Monthly Archives: December 2011

Run Into the New Year

Steve and I, along with my friend Cara all ran in the Run Into the New Year 10k today. What better way to usher out 2011 that with a race? Believe it or not, I have never actually raced a 10k on the roads before, and I was a little nervous about how much it was going to hurt. I ended up having a great run, and finished in an official time of 41:24, or 6:39 average. I felt like I could have pushed it a little harder at the end, but overall I’m happy. I took 8th overall female and 2nd in my age group. Cara won her age group! (She is still a youngster for another month or so).

Steve did great as well, despite not putting in too many running miles over the last few weeks.

This race closed out a great year of swimming, biking, and running for me. I just checked my totals for the year, and because I am a numbers dork, here they are:

In 2011:

1663 miles run

2035 miles biked

96 miles swam

I can’t wait to keep training and racing in 2012. I have some big plans up my sleeve, so stay tuned!

I hope you have a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve, wherever your plans may take you! It will be a small miracle if I can stay awake until midnight, but I will try my best.

Here’s to 2012!!



Filed under Holidays, Races, The bike, The run, The swim

Happy Christmas!

Our Christmas got off to a great start on Christmas Eve morning, when Steve and I attended the first annual Frigid Five Fun Run. Donations were to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and a $20 scored me a cozy new running hat. I ended up “winning” first female, and got a sweet homemade jingle bell medal.

The rest of the day was spent celebrating with family, and today will be more of the same as we head over to my mom’s house. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. And please Packers, please, let’s win tonight!

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Filed under Holidays, The run

Ode to Costco

Two months ago a Costco opened in my area, and it was basically the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Somehow I have already spent hundreds of dollars there and I am not even a member. Every week I beg my mom to meet me at Costco so I can mooch off of her membership card and meet my weekly quota of cruciferous vegetables and peanut butter pretzels.

Yesterday when I asked her to meet me after work, she elected to take a pass and just give me the card instead. Something about not needing to restock on broccoli three times per week. So I was given the golden ticket.

Yes that’s right, executive member. I went after work to stock up, and I thought I’d show you some of my staples that I cannot live without.

Let’s start with the 16 serving bag of broccoli. That thing seriously lasts me less than a week. People wonder how I do it. I think only HRG can understand. The tub of organic spinach is another must, it is seriously half the price of the grocery store for that mammoth tub. I always get blackberries or raspberries, and the two loaves of multi-grain bread I usually split with my mom. The giant tub of hummus along with the mango peach salsa is my favorite salad topping. New this week (and I can hardly contain my excitement)….natural peanut butter! Previously they only had the regular Skippy trans-fat disaster pb, which was a real bummer. My life is now complete. That cereal in the background was an impulse buy for $2.97.

But lets take a moment for my absolute favorite Costco product, the peanut butter pretzels. I am not kidding when I tell you there is something in these pretzels and I think it is called crack. I  have already gotten several people hooked on them.

This is totally normal behavior, right?

Where do you do most of your grocery shopping? Regular grocery store? Whole Foods type store? Discount store? Costco? Tell me.


Filed under Food

Cake Mix Cookies

This morning I made the easiest cookies ever to bring to a Packer Party today (GO PACK!!)

Take one box of cake mix (I used Devil’s Food)

Mix in two eggs and 1/3 cup oil

Add mix in’s (I threw in a handful each of walnuts, craisins, white chocolate & dark chocolate chips)

Side note: I got this bag of the best chocolate chips on the planet at Costco for $9.99. The banana is there for size comparison.

Three and a half pounds of heaven in a bag right there.

Ok, back to the cookies. Mix everything together (I had to use my hands).

Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a rack.

Go for a twelve mile run while the cookies are cooling, fantasizing the whole time about devouring several upon your return. (Optional)

Try not to eat too many so you have some left to bring to your party (also optional).

I sampled one just to see if it was good. It was. I sampled one more just to be sure. I am sure. Go make them.

