March Comes Out Like a Snowy, Fluffy Lamb

HAPPY APRIL! Though looking at the weather we had this weekend, you wouldn’t know it was April. That’s because we got SNOW (a few inches!) on Saturday night into Sunday. It may have looked pretty, but I’m ready for spring already!

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s a little bit about the whole weekend.

Friday started off with my long run. I typically do long runs on Saturdays, but opted instead to wake up at the crack of dawn Friday and run in the rain before anyone was up. No idea why, but it felt good to have my 8 miles done with before my day started!

Friday evening included a haircut … finally! I was planning on donating my hair and had to chop it all off to do so.

During the process I snapped a pic

And here’s the after shot! And I’m holding my hair … wow!

We spent some time indoors this weekend because it was rainy on Saturday. That meant lots of book reading!

And then it stopped raining, so I was able to get out for a stroller run with FW. I had done my long run early Friday, so only had to do 3 miles. It had been so long since we had gone out with the stroller, and it wasn’t easy!

And we ended the day with some pasta making!

The finished product. Chicken scallopini!

Sunday we woke up to snow! The 50 degrees from Saturday was gone. We were back to sweater weather.

The rest of the day included some bagels (unpictured) with B’s sister  and brother-in-law, naps, more indoor play and dinner with B’s family. All unpictured. I was a bad blogger at the end of the weekend and captured NOTHING on camera. Whoops!

Thank goodness the weather is looking up for this week – as pretty as it is, I’m done with this snow.

Some questions for you:

  • Did it snow near you this weekend?
  • Have you ever donated your hair?

 

Meatless Monday: Curried Lentil Soup featuring Gardein Beefless Ground

I recently was given a chance to try out some of Gardein’s meatless specialties, and once again, I love them. Even FW is a fan – he loves their 7 Grain Tenders. All their foods are easy to make and I love the variety of products they have. Plus, it’s vegan and kosher AND some are also gluten free!

With my care package, I was challenged to put together a recipe using Gardein goodies, featuring some Spring/Summer produce items. 

Spring and summer in Northeast Ohio bring abundant carrots, zucchini, herbs, etc. All of which are perfect to go in a soup! This easy crock pot soup is perfect for those rainy spring days where all you want is something comforting. Pair with some warm, crusty bread, and you’ve got the ultimate comfort food!

Curried Lentil Soup with Gardein Meatless Ground - vegetarian

Curried Lentil Soup (featuring Gardein Beefless Ground)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large russet potato, cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cup green lentils
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoons tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 cups Gardein beefless ground
  • shaved Parmesan, optional

Here’s what you do:

  1. Add all ingredients, minus the Gardein beefless ground to the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  2. After cooked, remove about 3 cups of the soup and add to your blender. Blend it until it’s smooth and creamy. Add back to the slow cooker.
  3. Add in the 2 cups Gardein beefless ground. Stir well and cook on low for another 30 minutes.
  4. Top with shaved Parmesan if desired and serve with fresh bread.

Bonus: while my toddler didn’t quite like it (he’s a picky eater), my 10-month-old daughter love it! LM couldn’t get enough!

Screenshot 2019-04-01 11.52.16.png

Nutrition info calculated via MyFitnessPal – I take no credit or blame if it’s incorrect:)

Disclosure: I was given samples of Gardein’s meatless entrees to try out. All reviews and views are my own.

Linking up with Meatless Monday.

Cleveland Half Marathon Training: Week Five

Happy almost April! April means it’s almost May which means it’s almost race month, amiright? Okay, I may be getting ahead of myself. But when I looked at my week’s training and saw that I was already at 8 miles (which is almost 9 which is almost 10…) I couldn’t believe I was already there. The Cleveland half marathon will be here before we all know it.

This week went pretty well in terms of training. I even got in a 3 mile stroller run on one of our warm days with FW. It was our first stroller run in FOREVER and it was hard! I am not used to pushing 30+ pounds.

Overall, here is how the week looked:

And a highlight? Besides the stroller run, my 8 miler on Friday morning (which I ran at 5:30 a.m. in the 40 degree rainy weather – ick!) was my longest run since LM was born! It wasn’t quite the pace I hope to be at for race day, but I’m slowly getting back into it.

