Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Photography Challenge Week 6: Shoot from a Low Point

Last week I shared a picture of a zinnia bud. This week, the flower has bloomed into this cheery pink flower:

This week we're shooting from a low point. I'm making a point of only picking photos I take each week for the challenge, even if photos I've taken in the past fit the criteria. Like this photo of an eggplant blossom:

So for this week, I have a view of my daughter looking like a giant as I lay down on the floor looking up at her:

And me looking up at smiley:

Not good lighting, but a cutie none-the-less!

See more photos taken from a low point at A Step in the Journey.

Beyond Couch to 5K, Return to Week 3

Last week was a return to week three, 1 1/2 minute run then walk, 3 minute run then walk, and repeat.
The first day it felt like I was running up all the hills. I should have run the opposite direction to try to hit the hills during a walking segment.
Day two was tough for some reason. I started out running at a decent speed, but by the end I slowed down and tired out quickly.
Day three I did a long run without walking segments. I think it was my best run yet! I got in the zone, didn't stop or even feel like I needed to stop and felt good the whole way through. Maybe the faster running segments ARE helping!

I'm logging many miles on my tennies this summer!

In the Kitchen

Now that the weather is finally cooling off a little, I've been spending more time in the kitchen.

I made no-knead bread. This is an Artisan style bread with a crusty outside and a soft middle.

Lots of air bubbles make the bread light.

This is an oatmeal bread.

It worked well for sandwiches and toast.

After being at my parents for the weekend, I brought home extra garden produce. I got nine pints of tomato juice out of the box of tomatoes.

Dad picked lots of cucumbers, and I've done up seven jars of refrigerator pickles.

I'm supposed to wait four days before I can eat them.

I still have many cucumbers left, but I ran out of suitable jars.

I took home three large zucchinis. I made some blueberry zucchini bread and muffins. Yes, a certain four year old tried to sample the bread while it was cooling on the counter. I added the rest of what was shredded to the baked spaghetti we had for supper. I still have two zucchinis left.

Wednesday is dessert night at our house, so I made up some chocolate chips bars--always a favorite!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Photography Challenge Week 5: Shoot from a High Point

I didn't take photos from high on a mountain or building or even a ladder this week, but I did shoot facing the camera down, from a point higher than the subjects I was shooting. I have three different photos to share this week.

A stump in the back yard. I like that I can see how the stump is beginning to break apart.

The seat of a green metal deck chair. I like how the seat is in focus with the lawn underneath being out of focus.

A zinnia bud. I like the small bit of color surrounded by the green leaves.

See more photos shot from on high at A Step in the Journey.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beyond Couch to 5K, Return to Week 2

I returned to week two, with six 90 second runs followed by 2 minute walks.
The first day was hot again, 79 degrees at the end of my run. I added about five minutes of run time at the end of the regular week 2 podcast.
The second day had lower humidity, so it was a little more pleasant to run.
The third day I did a longer run again, but it was not a great running day. I think I stayed up too late the night before, waiting for Barry to get home and caught up in the Internet drama. My knees weren't happy, either.
What I have liked about following along with the podcasts each week is having someone tell me exactly what to do--when to run, when to walk, when it's time to cool down. Now I'm the one making more of those decisions. I'm trying to push myself to run faster (at least faster than I did the first nine weeks of the program) and longer. I don't want to talk myself into walking just a little farther rather than running at the end. It's still a challenge, and it's still not easy. I'm at a strange paradox where on one hand, I don't feel like running, but on the other hand I look forward to it.

Almost home!

Mr. Personality

Ollie can be quite a funny little guy. His facial expressions show his true feelings.

He can turn a cupboard full of canned goods into building blocks or drums.

I love that he's talking more so I can get a glimpse into what goes on inside his head. Like when we went to the library the other afternoon, and he asked, "Goin' swimming?", no doubt remembering the two days a week we went to swimming lessons earlier in the summer. Or when we went outside to play and he chanted, "Back-yard-Bible-School!" like the kids did every day last week after lunch.

His antics never fail to amuse!

Back Yard Bible School

The kids learned about some miracles of Jesus last week at our Back Yard Bible School. We heard the stories of Jesus feeding the 5000 people, Jesus walking on water, Jesus healing the paralyzed man and Jesus turns water into wine. We also used our imagination with the stories, like pretending the kids were the disciples in the boat seeing Jesus walk on the water.

(Tarp=water, various seating=boat)

We built a Mega Bloks house to show the paralyzed man's friends lowering him down to Jesus.

We memorized Bible verses like "All things are possible with God," "I am the Bread of Life," and "Our sins are forgiven."

It was exciting for the kids to participate, and for me to see them so excited about learning more about Jesus.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Few Deals

The grocery deals have been few and far between this summer, but with back to school time come deals on snacks and school supplies. Overall I saved $80.57 or 31% shopping the sales and using coupons. A few things from this week:

Super One had a store coupon to save $2.50 on 5 Kellogg's or Keebler products. I also used coupons, so the Rice Krispie treats were $0.74, the granola bars were $1.49 each, and the cookies were $0.49 each.

