Saturday, September 29, 2007


This morning I tackled the dreaded 24 miler. I did the first twelve by myself and then a friend jumped in and ran the second half with me. I have the marathon in three weeks, so I hope I didn't do something crazy running this today. The plan says 24, so I did it. I ran it slower than race pace (I ran in 9:11 per mile pace and I'm hoping closer to 8:30) but ran it nonetheless. I'm tired and the muscles around my knees are a bit sore; woke me from a nap, actually. But other than that, I'm moving and feeling good (so far. :)) I am planning on easy runs from now till the "big day", with the weekend runs being 8 and 12, sorry if I've already said that. :) After the mentally defeating issue on the 22 day, I was happy to know I could do it. Now, lots of water, healing muscles and shorter workouts as I count down.
In other news, I am still in the kindergarten classroom, subbing for a teacher who is ill. Boy, those kids wear me out. They are walking (or running!) bundles of energy. They are fun little people, they just wear me out. I've gotten a lot of hugs and a student even brought me an "apple for the teacher" this week. It was so cool. The teacher will be back part time on Monday and Tuesday and see how she feels. I haven't been able to get every thing done at home, but that's ok, I'm doing one of my favorite things: teaching! My frozen meals from two weeks ago sure have come in handy on the busy nights! We had a few chilly nights this week and it was nice to have a warm, filling casserole for dinner. My husband said again that one of them was the best thing I'd made, ever: "thumbs up"! :) It was easy and froze well, except I didn't put the crumbs and butter on top until I thawed it. Here's the recipe:
Chicken Noodle Casserole

1/2 c plus 2 T butter, divided
1/2 c all-purpose flour
3 c rich chicken stock
2 c sour cream
1/2 c white wine
dash nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb egg noodles, cooked 6 to 7 minutes
4 1/2 c cooked chicken, cut into pieces
1 lb mushroom, sliced and cooked
1 c soft bread crumbs
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Clean and slice the mushrooms and sauté in a 2 tablespoons butter until soft and slightly browned, about 7 minutes.

Remove crusts from 2 or 3 slices of fresh bread and with steel blade in food processor, process bread until soft crumbs form.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan, over medium heat, and whisk in the flour. Cook 1 minute. Gradually add stock, sour cream and wine. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and blend well. Arrange the noodles in an ovenproof casserole. Layer chicken, mushrooms then sauce to cover.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and mix with the bread crumbs. Top the casserole with the buttered crumbs and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.

Serving idea: have with buttered green beans and biscuits.

Hope your week went well!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Such An Interesting Site!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sites & Books

Some new sites I like right now...
And the two books on my desk to read


The 22 mile challenge... I didn't make it. The 22 mile run ended at 18. My calves seized again. In fact, they still hurt. I tried to push myself through it, telling myself I'd made it 20! To no avail, I walked home. I tried running here and there, but was left mentally defeated. My husband reminded me that I'd run over three and a quarter hours, and that was a good workout. This weekend will be back to twelve. Then next will be 24 and my last over 20 until the actual marathon, which is in 31 days.
I am working everyday, too; subbing in kindergarten, currently. A friend came down with an illness leaving her in the hospital from last Sunday to yesterday, so I've had her class all week, and will all next week, as well. She's a dear lady, and I'm lucky to be in her class! There are 23 students in the morning and 21 in the afternoon. They're great kids, and I'm lucky they know me from assessments at the beginning of the year, so they are accustomed to seeing me there. It's also nice to know where I will be each day, with subbing I may get a call at 6am, letting me know what school needs a substitute, and it could be one of fifteen elementary schools. This way I can develop a stronger relationship with the kids, as well. A day here and there makes it hard, because I'm not their "real teacher". This way I can get to know them a bit better. I believe that helps me to teach, knowing their needs/strengths in learning.
My grandparents are heading here tomorrow, here overnight. They haven't been in about a year and a half, so it will be nice to have them see our patio, our girls' activities, etc.
With company coming, I've been trying to clean when I am home for lunch or between work and taking the girls to their activities. I've run out of hours in the day! :) This makes me appreciate the meals I cooked last week and froze! We've had a few of them! My husband even said one (cannelloni with cheese sauce, although I couldn't find cannelloni at our store, so I used manicotti) was the best food he'd eaten! He ate about three helpings and had leftovers, too! :) Yesterday was a New England style pot roast. It had parsnips, which I love roasted, and turnips. It was interesting, although not a favorite, with the children or myself.
My oldest child took her time down by another thirty seconds at her cross country race on Tuesday. She's been working at finding her strength and speed. She's fifth or sixth on the team, depending on the race, but she works hard, is improving almost every race and is having fun!! All are the most important reasons for running...
My youngest is working hard at school, as well as soccer (she loves defense but hates being goalie!). She's in third grade and found out yesterday that her reading level is just above 6th grade reading level. She's the highest in her class and thrilled. She also worked hard on her practice math on Tuesday to do well on her math quiz yesterday, getting all the answers right! Both girls are so smart, if I do say so (yes, I am a bit biased! :)) Two people I am so thankful for! :)
With teachers and friends I know coming down with different illnesses, family problems, etc, I am reminded again, how very blessed I am. I was thankful in my last post to remind myself of all that is good in my life, because sometimes I get frustrated and don't remember those things. (Like when I dwelled on 18 instead of 22 miles....)
Hope you're happy as well, reader. Take care!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I am thankful for:
  1. wonderful teachers & schools
  2. a terrific family & great friends-soooo many fantastic people in my life
  3. the means to buy groceries to feed my family
  4. my faith and my God
  5. sunshine
  6. rain
  7. autumn and cooler days!
  8. feeling great when I ran today & the ability to run
  9. my home, and my country where I have many freedoms, such as the freedom of speech
  10. meals prepared before my husband walks in the door, and his kisses when he does :)
I read Ali Edwards's blog and yesterday's post was about gratitude. We have so much to be thankful for, and I am posting a few of the reasons that I am happy. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Long Few Days

