Sunday, September 30, 2012


It is a raining, pouring day in Maine.  But I am still on cloud 9.  I PR'd in the Maine 1/2 marathon today.  And not just a little PR - I shaved at least 15 minutes off my last half marathon!  I don't know exact numbers yet, but according to Runkeeper, I was at 1:55.  According to the clock as I passed through, it was 1:54.  They haven't posted official gun time results yet.  Regardless, it is at least 15 minutes.

Before starting, I set a few goals for myself.  First was to finish.  Second was to finish without any walking.  And third was to finish under 2 hours.  After the gun went off and the running actually started, I added a final goal to the list.  It was to make sure to beat the rude cutter and shover woman in gray and peach striped spandex.  I hate runners like that.  If you are that good, start all the way at the front and put some distance between yourself and the pack.  But, as usual, the ones who behave this way aren't premier runners.  She would take off in a sprint, bumping people out of her way, cutting right in front of them causing them to stumble and then I would shortly catch up with her.  I had her too, and then in the last 1/2 mile, she took off in a mad sprint again.  So goal 4 was not achieved!  But the other ones were, so I'm putting this in the victory column!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Race Playlist

I have a race this weekend and I have been tinkering with my playlist.

I usually don't use music when I am running a race, only when doing training runs.  But I've decided to use one this weekend as I will also be using the Runkeeper app to keep track of my pace.  I've set a goal to not just finish this time, but to for a personal best as well.

My current playlist includes the following:

  • Burn It Down by Linkin Park
  • New Your Groove by Ace Frehley
  • Twilight Zone by Golden Earring
  • Lowlife by Theory of a Deadman
  • I Don't Care by Fall Out Boy
  • Rock of Ages by Def Leppard
  • It Takes Two by Rob Base
  • Money Talks by AC/DC
  • Stronger by Britney Spears
Aaaaannnd there are a few that I would just assume NOT share publicly.  

But, I would like to possibly add some new music as I have been using this playlist for all of my runs.  I'm going to be fine tuning it over the next few days to make sure there aren't any songs I would rather not hear, as I won't be able to easily skip over them.  

What suggestions do you have?  What songs do you feel are "must haves" while working out or running?  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Another Wednesday, another link up with The Pleated Poppy.  I love the outfits she puts together and can't believe the tops she finds at Forever 21.  I get sensory overload just walking in there, and have never found anything that I would wear. I wonder how different the stock is depending on the area?

Only two outfits this week.  No, I didn't go to work naked.  I was running very, very late and didn't have time to have one of the kids snap a photo for me before we ran out the door.  And Stella Thunderpaws was not going to wait for her walk when I got home.  So into the running shorts, t-shirt and running shoes I went.

How could I make her wait for a walk/run?

So, what did I wear today?  No picture of that, made it to work today in the nick of time!  And, it was kind of depressing.  I wore socks today.  And pants that went all the way down.  Egads!  Winter is coming.

I even had to break out a vest this week.  Standing on a football field can be cold.

Jeans - Kohl's
Sneakers - chucks
Shirt - LL Bean
Vest - Land's End

I made a last ditch effort to go without tights this week.  If Indian Summer does not make its appearance soon, this will most likely be the last time I go bare legged until June.

Dress - Macy's clearance rack
(for full view click here.)
Sweater - Land's End
Shoes - Land's End

I actually get to wear jeans to work for the next two days.  Tomorrow is a field trip and on Fridays, if you make a donation to charity, you can wear jeans.  That may make it easier and faster to get dressed in the morning.  Maybe enough that I can take pictures - but probably not.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Try It Tuesday

We eat a lot of eggs in this house.  I buy at least 3 dozen each week and of those, 18 are hardboiled for egg salad, to be chopped up in a salad, or to eat as is.

I saw on Pinterest that hard eggs can be done in the oven and thought I would try it. The claims were that the egg tastes better when baked and, as a bonus, makes the process easier.

In order for it to work, the eggs have to be at room temperature.  They should be placed on the center rack, with a cookie sheet underneath just in case an egg breaks.  The oven should be set at 325 and the eggs baked for 30 minutes.

I tried this with a few eggs and the results were a disaster!  The eggs got brown spots on the bottom - at least the ones I was able to peel the shells off of had brown spots.

