What GOD wants for Christmas

Wow!  What a Spectacular Sunday I’ve had.  Hope you had a great one too!

The best news of the day was I got all the Christmas decorations up and all the boxes put back  in the shed.

Thank you so much to Lydia and neighbor, Brittany, for helping!

And…Lydia and Brittany did a tree for Lydia’s room too.  Isn’t it cute?

Woohoo!  Now I just get to sit back and enjoy it until New Year’s Day.  That’s the Cupit family tradition.  Everything out the weekend after Thanksgiving and then packed back up on New Year’s Day.  Love it!

In other good news, I ran another 33 minute 3 miler.  Tonight’s wasn’t as hard as it has been lately.  And, when I got back in, I even did an exercise video.  I looked for Jillian Michaels’, 30 Day Shred but I think I remember that Andie has it down in Wilmington.  So, Slim in Six it was.  The Start It Up workout is only 24 minutes long.  Being a long distance runner, I’ve gotten into the mentality that I can take anything for that short of an amount of time.  It was hard but doable.  I love that it has the countdown time clock on the side of the screen.  I peeked ahead and the next workout is the Ramp It Up workout and it is 47 minutes long.  That’s gonna be a little tougher.  There’s even a Burn It Up workout but I didn’t look ahead on that one so I have no idea what it’s going to be like.  My goal is to keep with it all through the holidays.

Here’s another of my new Bondi Bands.  Gotta love this one for all us slow runners out there.

Next on the good news front was Ron’s declaration to make every one of Mama Pea’s recipeas in the Peas and Thank You cookbook.   http://peasandthankyou.com/     Hey, I’m all for it.  I’ll gladly clean the bathroom, vacuum, and do laundry while he cooks.

Here’s tonight’s entrée:  Pea Daddy’s Jambalaya

It was out of this world delicious!

For dessert, I whipped up another pumpkin pie monster.

My friends, that’s a 140 calorie jar of heaven you’re looking at.  If you haven’t tried it yet, please just do it.  All you do is take 1 cup of almond milk, ½ can of pumpkin, a couple of handfuls of ice, a sprinkle of ginger, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and a couple of sprinkles of cinnamon and then blend it up.  So indulgent.  So healthy.  So delicious.   (origianl inspiration for this monster here  http://ohsheglows.com/2010/09/27/pumpkin-pie-monster-and-over-baked-apples/)

Now to end with the best news of the day.

I attended my church, Mt. Zion United Methodist http://mountzion-umc.org/  , today and our pastor kicked off the “What GOD wants for Chirstmas” sermon series.  You see, GOD, doesn’t “need” anything and you might think that puts HIM in the impossible to get for gift category.  Not so.  He very clearly tells us what he wants.

“Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.  Anyone who believe and is baptized will be saved.  But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.”  Mark 16 15-16 (NLT)

Our pastor pointed out that not all of us can become missionaries in far away lands.  However, we all can pray for the gospel to go out.  We can give support to the ministries that share the good news. And we can carry the message of salvation with us wherever we go.

Our church challenged us to re-think Christmas with alternative giving opportunities.  You can choose from many different organizations.  Here are a few that you might consider:

Samaritan’s Purse  http://www.samaritanspurse.org/

Gospel for Asia  http://www.gfa.org/

World Vision  http://www.worldvision.org/

and

ZOE Ministry   http://www.zoeministry.org/

Since Ron and I have been working on the Dave Ramsey program, we each have what we call our “blow money.”  We each have our envelopes of money that is all our own after we have set aside our giving and all our money that is going to work our debt snowball.  We can use our “blow money” any way we want and we don’t have to feel guilty about whatever we choose.  The only problem for me is that I do feel guilty.  I can’t believe all this “blow money” that I have been, well, blowing!

We have two more paychecks before Christmas and I have decided that I am going to use a portion of my “blow money” to buy a goat ($60) and 6 chickens ($10 ea) for ZOE ministry.  I am so excited I can hardly stand it.

What are you getting for JESUS this year?

Goodnight friends!

Thanksgiving 2011

I did get in a little Turkey Trot around the neighborhood and sported another of my new Bondi Bands.

It’s my favorite one!

I only ran 3 miles but I did a lot of thinking in those 36 minutes.  My fastest times always averaged 11 minutes per mile and today’s was only 3 minutes slower.  However, I just felt terrible.  My legs felt like lead.  I’ve been fighting so hard to get my running mojo back every since last March’s marathon and it’s just not happening.  Why!?  I’m putting in the mileage.  It’s not getting me anywhere though.  What I deduced is that I’ve got to drop these extra 20 pounds that I gained over the summer somehow.  I’ve got to really focus on my cross training as well.

When I got back in, I made this beautiful pumpkin pie monster and did 30 minutes of yoga.

In the mix:

1 cup almond milk, 1/2 can pumpkin, 1 small banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and ice cubes

I got busy cooking after all of that and we had all of the girls’ favorites:

Ham, broccoli casserole, corn pudding, deviled eggs, and mashed potatoes

pumpkin and pecan pies

Since it was late in the afternoon before we sat down to eat, everyone was starved and I knew pictures would not be looked upon favorably.  I didn’t even try.

