Friday, July 29, 2011

Why I Run...

I'm pretty proud of myself!  I got up out of bed and was out the door at 5:15 for a 2.5 mile run four of the five days this work-week!  Yay..Me!  On Monday, I was bounding to get out there!  I was even awake before the alarm went off!  Couldn't wait to get out and run (Believe me...this kind of attitude does not come around very often - so, please take note of it now.)    This morning, however, I almost had myself talked out of getting up but the battered and fried shrimp I had for supper last night were not letting me live it down.  So, I got up and hit the road....and, immediately my legs felt like they were running through the jell-o shots I made last night for the weekend:)  I persevered and even managed to throw in some speed training.  And, I was sooo happy that I did!

Most mornings, at some point during the run, I will ask myself "Why am I doing this?"  I am almost always rewarded with this at the end of my run and it is the answer to my question...
Beautiful, right? 

There are, of course, other reasons I run...

But I have also found ways of being good....
Baked Walleye with Wild Rice and mixed vegies...This is such an awesome recipe for baking moist, flavorful fish!  This recipe called for tilapia...I had fresh walleye on hand!  (pssst....the cinnamon really makes it!)

A couple of nights ago, I made Grilled Chicken Vegie Wraps!  Delish!  I started with this...

* cut up grilled chicken
* chopped up romaine lettuce
* thinly sliced green onions
* thin strips of red pepper
* reduced fat Philadelphia Garden Vegetable cream cheese
* flour tortillas

So easy... just spread some of the cream cheese down the center of a tortilla.  Layer up some red pepper, green onions, romaine lettuce and grilled chicken.
And, wrap it up just as tight as you possibly can and enjoy!

Make as many as you want!  I always make extra so I can bring to work for lunch!

And, a find at the grocery store this week! 
Okay, it came out blurry.  But it is a Fiber One 90 Calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie.  It is seriously soooo gooooood!  My newest favorite thing ever!

Camping this weekend!  Yes, you guessed it...with jell-o shots!...and some relaxing, eating good food and enjoying good friends and family as well! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Edge of Glory? Oh...really?

I like a little Lady Gaga as well as the next person and her latest hit, Edge of Glory, really does "have a good beat and it is easy to dance to."  But the Edge of Glory, really?  A couple of days ago the chorus lyrics really got me thinking....

"I'm on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment of truth
Out on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment with you"

Are those of us who love Jesus and choose to live our lives serving Him on the edge of glory?  And, what is the truth anyway?  I did a little research, you know, through God's Word and found this in 2 Corinthians 3:18:

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

When we stop thinking about what this world has to offer us and start thinking and really understanding what Christ has to offer us, we can be truly transformed into Christ's image.  How does this happen?  Through knowledge!  As it deepens, the Holy Spirit helps us to change.  The gospel shows us the truth about Christ (He died on the cross to pay for our sins so that we may live with Him in Glory forever!) and through learning about Christ's life, we can understand how wonderful God is and what He is really like!

Another Gaga lyric..."I'm on the edge of something final we call life tonight"   Ephesians 2:6 says "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with grace you have been saved."  That's what I call life and "life to the full!"  And that's what I call the Edge of Glory!

From earlier this week....
I decided I needed to up the work-outs a little since I've gained a couple pounds over vacation and since vacation.  Thursday, I tried the 100 Workout (please forgive the name of the's a great work-out!).  I read the routine over and thought "wow, that doesn't sound too bad!"  Ha!  What was I thinking?  I died....but I got through it all...the next day, however, my muscles were very mad at me:)

Yesterday morning, I tried another work-out.  First I ran a little over 3 miles and then I did the 30-20-10 Workout Circuit.  This one, I was a little more realistic about.  I did not make it all the way through this one mostly because my arms are soooo weak!  I need to build those muscles up a bit!

You may remember that I was making Guacamole & Cumin Chips for a 40th birthday party.  It was a hit and the party was so much fun!  Here's the birthday girl, Ann, (on the right) with her friend, Lindsey!

And with Kris and Kristie...

And, with Kris, Kristie, me and JoAnne!

There were a whole lot more people at the party but leave it to me to forget to keep taking pictures:(  Darnit!  Had so much was the great start to the weekend!

Happy Sunday night everyone!  Tomorrow we start a whole new week!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Welcome Home, Dillon!

A very special young man is coming home tomorrow!  His name is Dillon and he used to be a member of our church's youth fellowship where my husband and I are leaders.  He has served a tour of duty in Afghanistan for the past year and he will be arriving home on a bus tomorrow with many more men and women who have done this country proud! 

The war has stayed somewhat distant from me since I have not known all that closely anyone serving...until this last year.  I have kept updated on his well-being through his mom who has kept a flag and a light burning just for him until his return.  Tomorrow, she can take the flag down and extinguish the flame.  Wonderful day...

I was in Sioux City today for an appointment and saw the big tire man on the corner dressed up to honor our troops.....just loved it!
Welcome home, Dillon!  I am honored to call you friend!

