Monthly Archives: May 2013

Summer Break – It’s time for an adventure!


No school. Late mornings. Warm, sunny days. Splashing in the sprinkler. S’mores. Popsicles. Fireworks. Summer is always fun.

This summer, we’re doing it a little differently. We’re still going to do all those wonderful things that are quintessentially summer, but we’re not going to hang out in North Dakota to do them. I’ve given myself a week past the last school bell of the year to do laundry, pack, and prep the house, and then the kids and I are hitting the road, Jack. For the entire summer.

If everything goes according to plan, we will hit 18 states this summer. Whaaat?! I know. It sounds totally nuts. Some of those are drive-throughs. Some will just be a stop in an airport to change planes. Most of our time will be spent in Tennessee, Florida, Hawaii, and Texas. Great places to be, if you ask me.

I’m not at all sure how the blogging will go while I’m away. I don’t have a laptop. I’ll have my camera, but I’ll be relying on the generosity of others to do the occasional photo dump. It may become the summer of Instagram. We’ll see. I’m not worried about it. So much of the summer is planned out already that I am doing my best not to overthink and stress about the little things. I’ll see you when I see you.


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Running with Kids


School is out. Summer break is here. Now, how do I get an outdoor run in?

Just a few days ago, I had an epiphany. There is a middle school on the base, just a little way up the road from our house. The school has a track. The track is fenced. Mommy can run; kids can play outside. Sounds like a win-win to me. We tried it out for the first time yesterday morning.

I kept my expectations fairly low. I thought I’d probably get one, maybe two miles in if I was lucky. Little did I know the kids would want to run, too. I ran three miles before deciding to call it a day. Neely brought along a purse with some toys in it. She had been sitting in the grass playing, picking dandelions for a little while, and I wanted to leave on a high note. I didn’t want anyone becoming miserable and unhappy and never want to return to the track again.

Mileage Selfie

I’m proud of these guys, though. My boy (7) ran 2 miles, and my girl (4) ran/walked or was coerced/dragged by her brother 1.25 miles. As soon as we were in the car headed home, they asked if we could do it again. Score!

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Are you drinking enough water?


I saw this the other day and almost wet my pants laughing. It’s so true. I know I’m drinking enough water when I’m in the bathroom 15 times a day. But seriously, divide your body weight in half, and that’s how many ounces of water you should be consuming daily. My goal each day is about eight 8-ounce glasses of water. I usually try to err on the side of more, though. By the time I finish this morning’s run, I’ll already be at five glasses. Summer is near, though, and it’s super easy to get dehydrated. Drink more water! 🙂

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Last day of school…let summer begin!


Last Friday was Neely’s last day of school. To celebrate, they had a luau – complete with tie dyed t-shirts for all, beach balls, leis, and fruit kebab snacks.


Neely doesn’t like fruit at all. Can’t you tell? 😉 Also, I’m pretty sure her eyes are turning green. I had a different filter on the photo to begin with, and they looked brown. I changed it, because it was just too weird. No more blue-eyed girl, I suppose.


It’s this guy’s last day of 1st grade today. So handsome, even though he desperately needs a haircut and I can now see that he didn’t get all of his eye crusties when he washed his face. I can’t believe that at 2:45 this afternoon, I will be the proud owner of a 2nd grader. How did this happen? Where has the time gone? The only good thing is it means I have survived my first North Dakota winter and lived to tell the tale.


Aidan sure was a good sport this morning, letting me take his picture over and over in the driveway before school. I’m still trying to get the hang of my new Lensbaby, so it took a little longer than usual.


By the end, all I could get out of him was this fake grimace-smile. Oh, well.

Anyway, school’s out! It’s summer! Woo woo! We are celebrating with a trip to the ice cream shop this afternoon, and we’ll hopefully be sleeping in tomorrow!

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Run – Hill Workout for Treadmill


I’m running a race in Tennessee in a few weeks – the RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival 10-miler, to be specific. It’s in a town I’m not very familiar with, so I’ve been doing a little internet hunting to find people’s race recaps from previous years. What have I learned? It will be hot. Tennessee in June, duh. It will also be hilly.

Funny thing, there aren’t very many hills here in Minot, North Dakota. Actually, there are none to be had on the base, which is where I do all of my running. With the kids out of school for the summer, I’m going to be hard-pressed to get very many outdoor runs done at all. My only idea so far is to head over the the middle school track (it’s fenced) and hope that the kids will play happily while I run. Hope being the key word there. The only way I’m going to get any practice on hills is to simulate them on a treadmill.

I tried to make up my own hill workout for the treadmill on Monday. It went…okay. I kept my usual pace and upped the incline every few minutes until my legs couldn’t take it anymore. This morning, I showed up at the gym with a better plan in place.

I found an article on Runner’s World called Four Great Treadmill Workouts. I chose to try The Pyramid today.

Here’s what you do:

Set 1: steady pace 1 minute each @ 4, 5 and 6 percent incline
2-3 minutes recovery @ flat jog

Set 2: steady pace 1 minute each @ 5, 6 and 7 percent incline
2-3 minutes recovery @ flat jog

Set 3: steady pace 1 minute each @ 6, 7 and 8 percent incline
2-3 minutes recovery @ flat jog

Set 4: steady pace 1 minute each @ 7, 6 and 5 percent incline
2-3 minutes recovery @ flat jog

Set 5: steady pace 1 minute each @ 6, 5 and 4 percent incline
2-3 minutes recovery @ flat jog

By the third and fourth set, I was flat worn out. I think I maybe made it up to a 6% incline on Monday. It definitely wasn’t 8%. I had to drop my speed down pretty slow to survive it, but I did it! It took me about 30 minutes to complete all 5 sets. Don’t feel bad if you have to practically walk during those recovery minutes. By the end, I had to.

