Weekends With a Toddler When You’re Pregnant

Okay, so the title of this post is misleading. Weekends with a toddler when you’re pregnant are pretty much just regular weekends with a toddler. Sure, I’d like to be resting more (and I’m starting to feel the third trimester fatigue coming in!), but with a toddler, you can’t help but run around. And as tiring as it is, it’s fun entertaining them, too!

The weekend included:

Some Mexican food and TV to kick off Friday night. We are way behind in Walking Dead, so we had to watch an episode of that.

Saturday was a busy day! It included a birthday party at the aquarium, which FW loved. He loves fish and enjoyed seeing them and turtles swimming around.

And then it was time to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. I don’t have any pictures from the parade because I was busy getting our car battery jumped because our car was dead (whoops), so instead, here’s a photo of me and my coworkers looking festive.

For dinner, we opted for pizza. It was a toss up between pizza and reubens but I couldn’t figure out how to get us takeout ruebens and I love pizza so pizza won. And I’m Italian (and 0% Irish) so there’s that.

And then bath time 🙂

Sunday the day started off with pancakes, followed by some house cleaning. B made the pancakes and honestly did most of the cleaning, too.

I was hosting our Ladies Craft Beer Society meeting! We actually had a beer sponsor – Brew Dog, a beer based in Scotland, but just opened a brewery in Columbus, Ohio, sent us some of their Pink IPA to try out. In honor of International Women’s Day, they rebranded their Punk IPA to be called “Pink IPA” and are donating 20% (the pay gap in he UK) of all proceeds towards organizations that work towards women and fight inequality. Pretty cool, huh? They happen to be a client of my agency (but not my client), and that’s how they heard about our club.

The theme of our monthly meeting was homemade body wash. I was seeking a craft that was easy (I’m not the most skilled crafter), something that could be done if I had FW in my lap, and also useful. I haven’t used the body wash yet, but I’m hoping it turns out okay! Here is the recap of the meeting that I shared on the LCBS blog: https://theladiescraftbeersociety.com/2018/03/19/lcbs-notes-homemade-body-wash.

All you need to make your own body wash! Plus a few essential oils to add additional benefits plus scent

To prep for the meeting, I bought all the supplies a few days in advance, and even made my body wash ahead of time – I figured it’d be easier if I could show people what the finished product looked like and if I didn’t have to craft during the meeting (and could instead focus on hosting! and FW).

I also made some Buckeyes, buffalo chicken dip, and put together this sweet and salty cheese, fruit and treat board (inspired by Two Peas in a Pod).

It was a ton of fun! Nearly everyone from LCBS showed up and made body wash. And of course, it was fun to try out the Pink IPA – it was a hit! and celebrate our femininity 🙂

What did the weekend not include? Much activity. I had a pretty active week, so I tried to take it easy this weekend due to some pregnancy things. Hopefully no more to come on that (hopefully there won’t be anything else to say!) and I’ll be able to report some activity again next week!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like IPAs? Yes! They’re some of my favorite types of beer!
  • Do you do any monthly meet ups? Like a book club or craft (beer) club?
  • Are you Irish?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Chicago Get Lucky Half Marathon Race Recap (part 2)

In case you’re ever in Chicago during St. Patrick’s weekend and looking to celebrate with a fun race, then check out the Chicago Get Lucky Half Marathon. You’ll enjoy some free beer, lots of green and a pretty good start to your St. Patrick’s celebrations.

Here are a few thoughts on the race overall:

The good:

The swag: the sweatshirts we got in our race packets were pretty cute and not super cheap looking, as often happens when anything but a tech shirt is given out. The medals were fun, and even the race chips were branded with the Get Lucky logo.

post race swag- sweatshirt, medal and beer!

post race swag- sweatshirt, medal and beer!

The after race: It was pretty organized, and after you crossed the finish line people were handing out bags of bagels, bananas and yogurts. This helped the big slowdown that happens when you cross the finish line and people are struggling to pick out their banana, bagel, etc.  It was also easy to get our bags from the bag drop – no long lines and the people working the bag drop were super friendly. AND we got a free beer at the end!

