Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen: 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Year In Review

This past year has been an interesting one to say the least. My aunt says that the calendar should take a hint from hotels and omit the 13th year. It just doesn't always go right. At least my 2013 is ending on a high note!

My year began with the common, I MUST LOSE WEIGHT, mantra that all new years for most women contain. I worked with my doctor on a natural but very reduced caloric diet intake while taking medicine to help aid in the weight loss. I did lose the weight but SURPRISE, we got pregnant in March, found out April 1. Then all heck broke loose. Things weren't going well. Not even from the start. Matt was out of town the whole time I was pregnant. I had to go to the doc every couple of days for blood work and check-ups. Stress upon stress built! As did my waist line as I had many celebration and sympathy ice cream outings. All the weight I had lost at the beginning of the year was back, and it put me back at my weight from the 1st time I really lost a ton of weight back in 2010-2011.

May rolls around along with my miscarriage and the next day the arrival of Mother's Day and my husband who was hauling butt driving cross country to be with me, after his military training was done. I was in the dumps. I had low self confidence. My faith in Heavenly Father was altered. I thought for sure that it was our miracle. But nope miscarriage #2 in a row. And I had gained 15 lbs quickly and felt bad in that arena. I talked with some friends who told us about a great gym that provides day care, 2.5 hours worth a day. Membership was steeper than we like but the day care provided was the sweet note! So I enrolled in THE BIGGEST GYM I have ever been in. It has everything. Classes, track, weights, cardio, spa the works! I love it.

And I wanted/needed to get back into running. So I signed up for my first 5k. No more excuses. That was my new mantra! I put running races off for years. I thought I was too fat. Too slow. I don't have the running body type. But I have learned, it doesn't matter what you look like, or how slow you go. It is that you finish! Every time I cross that finish line, I cry because I am doing something I never thought I could do. And I don't care if I am the last one to cross. I am honored to cross that line!

I trained with amazing ladies for the women's 4 miler race! Made new friends, kept old ones from prior races. Fell in love with running again. Then BAM! SURPRISE, really, really surprise, cause we weren't "trying". PREGNANT AGAIN! But this time it sticks. My mantra, no excuses stuck in my mind. If the pregnancy is meant to be than I can still run. No excuse to stop running just cause I am pregnant. So run I did, and have! I have run in 5 races this year. 2 5k's, 1 4 miler, 1 10k, and 1 8k. I feel great about myself!

So now the end of the year, I am 20 weeks pregnant, almost 21 weeks. Still running. Still taking care of myself. And so happy with where this year has brought me. I am glad the year is over though, cause it was a rocky first half of the year but hey I survived. Now on to 2014 Where we will meet our new child, I will run more races and learn to run faster and better! I am so happy!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Prepping for Labor

This one goes out to the expecting momma's out there! Lately I have had ladies asking me how do I prepare for a medication free labor. I already talked about hypnobirthing, and that is one way, but seriously. How to prepare for labor??? It is hard to be completely prepared for it. And every labor is different. Women who find out that I birthed Mason without meds look at me like I am crazy or are in awe.

Some women want to try medication free. Some women know they want an epidural. Some women know they want to or have to have a c-secion. But if you are on the fence about wanting to try medication free first, good for you! Why not try experiencing the most painful experience in your entire life. We as women are blessed with the honor of experiencing child birth and all the pleasant and unpleasant aspects of it. One way or another that child is coming out, right? I often tell women if you want to try medication free, do it. Try it. But! You need to mentally prepare yourself for the what-if's.

I wanted med free birth. That was my plan. But I accepted that if I couldn't handle it and I needed help or sleep than yes, I would have gotten an epidural. A 17 hour labor is a long time without rest or sleep. Sometimes an epidural is just what is needed to let you sleep and BAM you are ready to have a baby. I also accepted the fact that if I had to have intervention then that is what needed to be done. I hoped I didn't need intervention or a c-section and glad that I didn't but I was ok if I needed it.

~Think about the kind of birth you want. Hearing or watching birth stories can get overwhelming. I watched TLC's A Baby story all the time while pregnant with Mace, and at about 30 weeks I couldn't handle it anymore. It freaked me out. I started to have doubts if I could actually do a med free birth.

~Prepare for the worst. I won't give birth at home. I will give birth in a hospital. For the Just in case! I am thankful for the medical advances we have available to us today. I know plenty of women that, without medical advancements to help with their labors they would have not made it through.

~Educate yourself on how labors go, what interventions can be used. Know what they are before so that if you have to have them you won't be scared, too much. Take a birthing class. Meet with professionals about it. Educate yourself on all the various drugs they can give you, pitocin, cydotec or anything else.

~Know your limits. Know at what point you are willing to say, GIVE ME THE DRUGS! I had a line in my mind and I never got close to it. I was weird per my doula. Usually during transition the mother starts saying, "I can't do this." or a variation similar to that. That is one sign that they are close to being near the pushing phase. Transition is hard, and fast. I never asked for anything. Never questioned my ability to keep going without meds. Merrie said that was weird. I am sure if it got a ton worse than I would have been asking and I knew my line. Just never crossed it.