I tried the 12 miles, Saturday, that should have been easy after 20 the week before... but not so. I struggled mentally and physically and felt the same on my runs so far this week. My body's worn down, I think. Not enough sleep or something. I am very anxious about the 22 looming large for Saturday. We'll see how it goes. I ran almost 7 today, but was supposed to do 8. Not a lot of time in the schedule.
Sunday I made a plan/searched for "make ahead freezer meals" online. Found about ten I liked and put together a grocery list. I also planned for lunch items for the girls' packed lunches and easy dinners slid in here and there.
Then yesterday I did it: shopped for two+ hours, two full shopping carts, and a van load of money to pay for it all. Then I came home to cook 6lbs. of chicken, 5lbs. of ground beef, and two rolls of sausage. I also cleaned out the pantry to make room for everything I had bought.
Then today, I assembled three of the dishes (cooking pasta, cutting vegetables, putting everything together), and cleaned out the freezers to make room for completed dishes.
Still more to finish tomorrow, but then I will have about ten meals, more if counting leftovers, ready even on busy nights! I'm excited. Just a few days of cleaning the kitchen up after cooking.
That's all for now. I will post the good recipes! :) Hope your week is going well!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Harry Potter

My youngest daughter and I finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone this weekend, also. We had been working on it, on and off, throughout the summer, depending on what she was reading alone and whether she just wanted to read her own book or have me read Harry Potter to her. She loved the book and wanted to start the second right away! She also wanted to see the movie of the first book, and so we started it tonight as a family. We watched an hour of it, but it was a school night, so we shall watch the rest later. Then, we begin Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
It is so much fun reading books with my daughters, sharing our thoughts and surprises, enjoying books together!

20 miles

My run on Sunday (my oldest had her first cross country invitational, so I couldn't get my long run in on Saturday) was 20 miles. Alone. I was really very nervous. I did it. It was warm weather by its end, but I made it. I wogged (walk/jogged :)) a bit in the 18th mile, but finished the 20! Some runners say, for your first few times at that long of a distance, you're trying to run your pace, but keep working on forward progress. :) I finished in 3 hours and 21 minutes. Not the pace I want for the actual marathon in October, but it's a base for mileage! Since starting the marathon training in May I have run at least 411 miles. :) I ran off about 2000 calories on the 20 miler. :) I do feel much more fit than I have in years. I am noticing the little spots around my middle and "rear" disappear. :) I can feel real muscles! :) I have noticed I sleep less, sometimes it's because my muscles are not so happy... and my appetite is smaller. I usually go through this in the hot weather, not wanting to eat as much but I'm working on eating well. Tonight we had wonderful grilled steak, sweet potatoes roasted on the grill and fresh, diced peaches. MMM. And yes, the chocolate milk after those long runs is still a must! :)
As I mentioned, my oldest ran in her first invitational. She was a bit nervous... then she saw the 22 other teams and was very nervous! The other parents noticed that she was a bit pale about 1/4 the way through. She adjusted and worked hard. She ran her best and ended up beating her best time by 30 seconds! She did great! My parents came in town so they could be there. It was great to have them running around the course cheering for her, too. :) They enjoyed it as well! And my oldest was thrilled to have them here.
I haven't gotten a full time teaching job, though I have still been busy working. I have been doing kindergarten assessments since school started and have one more day at it, tomorrow. The teacher is there, but more can be tackled if there's help! We ask the children questions and have them do tasks to see the current levels where they are beginning kindergarten. They are such interesting little people at this age. Beginning school for the first time, some are excited, some are nervous, some inquisitive, some already knowing how to read, others hungry to learn. It is a fun time to see the children enter their school year. I enjoy it. It is fun for me later in the year, also, when this teacher calls me to be her substitute, to see how the children have changed, and grown.
It was nice to have my husband home for the day. We went as a family to a nearby city park and walked, looking at the ponds and gardens. See the frog at right, who floated lazily in the sun, thinking he was hidden...
Back to school tomorrow, a four day week, and next week, into the swing of a full week. Fall is on its way, and summer is saying goodbye. Hope all is well with you, reader.