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Showing posts from March, 2009

The First Signs of Spring

Our garden has sprung. About 10 or so days ago, we planted our first spring crops: spinach, mesclun mix and roquette (grace a Marie France).
Just yesterday we noticed the first sprouts. These are the roquette sprouts.

We haven't had any frost since we've planted the seeds, but we are protecting them just in case. Our last frost is supposed to occur sometime in mid-April. Then, we will plant all the other awesome goodies. Of course that means Nick is going to have to get going on that fence to keep the critters out!

Rodies and Birthday Parties

We had intended on spending our weekend entirely in the DC metro area. We owed Nick's mom a nice dinner out (at the very least) for taking care of the kids last weekend during our week. Unfortunately, Nick's mom got sick so we opted to save that for another weekend. Hopefully, we will have be able to make it up to her very soon. Instead of spending the entire weekend in DC, we spent just the day there for a friend's birthday party celebration.

The birthday party was a reunion of sorts. Three years ago at the very same location we were celebrating our engagements and Hilary was going away as were we (at least we were soon to follow). Three years later, we all have returned with all our families in tow. How quickly things change!

Have y'all ever heard of Rody horses? A friend's daughter got one for her birthday. Ladybug got a chance to give a go and she's pretty much hooked. These are great for hyper children. Maybe the Easter bunny will be bringing one for…

New Goals

On the heals of the race, we are now shifting focus on running faster. Today we increased the intensity of our long run and lowered our mileage down to 10 miles. We will mostly likely only run 9-10 miles on long run days focusing on intensity instead of increasing mileage through the summer.

Today, we ran the 10 miles at 1:48:10. That translates to the same speed we did the half marathon in (10:48 minute miles). Though the time is the same, it does not compare at all in intensity thanks to the hills and kids. When we ran the half, it was an enjoyable fun pace. I think the hills add at least a minute a mile onto our time, not to mention it just isn't quite as fun or "easy" feeling. Hell is a better term but I'm getting used to them.

Before the race we were doing the hilly terrain at 12 minutes a mile, so the 10:48 minute miles we did today shows that already we are making progress and that we are stepping it up. My hope is to do 10 miles on flat terrain at 9:30 …

Sister Deals

I got so many great deals I went back to Harris Teeter for more.

I got:
1 Motts natural Apple sauce
1 large Mahatma rice**
2 small mahatma rices**
2 wacky macs**
2 no yolks**
2 freezer pilsbury rolls
4 pilsbury biscuits
2 totinos rolls
2 GG steamers (vegetables)
4 GG vegetables
2 Clabber Girl Baking powders

Total OOP (out of pocket) 2.95
Coupons tendered 54.63
**I will be donating most of the rice and the carb stuff.

I was so ecstatic, I told my sister. Whoa, did she do an AMAZING job. She did way better then I did on my first trip. I'm so proud, I just had to post! She did all the work herself and did the break down below so I can't take credit for it in any way. In true couponer fashion, she even took a brag picture. Way to go!!!

Betty Crocker Cookie Mix 2.19 (.40/1)=.99 Betty Crocker Frosting 1.99 (.50/1)=.49cents
Mahatma Ric 1.79 (50/1)=.29cents Frosted Mini Wheats 4.58 (VIC 2.29) (.75/1)=.04cents Wet Ones 2.89 (.75/1)=.64 cents 2-Muir Glen Soup 2.29 (.75/1)=.04 cents 2-Pillsbury Dinner Rol…

Yay for fresh produce!

I got a lot of FREEBIES today. I went to three stores. It took some energy but it was well worth it.

Store #1- TARGET

8.4 oz Gillette Bodywash ($2 retail)

Pledge Multi-surface Cleaner (3.50 retail)
FREE plus I made .25 to find out how, click here
*I've noticed today that they took off the $3 coupon, so this opportunity may have just expired! Dang it, I was going to go get two more when I go out tomorrow!)

Johnson's and Johnson's Shampoo
paid .50 cents ea. (regularly $3!)


