Friday, November 30, 2012

I like to eat VitaPizza before nuun.

I've noticed that when you are currently out of a job, and the children are gone for eight hours a day, you can still stay very busy.  

Case in point:

The laundry is always done.
The dog enjoys longer walks. 
The Christmas cards are not only ordered, but I have already received them.  All that they need is a festive stamp, and they're ready to go to the post office.
The beds are all made. 
I can go for a run any time I want between the hours of 8:30 and 4:00.
It's not even December, and my Christmas shopping is 90% complete.
I found every single Lego that has been strewn in every single corner of my house. 
I can go to the library a couple times a week, and score books like "Kyle Richards: Life Is Not A Reality Show" off of the new release shelf.
I can have lunch with my husband three days in a row.  And after one such lunch, take in a 12:40 p.m. screening of Breaking Dawn Part Two.
I can plan my race schedule for 2013, which includes finding four other running friends to make a relay team for Seneca 77.7.  Which isn't until April. 
I know that I will busy for a few hours one day next week, when I go to the movies to see Breaking Dawn Part Two for a second time.
And although it took me over 45 minutes to complete an online application for a job I am interested in, I really didn't mind.

I can also eat pizza for breakfast.

Make that a guilt free VitaPizza.

I tried both the cheese & tomato, and the meatless pepperoni supreme.  It took ten minutes to bake in the oven, but you can also microwave it. The toppings were spread evenly over the whole wheat crust, I thought it could have used a bit more sauce, but that's just me.  Honestly, if the mood strikes, and I can eat a low fat, low calorie, nutrient dense pizza, that has less calories than my breakfast smoothie, why the heck not?

The past two mornings I went running with J&N, it was cold today, and the roads were icy yesterday.  Winter has definitely arrived, I don't mind it really, but it's hard to believe that summer was just 12 weeks ago.

I've been drinking nuun for a while now, I discovered it a couple years ago while marathon training.  I like the convenience of it, you drop a low calorie electrolyte tablet in a bottle of water and you're good to go.  

nuun recently came out with nuun All Day, it has less than 8 calories per tablet, along with a blend of A, B, C, D, and E vitamins.  I would bring a couple of bottles of the All Day to the pool, and share it with the kids.  I preferred the grape raspberry, the blueberry pomegranate flavor was a bit diluted.  Again, I love the convenience, and compared to other hydrating drinks, it's a cost effective choice, especially when you're on a budget.

I also liked going to the pool.

*Note: I was sent samples of VitaPizza and nuun for the purpose of this review, my opinions are my own.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Not Everyone Who Wants To Be A Parent, Get's To Be A Parent

One of the things I love about blogging are the connections I've made.  I have friendships with people who I would never have met, if not for our blogs.  Blogging also gives me an opportunity to give a voice to other people in my life, mostly race recaps in the form of guest posts.

I'm going to switch from my usual blogging topics, and give the floor to my dear friend S:

My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for about 5 years now. I have done 11 IVF procedures and we still do not have a child. 

IVF is no longer an option since I have tried so many times. I have wanted to be a mom my whole life and the recent bad news has left me devastated. Our only real hope now would be a private adoption since we spent so much on all of our procedures. 

I will make a great mother if given the chance. I am a teacher and my husband is a Senior Specialist of Learning and Development at Global Foundries. We have a nice home and are able to provide a loving and stable environment. I have never wanted anything more than this. 

 If you know anyone in a situation where that person is looking into giving their child up for adoption, could you please keep me in mind? I am willing to answer any questions.

This is really our last hope. 

If you would like to contact S, please send me an email.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sunglasses Shop Ray-Ban Contest!

Win a pair of designer sunglasses

Once upon a time, Mike went out and bought a very cool pair of Ray-Bans.

He looked great in them, and he wore them everywhere.  Then one weekend we spent some time at his brother's house, and Tag, his weimaraner, got a hold of them.

No more Ray-Bans.

