Monday, March 1, 2010

My evolving blog!

 After a few weeks I decided that I wanted to gear my blog more in a direction of my personal goal (running 1000 miles) and a goal we have as a family - to be more active!   So I have changed my blog to
Twelve Fit Feet.

Please visit me there!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Airplane ride anyone?

My kids project of the week was an airplane - motor included thanks to our vacuum cleaner!   I even got to be a pilot and a passenger.


Pilot #1
I love the goggles!


Pilot #2
with proud designers . . .

Check out Run Mommy Run! for a giveaway of a Bondi Band.

Check out Long Legs on the Loose for a giveaway of a Road ID.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos

We have beans every Monday night!  (I wonder if my kids will ever eat beans again on a Monday after they leave home!)  I love beans and I am always looking for new ways to use them in recipes.  The combination of beans with sweet potatoes is really quite tasty.  Give it a try and see what you think!

1 T canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 medium green pepper, chopped

Saute above ingredients until tender.

Add to vegetables and stir one minute:
1 T chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t ground cumin

Add 1 tablespoon water and stir, scraping the pan to spread the chili powder and cumin throughout.

Stir in and cook until heated.
2 cups cooked and diced sweet potato
(I usually peel and dice the sweet potatoes then steam them until they still hold their form.)
2 cups cooked black beans or pinto beans (Canned beans would work fine too!)
1 cup frozen corn
juice from one lime

Serve in a flour tortilla with sour cream.  (It is good just by itself too.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordfull Wednesday

Today's Wordfull Wednesday is entitled "Unity in Marriage."

We can always tell if we are on the same page using the Toothbrush Test.  It is just a little thing but whoever arrives first to brush teeth for the evening puts toothpaste on the other person's brush.  I don't know how it got started but it is our gauge of whether or not we are thinking of each other.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Gifts

I was infected with the running bug when I was twenty-five years old.  Up until then I looked with envy at people who ran.  I thought you had to have some special gift.  I attempted as a teenager to experiment with running but somehow thought I must not have the "gift" runners seemed to possess.  (Runners always made it look so easy!)  Since then I realized I was born with two special gifts. One is called the right foot and the other is called the left foot.  Since that moment of discovery, those two gifts have carried me on many happy miles and even on a marathon. 

My running infection began when I was newly married and we had moved to a new city for Ben and I to attend college.  We lived in a beautiful area where mountains were majestically placed right outside our front door.  I had been taking an aerobics class for a semester and when it ended I decided I needed to figure out another way to stay fit.  Ben and I just tried running one summer morning and we managed to survive one mile without too much pain or difficulty.  And I just kept running. That fall I ran my first 5K at a Greek Festival with a time of 31:43.  From this beginning, I've had ups and downs but running has continued to be an important part of my life despite four moves and four kids and... life.

Miles last week: 22.5
Total 2010 miles: 162

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Turning

by Gloria Whelan
Copyright 2006

Our latest read aloud has been a book by Gloria Whelan.  The audience for this book was my two daughters, ages 7 and 10.  The Turning takes place in Russia in 1991 during the country's struggle for democracy.  It is the fictional story of a ballerina, Tonya, who is planning to defect to Paris while on tour with her ballet company.

My ten year old said she enjoyed learning about the life of a ballerina and didn't realize all the necessary preparations leading up to the tour to Paris, like wearing out a pair of toe shoes every day. (I guess this really happens!)

My seven year old rushed to find another book by Gloria Whelan on our last visit to the library.  I guess that is a pretty good gauge of her engagement with the story, though she wasn't too specific about what she liked. She did say that she was a little disappointed there wasn't a wedding before the book ended.

The Turning is found in the teen section of our library but really, the content was very accessible to our younger crowd.  We had a good discussion about Russia, communism and the basics of recent changes there. I think part of the girls' interest in this topic is that their piano teacher came to the U.S. from the Ukraine at the time the Soviet Union dissolved and now they have lots of new questions for her!

We are off to read Angel on the Square (we're on a roll with this author right now). . . .

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dinner hour!!! Calm or chaotic?

