Monthly Archives: December 2009

A Look Ahead

A few days ago, I took a look back at 2009 and the changes that took place in my life in the past year. Now its time to look forward to the future and make a plan for 2010. I want 2010 to be the best year ever for myself and my family. I want to focus on my health and being the best wife and mother I can be. I also want to focus on personal growth in several areas.

I was thinking today about my hobbies. If you would have asked me a year ago what my hobbies were I probably would have had a hard time answering. I used to knit pretty regularly, but I haven’t done that in a couple years now. Up until this year my main hobby would have been watching TV. Isn’t that ridiculous?! Now I can honestly say I have several hobbies: running, reading, couponing, and cooking. I don’t always have time to devote myself entirely to all of these but I make it a priority to take a few minutes everyday to dedicate to my hobbies, with running being at the top of the list.

In 2010 I want to add to that list of hobbies. I want to learn to sew. Tim bought me a sewing machine several months ago, and yesterday I pulled it out of the box and started learning how to use it.

My friend Brittany who owns a sewing shop in PA came over and taught me the basics. By the end of the lesson I was able to repair a seam in my favorite running shirt that had a hole in it. I’m not exactly sure how deep I want to get into sewing at this point, but I definitely want to know enough to be able to repair clothing and hem pants, maybe more.

Other things I want to accomplish in 2010 are:

1. Complete atleast 2 Half Marathons – I haven’t completely decided if I’m still going to participate in the Half Marathon on Jan. 16th that Tim and I planned to do together since he has now decided he’s not ready yet. I’m scared to do it alone and I really want to do my first Half with him, but I might bite the bullet and do it anyway. Either way I want to complete atleast two in the upcoming year.

2. Become almost debt-free – Of course I’m not going to be able to pay off my entire mortgage in one year, but by the end of 2010 I plan on having all of my current debt minus my mortgage paid off. This will include: our Wells Fargo line of credit (hardwood floors), HH Gregg (washer and dryer), both of our car payments, and my student loan. I also plan on making an extra payment towards the principal of my mortgage every month which will allow us to pay off our house 10 years earlier atleast.

3. Family Vacation to Disney World – We have decided to take a family vacation to Disney World in 2010. We are looking at going the first week in December. In order to accomplish this goal I have created a savings account dedicated to vacation funds only and have set up an automatic scheduled transfer to send money to this account each pay-period. We should have our trip paid for by October.

4. Organize Garage – Our garage is the catch-all place for all the things we don’t know what to do with. This year I want to get the garage cleaned out and organized so that we can use it for other purposes and maybe even park our cars in it. Gasp!

5. Donate to Charity – This year we ran in several races for charity and I donated a large amount of clothing to a local charity, but in 2010 I’d really like to choose a charity that is close to my heart to contribute to.

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

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Filed under Charity, family, Hobbies, New Years Plans, Sewing, Thoughts, travel, vacation

Yogurt in the Crockpot

I’m so excited about this recipe. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m in love with my crockpot. I use it about once a week or more and I’m always looking for new crockpot friendly recipes. I was so intrigued when I heard that you could make yogurt in the crockpot. I actually considered buying a yogurt making machine at one point, but then I ran across this recipe.

This recipe has a really huge money saving potential if you eat yogurt like I do, and especially if you buy the expensive Greek Yogurt or Organic Yogurt. All it takes to make is a few ingredients: milk, yogurt (as a starter, next time you can use some of what you made), and a crockpot.

I used 2% milk, most sources I’ve seen suggest using whole milk to acheive the thickness. I used a few tricks to thicken mine up though which I’ll tell you about later.

First you pour 1/2 gallon of milk into your crockpot and heat it on low for 2.5 hours. When the time is up turn the crockpot off and let it sit undisturbed with the lid on for 3 hours.

After 3 hours take some of the warm milk out and mix it in a small bowl with 1/2 a cup of plain yogurt and return it to the crockpot. This is where I used one of my thickening tricks. I also added a packet of gelatin to the mix before I returned it to the crockpot.

Once everything is back in the crockpot, replace the lid and wrap a heavy bath towel around the entire crockpot. Let it sit for 8 hours.

After 8 hours my yogurt looked like this:

You can’t tell much from the picture, but it definitely has a yogurt consistancy. Its still quite thin, like fat free yogurt .. but it could be refrigerated and eaten like this.

I like my yogurt Greek style though so I tried this trick:

I lined a strainer with coffee filters and poured the yogurt on top to drain off the liquid. I then put the strainer back on top of the empty crockpot to catch the drippings.

And then the whole thing went into the refrigerator to chill overnight.

I’m planning on flavoring mine with vanilla extract and honey, but you can blend it with fresh or frozen fruit as well.

So tomorrow morning I’ll either have some yummy yogurt to eat for breakfast, or I’ll have a hot mess! I’ll keep you posted.