~Make a birth plan. Come prepared to the hospital. If you are ready to go on things and everything is in your own wording you will feel better about it. Oh and talk to your doc before labor about what you want. Make sure they are on the same board as you and how they respond to different situations. My doc, totally open to unmedicated births, but not open about alternate birthing positions, (squating, all 4 or kneeling I will be having a talk with him about that when I get closer BTW!)

~Second time is not the same as the first. I have heard and read this. It will be faster or it will go completely different that the first. I am scared for that fact and still trying to prepare myself. Even though I have done an unmedicated birth for my son, I am still preparing these same ways for this next one because who knows what might happen. Just cause I did it once doesn't automatically guarantee that I can do it again!

QOTD: Do you read birthing stories or watch birth shows to help you prepare? Have they freaked you out too?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry And Bright!

Sorry about yesterday folks! It has been hard few days around here. Kid was/is sick, now I'm sick oh and Daddy is sick too, but I still sent him to work. It is so hard having a 2 year old be sick. He doesn't understand what is going on with him or why I have to give him medicine or why we have to hold an inhaler to his mouth. We ended up going to the Doc office on Monday for Mason. He has a pretty serious cold. He was wheezing all weekend and took him in and he had to do this steam medicine for 10 minutes. WORST 10 MINUTES! I had to hold him down and just deal with the screaming, bitting, scratching, and kicking.

Now I have been knocked down with this thing he has and I can't take a darn thing for it. Having a bad cold and no remedy really stinks! So yesterday I was dealing with him while I was sick. What I don't understand is that when I was pregnant with Mace, I never got sick. Not once. This kid the entire month of December I have been sick. ARGH!

Anyhew, on to Christmas. Matt and I were asked by Santa's elves to finish assembling a wonderful gift for the goomer! We spend 2 nights putting it together and Christmas Eve we finished super gluing all the pieces down. You will see in a bit what it is!

We started with these yummy cinnamon rolls for the morning breakfast, but it ended up being more midmorning before we ate them because they took a little longer than I thought they would. I used Paula Deen's recipe and they were really good. I ended up giving most away to the neighbors for Christmas! It was my first time making homemade cinnamon rolls, ever. So I think I did pretty well!

Mason took a little bit to wake up and not freak out about the gifts under the tree. He didn't want anything to do with opening the gifts until about 10 or so. Some were even later so we just listened to what he wanted. But it definitely wasn't the picture perfect Christmas morning we all think about with children. He cried when he woke up, cried coming down the stairs, threw a wrapped gift we were trying to get him to open and just cried. Like I said around 10 though he started to calm down enough and unwrap some gifts, including some cars which he loved.

The big surprise was in the basement though and once he opened up that sucker he was hooked! HE LOVES his new Cars Land table. We glued the track down completely so that it stayed a track. We know our son and it would have been destroyed in 5 seconds had we not. BEST DECISION EVER! If the super glue ever fails, then we will screw down the pieces but we wanted to start simple with the glue and it seems to be working after 2 full days of playing on it. The rest of the day we just hung out and played, watched TV. Let Mason rest, I rested. Oh I did make my mom's beef stroganoff for lunch and IT HIT THE SPOT! It was so yummy. My husband doesn't like it, and continued to eat the tamales we got for our Christmas Eve dinner. But after the drama of gifts were done we just hung out as a family watching Christmas movies and playing with Mason's new table!
 ~Daddy and Mason working on mommy's fav Christmas Drink.~

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas day today! We had fun here, there was plenty of screaming, sniffling and coughing going on in the house. But we survived and by the end of the day, with the help of medication to the kid, we were all happy and cuddly. I will post more tomorrow about our adventurous day today!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December-Week 3 Workout Re-Cap

Last week was a great week for me in the working out department! I really did well and am super proud of myself. I pushed myself but not too hard. I listened to my body (until Sat.) and I think we both did more than we thought. (My body and me)

Mon: 2 mile walk-17 min mile- super slow to get back into moving
Tues: 3 mile run/jog - 14:42 pace
Wed: Pilates stretching 20 min DVD
Thurs: 2 mile run- Interval walk @ 3.7 with 5.0 run on treadmill (2:30 sec)-15:09 pace
1 hour prenatal yoga class
Friday: 1 mile run/jog- Interval walk 3.8 with 5.0 run (2:1)-14:00 pace
Saturday: 5.5 mile run/walk-15:06 pace (first time I got hip pain going uphill.)

13.5 miles!

Spoke to my running coach for the training program I am in and he gave me a schedule to follow to help me get ready for the 1/2. My long runs are just getting longer from here on out.

I am doing much better today and yesterday after downing a ton of water. I have learned my lesson. More water! I now carry around a 32 ounce bottle with me and my daily goal is 4+ of them. It is a ton of water! I will also be running with my water bottle and a camelback on my long runs and when I get home, gatorade and more water, even if I don't feel like drinking anything.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Busy Being Mommy

The last couple of days have been something to say the least! I didn't drink enough water after my long run on Saturday and on Sunday I was dehydrated. I had a hard time eating and drinking and if it got worse I might have had to go in to see the ER. But I worked through it and I am much better now. I have learned my lesson. MORE WATER!

