Thursday, May 31, 2012

Roll it Out!

I survived two weeks of running 4.5 miles. This weekend I will move up to five miles and be half-way to my ten mile goal. I'm getting into new territory now. In the past, I stopped running during the summer because of the heat. However, it's too hard for me to start back up so I am going to have to find a way to deal with it.
I now carry a small bottle of water with me which I sip on during my walk breaks. It helps, but I'm finding that toward the end of my run I am really drained. My guess is that I'm running out of fuel and will need to start planning for that as my miles increase. I'm sure I'm sabotaging myself by not controlling my pace better. The walk breaks make me feel like I can run faster, so I do. However, by the end of my run I'm starting to have a hard time breathing. Some of this is from my asthma and some is due to the hot, muggy weather.

All this extra running is making me hungry all the time, so I've really had to watch what I eat. I don't find myself craving sweets like I used to, but I'm always thirsty. Knock on wood, I've also been injury free. I'm careful to warm up and stretch out after. One thing I couldn't live without is a foam roller.
You can get one of these from any sports store or even from Wal-Mart. They are pretty inexpensive and could become your best friend. During K2's first season of cross country, she had trouble with her IT band. See how to use the foam roller for that here. My hamstrings have been really tight after running, so  a few minutes on the roller have been really helpful.
I also have this funky stick roller that give you an amazing massage on your calves. It works just like a rolling pin and can prevent injuries as well as help alleviate pain. 

The great think about running is that it can be a pretty inexpensive hobby. Neither one of the rollers are necessary, but they are nice to have around. My shoes are still my most expensive piece and they last quite awhile. Wish me luck this weekend as I get to my half-way mark.  Oh, and send cooler weather to Florida, if you can.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Pot Pie





Too much of anything can really decrease your desire for it. This is the case in our home with Snow Crab Legs. We all used to love them. That is, until we had that meal so much we no longer wanted it. Well, all of us except my hubby. It used to be a treat when we would go out for seafood, but once we started making it ourselves, when it came on sale, it became a regular meal. Who would have ever thought that it would be on sale so often?

Rather than deny my hubby his treat (why he hasn't grown sick of it I'll never know) we end up making two meals. Not my idea of fun, but neither is eating something I don't want. This particular night I did not plan on the additional meal so it was time to play MacGyver and see what I could make from what I had on hand. A big round of applause for the person who first said "necessity is the mother of invention".
I grabbed a can of Cream of Potato condensed soup, frozen chicken breasts, a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, and a refrigerated pie crust. I thought I had some puff pastry/filo, but I was wrong and I would have preferred that.  You could easily use refrigerated biscuits or some Bisquick as well. This isn't really a recipe, so you can adjust the ingredients to your liking.
Brown the chicken until thoroughly cooked. I like to season mine with salt and pepper while browning instead of adding extra to the mix later. Cut into bite sized pieces (you can do this before or after browning). Mix the soup, vegetables (I used 1/2 cup per person), chicken, and half a can of milk (use the soup can after you empty the soup) into a saucepan on the stove and mix. I had my veggie and soup mixture on low while I cooked the chicken. This just saves time in the oven so you are just baking the crust instead of cooking the dish through. Season to taste, but since I add mine while cooking the chicken I left this out. 
I used individual oven safe soup bowls, but you can also bake in a casserole dish. Cover with pie crust and seal around edges. Brush with melted butter or olive oil - I just spray a little olive oil on the top. Pop in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.

That's it? Yep. All done. It reminds me of the story of stone soup because I just used what I had on hand. It tasted really good, too. I can't be the only one who had thrown something together...what is your story?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ringling Museum