I’m going to estimate that this recipe yields about 3 times the amount of yogurt that I normally buy in a container (16 oz), so about 48 oz.

16 oz Greek Yogurt (at Walmart): $4.00 x 3 = $12.00 for 48 oz
Milk ($2.35) + Starter Yogurt ($.44) + Gelatin ($1.30) = $4.09 for 48 oz

Saves $7.91 per 48 oz the first time, and $8.35 each additional time if you use to yogurt you made as your starter next time.

I’ll let you know my final verdict in the morning when I taste it.

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Filed under Crockpot, Frugality, Homemade Yogurt, pictures, Recipes

Egg in Basket

I tried out a new recipe this morning for breakfast. I’ve never had Egg in Baskets before, but I’ve always wanted to try them. Megan at Meganerd Runs wrote a post recently that featured Christmas Themed Eggs in Baskets, and that inspired me to give it a try minus the Christmas theme of course.

How hard can it be? Only 3 ingredients …

Eggs (fresh from my dad’s farm), bread and butter/margarine.

Butter both sides of bread. Cut hole in middle of each slice of bread. Put buttered bread in frying pan on medium heat until lightly browned on one side. Flip bread and crack egg and put in the hole.

When egg is cooked and bread is brown, flip over and cook a few seconds, remove to plate.

Delish! … and Easy! Yay!

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Filed under Food, pictures, Recipes

Back in Action

I managed to make it through the holidays with minimal damage on the scale. I am about 4 pounds above my goal weight at this point, which I consider a complete success considering all the yummy things I’ve eaten in the past few weeks. Thank goodness for running! But now its time to buckle down and recommit myself to healthy eating.

Breakfast this morning was a blast from the past!

A peanut butter and banana sandwhich on Arnold’s Mulitgrain Sandwhich Thins, a clementine and 3/4 cup of skim milk. I haven’t had a PB & banana sandwhich in probably atleast 20 years! It hit the spot!

For lunch I made Chicken Stir-fry with Long Grain Wild Rice and Dill Carrots.

It was really delicous and filling and a great way to get in my veggies for the day.

I couldn’t decide if I should exercise today or not. Because I switched my long run for this week from Sunday to Saturday, I attempted to run Saturday’s 6 miler yesterday. My body was tight and sore from the 12 miles on Saturday. It just felt wrong! I stopped at 3 miles and called it a day. I debated on whether my body needed another day of rest today or if I was good to go. I ultimately decided I’d do a Spin class tonight and give my body another day off running. I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and then a 45 minute Spin class. That might sound like alot for a “rest day”, but honestly I don’t find either the elliptical or spinning to be very challenging so it was perfect for today.

After class I headed home to make dinner for the fam. We had my version of a Cuban Sandwhich. If you aren’t familiar with Cuban sandwhiches you should give it a try!

Traditionally, Cuban Sandwhiches are pork loin, deli ham, mustard, swiss cheese, and bread and butter pickles served on Cuban bread. To be more calorie friendly I make mine on a Arnold’s Sandwhich Thin. They are truly delicious! Although I forgot to add the deli ham to our tonight. Oops. To go alongside we had Chicken & Dumpling Soup.

I’ve never been a huge soup-eater, but lately I’ve been really getting in to it alot more. Especially since I bought 23 cans of Progresso for pennies each. Coupons rock!

After dinner Tim and I watched Run for Life, a documentary about Fred Lebow, the founder of the NYC Marathon. It was fairly interesting. I love watching things about running, but this wasn’t my absolute favorite. I much prefered Spirit of the Marathon. If you are interested in watching either of these you can get them from Netflix. We were able to add them to our Instant Queue <— what a weird looking word.

Anyway, here is a preview of Spirit of the Marathon.

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Filed under Food, Movies, pictures, Running

A Look Back

Well, its that time of year again when you can reflect on the year you’ve had, the things you’ve accomplished, the things that have changed, or stayed the same, and when you can look forward to the year ahead. I spent some time today thinking about what 2009 brought me. I believe that I’ve accomplished more and made more positive changes in my life during 2009 than any other year ever.

These are some of my accomplishments in 2009:

Quit smoking – Believe it or not I used to smoke a pack a day, for 9 years actually. I quit when I was pregnant with my son but I started back a few months after he was born. I finally kicked the habit for good in March 2009.

Lost 88 pounds – I restarted my Weight Loss Journey in February with Weight Watchers and to date have lost 88 pounds in 2009. I also met my goal weight and am working to maintain it.

Completed Couch to 5K – I started the Couch to 5K program this summer with several of my friends from work and I completed the program and am now working on the Half Marathon Training Program. I’m so happy that I have re-discovered running, and this time I actually enjoy it! It brings so much to my life. The Couch to 5K program really sparked my love for running and I’m very grateful that I was introduced to it.