So he decided to go out, and buy a new pair.  I thought they were even nicer than the first pair, and he wore them everywhere.  Then one day, we were rushing around, trying to make a flight to Long Island for my Grandmother's funeral.  As we were packing the car, Mike put his sunglasses on the roof of the car, then got into the drivers seat, and we drove off to the airport.

No more Ray-Bans.

He waited a while to buy a third pair, making due with a pair of cheapies he bought at the mall.  I urged him to get a decent pair of Ray-Bans for the summer, so he finally did.  Which he wore everywhere, to work, to the pool, to play golf.  Then one day he went to a golf outing for work. He went inside the club to have lunch, and while he was eating, he put his sunglasses on the table next to his plate.  After he ate, he went outside, and realized he left his glasses on the table.  When he went back inside, someone had taken them!

No more Ray-Bans.

Since Christmas is coming up, I decided to look for a new pair of sunglasses for Mike, just like these 3183 Ray-Bans:

I think if he opened these up on Christmas Morning, he would be a very happy boy.

Don't you? 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Memories Review and Giveaway!

Before I get to today's review, here is the winner of the JumpStart Giveaway......congrats to Ali at Running With Spatulas!  Send me an email and I'll get you set up!

I take a lot of photos.  Most of them are in folders on my computer, or in albums.  But I love photo books.  My sister gave me one for my birthday, and I made a huge one from our trip to Disney.  So I was curious though, when My Memories contacted me about their digital scrap booking software. 

The software is easy to use, I downloaded it from the My Memories website.  At first I wasn't sure if I should do a custom book or not, so to keep it simple, I chose one of the templates that came with the software. You aren't limited to those, there are literally dozens on the website that you can download for an additional cost.

I decided to make a book of running memories, I chose a template, then a page arrangement.  You can delete, add, or move the different pages around to your liking.  When it's time to select your photos, the options are either manual, which means dragging each photo into the spot you prefer, or you can select the fast fill option.  The software then decides where the photos go.

My book was titled "Running and Racing"

Here are two of the pages:

And another page:

Once your book is complete, you can save it as a jpeg, or if you have a quality printer, print the pages out on your own.  There are ways to make so many other things, such as D.I.Y. Printables, custom facebook page headers or blog headers, which I want to figure out how to do. 

Well? Are your creative juices flowing? Would you like to win a set of My Memories software of your own?

To enter, let me know how you preserve the important events in your life.  For additional entries, please visit one or all of the following: My Memories on facebook, twitter or their blog., and let me know what you would create.  I will choose a winner on Wednesday November 21st, using 

*Please note, I was provided with a set of software from My Memories for the purpose of this review, my thoughts on the product are my own. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

How does Betty make you feel?

When I hear the name Betty, I think happy thoughts.

Betty Rubble.

Apple Brown Betty.

My 92 year old Great Aunt Betti.

And now, Betty Designs!

Betty Designs is a line of cycling, running, swimming and triathlon clothing created by Kristin Mayer, a podium age group triathlete who has designed suits and kits for World Champion triathletes, cyclists and teams.  Looking through the website, I thought everything seemed funky, fun, and functional!  Kristin was kind enough to send me the Daisy Cycling Kit, which was a welcome addition to my training gear.

These past few days have been unseasonably warm for Syracuse, I'm talking 71 degrees in November.  It isn't rare to see snow on Thanksgiving, so this is a treat.  What did I do with myself on a warm, but windy day?  Hop on my bike in my Betty Gear!

Mike was out with the kids, so I took a before photo myself, I'm loving the happy yellow color.

Luckily they were home when I was done with my ride so I roped Mike into taking some sweaty photos of me.

To train hard, you have to be tough, but I'll admit it, I want to look cute too.  The Daisy top and bottom is the perfect mix, I felt tough, yet sweet! 

Tough skull right bicep.

Sweet butterfly left bicep.

Tough and Sweet! 

And again!

