November 2015Back Home Again: November 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

December Goals and November Recap

First of all, I am in complete denial that it's already December. This year has completely flown by and I'm sure this month will too. But, there's a reward at the beginning of 2016...a trip to Disney!

Here's how I did in November:
  • Get the yard taken care of. This is half done. We got all the leaves up except for the tree that loses its leaves in early December. We'll get this done this month sometime.
  • Complete my two races. I only ran one race, the Turkey Trot 10k. Not because I didn't want to, but because I was out of fun money to register for the 8k. Oops!
  • Finish the Outlander series. Done! I really hope Diana Gabaldon is writing another book because I feel there are so many loose ends with how the last book ended. Now I need to get to reading my book club books...
  • Book our Fast Passes for Disney. Done! Well, Alan did them. All I wanted to do was go on the safari at Animal Kingdom. But I helped with our dining options!
And now for December: 
  • Get our Christmas cards sent out by December 15. I normally have them ready to go by December 1st, but I'm behind this year. 
  • Have Christmas presents wrapped by December 20. I usually wrap all of the presents at night after the kids go to bed throughout the month, but there's a little girl in our house that doesn't want to go to bed lately. 
  • Have a successful cookie decorating party. We started this tradition last year, and I cannot wait for our party this year!
  • Enjoy my birthday. 
  • Take the kids to the Christmas lights display at the fairgrounds. 
  • Enjoy Christmas!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Spreading Cheer With Cookies!

A good friend of ours always bakes tons of cookies and delivers them to her friends and family every Christmas. We decided to mix it up this year and deliver cookies to her and her family since she's had a rough couple of months. 

So, I headed out to our local Walmart to get supplies and came across several Betty Crocker cookie mixes. Now I normally prefer to make everything from scratch, but with being on a time crunch, these were perfect. I grabbed a package of sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chip for the kids and egg nog and white chocolate cranberry for the adults.

The kids and I spent the afternoon baking these goodies to deliver to our friends' doorstep the next day. These mixes are so easy and the kids loved being able to help.

We had so many cookies that we decided to spread even more cheer and drop some off to our neighbors too.

Betty Crocker wants to help you #SpreadCheer with cookie recipes, printable coloring pages, gift tags and a coupon. Oh, and they want to give you $20 via Paypal too!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Louisville, KY Turkey Trot 10k

Thanksgiving morning I ran the Northeast YMCA Turkey Trot  10k in Louisville. It was surprisingly warm for this time of year and it was a really nice morning for a run. There were about 2600 people that participated in either the 10k or 5k - larger than the Evansville Half Marathon! Unfortunately, I don't have any photos because Alan was a goof and forgot to take any (there might or might not have been some tears and threats of pie in the face... :-) )

Mile 1: 11:48 One of my fastest miles ever! I was trying to hold myself back but the course started out downhill so I just kind of let gravity help me along. Somewhere in the first or second mile, one of the volunteers was like "look at her, she's running for two. you go lady!" right as I passed by him...I'm just going to pretend that he was talking about the lady who passed me a couple minutes later with a jogging stroller...

When I hit the 5k mark, it was the fastest I have run one in a race. I don't remember the exact time, but it was in the 39-minute range. I was super excited because I have been working on running faster and it was paying off. By the time I hit mile 4, I thought that there was a chance I might actually finish under an hour and 20 minutes (my goal was to finish in under an hour and 30 minutes).

I walked through the water stop around 3 miles and was looking forward to walking through on the way back to get my strength to run up the hill back to the finish. Except they were packing up the water stop by the time I got there. I have no problem being at the back of the pack, but that is definitely a pet peeve. 

When I got to the big hill, I started running up it but walked around halfway up. When I got to the top and rounded the corner, I just shut my eyes and ran as hard as I could for the finish. My official time was 1:24:34. I originally thought that I had PR'd by a little over two minutes, but when I checked, it was actually just under four minutes, boom!

Alan drew me a "photo" of me crossing the finish line :-)

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It's Ok November 24, 2015

...that my neighbor uses his leaf blower at 7AM every weekend.

...that I made my first ever pumpkin pie from scratch for Thanksgiving.

...that I feel totally unprepared for my 10k race on Thanksgiving.

...that I was so not impressed with the final episode of Downton Abbey until the Christmas special.

...that I had to take a mini-Facebook break because of all the negative energy certain people bring.

...that I get a four day weekend!

What's ok with you this week?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It's Ok November 17, 2015

...that I'm sharing my friends' gofundme page for their son, Gavin. He's got Klippel-Trenauney Syndrome.

...that some people in blogging groups get a little too into it.

...that some people just suck, no matter how much you wish they didn't.

...that I'm participating in #29daysofcomplaining instead of "being thankful."

...that we are touring a school where Ewan may possibly attend KINDERGARTEN today.

What's ok with you this week?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Butternut Squash Risotto

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NourishingEveryday #CollectiveBias

I usually host Thanksgiving at my house and am always trying to find creative ways to incorporate vegetables that are healthy AND something my family will eat. A few years ago I came across a butternut squash risotto recipe in a magazine that looked delicious and I put a copy in my recipe binder and promptly forgot about it until I was looking through my binder not too long ago. So when I came across butternut squash on sale at my local Schnucks recently, I decided to pick one up and try out this recipe.

