"Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one'."

Monday, June 27, 2011

"That's not sweat, it's your fat cells crying."

I ran my first marathon on Saturday.  Immediately after the race, I might have been tempted to call it my one and only marathon.  But today I can tell you with certainty that I will do it again. 

I ran with a very dear friend, and for her company along the course I will never be able to fully express my gratitude.  She could have finished faster but stayed with me every step of the race.  She had dozens of inspirational running quotes that she doled out along the way, wisdom from other marathoners and elite runners, and stories from random folks she'd met at other races who had all left an impression on her.  She has so much HEART.  She only let on that she was hurting one time that I can remember, as opposed to me constantly assessing which new body part was feeling searing pain.  God bless that woman and her sweet Midwestern accent; without her I might have veered to the left when the half-mary runners split from the full. 

Thank goodness for our support crew (my husband and her dad) who tracked us down at three separate places along the course carrying a bright yellow sunshine balloon so we could find them easily.  Thank goodness for my mama, who kept the girls Friday and Saturday so I could enjoy the weekend worry-free.  Thank goodness for the spectators and volunteers who showed up at the crack of dawn to cheer us on.  All along the course they held hand-written signs with memorable one-liners:

"In our minds, you're all Kenyans!"
"That's not sweat, it's your fat cells crying!"
"Chuck Norris never ran a marathon!"
"There's beer at the finish line!"
"This 26.2 is for all the girls picked last in gym class!"

I loved the sense of community all throughout the race: 26,000 strangers and throngs of supporters, united by a common goal and shared passion.

At mile 7, we reached the tribute to our nation's veterans and those lost in combat.  There were volunteers holding photos of service men and women who didn't make it home, and a long line of American flags, and the sight of it all quite literally took my breath away.  Talk about perspective.

At mile 12, I started having what I call 'big thoughts,' as in:  We've already been running for two hours and we aren't even halfway done yet, and My God What Have I Gotten Myself Into???  Then we came across a table full of snack food for the race volunteers.  Doughnuts....and grapes and broccoli.  The doughnuts proved to be too large a temptation--I made off with half an old-fashioned glazed and popped it in my mouth with two broccoli florets.  Mmm.

I am not a natural runner, it doesn't come easily to me.  At mile 19, I remember saying, "This is harder than childbirth!"  Maybe I was being melodramatic.  Maybe I had freakishly mild labor and delivery experiences.  (The girls all came out in 1 or 2 pushes so I certainly don't have the perspective of a woman who had to push for hours.)  26.2 miles of pavement pounding is grueling and there is no mid-race epidural.  (If you've done both and still disagree and want to call me names that's totally your prerogative. ;)

The last mile of the race felt like at least three miles; the anticipation of the finish line was palpable and painful.  But crossing it, hand in hand with my sweet friend, was an amazing rush.  I came home to bone-crushing hugs from my girls and peonies on my porch from lovely Lindsay.

I think Saturday was the beginning of a journey for me: a lifetime of marathons, hopefully some faster and probably some slower, but each with it's own unique set of experiences.  I will cross the starting line for my next 26.2 armed with the knowledge that I absolutely CAN do it.  And if I can do it, anyone can.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Green Bunny: Some Kind Of Wonderful

It is official: The first day of Summer.

C'mon sun...c'mon sun!

Here's a layout of the (no exaggeration) only sunshine day we've had so far in the Pacific NW. I DO see a glorious ball of bright in the sky this morning, so maybe it was just holding out until it was officially summertime!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Joyeux Kitchen: Great-Grandma Nell's Raspberry Swirl

(Doug's favorite dessert)

*This recipe includes raw eggs.  It's an old-school creamy dessert, and back in the day no one thought twice about using raw eggs to achieve super creamy texture.  I like livin' on the edge, but it seemed like an appropriate disclaimer if you're concerned about the possibility of food borne illness.  I list suggestions at the bottom for making it without the eggs but I can't guarantee the same creamy texture.

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (this time I was out of grahams so I used finely crushed animal crackers...Nilla Wafers would work too)
3 tbsp. melted butter
2 tbsp. sugar

Combine and press in the bottom of a greased or parchment lined 8 by 8 (for a thicker slice) or 9 by 13 pan.  Bake @ 375 for 8 minutes and cool completely.  Don't let it get too dark in the oven!  I left it in for 12 minutes by accident one time and it tastes terrible.