Definitely check out the Betty Designs website or twitter page, and find something to make you happy!

*Note: I was sent a cycling kit for the purpose of this review, my thoughts on the gear are my own. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weekly Ramblings

The way my mind is flipping around right now, bullets are in order, so I'm borrowing BDD's Weekly Ramblings format today.

I'll start off with the bad news, I was laid off on Election Day. I couldn't get over the timing of it.  It actually gets worse, but I can't go into details about it right now. I'm extra anxious because Christmas is coming, but we have a plan for now, and I'm hoping for the best.  I know so many people who are dealing with much bigger problems, so even though it sucks right now, we're still lucky.


Sometimes I can be a bit of an airhead.  We had last night's episode of The Office on the DVR, and after the kids finally settled down, we sat down to watch it.  I turned it on, there wasn't much sound, so I was thinking "Ha Ha, those funny writers, this must be some kind of prank episode where we have to read everyone's lips."  This lasted seriously for 15 minutes, until the sound came on, and I realized that it wasn't a prank episode, Time Warner had some kind of issue with the sound not working.  Yup, I'm an airhead.

I have a fantastic group of girlfriends, that I've known for 26 years.  We all turned 40 this year, and although they sent me a birthday present back in January, the gave me an extra present, in the form of a plane ticket to NYC so we can have a girls weekend! How cool is that???

This is all of us, plus a few of the kiddos after the More/Fitness Half Marathon this past April:

You know, I just realized that now that I don't have a job, I can go to a matinee of Breaking Dawn Part Two during the week, without all the crowds! Silver Lining!

I ran twice this week, both times it was for 3.5 miles.  My inserts still feel a bit weird, but my Chiropractor said it's going to take time for my feet to fully adjust to them.  I'm thinking of doing a Jingle Bell run next weekend, it's a 5k so I can swing that.  I've starting thinking of my goals for next year, my running friends and I are trying to get a team together for Seneca 77.7 relay in the Spring, and there is a new race in March, the Syracuse Half Marathon that looks fun.

The other day on facebook, not one, not two, but three people posted about Hurricane Sandy, and that they finally had their power back on, after ELEVEN days!

I made The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Tortilla Soup last weekend, and have been eating it for lunch all week.  I used whole wheat tortillas as a topper, along with a bit of cheese, if you're careful about your toppings, this soup is very low fat, full of protein, and delicious. My photo is blurry because I was in a hurry to eat it!

Did you see my JumpStart Madagascar review and giveaway?  If you have kids or kids in your life check it out HERE!

Happy Weekend, and Happy Running!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

JumpStart Madagascar Review and Giveaway!

The other night after the kids finished their homework, I asked Eliza if she wanted to play JumpStart.  Her eyes lit up, and she said "Of course I would!!!!"

JumpStart is an educational website for kids age 3 to 10, it's a virtual world of learning.  Children make their own avatar, then learn how to navigate among the many areas such as FutureLand, Uncle Milton's ScienceLand, AdventureLand and MarineLand.

One of Luke (age 8) and Eliza's (age 6) favorites was Enchanted Sanctuary, where they hatched and raised their own dragon.

As your avatar travels around the various sections, you play along side the avatars of other children, as they play online from their homes.  

I was recently asked to check out JumpStart's latest addition, the interactive DreamWorks Madagascar™ area! 


Luke and Eliza are fans of the Madagascar movies, when we're acting goofy and dancing around, they usually start signing the "I like to move it move it" song from the first Madagascar.  The game on JumpStart starts off just like the movie, at The Central Park Zoo.

Your avatar can visit each character, and do a slide puzzle, but the real fun starts when you go through an underground tunnel, where the Penguins explain a new game, where you go to Europe, collect "Zoovenirs," bring them back underground, and by using the Transmorpher, create a new Zoo Tourist.


To get to Europe, you take the train from the Zoo, which goes through a tunnel, flies past Paris, and arrives in Venice, Italy.