Here's what you need:

4-5 cups chicken/beef/vegetable broth 
2 tbs olive oil
3 shallots, diced
2-3 c peeled and cubed butternut squash 
dried thyme
tumeric I used for color
1 c arborio rice
1/2 c white wine
1/2 c Parmesan cheese 

I peeled and cubed my squash that I bought, but it's much easier and faster to buy the precut squash. Especially when you're cooking an entire holiday meal yourself!

Heat broth to steaming and keep warm. Heat oil in a saucepan and add shallots, then add squash, thyme, salt, pepper and tumeric. Add rice, stir until translucent then add wine and stir until almost absorbed by the rice. 

Stir in 1/2 cup of hot broth and simmer stirring constantly until liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding 1/2 at a time until rice is tender and creamy. Add cheese. This took me about 30 minutes and I used about 4 cups of broth.

I've spoken before about how I love the sales at Schnucks and this grocery trip was no exception. Not only did they have their buy 10 get the 11th free promotion going on, but they also had a deal where you purchase three orange dot meat items for $15. You could choose from things like steak, pork chops and bacon, as well as several other items.

Again, I love this kind of deal because I can stock up and freeze for later. It's so nice to be able to get fresh meat and produce (not to mention baking supplies - I love this time of year!) at a decent price. I posted a video on my Instagram showing off my freezer stocked full of peppers from this deal and when I open the freezer, I just smile. It's so great to just grab something out of the freezer to throw together a quick meal on a busy weeknight.

As you all probably realize by now, I'm really big on the family table and providing nourishing meals (aka real food) to which my family can down and enjoy. Schnucks is great at helping me nourish my family with their stock of quality food at a decent price. Sitting down at the table with an actual meal was something I never really did growing up and I want to instill that nourishing tradition in my kids.

I also love it when I can turn a Thanksgiving side into a weeknight meal that the whole family loves!

What's your favorite weeknight meal? Do you incorporate it into the holidays?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sheriff Callie Birthday Party

Saturday was finally Cecily's birthday party. Her birthday was a few weeks ago, but since we were out of town and the place where we wanted to have it was booked the following weekend, it was two weeks late. But it was worth it because we surprised her with a pony party!

I don't normally do this, but I had a theme for all of the food. It was Sheriff Callie and her friends' favorites. Sparky's hay bales, Deputy Peck's trail mix, Toby's popcorn, Tio's chili and Sheriff Callie's badge. 

She did NOT want us to sing or even say Happy Birthday to her...what is up with my kids and three year old parties, I will never know. Ewan was the same way - he made us sing to him in Spanish when he turned three. 

She got to ride a pony, go through a petting zoo and run all over the playground and rock wall. The girl is fearless!

I'm so glad this girl had a great party!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It's Ok November 3, 2015

...that we only got one picture of the kids in their Halloween costumes. 

...that the mom of Ewan's best pre-k bud is a new friend.

...that the first day of November was almost 70 degrees.

...that I made this recipe for dinner last night and am still raving about it. 

...that I registered for a 10k race on Thanksgiving.

...that I finally caught up and commented on a bunch of my favorite blogs last night, only for the comments not to show up! Sorry Bekah, Ashley and Jenn!

...that some people never change and that there is a double standard.

...that December birthdays get the shaft.

What's ok with you this week?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November Goals

I know I saw this every month, but I am blown away that it's already November. Especially since today it's in the 60s and sunny outside! I should be outside taking advantage to rake leaves, but I'm writing this post instead. Oops! :-)

Here's how I did in October: Killed it!
  • Complete the Evansville Half Marathon. Done! I wrote about it here and at the time I wasn't sure if I'm going to do another one, but I'm already considering two next year!
  • Finish planning Cecily's birthday party. I have everything planned out and her party is this weekend. Hopefully it all goes well!
  • Take the kids to the pumpkin patch and night time corn maze. Done! We had a blast and I wrote about it here.
  • Enjoy my cousin's wedding (and our wedding anniversary!) We had a great time and the kids both walked down the aisle!
  • Take time out to enjoy my favorite time of year amongst the craziness that is work right now. Done. Since it's been so crazy I have made an effort to look around and enjoy all of the colors nature has to show us this time of year. We drove through the Bloomington, Indiana area on my way to my cousin's wedding at peak color and I definitely paid attention. It was beautiful! I also stopped to take a photo along the river in my hometown.    

And here are my goals for November:
  • Get the yard taken care of. We have a several large trees in our yard and we wind up with tons of leaves every fall that we have to rake. My goal is keep up with them so we aren't out there in January raking, again. 
  • Complete my two races. I'm running an 8k here in Evansville and a 10k on Thanksgiving. I didn't run much in October since it was so crazy and I have been taking time off for my foot to heal. I did run my fastest 5k ever though!
  • Finish the Outlander series. I have been reading this series since I think April and am on the second to last book. I zipped through the rest of the series and then stopped basically. Book club has started up again so I really need to get this finished already. 
  • Book our Fast Passes for Disney. It's hard to believe that we booked our trip in July and now we're ready to set up our Fast Passes this month. It will be January before I know it!
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