3 eggs, separated
1 8-ounce cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup whipped cream (homemade or Cool Whip)
1 bag frozen, sweetened raspberries, thawed

Beat egg yolks until thick.  Add cream cheese, sugar and salt and beat until light and smooth.  Beat egg whites to stiff peaks.  Gently fold whites and whipped cream into cheese mixture.  Puree raspberries; gently swirl 1/2 through cheese filling.  Spread onto crust.  Stream remaining berries onto top in long strings and swirl with a knife (for Father's Day I put it in my piping bag to be fancy :).  Freeze for at least four hours, or preferably overnight.

Let thaw for a few minutes on the counter before serving or it will be impossibly hard to get out.  It will also be really hard to get out if you forgot to grease the baking pan before you put the crust in it.  But it'll still taste great.  C'est la vie!

Websites with ideas for raw egg replacement:



Popular ideas seem to be pasteurized whole eggs, liquid refrigerated eggs or egg whites, or egg substitutes.  Haven't experimented yet but I'll let you know when I do!  I'll be much more comfortable serving this at parties and not having to hold my breath for a couple days wondering if I gave anyone food poisoning.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Homemade Crayons

When I asked Logan what he wanted to give his teachers as a thank you, he enthusiastically said "CRAYONS". I couldn't see myself handing the teachers a box of Crayolas, so I had to get creative. 

Why not MAKE crayons? (I said in my head)
Super simple AND super fun!

Peel your old crayons and break them into small pieces.
just pretty
I sprayed both a silicone baking mold (squares) and a metal tart tin (circles) with Pam cooking spray and started dropping in crayons. Logan was serious about creating color combos he liked.
Ready to go in the oven. I put them in at 300 degrees and watched them closely. 7-10 minutes depending on metal vs. silicone.
This pic is about halfway through cooking. Once the lumps are gone and they look melted, pull them out and let them cool completely. I used a toothpick to swirl the colors a bit before they set.

BEAUTIMOUS! Such a fun project that the kiddos can help with.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Vintage Nellie Cooks -- Froot Loops Fiestas

Another treasure from Nellie's recipe box!  This one was clipped off the side of Nellie's breakfast cereal (and really, if you look at the sugar content, Froot Loops for dessert is far more appropriate than on the breakfast menu!).  These are light and buttery and the cereal stays crunchy--kids will love them.  The only note I'd add is that you have to push them flat with a fork like a sugar cookie, they won't flatten out on their own.  You could use any kids' cereal that you have on hand (Fruity Pebbles would be perfect).  Happy Monday!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thank You...Thank You Very Much

I was trying to come up with something fun for Logan's teachers at the end of the school year...instead of a blank thank you card.

I decided to use the worksheets that they had worked on all year to spell "thank you". I added an adorable little man, snapped the picture, and:

We packaged them up with our gift...HOMEMADE CRAYONS!!! (watch the blog next week for a step-by-step)...and they turned out super cute. You could also do this card in variations: maybe with birthday gifts as a thank you after a party...I just saw one online yesterday with a little girl and boxes of girl scout cookies thanking everyone who ordered from her.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Green Bunny: Notes to my Boys

Sometimes, one photo (usually of nothing incredibly spectacular) will send me into an emotional-please don't ever grow up-mommy tailspin and I feel the need to write about the little things in life. The quirks that I don't want to forget about my boys. Here are two such layouts:

I definitely encourage you to keep track of the little things that make your kids tick. Someday, you'll really wish you could remember that silly thing they used to do! Another idea I had for preserving all these delicious childhood moments can be found here: You've Got Mail...Kids.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And the winner is....

YAY!  I'm so thrilled that we pulled fifty tiny toes follower Stacy Low out of the mixing bowl. Stacy has promoted Joyeux Kitchen on her Facebook page a lot over the past month (in fact, she was also my first order this morning!!) and I can't wait to make her some goodies. Stacy, thanks for following the blog, and thank you everyone for taking part in our first contest. Looking forward to the next one!