I took a step back and reassessed the process to determine if I did anything wrong.  I 'fessed up that I may not have exactly planned ahead and the eggs most likely were not at room temperature.  I also left the eggs in an extra 5 minutes.

So I tried it again.  And again.

Three times at bat and three times I struck out.  I will be hard boiling my eggs the way I have been for years.  Even if this procedure had worked, it seems much more time consuming.  To boil 18 eggs, I just place them in my big pasta pot, fill with warm water, add a touch of vinegar to the water and bring it to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, I turn it off and let it sit for 11 minutes, drain the water, allow the eggs to cool and wash the pot.  If I use the oven, I have to remember to take the eggs out and allow them to come to room temperature, put them in the oven, along with a pan (just in case).  If one does break, I imagine baked egg is a pain to clean.

I'm just not sold on this one and it is getting deleted over at Pinterest!

**I apologize for lack of pictures this time.  My camera went with the husband and kids on a boating adventure and seems to have failed to make it back out of the boat.  I don't trust the set up enough to climb in there and search for it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy's What I Wore Wednesday again today!

It has been a navy kind of week around here.  Guess what arrived?

 My navy Joanne driving mocs from Land's End!  I have worn them twice already this week.

I wore them first with this outfit.  Skirt a STEAL from Target's clearance rack last week!  And the top was from Marshall's.  I can't even tell you how much I got it for - you will simply die of jealousy.  But I am going to tell you anyway!  $12.99!

I love the detail at the sleeves.

It was cold and rainy yesterday.  So I wore this.  I am admitting to the sin of slovenly-ness, and if it's not a sin, perhaps it should be.  The shirt had been tucked in all day.  But, by the time I remembered to take a picture for the blog, it was out.  And it was not going back in!

The shirt is new from Land's End.  The pants are from the Gap Outlet and the sweater is from LL Bean.  The shoes have shown up here before and are also from Land's End.

These pearls were a great investment.  They are fakes, but decent fakes.  I have my grandmother's real pearls, but they probably should be restrung.  So for now, these from Talbot's are all I usually wear.
My pearl earrings were a gift from my Godparents years and years ago.

Super mini stack.  An actual stack did not seem appropriate with this.

This was one of my stacks this weekend.  But I digress.

Navy and pink!  I think I like this even more than pink and green.  Yes, yes I do.  Pink capris from Land's End and navy ruffled tank from Target.  If this tank washes well and doesn't kill me and my Rowenta, I'm headed back to buy it in other colors.  I will keep you posted.

The ruffles were hard to see in the other picture, so here is a close up.  Love it.

So, what did you wear this Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Try It Tuesday

Sometimes when we set goals, we fail at reaching them.  So be it.

I had planned on trying something each week from my Pinterest account.  An issue that cropped up is that I wanted to first move some of the pins from my private Pinterest account, to a public one linked with this blog.  I sort of just kept putting it off.  I did set up an additional account, but moving pins from one to the other has been more difficult than I anticipated.  Slowly but surely, I am figuring it out.

Now I have done that and the testing can begin!

Or so I thought.

First road block.  I never actually pinned the tip I was going to try this week and then share today.  I have been looking and looking for it, but no luck.  I have also been searching for a saying about weddings that I thought was wonderful, but obviously not wonderful enough to either remember it, or pin it!  I am suffering from Pinterest regret :(

But I am the kind of gal that throws caution to the wind.  And you WILL forgive me when I share this tip with you.  Because it works INCREDIBLE and you will LOVE me and ADORE me for sharing it with you.

Are you ready?  Because this is a game changer.

We eat a lot of enchiladas around here.  We also eat a lot of chicken salad, and salad with chicken in it. And a lot of chicken noodle soup and chicken rice soup.  Chicken and broccoli.  Get it?  We eat a lot of chicken.  But cutting and cooking chicken can be time consuming and a pain in the tush.  Did I mention I was about to share a game changer?

Do you see that?  That is a load of shredded, cooked chicken.  It is just begging and waiting to be added to an enchilada, to soup or to any other recipe you have.  If necessary, it will sit in a freezer bag in your freezer until you need to whip something up.  And it was so simple to get to this point.

 While boneless chicken breast cook in boiling water on your stovetop, pull out the Kitchen Aid mixer and put this attachment on.  I am sure it has a name, but I have no idea what it is.  Ree would know.  I love her - for many more reasons than the fact that she would know the name of this.

