Monday, October 24, 2011

Around the World

I'm going on a trip today. Right after class, I'm meeting up with a friend and we are travelling to a nearby country for 10 days.

I'm way excited! I will be meeting new people, seeing new things, and tasting new foods.....all things I love!

I love to travel and experience new things, I always look forward to it.

But, it will also be the longest Daniel and I have ever been apart. I do not envy anyone who loses their spouse to travel for long periods of time.

I'll try to post if I can, at least a few pics of the amazing food and sights!

Oh and sister Sarah sent us a package last week!!! Here I am enjoying the goodness!!

The goods:

Sarah surprised us and sent us our Christmas presents already, along with a card that Grant made. I love Christmas and I love presents, it's a win win for everybody.

Have a good Monday!



Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Stats

Well, I'm tired.

Mostly because I ran 12.2 miles this morning. WOOOOO HOOOOO!!!!

This run was different that any of my other longer runs....because I had people run with me!! Last night, a friend of mine was asking about my run I was planning, and offered to come meet me to cheer me on or to run a few miles with me if I wanted. Ummm yes please!!! i haven't had anyone run with me in early 2011.

So, then I roped asked Daniel if he would be interested in running a few with me too. Bless him, he hasn't run in a couple of months so I wasn't sure if he would want to. But he did!

So....I ran the first 6 by myself (in the WAY dark bc I started early), met Daniel for miles 6-8.5, ran another mile or so, then met my friend right before mile 10. She ran the last 2.2 with me. Honestly, it was a love/hate having her there :) Because i was getting tired. And i wanted to slow down, but she kept me right on pace at 12 min/mile. I've never actually run with a pacer or anything, but running with my friend felt like that (in a good way). I know if she didn't run the last bit with me, I would've slowed down a lot. I'm so glad she made me keep my pace and finish strong. I actually didn't think I had it in me.

But it was still a hard run.

I forgot to hydrate yesterday.

I barely slept the night before.

My right foot hurt the entire run (no idea what that is about).

Side stitch for mile 3.

And (also a first), my left Achilles hurt the last mile.

I did make sure to carb up the night before. (i've been looking for marshmallows for forever and finally found some yesterday!! I love me a good homemade smore!)

So I ran 12.2 miles this morning and felt pretty sore and tired afterward, but was so glad I did it, and kept the 12 min/mile pace the entire time.

This week ends Week 7 of training. It feels like it's been so much longer.

This is my first real dirt line I've ever had from running.

After a big breakfast of eggs, toast, and coffee, we took a nap. Actually Daniel slept and I laid there. My body is refusing to nap lately.... no idea why.

Also, today I tried a new GU (bc I stole Daniel's). The chocolate mint flavor, and now officially my fave!! It tastes just like a peppermint patty and the texture was easier to handle too. Love.

And I did get word that I will probably not be able to run on my upcoming trip. So I'll have to take a 10 day break and ease back into it when I get back. Which is fine. I feel so sore right now, the break sounds amazing!

I'll post again tomorrow at least once cause there's just so much going on!!



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Recipe

I woke up with a sore throat. That's not true....I went to bed with a sore throat and this morning, it was still there.

If I'm going to get sick i need to hurry up and get it over with. I travel next Monday for 10 days and would rather be sick now rather than during.

Anyways....I had forgotten about a few things i had made recently, most importantly being Eggplant Bake. Now, I have never liked eggplant. I try to avoid it. But I went to a friend's house for dinner a few months ago, and this was served. At first, I was like "oh nice...." But it seriously rocks my world and you can't even tell there is eggplant in it!!! I would've never known unless my friend told me.

So here's the recipe:

Eggplant Bake

(this is for an 8X8, just double if making a 9X13)

1 Medium/large Zucchini (thinly sliced)
2 red sweet peppers (coarsely chopped)
*The original recipe called for 1 pepper and that's what I put, but next time I will put 2
1/2 onion (coarsely chopped)
2 Medium eggplant (coarsely chopped)
*You can't really add too much eggplant, it cooks down A LOT
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp EVOO
2 eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
*don't worry about the mayo, Daniel HATES it and we couldn't taste it at all
2 ozs Pecorino/Romano Cheese (about 1/2 cup)
* I used Parmesan/Romano bc that's what I had and really beggars can't be choosers
4 oz shredded mozzarella (about 1 cup)
12 crushed Ritz crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 C). Grease 8X8 pan.