Our first Christmas tree in the new house is all decorated. It’s getting mighty festive around here. If only all of the presents were already wrapped and under the tree, I would be all set.

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Filed under Baking, House, The run

Kitchen talk

It snowed last night. I was not pleased.

I made my way to downtown Milwaukee this morning to coach my Team in Training athletes. Though I certainly could have done without the white stuff, it is always kind of fun to run in the first dusting of powder. I ran four very slow miles with the team and then tacked on four solo miles afterwards.

So, let’s talk about our kitchen for a moment, shall we? Let me refresh your memory as to what it looked like when we bought the house.

Dear me, it seems like this was so long ago. As I mentioned before, we were extremely fortunate that my uncle Dennis offered to help us with the major undertaking that was demolishing half of the wall.

Phase one – the wall was opened up and the pipe was discovered. That pipe needed to be re-routed to the other side of the sink.

Phase two – the wall was knocked down. This is looking from the dining room back into the kitchen. We had a gaping hole in the ceiling for quite some time.

Phase three – the frame of the wall was knocked down. This is when it really started to look awesome and feel like an open concept house rather than a series of totally boxed in rooms.

You could finally see from the living room all the way into the dining room. Next, a beam was installed to support the house where the walls were removed.

Can lights were installed and cabinets were disassembled, puttied, primed, and painted (thank you Mom, Sue, Grandma Joan and Beth!).

I slacked on photo-documenting the rest, which included dry-walling, plastering, flooring (side note: I am madly in love with our maple laminate floors. They look awesome and so far have proven themselves to be plenty durable in the face of such a klutz as myself), and painting. Oh, and moving our appliances in. And with that, here is the big reveal of the kitchen as it stands today.

Slightly different, no? Here’s a side-by-side:

A few things still need to be done in here. We need to get a countertop and breakfast bar. The cabinet piece on the right will be painted to match the rest of the cabinets. The baseboard moldings are also not installed yet, and eventually all of the woodwork will be painted white. Here are some before and after’s of the other kitchen angles.

My mom and Joe got us a new stainless steel range hood for Christmas, installation included. I love the wall color we chose, and the white cabinets with the stainless appliances. So clean looking, don’t you think?

And the view from the kitchen into the dining room, complete with our Christmas tree in the background, which is indeed decorated now.

I cannot wait until we get a new countertop and the room is complete. If you’ve made it through this monster post, congratulations! You deserve a cookie, so go eat one. Smile


Filed under House, The run

Settling in


{emerges from piles of moving boxes, paint rollers, flooring, miscellaneous tools, and general chaos}

Good news! I am in fact alive and Steve and I are all moved in to the new house. We are slowly getting settled, and it feels good to be done with the major deconstruction phase and on to the organizing stage. There is still lots of work to be done, but the really messy stuff is over. Thank goodness. I am excited to start showing you what we all did, complete with before, during and after pics.

Through all of the chaos, running has been my constant, as usual. I have been consistently logging 35-45 miles per week. I have also been figuring out new running routes and exploring the neighborhoods. Nothing will ever be able to replace running at the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee every day, but we do live close to a nice rec trail now that will be good for long runs. We are also much closer to my favorite trail running spot, which I am really excited about. I ran there a few weeks ago with my friend Cara and ended up biting it big time in the mud.


I was pretty much caked from head to toe.

But it was still a blast!

And since it is the holiday season, I will leave you with the only thing I have baked so far: Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon M&M’s.

I followed this recipe exactly for the cookies, then pressed the Cinnamon M&M’s in before baking. They were deliciously chocolaty and spicy!

Question: What is your favorite holiday cookie? Bonus points if you link to the recipe!

There are so many good ones, but I think my favorite of all time have to be the Chocolate Wheeties cookies that my mom makes. Maybe I can get her to share the recipe she uses. Hint hint mom!


Filed under Baking, House, The run