Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter Break Recap

After a week in Western NY, I'm back in NJ!  And with a nasty chest cold.  Gross.  I work in a school with nine hundred elementary students, and managed to not get sick from them this entire year!  My only colds have been when I've come in contact with my parents (October- when they visited us) and now (when we went up and visited them).  Anyway...

After working til 2pm on the 23rd, I finished packing, we grabbed lunch and hit the road by 3:30 for our 6.5 hour drive.

24th:  We slept in and I don't really remember doing much that day.  We did send Molly Waffles and my parents' 2 dogs in to wake up my sister late in the morning.  They got comfy.

 (My sister doesn't read this, but she'd kill me if I posted a picture of her as she's waking up).

Then I ran (25F + windy, packed snow/ice on the roads), then we met a friend for coffee in the afternoon, and that night we had dinner with my parents and sister.  I didn't photograph the meal, but it was a spiral ham, rice, and a spinach salad.  And beer.

Molly likes to get up close and personal with empty beer bottles.  She also likes smelling beer on your breath.

Christmas morning we had breakfast at my parents and opened gifts with them.

Then we went to my brother-in-law's house (25 min away) where we met up with my husband's parents, his 2 brothers and their girlfriend and fiancee.  Took his brother's dog and our dog for a nearly 1-hour walk in the snow.


Later that night we stopped by a friend's house.  We were able to see several friends there, we had a drink and played some games (I must say, I'm pretty good at Taboo...).

As Molly came with us for Christmas festivities, we brought her with us to our friend's (with permission).  She was beat from her busy day of lazing around, a walk, and being pet by many different people.  She came along with us to our third stop without protesting and gladly napped in a new location, allowing a new batch of people to fawn over her. 

The day after Christmas, my aunts, uncles, and cousins came over to my parents' house and my sister, the chef, prepared the entire menu!

Here are some in-progress shots of her making crab and cream cream cheese wontons:

Dinner included Prime Rib (bummed I didn't realize this one was blurry!)

Chicken legs in barbecue sauce, roasted potatoes:

The previously mentioned crab wontons with a home made sweet and sour sauce in front, and mixed veggies (my mom made the deviled eggs around back).

The 27th: I went for a short run (19F + 15mph winds + light snow!), we met a couple friends for lunch, then went back to spend time with my in-laws.  We saw Tron in 3D (my choice would have been The Fighter or True Grit) then played with the Wii Fit that one of them got for Christmas.  Later we taught the brothers and significant others how to play Settlers of Catan (which my husband had received for Christmas).

Molly again was a good sport.  Of course, she never refuses some good snuggling or curling up on someone's lap, unaware of how large she is:

The 28th: Due to staying up a little late the night before, we slept in later than I would have liked before returning to my parents' house.  We went for a snowy hike at a nearby park with my parents, then swung by Starbucks to warm up afterward.  We had a couple hours of down time before my husband's parents came to my parents' house and the 6 of us went out to dinner at the restaurant where my sister is the chef.

29th:  Met in-laws for breakfast at a favorite restaurant downtown (but seriously this rich food thing was getting old by this point.  If I had not had half a dozen fabulous meals in the past 4 days I would have been much more excited about going out for breakfast).  After breakfast, we went back to my parents' and napped.  Most of our out-of-town friends had left town already, and both my parents had to go to work.  Husband enjoyed getting a $12 haircut from a barber (it's at least twice that here in NJ).  He returned with Dunkin Donuts gingerbread lattes!

He then waxed our skis and we went skiing that evening.  The evening pass is way cheaper than daytime skiing and that allowed us to see my husband's parents one more time before they left town.  Not surprisingly, pictures don't come out well at 5pm and later, especially while moving.  But the conditions were great and we had a lot of fun.

30th: Had breakfast, packed car, drove back to NJ.

Sadly my cough/cold was in full force.  Despite sleeping for 8.5 hours the night before, I managed to nap for 3 hours in the car.  After unpacking the car, I had some soup for dinner then fought to stay awake on the couch.  It turns out I had a 101.5 fever!  I put myself to bed at 9pm and slept straight through til 9am. Luckily(?) my fever was gone this morning. Hopefully I can kick this thing quickly and enjoy what's left of my break!

Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Heading North

The verdict from last night's On Demand videos?

Today I'm feeling the effect of Bootylicious Buns 2 the most.  Arms/shoulders a little less, and Abs the least.  I definitely could have done many more crunches in addition to the workout before feeling it.

Wednesday was another long nonstop kind of day at work.  I was all psyched to run once I got home, but while driving home I felt like someone hit me with a tired stick.  I felt like I had to work really really hard to keep my eyes open!  No idea what happened, but I relaxed on the couch a little bit, and ran later.