Remove the chicken from the boiling water once it is done.  If they went in frozen, they need to be in there about 40 minutes.  If they were thawed, 25 to 30 minutes will work.  These HAVE to go into the mixing bowl HOT!

I put three breast in at a time.  In hindsight, I probably could have done more at once.

I turned the mixer on to 3 and let the mixer work its magic.

Here is its magic.  Look at that beautiful shredded chicken!  I shredded an entire family package of boneless breasts.  I put 1/3 of it in the enchilada's we had that night.  I used a bit of the rest to make enough chicken salad for all of us to use for lunch for 2 days.  The rest went into a freezer storage bag to be used when I want to make a quick batch of chicken noodle soup.

Since recently returning to work, I have found my biggest challenge to be getting a healthy dinner on the table.  When I get home from work, I can either walk my dog or start making dinner before I have to get at least 1 kid to a practice field.  My dog (and I!) deserve that walk.  This weekend, I am going to do another batch of shredded chicken and then plan my weekly menu around it and the use of my crock pot.

Now that I have shared this tip with you, feel free to spread the love and share with me any ideas you have on how to incorporate shredded chicken into a recipe I may not have thought of making.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Required Reading

Gone Girl.  So good.

That. Is. All.

No, seriously, I highly recommend this book.  It has been the first time in a long time that a book has made me want to stay up past my bedtime.

Now, I have to seek out others who have read it so I can discuss it with them.  And I have one friend in particular that I am going to push to read it because I am interested in her take on the dynamics presented as a major piece of the story.

In addition to the plot being interesting and well planned, the writing itself is excellent.  No one can accuse Gillian Flynn of phoning this one in.  Her spot on the New York Times Bestsellers is well earned.

I am leery of starting my next book, as I am not sure it can match up.  THAT is the bad part of reading something that is very well crafted.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New Birchbox Arrived

Guess what I found in my mailbox this week?  That's right - this month's Birchbox!

For those of you that missed the last post about Birchbox, it is a company that started as a college course project.  Two women obtain full sized sample products from various health and beauty companies and for a nominal fee ($10 a month) send out a box of samples to their customers.  If at any time during that month you fall in love with a product, you can order it at a significant discount.  You can accumulate points for orders, reviews and referrals and these points can be used to purchase other products.

Now, onto this month's Birchbox.

I'll admit, my excitement dwindled a bit when I opened it up.  This month was definitely NOT last month.  But, I think that is to be expected.

This was the highlight of the month for me.  I have worn Eternity since high school.  I switched once to Lauren and while I loved it, it makes me sneeze non stop.  So I went right back to Eternity.  However, I have been using this since it came.  And while it seems very strong at first, it mellows rather quickly and my family has commented "what smells so good" when I walk by.  Since I am not carrying a plate of chocolate chip cookies around, I am guessing it is me that smells so good!

I haven't tried this cleanser yet.  They included two small plastic pouches of it.  I'm not sure that is enough to determine if I like it.  My skin changes so much during a month that I feel I need to use something for at least a full cycle to know if it manages to earn a spot on my counter top.

I am a firm believer in the roll scent plays in our lives.  So this piqued my interest.  My kids were moaning and groaning about doing homework the day the package arrived.  I put some of this on their wrists and had them smell it.  I don't know if it really worked or it was psychosomatic, but they both seemed to perk up and get their work done.

Apparently, these are all the rage.  I have seen college aged bloggers comment about loving them, and one even posted on making your own cheaper versions.  See Katie make these here.  My daughter says a few kids have them at school, but are wearing them as bracelets.  I offered this to her and then found it on my fireplace mantle an hour later.  So not a big hit.  And they are expensive, so I recommend checking out Katie's blog, Let's Be Preppy to see how to make these on the cheap.

Isn't it ironic that in the photo of the full sized nail polish they included, you get a full view of my mini sized old lady hands?  I'm not a big fan of black, gray or dark nail polish.  I actually rarely paint my nails.  I love how my hands look when my nails are painted.  But I hate how they look when it starts to chip.  And somehow, finding time to remove and reapply nail polish has not been a priority around here.  By the time I can paint my nails, it is almost time for bed.

