Monday, April 30, 2018

What's For Dinner Tonight? Mac and Cheese

How's your meal planning going this week?  Today I'm going to share a really easy recipe for homemade mac and cheese! It's an easy crowd pleaser and feeds a lot.

What you'll need:

1/2 stick of butter
1/4 Cup Flour
2 Cups of milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 bag of elbow pasta (or any other kind of pasta that holds sauce well, like shells or bowties or penne...)

Cook pasta as directed. 
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and whisk together for about 1 minute. Add the milk and whisk over medium heat until it starts to thicken. Add the salt and cayenne pepper. Take the sauce off the heat and add the cheese. Whisk until it's all melted in. Pour on top of the pasta. You can add a breadcrumb topping to this and put it in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 if you want. But it tastes great without as well. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Fast Friday

Alright, it's Friday and I have a whole ton of pictures for our Fast Friday update. Last weekend started out with Trevon mentioning how he's so glad I've been happy lately.  Last week was kind of a rough one with the year marks of both of my grandma's death dates. I have a really good memory which is really awesome for some things, but it also means that I remember every detail of the days that are hard days.  But, the other day I was getting ready for the day and talking to Trevon and he stopped me and said: "I'm so glad you're happy!" And I realized that I'd gotten the runners high back.

 That evening there was a surprise party for my Brother in law's birthday. I made some cupcakes for it.

The party had an unexpected twist-->He knew all about it and used it as a way to propose to his girlfriend. We were all in on it so it made it especially fun to see the switch. So I'm getting a new sister in law soon!

Saturday was a beautiful day.  I got a run in with J.

The kids played outside all day. We love that the weather is warmer now and they can be out there happily.  V was really interested in the neighbor's cats. Look at his sweet face checking it out.

And then Trevon and I decided to spend some time hooking the camper up to the new truck and give it a test drive.  I had to take a picture and send it to my dad for proof that it only took me one time guiding Trevon back to get the hitch right on.  This is a big deal because growing up I was terrible at guiding my dad back to hook up the boat. He was pretty proud.

V is loving his strider bike and rides with/walks it all over the house. Any time the girls go out, he want's to go out too now.

We spent some time on Tuesday at the park. Can you spy two kids?

And when we got home, V decided to take some time breaking out DVDs.  I was really sad about this. Anyone know if Disney still does a replacement program or was that all fake?

On my walk to pick M up from school I saw these flowers and had to stop and take a picture. Aren't they pretty?  I love spring and summer!

I went for a nice run the other night and it was cool enough for a sweater but warm enough to take it off by the end of my run. I lost the part of my headphones that keep the earbud in your ear though. So that stinks.

I'm watching Stranger Things right now, I'm way behind on this one, but we don't have Netflix so I have an excuse. Lately, every time I watch it I get done and think "why did they end it there?" I know why the end it the way they do, I just wish I had time to binge watch it like most other people do.

Here are this week's favorite snacks:

My mother in law made a fruit dip for the party last Friday and gave me the leftovers. I've been snacking on this non-stop since. She said it's made with cream cheese and toffy bits in it...I think there's more to it.

Extra frosting means graham cracker and frosting sandwiches.

AND last but not least, growing up my dad used to put raspberry yogurt on chocolate cake instead of frosting and I loved it. So I ate some of that too with the leftover cupcakes.

The weeks most popular posts are:

Why It's Important to Take Time Off as a Runner

What to Remember When Coming Back from an Injury

Hiking Rock Canyon

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My Trick to Finding Motivation

Motivation: The reason we decided to do something or act in some way. Motivation is something that is talked about a lot but that a lot of us still search for all the time. No one has the perfect answer for finding the motivation to do things we need to do, or even for things that we love to do, sometimes.

A big reason that the question "how do I find motivation" is one that is talked about so often and still not one that we all have an answer to by now is that everybody is different. We all have different things that drive us to do what we need to do. We have different lifestyles and different priorities. No one is the same so there are a lot of variables.

When motivation is hard to find here is a little trick I'm figuring out.  The word motivation really means the REASON we do what we do. This trick is helping me feel more motivated to do things that I need to do around the house and helps me get out the door when I don't feel like working out. Here it is:

When you feel that you are lacking motivation, come up with a list of 5 reasons that doing whatever you're struggling to do will be good for you.