Sometimes as we approach the dinner hour things are a little bit chaotic in our house.  Is it at yours?

So in our search for ways to make our dinner hour a little more calm and a little less chaotic I came across an idea about having a moment of silence at the dinner table, allowing everyone to calm down and get ready for the blessing.  This seemed to work for a time but as with a lot of parenting attempts it didn't seem to completely solve the problem.  So Ben suggested we try to sing a hymn before we say the blessing.  We call everyone for dinner only once.  If they don't arrive then we begin to sing (we started at the beginning of the book and are going in numerical order).  The singing normally brings the missing child quickly to their seat.  I think singing really sets a nice tone for dinner to follow.  I can't say it has solved everything but I think it has helped to make everyone feel a little more calm, especially Mom! 

So what works for your family?  Do you have any traditions that help your dinner hour be a pleasant experience?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cranberry-Orange Cornmeal Breakfast Muffins

We have muffins for breakfast every Wednesday and they are a favorite!   This recipe was inspired by an idea I saw in Cooking Light magazine.  I like it because of the nutty texture created by the cornmeal.  It is also very tasty made with blueberry and lemon. 

 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
zest of one large orange, grated

Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.  Then mix in grated orange zest.

1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk mixed with 1 T white vinegar (I use this because I rarely have buttermilk.)
3 T butter, melted (I've used oil too and that works just as well.)
1 egg

Whisk together in small bowl milk, butter, and egg.  Add to dry ingredients.  Mix just enough to moisten the batter.  Add:

1 cup frozen or fresh cranberries

Grease 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.  Spoon batter into muffin cups.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

*for Blueberry-Lemon muffins replace orange zest for lemon zest and cranberries for blueberries!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Running Record


Here is a visual representation of my running progress so far for 2010.  I am on day number 47 and run four to five times per week.  This harsh winter weather is really testing me! I just try to survive each morning which can be challenging on days like today when snow is falling and wind is blowing.  The initial getting out of bed is really the hardest part of all.  My goal is 20 miles a week and so far the slope on the graph is headed straight for the big 1000.  A previous running partner gave me the 1000 mile idea.  I'd been looking for a running goal for 2010 and 1000 miles had a nice ring to it so I decided to sign on.  Who else would like to join the 1000-mile club? Double it?

Total miles:  139.5

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Wrinkle in Time

by Madeleine L'Engle
Copyright:  1962

I remember my fourth grade teacher, Miss Ucella, reading this book aloud in the classroom.  She would read from it as we waited for the dismissal bell to ring.  I remember enjoying the suspense and looking forward to the next day when she would read it again.  Every chapter ends with a cliffhanger just like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries, only this is more imaginative.  I attempted to capture the magic by reading it to my own children.  They too enjoyed the suspense and would ask for just one more chapter!  My ten year old wondered if the author had any imagination left after she wrote this book.  She also said she loved the way they traveled, and wouldn't mind twinkling back and forth through the calendar too.  My seven year old she liked how "mysterious" it was and how she never knew what was going to happen next.  She said, "I didn't want it to end."  The idea of your mind being controlled by an evil power, forcing you into a subservient zombe-like state was kind of scary for them.  The story was so surreal for them though that it didn't give them nightmares.

My ten year old was very intrigued by the description of Aunt Beast and her kind, the benevolent non-humans.  "They had four arms and far more than five fingers to each hand, and the fingers were not fingers, but long waving tentacles.  They had heads, and they had faces . . . .  Where the features would normally be there were several indentations, and in place of ears and hair were more tentacles.  They were tall . . . far taller than any man.  They had no eyes.  Just soft indentations."  She took this description and drew her own interpretation of Aunt Beast without all the fingers. 

This is a great read aloud of managable length if you haven't done it yet!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday night traditions

Tonight we will continue with our winter Friday tradition of "movie night" and enjoy the second episode of Emma. Finding this site has proven to be a lot of fun for our family. Our television died last summer and we decided to just see how we would do without it. We are not a big television family. The television was mainly used for viewing DVDs and PBS. I imagine there are other sites that offer free viewing of different movies/shows. If anyone has any to share please do. So we'll all pile in our room, pull the computer table closer to the bed and enjoy some snuggle time together viewing wholesome entertainment. It works for us!