Ten teenagers. Yep. Count them...it's true. Actually, they were all really good. This was one trip I really enjoyed chaperoning. They are freshmen at Strawberry Crest High School, IB (International Baccalaureate). 
It was refreshing to see a group of students interested in an art museum. I, of course, had no idea that the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL was an art museum. I thought it was a circus museum. Well, it's that, too. What I did not know was that John Ringling was an avid art collector. 
The property also boasts a large collection of circus memorabilia. We even missed a whole building of more circus history, but now we have an excuse to go back.
This was only one of the cars. I'm jealous of the people who lived during that time. It must have been quite a site to see the circus come to town. The detail and colors on these are just amazing.
The costumes were incredible. The amount of work that went into these was nothing short of impressive and each one is still in pristine condition.
Outside, the property boasts an amazing 27,225 sq. foot Italian circular rose garden and beautifully landscaped walking paths.
I had never seen Banyan Trees before, but they are truly something worth seeing. 
Back in the Art Museum, there was a collection of hand fans that reminded me to bring my own next time. It got a little warm walking around the grounds, but it was too amazing to spend the entire time inside. However, all that walking did pay off in the end...
Almost my 10,000 steps for the day!
Estate Map - Click to see larger image
I highly recommend going to the Ringling Museum if you are ever in the Sarasota area, but plan on spending the day. This property has so much to see that you'll lose track of the time!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bombs Away Bird

Would you just look at this little cutie?
Please note that this pattern has not been tested by anyone, so if you want to try it out I would love to hear back from you.



MATERIALS:
  • Size ‘G’ hook
  • 4-ply worsted weight yarn in black.  I used some leftover Red Heart Super Saver – approximately 1 ounce. For the beak and eyes, I had some leftover white, gray, and yellow yarn.
  • Red craft felt – small amount.
  • Fiberfill stuffing – small amount
  • Sewing needle and thread
GAUGE:
Exact gauge is not essential to this project.
STITCH EXPLANATION:
sc2tog (sc decrease) Insert hook into st and draw up a loop. Insert hook into next st and draw up a loop. Yarn over, draw through all 3 loops on hook – 1 st decreased.
NOTES:
Work in continuous rnds; do not join or turn unless otherwise instructed.

Body
Rnd 1: Make magic circle and work 6 sc; place a marker to indicate beg of round; move marker up as each round is completed.
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc in each st around – 12 sts.
Rnd 3: *sc in next st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around – 18 sts.
Rnd 4: *sc in next 2 st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around – 24 sts.
Rnd 5: *sc in next 3 st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around – 30 sts.
Rnd 6: *sc in next 4 st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around – 36 sts.
Rnd 7: *sc in next 5 st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around – 42 sts.
Rnd 8-14: sc around – 42 sts.
Rnd 15: *sc in next 5 st; sc2tog (sc decrease) in next st* rep between * around – 36 sts.
Rnd 16: *sc in next 4 st; sc2tog (sc decrease) in next st* rep between * around – 30 sts.
Rnd 17: *sc in next 3 st; sc2tog (sc decrease) in next st* rep between * around – 24 sts.
Rnd 18: *sc in next 2 st; sc2tog (sc decrease) in next st* rep between * around – 18 sts.
~Stuff~
Rnd 19: *sc in next st; sc2tog (sc decrease) in next st* rep between * around – 12 sts.
Rnd 20: sc2tog (sc decrease around –6 sts.  Do not finish off.

Feather
Rnd 21-27: sc around, change to yellow.
Rnd 28: sc around.
Rnd 29: sc2tog 3 times.

Finish off leaving long enough tail to weave in and pull tight.

Beak
Rnd 1: Using yellow, make magic circle and work 4 sc; place a marker to indicate beg of round; move marker up as each round is completed.
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc in each st around – 8 sts.
Rnd 3: *sc in next st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around – 12 sts.
Rnd 4-5: sc around
Rnd 5: sc in next 2 st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around – 16 sts.
Finish off and leave long enough tail to sew onto body (6-10 inches)

Eyes (make 2)
Rnd 1: in white, make magic circle and work 6 sc
Rnd 2: slip stitch around and leave tail for sewing
Rnd 3: join gray in any stitch, work 2 stitches in each white stitch:
(sc, sc); (sc, hdc); (hdc, hdc); (hdc, dc); (dc, dc); (dc, hdc); sc in first stitch to join.

Using yarn needle and black yarn, double the strand over, knot the end, secure into body and french knot in center of white eye.