Finding motivation to workout when sitting on the couch, or staying in bed, sounds more fun:

1. I always feel better after a run
2. I will be a little closer to meeting my goals or prepares me for my next race
3. I like to run
4. It's healthy
5. It helps me be a happier, and more patient mom

Finding motivation to clean the house:
1. A clean home is a happy home
2. It's easier to find things when the house is clean.
3. If people come over I won't feel embarrassed or need to apologize for the mess.
4. Being in a cluttered home stresses me out.
5. There are fewer germs when it's clean so we won't get sick as often.

Once you have your list of 5 reasons, it's going to be a lot easier for you to get your to-dos done.  So right after you make the list, get to work so that you don't lose the motivation that you just gained. Once you see progress happening, you're going to have even more motivation to keep going.

What is one thing you have a hard time finding motivation for?

Any tricks to staying motivated for you?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Why Taking Time Off is Important For Runners

Every year my running routine is about the same. I run hard from spring until fall and then I start to taper off and take winter as a recovery/cross training season. I still run in the winter, just not normally as much as I do the rest of the year.  This year was different. This year I spent the winter running harder than I had all year long. I had decided I wanted to run a 10k and I went at that goal head-on.

While I don't regret running through the winter, I do regret running that hard through the winter. I wish I would have taken the time, like I normally do, to let my body recover and rest and just focus on staying in shape with cross training and casual running. I could have picked my training back up in the early spring and I would have been completely ready for a 10k in the early racing season. But I didn't. And so, instead of training, I've been doing lots of work to get my knee better. I am just coming back from that now.

I used to think that every elite runner out there never took time off. I always thought that the ones who were pros, the best, the winners, always worked hard all of the time. But even Professional athletes take longer breaks during offseason. Des Linden, the winner of this year's Boston Marathon, had a five-month break from running right before training and winning the marathon.

Taking a break doesn't always mean that you stop working out altogether. For the most part, you're cross training, going to the gym when you feel like it, and continuing with casual running. You're not following a set program. You're just listening to your body and what it needs or wants to be doing.

Getting stronger and fitter doesn't happen when you're actually exercising like most people think, that is the part where our bodies are realizing that they need to be stronger because we are breaking down our muscles and releasing hormones that are telling our body that it needs to be more fit. The getting stronger part comes when we are refueling and getting rest for our bodies to recover. So even though we've heard it a thousand times that rest and recovery are really important and we still have a hard time taking time off, now you'll be able to remind yourself with one more reason: resting actually helps you become stronger.

Another way to think of it is considering it as a bank account. All the work you're doing, miles you're running, the weight you are lifting, all of that goes into your spending account. And then the rest period, the time you spend allowing your body to recover, the food you're fueling your body with all goes into a savings account.  When you can make the two work together, and get into a really good rhythm with it, you'll be able to have enough in your savings account to push yourself harder, faster, or further the next season.  But if you don't make sure your savings (rest) account is full, you're going to get injured easier, and burned out faster.

So when offseason comes, look at it as a time to fill up that rest and recovery savings account.  Doing this will help you come back next season rested and ready to push yourself even harder without as much risk of injury.  You'll be able to make bigger gains and meet more of your goals.

When is your offseason?

How long are your regular breaks?

Friday, April 20, 2018

Fast Friday Update

Who's ready for a fast Friday update?

Last Friday I went to get a Graston massage again.  And my knee feels so much better this week. Hopefully, it will stay feeling better.  I was told that I can start adding more miles on now and see how it feels!

Saturday was a nice day, so I went on a 2 mile run in the morning. It was hard, it wasn't painful, but my lungs felt tight. This won't last for long though, it never does.

I took Sunday completely off from any exercise and just relaxed after church. And then on Monday, I did some rehab exercises and then got some good stretching in while I watched the Boston Marathon. That was amazing, who else watched?? This is currently my favorite stretch to do. Laying on my back with one leg against the wall.

Also while we watched the marathon, M wanted to play games. So we did Memory and Candyland and go fish.

When I woke up Tuesday morning to go workout, this is what I woke up to.  Let's all hope that that is the last snowfall until winter comes back in November/December this year. We are ready for warm temps now! 

Wednesday we went to get some errands ran and I stopped at Sprouts.  I haven't ever really shopped at Sprouts before, but my sister does and told me to go there for my produce. It did not disappoint. I got 2 bags of apples, a bag of cuties, a pineapple, and 4 lbs of strawberries for $14.00.  AND these cuties were probably the best ones I've ever had. They are almost gone already. 