There's quite a bit to learn as you collect the Zooveniers.  If you click on a floating question mark, a window will pop up with facts about Italy, if you click on the artwork hanging on walls, you learn the name of the painting, the artist, and the period it is from.  We looked at paintings of The Last Supper, The Marriage of the Virgin, and looked at the Statue of David.

There are chances to earn coins that you spend in the shops, Eliza picked out an I Heart Alex shirt.  If you enter the movie theater, you can watch the trailer for DreamWork's upcoming movie, The Rise of the Gurardian's.  You can even take a gondola ride over to a cannon, which you fire at a target, in order to earn even more Zooveniers.


Once you have all the Zooveniers, your head back underground to the Transmorpher.  After choosing which animal you want to create (such as Monkeying Around or Hungry Hippo) a recipe will appear. We chose Just A Giraffe.


This is where math skills come in.  The recipe will say how much you need of each item, such as 1 1/4 cups of water, or 3 teaspoons of sand.  If you do not do it correctly, you need to start over.  After you click the mix button, your completed animal will appear on the screen.


Eliza really had a lot of fun playing Madagascar, it's definitely different from the usual online games she plays.
The only thing that we didn't like was that sometimes when you are waiting to go to a new section, a window would pop up while it loads (it would tell you what other JumpStart areas to check out that you might not have known about).  Sometimes it took a while to get to the next page, but that was usually at times when it seemed like several other kids were playing as well, which might have slowed the game down a bit.

I realize technology is a big part of all our lives, but I feel like some games we play are kind of mindless.  What is nice about JumpStart is that Eliza was being entertained while learning at the same time, laughing out loud at things, and calling me over to look at others. Overall, we give JumpStart Madagascar a thumbs up!

Win it!

If you would like a chance to win a three month membership to JumpStart, please leave me a comment telling me what kind of games you enjoy playing with your kids.

For additional entries, check out JumpStart on facebook, twitter, Pinterest,  YouTube, or their website, and let me know your thoughts. All entries can be included on one comment.

I will choose a winner with on Wednesday November 14th.

Good Luck!

Please noteI was provided with a JumpStart membership at no cost by JumpStart in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Friday, November 2, 2012

NYC Marathon Musings

A year ago I ran the NYC Marathon, which was the highlight of my running career.

With this year's marathon only a few days away, emotions are running high in regards to Mayor Bloomberg's decision to hold the race on Sunday.  In the days that followed Hurricane Sandy, I read my friends and family's status updates on facebook, detailing power outages, water damage, lack of food and gas shortages.  Their photos show trees and power lines knocked down by high winds, with roads and boardwalks ruined by high tides.  People have lost their lives and their homes.

Not a pretty sight.

I've been thinking of what I would do on Sunday, if I would go ahead and race.....or not race.

I know what goes into training for a marathon.  I understand how disappointed I would be about not running on Sunday.  Especially if I were flying into town from across the country, or from another part of the world.   However, runners who can't make it due to Hurricane Sandy, can defer their registration to 2013.

It's great that NY Road Runners is making a one million dollar donation to the Race To Recover Fund for victims of Hurricane Sandy, but some things don't sit right with me.

Right now they have two generators (with one additional just sitting there for back-up) powering a media tent in Central Park, which could be used to give electricity to 400 homes.

The water and food being stockpiled for Sunday could easily go to those who have an immediate need for it.

How can you cheer at a race and celebrate NYC when you don't have the ability to get there? Or a home to cheer from?

How safe will the roads actually be for the runners?

I hate to say it, but, I really think that the marathon should have been cancelled.

I hope that everyone who has been affected by Sandy is on the road to recovery, I've been thinking of and praying for you........and all the runners and volunteers on Marathon Sunday stay safe.

BLOG POST UPDATE: this afternoon I was interviewed for an article regarding the marathon, you can read it right HERE.

To end on a bright note, the winner of my SunglassesShop giveaway is Brittney! Please send me and email and I'll get you set up.