Also the kid has been sick too. That kind of took precedent over my sickness too. He slept in bed with me and was my little minion with a fart gun in my face all night! (see Despicable Me 2 if you don't know what I am talking about!) Went to the doctor today and he is on an inhaler until the cough clears and another medication for his cough/mucus. No ear infections though! THAT IS GOOD NEWS! Thankfully he has his appetite back, he just put 2 handfuls of Chic-fil-a fries on my lap for me to hold him. YUMMO! Anyhew today I have been just busy being a mommy. Taking care of my sick body and my sick son! I will get back to posting tomorrow though for your reading pleasure! Thanks for sticking around!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

How Much Recovery?

(Mason decided not to nap in his room during Mommy quiet time and later passed out on the dog.)
Are you in the mood for a nice healthy meal after you run? Or do you like to just rest while stretching. Or how about a nice nap to help get your body feeling like it is back to normal. Ever since I got pregnant I have felt that I NEEDED a mid day nap just to be able to function during the later end of the day. Add in exercise on top of pregnancy, I will literally crash at about 5 if I don't get a rest/nap. The big key is to listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs. 

This week on Tuesday, I did my first run since Thanksgiving. Like actual, pushing myself run. Mace didn't want to nap later in the afternoon. I went straight during the day without a single rest. Then I had to teach, make dinner, family time, and put the kid down. At 8pm my body just crashed, and crashed HARD! I could hardly stand up. Matt had to help me up to bed and once my head hit the pillow I was out, until my dad called about an hour later. I learned my lesson. I know that I need to rest, I have to rest. I am pregnant. I am also putting my body through rigorous exercise while pregnant which means I require more recovery time. It is what it is. 

So now I know. I know that on long runs, like today, I have to nap. Even if that means for my nap to be during Sesame Street, then in my bed with my 2 year old next to me cause I don't have enough energy to deal with him not wanting to sleep in his own bed. (At least he slept for 2 hours, which is exactly what I needed.) 

I am planning ahead now. I know that the day of the 1/2 marathon we will be go back to our hotel, request late checkout and go back to sleep for as long as possible, then go play! (That is the plan at this point.)

Listen to your body. Do what it needs and it will thank you and work with you in the end! 

QOTD: How do you recover after a long run, or any workout in general?

Friday, December 20, 2013


I am so excited to share this post with you. I have had a lot of women asking me about hypnoBirthing since they know I did mine with it and drug free. 

What is Hypnobirthing? Per it is a simple, straightforward program, thoughtfully developed over the years to remind mothers of the simplicity of birth itself. Just as the majority of birthing women do not need interventions and procedures for safe and healthy birth, they do not need a complex set of exercises and scripts to prepare themselves for peaceful, calm and comfortable birthing. 

Here is a 9 min video on hypnoBirthing:

When I was 14 years old my nephew was born. I remember hearing about the epidural process and it freaked me out. Why would you put a needle in your spine? It didn't make any sense to me. I told my mom that day that I was never going to get an epidural when I have a baby. She just looked at me and said, "We will see." Ever since I got married I looked forward to getting pregnant and showing all the naysayers that yes I could do it without pain relievers. (I had told countless other people by this point my plan on a drug free labor. Common response was "yeah right".) 

When I finally got pregnant after 8 years of trying, I called my sister in law who had 5 kids all drug free. She was induced with all her labors because she wouldn't go into labor naturally. So yes, while on pitocin she did not get any pain medication. Did she want it, heck yeah. Until her 5th birth. She used hypnobirthing. I talked to her a ton about it. She sent me the CD's to listen to and told me the book to get. (HypnoBirthing the Mongan Method) I was about 24 weeks when I started listening to the CD's. I would listen to them when I walked on the treadmill. (Use your own judgement.)

I would listen to them about 3 days a week at the gym and then maybe 1-2 days at home just to relax. I loved listening to the positive affirmations CD the most. It just made me feel better. 

My labor story with Mason: 

Mason was induced with cytotec, not pitocin, since my hubby was leaving for Iraq 3 days after Mason was born. During the induction, waiting for things to happen, I listened to the positive affirmations to get them clear in my head especially for during the "hard part" and after. At 4:30 I had a failed induction. I was only a 4 and 100% and -1 station. Doc said I could go home or break my water. We broke my water and got the party started. (I didn't want my water broken prior to 7cm by the way because I was concerned about other things happening than can happen. But I needed my hubby there. Personal choice I made.) Water broke, doula was called and got there in 30 min (which felt like FOREVER by the way) I got in the tub to labor and that is when I found my relaxation spot. I imagined my white chair at the end of a long hallway. I had ever-changing walls around me and when I had a surge (contraction) I would see waves lapping on the beach all around me. In between surges I laid back in the tub and went to my quiet place. My husband said it looked like I was asleep. The only pain at this point that I complained about was my feet were hurting because I was kneeling in the tub and the top of my feet hurt in the tub. At about 8ish, I started feeling the urge to push in the tub so I had to get out. Couldn't relax in-between the contractions as much as I had to make my way back to the bed and contract in the middle of the room with my hubs as support.