I did get one good shot of Andie, Jonathan, and Mason however.

I didn’t limit myself today but tomorrow I’m really going to count my calories and focus on dropping this weight.  When I lost it last time I wasn’t even trying.  I just ran and it melted off.  This time, something is different.  I’m running but the running isn’t getting any easier and I’m not losing any weight at all.  I might go back to a vegetarian diet too.  Since I went back to eating meat, I’ve gotten really slack.  Remember all those egg and cheese biscuits I used to get if I had to drive somewhere far for work?  Well now they are often sausage biscuits and sometimes even my favorite Cajun filet chicken biscuits from Bojangles.  I’ve also gotten really loose with my Ben and Jerry’s addiction.  Green monsters?  Not once a day anymore.  They are more like once a week.  This.has.got.to.change.

After cleaning the kitchen, Ron and I were classic couch potatoes.  We watched not one but two movies on demand.  The first one was Larry Crowne.  I liked it.  The second one was Captain America.  I liked it too.

Tomorrow will be continuing to clean and do laundry and then decorate for Christmas.

Goodnight Friends!

Bondi Band of the Day

I wish I could say I got my run on early this morning. I’m still trying. I promise. It’s dark in the morning and dark at night now anyway and that means I’ll be on the treadmill no matter the time.

It just would be so much more fun to come home from work and have my run out of the way.

Here’s another Bondi Band.

The “I run for pizza” is so me.  Cute huh!?  Well so is the ice cream and the cupcake part too.

I made it two miles but I just had to stop.  Our house was swealtering.  When I made it to the Living Room to check the thermostat, it was 81 degrees.  I just couldn’t bring myself to turn on the air conditioning.  On 11-15, it just didn’t seem right.  Tomorrow I get to work at a site where I can flex my hours a little.  Maybe I can get my run in outside BEFORE work.   Wish me luck.

Goodnight Friends!

Indian Shepherd’s Pie

Ok, let me just preface this review with the statement that my taste buds are very different now than they were 1.5 years ago.  Lydia took one bite of this dish and headed straight to the trashcan.  Me  —  well, I went back for 2nds.  So delish!

I ordered Lydia a birthday gift from Amazon the other day and while I was at it, I ordered this recipe book from one of my favorite bloggers.

I was reading it while Ron was driving and he was very intrigued.  He told me to pick something out and he would make it for us.  He wanted me to choose something with sweet potatoes because we had some we needed to use up.  We had almost all the ingredients for the Indian Shepherd’s Pie, so that’s what we decided on.  Here are the ingredients you will need:  sweet potatoes, butternut squash, vegan margarine, non-dairy milk, cinnamon, water, quinoa, onions, carrots, chickpeas, garlic, Tofurkey, vegetable broth, curry powder, coriander, salt, organic sugar, spinach, and dried cranberries.  All we had to pick up was the butternut squash, the dried cranberries, and the Tofurkey.

See here for the complete recipe:  http://peasandthankyou.com/2009/12/28/master-of-illusion/

Ron and I ran 5 miles tonight and he smoked me!  He was on fire.  Like a gentleman, after he made it home, he came back and we walked the last half mile together as a cool down.  Then he headed to the kitchen to whip up this dish while I did laundry.

Here’s what his final product looked like.

Ron is known for making his own adjustments to ALL recipes but he promised me he’d follow this one to a “T”.  I really wanted to see how Mama Pea meant it to taste.  The only substitution he made was adding honey instead of organic sugar.

I’m headed back for 3rds.

And packing some for lunch tomorrow.

Oh…and here’s one of my new sweatbands.

In an effort to keep my running routine exciting, I bought 5 new Bondi Bands.  They are the best sweatbands ever.  I’ll debut the others soon.

Have a great week.

Goodnight friends!

Same ‘Ole Same ‘Ole

Well the good news is!  I ran 6 miles last night!  Woohoo!  That is the farthest I’ve run since the Wrightsville Beach Marathon back in March.

I was beginning to think I didn’t have it in me anymore but I pressed on and once I got past mile three, something magical happened.  I found my running groove.  I had forgotten that most runs for me anyway, don’t really start getting enjoyable until a little ways into them.

Miles 4, 5, and 6 went by just wonderfully!  The weather was cooler last night and I was so happy to be running.

However, even with all the romance of a good run, I started to get a little bored.  Ron often complains about getting bored when running and I have always thought he was crazy!  How can you get bored when your body is moving in unison with nature and your soul?  Last night I can’t explain it but I was bored.

I was tired of my fuel belt.

I was tired of the same ‘ole songs on my ipod.

I was bored to death of my same ‘ole running bras.  (I only have 4 and since they are very good quality, they are still in good shape.)  I’m just tired of them.

I was tired of my same ‘ole running route.

I decided then and there I was going to try to do something to breathe new life into my running.

But what?

