18 December, 2012

Christmas Stuff Survey

I saw this over at Janae's blog the other day and I thought I'd play along!  Feel free to post your answers in the comments or on your blog!

1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song? I love Casting Crown's Christmas CD.

2. Run on Christmas morning or take the day off? I don't remember if I ran last year on Christmas day, but probably not.  I'm not planning to run this year either...oops!

3. What do you usually eat on Christmas morning? Growing up I think we always had a big breakfast, but that is pretty typical if we were at Grandma's house.  This year Mike has requested omelets, and I'll make some toast and bacon too.

 4. Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition? I don't know if it counts as a tradition, but I love the time with family.  Trips to Kentucy and Canada for family parties.  Christmas Eve with my family--appetizer buffet for dinner, then the Christmas story, and then opening gifts.  Then Christmas day with Mike's family and of course, Christmas BINGO!

5. Real tree, fake tree or no tree? Fake--it's easier :)

6. Christmas pajamas… yay or nay? I love the idea, but it's not something we do.

7. Where do you spend the holidays? Your own house, your parents’ house, extended family, in-laws, friends? See #4--we'll be at my parents' on Christmas Eve.  Then our house Christmas morning and Mike's Grandma's Christmas night.  We'll do Mike's family later in the week.

8. Food that you always have during the holiday season? Favorite Christmas food/treat? Dutch treats--pepernoten and taai taai.

9. Open presents all at once or take turns? Stockings… yes or no?  We all take turns so we can see what everyone else is getting.  Mike and I do stockings for each other...and for Champ!

10. Favorite Christmas(ish) movie? Elf and Mary Christmas

09 October, 2012

Two Years

It's hard to believe it's been 2 years already, but in some ways it seems like so much longer.  I know that we were meant for each other...
You warm me up when I'm cold
You wipe away my tears when I'm sad
You're my protector when I'm scared
You bring me more happiness than I could have ever imagined
You're the provider for our families needs
You make me laugh (sometimes at inappropriate times)
You put my needs first
You're the taste tester for all my recipes
Most of all, you're my best friend and the love of my life!

08 October, 2012

Friend Makin' Mondays: Inside Your Home

Ah came way too quickly this week!  I felt like I was barely home this weekend...maybe because I wasn't.  Mike and I went downtown for ArtPrize on Friday after he got out of work.  Then Saturday I spent the day shopping in Michigan City with our cousins and aunts.  Saturday night we went to a late dinner at my parents because my Aunt and Uncle were visiting.  Then Sunday consisted of church, family lunch, a small amount of relaxation, and then youth group.  Busy busy busy!  Hopefully this coming weekend will be a little slower!

But, Mondays mean it's time for Friend Makin' Monday.  It's been a while since I linked up...I hope you'll play along too!

From Kenlie's blog: If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Inside Your Home

1. Do you live in an apartment/condo, townhouse or house? A house
2. What is your home’s coolest feature? I love the bay window in our dining room.
 3. Do you enjoy DIY projects? If so, what are you working on now? I do enjoy DIY projects.  However, I've been so busy that I haven't had much time to do much.  The last thing I did was paint some wine glasses for my friend who got married on Saturday.
 4. When using the dishwasher do you use powder detergent or liquid?  Neither...we use the powerballs, which might be powder, but they're hard.
 5. Do you have a TV in your bedroom?  No we don't.  We only have 1 TV in our house and that's in the living room.

6. Is your range gas or electric? Electric. I grew up using gas and the transition was difficult...we had a few burned dinners...
7. How often do you sweep/mop/vacuum?  We try to vacuum every Monday night.  If the dog hair gets overwhelming, we vacuum as needed.
 8. What is your favorite place to shop for home furniture and accents?  I haven't done much of that type of shopping since we moved in 2 years ago.  Then we hit up Art Van and Bed Bath & Beyond.
 9. Do you decorate for holidays?  I love decorating for Christmas and I put a few things out for fall.  I have a spring wreath but that's about it.
 10. If you could have HGTV come in and redo one room in your home which room would you choose?  Good question...I'd love to have my kitchen redone, except I just want it bigger, everything is only 2 years old.  I think it would be fun to have them decorate our master bedroom!