In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Then add zucchini, sweet pepper, eggplant, onion, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 10-15 minutes on medium-high until veggies are tender: stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in large bowl whisk eggs and mayonnaise together. Then stir in Pecorinco/Romano cheese and half of the mozzarella. Add the cooked vegetables, and stir to combine.Spread in pan and top with remaining mozzarella and cracker crumbs.

Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving (we were hungry so we just went for it!)

Seriously this is my new favorite recipe!!! It's great to serve for Meatless Monday, vegetarians, or anyone who enjoys good food!! I loved how easy it was to make and that there were so many veggies!!! You could easily add less/more of what your favorite veggie is, but I loved the balance the way it was.

I cannot put into words how good this is!!! Try it, you'll love it!!!

And random, but I also made chicken parm last week. yum!!!!

(this pic makes it look so gross, but it is yumm! and no, i'm not afraid of cheese!)

i'm hoping to embrace the eggplant and try eggplant parm sometime soon. We'll see.....

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!!



Monday, October 17, 2011


This past weekend Daniel and I received an amazing gift. I cannot put a price on it.

A little background story:

Some friends of ours went on a marriage encounter weekend about 2 years ago, and had nothing but wonderful things to say about the weekend. They were careful to not tell us what they learned or exactly what happened on the weekend, but only had the highest compliments and praises.

We recently attended a United Marriage Encounter weekend. A few months ago, our friends gave us early birthday presents and gifted us with paying our fee for the upcoming marriage weekend. Daniel and I were both so excited to be able to attend this marriage encounter weekend.

The organization that puts on the weekend is United Marriage Encounter. You can read more about the organization and upcoming weekends here.

The organization is funded by donations and gifts. Our weekend: hotel, meals, materials, etc...were paid for by previous couples that had attended a marriage conference. And because we were given the gift of the registration fee, we enjoyed the weekend without cost. It was one of the biggest blessings I have ever received.

Here we are starting the weekend. Yes, I'm still waiting for my bangs to grow out...

P.S. We ate McDonald's right before this and they had a Mccafe, so I had an iced coffee. So happy!

The weekend is a 48 hour commitment. It is NOT a retreat or restful vacation :) Each minute is scheduled and the weekend is hard work.

However- there are not enough words to explain how our marriage has grown over these last few days. I won't go into detail about the method or information that is taught, because it is something you must experience yourself. (and there are lots of fun surprises along the way!)

This weekend is designed for people who have good marriages and want to make them better. Before (and after), I would describe our marriage as good. Daniel and I are not people who yell or raise our voices, and we're not really argumentative in our marriage. Comparing us to most marriages, I would say that we had it pretty good.

BUT, there is always room for improvement!!  :)

Before this weekend, we both knew our communication with one another was not great. We communicated, but often felt like we were misunderstanding the other person.

After this weekend, I feel like we communicate in a wonderful new way!!! I left this past weekend, feeling like I had just gotten married all over again. The emotions and feelings were that strong! The qualities I saw in Daniel when we were dating, were renewed and made stronger this weekend. I felt myself falling in love with Daniel all over again, in a much deeper way that I have never felt before.

I am so excited about our future and growing more in our marriage. I have a strong peace and believe that we are stronger as a couple.

I would HIGHLY recommend a UME weekend to any married couple. I beg you to find a weekend near you and make every effort to attend. Yes, you're giving up 48 hours of your weekend, but you will gain and walk away with a stronger better marriage in the end. It's worth every minute!!!

Has anyone been on a UME weekend before????



Friday, October 14, 2011

Saturday Stats & Plans

This was the end of Week 6 on the training schedule. The long run was supposed to be 11 miles.

Here's a bit of background info:

Daniel and I are going to a marriage conference all weekend starting tonight until Sunday. We've known about it for a while and VERY excited!! I'm sure I'll have a ton to post afterwards.

Also, I'm going to be travelling for about 10 days the end of the month. I am not counting on being able to do any running where i'm going. So...... my plan was to stick with the schedule, take the 10 day break, then hopefully be able to ease back into the long runs and maybe just push the half marathon back a week.

That is all still possible.

However, last night I realized that I had one GU left and I had 2 long runs (11 this weekend and 12 next) before being able to restock the GU.

So I decided to run 8 miles this morning (instead of the planned11), and save the GU for next weekend, and hope to be able to do an 11 or 12.  I figured I could do 8 and be okay, esp if I did my 5 mile loop, grabbed my water, and finished with 3. At that point, 3 is easy.