The race course: It was a pretty flat course, with only a few minor hills here and there. For miles 2-5 you can see varying views of the Chicago skyline, which was nice, and I love running along water. Water+cityscape=some of my favorite types of runs.

The pacers: I ran near the 2 hour pacers on and off throughout the race and really enjoyed their company. By the time I started running with them I was too tired to make conversation, but they were fun, conversational, had water to share, and so on. They had no idea – because again, I was too tired to talk – but they saved me for miles 10-12.

The time: Since B and I didn’t get in town until around 10:30 p.m. and didn’t end up going to bed until after 11 p.m., I was really grateful for a later-than-typically half marathon start – 9 a.m. Also, we were going to be taking the train to the race start and didn’t know how long it would take to get to the train, so with a 9 a.m. race start we wanted to be on the 7:40ish train.  If the race had started at 7 or 7:30, getting up for a 5:40 train would have been miserable.

What could be improved upon:

Course location: B and I checked out the 2013 race course a few times before deciding that we would run and also choosing our hotel. We booked a hotel about a mile from the race start, planning to take a taxi or jog to the race start – and then leisurely walk home, catching the St. Patrick’s Day parade which was nearby our hotel as well. Anyway, they changed the race course this year and didn’t announce it until about 2 weeks before the race – and it was not near where we were staying at all. It was outside of downtown, starting south of downtown at Jackson Park and ran about 5 miles toward downtown and then back around to Jackson Park. So not only were we not running downtown, but we weren’t able to walk to or from the race. AND this meant there were very few people cheering us on along the course – sure, a few people had been standing around waiting for their friends but since we were on just a running/walking path outside the city, there really weren’t any crowds or cheering sections.

Course conditions: As we all know, winter has not been so kind to us in the Midwest and northeast this year. The race was on a trail that was along the river and some parts were covered in snow, or ice, or mud, or all three. Some parts were narrow and had runners going two ways – which meant that you’d have to jump of the trail into the mud or ice, or literally stop as another runner passed you. A little TLC to the race course could have prevented this.

Course markers: The course markers were a little off throughout the race – even the pacers were making note of how “wow that was a short mile.” And some were off – we ran miles 1, 2, 3, 4, and then 6. It was pretty awesome. Until we realized that the 5 mile marker had just been swapped with the 7 mile marker. Woops. Oh, and nowhere along the course did they have any time markers. If I hadn’t been running with B for the first 10 or so miles, and then with the pacers, I would have had no idea how fast we were going. A sign, or someone with a stop watch would have been appreciated.

Water/GU stops: The first – and only – GU stop was at mile 1. Yes – mile 1. Had I had known, I would have gotten some, but of course I didn’t want any at mile 1. Had it been anywhere after mile 5, I would have loved it.

The chip timing: There was something wrong with my chip, in that it activated before I even started the race and crossed the starting line. B and I started about halfway back from the race start with the 9 min/mile group and ran basically hand in hand – and we didn’t cross the starting line until about 1:50. But when I checked my time, it said that my clock time and chip time were the same – and I started at 0:00. I checked B’s time and his chip time was 1:51 faster than his clock time (which makes sense) and it said he started at 1:51. Anyway, let’s just pretend then that I ran 1:51 min faster than the “clock” time says – okay?

So there you have it – my first sub-2 hour half marathon is in the books! I can check that off my list finally. Hope everyone has had a good start to racing season!

just after crossing the finish line - B, me and his sister Katie

just after crossing the finish line – B, me and his sister Katie

St. Patrick’s Weekend in Chicago AND Meeting a Running Goal!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Growing up in an Italian and Jewish household in upstate NY, I admittedly didn’t really know much about St. Patrick’s Day. I never wore green (and remember being confused about why everyone it seemed in my elementary school was), and didn’t try corned beef and cabbage until I was way into my 20. That being said, living in Boston and then Cleveland, both two very Irish cities that wholeheartedly embrace the holiday- and marrying into an Irish family- I’ve learned to embrace the holiday and enjoy everything about the celebration. Including the color green.