Got checked in the bed and it was go time. Doc and nurses said I was an awesome pusher and baby could have been born in 3 pushes but they needed me to "stretch" So the doc kept the head crowning so I could stretch around it. I never once felt the "ring of fire." I felt pressure. I didn't scream. I grunted like a gorilla, because that is what my body needed to do. Mace was born at 8:52pm. I did have a 1 degree tear, not from the head by from the force and speed at which I birthed his shoulders. I also felt the stitch when the doc stitched me up. I said, "ouch!" when he stuck me with the needle, I guess he didn't numb me. He remarked, "You are complaining about a stitch after you just pushed a baby out!" He was dumbfounded by it. I told him it was a different pain. But it quickly went away as my endorphins covered up that pain too. It was just the first stick that was different. 20 minutes after I had Mason, I remember saying, "I want to do that again!" The nurses thought I was crazy! The adrenaline rush afterwards was AMAZING! Not even the scariest roller coaster has given me that much of a rush, but it was easier than I thought it would be. Then nurses also told me that I was born to birth with how well I did. (FYI I don't remember most of my labor experience. I was that relaxed and focused. My doula and hubby had to fill in the blanks for me about what happened.)

Ever since I had Mason I have been excited to get pregnant and bring another life into this world but also to go through birthing again. It was not like it was in the movies, or the 2 ladies around me in the hospital before they got their epidurals. They were screaming, like I'm going to die screaming. We knew when they got their epidural because it got very quiet. I made noise, I grunted a lot. I did a lot of breathing. I did it drug free. I was also open to the fact that if I needed an epidural I would get one, but I never got to that point. Now it is time for me to start listening to the CD's again and I am so excited. I am going to try this again. My concern, will I get into that super relaxed state if my labor is less than 4 hours. Mason was 4 hours, this one should technically be faster. We shall see. 20 more weeks and we will know for sure.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Tab

I added a new tab! RECIPES!  Quick find for all the recipes that I have posted on the blog! Check it out!

Seriously the Spinach Salad is still the most viewed recipe I have posted! Anyone try it for Thanksgiving? Are you planning on trying it for Christmas too?


Not only did I make 8 dozen cookies this past weekend, I also signed up to take some cookies to a church function tonight, which means more baking. Then I got a call from the hubs yesterday that he is supposed to bring something to a potluck today. I got the call yesterday afternoon. He has known about this party for over a week and I get the call the day before!

I told him, I bet this is what it feels like when a 10 year old comes up to his mom and says, "mom I have a project due tomorrow. Can you help me make it?" A mom would internally scream, takes a deep breath and calmly asks her kid, " how long have you known about this project?" "3 weeks." ARGH! I know this will happen to us at some point, and more than once. But it just goes to show that my hubby is a big kid! Anyhew, I am making my grandma's marshmallow fruit cocktail (see below for recipe if you want to try it, but my Grandma made it and it is really yummy!) for him to take to work and the cookies for tonight, I am making this easy fudge.

Tuesday while on the on the treadmill running the Pioneer Women came on the food network and she made Quick and Easy Peppermint Fudge. It looked totally too easy! Just chocolate, sweetened condensed milk and peppermint candies for the topping. That's it! Not sure how it will turn out but 3 ingredients and 2 of them I already have on hand, can't beat that! (Also, I am going to add some chopped walnuts to it. YUMMY!)

Now, time to plan our Christmas meal. What should we do? Oh and yesterday I found out that my mom reads my blog! HI MOM!!! She was asking me questions about the hidden gifts in the house growing up.

Marshmallow Fruit Cocktail: 

2 cans Fruit Cocktail
1 can pineapple triangles
1 can mandarine oranges
1 can maraschino cherries
1 cup shredded coconut
1 c of "tiny" marshmallows
16 oz sour cream
12 tablespoons sugar

Mix together and let set in fridge for a couple hours before serving.

QOTD: Do you do too much cooking/baking around the holiday?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas like a Kid!

I love Christmas. It is my favorite holiday of them all! I remember as a little girl sneaking out of my room and taking a peak at all the gifts under the tree and silently walking back to my room before anyone knew what I did, especially Santa. Didn't want to upset the big guy! I know one year I went out, then after I got back in my room, I heard my brother do the same exact thing. Then at some awful hour in the morning, I would sneak into my brothers room and ask when we should go wake up Mom and Dad, who specifically told us not to bother them until at least 7am. At 7am on the dot we would pounce on them in their bed and ask to open our gifts!!!

As I got older the fun thing was trying to find the hidden gifts in the house. My parents only had a few places that they could hid the gifts, but we found them most of the time. On top of my dad's dresser, in the top of my mom closet, or the back of her filing cabinet. One year they were piled high in the trunk of the car. Another year they were in the attic. Yep we found most of them. Or would shake the ones under the tree trying to figure out what was in it.

How as big kids now can we experience the same excitement about Christmas. This year I feel rushed to get everything sent out. I haven't figured out what I was going to do for Matt.  (actually I did but he spied it and got it last night!) Now to figure something else out. My gifts for me are on their way, and I picked them out. Also this year, Matt and I will be up until all hours of the night on Christmas Eve assembling Mason's HUGE gift from Gma and Gpa. I still plan on having a surprise for Matt, (yes dear you will be surprised by something!) I also can't wait to see Mason's face when he see his awesome gift in the basement! It has to do with Cars, Disney Cars. I will post plenty of pix of him with it on Christmas, have no fear about that!