I had a good 3 mile run though.  I enjoyed checking out the Christmas lights in the neighborhoods behind us and smelling the smell of a fire in the fireplace or a wood-burning stove.  I tried really hard to keep the pace easy and to keep my heart rate down and I think I did a pretty good job, if I say so myself.  No walking needed to keep my HR lower, but I did have to stop a couple times for traffic (only for a few seconds) to cross the road.

Check it out! Avg HR of 158, max 171.  Or, on average 80% of my max HR.  Or based on "zones" an average of zone 3.2. I'm pretty happy with this since I went up and down hills (I would have posted the elevation map too, but it was too busy looking).

I may not be posting so much over the next week as we head further north for Christmas.  It is even colder up there than it is here.  I can say I have adapted to 25-35 degree running finally.  For example, during tonight's run it was 35, but 24 with windchill. Balmy.

NJ forecast:

Further North forecast:

Western NY, A.K.A. ...the North Pole.
Our rule of thumb is that it's typically 10 degrees colder up there than it is here.

Brrr... that paired with the many inches of snow already on the ground.  I am not going to be able to get away with wearing jeans and ballet flats sans socks, like I might here. I need to pull out the boots.  Speaking of that... I need to finish packing still.

We are bringing our skis with us hoping to make it out at least once!  There's a decent mountain nearby (well, small compared to many in the NE, but bigger than anything the Poconos offer).  It's about 45 minutes from where we'll be staying and it's the mountain I learned to ski on.

I'm also hoping I'll be able to get out and run a couple times...To equip me for colder runs, I will be bringing:

Hopefully I stay warm enough and don't turn into an icicle.
    In case I don't post again before this weekend... Merry Christmas!

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    BareMinerals & an On Demand workout

    I like bareMinerals matte foundation and I ran out of the one I purchased nearly a year ago (yes, while it looks expensive it lasts that long! for me, anyway).  I re-ordered some from and with my order came a "10 day sample" of their regular foundation, as well as a travel brush.

    This is what came:

    I like the tiny container the sample foundation came in.  I think I may be able to refill it once it's empty though, and that would be great for travel! You know, save me 3/4 the space of the regular container.  Yeah, it sounded like a good idea at first, then I realized it doesn't actually save that much space.  It's  not like bringing the tiny foundation would allow me to pack an extra pair of shoes :)  BUT, it could be handy for throwing in a tiny bag/clutch when going out. 

    And I didn't expect the travel brush to be so tiny! Not sure how well it will work.  It's kinda cute though.  I just wanted to share.

    Today was a crazy, non-stop day at work.  I think I was at my desk for all of 10 minutes, and my back-to-back-nonstop-meetings, etc. resulted in my lunch being a 3pm bagel leftover from a staff breakfast this morning.  Then I ran errands after work and didn't get home until 7.  

    So I didn't really feel like heading back outside once I did get home.  It was probably good to take a day off from higher intensity workouts anyway since yesterday was spinning and the day before was a 6.15 mile run.

    Today's workout was courtesy of exercise TV OnDemand...
    1. Rock Hard Abs? (~10  minutes)
    2. Arms with Attitude (~13 minutes)
    3. Bootylicious Buns 2 (~11 minutes)
    4. a 1-minute plank

    I realized during one of the ab moves that where my left leg connects to my hip makes a weird noise while sitting on the floor, sort of reclined, and attempting to raise my leg.  That can't be good... it's not painful, but maybe I need to stretch it or something.  Honestly, I expected more crunches from the Abs session, but maybe I will take that back come tomorrow morning.

    Arms with Attitude - I have done before and mentioned it here and here.  I used my 3lb weights as I have no upper body strength.

    And it was my first time with Bootylicious Buns.  Lots of squats and some kicks and some jumps that startled the pup who was, of course, napping - 2 feet away from this commotion, but not bothered enough to move.

    Tomorrow, I will run.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Jambalaya, Spinning, and Sleepy Dog Pictures

    Here's the jambalaya that I mentioned my husband was going to make last night.  It's loosely based on a recipe from the slow cooker cook book, "Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes" from Better Homes and Gardens.

    It was dinner last night, and made for great lunch leftovers at work today.  There has to be at least 2 more meals for each of us left in the fridge.  Hubby made this all by himself, so I can't speak to how exactly he made it - I can just point to where the recipe is.  It did have a bit of a kick to it.  Good thing I had my big full water bottle with me at work.  By the way, does spicy food make anyone else's nose run, or is it just me?

    I came home from work with just enough time to change and head back out the door for Spin class.  I came home to find our dog snuggled up on the love seat.

    Her eyes look creepy here, but I'm posting it anyway.  She thinks she is much smaller than she is.  She does a great job of looking comfortable though!

    Spinning was good; it was supposed to be an hour...some how ended up being only 45 minutes?  Still better than nothing... and my last Spin class until January. 