Anyway, this year, B and I had decided to check out the St. Patrick’s weekend celebrations in a city I heard knew how to party – as well as get in a half marathon – the Get Lucky Chicago Half Marathon (full recap coming soon).

It was an AWESOME weekend. For a few reasons:

1. I love Chicago and it was so fun to see the city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations – including the river turning green!

2. We were lucky enough to spend the weekend and celebrate with a few of B’s siblings – his sister Mary drove in from Cleveland, and his sister Katie (her boyfriend lives in Chicago) and his brother John (who goes to school in Chicago) – and B’s cousin Tom who was in town visiting a friend.

3. I MET MY HALF MARATHON GOAL!!!

Yes, that’s right – I finally got a sub-two hour half marathon, coming in at 1:57:32. It’s been my goal to get this done for a while, and I really didn’t think that I’d make it this race. I hadn’t done enough outdoor runs thanks to the wonderful winter we’d been having – and the ones that I had done had been far from as speedy as I’d been running this summer. Like 30 seconds – 1 minute/slower per mile slow – oof!

Anyway, I’ll post more about the race later, but here are some highlights from a gorgeous green weekend. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We started Saturday off at the Get Lucky Half Marathon and 7k. There were 3 of us doing the half – B, his brother John and I – and 3 doing the 7k – his sister Katie, her boyfriend David and David’s dad.

B and me in a pre-race photo

B and me in a pre-race photo

After the race, we enjoyed our free beer and some sunny (but chilly) weather.

And then made it back downtown, cleaned up, and checked out the river. It was SO GREEN!

B and the water

B and the water

GREEN water!

GREEN water!

And of course we made time for some deep dish pizza! Giordanos FTW. We met up with B’s cousin, Tom and his friend and feasted. I gave up meat for Lent so while B and the rest of the guys were eating the pepperoni and sausage pizza, I got the veggie feast. It was amazing.

the guys' meaty pizza

the guys’ meaty pizza

Decked out in green and awaiting our pizza. Doesn't the race sweatshirt that B's wearing look awesome?

Decked out in green and awaiting our pizza. Doesn’t the race sweatshirt that B’s wearing look awesome?

Not photographed, but also fun: some shopping downtown, eating a delicious meal at a place called Naf Naf (it’s like Chipotle for Middle Eastern food … aka amazing!), and of course some St. Patrick’s drinks.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day?
  • Have you taken a weekend trip for a race before? I have been wanting to do this for a while. Go to a new city, run a Saturday half marathon, and then spend the rest of the Saturday and Sunday just siteseeing.
  • When is your next race?
  • What are your St. Patrick’s Day plans?

Baileys Irish Cream Chocolate Truffles

Happy Almost St. Patrick’s Day! Last year I made some delicious Murphy’s Stout Cupcakes with an Irish Cream Buttercream Frosting. This year, I was going to make the same thing, but lately I’ve been all about the cake and cookie balls (if you haven’t made the Birthday Cake Truffles or Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls, stop reading and make them immediately. They were DELICIOUS!), so I decided to find some St. Patrick’s Day truffles!

homemade baileys irish cream chocolate truffles for st. patrick's day

The following recipe was okay. They tasted delicious, but honestly, I am not a fan of how they looked. The batter was too sticky and heavy, making it hard to make nice circles.  If you are going for taste – they’re great! Looks? I’m going to try again.