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments. Happy Monday, friends!

04 October, 2012

Half Crazy

The forecast for Saturday, September 22 didn't look promising.  When I went to bed on Friday night, they were calling for a 60% chance of showers.  I got up in plenty of time on Saturday morning to eat breakfast and get ready and the sun was shining.  My friend from church, Erica, met me at our house and we pinned our number bibs to our shirts and put our chips on our shoes. 

We headed out in plenty of time for the we thought!  Traffic was backed up for a couple of miles getting on the road where the race started.  We passed the first parking lot and it was packed.  We knew that we had 30 minutes left before the race would start.  By time we made it down to the second lot, we had less than 25 minutes.  There wasn't enough time to walk/jog to the starting line at the church(over a mile away), so we opted to wait for the shuttle bus.  We made it to the starting line with 10 minutes to spare, but we needed to check our bags and jackets and use the bathroom.  The lines for the port-a-potties were really long so we decided to wear our jackets and carry our bag until we found Mike and his parents somewhere around the 6 mile was either that or have to stop along the route to use the bathroom.  We actually were in the bathroom when the race started, but since the race was chipped that didn't matter. 

The race started out good, Erica and I settled into a good pace (around a 10 minute mile) and enjoyed the cool dry weather.  Around mile 5 we were running along the lakeshore by Lake Macatawa when we heard thunder.  Clouds were rolling in, but it wasn't raining.  We passed Mike and his parents just past mile 6 and they cheered us on.  Since we were coming up on the halfway point, Erica and I both took a Gu and then a drink from the water/Gatorade stand. 
And then it went downhill for me.  I got a bad side cramp (I think from the water) and had to slow down.  Erica kept up her pace and before I knew it she was out of sight! (Go Erica!)  I kept on running and I got to the Holland State Park. 

I was just entering the park when I started hearing people say that the race was called because the lightning was getting too close.  It wasn't raining and I had only seen a few bolts of lightning so I kept on running.  I got confirmation from a race volunteer that we would be able to continue running if we desired but the race was cancelled and we would not receive an official time. Since I was past the 8 mile mark by this time I decided that I would keep on going.  Then the rain decided to come down and the wind picked up.  I found another lady to keep pace with so we chatted for a bit and we both decided we were going to finish the race (there were volunteers and police officers offering rides back to the finish line if we wanted).  I kept on going and the rain kept on coming, harder and harder.  My phone stopped playing music, so I was left in silence except for the thunder and rain and wind.  I had put a plastic bag in my pocket in case of rain so I stuck my phone in there, thinking I had probably already ruined it with the water.  I kept running and felt like forever. 

After the 10 mile mark (the furthest I'd run thus far), the mile markers were packed up so I had no idea where I was.  I was freezing and completely soaked.  My shoes felt like they weighed 50 pounds a piece because I was running through puddles 2 inches deep.  As I would catch up to other runners (or as they would catch up to me), we'd offer words of encouragement.  I guessed that I had about 2 miles to go at this point, but by time I finished it felt like I had run 5.  I turned the corner to the street I knew the church was on and I picked up a bit.  I left the lady I had been talking to and saw Erica coming back for me.  (Thanks again!)  She asked if I had it in me and we sprinted toward the finished line.
I DID IT!  I RAN A HALF-MARATHON!  13.1 MILES! My mind was spinning as I hugged Mike and his parents.  They went back to the car to stay dry (you guys rock for putting up with the weather!).  Erica and I went to get our finishers medals and some food.  The race was really tough, but I can honestly say that I never once thought about quitting or getting a ride back.  I also never stopped running, unless you could 3 steps that I walked while drinking water around mile 8 :)  I'm proud of myself for accomplishing a huge goal, and I'm hoping to run another one in the future...and hopefully get an official time!

