When you’re about to get REAL serious about running. 

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve signed up for a fitness challenge and I can’t decide whether I’m so excited I could jump out of my skin, or I’m so nervous I could… um… have to run to the bathroom. Like I’ll be doing in the middle of every workout because CHILDBIRTH KILLS BLADDERS.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you about where I am right now in my fitness journey.

I’ve decided to train for a half marathon. That’s 13.1 miles, in case you’ve somehow never driven behind that annoying person who’s got a sticker on their rear windshield. (And yes, if I am able to complete a half marathon, I will forever be that annoying SUV in front of you with the very same sticker. Because DANG THAT IS FAR.)

When I decided to train, I had been running 3-4 miles 3-4 times a week, plus at least one other weight-based workout per week, and probably some yoga. That was a little less than a month ago. During this month that I’ve thought about really getting my game on and running until my legs fall off, I started back up talking to a running friend of mine, who coincidentally leads a mom’s fitness group here in town called Stroller Strength (here’s the link if you’re local!). Melissa is amazing, encouraging and inspiring, and when I realized it was challenge time (I’ve done three of these babies before) I jumped out of my skin with excitement and anticipation.

There are definitely chemicals released when you work out (Endorphins, I love you.) and I think I released them immediately when I got on board with this challenge. Here are a few things that are involved with the challenge:
1. Friends. I realized that some friends I’d made during my stints with SS in the past were still going, and I’ve already met some new gals I’m excited to get to know. It’s always more fun when you’re not alone, and accountability makes a HUGE difference when you’ve set a fitness goal you’re trying to actually achieve. Melissa also puts us on goal-based teams, so naturally I’m on a running team, and I’m psyched.
2. Food/Exercise/Water/Rest Log. This baby is DETAILED, and we check up on each other’s logs throughout the 9-week challenge. We also have clean eating weeks (cutting out all processed foods) where we cut even more crap out of our diets for a week at a time. It’s magical (and so hard).
3. Extra workouts. This is everything from regular SS class (boot-camp style weights workout), “fun run” together, yoga, Sculpt class (for toning) and running my booty off on my own time until I achieve my goals. When I’m mid-challenge, I shoot for a workout of some sort every day, even if it’s short, even if it’s not strenuous. Get moving, burn calories and build muscle. Every. Single. Day.
4. Meticulous scheduling. I don’t usually work out at the same time every day. I don’t even work out on the same days a week. But this time, I’ve got a few more things going on if I want to make it to lots of classes and get my miles in. Obviously, the farther I run, the longer it takes, so I have to plan longer and longer into my schedule the farther I am able to go. Also, one of the classes is on a morning that I work, so I have committed to making it to the other two classes a week EVERY WEEK to make the most of them. Perk: I can bring the kids to class if I need to. Best thing about SS, ever. I’m gonna have to start sleeping in my workout clothes to save time.

I already feel like I’m in a pretty good place, fitness-wise, because I eat fairly healthy most of the time, I’m already working out regularly, and I’m enjoying this healthy lifestyle instead of being miserable in it like some folks are (shout out to you guys, because it’s tough to do it when you don’t like it). But my goals are steep. They’re things I’ve never done before, and that’s scary. Here goes…

Goal (9 weeks from now): Register for and run (read: survive) a half marathon. I will be adding a little bit about upper body strength to this, because that’s a separate goal that won’t necessarily just come alongside my runner’s training.

Halfway goal (so 4.5 weeks from now): Survive ten miles. In a row. I know right. That’s WAY more than half a half marathon. (Say THAT five times fast!)

For the past couple of months, my “goals” when I go out to run are to make sure every single mile is under 10 minutes, and to make sure my first two miles are under 9:30 or so. Those are loose goals, and I don’t always keep to them. But today at our baseline weigh-ins/stat recording, my timed mile was 8:31 and my 400m “sprint” was 1:39. I already started faster than I thought I would, but I think that has to do with being on an actual track. I typically run in my neighborhood, which is hilly, so my miles aren’t as accurate. I’m going to have to adjust my perspective on timing when I’m running on a track, apparently.

In other semi-related news, today while grocery shopping at Costco, I happened upon ONE LAST FITBIT Charge 2 in my size. It was destiny. I’ve been looking at those, Garmin running watches, and the Apple Watch, and just hadn’t decided what to get until today. So now that I’ve got a tool to use, I’m going to get used to it (and get it used to me) and be obsessed with it for the next nine weeks at LEAST. You’re welcome.

SO! Now that you’ve gotten a complete update on how I’m working on my fitness (cue the song that will be in your head all day) you can say you’re keeping me accountable. Is anyone else working on their fitness? Tell me your goals! Tell me your process! I’m open to suggestions and can’t wait to hear if you’re committed to a health goal, also!

