Monday, September 30, 2013

Relaxing Weekend Shenanigans

Sami's Shenanigans

Linking up with Sami to share my very relaxed weekend! For the first time in a long time, we had a weekend that wasn't full of places to be and things to do, and it was amazing! Here's the recap:

1. Friday night, we watched the movie Life of Pi, and it was really good! 
2. Saturday morning, we took advantage of the nice weather and went for a walk.
3. On our walk, we stopped at some of the little shops downtown, and I found a couple new decorations for fall.
4. We also stopped at the bakery downtown and had a delicious cinnamon roll!
5. Saturday night, we took my brother to the casino for the first time and met up with Ryan's sister and her husband.  Here we are at the end of the night. Wasn't the luckiest night there, but we had fun!
6. Since my brother was visiting, we made a yummy breakfast Sunday morning.
7. We played some Yahtzee before he had to go back to college.
8. Ryan and I made a quick shopping trip Sunday afternoon, and found some great deals!
9. And, guess what was on this weekend?!?! Hocus Pocus, love this movie!!

Did you enjoy your weekend? Can you believe today is the last day of September already? 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall Baking

Yesterday was my day off for the week and I tried a new recipe that one of my coworkers found on Pinterest. They are called Trick or Treat Salted Nut Bars, and here's the recipe from Just a Pinch.


3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter (softened)
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 - 14 oz package caramels
2 Tbsp water
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup marshmallow creme
2 cups peanuts
1/4 cup candy corn

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8" square baking pan with nonstick foil. (If using regular foil - use cooking spray.) Beat all crust ingredients in a large bowl at medium speed 1 - 2 minutes or until fine crumbs form; press into bottom of pan. Bake 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack.

2. Unwrap caramels. Heat caramels & water in medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan of simmering water 8 - 10 minutes or until melted (bowl should not touch water), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, beat 1 C of the powered sugar & marshmallow cream in a standing mixer at low speed until combined. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp powered sugar over flexible cutting board or sheet of parchment paper. Lightly coat hands with powdered sugar; gently pat out marshmallow mixture on board or paper into 8" square. Brush off excess powdered sugar.

4. Spread 1/2 C of the melted caramel over crust; sprinkle with 1 C of the peanuts. Top with marshmallow square by turning cutting board or paper with marshmallow mixture upside-down over peanuts, pressing down firmly to adhere layers. Reserve 2 Tbsp of the caramel; pour remaining caramel over marshmallow layer. Top with remaining 1 C peanuts & candy corn, patting down firmly.

5. Reheat reserved caramel; drizzle over bars. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set.

6. Lift foil to remove bars from pan; remove foil. Cut into 24 bars. Cover & store in refrigerator & enjoy!

They turned out pretty good, as far as my own opinion goes. We shall see what everyone else thinks!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Running Back

On Sunday, I ran the Omaha Half Marathon with my dad, and realized that it was my 8th half marathon since May of 2009. I thought it would be neat to take a look back, see how my running has improved and share what I have learned!

Here's a picture from each of my runs, except for one!

1. Lincoln 2009
2. Omaha 2009
3. Lincoln 2010
4. Lincoln 2011
5. Papillion 2011 (not pictured)
6. Lincoln 2012
7. Lincoln 2013
8. Omaha 2013

As you can see, the Lincoln Half is a favorite of mine and we get a good group from my hometown and my family that run it each year. It is very well organized, has a great route, and a lot of people along the way to cheer you on!

When I ran my first half marathon, my time was 2 hours, 18 minutes, and 33 seconds. Since then, I have improved my time and my current personal best is 1 hour, 53 minutes, and 21 seconds.

I'm currently on Day 2 post run, and I read a great article recently in the Omaha World Herald about Marathon Recovery. Check it out here. I think all the tips are great, however, I have never taken an ice bath, brrrr!

I want to share some of the best signs I've seen over the years:
- Run now, poop later, you can never trust a fart!
- Smile if you aren't wearing underwear
- Run like you stole something
- Look alive, mortuary nearby
- Worst Parade Ever

And finally, here are a few things I have learned since starting to run half marathons:

* The #1 goal is always to FINISH
* Having someone to run with, whether it's a friend, family member, or pace group, is a good idea
* Give yourself adequate time to train before deciding to run a half marathon
* Build up your endurance and race experience by running a 5k or 10k before the actual run
* Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate...before and after the race
* Have fun...I know running 13.1 miles probably doesn't sound fun to most of you, but I enjoy it, and I think it's fun to see all the different people running and the spectators 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Shenanigans

Sami's Shenanigans

Happy Monday! Not sure about you, but I'm loving this fall weather! Linking up with Sami to share my wonderful weekend, here's the recap...