21 September, 2012

Catching up

Life has been busy, as usual, around our household.  Now that summer is over, we thought we'd be slowing down a little bit, but that certainly hasn't happened!  We are already scheduled to hang out with friends well into October.  With our schdeules, weekend are the only times we have to really hang out with our friends, so any time we can spend with them is great.  We've been up to a lot this summer/fall.

*We spent a weekend camping in Canada with my mom's side of the family.  We had fun, but sure wish we could have stayed an extra day with everyone!

*Mike got a promotion at work.  He was what I'll call a "line worker" for his area at work.  He is now the team leader/supervisor for his team.  I'm so proud of him and all his hard work!

*We spent another weekend camping with Mike's cousins.  It was so much fun to spend a couple days with everyone.  We're already looking forward to next year, and planning to go the whole week!

*Champ is a little over a year old now.  He got stung by a bee a couple weeks ago and his face swelled up.  He was still acting odd a couple days later so we took him to the vet.  He was fine and she said he is in great shape.  He now weighs 67 pounds! He's our big loveable fur-ball!

*My half marathon is coming up on Saturday!  I'm thrilled that I'll be running it with a friend from church and I think that will be a huge motivator...13.1 miles is a long way to run by yourself!  I'm really excited for the race.  I've decided that my goal is to complete it and not really worry about the time.  Most of my training runs have focused on distance, not speed and I'm happy just to say I ran a half!

*Our deck is finished, Mike and his dad replaced and rebuilt our shed doors, and we're looking into having our big hole filled.  It's exciting to make progress on our house.

*I went up to Cran Hill with some of the youth leaders from church.  We spent a lot of time getting to know each other and preparing for this school year.  Things are quite different now for youth group, but I'm really excited about building relationships with my girls!

*Alecia and I are getting together next week to do some freezer cooking.  We've selected some meals to make and freeze because it's so much easier to have ready made food when you're as busy as we are.  Plus, with her expecting a baby (!!!!) she's really going to need the ready made food.  I'm looking forward to cooking with her all day :)

*Mike had 2 moles biopsied a few weeks ago.  One came back moderately abnormal and needed to be removed completely.  The doctor took out a chunk of skin about 2 inches by 1 inch.  I got to see inside Mike...not too many people can say they know their husband inside and out!  He now has 17 stitches in his back and a strict order to wear sunscreen (and a shirt) at all times.  And we have peace of mind knowing that mole is gone!

*We bought Champ a toy that treats get hidden in and he has to move the puzzle pieces to find the treat.  I was a little skeptical that he could do it, but he loves it.  He's such a smart puppy!

*We are experience fall-like temperatures now.  Monday it was nearly 80 degrees and yesterday we were lucky to hit 60.  Mike thinks it's time to put the fleece sheets on our bed :)

My mind is all over the place so that's just a random sampling of some of the events in our lives right now!

20 September, 2012

Food Stuff

Last year (wow, that seems like forever ago!) my mom, Mike's mom, and Mike's sister, and I took a road trip to Shipshewana.  We had one purpose of this trip: eating and shopping!  Our first stop was at Rise and Roll Bakery for some delicious breakfast treats.  I got a fabulous cinnamon roll :)  I of course, had to bring some goodies back home. 
Peach Butter....oh so very very yummy!!!

Dried Cataloupe...I wanted to try something different.  This was delicious!
Our next stop was at E&S Sales.  Oh. My. Word.  This was totally my kind of store.  Aisles upon aisles of fun foods, some I'd never seen before.  We spent a lot of time in this store.  My mom and I filled an entire shopping cart of fun items, and the prices are awesome!  Here are some fun things I bought:
Christmas Tree shaped pretzels.  I dipped these in white chocolate and covered them in sprinkles for Christmas for my youth group girls.

