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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Space Coast Half Marathon

Did I really run the race for the medal? Yes! Well, sort of...  The medals for this race are pretty fancy. In fact if you run the race for 3 years in the row, you get a 3 year medal. (Milky Way Challenger Medal) If you run in 5 years in a row you get an additional 5 year medal (Intergalactic Challenge Medal) too. For some reason, that draws me to this event.  

But that's not all that makes this race one I will do again, really. The after race event was well done and I liked the race swag too.  We got  a long sleeved tech tee and a beach towel, that others in my family like as well.

After the race we had our choice of pancakes and eggs or pizza and beer in addition to usual race food like fruit, bagels and drinks.

In addition, the course was very nice.  It was a 2 lane road that ran along the water's edge with boat houses and docks on one side and lovely homes on the other.  It was an out and back, but the first half is done mostly in the dark, so it looked differently on the way back.

But that's not all. This race was easy to get to and did not include a lot of the usual headaches, like having to get up super early to get to your corral, heavy traffic and a long walk to the start.  It was a no hassle race and I liked that too.  

The only negative to this race, was the date.  It falls on the Sunday following Thanksgiving day so it was a busy time.  Despite my irregular and unmotivated training schedule, I was happy with my performance.  Honestly, since I started my new job, finding time to run has been a challenge. We finished the race in 2:26.  I'll take that and the medal and be satisfied!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thanksgiving at Kiawah

The past six months have been CRAZY!  A new job and a new home have taken all of my time and energy.  After a fabulous week off, I was inspired to get back to blogging.

For the past 20+ years,  my siblings and I have made an effort to spend Thanksgiving together.  There are 5 of us and 13 nieces and nephews.  We don't all make it every year, but our track record is solid.

This year we met on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.  We rented a house large enough for all of us to share. Sharing a house is the way to go because all of unplanned moments make the best memories. Our holiday included...


My sister is the best event organizer!  This year she planned a cookie bar baking contest.  Each team of two finds and executes a recipe of their choice in hopes of winning the title of the best.  This year's winner was a Rocky Road brownie.  The girls used their brains and their cooking skills to win.  (They knew one of the judges loved rocky road). The other entries included: Monster Cookie Bar, Raspberry Oatmeal Bar, Fluffernutter Bar, Peppermint Brownie and a Strawberry Cheesecake Bar.


Each year we also run in the local Turkey Day Run on Thanksgiving morning.  We have done this race for the past three years and it is a family favorite. It was a chilly day with wind and temp in the 30s.

This must also be a favorite of the band KISS
because I saw them last year too!  They complete the race in full stage attire and aren't shy about posing for photos.

The race runs through historic downtown Charleston and is a scenic course.

St. Michael's Church

The Battery

King Street

Start and Finish line at Marion Square

The long sleeved race t is a good one.


Our trip to Charleston always includes another much loved  spot - Cupcake! on King Street


There was a sandcastle contest on the beach at Kiawah and here are some of the creations.
The dragon in the top left was the winner and the castle from Tangled in the top right also placed.



Caravan of eight
I just love spending time with my family and am already looking forward to next year.
Hope you had a relaxing holiday with some good food.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Last weekend I went blueberry picking for the first time in my life!  Beck Brother's Blueberries a beautiful 17 acre farm in Windemere is strangely located in the middle of a suburban neighborhood but I imagine they were there first.  The farm was clean and well maintained with rows and rows of mature blueberry bushes bursting with fruit.  At first glance, it looked like we arrived at a busy time, but once we got into the fields, it felt like we were the only ones out there.

 Each carrying a bucket and surrounded by so many ripe berries, it was easy to get carried away and just keep picking.  We ended up leaving with two large buckets full, about 2 gallons of blueberries!

I did have plans to make some blueberry jam, but seeing how many I had actually picked, I knew I needed to have some other ideas on how to use them.   Here are some of my old and new favorites we have made this week in addition to eating them by the handfuls.

Blueberry Jam

Blueberry Salsa

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Blueberry Muffins 
Blueberry Pie
Blueberry Waffles

 (I feel like the guy in Forrest Gump who talks about all the ways you can eat shrimp.)

Luckily I have a willing group of coworkers who help me eat it all!   Next week I plan to make some of these fruit bars too.  

After that I am taking a break and will enjoy the frozen ones along the way.

It has been quite a week of canning, baking, freezing eating and sharing blueberries!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tomato Soup

As I get older, I am finding I like soup more and more and I am a little obsessed with this tomato soup.  That may not seem unusual except I hated tomato soup until I tried this one.

I realized I like each individual ingredient and so I thought I might like them all together as well.  I felt like an outsider all those years watching everyone enjoying their tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. But no more - I am now part of the club cause I like it too.

What's great about it is it doesn't require a special trip to the store because I usually have all the ingredients in my house. Lately it has been my go to meal for those nights I want an easy dinner idea. Although it needs to sit on the stove for about 40 minutes, it doesn't require a lot of attention.

I have dressed it up with diced avocado, and even topped it with grilled cheese croutons, but it tastes good enough in a bowl all by itself.

Tomato Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup orzo (uncooked)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon salt (I substitute Basil Salt)
1 teaspoon pepper

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook over medium low heat until lightly brown, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

In a separate pot cook orzo in boiling water for 7 minutes.  It will finish cooking once added to the soup.  Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Stir in heavy crew and simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Adapted from Food Network recipe.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Brita Fill & Go

My car is like my home away from home.  I like to have every thing I may need in it, just in case,  like an extra jacket, umbrella, dental floss, lotion, extra pair of glasses, lip balm and of course a bottle of water.  I live in Florida and it's hot almost all the time.  I drink a lot of water and never like to be without it.  I feel so wasteful when I find myself having to shell out cash for an overpriced and environmentally unfriendly bottle of water at a store. 

 I have been using my Sigg bottles to carry water from home, but once it's gone that's it.  I can't refill it while I'm out because I don't trust water from just anywhere. That is why I am loving my new Fill & Go water bottle from Brita
 This bottle has a filter in it so I can refill with any tap water and still have the safety and improved taste of filtered water without the cost of buying a bottle of water or lugging around multiple reusable bottles from home.  

The filter is replaceable and fits in the flip top cap.  I just unscrew the lid, refill it and all the water I drink is filtered before it gets to my lips.  This bottle comes with 4 filter discs. Each disk should be replaced after drinking 20 liters.  The bottle is BPA free and can go in the dishwasher for cleaning.

Because I can refill it from any sink, I have been taking mine with me to work and around town.  It is slim enough to fit in the cup holder of my car and big enough to hold about 20 ounces of water.

A bonus for me is the durability, I have already dropped it onto the street and it survived without damage.  I am always looking for the latest and greatest water bottle and I love this one.  The only downside may be the cost of replacement filters.  We'll have to see how that goes.

I did receive a sample bottle to try, but the opinions about this product are all mine.