Once I get to Tennessee, I’ll find some real hills to practice on, but until then, the Pyramid will be my go-to.

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The Voice – Judith’s hair


Let me start out by saying, first and foremost, that I think Judith Hill is great. She is lovely. She’s a great singer. But as the The Voice‘s live shows continue I find myself asking over and over, “What is UP with Judith’s hair?” She’s not the only one who has a new hairstyle every time you see her. The stylists seem to have something new to try for most of the female artists each week. But poor Judith. When they leave her hair curly, it’s good. See?



But for some reason, somebody is really determined to straighten it out. When the do, the results are sometimes…strange.

This one isn’t terrible. It was just a little too Pebbles, in my opinion. Maybe she loved it. I hope so.


Last night’s hair? Super weird. Sorry, Judith. It’s not you. It’s the hair. Take a closer look.


Why is it all sticking straight out the side like that? I don’t get it. I clearly do not have the artistic vision her stylist does. Leave Judith’s hair alone! She has pretty hair. Just let it be!

Okay, that is all. I don’t have a lot to talk about today, clearly.

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A Running Funny


I stumbled upon this on someone’s Facebook page recently-ish. I thought it was pretty funny. 🙂

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The Best Hummus Ever

The best hummus ever. It’s a bold statement to make, I know. I discovered this recipe a few months ago and never looked back. Sayonara, store-bought hummus! This hummus is super smooth and fluffy. It almost has the consistency of frosting. Creamy, dreamy hummus. Okay, enough adjectives already!

What’s the trick? Peel your chickpeas. I always buy canned chickpeas, because I don’t have the patience to soak them myself. Once you drain the can of chickpeas, put the pointy end of a chickpea between your thumb and index finger, and give it a little squeeze. The chickpea pops right out of its skin. Turn on some tunes, and you’ll be done in no time. It usually takes me 10-15 minutes, but it is so worth it.


Naked Chickpeas

Ethereally Smooth Hummus (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and peeled

1/2 cup tahini paste

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped

3/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste

Approx. 1/4 cup water


In a food processor, blend chickpeas until they look like coarse crumbs.

Chickpea Crumbs

Chickpea Crumbs

Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt, and puree until well blended, scraping down the sides if necessary. With the food processor running, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the hummus is light and creamy.

That’s IT!


I always eat my hummus on carrots, but you could also serve it with pita wedges or chips. Smitten Kitchen recommends drizzling it with olive oil and sprinkling paprika over the top. I don’t do that, but I’m sure it’s delicious.

A few notes, if you don’t think the hummus tastes garlicky enough right out of the food processor, don’t panic. The garlic flavor will get stronger once it’s been in the fridge for a while.

If you’re trying to cut down on sodium, skip the salt. I forgot it once, and my hummus, while not as salty, still tasted great.

This is what the tahini paste that I use looks like. I know it’s sometimes tricky hunting for an ingredient you’ve never seen before. I searched for weeks before I finally found it. They keep it in the Mediterranean section of my grocery store.


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Mother’s Day

I know that I have sung my mother’s praises on the internet for Mother’s Day before. But she’s my mom, and I love her. So you get to listen to me again.

I’m feeling particularly nostalgic this year. Maybe it’s because I’m celebrating alone. (And by alone, I mean me and my two kids, of course..) Maybe it’s because my Daddy lost his mama this year. Maybe it’s because I have never lived 1,412 miles from my Mom on Mother’s Day before.. Maybe it’s all of the above.

Have I showed you a picture of my mom lately?


Here she is two years ago, hiding behind her coffee cup at the breakfast table on our family beach trip.  It’s funny, because this picture reminds of Grandmommy (my great-grandmother, my mom’s grandmother). Grandmommy always ran from the room and hid when a camera came out. I don’t know why you’re hiding, Mom. I think you’re lovely, even without makeup or your hair “done.” I never understood why you got up so early in the morning to get yourself ready for the day. I never thought you needed it.

Here she is again, last Christmas, loving on my nephew Levi. She sure is good at loving on some grandkids. And at picking their noses, but I digress…


Here’s another one. It’s kind of old, too. You can tell because Neely Bug is TINY. But look at that sweet Nana face. I love it. I love photos. Sometimes, they capture things you don’t necessarily notice in the moment.


You know who else I’m thankful for this Mother’s Day? My Mamaw. She’s the only grandmother I have left this year, which makes me sad and all the more grateful for her at the same time.. If it weren’t for Mamaw, I wouldn’t have my Mom.


She will not love that I shared this particular picture of her, but it’s from the same beach trip two summers ago. We made a low country boil, and Neely sat in Mamaw’s lap and ate all of her dinner that night. Look how happy my little scavenger is. Mamaw kept having to ask for more food…which kept getting stolen!

I am very fortunate to have had these beautiful, Christian women as my influences growing up.

And since I’m feeling sentimental for Mother’s Day, I think it’s also necessary to give a little credit to this guy – the handsome one, mashing the potatoes. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be a mother myself.


Love to all! Now, go give your mama a kiss. Or call her. Or give her a Skype kiss. You get the picture. Happy Mother’s Day!

Don’t name your kid “Phone!”

Happy Mother’s Day! Just a little bit early. You’re welcome. 😉

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