This is the product I was most excited about...dehydrated marshmallow bits, like the ones in hot chocolate packets.  I love to eat these plain, but I've made a few recipes with them too.  Keep your eye out on my food blog for them...soon!
Dried Pineapple...I love dried pineapple!

Yeast donut delicious!
Peanut butter filled pretzels.  They're such a delicious snack!
Mike will tell you that I always snatch a few marshmallows from his bowl of Lucky Charms.  I found this bag of marshmallows and I bought them so I don't have to steal his any more!
Bacon cheese.  Enough said!

15 August, 2012

Making Improvements

When we bought our house, we had an enormous deck that covered the majority of our back yard.  The raised part of the deck was actually built over an above-ground pool.  Kind of ridiculous, right?  The plywood you see is a covering a big hole in the deck--our realtor had to cover it so our house would pass inspection.   

This is what Mike and I have seen every day in our backyard since buying our house in 2010.  Really pretty, huh?

This spring we decide that enough was enough and the pool and deck were coming down!  I don't know where my pool demolition pictures are, but here you can see that the pool is gone.

Champ wishes he could go out and play on the deck, but I was too afraid he would fall/jump off!

One of Mike's former co-workers  has started a handyman business, so we hired him to finish our deck for us.

In progress...

The finished product!!!!  Champ loves being able to play outside!

Our next project is to get the big sandbox filled in, we're hoping to have that done this fall.

Our other backyard addition is our new firepit.  I built it on Memorial Day and we've enjoyed a few bonfires with our friends!

We are loving having a great deck and firepit for entertaining!!!

13 August, 2012

Friend Makin' Mondays: In the Kitchen

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: All The Weigh so we can all see your FMM questions and answers.  The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

In the Kitchen

1. How often do you cook at home? I cook at home at least 5 days a week.  Definitely 4 days during the week (we go to Mike's parents on Thursday nights) and it depends on the weekend if we go out or have leftovers.

2. Do you eat more fresh produce, frozen or canned produce? Definitely fresh produce.  My fridge and counter are covered.  I don't buy any canned veggies except chick peas and black beans.  Sometimes we'll have some frozen vegetables.

3. What are a few unusual staples that can always be found in your kitchen?  Mangoes, coconut oil, pickles...not sure how unusual those things are!

4. Look in your fridge, then tell us about the healthiest thing in there. A ton of fresh fruit and veggies--strawberries, blueberries, bananas, watermelon, grapes, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

5. Now share the most unhealthy thing in it.  Oh boy, let's see--frosting, Pillsbury biscuits, pepperoni...lots of fun stuff :)

6. Do you eat leftovers? Not usually.  I'm not a huge fan of most leftover, however, Mike loves when we have leftovers so he can take them for lunch!

7. Do you use coupons at the supermarket?  Yes--all the time!

8. How often do you try new recipes? At least 2 or 3 times a week.  We don't eat the same thing too often :)

9. Do you make grocery lists? Do you stick to them? Yes, unless I'm just running to the store for a couple things, I always make a list.  I typically stick to it pretty well, but some deals I just can't pass up!

10. If you could buy one food item that would magically be calorie-free, which item would you choose? Brownies!!!

23 July, 2012

Friend Makin' Mondays: Seven

I think I forgot that I have a blog...oops!  This summer has been so busy!  We have been gone every-other-weekend camping and the weekends that we are home are packed.  I love summer and being busy though :)  We just got back yesterday from a weekend of camping with Mike's cousins, it was awesome!  I'll post pictures from our camping trips (someday). 

Today, let's join back in for a Friend Makin' Monday.  It's been a while since I've participated!