    When I returned from spinning, she was snuggled up on her dog bed, where my husband had covered her with a blanket.  Now she'll never want to get up!

    And lastly, I will leave you with a picture of Molly Waffles yawning.
    I like taking pictures of her when she yawns:

    Sunday, December 19, 2010


    For breakfast this morning I made oatmeal (on the stove top, not the instant kind!) with flaxseed, craisins, and slivered almonds.

    I then wasted a bunch of time on the internet and watching some Sunday morning news shows.
    Then I finally got myself out the door around noon for a run.

    It was about 35 out and not too windy.  I went with my Lululemon Spirit tights (unlined, luxtreme), another short sleeve C9 tech shirt from Target and my Run: Energy pullover.  Also my brisk earwarmer and my Smart Wool glove liners that I love. (100% merino wool, very soft, not at all scratchy - and breathable!)

    I didn't have a distance in mind, I just ran, and planned my route as I went.  And while doing a different route than Thursday, I somehow managed to do exactly 6.15 miles again.  Weird!  I felt well dressed for the temperatures.  My hands even started to get a little warm mid-way, and I eventually took my gloves off around mile 4.5.

    Also weird is that while running about 9-11 miles a week for the past month, I have now just run 14.39 miles in the last 4 days!  I felt like I could have kept on going after both of my 6.15 mile runs. No tightness or soreness after either of these runs.  Maybe the addition of some spinning and other group classes has helped?  Maybe I'm just finally adapting to colder weather, and that's not keeping me from getting out the door?  I don't know.  Whatever the reason, I'm not complaining!

    My lunch/post run snack was some PB and banana on a slice of bread, the rest of the banana that didn't fit on my sandwich, a clementine, and some chocolate covered pretzels. Plus a few pretzels that disappeared before I took this picture...

    Here's what tonight's dinner will be!  Courtesy of my husband.   
    (I need a good name for him on here besides "my husband" or "hubby")


    Last night we picked up everything we needed for this.  We're making ours (or, he's making this...) with chicken, a chicken andouille sausage, and shrimp. It takes 5 hours in the crock pot, so it looks like we'll be eating late at 8 tonight.  I'm sure it will be worth the wait though!

    I'm so not ready for the weekend to end.  At least it's a short work week (3.5 days).  But then we'll be heading north for Christmas for about a week, and that will involve all kinds of running around...So I'm glad I had a nice low key weekend before the Christmas madness begins!

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Lazy Saturday

    Remember last night I said what my workout plan was for the weekend?

    Well I didn't do that.

    Shortly after posting, my husband got home from work and said he wanted to go for a jog, so I went with him.  It was a hair over 2 miles at an easy pace.

    After our yog, I worked on the Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle.  That is one tough puzzle.  Every week.  And I was very pleased to make it this far, without any outside assistance (asked the mister about a couple of them-- but we did not cheat and google anything). I think this is a record.

    We split this bottle of Troegs Mad Elf (delicious!) and I wrapped some of my Christmas gifts.

    Today was a lazy morning. I stayed in my pajamas til lunch time. Or after, actually.  I had coffee, eggs, wheat toast, and a banana for breakfast. Me and the Mr. played a little Wii Mario Brothers.  Then we took the dog on a ~35 minute walk.  Which apparently wore her out, because this is what she did for the rest of the day. 

    She is donning her super cool cabled neck warmer that I knitted for her.

    Actually this is not that unusual for her on any typical day.  

    This is why greyhounds are great apartment dogs.  Despite their racing background, they do not require a lot of running or exercise.  Molly likes to instead spend her retirement sleeping or snuggling with us, with about 2 minutes of eating squeezed in there somewhere.

    Lunch was leftover salad with grilled eggplant, artichokes, and tomatoes and a chunk of bread from dinner last night.  Not to mention the handful(s) of peanut butter pretzel nuggets I grabbed while walking through the kitchen a couple times.  They are my weakness. And a cup of tea.

    We had a productive evening of running errands: grocery shopping, housewarming gift for brother-in-law and fiancee, got a thing that's supposed to block the draft under our front door, a timer for our Christmas lights that actually works, checked out the Borders that is sadly closing (totally unorganized and chaotic), got a Christmas gift for other brother-in-law, got dog food (Molly Waffles is happy about that one).

    After coming home, I played a little Wii bowling and broke a new record (pretty awesome, I know).  Check out that game:

    Then I played Wii baseball and tennis with hubby. It was my first time playing baseball, I'm amused that there are only 3 innings.  I apparently can't throw a pitch above 65 mph, with the exception of one in the 70s.  I am improving at tennis, though I hope I do not develop Wii-Tennis-Elbow. I think I might swing a little harder than I need to...

    How is everyone doing with their Christmas/holiday shopping?

    Do you have a Wii? Are you as obsessed as I am becoming??
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