Free baby crackers
Free Tuna
Free Zatarains
.14 dinner rolls
Free Kashi entree
.34 deodorant
.13 corn bread mix

Store #3 - Kroger

So I rolled all that money I saved on the bad stuff at the other stores for the "good" stuff currently on sale at Kroger and picked up a whole bunch of fresh produce and fish. Broccoli, asparagus, salad, grapes, yams, apples, and squash. I'm so glad fresh produce is reasonably priced again. Though broccoli and yams are usually reasonable all year r…


We had a BLAST at the Shamrock Half today. This event was a TON of fun. I have to recommend this race to every beginner runner or anyone just looking to have a blast. This race had it all... lots of fun runners (men in kilts), beer stops, live Bands and DJ's along the way, and even jokes along the side of the road (as if you'd get bored?!) Many runners/walkers do this race just for the beer.

As a part of your race fee you get a wicking t-shirt, running hat, reusable lunch bag, finisher's medal and most importantly 4 beer tickets for the finishers party. They also hand out plenty of beverages, snacks, irish stew, and thermal blankets. I admit, I was lame and didn't dare partake of any of the beer stops until the big final one. I'm not even sure the beer stops on the race course were legit. It seemed like a couple groups decided to hand out free beer to the runners to quench their thirst on their own. It was quite an act of good will!

Nick at Sunrise (We g…

Our Idea of a Rockin' Friday Night

We went out "hiking" in our neighborhood with the kids. We walked along a stream bed down by our neighbor's house.

If there is ever a moment we question whether or not we belong here, we take a walk outside and we are reminded as to what drew us here. On an evening like tonight, there is no doubt where we belong. It's right here in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains. This place is the first I've ever really wanted to put roots on. That is saying something because I've been somewhat mobile geographically speaking and have always had an itch to be somewhere else. Had I not met Nick I'd be in some remote part of Morocco with the Peace Corps.

I envision our children spending a lot of time along this creak bed.

Below is one of the cliffs along the stream edge. This is essentially what our house is built on.

A rockin' Friday night indeed (no pun intended).

Pre-race Jitters

Nick and I are leaving the kids with grandma and Nick and I are going to have some much needed alone time. We are so grateful. Time alone is few and far between these days. This is huge. I've never left my kids overnight, except Ladybug once in Wisconsin in December of '07 thanks to some very thoughtful relatives. Green Eyes has yet to be left overnight.

I've totally got the pre-race jitters. I usually don't get them, but with our unusual training schedule (i.e. infrequent, erratic, sometimes non-existent running schedule)... I'm just a little bit nervous about completing it well. Sure, I can complete it, but can I complete it well? As Nick said, I just need to focus on myself and not worry what others are doing and it will be a good experience.

On the Biggest Loser the other day the contestants did a half-marathon challenge. I think the top time was 2:25 or something. That's a pace of 11 minutes/mile. That's not at all unreasonable for me and the…

Too Much Soap?

This is my current kids' soap stash. I LOVE this stuff. The coupon marketing worked. I'd buy this product even if it wasn't free (though I won't have to buy it for a really, really, really long time). What I love about 'em is that there is no need for a wash cloth. It suds like a body wash but without the goop or special sponge. It also smells really good.

My current soap count is 29 bars. 29 free bars of soap!! BUT, that's not it. I still have coupons for 12 more bars of soap PLUS a never ending rolling coupon. Apparently when you buy exactly 3 soaps at Kroger, you get another coupon for exactly 3 more bars of soap. I'm going to do this deal to the end (i.e. when the stop offering the coupons at check out). Once the deal is done, I'll decide how much we can use over the coarse of 3 years and donate the rest to charity. Note: I do have to pay tax on the full retail, so "FREE" is actually 5 cents in sales tax.

On race day, they are …

Adrenalin Junkie

Ever since I've been distance training in lieu of speed training I haven't gotten a runner's high. It's been years. When I first started running a decade ago now I used to get them all the time. It's like this second wind that comes out of shear exhaustion. I get the goose bumps as adrenalin pumps through the veins. The surge is an amazing rush lasting for about 10 minutes where everything is allllllllllllright.

I've read several articles about it before, including some that label it as a myth. Having experienced it myself, I (of course) completely disagree.

Today, I read an article about it at here. According to the article:

"'re more likely to experience runner's high when you run just a little slower than your 10-K race pace, also called tempo pace. Slow down more than that, and you don't produce enough stress. Run faster, and you get overwhelmed by the effort."