Friend Makin’ Mondays
  1. What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?  It depends on the weather, but typically cuddle on the couch with Mike, a blanket, and a bowl of popcorn, catching up on our DVR'd shows from the week.
  2. What is your favorite color? Blue
  3. Have you ever been to Europe? Yes, I've been to Romania 4 times.  I'm hoping to go back someday and there are some other European countries I'd love to visit!
  4. Do you wear glasses or contacts? Both.  Contacts during the day and glasses right before bed and first thing in the morning.
  5. How often do you brush your teeth?  2 times a day, right after breakfast and right before bed.
  6. Share a guilty pleasure. Oreo cookies...I could eat a package in a day if I was home all day.  Good thing I'm not!
  7. What are you most proud of accomplishing this week? I'm looking forward to Saturday when I have a 7 mile run on the schedule.  It will be my longest run yet!
You can view the other participant's answers at Kenlie's blog, All the Weigh.

14 June, 2012

Where Have I Been?

My goodness!  It's been nearly 1-1/2 months since my last post.  I suppose you could say we've been busy, but shame on me for disappearing like that.  So where have I been?  Let me tell you...

After a year of eager anticipation and excitement, on May 4th, Mike and I boarded an airplane and headed to Hawaii!  We went with his parents, sister & brother-in-law on a Hawaiian Islands cruise.  It was absolutely amazing!  I'll be sharing more pictures when I have time, I'd like to post a day-by-day of what we did.

We've been super busy ever since we got back.  We had a wedding the first Saturday that we were back home.  The next weekend we had a little bit of time to spend working around our house and getting it looking semi-decent.  The next weekend we had a graduation open house to attend.  Then last weekend we helped Mike's parents move into a condo.  Whew...I'm exhausted just looking at that list.  I can't believe how busy we have been, it feels like since we've been home we've been running non-stop.  We have another busy weekend this weekend, but then we slow down a bit.  We have 2 camping weekends coming up so we're looking forward to that.  I'll try to post more regularly...I hope you're having a great summer!

29 April, 2012

Another 5k in the Books!

On Thursday night I ran my first 5k race of the year. I didn't know what to expect, as I hadn't trained for this race like I had for my previous races. I've been focusing more on my Bootcamp workouts, still running, but not as my main workouts. I was unsure how this race would be, because it seemed a little disorganized when I stopped on Wednesday night to pick up my race packet. I was pleasantly surprised on Thursday night with how the race was organized. It was an out-and-back course, but it really didn't seem as bad as previous out-and-backs I've run before. There was one curvy hill to run up about 2.5 miles into the race, but I really felt like I nailed it. I started out at an 8:30 pace, but I think I should have started a bit slower. By the last mile, I had slowed down to about 9:30 mile. I think if I had started slower, I could have maintained a 9 minute mile the whole race. Lesson learned :) I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 28:56. I was 43 seconds off setting a new PR, but that's okay. I felt really strong this race, and I think that is due to all the cross-training I've done with Bootcamp. I'm planning to do another 5k toward the end of June, and my hope is to run a sub-28 race. Then my next focus will be a half-marathon in September!

Do you see me?  I'm wearing a blue shirt.  My mom was trying to run and take a picture of me but the guy in the grey shirt got right in front of me!

Mom was finally able to get a good picture.  She ran with me up to the corner, and then she was whipped :)

I had enough energy to finish strong!  The guy behind me and I had been keeping a good pace until those yellow blockades in the distance, and I wasn't going to let him pass me!

Crossing the finish line!

Time to rehydrate and relax!

It's hard to believe that the 8 week Bootcamp program has nearly come to an end.  I loved all the workouts that Tina created for us, and the amount of support and community on the Facebook page is outstanding.  I feel like I gained better knowledge of what my body is capable of, as well as the chance to push my body harder than I've done on my own.  I've noticed a lot of physical changes--the muscle definition in my triceps is pretty sweet!  I've also improved my cardio endurance.  I plan to continue to use the workouts that I've learned over the past 8 weeks, and continue to build upon, and improve my physical fitness!  Thank you, Tina, for all your work!