On that note: I completed six races this year, including four 5Ks, an 8K and a 12K.

I started my blog. It was originally called Inside Every Thin Girl … and it was primarily about my weight-loss journey. Once I started getting closer to my goal weight and my focus shifted from losing weight to a more holistic approach of healthy living I decided to rename it Eat to Live, Live to Run. Two of my passions in life are running and cooking/eating so this fit perfectly. I love being able to document where I am and where I’ve been, even if no one ever read it I get so much out of this blog it’s completely worth it. Just tonight I was reading some of my old blog entries when I was struggling to run 5 miles. I’ve come so far!

I took 2 family vacations – This probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but to me it really is. When I was obese I never wanted to go on vacation because I didn’t want to  be seen in a swimsuit. I also wasn’t happy enough to actually do something for myself. This year my family and I went to Destin, FL in May (I wore a swimsuit!) and we went to Gatlinburg, TN in October.

Home Improvements – We re-did all of the flooring in our house. We put down hardwood floors, new carpet in the bedrooms and new vinyl in the kitchen and laundry room.

Created a Budget – This year I created a budget and financial plan for myself and my family. I assessed all of the areas in which we spend money and found numerous ways to save a large percent and put it towards paying down our debts. I also learned how to shop with coupons to save a ridiculous amount of money on our grocery bill.

Learned to Ride a Bike – I should say I re-learned how to ride a bike. I hadn’t ridden a bicycle since I was a small child until this year. I bought a bike and started mountain biking with Tim and my friend Nicole. I was very scared at first, but I really learned to enjoy it. Hopefully Tim will get his bike fixed soon so we can get back out there together.

Last but not least, I made charitable contributions in 2009. I did several races that benefitted various charities. I also donated my clothes that I shrunk out of to Faith Rescue Mission. On World Run Day, I ran 7 miles for charity and donated to the National Children’s Advocacy Center.

I don’t know if any year to come will see the profound changes that 2009 has brought, but I hope to better myself and my life each and every year. Some amazing things have happened this year and I’ve never been happier or healthier in my life.

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Filed under Charity, personal history, Running, Thoughts, vacation

Post-Christmas Long Run

I spent the night at my parent’s house last night for Christmas. I got up early this morning and made a homemade breakfast, including homemade biscuits. Well, I say homemade … they really came from a mix but in my opinion if you have to knead and use a rolling pin it counts as homemade.

Doesn’t my hair look lovely? That is what Tim gets the pleasure displeasure of waking up next to every day. Anyway, I made biscuits, sausage, scrambled eggs and inedible homemade hashbrowns. I’m sure it has something to do with oxidation but after I grated the potatoes they turned pink! And then when I cooked them they turned gray! Who really wants to eat gray hashbrowns? No one apparently and I can’t say I blame them.

Tim and I decided since we were at my family’s house and had plenty of capable babysitters, we would change our long run this week from Sunday to Saturday. We were scheduled to do 12 miles. Up until this point the farthest I’ve ran was 10 miles. I actually dreamed about my run last night and in my dream I couldn’t do it. Normally my dreams don’t bother me much, but for some reason that one stuck with me and intimidated me quite a bit.

I talked with my mom about running for a while before we headed out. She used to be a marathoner and she gave me some tips. My parents have a loop around their neighborhood that is exactly 3 miles. So Tim and I decided to just stay on the loop so that we would always be fairly close to the house if we needed to quit or if something happened.

Atleast 3/4 of the loop is unpaved dirt roads and with all the rain that we’ve been getting in Alabama lately it made for an interesting run. The road was completely washed out in a few areas so I really had to pay attention to my footing. This made my run slightly slower than normal, but I’m happy to report I finished!! I stopped once at mile 9 to go to the bathroom (EMERGENCY!) but I got right back out there and finished up.

My splits:

Mile 1 – 8:37
Mile 2 – 8:48
Mile 3 – 8:54
Mile 4 – 8:53
Mile 5 – 8:38
Mile 6 – 8:51
Mile 7 – 8:58
Mile 8 – 8:45
Mile 9 – 9:00
Mile 10 – 8:58
Mile 11 – 8:34
Mile 12 – 8:17

After the run I was STARVING! I tore up some leftover Green Bean Casserole and Sweet Potato Casserole.

We headed back home (2 hours) this afternoon. We got about  half an hour down the road and I realized that I left my cellphone at my parent’s house. I can’t live without my phone, so we headed back to get it. Thankfully Lincoln was sleeping in the car and wasn’t bothered by going back. When we got back my parents weren’t home and I couldn’t get them on their cellphones. I did some serious burgular-ness and took the screen off the window, lifted the window (which was open about 1 inch) and climbed in the house and retrieved my phone. I felt so sneaky!