Baileys Irish Cream Chocolate Truffles

Borrowed from this post from Life Love and Sugar.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 ½ vanilla wafer crumbs (Almost one box of Vanilla Wafers) 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup Baileys Irish Cream With Caramel
  • 12 oz bag chocolate melting wafers (or chocolate chips … if you use chocolate chips you may need to use some Crisco while you melt just to make it melt smoothly)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Okay, it’s not exact science but add nearly one box of Vanilla Wafers to a blender. I had about 15-20 cookies left in my box (can you say snacktime for later?). Blend completely until you have about 2 ½ – 2¾ cups of vanilla wafer crumbs.
  2. Combine vanilla wafer crumbs and powdered sugar in a bowl until you have a nice powder-like consistency of both ingredients.
  3. Add corn syrup and Baileys to dry ingredients. Mix well until consistency is sticky, yet moldable. It sounds gross, but the consistency reminded me of when I make turkey meatballs.
  4. Let batter sit in fridge for about 15-20 minutes until chilled. Once cool, shape batter into balls and set aside. I put mine in the freezer so they would harden up and not melt when mixed with the warm chocolate. I made about a dozen balls.
  5. Melt chocolate in microwave according to package directions. I did not end up needing the entire package, so I recommend heating up half the chocolate wafers at a time.
  6. Using a fork, dip balls into the melted chocolate and shake off excess chocolate by tapping bottom of fork on the side of the bowl.
  7. Place completed balls on a cookie sheet (I used foil sprayed with Pam on my cookie sheet to prevent sticking).  Top with green sprinkles, if you wish. Let balls dry.
  8. Enjoy!
Put your vanilla wafers in the bender!

Put your vanilla wafers in the blender!

Combine powdered wafer crumbs with powdered sugar. Then add corn syrup!

Combine powdered wafer crumbs with powdered sugar before adding syrup and Baileys.

baileys irish cream truffles

Weekend Recap: St. Patrick’s Day Edition

St. Patrick’s Day 2012 has come and gone and it was a success! What do I mean by a success?

  1. The weather was awesome. Sunny and 70s in March? Short sleeves and a skirt? Success.
  2. Downtown was crazy and I mean crazy. Reports said that there were 500,000 people downtown for the parade and other festivities, which is more than even LIVE in Cleveland proper!
  3. Some bad decisions were made – but all to be expected and we all survived.

See? A success!

Saturday morning B and I hit the streets and got started early – no, not with what everyone else was doing, but with running. B, Mary and I went for our 10 miler around 9 a.m., knowing that we were expecting B’s family and some of our friends over for beer and cupcakes (yes, beer and cupcakes) before the parade. We finished our run around 11 a.m. and I already had 5 text messages and 6 missed calls. B’s family had gotten in from Columbus early! Yipes. We rushed back to the apartment and were greeted by B’s Aunt Marie (aforementioned in the Atlantic City weekend post), Uncle Dan and cousin Pete, along with his mom, who had dropped off his brother at the parade (it was his last year marching with Ignatius’ band). Downtown was already a mad house – as we approached our apartment we could see that East 4th was completely full of people and Cadillac Ranch had people smooshed all the way up to the fence. Thank goodness we had our own apartment, and deck, to hang out on!

Ali stopped by too!

Pre-parade, the cupcakes (St. Patrick’s Day themed – Murphy’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache & Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting) and beverages were a success! B’s niece and nephew even couldn’t get enough of the cakes.

Yum, cupcakes!

We went out to watch the parade around 2, knowing that B’s brother would be crossing our paths soon. Getting to the parade reminded me of an episode of Walking Dead – except with drunk people. It was insane just trying to get to the area where we could even see the parade.

 After the parade was over, we went back to our apartment to meet up with some more people for some more cupcakes and beer, and then headed down to the Flat Iron where we feasted on corned beef and experienced some live Irish music and more Irish beers. We hung out for a little while and then walked back home. Yup, walked home. I love warm days and living downtown!

Tower City, lit up green, on our walk home

Sunday we probably did what most other Clevelanders did – pretty much nothing. After going out for breakfast and Mass, we hit up the store for some groceries (without beer and cupcakes, our fridge was suddenly very empty!) and then sat ourselves down in front of the TV to catch up on 3 weeks of DVR watching. Lazy? Yes. But there’s something so rewarding about hitting delete after watching your shows and seeing the DVR go from 73% to barely 20%. A great end to a great weekend.