Try to surprise your significant other. Get them something special that they won't be expecting but will love. See the joy in others around you and in your children on Christmas morning. Not is as sweet and pure as a Child's joy of the magic of Christmas. Take time to spend as a family. Go on a walk or just play more than usual. I still want to make a special meal for us, even if it is just the 3 of us. I will miss not being with extended family but I look forward to making new traditions!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One Worn Out Momma!

Whew! Yesterday I hit a wall! I was going, going, going all day long. No mid day rest/nap or anything. Just too busy to do it. I was gone from 9:15-1 doing church stuff and going to the gym. Came home showered, cleaned the house then taught piano from 3:15-5:45. Then went to Best Buy with the hubs to pick up his laptop and was there longer than I expected, picked up a late dinner and got home, ate, put the kid down and it was 8pm. After my body realized that I was satisfied with food I just crashed! I wanted to fall over and go to sleep. I was in bed by 8:30 and out like a light by 9, probably earlier but I don't know when I fell asleep.

Lesson learned. I need to rest mid day or else I will crash during the day. I was exhausted during teaching and almost fell asleep on my feet at the store but Mason was screaming so much that I couldn't. (he decided he didn't want to nap yesterday either.) So now I know, I have to schedule in some resting time. At least I accomplished a ton yesterday though! Positive note, always think about the positives!

QOTD: Do you take a mid day rest/nap while pregnant?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Workout Goals for the Week

Next week is Christmas! Can you believe it. Let me say that again, NEXT WEEK IS CHRISTMAS! It feels like it has snuck up on me this year which seems weird that Christmas would sneak up on me but it has. I have way too many things to do this week to get things done and sent out on time before it is too late.

One thing that I can no slack on this week is my exercise. I have really taken a break for the last 2 weeks from heavy cardio training due to my cold or whatever I had. I still don't have my full voice back. Everyone is asking if I am getting sick, nope getting over being sick. (The hard part about being sick while pregnant is you can't take anything to help you through it.)

I decided that today would be the day that come feeling 100% or not I was going to get my exercise done. It needs to be done. I do not want to gain excess weight with this pregnancy unless. In the last 2 weeks, when I haven't exercised, I was gaining the 1 lb a week that can happen. So at this point I am -2 from my pre-pregnancy weight for this pregnancy. Still 30 lbs over what my pre-pregnancy weight before Mason. Exercise is so important to me right now. I am using it as a tool to help me stay as healthy as possible and so that I can have a healthy as possible pregnancy for my baby. And eating right of course. But since next week is Christmas, I know that I will indulge just a little, and I did this weekend when I made my mom's yummy candy cane cookies. I might of had a couple.

Goals for this week:
Monday- 30 min elliptical, 2 miles walk-treadmill-CHECK- Totally did it today
Tuesday- 3 mile walk/run, Prenatal Pilates at home- CHECK- updated 12/17
Wednesday- 30 min elliptical, 3 mile walk-treadmill- did Pilates stretching 20 min- updated 12/18
Thursday- 2 mile walk/run, prenatal yoga
Friday- 30 min elliptical, 1 mile run
Saturday- 4.5 mile walk/run with training program

We shall see how this works. But I am determined to do better always. I am in full training mode now for my 1/2 marathon as I only have 9 weeks until race day!!!

QOTD: Do you hit it hard at the gym when you are getting back into the swing of things?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Good Eats- Holiday Treats

Tonight I was schedule to go to a cookie exchange but sadly I am still not feeling 100% and don't want to bake my germs into the cookies or scare the other ladies away with my lovely cough! Ahem. 

I thought I would share with you what I would have brought tonight just for fun. We were asked to bring an appetizer so naturally I wanted to bring pumpkin pie. (plus I would have had to make 2, one for the party and one for the hubs. IT IS HIS FAV!) It counts as an appetizer right??? And the cookies, well let's just say there is a yummy little kick with them. They are super easy to make too. Delicious too!

Both recipes are from Pilsbury, go figure. Now keep in mind these are Holiday Treats. Eat them in moderation because they are in no way healthy foods so eat with caution because the cookies, well, it is hard to have just one! 

A crunchy oat topping complements every bite of creamy pumpkin pie. Refrigerated pie crust makes it super easy! (but I make homemade because it is just more fun!)

8 servings

 1 box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
I use this recipe by Ina Garten for my perfect pie crust! 

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (no pumpkin pie mix)
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (1 1/2 cups)
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup quick-cooking oats

1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed (3 cups)

1) Heat oven to 425°F. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie pan as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie.
2) In large bowl, mix filling ingredients until well blended. Pour into crust-lined pan.
3) Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; bake 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix streusel ingredients.
4) Sprinkle streusel over pumpkin filling. Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
5) Gently fold orange peel into whipped topping. Serve pie with topping. Store in refrigerator.


(For cookie exchanges I call them Adult Nookie Cookies, cause they are hot, hot, hot!)
S'more flavors with a pinch of heat fill a yummy chocolate-chip cookie cup.