That got me thinking about just how expensive running can be.  I started adding up from head to toe how much it would be to replace all my running gear.

Here’s a breakdown:

Bondi Bands:  These are the best sweat bands of all!  They don’t look too 1980ish and boy do they ever soak up the sweat!  They also cover up a really bad hair cut!  I have one pink one and one black one.  I want some new ones!  They run $8 each and I just love ‘em.  The next two I want to get have sayings on them.  One says Will Run for ….(pizza, wine, cupcake, etc.) and the other says Live Laugh Run.   http://www.bondiband.com/

Running ID:  I have this engravable running id and it really makes me feel safer.  When I’m running, I know that if I have an emergency and can’t speak for myself, someone will be able to call my family. They are around $19.99.

Garmin 305:  These run around $150.00 and I must admit, I can hardly run without it now.  Mine came with a heart rate monitor but I’ve never used it.  I mostly like that I can see my pace and how many miles I’ve covered.  My friend Lisa used her when she went hiking and I was amazed at the altitude settings.  If you ever plan on running distances, you will need this!   http://www.target.com/p/Garmin-Forerunner-305-GPS-Receiver-With-Heart-Rate-Monitor/-/A-10255507

TechnicalTees:  I cannot run in a regular ole t-shirt at all anymore.  I’m a sweater!  A big time sweater and the wicking benefits of technical tees are amazing.  If you run in a technical tee, you won’t have to worry about chafing as much.  Good technical tees can run as much as $30 but sometimes you can find them at the outlets for much less.

Glide or Chamois Butter:  Even with technical tees, I still put on a chafing preventer in key areas.  I sometimes put it under my Garmin and road id to just make those feel more comfortable on a long run.  Each container of BodyGlide runs around $15.  http://www.bodyglide.com/

Running Bras:  These can be as cheap as $15 and really go way up from there.  The ones at some of the expos that I’ve been to have been as much as $95.  I like the Champion brand from the outlets and they are around $25 each.  I must get some new colors soon just for some variety!

Running Shorts:  Same here.  You can get some for 10 bucks at Target that will work just fine but you can go crazy too if you want to.  Don’t forget, it will be cooler soon and you might want some running pants or running tights.

Fuel Belt:  You’ll need someway to carry your water or Gatorade.  At first I was driving out and hiding my Gatorade at different distances.  This got old quick.  I didn’t think I’d be able to get comfortable running and carrying my water but it didn’t take long to get adjusted.   Ron runs with a camelback (a container that he has on his back like a backpack) and Lisa runs with a belt that holds one large water bottle.  My fuel belt has a place for 4 – 8oz. bottles.  I fill them with Gatorade when I’m on a long run.  The fuel belt comes with one small pouch that you can put your id or keys in.  I added an accessory pouch to my fuel belt and now I have a bigger place for my energy gels and my ipod or phone.    http://www.fuelbelt.com/

Gatorade and Energy Gels:  I get Gatorade at Walmart for 2 bucks and the energy gels are usually around $1.50 each at Dick’s Sporting Goods.  My favorite gels are by Gu and are Tri-berry or Chocolate Outrage flavors.

Ipod:  Some people say that you should embrace the run and not listen to music.  I do this sometimes, but other times you really need some tunes to rock out to.  I’m using a hand me down ipod from one of my girls.  I really want the new Nano and they run about $150.  I also need to make a NEW PLAYLIST!  I am sick to death of the two playlists that I’ve been running to for the past 20 months.    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Apple%26%23174%3B+-+iPod+nano%26%23174%3B+8GB*+MP3+Player+(6th+Generation+-+Latest+Model)+-+Graphite/1161725.p?id=1218228713409&skuId=1161725

Running Socks:  I cannot stress the importance of good running socks!  Splurge and get the good ones.  They are usually less than 15 or 20 bucks and are so comfy!  Do not run in cotton socks!

Running Shoes:  I started running in a $45 pair of Asics that I got at Belks.  My ITB started hurting and so I got fitted and ended up spending $120 on a new pair of better Asics.  However…..these were not the shoes for me!  I wore them three or four times and they were awful!  Switched back to my $45 pair and by that time I figured out that to cure my ITB problems, I had to ice and foam roll.  Shoes are ultra important but they are not the end all be all of running.  You can tell that from the barefoot and Vibram running craze.  Now I have a good pair of Brooks that I spent around $115 on and finally have a good fit.  I’ll probably have to replace my Brooks soon.  It is recommended that you get new running shoes every 500 miles or so.

Treadmills:  Or a gym membership   They’ll be days that you just can’t get your run in during the daylight hours.  They’ll be days that it rains all day or is way too hot or way too icy and cold.  You’ll need someway to run inside.  I hate my treadmill most of the time but when I was a beginning runner, I loved it.  We got our treadmill about 5 years ago and I think it was around $1000 bucks.

So there you have it.  Running is EXPENSIVE!  I didn’t even touch on the entry fees for the races you’ll want to run.

However…Running is PRICELESS.

My solutions to breathe new life into my running routine are as follows:

Happy Running Friends!