We spent the afternoon on Thursday with my mom. She saved a lot of our old toys for when she had grandkids and we are all really happy about that. Our kids all play with them now and love them. Then the girls went to gymnastics after school.

Thursday was also really great weather wise. I almost wished I'd waited to go running until the afternoon. V ended up napping at my mom's so it would have been perfect. But we did spend a little time out there playing anyway. 

This week's workouts:

Saturday: 2-mile run with some good stretching after
Sunday: Off
Monday: rehab and stretching
Tuesday: 2 miles and a leg burnout: 3X30 squats, 3X15 lunges (each side) 3X60 seconds of skaters 
Wednesday: Foam rolling and stretching
Thursday:2-mile run and a full body strength workout

This is becoming one of my favorite stretches.

Here are the most checked out posts from this week:

Who watched the Boston Marathon?

Is it spring yet where you live, or is winter still hanging on?

Do you still have any of your toys from when you were a kid?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What to Remember When Coming Back From an Injury

I'm at the point in this injury recovery that I want to run really bad, but I'm almost scared to run. If you've dealt with some kind of longer-term injury, you'll know what I'm talking about.  You still love running and are anxious to start working on your goals and feeling that endorphin high again, but you don't want to injure yourself more or again after you've finally healed.

That's where I'm at right now.  I'm slowing working my way up in mileage and easing into it cautiously.  I guess it's a good thing that I'm feeling this way though because the younger me would have definitely started off strong and pushed myself too hard too fast and I would for sure have gotten injured again. That's the way it worked all through my teen years.

There are some things that I try to remind myself whenever I'm starting to run again after an injury. One thing that I have to remind myself of over and over is to start out nice and easy. I have the tendency to want to jump back in where I was and run at least three miles from the start. And I know I'm not the only one who does this.  The thing is that doing it that way won't get you any closer to your goal faster. It could make it even longer because you could end up re-injured.

I try to take it easy at first, not only on distance but on speed. I try to remember to keep my pace nice and easy.  I keep away from any kind of speed work for the first little while.  Let your body get back into the routine and the feel of running again before you push your speed too hard or do any kind of hard run.  This is a really great time to enjoy taking it easy and seeing where you are at.

Making small goals to help me get back to my big goal helps me to not feel discouraged about reaching my bigger goal when I know there is work to do.  I set weekly goals to help me feel like progress is being made even if it's slow going and step by step.  Make a goal to increase your mileage by a quarter mile a week in the beginning, or running twice a week for a month.

I remember to keep stretching and doing my rehab exercises to help my injury not only heal but become stronger.  Instead of focusing completely on running (even though that is my main sport) I make sure to spend my non-running days doing the exercises I was doing when I wasn't running at all.

Frustration is something that runs deep in me when it comes to taking it easy and not running as much. I want to feel progress so bad sometimes that I get really frustrated when it's time to take it easy for a while. I have to remind myself that running has always been there for me, it has always been something I've done. I've taken longer periods of time off and still come back from it. Running is something that I can bounce back to after a break. It might take some time and a little more effort than I want to sometimes, but I'll get it back. I just have to be patient with my body while I'm working on it.

Getting back to running and to where I was before my injury is rough. Reminding myself of these things helps a lot. Remembering how much I love running on the days that it's a struggle, remembering that every hard run makes us a little stronger physically and mentally, remembering to take care of myself so I don't get reinjured, all of those things play a big part in how I come back from this injury!

What is the hardest part about starting back up for you?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hiking Rock Canyon

We had spring break last week and to be honest it did not turn out as well as I hoped. But we did get to go hiking on the last day of spring break and that went really well.

We are super blessed to live in a place that offers so many places to get outside and do stuff. We have several hiking trailheads within a few miles and a whole ton of other trailheads and campgrounds within a few hours of us. So my sister, my mom, and I decided to take advantage of those options.

We decided to take the kids up to Rock Canyon and just let them hike as far as they wanted and then turn around and head back. 

V fell asleep in the car but woke up right after we parked. That turned out to be a good thing because a stroller won't make it very far on this hike.  He walked about half of the way and I ended up carrying him the rest of the way. Mostly because he stopped every two steps to pick up a handful of rocks.