The running went well so I decided to do 9. I thought long and hard about running 10, but decided not to. And I'm really glad I didn't. That last mile was pretty hard, not what I would call a quality mile. I was going on just water at that point and was starting to feel each step.

So I ran 9 and am okay with that. I'm going to try and get every mile in next week before leaving on the 24th.

I had a post planned for a 'day in the life' here, but life completely got away from me this week, so it will just have to wait.

Has anyone been to a marriage conference before??? This will be my first one!



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Birthday Week

It's Birthday Week in our family.....not necessarily me or Daniel, but the extended fam. And even though we're far away, we want you to know that we love you, miss you, and wishing you the best birthday!

First, my mom's (Kathy) birthday was this past Saturday. I won't tell her age, but I think she is aging really well!

(Christmas 2007)

Happy Birthday MOM!!!! Hope you had a great day and know how much I miss you!

Today, is this little guys 5th birthday!

As in he has been on this earth for 5 full years, where has the time gone?!?!?!!?!?!? Because I'm pretty sure this was yesterday:

He was just a wee little pup!

January 2008

Okay, wow, now that I'm crying after looking through all of Grant's baby pictures.......

Happy Birthday buddy, your Auntie Laura misses you tons!!

And last, but certainly not least, Happy Birthday Steve!!!! (Daniel's dad), Steve's birthday is Thursday!

Happy Birthday Steve, wish we could have dinner with you!

Love you all!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Stats

Today was a big run. 10 miles. I've run 10 miles a few times before, but it's been a while.

I was a bit worried how this run would go, considering I had forgotten to hydrate yesterday, and only drank about 4 glasses of water. I know, not smart. I also didn't eat a lot yesterday to carb up.....

So this morning I set my alarm for 6:10 because I REALLY wanted to get it out of the way. I ended up waiting around the house for a few minutes, because it was just still too dark to start running.

At 6:45, I found my gate guard friend and gave him my water bottle to pick up after mile 5. My plan was to run 2 different 5 mile routes. This ended up being huge mentally! I loved that the routes were different so I didn't get as bored.

The first 5 miles were pretty annoying. I couldn't get my shoes to fit right for the life of me. I stopped at least 6 times to re-adjust the laces. I was reallly missing my old running shoes today, because they had Yankz and were quick and easy to adjust. I'm thinking of buying some for these shoes too.

Anyways, first 5 miles was just under a 12 minute pace. I then slurped my Vanilla Bean Gu in record time and took off for round 2.

A dog chased me again and almost bit me. I don't know how to handle this. Most of the dogs are not on leashes so no one cares what they're doing. And if a dog does bite me, no one will help me. It's not in their culture. So I already have a plan ready in borrow/use someones cell phone to call Daniel to come get me. I carry his phone # and a little money in my running shoe pouch.

So......round 2 went AMAZING!!!! I was on my last mile when I realized I was several minutes ahead of where I should be. I mean, I know I'm getting faster, but I was really far ahead! So I ended up running another leg towards the end to make up for it in case I had missed something.

After getting home I realized I went a different way than I had mapped so when I thought I was supposed to be done, I wasn't. The route I did today was a bit shorter. So i'm glad I tacked on the last part just to be safe. And I mapped my run as best as I could and it's either 9.9 or 10 miles. I'm going to believe it was 10.

I also had an overall pace of about 11:45. Pardon me while I scream from excitement!!!!!!

I've been running less than 2 years. I feel like I have ALWAYS been at a 12 minute pace, and when I would run anything over 5 miles, it quickly went to 12:30-13 minutes depending on how long I ran. I never saw much improvement in my pace until just recently. Not sure if time is what it takes, or because of some of the weight loss. (I'm SO close to a total loss of 30 pounds, but these last few will just not leave!) :)

I'm in shock. Shock and awe.

My total mileage for the week is 21.1 miles.

Next week is Week 6 of training with a long run of 11 miles. Bring it.



Friday, October 7, 2011

Going Local

I had a friend come over last night and we cooked dinner together. She wanted me to make half of dinner and she would make the other half.

I decided to make Chicken Pastina. It's usually a fave of ours. Right before my friend came over I realized I didn't have any diced tomatoes, which is pretty necessary to the recipe. So sweet Daniel went to 4 different stores to get me some. Bless him.

We now know that in a future emergency situation like this one, he can ride to the store and back in less than 45 minutes.