What are your Friday night traditions?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Flat French Bread

I wanted to share a recipe that comes from my days in college. (I still have the original hand written recipe, as seen in the photo above.) I've adjusted it a little but it is still basically the same yummy bread that I remember. My roommate introduced the recipe to me and we often made it on Sunday afternoons. It is one of those recipes that you can't fail at . . . and that I often make when guests come for dinner. It is always a hit and most don't go home without asking for the recipe (maybe that is just a polite thing to do but it always makes me feel good).

Flat French Bread

1 1/2 T yeast
2 cups warm water
1 T sugar
2 t salt
4 to 4 1/2 cups white flour (I like to use unbleached white flour.)
4 to 8 T melted butter

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in salt. Add flour and stir* until dough is no longer sticky adding additional flour as needed. Let rise in a greased bowl until double in bulk about one hour.

*I pretty much did this all by hand during my college days but now that I have a KitchenAid I like to kneed it in the machine. But it rises without a whole lot of kneeding so the mixer is not necessary.

Press dough into a well-greased 9X13 pan. (I have found that using shortening to grease the pan makes a wonderful crust! But however you choose to grease it will work fine, just be sure to grease the pan!)

So here comes the part that probably makes the bread so tasty . . . pour 4 to 8 tablespoons of melted butter over the dough. (Depending how much your conscience allows you to use!) Sprinkle with sesame seeds, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, or rosemary.

Bake at 400 degrees until golden, about 20 - 25 minutes.

I used butter and minced garlic on this batch. We ate almost the whole pan for dinner!
I think it has something to do with the white flour and butter!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordfull Wednesday

Today's Wordfull Wednesday is titled "Love Songs."

When Ben and I were dating we saw the movie "Lion King" at the theater. This was 1994! We were so hopeful and so excited for all of the adventures ahead in our new life together. We continue to feel like there is "more to see than can ever be seen" and "more to do than can ever be done".

Circle of Life (click here to view on YouTube)

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round

It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

1000 miles in 2010

Running is a big part of my life and has been for 14 years! I find running to be very invigorating. We have moved around quite a bit and each new place I search out running partners. Running for me is much easier with a partner. I am looking forward to the day when my children can join me on a long run!

I currently have two partners. One joins me three times a week and the other twice. I decided to set a goal of 1000 miles for the year after hearing this idea from a previous running partner. I shoot for 20 miles a week right now. So far I've run 120 miles this year!

Winter proves to be a hard time to run! I run in the morning. It is often not only dark, but cold too! It really makes one appreciate running in mild temperatures.

I am going to use this blog as a place to share my experiences and ideas about running.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monkey with a Tool Belt


Monkey with a Tool Belt
by Chris Monroe
Reading level:
Ages 4-8
Copyright: 2008

Anyone who has little boys will be able to appreciate this book! My little guys, age 3 and 5 have decided this is their favorite library book of the week. The main character is a monkey named "Chico Bon Bon" - just the name bringing up giggles! Chico has a tool belt with many, many tools and they all fit on his belt. There is a diagram of Chico's belt with all the names of the tools listed. Check it out the next time you are at the library!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Playing to Learn

This article from the NY Times gives an outline of a "theoretical" classroom. A place where reading and play are a priority! Children doing things like writing letters, telling stories, playing, listening, creating - being children! I liked it!

Here are my daughters and their friend.  My ten year old was practicing her piano piece "The Song of Twilight" by Yoshinao Nakada and they decided to put words to the music. They thought the song sounded sad so they wrote a pretty sad story about a girl who had a lot of sadness in her life and how her heart was broken. If I had made the assignment they wouldn't have gotten the same enjoyment out of this activity.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My own blog!

Finally . . . I created my own blog!

I've come to really enjoy reading blogs. I find it inspiring to read about other people, more specifically other moms. As a family we have a blog to update our extended family and friends of our happenings. But I wanted a place where I could share my own ideas and feelings with others. So this is my attempt . . . I have a lot to learn and I am looking forward to this adventure.