Things Toddlers Say 

Happy Tuesday, friends! I’m happy to bring a little humor to your social media and inboxes this week, just like I try to do every Tuesday. Enjoy the silly things my kids are saying these days!

After seeing Paw Patrol once…
J: Pwaw Pwatrol is my fwavorite.

EK says a naughty word on purpose…
EK: Now, you spank me, Mom! Okay? Carefully!

EK, holding an old school egg timer to her mouth: Set timer for five minutes.
Me: I don’t think that thing works exactly like Siri does.

Watching Beauty and the Beast, when he saves Belle from the wolves…
EK: Welp. He dead.
Hubby and me: *actually dead* 💀

J, misinterpreting things: Ha! He called hisself stupid!

EK: Did you notice you never got these doll shoes down for me? It’s pretty annoring. (No, she didn’t say “annoying”.)

J, introducing his brother: This is my brother. He bits things a lot. (Not bites.)

Actual picture of my son “sharpening his weapons”. Yes, one is a garlic press, and the other is a partial light saber. And yes, he’s wearing his dad’s yard work ear muffs.

J hears me whistling and says: I love it when you sing like that, mama.

I put on Bethel’s “Ever Be”…
EK: I was dreaming about this song last night!

EK, holding a yard weed: Daddy, what’s the name of these flowers?
Hubby: I don’t know the name.
EK: Why don’t you smell them? That might give you the name!

J, running up to me as I’m holding my friend’s baby: Boop! (Gently taps baby’s nose) I just booped her nose, Mom!

J: I really love D. He’s the best brother in the whooooooole… (But never finished the sentence)

At dinner…
EK, one finger in her mouth: Mom, when we get home, can I have one of those things that gets the meat out of your teeth?
Me: A flosser, you mean?
EK: Yeah. This burger is stuck.

EK opens up her Chick-fil-A chicken minis: Mom! (Hand over her heart) I missed these guys!!

What have your kids been saying these days?

The Best Ever Pancake Recipe for Moms Who Aren’t Chefs

 I make hot breakfast for my kids almost every single morning. There are very few exceptions – mostly because I set a particular precedent and now they won’t eat cold cereal. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Anyway, because of this fact, I’ve gotten really creative with the breakfasts I make, specifically in the pancake department. I found that I could hide almost anything in a pancake, in a good way. I make a new-fangled pancake batter with some crazy ingredients, I scramble a couple of eggs to go with them, and serve a side of fruit. BOOM! Healthy breakfast, please and thank you.

If you want to know my pancake secrets, here are a few suggestions.

  1. Start with Bisquick (or whatever type pancake mix you prefer). I like Bisquick because it doesn’t have a ton of sugar in it to begin with, but it’s a good base so you don’t have to add things like baking powder or salt. I typically include the ingredients it suggests for pancake-making (a couple of eggs and some milk), then I flavor it with whatever mood I’m in that day.
  2. Add in vanilla extract. I ALWAYS dribble in some vanilla extract to the batter. No excuses not to. I make my own (well, my mom makes it, but I help!) so it’s extra special, but if you’re not a creative guru like my mama, regular vanilla will do.
  3. Get some fruit. Usually, I opt for whatever is overripe/soft/abounding/neglected in our kitchen. Banana works well, but we also like blueberry and strawberry, or a combination of those. Mash it or puree it, and stir it in. Do it before the milk, because it often means you need less milk, because it’s juicy.
  4. Grab some flaxseed. Or chia seed. Or almond flour. Or whatever power powder you have around. Even ginger or turmeric could hide if you have a careful hand. You can likely sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons of the powders (or a teaspoon or two of the spices) without it getting noticed by kids or husbands.
  5. If you’re feeling generous, dump in some chocolate chips. Or if you’re like my family, Craisins. Sprinkles could also be fun if you’re celebrating something! Finely-chopped nuts are good, too, if your family is okay with nuts and likes a little crunch (Banana walnut pancakes, I’m looking at you.)
  6. Mix in some peanut butter or cocoa powder for a new spin on flavored pancakes. Peanut butter adds protein, of course, and makes them wonderfully thick and fluffy. Cocoa powder gives them a chocolatey tone without a ton of sugar… although I find that you need to add a little sugar (if you’re using Bisquick especially), honey, or other sweetener to combat the slight bitterness. I typically go for coconut sugar.
  7. Shape them like Mickey Mouse, snowmen, or caterpillars if you’re feeling fancy, and top them with some pure maple syrup. More flavor than “pancake syrup” (sorry, Aunt Jemima) and no artificial ingredients!

