get your freekeh on! freekeh foods giveaway

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Thanks to Fit Approach and Sweat Pink, I was able to try freekeh from Freekeh Foods. What the heck is freekeh? I had no clue, but I found out that it’s an ancient roasted grain (green wheat, to be exact) with a nutty, chewy texture. At my house, we all like brown rice and quinoa, so I figured this would be a great alternative. I was right! And with up to three times more fiber and protein than brown rice, less calories than quinoa, and a low glycemic index, it is a healthier option, too. Oh, did I mention it’s organic?

I chose to try the Original flavor first because I’m pretty plain-Jane when it comes to foods, plus I wanted to try it two different ways – one savory and one sweet. I cooked up my chicken and veggies like I usually do and substituted the freekeh for quinoa. It was great! I liked the hearty texture the freekeh gave the dish, and the flavor wasn’t overpowering. Although my kids weren’t there to try it for dinner, I’m sure even the pickiest one would have approved. Next up was the sweet freekeh, and I mixed it up like I would my oatmeal by adding some raisins and brown sugar for a little sweetness. The sweet version was really good, and I had a hard time deciding which version I liked better. I think next time I’m going to do a breakfast mix with freekeh, steel cut oats, and quinoa just for a little variety.

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Want to try freekeh? You have a chance to win a package in the flavor of your choice (Original, Rosemary Sage, or Tamari)! Here’s how to enter.

The giveaway starts today, August 26 and ends Wednesday, September 2. The winner will be announced on the blog and will have 48 hours to claim the prize. If the prize isn’t claimed, a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

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it’s about that time…back to school

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Adios, summer! We had a great run, but it’s about that time. Today was the first day of school for my kiddles, and judging from the pictures below, they all look pretty excited and happy. Alexandra boarded the bus for her first day of fifth grade, which officially make her a middle schooler. Just typing that makes me get a little emotional (I will note that no tears fell from my eyes today). It also makes me think back to my experience in middle school, and I cringe. Kids can be assholes, but I think she is going to have a great year. Adrianna started third grade and a new school, leaving the security of the elementary she has attended for the past 3 years. She’s ready for the next adventure. My (not-so-little) babies, Cole and Cael, took their talents to first grade – separate classes, of course, because sticking those two with one teacher would be considered cruel and unusual punishment. While Cael was a little more laid back about returning to school, Cole was most concerned about being a social butterfly and which shirt would perfectly coordinate with his new bright purple and turquoise Lebron James shoes. I lovingly refer to Cole as Uncle Stevie Junior, as my brother always had his outfits and shoes coordinated to a T!

So here they are! My beautiful and wonderful kiddles (yes, I’m biased).

blink and you miss it

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The title of this post perfectly sums up my thoughts on this summer. Next week the kids start the new school year, and I’m left wondering, “Where the hell did summer go?!” When your family is as busy as mine, it’s easy for days to turn into weeks and then into months without realizing quite how much time went by. Here’s a recap of our summer.

Mom and Dad’s 35th Anniversary Celebration

Amanda and Zak’s Wedding (unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the lovely couple)

 Lots of Baseball and Softball

Uncle Stevie comes back to “The Great State”

Cedar Point Trips

Kelleys Island Day Trip with the Kiddles

Belated Birthday Weekend to Lake Chautauqua/Southern Tier Brewery/Panama Rocks

Running and Races (10 For Them and Milk Run 5K)

Goodbye Minivan, Hello Kia

Annie’s Girl Scout Picnic

Cole and Cael’s 7th Birthday

Beach Time

Family Time

cheers to 35 years

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(Note: I intended to have this post ready to go this weekend, but due to my computer not wanting to cooperate, today will have to suffice.)

Thirty-five years. That’s the length of time that my parents have been married, having just celebrated their wedding anniversary on June 14. Most people can’t make a marriage work for more than 10 years (living proof right here), so for them to reach this milestone AND still be happily married is truly amazing and worthy of celebration. The two of them have spent much more time married than they did single, and together, they have witnessed some major milestones. Here’s a little rundown of things that have been noteworthy since Mom and Dad tied the knot.