24 Servings

1 package (16 oz) Pillsbury® Ready to Bake! Refrigerated chocolate chip cookies (24 cookies)

1 ¼ cups Mixed Nuts with Peanuts
1 ¼ cups Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate baking chips
1 ¼ cups marshmallow creme
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon Ground Red Pepper (cayenne) (I use an extra dash to get a little more heat)

1) Heat oven to 375°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. Place 1 cookie dough round in each cup. Using floured fingers, press dough to flatten slightly.

2) Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, remove Brazil nuts from mixed nuts; coarsely chop Brazil nuts. In 2-quart saucepan, heat chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, half-and-half and red pepper over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in remaining mixed nuts.

4) Drop about 1 tablespoon nut mixture onto each cookie. Let stand about 15 minutes or until chocolate is set. To serve, remove bites from paper baking cups. If desired, place each bite into a new paper baking cup.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My First Feature!

I was featured on Fit Approach for being a new Sweat Pink Ambassador! I am so excited to share my story with so many women! Check out the site to read other incredible stories and meet amazing women, just click below!

Fit Approach Sweat Pink Ambassador- My Aha Moment

Our Christmas Tree- vol 1.

I thought it would be fun to start showing off some of my favorite ornaments on our Christmas tree. Our tree is FULL of memories. We have ornaments from my parents tree that they gave us to fill our tree a few years ago that I grew up with. We have some from my own tree that I had in my room growing up and then we the the ones that Matt and I have been given or collected. We get at least 1 new ornament a year generally we get 3-4 which is pretty cool!

On our tree we have mostly Disney ornaments. I also have quite a few french horns and pianos all over. I have my students look for the hidden pianos and horns and try to see if they can count all of them. I have about 50 horns and pianos all over the tree. I kind of collect them.

We have our small but growing Star Trek collection for both me and Matt. Mason loves it because we have a Borg cube and when you turn on the tree it says, "We are the Borg. Enjoy you holidays. Resistance is futile."

Then we have a small smattering of other stuff, Arizona State stuff, Santa and other fun stuff.

So here is the start of some of my favs this year! In no particular order!
~Mason salt dough ornament that my mom and I made last year with his hand print. Needless to say, his hands have grown.~
 ~Gma gave this to us for Mason's first Christmas! I LOVE IT!~
 ~One of the many french horns all over my tree.~
 ~First ornament on the tree every year. It's tradition! Our first Christmas ornament!It is near the top in the very middle~
 ~Another collection from my mom and dad. Each blue ball, and there are I think 9, has a different image of favorite original attractions at Disneyland. The castle always goes near the middle. Sad story, a few years ago during a move a few got broken and I glued them back together. So the ones with the most cracks are in the back of the tree. Thank goodness my fabs were unharmed.~
 ~One of my former students went to WDW in the beginning of the year and saved this through the year as a Christmas gift to me. The daughter picked it out and everything since Cindy is one of my favs. (she was my fave till Brave came out. Sorry Cindy.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gift Giving Guide for the Fledgling Runner

It's that time of year again for people to be asking you, "What do you want for Christmas?" Well, every year I have some idea, this year I really didn't. So what better way to figure out what I would like/actually need for running than to actually sit down and figure it out. Being a new runner I don't have a ton of running clothing. I have generally worked out in a gym so I could wear tank tops year round and shorts but now that I am running outside in this frigid weather, I AM SO NOT DRESSED FOR SUCESS right now! The mornings that I have run I have been freezing and even after running for a bit I am still cold or too hot and sweaty in my current jacket that I am running in because it is not for running. So here goes a list of some items with varying prices from low to VERY high! (But an investment in your new sport.)

1. When we were at the turkey trot we were FREEZING! My toes and hands were the worst.  We were talking with a lady decked out in awesome running apparel and she pointed out her gloves that were flip tips so that you could have your fingers free of material but then flip the top up to keep them nice and toasty. AND they are at TARGET! Check out these Champion flip tip gloves - $16.99

2. As I said earlier, I have the wrong jacket for running. I have an Old Navy Fleece jacket that is tight fitting but does not wick the sweat away. I get hot and stuffy very early on which makes me need to take it off and then I am FREEZING for the remainder of my run. I have been eyeing these Under Armour infrared jackets for awhile and they have the thummy holes! -$124.99

3. Recently somebody, Matt, borrowed my headphones and somebody, ahem, Matt, LOST THEM! ARGH! So now I have no running headphones. GRRR! So I am in the market for some new ones. Another blogger I follow, Healthy Heddleston, posted these on her site and I have been eyeing them for a couple of days now, debating. They look great and they won't come popping out of ears when running because they hook around the back of the ear. So here is a great idea for headphones! Koss Fitclips - $19.99

4. In staying warm I don't want to wear a beanie or a hat. But my ears need to stay warm. These looked cute and for the price, can't beat that! Turtle fur headbands - $10.50

5. When I first joined the Women's 4 Miler training program, I asked my friend Janet what will I need when running in the cold. The first thing she said is that she likes to wear arm sleeves. When she gets hot she just rolls them down and she is good. So this site has super cute fun patterns for sleeves to choose from! Running Skirts Arm Sleeves - $39.00