23 April, 2012

Friend Makin' Monday: Q&A

Happy Monday!  Did you have a good weekend?  I did!  I spent most of Saturday shopping with my MIL and SIL.  I got some awesome deals, and we had a great time.  Sunday was a great day filled with church, family, baking/cooking, and relaxing.  And now it's on to another busy week!  Let's get it started with another edition of Friend Makin' Mondays!
If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!


1. Share one thing that has changed about you since you began blogging.  More related to my food blog, but I've found that I care more about what others think and how I'm represented.
2. If you were forced to give up chocolate or potato chips for an entire year which one would you choose to live without? Potato chips.  That would be so easy!

3. What’s more attractive:  A man in a suit, or a man in uniform?  Nothing beats a man in a suit!
4. If you could be a guest star on a reality show which one would it be? I’d love to workout with the contestants on Biggest Loser.
5. What is the last meal that you prepared for yourself?  Breakfast this morning:  toast with honey and a bowl of strawberries and bananas.
6. Is your hair colored, or is it natural?  My hair is colored.  It's a little more blonde than my natural color.

7. If you could leave town today and go anywhere, where would you go?  I'd go to Romania and take Mike, Alecia & Ovi with me.
8. Do you prefer to exercise at the gym, at home or outside?  I enjoy all three.  Each has its own benefit.  If I had to pick just one though, I'd choose the gym because it has way more equipment.

9. Have you ever asked someone out on a date?  No, I don't think so.

10. How many cups of coffee do you drink on an average day? I don't drink coffee.
11. Do you pack lightly, or do you over pack? I think I over pack.  I make sure I have enough for expected events, and then some extra!
12. What color are your nails now?  Natural.
13. If you could have lunch with one notable (living) person who inspires you who would it be?  The Pioneer Woman
14. Who is your favorite professional athlete? I can't say I have one.  I don't watch a lot of sports.

15. Gum or mints?  Gum.
16. Have you ever eaten crawfish? No, I don't think I have.
17. List one or more human characteristics that are a complete turn-off.  Having a holier-than-thou attitude.

18. What is your favorite season?  Summer, for sure!  It's so nice and warm.
19. Do you prefer to shake hands or hug?  Hug if you're my friend, shake hands otherwise.
20. Can you quote lines from Saved by the Bell from memory? If so, what’s your favorite?  No, but I did watch it on Saturday morning :)

21 April, 2012


I can't believe it is Saturday already!  This week seems to have just flown by.  I had something going every night after work, so it feels like I have hardly been home this week.  We had the final night of SEM this week, so next week will be a little less busy. 

Speaking of things flying by...I can't believe week 7 of Bootcamp is nearly over.  It feels like it was just week 1.  I loved this week's workouts.  I found that I was really able to push myself this week.  I built off of what I knew my body was capable of, and pushed it harder.  Yesterday, I managed to run at a 7:30 pace on the treadmill during some sprints I was doing.  That's over a minute faster than my best 5k time (per mile), and I'm quite proud of that.  I'm excited to see how it effects my 5k next Thursday.

This week one of the workouts was in ladder format.  It was something totally new to me, and I really liked it.  For each exercise you do, you start at a low number of reps and work up.  For example, if you were doing bicep curls, you would do 5 reps, and then rest for 10 seconds.  Then 6 reps and rest, 7 and so on until you've completed 10 reps.  By my last set, by about the 4th rep, my muscles were so fatigued.  I could really feel my muscles working and they were sore the next day.  A sure sign of a tough workout!

I have been eating mostly clean for over a week now.  I've eaten some items with white sugar or flour in them, but I'm not going into this will an all-or-nothing attitude.  I'm feeling good, and I can tell I have less "belly-bloat".  My goal is to continue to eat this way until the cruise.  I've found that since I'm not eating as much sugar, my body is not craving it as much, so that's awesome for my sweet tooth (and waistline!)

I'm really looking forward to this last week of Bootcamp.  I know I can push myself even harder than I did this week.  I'm loving the results I'm seeing so far!
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