By the time we got back to Montgomery we were hungry again and decided we might as well finish off the day with some Mexican food. I had a Steak Fajita Quesadilla and a Margarita. Yummy!

The post-holiday “diet” begins Monday! For real this time.

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Filed under family, Food, Personal Record, pictures, Running, travel

A Crazy Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve started off with a bang! I worked an extra shift last night to make up a little bit of money to cover our $200 dinner the other night for our anniversary. We weren’t very busy at work though so I ended up leaving at 1:30 am. I came home and went to bed so I could have a productive Christmas Eve. There was so much to do!

My To-Do list for today included:

  1. Wrap gifts.
  2. Bake Brownies.
  3. Put together Lincoln’s Power Wheels and play Kitchen.
  4. Run 7 miles.
  5. Shop for a few last minute gifts.
  6. Pack for our trip to my parent’s tomorrow.
  7. Eat Christmas Eve dinner with my Mother-In-Law.
  8. Cook the turkey for Christmas dinner tomorrow.

Before the day even started I was awakened by SEVERE chest pain. I’ve had this kind of pain before a few times and I just assume its bad heartburn. It usually lasts about 15 minutes or so and eases off. This morning though, I took Tums, drank milk, sat up in bed … nothing seemed to help and it kept getting worse and worse. It eventually got so bad that I honestly felt like I was going to lose consciousness from the pain. I felt like I was going to throw up because I was hurting so bad. I hovered over the toilet grabbing my chest and saying every dirty word I know over and over again. I felt like I was freezing cold but I was pouring sweat. Finally I decided I needed to go to the hospital.

I woke Tim up and he called his mom to come over and stay with Lincoln. I got dressed and called the hospital that I work at to find out how busy the ER was. I walked outside to get some fresh air and to wait on my mother-in-law. I told Tim that I might have to drive myself because I couldn’t wait any longer, I was dying! All of a sudden the pain started to ease … and then it just stopped. Of course my mother in law drove up right then. This all took place at 6:30 in the morning mind you. I felt so embarassed to tell her I was fine now and that she came over for nothing.

I still don’t know exactly what caused the pain, I feel like it probably was heartburn. I know that it could be something more serious though so I plan on going to my primary doctor after Christmas is over and getting it checked out. I just didn’t want to spend Christmas Eve in the ER if I didn’t absolutely have to.

I went back to bed and slept until after 10:00. When I finally woke up, I got to work on my To-Do list. I started by making brownies for my family for Christmas. I made Ultimate Chocolate brownies with Cream Cheese filling and Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Chip cookies baked on top. I ended up burning the cream cheese brownies a little but they still taste great and once I cut them up you really couldn’t tell.

After baking brownies I was getting pretty hungry so I made a simple lunch. A ham and cheese sandwhich and Chicken Tuscany soup.

While I was making lunch the UPS man came to deliver my new knee straps I purchased from Amazon. I’ve been looking for something a little less bulky to wear on my knees to help with the aching I have after running. I also needed something for both knees because my left knee has started bothering me lately as well. They look pretty silly, but they had excellent reviews on Amazon and they were super cheap ($8 each) so I decided to give them a chance.

Pretty silly looking, huh? I decided to try them out for my 7 mile run today. I thought I was going to have to run on the treadmill because it was so rainy and windy but the rain stopped long enough for me to decide to take my run outside. I headed to my favorite running spot at Fort Toulouse and got going and then of course the rain began again. It really wasn’t that bad though. I finished 7 miles in 59:05. I believe that is my fastest time to date on a 7 miler.

The run went like this:

Mile 1 – 8:23
Mile 2 – 8:26
Mile 3 – 8:23
Mile 4 – 8:35
Mile 5 – 8:44
Mile 6 – 8:15
Mile 7 – 8:15

I really like the knee straps. So far no pain!

Unfortunately Tim has been in pain. His feet have been really bothering him lately so he has decided not to run until the pain goes away. He’s also decided that he is not going to be ready for the Half Marathon that we planned to run together in January. I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to go. I’d still like to run but I really wanted to do our first Half together. I’m going to put some thought into it.

For dinner tonight we headed over to my mother-in-law’s house. She made us Roast Beef Po’Boys. This probably isn’t the most traditional Christmas Eve Dinner, but its exactly what I wanted!

I ate the whole thing! And then for dessert we had Stollen, which I had never heard of before.


Now its midnight and the turkey is still in the oven, Tim is working on putting the toys together and I’ve finally gotten all the wrapping done. The packing is going to have to wait until morning. I’m just too exhausted tonight. But there is always time for hot chocolate and Buttershots to add the finishing touch to a crazy Christmas Eve.

Good night and Merry Christmas!

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Filed under family, Food, Holidays, Running, To Do