Finishing
Sew securely around eye using yarn tails.
Sew on beak using yarn tail stuffing lightly before making final seal.
Cut felt to make eyesbrows and sew onto bird


Please leave me a comment if you decide to take the pattern for your personal use - this will encourage me to post more!  If you like what you see, won't you follow me or subscribe? Have happy crafty weekend!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dad

Happy Birthday, Dad...

We've had a lot of good times together traveling to new places...
Helen, Georgia Railroad Museum
Bok Tower Gardens
 and eating new foods.

We dressed you up...
and took you out.

You've been a good sport over the years. 
 
And all the pictures in the world could not replace the memories we have made. I treasure each moment.  
 May you have many more birthdays to share with us and watch your grandchildren grow.

Happy Birthday from your Favorite Little Princess.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What's for Dinner Wednesday - 3 Cheese Pasta

Pinterest may be the new cause of obesity in Americans.  You heard it here first!  But seriously, this dish is not for the lactose intolerant or cheese hater. It is rich, cream, and pure comfort.
Actually, if you were to add some marinara to it, you would swear it was lasagna. In fact, I may try that next time. All the flavor without the messy layering. It would be perfect with the garlic knots I made before. This only takes about 10 minutes to prepare and then 30 minutes to cook.  Super simple.


Three-Cheese Pasta Bake pinned from Southern Living


ingredients
  • 1(16-ounce) package ziti
  • 2(10-ounce) containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce
  • 1(8-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1(15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2cups mozzarella cheese
directions
Prepare ziti according to package directions; drain and return to pot.
Stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream; toss with ziti until evenly coated. Spoon half of mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Stir together ricotta cheese and next 3 ingredients; spread evenly over pasta mixture in baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta mixture evenly over ricotta cheese layer; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2 Steps Forward

One of the first tasks I took on before deciding to re-organize the whole house was to tackle the linen closet. This has got to be the one area that takes the biggest beating, mostly because I think it is easy to close the door.  
Out of sight, out of mind. That is, until I open that door. I actually had not been in there for awhile because my hubby had taken on the chore of doing the laundry and putting the sheets and towels away.  


Yes, dear. I'm calling you out. Don't say I didn't warn you.


K2 has been begging for more chores so that she can buy something and I was happy to give them to her. The towels had just finished drying and I was eager to hand them over. She did an excellent job. Then I went to put these towels away...
and there was no room to put anything! At one point, it was very neat and tidy. With this small of a space there is no room for unruliness. But it was late last night and no time to start over. Baby steps, people! I did remove the mess that was stuffed in there, but most of it just needed a little straightening.
I also removed a few towels that were old and would serve a better purpose in the garage. I think there is still more that need to be removed and eventually replaced, but that is a project for another day. At least now I can put the towels away and clearly see what I don't really need. I still love my see-through boxes and they are great for my kids who are searching for band-aids.
The point here is to not get overwhelmed with large projects. Taking on smaller ones will motivate you to continue on. This took about 20 minutes. It's not perfect, but it did relieve the immediate stress I was feeling. So don't give up and tackle little things one step at a time and before you know it, you'll have lots done!

Monday, May 21, 2012

So long Snow White



With the last weekend of the Flower and Garden Fest at EPCOT, we decided to make a quick trip to Orlando to see the flowers one last time and bid farewell to the Snow White ride at Magic Kingdom.
The Socerer's Apprentice greeted us at the front entrance. K2 will jump at any chance to be in the picture. Even if it means being nice to her sister.
The fairy garden keeps getting better each year. Tinkerbell holds a special place in our family, so this is a must see. Bambi was hiding out in the butterfly house with his friends.

And then it was time to ride Snow White for the last time. I remember riding this ride when I was really little and I have taken my girls on it since they were born.
Disney is removing it, but they are replacing it with an updated Snow White Mine Ride. I'm sure it will be great and we will love it, but the original will be missed.
So long, sweet princess.

This is how K2 feels about the ride closing. See, even her buddies at the Haunted Mansion are sad! Thank goodness we have our memories. Who knows? Maybe they will bring her back like they did the Sunshine Tree Terrace orange juice ice cream swirls.  
The day ended well with that forgotten treat. Sometimes Disney does right by us ;)