1981 – World’s first laptop (Epson HX-20); the launch of MTV; wedding of Prince Charles and Diana; Raiders of the Lost Ark released…oh, and you became parents with an absolutely adorable baby girl

1982 – First person implanted with artificial heart; you enjoyed that baby girl so much that you decided to give it another go with a baby boy

1983 – HIV identified

1984 – You decided why not have another and welcomed your second baby girl

1985 – Back to the Future released

1986 – Challenger explosion; Chernobyl disaster

1987 – Since you were already outnumbered, you figured, “What the hell?!” and added another baby girl to the mix

1988 – Digital mobile phones; caller ID; seedless watermelon

1989 – Fall of the Berlin Wall

1990 – Release of Nelson Mandela

1991 – Emergence of the World Wide Web for the public; Kodak digital camera system; collapse of the Soviet Union

1994 – OJ Simpson murder trial

1995 – Play Station 1; Toy Story released; Oklahoma City bombing

1996 – First cloned mammal – Dolly the Sheep; first GPS available for civilians; Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore

1997 – Plasma TV; Toyota Prius (hybrid cars mass produced); Titanic released

1999 – DVR by Tivo; stem cell research 2001 Apple iPOD and September 11 attacks; human genome decoded

2001 – Terrorist attacks on September 11

2003 – Final deciphering of virtually the entire human genome

2004 – Nipplegate at the Super Bowl; Facebook created

2005 – Pluto’s planetary status revoked; Hurricane Katrina; you became grandparents

2007 – Apple iPhone; Britney Spears’ freakout

2008 – US elected Barack Obama (first black president)

2009 – Michael Jackson kicked the bucket

2012 – Mars Rover; Usain Bolt crushed records at the Summer Olympics

2013 – Play Station 4; good ole’ US government shutdown; Boston Marathon terrorist attack

2014 – Ebola in the United States; canonization of Pope John Paul II

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And we’re all used to hearing about these famed Hollywood couples who make it work. Well, these people have nothing on my parents! Here’s a rundown of famous couples who have less years under their belts than my mom and dad.

  • Ozzy and Sharon Osborne (1982)
  • Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell (1983)
  • Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham (1986)
  • Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick (1988)
  • Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson (1988)
  • Michael J Fox and Tracy Pollan (1988)
  • John Travolta and Kelly Preston (1991)
  • David Bowie and Iman (1992)
  • Sting and Trudie Styler (1992)
  • Warren Beatty and Annette Bening (1992)
  • Faith Hill and Tim McGraw (1996)
  • Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos (1996)
  • Gavin Rosdale and Gwen Stefani (2002)

Congratulations, Mom and Dad! I love you and am proud of you. Thanks for being a great example of what love should be.

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cheers to many more happy years together

running makes me do crazy things

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With not having a major race on my calendar for the next few months, I’ve spent a lot of time just running for pure enjoyment, which is a welcome reprieve from training. With that time comes a lot of thinking, and my latest blog post popped into my head the other day. The premise – running makes me do some crazy and sometimes disgusting things. Let me explain.

Crazy Thing #1: I spend lots of money on clothing that basically fits in a clutch. I suppose I bring some of this on myself because I am a bit picky when it comes to my running gear. I’m a lover of Mac Roga shorts from Oiselle and have only been able to find them online, hence, not cheap. I’m a self-proclaimed addict for Sparkly Soul headbands, which at $15-$17 a pop, makes for a light wallet. I could probably pay one of my kids’ college tuition with the money I have wrapped up in my headband drawer (yes, my headbands have their own drawer). Don’t even get me started on sports bras. Never did I ever think I would spend $60+ on a sports bra, but if the girls ain’t happy, the run ain’t happy. The absolute worst part is when I fork over the money on a sports bra thinking it will do the trick when I try it on only to find it sucks when put to the running test. It gets added to the other D-list sports bras that are only used for short runs or times when support and comfort are necessarily needed. Sad face.

Crazy Thing #2: The sight of porta potties makes me happy. Past Stephanie would have never used a porta potty, let alone practically jumped for joy when spotting one on the race course or a training run. Everything about them made me want to barf, but try hitting mile 20 in a marathon and having your insides feel like they are about to explode. That smelly blue shack will be like an oasis in a desert. My personal faves are the ones with hand sanitizer. Nice touch, and it at least makes me feel a little better about all of the germs. This leads into my next crazy item.