Some questions for you:

  • For those of you that wear a Garmin or fitness watch – do you ever resist it so you can break / start new records? I reset mine after LM was born!
  • Do you do speed training outside or inside?


Note: I am a Cleveland marathon ambassador! That means I get free race entry for me, and a free race entry to giveaway. Wanna run CLE with me? Don’t forget, I have a 10% discount for you!

clé marathon discount

Today, I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

Pancakes, Pizza and Running

Some weekends are busy. Jam packed, with tons of fun activities, but barely any time to sit back and relax.

Other weekends are uneventful – not much planned, but plenty of time to hang out with family, friends, and get stuff done.

Last weekend was the former – but this weekend? This weekend was the latter. Not too much planned, so we filled it with good fun, running and some fun activities.

The good food started Friday night. We go meatless on Fridays during Lent, and this Friday B made jackfruit tacos al pastor. They were SO good and definitely brought me back to our days in Mexico City!

Saturday morning, after breakfast, I got in my long run for the week. I’m training for the Cleveland half marathon and had 7 miles on the schedule.

Afterwards, FW and I baked some muffins.

And we did our grocery shopping for the week:)

We continued the good food theme with homemade pizza for dinner.

And at night, B and I watched “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Sunday morning started with a new tradition we started last year- visiting the Burton, Ohio fire department for an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast with local maple syrup.

This year was fun, as both kids got to enjoy pancakes.

We finished the weekend at B’s parents’ house for dinner. LM started feeling unwell, so hopefully she is better again soon. She has been sick on and off since January, and I don’t know how much more I can take! Can we just build a bubble to keep our kids safe and healthy?

Questions for you

  • Have you been sick lately?
  • What kind of pancakes do you like?

Cleveland Half Marathon Training: Week Four

I can’t believe it’s less than 60 days to the Cleveland half marathon … that means I’m 25% through with my training! It hardly feels like the race is so soon – perhaps because it still felt like winter this week?

For my long run this week, it was in the 20s when I started … and “feels like” was 17! I’m used to that in December, but at the end of March.

Here is how the week looked:

I felt pretty good during my long run Saturday, but can’t imagine going any faster or further yet. We will see how next week goes. Hopefully I won’t have to break out my winter running socks again.

Some questions for you:

  • Is it spring near you yet?
  • Do you wear special socks in the winter?


Note: I am a Cleveland marathon ambassador! That means I get free race entry for me, and a free race entry to giveaway. Wanna run CLE with me? Don’t forget, I have a 10% discount for you!

clé marathon discount

Today, I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

We Traveled More than 8 Hours In the Car With 2 Kids and Lived to Tell About It

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go … Whoever wrote that idyllic song probably wasn’t traveling with two kids under the age of three during the holidays. Because just a few months ago, we packed up the car, put the kids in their car seats, and drove the 7+ hours to Nonna and Grandpa’s house for the holidays. And let me tell you, it was anything but idyllic. Babies were screaming, naps were missed, toddlers were crying “I wanna get out!” and that was only in the first hour. But we survived and here are some tips we learned along the way:

Don’t Expect it to be the Same as a Pre-Kid Trip

Before we went on our first road trip with my now toddler, I asked one of my friends if she had any tips. She replied, “Expect it to be awful and throw all your fond road trip memories out the window.” Is that harsh? Yes. But it makes a point. Long trips with two young kids are not easy. They’re not relaxing. But they don’t have to be awful; just manage your epectations and be prepared (see below).

B and I in Vietnam – traveling BEFORE kids

Pack Enough Toys/Activities/Games

Toddlers and infants are not made to sit in one place for eight hours. (But really, who is?) That means an eight hour car trip can be anything but fun for them, which means it’s not fun for you. So bring activities to distract them. Here’s a rule of thumb I like to follow: bring at least one new toy or activity per hour of your car trip. So for a six hour car ride, here are some of the things we bring for the toddler:

  1. Coloring book/paper and washable crayons
  2. Matchbox cars
  3. Paint-with-water activity book – we like the Melissa & Doug Water Wow! books
  4. CDs – we like to go to our local library before a trip and pick out kid-friendly CDs to listen to. Our toddler gets a kick out of picking them out and then choosing them during the car trip.
  5. Books – I like to bring 3-4 and let my toddler pick out 1-2 himself. This one, Let’s Play, is a good one that is interactive. 
  6. Post-it notes – they can stick them places and then you can clean up easily. They can color on them with aforementioned crayons. They can stick them together to make shapes.