I always add red pepper flakes to give it a bit more kick, I think it's a little bland on it's own. Guess who forgot to add them? yep. I don't think my friend minded so much.

She made this green vegetable that literally translates into "green vegetable." I have no idea what it is in english. She also made us this soup (far left bowl in the picture) with egg and another green vegetable that I didn't recognize.

Here are all the dishes. We actually washed a few while we were cooking because we kept running out of pots and bowls.

If I could tell you anything, it's don't take your dishwasher for granted :) And speaking of dishwashers.....Daniel and I bought a blender this week. I'm SO excited to make hummus, smoothies, and salsa. What's funny is that when we were picking out which one we wanted, I saw that one (the one we ended up buying) was dishwasher safe, and I thought how perfect! It wasn't until a few hours later that I remembered we don't even have a dishwasher so it didn't even matter, ha!

Just a few randoms:

We're going to an art/antique market today that is close to our house. I'm pretty excited.

I have to run 10 miles tomorrow. Which means I won't sleep much tonight.

Sarah already bought our Christmas presents. She's totally on top of the ball. (is it on the ball? can you be on top of the ball??)  Sidenote: sometimes after studying language for a while, it's easy to forget what is an english word and what isn't. This week I had to ask Daniel a few times if I was using real english words or not.

My homework assignment this week for one of my classes is to write a minimum of 150 characters on what I think about "going Dutch." A. I wish i could write this in english, and B. I wish I had an opinion about it.

What are your weekend plans?? Any thoughts on going Dutch??



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cloud 9

Wow, today has been such a GREAT day!!

I claim that my love language(s) is gifts and surprises, and what is better than a surprise gift right?!

This morning I got up at 6:30 in the AM to run the 5 miles on the schedule. Have I mentioned that we don't have classes this week because it's a holiday? Yet I found the willpower to set an alarm clock. It's amazing how much willpower I can muster up sometimes.

I actually picked up a few extra tutoring sessions to make up for it. Call me crazy.

So I didn't sleep very well last night, and I did not want to get up this morning. Even after I was dressed and carbed for my run, I still just wanted to get back in bed. But alas, I dug down deep and found it in me to run. I honestly can't remember being this unmotivated to run before.

So I ran.

After tutoring, Daniel and I were eating lunch and I was checking email. Remember how I'm travelling the end of this month and in super need of a visa, but in a very big time crunch?? Well lo and behold, the visa office that was supposed to need 9-11 business days to process the visa, did it in 2.

That's 2 days! My visa is already on it's way to the inlaws, then they'll send it on to me. I have been specifically praying that the visa would come thru in time, because despite all the huge warnings given by the visa office, I went ahead and bought my tickets in faith that I would get the visa in time. It was supposed to take much longer than it did, and I'm on cloud 9 because of it.

THEN, we ran (actually rode) to do some errands. I was at the import store and was reallly close to buying a kit kat. Yet again, I showed courageous willpower and resisted temptation.

However, after getting home, we had a SURPRISE package waiting for us!!! My mom sent us a package with goodies that we had no idea about!! Totally hit the love language one on the head with this one Mom!

And what was inside but Kit Kats, blank notecards (bc those are impossible to get here!), a zip up hoodie I had left behind, a cupcake mix, and we each got a fleece blanket. Mine is Green Bay Packers, and Daniel is OU.

Again, cloud 9.

Also, I ordered some jeans this week because I've lost a little more weight and it's embarrassing how much my current jeans are sagging in certain areas. I'll take a before and after pic when I get the new jeans so you can fully appreciate it with me.

So I had them sent to Sarah's house, and they're getting delivered a week earlier than expected. Which means she will be able to mail them to me before I travel!!

Cloud 9.

So many little blessings, surprises, and my day has been made.

(sadly Daniel's wasn't because his ipod was stolen today.)  Hopefully he can find comfort in his new OU blanket. Or maybe a kit kat.



Monday, October 3, 2011

Running, rain, records, recipes, and random

There is just so much to say, i can't even stand it.

Let's start off with the most important news. I witnessed a miracle today.

I ran 3 miles in 30:30. In case math isn't your best subject, that's an average of a 10:10 mile. As in 10 MINUTES 10 SECONDS people. Ya'll.......seriously?!?!?!?!!? My average is usually 12 minute, or as of late 11.

Can I get an AMEN?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!??!!?