6. So the running tops I have are tank tops and 1 short sleeve shirt. I use the short sleeve shirt for running outside now, under my fleece jacket. NOT GOOD! but my shirt I have is a running tech shirt so that helps to wick the sweat off my skin but the jacket makes it stuffy. I need some long-sleeved tops. Target has some great priced ones but these Under Armour cozy necks long sleeved shirts look so nice and comfy! But they are pricy, maybe just 1 for the super cold mornings. - $49.99

7. Again I have shorts and 1 pair of capri pants. So I am in the market for a few more pairs of running pants. I don't think I could pull off tights or feel comfortable wearing super tight pants. Just not my thing. And I know the compression pants would be great for my legs, just not great looking, yet. But these Nike capris look pretty nice and it would be something I would try out since my current shorts and capris are all Nike I am used to their style and fit. Nike Epic Running Capris - $75

So here are some ideas. I am sure that I could come up with more but these are what I have for now! Happy hunting and if you have any other ideas on the goods for a fledgling runner leave a comment below!

QOTD: What are your must haves for cold weather running?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Laid Low

Hello my blogging friends! I am still sick, sick, sick! It is not fun. I completely lost my voice as you know last Friday and it has not returned. It is better now and I can speak again but for only a little bit and it involves a lot of hacking up of lungs. Not a fun cough. My hubby has been home all weekend taking care of me and watching Mason so that I can rest. (He even brought me lunch in bed on Saturday.) Sadly with this sickness I haven't exercised, but I do wonder how many calories are burned when you are coughing the amount I am. It has to do something, right?

Anyhew, today I am going to try an at home video by Leslie Sansone, Walk Away the Pounds. One of the 3 miles ones I have. These are my go to for home exercise when I can't get out. And lately with all the snow and ice and urging from the VDOT to not drive we have been/would have been stuck at home. So today I am back to exercise, but slowly. I have to get back to running regularly as the half is quickly approaching! So join me today in exercise. In about 2 hours I will be doing me. Will you do yours?

QOTD: What exercise do you do when you are snowed in?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Turkey Trot Race Recap

 Charlotte, NC Southpark 8k Turkey Trot
I will get this posted! Since this doesn't require a physical voice I can do this. Mace is still asleep, thank goodness with all the coughing I have been doing, so I have a little mommy time. (He should wake up anytime now since I just said the previous statement!)

For Thanksgiving we were going to NC to visit our closest, in distance, family members. I looked for a race in the area of where they lived and noticed that the Southpark Turkey Trot was celebrating its 25th anniversary and they mentioned a "special medal" on their website. What do I think, NEW BLING! I love getting the racing bibs, and the shirts but the medals gives it an extra little, YEA factor. I earned it. I feel powerful and it is a heavy reminder of what I accomplished to earn. The medals for Disney are what really got me interested in running in the first place. Who wouldn't want a heavy beautiful medal with Mickey on it?

Anyhew. I had been telling Matt all week that it was going to be cold. Really cold. 22 degrees cold! That morning he didn't really believe me I guess until he walked out side and turned back and said, "I don't think so! Are you crazy!?!" I said, "I already paid the fee and when we start running we will warm up anyways." He then contented to mutter how insane I was for wanting to run early in the morning, a holiday morning nonetheless, in the freezing cold. I continued to remind him that he was supporting me and he was happy to support me, but from a nice warm place. Anyhew he was cold and hungry, and grumpy. I don't blame him. IT WAS COLD!
~My first racing tutu! Thanks to Race Junkie!~

We arrived at the race location, 30 minutes early, because I thought it would take longer to arrive. We picked up our racing packet and shirt and high tailed it back to the car to stay warm. Matt didn't turn on the heater so that we would "acclimate" to the cold instead of going from super heated and warm to freezing again. I threw on my new race shirt under my running shirt as I forgot my running jacket at home and my running shirt was short sleeved. I was freezing but it was the perfect amount after I started to get warm. We watched the first race line up from our car and then it was time to head to the potty and then the starting line.

The website said that they limit the race to 11,000 people. It didn't look like that many people but there were a ton. And the was no announcement to get in the pace groups which were set super far apart. I read on another blog that there were about 10, 000 people running that day, there were various race distances. But it took us a min 15 second to get from our pace group, which wasn't even my pace because we were back in the 9 min pace group, because that is as high as it went, to cross the start line. There were a ton of people. And because we were "in a fast pace group and I am slow" I pulled Matt to the side of the street to allow people to pass us easier. People quickly passed us and we were in the back of the pack. As we rounded the first turn the first runners from our race were making the turn to the neighborhood part of the race.
Love the Back!

