too cold outside.Find a place that you will stay warm and be able to get good stair workout in, and do your best not to disturb anyone in the process. Always be courteous to others, especially when you're using another facility. You'll be surprised how quick these workouts go. You don't have to do many miles worth of stairs to get a good workout. 

  • Indoor Track. Like I said before, I'm lucky to live close to two indoor facilities, that happen to also have indoor tracks.  But Universities aren't the only indoor facilities that have tracks. A lot of gyms will also have an indoor track, as well as rec centers. They usually also have an option to pay for one day instead of a full pass if you're wanting to only use it once in a while.  (This would also give you access to several treadmills).

  • Cross Training.  Sometimes we can't run but want to stay in shape so that when it is warm enough, or when we can get out and run, we can pick up where we left off. This is where cross-training comes in.  There are a ton of great ways to cross train. You can hop on a bike, take a swim, play a different sport for a day...One of my favorite ways to cross train is to do cardio workouts that you can do at home. Like Insanity, P90X, 21 Day Fix, HIIT workouts, (my mom used to love Buns of Steel). These allow me to do my workout whenever. If my kids are awake, we can do it together. These also let me keep up on cardio more than other things. And you pay a price one time and use the program as many times as you want! Cross Training is a great option, especially if you've got little kids or limited time.

    If cross training is something that interests you, another really great way to cross train for a runner is to do the elliptical. Ellipticals are great because they mimic the action of running with a lot less impact on your joints. HERE is a really great article on how to find the perfect elliptical for you! (Because, like shoes, I think that deciding on a treadmill, elliptical or other big equipment is a lot of preference and what will meet your needs specifically).

Outside Running in the Cold

Although I'm not a fan of running in the cold, sometimes it's nice to be able to get out away from the treadmill or the kids or just get some fresh air during your run. So here are a few ways to help you stay more comfortable during your cold outside run.

  • Bundle up.  It can be hard to know how many layers to wear and what you'll be comfortable running in. Remember that your body will warm up after you get moving. Make sure to get some running clothes that are comfortable for you, and that will keep you warm but are easy to layer.  
    When I'm bundling up to run, depending on how cold it really is, I wear a tank top and either a t-shirt or a long sleeved shirt, capris, pants or shorts (I never layer my legs), and sometimes gloves and a hat or an ear warmer/headband. It all depends on how cold it is. If you get warm while you're running, you can always take a layer off, and hide it to go back for it later.
  • Be Prepared. This isn't just about being cold. This is also about being smart.  If you have asthma, it's much more likely to flare up in the cold.  Make sure you check the temperature and know how cold your body can handle before you need your inhaler. You should find a way to carry your inhaler anyway. If the temperature is below 32 no one should be running outside for long periods of time (over 20 minutes), and if it's in the teens, you shouldn't be running outside at all. That's not good for your lungs.
  • Plan Ahead. Make sure you plan your route before you go.  Try to find a route that is out of the road. Wear reflectors if you won't be back before it gets dark.  Try doing several smaller loops instead of one long run.  This way if there is an emergency (asthma problems, slipping on ice, spontaneous winter storms etc) you'll be close enough to home to make it there quickly and easily. Always tell someone what your running plan is. 

Let's all be safe, and smart, working out as the weather gets colder this year!

Do you like to run in the cold or heat?

What do you do to stay safe during winter runs?

Do you have a favorite winter running outfit? 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fast Friday Favorites

Hey Everyone, I hope you're having a great Friday and I'm sure you're all ready for the weekend!! We had a lot of stuff going on this week so I thought I'd share a little bit of that today as well as some of my favorite things I've been loving lately.

It started out with some really great weather and M enjoying some sandbox time. We got this sandbox when we moved into this house and J and M loved playing in it for a long time. I thought V would love it by now, but he spends most of the time trying to eat the sand instead of play with it. We haven't used it much this year so I was super excited that M wanted to play in it for a while.

Then I chopped my finger instead of the onions I was using to make dinner. It was bleeding enough that I thought it might need stitches, so I texted this picture to my brother (He's a DR.) and he said it looked like it wouldn't need stitches, THANK HEAVEN! 

We went to a fun pumpkin patch near us and spent a few hours there. It was really cheap and the kids were so entertained! Our favorite things about the pumpkin patch: Duck racing, the corn pit, and picking our own pumpkins. (They give you $2 per wristband that gets you into the pumpkin patch, so our pumpkins ended up being free). If you live in Utah County, you should go check out Mccords pumpkin patch! 

For Halloween, we had lots of parties. J and M both had school parties and we had our annual skeleton soup party for my family, which I was in charge of this year. So we spent the day partying hard. I made these cute jack-o-lantern oranges and ghost cheese sticks for the kids (because they are always way too excited to eat well and I knew they would at least eat these).

Trevon needed to dress up for work. He went as a ninja turtle and made the costume himself with old t-shirts and a washable marker. He just traced his own body on the shirt and drew a turtle shell on the back of it. Yes, that's what he looks like. 

The kids were Elsa, A lumber jack, and Merida. M's hair is never curly. It never stays curly when I use a curling iron. (I used straws to curl it. If that's something you want to know more about, let me know and I'll talk more about that) so I'm very happy that I got it to stay curly all day long. 

I was feeling a little left out and had NO costume ideas. So I looked in my closet and decided to make a bandit costume out of clothes that I always wear anyway. Super easy and free. Made the mask out of leftover felt from last years costumes. The only problem is, now I'm not sure I can wear this outfit without thinking that I look like a bandit. Don't mind my messy house. I made this costume while M and V distroyed the house. That's kind of a normal thing around here lately. 

We had a fantastic Halloween and the girls got buckets of candy...literally, I'm pretty sure we will have candy until next year. Unless I eat it all then it will only last a few weeks. I hope you had a fun one too!

And now for some Friday Favorites!

My favorite blender bottle right now is the SportsMixer Sleek! I've tried a lot of different blender bottles (which I'm hoping to review and talk about soon) and this one is my favorite. It comes in several different colors too so you can choose one that fits you best. 

My favorite everyday shoes are HERE . You can also use them as running shoes, but I honestly haven't run in them yet. My cousin gave me some and I've used them a lot for walking around/everyday shoes and they are very comfortable!

Four years ago Trevon got me the whole Harry Potter series on Blu-ray. I'm a really big fan, but I try to contain it a little. So we started what has become one of my favorite traditions. We watch one movie a week (Usually on Fridays or Saturdays for our date night) from the weekend before Halloween to the weekend before Christmas. It really is one of my favorite things we do together.

I needed a new fall candle for our house. I like to light candles to help me feel more into the spirit of the holidays. When it's nice weather I'm happy with freshening my home with opened windows now and then, but when it gets cold and I can't do that, I like to light a candle. Actually, I'd rather use my candle warmer and just have different scents to put in there when I want. Anyway, I got THIS candle (because I couldn't find the scents at the time) and I really love the smell.

If you're looking for a new running/eating/random podcast to listen to, check out Monica's Run Eat Repeat podcast. She has a blog too. I just love her because she's so happy and honest and random. I
feel like it's because I'm kind of random.