Pancakes please kids almost every time you make them, so I hide all sorts of goodies in there and call them healthy. I’ve stopped measuring things entirely and just go by looks. If the batter’s consistency looks like it’ll cook up on a pan, your breakfast won’t fall flat. BA-DUM, TSSS! (My husband told me that would be funny. If you didn’t laugh, it’s his fault.)

In case you’re wondering, this is just another post about my love affair with breakfast food.

4 Simple and Inexpensive Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can be a tough time to get good dinner reservations, and it can be an expensive flowers-and-chocolates gift day. If you’re looking for something non-traditional, or something that won’t break the bank, try these ideas for a fun date night!

1. Breakfast for Dinner. Whip up some heart-shaped pancakes, and top them with whipped cream and strawberries (if you core them, then slice them, those can be heart-shaped too), make some hot cocoa (maybe with a little raspberry liqueur if you’re feeling fancy) and enjoy it by candlelight. It’s basically a meal and dessert at the same time!

2. Backyard Star-Gazing. What could be more romantic than snuggling on a blanket in the back yard, looking at the stars? If you like to know what you’re looking at, Sky View is a neat app where you can hold it up and actually read the labels for the stars you’re seeing.

3. Have a Game Night. Whether you like playing cards, or you prefer board games, it can be fun to just chat and play games together. Fun and easy games that can be played by just two include Rummy, Speed, or Crazy Eights (card games), Phase 10 (a card game of its own), Dominos (we like the Mexican Train version!), Quiddler or Perquacky (word games) or the game of Set (this can be a solitaire game, too). Most of these can be found at Wal-Mart, Target, or on Amazon.com!

4. Reimagine a favorite date you’ve been on before. Have you had a history of wonderful dates together with your sweetie? Take an old idea, and revamp it! Cook the meal you shared at home instead of going out for it. Watch the first movie you went out to see together on DVD on your own couch. Make those fancy cocktails at home. Even if the location isn’t the same, the revisiting of a treasured memory can still be fun. If you have kids now, make it a kid-friendly experience, while sharing a little of your history with them!

What are some inexpensive dates that you’ve enjoyed with your love?

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday, and happy Valentine’s Day! My kids have been obssessed with the topic of Valentines’s Day, despite my efforts to not make a huge deal out of it (since Hubby and I don’t really do much). Either way, there’s always a party at school, so there’s no avoiding it. SO! A little humor for your Valentine’s Day, since who doesn’t love the funnies?!


After D bit J on the arm…
J: He gotted me so well. He was trying to caught me and he caught me! He tried to gobble me up and swallow me down into his froat. But I’m too big for him to swallow.

From EK’s teacher…
EK: My mom told me I couldn’t pee in the sink.
Why yes, yes I did.

J, playing in this picture:J, above: “I’m gonna smash you! I’m gonna smash you so good!” then “No! Please no!”

Talking about dinosaurs…
EK: Well, Jesus is gonna make more of them so we can see them alive.

I hear cheering from the other room..
EK: Yay, D! Wanna do it again?
I come in and see her putting together a puzzle and giving him the credit.

EK: I know what grasshoppers drink. They drink blood. My dad told me.
Me: Do you mean mosquitos?
EK: Oh yeah. I have short term memory loss.

EK: I’m going to be the mom ok? *Crosses her arms and runs off shouting* Oh no, the baby! Oh no, the baby!

What funny things have your kids said recently??

10 Things I Miss About Being Single

This post also appeared on the Grit and Grace Project. I’m a contributor there – go check it out!

It seems I should start this off with a disclaimer: I’m a happily married woman. Now that I’ve told you that, I can tell you the rest. There are some things that I miss about my days being single. Most of those don’t have to do with guys or dating or anything… but just about who I was during that time, and how I was able to live. Being in a healthy relationship certainly has MANY perks, but every once in a while, I pine for pure alone time, less responsibility, and a different lifestyle. Here are some of the things I miss about being single.

Only being responsible for myself. I mean that in the best way, but I’m serious. I almost can’t remember the last time that I got ready to go somewhere alone, packed only what I myself needed, and didn’t worry about what would be forgotten if I didn’t make my list and check it twice. Only worrying about yourself is just easiest.

Being on time. I won’t pretend that I was on time anytime I went somewhere, but I was punctual about 50% more when I was single than I am now. Even just being married and adding a man into the mix made me chronically late. They think they don’t take that long to get ready, and so they wait until four minutes before you need to leave to hop in the shower. Come ON!