Now about food....because it is so often about the food!  Earlier this week, I made a Greek salad.  It is the first time I have made it for myself and it. was. awesome!  I got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman blog and the only thing I changed was to use reduced fat feta cheese and Splenda instead of sugar.  Oh, I also used basil-infused olive oil.  I enjoyed it with a slice of cheddar jalepeno bread I bought at Hy-Vee! Isn't it pretty?

Tomorrow night, I am going to a 40th birthday party and I am bringing homemade guacamole dip and cumin pita chips!  I love that this....
could turn into this....
Here's the recipe!
Cumin Chips
6 Pitas
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbls. cumin
1 Tbls. salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Split each pita in half. Brush both sides with oil and sprinkle with cumin and salt. Cut each half into 4-6 wedges and spread in a single layer on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning pitas over and swapping position of pans half-way through, until pitas are crisp and golden.

2 ripe avocados
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 Tbls. minced seeded jalepeno
2 Tbls. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbls. lime juice (fresh from lime)
1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
salt and pepper
Mash the avocado with a fork until chunky. Mix in onion, cilantro, jalepeno, lime juice and tomato; season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto guacamole and chill for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vacation: Days 8 & 9...Coming Home..aaahh!

I realize that I have left things hanging a bit!  I've already been home from vacation for two days and haven't even brought closure to it all!  Our trip home went very well.  We left our Park City home at about 8:30, waving good-bye to my folks who were watching us drive away from our wonderful porch!  They caught a plane at 2:00 that afternoon and were home around 10:00 that evening!  We, however, made it as far as Kearney, Nebraska. Remember how I alluded to the fact that Cheyenne was a unique city?  Well, it's nothing compared to Kearney!

After checking into our hotel, we ate at Whiskey Creek Steakhouse.  My flat iron steak was wonderful!  Yummy!  We then decided we needed to make a Walmart run so we set out down the main highway in Kearney assuming we would run across one soon enough.  What we ran into was a traffic jam!  Four lanes of traffic - both directions - bumper to bumper traffic for at least a mile...probably more like two miles.  What was going on?  We had noooo idea!  Plus, a great majority of the vehicles were pick-ups and Jeeps with people sitting in the back, on top or wherever they could fit a body!  If you think that is strange, get this.  The street was lined with people sitting in lawn chairs or laying on blankets watching the traffic go by!  This was 10:00 at night!  No idea when it started and no idea how long it was going to go on! 

Erin was so much in disbelief that she had to try to take pictures.  It was dark and she was trying to be inconspicuous so here's what she got...
Okay...those are really bad shots and does not show at all the numbers of people along the streets!  Crazy!

We did eventually find a Walmart, came back through via the weird parade-thing and went immediately to our hotel room and dead-bolted the door.  Now, I'm sure the people of Kearney are wonderful people but that just kind of freaked us out.

One very cool thing about Kearney...they have a Caribou Coffee!
So, we left our room bright and early Sunday morning, got our Caribou fix and hit the road again!  By 2:00, we were home.  Aaahhh!  It felt so good!  Even with the mountain of laundry that awaited me...

We were so happy to hug our boys, Dennis and Howie:)

And, thrilled with the many happy memories of Utah and spending time with my family:)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vacation: Day 7...IKEA, Harry Potter and Cheesecake Factory

As you can tell from the title, yesterday was a very big day!  We left our room in the morning and headed to Salt Lake City, picked up my sister at her home and headed to IKEA!  So excited!  The nearest IKEA to our home in Early is Minneapolis - a four hour drive.  This will be only my second trip to the amazing Swedish wonderland!  It was Erin's first trip and she is now hooked as well!  We both bought lamps!  A table lamp for her dorm room and a floor lamp for my living room!  Can't wait to assemble (hee, hee) and enjoy it!

After IKEA, we caught a quick bite at Arby's (yuck, fast food).  But, we were in a hurry because we had to get to the movie event of the decade!  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2!  We bought our tickets weeks ago and have been waiting in anticipation every since!  The truth finally comes out about my favorite character - Severus Snape!  I always knew that deep down he was good - from the very first book.  When I read the final book, I was sooo happy!  (Not about his demise but about the truth)
Erin loves him too!
The movie was everything we hoped it would be!  And more!  Kerry went with us too and loved it!  A new Harry Potter fan!  I'm a little sad that the whole epic series is over....little Harry is all grown up....but happy that I can enjoy it for years to come on dvd!  I think I'll read all the books again!

And, how do you end a perfect day?  A trip to the Cheesecake Factory, of course!
The wait time to get a table was long....
But we made the best of it....
And, the wait was so worth it!  Chicken Enchiladas for Molly and I and......Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake....Oh big Wow!

One piece of Salt Lake City history that Kerry passed along....this is where the very first KFC was!

Bet you didn't know that!

Today we leave for home...sigh...I will probably not write will be a huge day of traveling.  All the way across Wyoming (ugh!) and part of Nebraska.  The plan is to end up in Kearney tonight.  Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vacation: Day 6....Moose and Ziplining!