Let's backtrack to the reason why I ran so fast:

I slept in till 9 am this morning. I drank 2 cups of coffee with homemade coffee creamer (read down for the recipe). After drinking the coffee, a sip of water and no food, I thought it would be a good time for a run. Yes, call me crazy.

As I stepped outside it started to rain. Perfect.

I took off running and felt really fast. I've heard that coffee that make you run faster, and I'm here as living proof that it does. I don't really recommend the no water, no food, only coffee mix though, because i've had a bad headache since.

Anyways, let's get back to the awesomeness that was this morning.

I ran at a pace of 10 min 10 seconds a mile. And yes, I'm pretty sure I heard the Hallelujah chorus as I finished. Not sure if that will ever happen again, but I just witnessed something that has been forever in my "impossible" category. I'm sure Runner's World will be asking me to do speaking engagements or something very soon.

I got a recipe for coffee creamer from a friend, and then I googled to see what variations there might be. I specifically looked for a Creme Brulee creamer recipe, because that was my fave in the States. And coffee creamer has been one thing I have really missed.

I found one here. Someone had given me SCM a while back, and when I went to use it this morning, I realized it expired in January of 2010. But beggars can't be choosers, and nothing was going to stop me from making this creamer.

It was good. It wasn't much like what I would buy in the States, but I think it just needs a bit of tweaking. I didn't think it was very sweet, but Daniel couldn't even drink it because he said it was too sweet. Anyways, I'm pretty excited just to have a starting point and to be able to make different flavors. I might look for a hazelnut flavor too, because that's my second fave. Oh the possibilities!!!!

For the random.....

We can buy sodas at an import store for about $1.50. I buy a Diet A&W every so often as a treat. But sometimes they'll sell things at a discount if they're damaged or expired. I was at the import store last night and found these little treasures for half off, so about 0.80 cents!

It's damaged, but who am I to judge. And no it's not diet, but I was at negative calories when I ate lunch today, so I think it will be okay to splurge.

To keep with the random.......Daniel and I were walking to dinner a couple weeks back and saw this. I HAD to take a picture!!

It's kind of blurry, but yes, that is a purple dog.

So many questions......



Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Stats

So random, but I was just looking at the calendar at my mileage for the week and realized it's October. October people!!!!! It's practically Christmas!!! WOW!!!!!!! That's insane, how in the world have we gotten here so fast?!?!? anyone with me???

Normally in the states October and November are busy months because everyone and their dog on both sides of our family decided to be born in October and November. And yes, we thought it would be a good time to get married too.

Even though we're living a few thousand miles away, we still managed to fill up almost every day and weekend over the next 2 months. Go us.

That has nothing to do with running, but for the love it's October!!! And I just can't believe it.

So, i just finished Week 4 of the half training. Confession, I've never gone this far in a training schedule without missing a day or cutting a run out. I'm very proud to say, I have not missed a single day of training! Every run on the schedule has been done!

This weeks long run was 8 miles. I ended up doing 8.4, because there just isn't a good 4 mile route, it's either a little less or a little more.

Here's the play by play:

I tried to hydrate yesterday, which means I only had 1 cup of coffee. I got up at 6:30 this morning, because there is nothing worse than doing a long run late in the day. I prefer to get it out of the way and then eat and rest the whole day to make up for the run, ha!

So I didn't want to run with my water bottle the whole 8 miles, so I told our gate guard that I would be running a long time, and could i please leave my bottle with him, and I would come back to get it? He cheerfully agreed. (he sees me run all the time, so he wasn't weirded out).

(sidenote, I brought 2 Vanilla Bean Gu's with me when we came).

So I ran my first 4 miles, with a good 12 min/mile pace. I had to make myself slow down a lot, because I'm averaging 11 min/miles lately. I swung back around after the first loop, got my water bottle and Gu, and went back out.

Honestly, I realllllly don't like stopping when I run. I wish there were little drink stations set up for me so I could grab my Gatorade and keep going. And there is some type of mental block that happens to me when I stop, and then rerun everything again. It always take me a good mile to get back into the groove of things.

Anyways, Gu went well and I finished pretty strong. I have NEVER run this many miles and been able to keep my pace below 12 minutes. Usually after 5, it slows down a lot. I was pretty excited!!

I had a huge breakfast to make up for the run and a large iced coffee. I seriously love them. They're so easy to make, yet I just don't make them very often. All week I knew I'd have iced coffee after my run, so that was a bit of a motivator as well.

My total mileage for the week was 19.4 miles. Next week it will be 21.