I believe the reason I haven't experienced a …

Elliptical Lies

So far our luck with racing weather has been dicey at best. Even in Albuquerque where it rarely rains, it sleeted on our last race day. Mind you it's sunny 360 days out of the year there, so that's some pretty bad luck. Then, during my last Charlottesville 10K run itpoured the entire time. The race is normally a picturesque, lovely fall run. Not so in my case. I'd say we are well OVERDUE for perfect race day conditions come Sunday. Right now they are calling for sunny, highs in the upper 60's-low 70's. Let's hope it stays that way.

Last night, I did 90 minutes on the elliptical even though it didn't really equate to what I should have done for our weekend run. It takes some mental power (OK, maybe not so much mental power as TV watching) to make it through. I took a picture of the elliptical to show how insane the calorie calculators on the ellipticals are. I hate how those things always over-calculate. It says I burned 1121 calories. Whatever. …

You Win Some and You Lose Some

We were shut in all weekend long with the rain. There wasn't so much as a 2 hour window rain free during waking hours so we never got our long easy recovery run in as planned. Not to be discouraged, we checked the weather for Monday and it looked better so I told Nick; "Hey, take off an hour early on Monday. We will go running after work and get it in then." So, Nick reschedules some of his meetings at work and I rearranged the kid's nap schedule and my personal schedule to accommodate an unusual Monday afternoon run. All day it was cloudy, but there was no rain. Things were looking up. The forecast said there was a possibility of it starting to rain again around 6. Perfect. We just had 8 miles to do, we can fit it in.

Of course, when we go to drive out to the running spot, it starts to rain. Our hopes were squashed. There'd be no run for us with the kids. I can't have my kiddos out there 50 degrees in the rain getting soaked to the bone. The whol…

Free Stuff: Is it worth it?

It seems that the FREE TP deal is DEAD!!! Kroger took the stuff off of the shelves this weekend. Alas, all great deals must come to an end eventually. But, as we couponers lament, we take solace in knowing that there are other deals to be had and we, gosh darn it, will find them.

Today we ate dinner for $1.20 TOTAL. I got a free coupon for a crock pot meal writing Banquet. Honestly, I'd never buy that stuff if it wasn't free. It just doesn't take much effort to do it yourself and fresh is best. BUT, I can't deny free and it's easy enough that Nick made this meal himself. In fact, I've had a weekend reprieve from meal making... that's right, ALL WEEKEND LONG. Nick did it all. Lovely!

We can look forward to the Banquet meal every three months (when I'm able to write the company again and request more coupons.) Add in the $.20 Pilsbury biscuits deal I got and $1 for romaine lettuce and you've got a meal for a family of four for $1.20 (with j…

Good Running Week

Some things we just can't control. Heredity is one of them. Other things, like running your butt off... well that is something we can control.

I've had an interesting week. My runs went really well and I worked really hard. I may have pushed running buddy #2 a little too hard because she didn't want to go out again a second time this week. It was cool, because I went out on my own which allowed me to push harder. I burned approximately 3300 calories this week (I log everything in at SparkPeople). I'm sure that's a high estimate, but even if it was high, it's still pretty darn good.

Running Buddies

This week is going to be an interesting running week. I've got two new running buddies.

Buddy #1- used to do cross-country in high school. She wants to run one (maybe eventually two times a week). She will be good as far as pushing me to get faster.

Buddy #2- is a novice who wants to learn how to run so I thought I might help her. These will be light days for me exercise wise, but with the stroller and hills even walking is great exercise. It's important to just get out there.

After a week of no exercise, I feels good to really jump in again this week.


In the Garden

I don't think we spent a moment inside this weekend. It was beautiful. Temps were in the mid-70's so we decided to go ahead and put in our garden. We scrapped off the grass on Saturday and tilled it today.

We may end up deciding to expand the garden based on what we want to plant. We will see. We are also planning on adding an electric fence. Right now we have it hugging a slope on the front side of our property. It is the only place that gets a decent amount of southern sun without putting it in the middle of our driveway. It will get a little less sun in its current location but it will also be less visually obtrusive. I would love for it to be an ornamental vegetable garden, but we simply aren't there yet.