Crazy Thing #3: Talking about pooping is acceptable and normal. Again, Past Stephanie would be shaking her head and completely embarrassed by this. I much preferred to live in fantasy land and pretended that waste just miraculously disappeared from my body, but running has a way of changing things. Basically, shit happens. I can even say that when Dan and I met at the Towpath half marathon in fall 2013, we bonded over stomach issues. If that didn’t mean we were supposed to be together, I don’t know what does.

Crazy Thing #4: I wear a fanny pack. Okay, so I exaggerated this a bit, but a hydration belt with a pouch is basically a glorified fanny pack that holds water. I thought I left my fanny pack days long ago when banana clips, pegged pants with double layers of multicolored socks, and oversized T-shirts with shirt clips went the way of the dodo. What’s old is new again, and I hear the 90s are back. My hydration belt is on point with fashion. #trendsetter

Crazy Thing #5: Paying hard-earned money to torture my body repeatedly. Call me (and any other runner out there) a glutton for punishment. As if it wasn’t enough to push my body to the limit during a race, I willingly pay for the torture and continue to sign up for more races! It’s kinda like, “Oh, here’s my fifty bucks. Let’s have me run as hard and fast as I can, so I feel like puking and collapsing at the end. I’ll talk about how miserable I feel after and then immediately sign up to do it all over again.” To quote the late, great Albert Einstein, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Crazy Thing #6: Wet shorts are the norm. I know I’m not the only one here! I bet that most mother runners know what I’m talking about. The bladder isn’t as good as it once was, and sometimes I just can’t help it. Then there are the times during a major race when I say, “Screw it!” If it comes down to peeing my pants or setting a race PR, you better believe I’m not stopping. Besides, shorts dry.

Crazy Thing #7: I’m pick running clothes out of the laundry because “I only wore them for a short run.” It’s not like I was sweating buckets, and they passed the smell test I suppose. Sometimes I just think what’s the point of adding even more dirty clothes to the ever-present mountain of laundry.

Crazy Thing #8: I’m guilty of the occasional snot rocket. This was totally repulsive to me when I started running and vowed never to be one of “those people.” Well, wiping my nose on my sleeve only worked so well and in all honesty, is even more disgusting because then I was stuck with snot on my shirt. So, every now and then it’s time to just let it go.

What crazy, weird, and/or disgusting things do you do in the name of running?

happy national running day

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HAPPY NATIONAL RUNNING DAY! In honor of my and every other runners’ favorite holiday (well, aside from Thanksgiving because a pastime of mine is crushing food), I celebrated by doing something I never do – I got my lazy butt out of bed before work and ran. I’m pretty sure my body was in shock and had no clue what it was doing, hence the reason I was able to rip off my fastest mile to date since July 21, 2014 (but who’s counting?…thanks, Garmin). Two miles and one sweaty ponytail turned work hair later, I felt accomplished and ready to face the day. I should really do this more often.

Besides thinking it was way to early for this, I was thinking of all of the reasons why I run and/or like to run. In no particular order, here are some from that list.

  1. I love to eat cupcakes and ice cream and drink beer
  2. Setting a good example for my kids
  3. STRESS RELIEF!!!!
  4. Keeps me young
  5. I can chase after my kids…and catch them
  6. I want to be a sexy old lady
  7. Great excuse to buy more Sparkly Soul headbands, Mizuno shoes, Under Armour and Oiselle clothing, etc.
  8. Running is fun (duh!)
  9. Adding more medals to my collection
  10. Always room for growth (farther distance, faster times, better form)
  11. Lifelong fitness activity
  12. Inspiring other to run or adopt a healthier lifestyle
  13. Camaraderie among the running community
  14. I like to wear short shorts
  15. One-upping race finisher photos
  16. Enjoyment of setting goals and crushing them
  17. Concern for my health and wellness
  18. Maybe one day I can qualify for Boston
  19. Satisfaction of fitting in clothes that I wore in high school
  20. Accomplishing things I never thought possible (who would have thought I could run a marathon let alone 5!?)
  21. Minivan swagger in the form of running stickers
  22. Proud feeling I get when one of the kids wants to run with me
  23. The reason for meeting and falling in love with my boyfriend
  24. Therapy but way cheaper
  25. Because I can

WHY DO YOU RUN? And if you don’t run, what’s stopping you?