Rock Canyon is a fun trail to hike because there are a lot of little trails that split off of the main trail that make it fun to explore.  There are also a lot of places to rock climb or to take pictures. It's not as pretty in the early springtime but in the fall, this is a beautiful backdrop for family pictures! I've taken so many of my family picture and my kid's pictures up there.

Rock Canyon is also great because it's super easy to do what you have time for or what you want to do.  The path is nice a wide so it doesn't ever feel crowded and you can turn around at any point. There are also a lot of places to take small breaks if needed.

This is a great place to hike for families with little kids. I grew up going to Rock Canyon and playing around in the rocks and fields while my dad and uncles rock climbed. I loved it!

We are also very blessed to live near to our family and that the kids have so many cousins to be friends with. After our hike, we took the kids to a nearby park, which you can actually follow one of the trails to, to have a snack and play for a little longer before heading home to make dinner and have the rest of our evening.

Do you have a lot of hiking areas where you live?

What did you do as a kid during spring/summer break?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Fast Friday

Who's ready for the weekend?  It's Friday and that means that I have a fast Friday for you today.

Last Friday was Trevon's 30th birthday. He spent the day shopping for a truck while I watched the kids and I'd be lying if I said we were all happy by the end of the day.  It was a rough day for all of us. It was rainy and cold (much like the rest of that week had been) and the kids were driving me crazy and I was disappointed in the lack of fun things we'd done for spring break and Trevon wasn't having luck finding the right truck. So instead of trying to force everyone to be happy and save the evening, we pretended that Saturday was his birthday instead.

We went to the Children's Discovery Museum in Salt Lake City. It was another really rainy day so we were really glad to find something to do inside. It was so fun too. They have a ton of different stations for the kids to play at. They had a farm where they got to sit on a horse and learn about gardening and farming.

A grocery store where they got to learn about budget and pretend to shop and pay for groceries.

A construction zone

A mini playhouse (we decided when we get a house someday with a playroom we want to make it like this)

They even had a "playground" section with jump ropes, balls, Foursquare, and gymnastics mats.

And a lot more! It was so much fun and we didn't have to wait in line for anything. After we played there all morning, we stopped to eat at Costa Veda. I got their nachos and I was glad I got the large because I was starving!

Monday was the last day of spring break for us and the weather was finally nice! We took advantage of that and went hiking at Rock Canyon. I'll share more about this hike on Monday.  It was so much fun to get out and get some exercise! And it was the perfect way to end spring break.

After school on Tuesday, we went to my parent's house and played more with the cousins. They are best friends and I love that! While they were playing outside, they found a duck egg on my parent's pool top.  So we carefully got it off and made a nest for it. There's a good chance this egg isn't alive, but if it is, my sister might end up with a pet duck.

Then something amazing happened. After a month (or longer) of searching, Trevon finally settled on a truck and brought it home! You would think it was a new addition to the family.  It took a lot of work to get this truck here. We decided on a Toyota Tundra and I think it will be perfect.

Wednesday was another really amazing weather day. We spent as much time as possible outside!  We played in the sandbox, and had our first popsicles for the season, rode bikes and just relaxed.

Wednesday evening J wanted to go on a run to start working towards a race her school is having this year. She did the race last year too! So we went on a quick run. She made it a full mile without stopping and she hasn't run with me since last year when we were working for her first race! M ran the first half of the run with us too.

Then on Thursday, the girls started gymnastics up again. They have loved doing this so far.

Here were the most popular posts from this week:

Workouts to do when you're injured

Transitioning from treadmill to outdoor running

The How and Why to Meal Plan

That's about it for our week, How was yours?

Who has a favorite something for me to try?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What's For Dinner Tonight: White Chicken Chili

Need an idea for dinner? Here is one of my favorite soups to make. White Chicken Chili. It's fast and easy and its different from the regular chili. 

What you need:

1Tbs olive oil
.5 lb chicken breast (I used already cooked chicken strips from Costco and just cut them up into cubes).
1/2 yellow onion
2 cans Great Northern Beans
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (depending on how spicy you want it)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream

Sautee your onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is clear.  Add cubed chicken and cook through. 

Add the beans and chicken broth and spices and bring to a simmer.

Add sour cream and heavy cream and warm through.  Salt and pepper to taste

That's it! Enjoy your warm, comforting soup!

What is your favorite kind of soup?

Do you prefer spicy food or mild food more?

What are you having for dinner tonight?