Saturdays. Once upon a time, a Saturday was entirely my own. Sleep? Okay! Have unlimited and unhurried quiet time with the Lord? Absolutely. Read a book or three? Yes, please! Shower whenever (or take a bubble bath!), leave the house (or don’t), eat what I want, and lay on the couch for a movie marathon? ALL OF THE YES.

Having my own spending money. Don’t get me wrong- I have spending money, and I don’t need permission to use it. But inevitably, I don’t splurge on things as much as I used to, if only because I have a conscience. What I might’ve spent on a new dress usually gets spent on a new dress for my daughter. What I might have saved up for a new handbag gets whittled away by this son’s need for new shoes, that nice dinner out, or my husband’s birthday present.

Living in a small space. I know, a small space isn’t necessarily something that is just for single people. But somehow, only having a few rooms to keep clean, or furnish, or lose things in does actually appeal to me. However, my family of five can’t quite fit into a one-bedroom apartment, no matter how many toilets I don’t feel like cleaning.

More frequent girls’ nights. I know, I could have girls’ nights whenever I want – and I do! But it used to be that most nights of the week were girls’ nights. Grabbing dinner with a friend, getting with the girls to watch The Bachelor, or spending a night out on the town all dressed up, it could be any or every night. Now, it takes planning not just on the part of the girls, but their significant others, their kids, and/or their babysitters. It’s enough trouble to plan and prepare that it definitely doesn’t happen a few times a week.

Having my closet to myself. I took for granted the joy of having a closet to myself. My color-coded closet was a thing to behold, not to mention the way my laundry was the only laundry I did, so I was never behind. There was plenty of room to look through my clothes – and now the closet is so stuffed with suits and ties that I hardly have room to hang my nice dresses.

Eating whatever I want, whenever I want it. Sometimes, it can be frustrating to have to worry about what time someone else can have a meal, or to cater to their dietary needs and your own. That’s one thing I miss about being single- if I wanted cereal for dinner, I ate it. My hubby, on the other hand, would be mortified if we sat down to a dinner of Frosted Mini-Wheats.

Having truly alone time.  There’s something to be said for having some moments of relaxation, quiet time, and introversion that are completely your own. Having a SO can sometimes cut into those times, even if it’s not always in a bad way. But I often find that there isn’t a place in our home where I’m truly alone, without interruption or at least knowledge of someone else close by. I haven’t had more than a few minutes of total by-myself time in years.

Things Toddlers Say 

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Hope you had a great start to your week. Here are a few funnies to keep the happy going!

In the middle of the night, J plods into my room…
J: Mama, can you make a yiddle room? (He means on my pillow)
Me: Okay.
One minute later…
J: I’m ready to go back downstairs.
Me: Okay, see you in the morning.
J: I want you to carry me.
Me: Okay… well, just let me wake up a little.

Hubby: Do you know why elephants have big ears?
EK: They just do. I don’t know what else to tell you.

Hubby: What letters are on here?
J: F-A-R-M wollipop (lollipop) W-zero-K.

EK grabs her stuffed elephant by the trunk: I’m just grabbing it the trumpet.

At lunch…
J: In the bathtub, I was pretending that I was a duck eating water!
Everyone: ??

EK, running upstairs: Mom! I found a green necklace downstairs, and I want to save it for Valentimes! I’m gonna put it in that special place with all of my treasures!
Hubby: Oh you mean the top drawer of your nightstand?
EK: *runs away*

Me, quoting the Gruffalo: A mouse took a stroll through the deep, dark wood…
EK, continuing: A mouse saw a fox, and the fox was a fox!

Talking about her brother, who had just woken up…
EK: Ugh, I really smelled his yawn.

While it was dark outside…
EK: It’s cool how the grocery store and TJ’s (TJ Maxx) can glow up.

Crawling slowly instead of coming when I called…
J: I just can’t get out of this mud…
Spoiler: There was no mud.

J, when he was really cold in the morning: My teeth are moving up and down!

J, petting my head: I love your precious hair!

When J is in trouble: I just want to love you!

Well there are your funnies.  I hope it brightened your day!

Riddle from the Middle

real life with a side of snark

The Shameful Sheep

shit storms, shame, and stories that make you cringe

thepluckyprocrastinator

Hilarity and deep thoughts, all at your fingertips. Eventually.

The Seeds 4 Life

Seeds of Inspiration, Wisdom, and Positivity

Who's My Favorite Today?

Working mother of three girls. Guess who is the favorite child today?

Single Mom Talk

This Is My Life | No Filters | Just Real Talk

this tiny blue house

striving to live simply, mindfully and intentionally.

The New Age Dad

The chronicles of a new father

Jonathan Camac

Student of Life. Advocate for serious joy in Christ.

The SeoulChild

Just living my life(style).