Friday night after work, we met up with a group of Ryan's college friends. It had been almost a whole year since we had all been together! One of the girls was home from Ohio, so it was great for all of us to get together and catch up.

Saturday, I worked and then Ryan and I watched the USA volleyball team battle the Dominican Republic in the Norceca Women's Continental Championship, held in Omaha. It was a very good match with a lot of talented players, and the USA won in 4 sets. Two of the girls on the USA team are former Nebraska players too, so it was neat to support them in our home state!

Sunday, my dad and I ran the Omaha Half Marathon together. It was a beautiful morning for a run and I was happy with my time. After the run, we went out to eat at Wheatfield's with my mom, aunt and uncle. Sunday afternoon, my mom and I went to a bridal shower for a family friend. Sunday night, Ryan and I went to mass and then enjoyed a little time together before crashing from a long weekend!

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the last full week of September!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fall Craft Time

I've been wanting to do a few crafts for the upcoming fall season, and I finally got time to do one this week! I had a wreath, felt and some yarn stored up from a few previous projects, so I didn't even have to buy anything.

Here's what I used for supplies:
- 1 wreath
- felt of different colors
- yarn of different colors
- hot glue gun and glue

I found the idea for my design from Down and Out Chic and here was the picture for my inspiration (wreath on the top left)!

I was pretty happy with how mine turned out, here it is:

Has anyone else been doing any fall crafts lately? Any good ideas for my next project?

New Recipe...Fiesta Style

Sorry I've been absent for a few days, but I'm back! Wanted to share with you a new recipe I tried this week that was simple and delicious!! I found the recipe on Pinterest, love that website.

I made a couple of changes to the recipe, so here's what I did differently:

1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 can Campbell's Nacho Fiesta Cheese Soup (I had one of these on hand)
1 cup water
1 cup Ortega mild sauce (because I don't really like chunky salsa)
1 1/4 cups uncooked white rice
2 lbs cubed chicken breasts

Also, depending if your chicken is frozen or thawed, it will affect the amount of time you need to put it in the crockpot. My chicken was thawed, and so I only needed my crockpot on low for about 3 hours in order for everything to be fully cooked.

It was very delicious! My husband and I added some ranch dressing and taco sauce to our tortillas to give it a little more flavor. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Love My Community

This last weekend, we went back to our hometown for a benefit for a family in our community. This family also happens to be very good friends with my parents, and so they have become like family to me over the years. Last November, George suffered a brain aneurysm and spent several weeks in the hospital, had numerous surgeries and has been unable to return to work.

To support George and his family and help with their medical bills and other expenses, we held a benefit for them. Samantha from 3 Oh 1 Grace St and I organized a sand volleyball tournament during the day, and there was also a tractor ride, a meal, silent auction and a live auction held throughout the day.

We had a wonderful turnout for all the activities and were able to raise a lot of money for this wonderful family! I am so thankful to everyone who helped in any way by donating money, auction items and their time. And I am thankful to our great Lord for blessing George and watching over him during this entire journey.

Here's some pictures from the benefit showing some of the volleyball action, taking a break to watch the Husker game, my sand volleyball team, George and his family, and my fun purchases at the auction last weekend!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Huge Inspiration

About a month ago, the wife of a guy from my small hometown was in a bad boating accident. She was sucked under the boat, which ended in one of her legs being amputated at the knee, the other leg with pretty severe injuries, and injuries to her arms as well. 

Coming from a small town, we all pull together at a time like this, and since then I have been reading her story on Caring Bridge, and all I can say is WOW.

This woman is amazing! She endured this horrible accident, but has taken the most positive and faith-filled outlook on everything! Reading her posts on Caring Bridge inspires me every day to do my best and have a positive outlook on life. She is a young wife and mother of 2 little kids, and yet she is giving 120% every day in her journey to get better! She is always talking about the good things in her day, being thankful for all those helping her, and turning to God for her positives and struggles.

She also reminds me every time I read about her story that I am pretty well off, and the things that I complain about are very minor compared to the challenges others deal with every day!

So I pray that she continues to do well and get stronger and healthier and I am so thankful for her inspiration to me and so many others!