Sara Lee bread was $1.84-$0.55 coupons=$1.29 each

Arm & Hammer detergent was $2.74-$1/2 coupon=$2.24 each. The Suave body wash was free with a coupon I got in the mail.

At Pamida, these stainless steel water bottles were $3.88 each

Glue was $0.25 each, Bic pens were $0.25 per ten pack. I used two $1/2 coupons on the pens, so I had $1 overage from the coupons.

Photography Challenge Week 4: Dinner

Taken with my cell phone

I wasn't very creative in the kitchen this week. Barry and Jackson (hubby and oldest son, who had the "good" camera) were gone several evenings this week, and I stuck to easy, kid-friendly fare. One night I made pasta, stirred in some sauce, and served a piece of rustic bread on the side.

See more photos of DINNER at A Step in the Journey:

Beyond Couch to 5K, Return to Week 1

Even though I finished the Couch to 5K program, I didn't feel that I could just stop running after all that. So I've returned to the beginning, week 1, to work on speed and distance. Here's where I was at week 1 (Click).
This week alternates 1 minute running with 1 1/2 minutes of walking. I actually ran the 1 minute segments, enough to be winded at the end of each minute, but still able to recover by the end of the walk time. I could run up the hills much easier than in week 1. At the end of the podcast, I ran an additional five or so minutes. After about a 20 minute break when I got done, I still had enough energy to mow the lawn.
On Wednesday, I drank coffee before I went out to run, and had a dry mouth and throat. No more coffee before running.
While I was working on speed the first two runs of the week, I don't want to lose the longer distance running. Since week 9 ended with a 30 minute run, I added about 2 minutes for a 32 minute run plus 5 minute warm up and cool down. I used the week 9 podcast and then during my extended running time each day, I listened to Zero 7, nice mellow music to finish a run.

Partly cloudy sky to run under

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finally, Eggplant! And a Pansy Transplant

I have finally spotted a couple of eggplants growing.

And the "special" eggplant continues to grow.

This pansy was a volunteer plant that was growing in the weeds at the edge of the trees in our backyard. I transplanted it to a pot, and it finally bloomed.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Couch to 5K, Week 9

I'm still a week behind in updating about the 5K. I went into Week 9 questioning why I was running. I didn't feel like going out, I was feeling frustrated about my slow time, and I am still not running a 5K distance. I made myself get out and do Week 9 anyway, with a 5 minute warm-up, 30 minute run and 5 minute cool down. I ran on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
The weather all week was in the 70's and humid. Not great running conditions, but when reading about others running in 90's and humid I can't complain too much.
The music was a little repetitive this week, not too interesting, but I just got in a zone with running and wasn't very focused on the music.
Despite a reluctance at the beginning of the week to continue the Couch to 5K program, I did it anyway, and have now completed the program!
Do I stop running? Keep going? Try for more speed and distance? I'll let you know in my next C25K update!

More wildflowers on the way home

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Photography Challenge Week 3: Bold Colors

For me, the most obvious BOLD COLORS this time of year are in the flowers blooming everywhere. I first was going to use this picture, taken after the rain a few days ago. The yellow really popped against the green surrounding it.

Then I went outside this morning to find this flower that suddenly bloomed overnight. I noticed the bud yesterday evening and had no idea there would be a flower today! I planted a packet of wildflower seeds, so I don't even know what kind of flower this is.

Join the photography challenge, or look at more photos with BOLD COLORS, just click the button below.

Garden Visitor

We had a visitor in our garden a few days ago. Unfortunately, it ate most of the leaves off of my green beans. I guess it's a good thing I didn't plant more after all.

Deer tracks

Not many leaves left

It also ate the tops of a few carrots, so we pulled most of them and ate them in stir fry.

Not much to look at, but fun to eat!

We have four eggplant plants, three that are dark purple, each with several blossoms but no eggplants. The fourth has greener leaves, and I finally found an eggplant growing this week. It's about the size of an egg and is purple with white stripes.

The peas haven't done great in the heat, but we did harvest a handful this week.

More peppers keep appearing on various plants. This plant is growing long and skinny peppers.

I see tomatoes here and there starting to turn orange, so by next week we'll be eating fresh tomatoes!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Couch to 5K, Week 8

I'm still catching up--Week 8 of C25K fell during vacation, so I actually ran while we were on vacation! It wasn't a very exciting place to run, just on the side of the road. On Monday, the sun was HOT on my face. Wednesday was more overcast and not quite so hot. I didn't want to run on my last day of vacation (Friday), so I waited until we were home on Saturday to finish week 8.
Week 8 is a 5 minute warm-up walk, 28 minute run, 5 minute cool down. I did it at my usual slow pace without too much trouble. One week left!
My reward this week was finding wild raspberries on the trail during my cool down walk.