Ladybug needed a good washing from playing in all that dirt. She's mad here because of all the noise the tiller made.

Here's Nick workin' the tiller.

You can see Nick working while GreenEyes and I watched. I did some work too... I couldn't leave …

Sheer Misery

After two weeks of not building on mileage and a bout of the flu (i.e. no exercise at all for the last week), this week's run posed to be a monumental obstacle to hurdle. We set out to do 12 miles and we did it, but let me tell you, this run really sucked the life out of me. The drudgery went on and on for what seemed like forever (two and half hours to be exact).

I was nauseous just about the entire time and had a constant pain in my mid back. It felt like someone was trying to wedge their knuckle as hard as they could into my back. I blame my back problems on having babies. I never had back issues until I had babies. The nauseous part I think was just me getting used to running in the heat again and maybe some left over queasiness from the flu. The temps are in the mid 70's this weekend, a drastic change from the 50's we've been experiencing. Anyway, it was agony.

Thank goodness it is OVER. I hope we can report that the half is much more fun... because there …

Bedroom Makeover

I think at one point I promised to post after pics of our bedroom "makeover". Makeover is sort of an exaggeration in that the makeover only involved adding paint color to the walls.

White walls are OK, but I love a little color to make the architectural details stand out. Our new wall color is neutral and calming. The walls are still barren and in need of some artwork.

You may note that Nick has twenty receipts on his night stand, I need to dust, and the bed isn't perfectly made, but to remove the receipts, dust, and make the bed properly would well, be a lie of sorts. Truth is, most days the bed never even gets made, and if it does, it looks like this. This was how I made it this morning before I thought I should take a picture of it.

One other minor thing we did do for the makeover was move some furniture into the bedroom. Our bedroom is unnecessarily large. Honestly, it's the biggest waste of space in the house. To make the best of it Nick and I put a chair-a…

Deals and More Deals

So I'm getting so good at this coupon thing that I'm actually finding my own deals and spreading the word. I learned that Target will let you stack a manufacturer (MFG) coupon with a store coupon. With two kids two and under I go through a lot of Shout Laundry Stain Remover. I use it for their clothes and my own (when their muck transfers inevitably onto my own.) The stuff has saved many pieces of clothing.

Retail is $2.29 for the Shout stain remover at Target. Well today I matched an internet printable (IP) for .75 off with a store printable for $1.00 off. Total paid was $0.54!!! And I did it on my own! Holla. I did this twice. Then I did a similar transaction on lunch meat. I also bought a massive amount of Huggies 184 count sensitive wipes for .99 (regular 5.99) using a $5 off IP. I got 3 of those babies. You just can't beat that kind of savings.

Note: On Target Store Coupons (should you decide to do this yourself) you will need to make multiple transactions…

Grandma R.

Well, I just can't leave the last post as-is without leaving something positive out there. The best babysitter I ever had was my grandma. She'd occasionally take us out for an ice cream sundae, spoiled us with undivided attention, conversation, and card games. She used to babysit us on Wednesday nights when my parents went bowling. She was a spunky gal with a wicked sharp memory. I loved her to pieces.

Mindless Baby Babble

Nick was so sweet to stay home with me today and help me take care of the kids. As of 8 PM tonight I'm happy to report that the kiddos are in better spirits though they aren't 100 percent yet. Today we discovered that GreenEyes is getting his first tooth. He hasn't shown any extra fussiness despite his new tooth and having the flu.

GreenEyes is very close to 9 months and I realize that my baby won't be a baby for much longer. I've got five month tops until this guy is an active toddler. At this stage I'm highly sentimental. I'd have a million of the little buggers if they weren't such figure killers. Really, I would. Realizing just how fleeting these days are, I'm spending every single moment I can really enjoying all the goo goos and gahgahs. I know I'm one lucky woman in that I get to spend these days at home with my kiddos and really take it all in.

My mother didn't have that opportunity. My parents simply didn't have the me…

Scratch That

OK, well forget about any work outs at all this weekend. Now, I have the stomach bug. I knew we should have hit the pavement hard last week instead of taking a recovery week.

Oh well, hind sight is 20/20. I'm begging Nick to stay home tomorrow so he can help with the kiddos while I recover. Right now, I'm a walking zombie.