For the baby, we brought things like baby books, rattles, blankets, and toys that lit up and made noise.

Bring Snacks

Bring plenty of snacks and food for the trip. In addition to meals, plan easy-to-eat and less-mess snacks for the car or any stops. Bonus points if the snacks are new or not part of your usual repertoire. Some of our favorites include Annie’s fruit snacks, pouches, yogurt covered raisins, Annie’s cheddar bunnies, Barbara’s Puffins cereal, grapes, sliced pear, grilled cheese cut up into fun shapes.

Be Flexible

Don’t go into the car trip with a rigid plan. Will you sit in the front or in the back with the kids? Be prepared to do either. Will you stop exactly two times for one hour each and make it to your final destination in exactly nine hours? Maybe not (what if the baby has a blowout after your 2nd stop?). Will your kids nap at their usual naptime? Possibly. It’s okay (and probably a good idea) to make a plan before you get into the car, but just be prepared to throw it out the window or adapt if needed.  

Plan Stops

If you don’t have a hard timeline (see above tip: be flexible), plan a few fun stops along the way. For an eight-hour car trip, it’s nice to plan one or two stops where our toddler can run around and use up some energy. For us, this has meant finding a park that is not far off the route (bonus points if there’s a playground) and near some kid-friendly restaurants so that we can stop, grab a bite to eat and then run around and play. Yes, this takes time, but it makes the trip much more fun for our toddler.

Leave at Night or Around Naptime

We have only done this once and it was the best. After about one hour of crying and whining, the kids slept for almost the whole ride. Getting them back to bed once we got to our final destination wasn’t easy, but it made for a quiet and hassle-free car ride.

Have a Secret Weapon (or Two)

Sometimes all the toys, snacks and stops are not enough. That’s when it’s time for your secret weapon. For our baby, this can mean a few extra toys that light up or play music. For the toddler, this means toys that aren’t used on a regular basis, such as his toy laptop and my iPad with Sesame Street or other kids’ TV downloaded on it. We don’t always have to bring these out, but they have definitely helped make the trips easier.

Questions for you:

  • What’s the longest you’ve ever traveled in the car with kids?
  • What age do you find easiest to travel with kids?

Note-  this post contains a few affiliate links. And aversion of this post originally appeared on Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine’s website.

A weekend of celebrations

It was a busy, busy weekend for us- it reminded me of our weekends before we had kids when we just packed it all in. We had 2 birthday celebrations, brunch and more.

Friday started out with a work of Saint Patrick’s day party. We play the game with lucky charms and sadly I did not win.

Fridays during Lent mean no meat. B was originally going to make some veggie tacos, but we didn’t have any of the ingredients (whoops!) so we ordered takeout. Sushi is pretty much my favorite.

Saturday morning I had either a 5k on the schedule or 7 miles – I opted to do 7 miles and I’m glad I did. It was hard – I haven’t run that much since before LM was born and more than a year ago, but I was happy to have finished it.

Saturday afternoon, we celebrated B’s mom’s birthday. We started with some fun at an escape room.

And then, it was off to shuffleboard.

FW had fun hanging out with his cousins.

FW had fun until he took a spill. He split his lip in a few places and it was a little traumatic for all involved.

Sunday morning started with St. Patrick’s Day brunch! B invited over some friends for some traditional Irish food.

This meant eggs, soda bread, potatoes and lots of meats.

FW had fun playing with Celia.

That afternoon, FW had a birthday party to go to. He and LM were celebrating Clara’s 3rd birthday.

FW had a blast running and jumping around in the gym.

As did LM 🙂

Sunday night, we didn’t have dinner at B’s parents’ house since we had spent half the day with them Saturday. So, we did some meal prep and even made meatballs and sauce – FW was a great helper!

It was a fun but busy weekend – I’m glad we did so much but I’m also hopeful to relax a bit next weekend!

Some questions for you:

  • Are you a Lucky Charms fan?
  • Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?