This morning started off sunny and beautiful!  I put on my running shoes and headed out the door, down the mountain and back to the McLeod Creek Trail that Erin and I biked on earlier this week.  Of course, the run DOWN the mountain was wonderful!  And, the view along the trail was inspiring....
The run UP the mountain turned into a walk actually.  Just a little bit harder than the trip down:)  But I did get a surprise on the walk back to the resort....A Moose!  I really didn't think that I was seeing a moose running across the main highway heading into Park City until I talked to my sister later and she confirmed that I am not crazy....there really are frequent moose sightings around here!  Cool! I was about a block from the moose but there really is no mistaking the body and antlers!  Wish I could have gotten a will just have to believe me this time!

This afternoon, we all went to the Utah Olympic Park for the adventure of a lifetime!  We ziplined down the mountain!  Erin, Molly, Kerry, John, Dad and I all did it!  Yes, my 85-year-old dad did it!  Is that awesome or what?  It was anticipation all the way as we rode...s-l-o-w-l-y....up the mountain in the lifts...
Then, as they harnessed us in and had us wait behind a door - I literally felt like a horse in the gates at the race track.  They released the doors and I literally screamed for a quarter of the way down the mountain.  But after the initial scare, it was a great ride!
What did we do then?  We did it again!  Wahoo!

After we were ziplined out, we went back to the Olympic center and looked around awhile...
and watched some kids being taught to ski-jump into a pool!
Were we done for the day?  Noooo!  We walked up and down the historic main street in Park City and did a little shopping....and sitting by bear statues....
It looks like he wants to eat us...doesn't it?

I got some great souvenirs for my hubby and friends!  But I can't say what I got because I don't want to give away the secrets:)  After shopping, we ate at Wasatch Brewery.  Molly and I shared BBQ'd Pulled Pork Sliders with Cilantro Coleslaw.  Delish!  We also had the debate on whether you can sit the fence on your opinion of cilantro. I believe that you either have to love it or hate it.  But I also believe that you can learn to love it.

Here I am enjoying a taster glass of Polygamy Porter beer - one of the many beers brewed at Wasatch Brewery!  Polygamy Porter...Why stop with just one?  (I know....disgusting, right?  But, hilarious...we ARE in Utah!)

Yep...I'm not sure what Erin is doing back there either!

Anyway...what a great day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vacation: Day 5...Pampered!

Slept in until 8:00 this morning....whoa!  Felt great!  The order of the day?  To be pampered!  After dropping my dad off at a nearby Wendy's, we girls went to California Nails for manis and pedis!  Mom, Erin and Kerry all had both manis and pedis...
 Molly and I got manis only....
It was absolutely heavenly and the people there were so nice and made us feel like queens!  Aren't our nails pretty?
After our totally deserved pampering, we picked Dad up and headed to the Park City farmer's market.  While it wasn't nearly as fantastic as the DesMoines farmer's market, it was a great time!  I made two purchases! One was the most wonderful peanut brittle I have ever had!  It is called Jessie's Peanut Brittle and the vanilla in it is homemade.  That must be the secret:)
My second purchase was a gorgeous cashmere scarf!  It is sooo soft and I will definitely use it at work because I am always freezing there!   Maybe I won't have to use my space heater anymore....ssshh - don't tell the fire marshal!
Tonight, we hung out at the room, watched the Espy Awards and ate Papa Murphy's pizza.  Perfect!   The sky sure looked like a storm was brewing up but it just rained a little and then we got to enjoy this!
Ended the day with more pampering....a sit in the hot tub right before bed - under a full moon sky....aaahhh!

Can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vacation: Day 4...What a Work-Out!

This morning started out just as vacation mornings should.  I was up at 7:15, made some coffee, sat down with my computer and read my devotions online.  It was awhile before others were stirring - which is how I like it.  I do love my alone time in the morning!

The morning was soured with news that my niece and her husband had their baby and there were complications.  He was rushed to another hospital where they were better equipped to deal with it.  His pH level was much too low and because of that his internal organs and brain have been damaged.  We don't know to what extent yet. All we can do is wait and pray.  God has a purpose for everything and I know that Mark and Christy are equipped with the faith and strength to raise and love this little boy no matter what.

Later in the morning, Erin and I rented mountain bikes.  Thank you to the rental shop man who pointed us in the direction of a trail that was just our speed.

The McLeod Creek Trail followed -  what else? but the McLeod Creek. It was fairly level ground and wound through some pretty country-side. 
Along the way, there were also iron sculptures - cool!
A view of where we came from!  And, where we had to return....ugh!

Actually, the hardest part of the ride was the road back up the mountain to the resort!  Long and steep!  Yep, we walked the bikes up that road!

A sit in the hot tub helped our aching muscles!  The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing, watching tv, reading and snoozing.....ahhh!  vacation!

For dinner, we all went to Mimi's Cafe in Salt Lake City.  Enjoyed Garlic Shrimp and Chicken Fettucini!   Yum!  And, yes, Molly and I once again shared:)  For dessert, we snarfed down Mimi's Bread Pudding!  (Aaah - Angels Singing!  Heavenly taste!)
Back to the room and more relaxing...
Tomorrow is already Hump Day Wednesday!  The week is going so fast!