The race was pretty flat. Compared to Charlottesville area that I am used to running. I was wishing for more hills because that is where I tend to make my speed back. I stated thinking though that this is good practice for the FLAT Disney World race. I guess I have grown the love hills! We kept up a pretty good pace it felt like. We were walking/jogging and I was trying not to push myself too hard. the first water stop we took our water and the volunteers were saying that there was ice in it. I was wondering when it was so cold, why they added ice, but they didn't add ice. The water had iced over on the top! It was hard to get the water down but we needed to conserve the water we were carrying so down it went, burning all the way. At about 3 miles, we came to an area with evenly spaced light poles and I did my run 2 posts, walk 2. I finally felt my toes defrost by this point so I felt like I got my stride, thankfully! We ran through very pretty neighborhoods but at this point I stopped looking at the houses and focused more on making it at the time I wanted. 1:15 or faster. 1:20 was acceptable but I wanted 1:15. So we started to push more as I knew we only had about a mile left. At the entrance to the mall near the finish line we didn't know which side to run on for the median as so many people and cars were trying to leave. So that was a little frustrating. People were still trying to finish a race, don't block the course. We crossed the finish line holding hands, no pix! And I looked at my phone and I finished in 1:10! I was faster than I thought that I would be. I am still running a 14 min mile at 16 weeks pregnant. I was so happy with how I did! I couldn't believe it! I am running the same pace that I ran for the 10k in Oct and 30 second slower per mile from the 4 miler.

I am so proud of my body for doing what it did, IN THE FREEZING COLD! There were a ton of people milling around at the end. We got some more frozen water and gatorade. On the way home though we stopped by Starbucks, which was PACKED to get some hot coco to warm us up all the way. (That is when I started to feel my fingers again).

Note to self: get gloves, and long sleeved shirts! And maybe carpis that retain body heat! I WAS FREEZING!

It was a good race. I wish that the pace markers were closer together and that they included the slower paces too, like 10 min mile and above! Also for them to make an announcement at the beginning that it was about to start. Other than that it was well organized and an easy and beautiful race! Maybe again next year, if we are in town!

Friday, December 6, 2013


Hello my blogging friends! I just wanted to give an update and thankfully it doesn't require me to speak because I sound like a frog! I croak out words right now. I have no voice. And believe me, I am a talker and it is weird not being able to talk, at all. My poor son doesn't even understand me. I called the hubs home from work today to help take care of me but mainly my son as I can not communicate with him.

Anyhew I will have the race recap up as soon as I can but I am just resting today. I am doing this during my lunch break, must eat for the baby. Other than that I have been resting and sleeping. (I am not even going to rehearsal tonight because of this so that I won't be worse tomorrow. I haven't miss rehearsals, in a very long time. Especially on a dress rehearsal evening the day before our concert. BAD MOJO!)

But I have to take care of myself and that involves me going back up to my bed and resting and sleeping some more! Night all!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Another Year Older

Another year wiser, so they say. I know I have learned a lot in the last year but I still don't feel very wise. I have made some wise choices though, I am running and exercising now. That is pretty smart. I have been teaching in C-ville for nearly a year now, I feel pretty smart doing that with my own business and all. I still think I married THE BEST MAN OF ALL TIME, so yeah, pretty smart there. Love playing in the symphony and doing well, most of the time, check for smartness there. So things are going pretty well.

I am looking forward to my 32nd year, (EEK! Nearly mid 30's) We will introduce a new little soul into this world, I will be a "new mom" again, ok a little nervous about that part. I will continue to teach (with a little time off for mommy and baby, of course) I will run in my first 1/2 marathon. Only a goal I made a few years ago. I think this next year will go pretty well.

Goals for my next year of life: I want to run in more races! Bigger distance races. I would love to do 2 1/2 marathons next year. One in Feb and one post baby. Still trying to decide which one to do post baby though. I look forward to learning how to be a mommy to 2. I want to eat better overall and get back to my pre-pre pregnancy weight (the weight I was before Mason) So let's see where I end up next year. But here's to me to having a great day, (which I will because of my BFF who is sending me cupcakes for my birthday! with plenty to freeze from my fav place GEORGETOWN CUPCAKES! And gluten free! Love you K!)

Also, tomorrow is my turkey trot race recap so make sure to check back. Fun race!

QOTD: Do you prefer a cake or cupcakes?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pregnancy 12-16 Weeks

Today I am 17 weeks pregnant. I thought I would go back and talk about my 3rd month of pregnancy. (12-16 weeks pregnant)

Per What To at 12 weeks the baby was as big as a large plum, weighing in at only a 1/2 an ounce. By 16 weeks baby 3-5 ounces and is as big as an onion. My belly is getting rounder as the uterus is out of the pelvic bone, but it still just feels like bloating more than being pregnant.

In the last month I entered the 2nd trimester stopped having morning sickness and got my energy back. I also ran my 8k at 16 weeks pregnant for Thanksgiving, which you can read about that here. Running isn't too bad. During the 8k I had my first Braxton Hicks contraction and had to slow down and walk while it passed. I got them frequently when I was pregnant with Mason, it was always while I exercised. It also happened if I was walking too slow or too fast. It had to be just the right speed and I would not get as many. I suspect that I will continue to have them while I exercise.

I still have to nap during the day. I actually really like it. It is my quiet time to just relax and just take a breath. With the exercise I am doing I really need it.

Thankfully I don't have to go to the bathroom as often as I did in September or October.

Also I compared my pictures
to when I was pregnant with Mace. At 16 weeks pregnant now, I am as big as I was when I was 20 weeks with Mason. That has to do with the fact that I started out at 30lbs heavier with this pregnancy than I was with Mason, but as long as I don't gain weight or as little as possible I hope to end at a smaller weight than I was when I had Mason.

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