Included in the first picture, but not earning a photo of its own is the decorated zip lock bag they included.  Nice, but until a money tree pops up in the back yard, I am not paying for decorated bags.  Actually, even if a money tree popped up, I would and could find a thousand other uses for it than decorated zip lock bags.  So, no.

Have you joined Birchbox yet?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Gone Girl

Should have drafted some extra posts a few days ago to have ready to upload.  Because, this girl is gone - reading that is!

I have been on the waiting list at my library for weeks and finally, last night I got the call that Gone Girl was waiting for me on the hold shelf.  I know I could have bought it sooner, but I am a huge patron of the library and find that books aren't something I am willing to spend money on.  I have a few copies of some tried and true favorites, and a number of books I have bought used.  But my primary source is the library.  An added bonus is that I have become adept at reserving books before they are even released, and am often one of the first in que.  I will visit Amazon's best seller lists and find items by favorite authors or in a genre I favor and then open up the library's page and start requesting items.  Saves me a lot of money - which I use to buy my kids' books.

I have heard many a good thing about this book.  Just this weekend I eavesdropped on a conversation between two moms at my daughter's soccer game.  They both belonged to the same book club and one mom had finished the book and the other had just started.  Regardless of where they were in the book, they both seemed to like it.

I usually try to stay away from books and movies that others are raving about.  I'm usually certain that they will never live up to the hype.  I didn't enjoy The Hangover as much as I may have if I hadn't been expecting MORE.  I was excited to read Eat, Pray, Love and then hated it.  I wanted to see what all the fuss was in regards to Fifty Shades of Gray/Grey? (who cares really!) and found myself suppressing giggles through 90% of it.  I don't mean blushing "oh my" giggles.  I mean snorting giggles as I imagined the author with her bags of cash for writing like a 14 year old girl, both in style and skill.  

So, if I am a gone girl for a few days, it is due to Gone Girl.  I will be sure to update you and let you know if it is worth your time.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How Do You Measure a Memory?

The kids are growing so fast.  No more little socks or shirts in the hamper.  Instead, everything is sized 10, 12 or 14 and the socks can all be worn by me in a pinch.  Where did the time go?

One of my favorite favorites!

I think I love this one because of my daughter's face.  She's a bit of a ball buster, and here, it shows.

Christmas Day 2005.

Failed attempt to capture the ever elusive Christmas Card photo of 2006.

I just remember it being a very, very hot morning when I took this.

3 kids, 2 chairs.  That counts as typical around here.

Thanksgiving 2008.  Freezing.  Maine is AWESOME sometimes.

A beautiful fall day.


I've made a valiant effort to take, edit and save a bunch of pictures of the kids.  Both my husband and I have very few pictures of ourselves and our brothers while we were growing up.  There are many times I wish we had more and feel like this is a gift of sorts that I can give to my kids.  

I have also been very good about keeping my kids growth charts up to date.  We measure every birthday and every half birthday.  And every once in a while, we randomly stand against the wall and take a measurement.

But, my kids are outgrowing their charts.  Not literally, but figuratively.  The growth charts were gifts when they were first born and are very juvenile.  Primary colors and spots to slide 3 x 5 photos into, the  charts are no longer appropriate for my kids.

I saw online, through a Groupon deal, a growth chart designed to look like a large wooden ruler.  But even with the online deal, it would cost me almost $60 once I factored in shipping.   I may love keeping memories, but this gal is CHEAP!  And I thought the price was way too steep.  So I did what any smart 40 year old gal would do.  I called my Daddy.

My father is a jack of all trades.  He builds anything and everything.  I need to dedicate an entire post to all the things he has made for me.  So I knew he would know right away what a 6 foot board would cost me at Lowe's or Home Depot.  He told me it would be around $15.  And sure enough, he was correct - only off by 45 cents!

I bought a 6 foot board.  At this moment, I am trying to remember what kind of wood it is - and am just completely blank.  My dad would remember, but he and my mom are onboard a cruise ship right now and in international waters.  So cell phones are off to avoid huge charges (I mentioned I was cheap, right?  See where I get it?)  However, I know it wasn't pine, and it wasn't oak or maple.  I picked the wood to avoid too many knots.  If you decided to do this project, any type of wood would work.  It only matters what you want to spend.  Pine = super inexpensive i.e. around $11.  Maple/oak = expensive i.e. around $25.