Marathon Training: Week Nine Recap

Week nine of Cleveland marathon training is done. It was a relatively light week and we had our last “short” long run for the weekend (we had 10 scheduled).

Anyway, this week called for Tuesday: 3. Wednesday: 7. Thursday: 4. Saturday: 10, for a total of 24 miles. I stuck to the mileage this week but not to the day.

Monday: 4– Was due for a rest day, but after passing out early Sunday night (super tired from Petefest) and knowing I was going to be out of town early on Thursday for work, decided to get my run in early in the week.

Tuesday: 3.17 – B and I hit the streets after work. I forgot my inserts (well, maybe on purpose … I’m still scared of wearing them after the pain they caused last week) but was able to wear shorts in the 50 degree weather. AND it stayed light for the duration of the run! What a great night.

Wednesday: 7– Set the alarm extra early for this pre-work 7 miler. I managed to get out for a run AND pick up Starbucks for B on my way back. I wish all mornings were this successful!Thurs/Fri: none – Thursday I was out the door at 6 – and not for a run, but for a work daytrip. I knew I’d be exhausted when I got home, and sure enough, I was.

Perks of running before sunrise - beautiful Tower City in the morning

Saturday:10– Another seasonably warm morning! It was St. Patrick’s Day, and B and I were due to have people over before the parade (I love living downtown!) so B, Mary and I hit the Towpath for a 10 miler beforehand. It was so much warmer than I’m used to and took me 6 miles to get into my groove.

Weekly Total: 24.
Not a bad week … but I’m nervous thinking about the coming week – we have 15 scheduled for this Saturday — the longest miles I’ve ever run! Since I’ve only ever run a half before, from here on out, everything I run will be longer than anything I’ve ever completed.
 
No running photos this week – so I leave you with my green, St. Patrick’s Day nails:

Green and sparkly nails for St. Patrick's Day

Murphy’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache & Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

Two weeks ago, I got an email from my bff Jane. All that it said, was, “Have you made these yet? http://www.wearenotmartha.com/2011/03/chocolate-stout-cupcakes-with-irish-whiskey-filling-and-baileys-frosting/

they look AMAZING.”

I clicked on the link. Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Filling and Bailey’s Frosting? Oh my goodness. No – I had not made these. But now I was on a mission to make them for St. Patrick’s Day!

SO this afternoon, I did it. No, I didn’t do the recipe exactly (I didn’t have Irish Whiskey. Woops! AND Brian’s drink of choice is Murphy’s, not Guinness)- but they still came out wonderful!

Murphy’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

(adapted from We Are Not Martha and Brown Eyed Baker)

Here’s what you need:

For the Murphy’s cupcakes:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Murphy’s Irish Stout
  • Âľ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the dark chocolate ganache:

  • 1.5 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream OR milk
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream

For the Bailey’s buttercream frosting:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup Bailey’s Irish cream

Here’s what you do:

For the cupcakes:

  • Heat the butter and Murphy’s in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool.
  •  In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In your mixer, beat eggs with sour cream. Add the cooled beer-butter-cocoa mixture and fold in with a spatula. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed – don’t overmix.
  • Pour batter into a muffin pan, prepared with cupcake liners. Bake, at 350 degrees, until done, about 17-20 minutes. Cool.

For the ganache filling:

  • Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.
  • Warm the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Add the butter and Bailey’s and stir until smooth.
  • Set aside until it is cool/thickened.

Cut out a portion from the center of the cupcake to insert filling. I used the cone method (GREAT how-to, here) but the other recipes, above, core the cupcake. You could use a piping bag to fill the cupcakes; I used a small spoon to insert the filling.

For the frosting:

  • Beat butter until fluffy.
  • Slowly add in powdered sugar.
  • Mix in the Bailey’s.
  • Frost the cupcakes and adorn with green sugar or other festive decorations!