Things like this definitely put perspective on life and remind me to be thankful for my blessings from the Lord every day!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Girls Weekend Shenanigans

Sami's Shenanigans 

The highlight of my weekend was a night out with the girls on Friday. Six of us from high school who are still close friends got together and here's the recap!
#girlsnightreunite #hottamaleihavebrokenasweatwoo

1. Friday afternoon, we checked into our hotel room at the Embassy downtown and enjoyed some free drinks and appetizers during Happy Hour.
2.Once everyone arrived, we went out for supper at Rock Bottom Brewery. I had a delicious Hickory Bacon Chicken Sandwich.
3. Then it was time to prepare for the main event...the initial reason we got together was to run the Omaha Midnight Run, a 5k run for the Hope Center for Kids in Omaha.
4. We had fun getting ready in our room with our glowsticks dancing and singing, creating some entertaining Vine videos and snapchats.
5. We also got fun, bright socks to go with our outfits for the night!
6. Here we are before the run, ready to go!
7. My Uncle Joel was also doing the run, so I had to snap a photo to show us representing the fam.
8. We made it! We all ran it together and had a fun time, here we are post race.
9. Saturday and Sunday, I worked, but I did get to watch part of the Husker game on Saturday night.

Even though I had to work, I had an awesome time with my girls and it was great for all of us to be together, just like old times! Although we are all grown up now with real girl jobs, it didn't stop us from bringing out the high school teens in us and having a blast!

Thanks for stopping by to read about my weekend! Go link up with Sami to share yours and read some other weekend shenanigans!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Favorites

Linking up with Lindsey for some Friday Favs today!
Favorite Post
Rachel from "This Italian Family" posted about her recent trip to Italy with her husband and wrote a beautiful post about renewing their vows in Rome for their 5 year anniversary.
Favorite Song
If anyone is an Alabama fan, check out this remake of their song "I'm in a Hurry" by Florida Georgia Line, I'm really loving it! Click here to listen to the song.

Favorite Tweet
Loved this funny reminder from Ellen that Season 11 starts on Monday!
(Click on the tweet to see the Vine she posted with it)
Favorite Parts of the Week
This week I started running with a couple girls in the mornings before work and it's been great! It's nice to have someone to run with and feels good to get my workout in and done right away!
Also...last night my hubby got home after being out of town all week so it was nice to see him!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Go link up with Lindsey at Follow the Ruels and share your favorites from the week!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Few Beginners Tips

Since I've been running for a few years now and feel that I've learned some things over time, I thought I would share a few key tips if you want to start running:

Motivation - 
I find that I run more often or make a point to run when I have a run to look forward to. No matter what level of running you are at, find a fun run or race near you to sign up for. This gives you something to work towards and to look forward to! Whether it's a 1 mile run, a 5k, a 10k or a half marathon, I am always more motivated to run when I know I have a race coming up!

Distraction -
While I'm running, I find it easier to run, and my run goes much faster when I am distracted. Make a good playlist on your iPod or phone to listen to during your run. This will keep your mind off the actual run, and in my case, it helps when I can't hear myself huffing and puffing. Another good distraction is a scenic route to run. This could be a nice trail with a great view or a neighborhood with some neat houses to look at.

Accountability -
Find a buddy to run with! You are way more likely to keep up your running routine when you are doing it with someone else. When you schedule to run with someone, you can't skip out on them. Also, having someone to run with is way easier than running alone. This also adds to the distraction as you can visit with them to make the run go faster, and the motivation, as you could sign up to do a race together!

Intervals -
If you are nervous about starting to run, take it step by step. Start with a distance or time, run that far, and then walk. There is nothing wrong with doing a run/walk interval until you are able to build up your endurance. As you feel more comfortable, slowly increase your running time and decrease your walking time in between until you are able to run the entire distance! I still do run/walk intervals sometimes after being a runner for a few years now. Sometimes that little walk break is all I need to give me the energy to finish the run!

And...depending on what part of the country you are in, now is a perfect time to start running as the fall season is upon us and temperatures start to cool off. I don't know about you, but I find it much easier and more relaxing to run in cooler weather!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Minnesota Labor Day Shenanigans

Sami's Shenanigans

Linking up a little late today for my Labor Day Shenanigans...which were spent visiting my sister in Minnesota! My entire family got to go visit her, and here's the recap!

1. The beginning of our 6 hour road trip started on Saturday.
2. When we got to my sister's we ordered pizza, watched the Husker game, and played some cards.
3. Sunday was spent at the Valleyfair amusement and water park, enjoying plenty of rides, it was a blast!
4. My brother and I at the park.
5. My parents and I enjoying the day!
6. Sunday night we relaxed and played Apples to Apples once we got home from the theme park.
7. Monday morning before we left, we visited the Minnehaha Falls, which were beautiful! We met my cousin, her fiance and her friend there and took a mini-hike around the falls!
8. Ryan and I.
9. My sister and I! So glad we got to visit her!!