This was the unstained board.  I sealed it with Minwax's clear wood sealer.

I stained the board on both sides and edges with a walnut stain.  I started with a lighter stain, but wanted a darker, more antiqued look.

After allowing the board to dry over night, I used a measuring tape to mark off all of the inches along the side of the board.  If you do this project, keep in mind that when you hang it, it will be a certain distance off the ground.  That means the bottom of your board won't be zero, it will need to be the measurement OFF THE GROUND.  In other words, because I only very low ceilings, and the board is 6 feet tall, the bottom of the board will be only 6 inches off the ground.  So the very bottom of my board is 6 inches.  One inch in, the first mark I make on the board will be 7 inches.  My 1 foot mark will only be 6 inches up from the bottom.  Does that make sense to everyone?  I would hate for you to go through all the work and then find you didn't make your marks correctly.

I used my father's t-square to draw a 2 inch line to represent each inch on the ruler.

A closer look.

I made the line longer for each foot.  Sharpie markers work great, but I did the first lines in pencil and then traced over them - using the straight edge to do so.  If I had messed up, I would have had to either start over on the other side, or sanded out the sharpie.  

I found a font I like on the computer and printed out 1-6.  I taped it on the board to help keep track of which lines were to be drawn as 2 inches and which I wanted to be 2 1/2 inches and then the foot marks which were even longer.

After drawing all the lines, I cut out the numbers (this was the most tedious part of the project).  Then I traced the numbers and went back and used a sharpie to color them in.

Here is the finished project.  

My father, being a genius, hung a hook on the back for me and made sure it was right at the 5'10" point.  Because it wouldn't matter how well I did the board if I don't hand it up accurately.  So, when I finish transferring all of my kids previous measurements onto this, and hang it in our home office, I know I have to place the nail at exactly 5'10" from the ground.  

I'm very pleased how well it came out.  Now, not only do I have a great tool to help keep track of my kids growth, I also created another great memory with my father.  I had so much fun making this simple project with him and the chance to learn from him once again.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Phew!  Another week half way done.  The days are speeding by so quickly.  Soon, I will be posting pictures of myself in woolen mittens and big LL Bean winter boots on Wednesdays.

For now though, its still capri's, short sleeves and dresses with bare legs.

But first, today's jewelry.  I've been taught by a very good friend that a girl really has to have SOME priorities!

Pearls are a great way to dress up a denim shirt.  

My silver charm bracelet - which I WON in an online contest!

This was the whole outfit.  
Land's End light pink, fit 2 capri pants.
Ann Taylor denim shirt.
Guess sandals.  (Found at Marshall's for $10!)

Yes folks, that is right - $10!  
Ignore my toe.  It got hurt.  I crazy glued my toenail back on and all seems well now.
I mentioned I'm a redneck on the inside right? Hence the crazy glue.

Bonus this week!  Extra pictures from Monday and Tuesday!
Target t-shirt.  On sale right now for $7!
Gap Outlet grayish/brown capri's.
Land's End driving moc's in dusty rose.

It was cold most of the day, so I threw on a sweatshirt.  
But I jazzed it up with this pin from H&M.

Eeek!  That carpet is going soon and I can't wait.  Looks even worse in photos.
But, this is the only full length mirror in the house and I change the second I get home so I can
walk the dog before the kids get off the bus.

This dress was a super bargain at the Gap Outlet. 
There was racks of them, marked down to $12 a piece.
And guess what I had in my coupon folder?
That's right, a $10 Gap coupon.

I didn't wear any jewelry except for my watch and a small strand of stones.  The picture didn't come out well, so I didn't include it.  So, I went with leopard print ballet flats.  They are from Target.  If you want to see some really good outfits that go with these shoes, check out The Pleated Poppy, a blog I link to every Wednesday for What I Wore Wednesday.  I actually found that blog when I tracked back an outfit on Pinterest that I loved.  Lo and behold, it was Lindsey, the author of the Pleated Poppy in an outfit she posted on a What I Wore Wednesday post.  

I didn't realize how often I wear running shoes or my Converse All Stars until I went back to work.  Today, a package arrived from Land's End with a pair of navy driving mocs.  I imagine that next week's post will have at least one (or two!) photos of me wearing them.  Or perhaps the new Tretorns I treated myself to.  

Check back next week to find out!