Monday, September 30, 2013

5K Update - Almost There!

I am this close to doing the 5K.   This last week has been trying to say the least.  Here's what I did on the last official day of the Couch to 5K Program:

Week 8

45 minutes  total

2.69 miles   141 calories
5 minutes  walking warm up, 35 minutes running,  5 minutes walking cool down. 
 My legs felt pretty good today.  The last 5 minutes of the run were HARD!    I actually RAN 35 minutes straight and did 2.22 miles running.  Still quite a way off the 5K goal and still too slow.  Ugh.  I thought this was the end of the program, but the next screen popped up and said it would see me in 2 days for my 5K.  What does that mean??

So, I don't feel physically or emotionally ready to actually run the 5K.  I'm still having a hard time running for 35 minutes straight and I know it's going to take longer than that to do the 5K.  The rest of this past week I tried setting the pace on the treadmill a little higher, in the hopes that I'd knock off a little more mileage in a shorter period of time.  I'm still averaging 15 minute miles.  Crap on a cracker!  I am so not happy with that.

This is hard people, I'm not ashamed to say that either.  For anyone out there struggling with their weight, or a work out program, or whatever, take heart.  All of it is hard.  But you can't quit, you have to keep going, you have to keep trying, keep fighting, get up off your butt even when you don't want to.  

I'm going to work on my endurance this week and my mileage and shoot for next week for the actual 5K.  I'm afraid I'm going to fail.  Failure is not an option though, is it?  It's taking longer than I thought it should.   I keep telling  myself that I should be able to do this.  I will do this.  One step at a time.  I hope....

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Happy 80th Birthday Dad

Yesterday was my dad's 80th birthday.  We had a little family party for him and I had a cake made with a dinosaur on it because he's now "an old dinosaur."  

But I'm just kidding about the old dinosaur part. He's very active and likes to get out and about and see new things....

Make new milestones with my mom.....

And he still likes to steer his own course....

A nicer, sweeter man you will never meet.  Happy Birthday Dad.  I love you!!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Being Stealthy

When geocaching you have to be stealthy, sneaky, unobtrusive.  Blend into the background so to speak.  Remember, searching for geocaches is like a big old secret treasure hunt.

Here's me being stealthy in a park.  A woman and her kids were playing on the playground equipment nearby.....

As soon as they started to walk away, Louie shoved me up to grab the cache.

Hee, hee......  Be sure to read my other being stealthy caching post here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Review - Great Pub Food

I hope you're hungry because this weeks book review is on Great Pub Food by Rachael Lane, Hardie Grant, 2013

This 192 pages paperback edition has over 80 recipes and 86 color photographs.  With a kitchen friendly size of 8 3/4" x 9 3/4"  it's perfect for propping up on the counter so you can get your whisk on!

Great Pub Food is a wonderful compilation of international pub favorites.  The best part is that you can create pub meals from around the world in the comfort of your own kitchen.  The book is broken down into 5 easy to follow chapters
  • Burgers, Pies and Pastries
  • Classics
  • Special Board
  • Salads and Sides
  • Desserts
Whip up familiar fare such as Pulled Pork Sliders, Steak Sandwiches, gourmet Hotdogs, or Steak and Mushroom Pie.  Feeling adventurous?  Try your hand at some of the more intriguing classics such as Beef and Guinness Pie, Shepherd's Pie, Bangers and Mash or Pumpkin Gnocchi.  The Specials Board contains classics such as Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Chinese Barbecue Pork Ribs.  Side dishes like Macaroni and Four Cheeses or Creamy Roast Garlic Potato Mash will have you going back for seconds.   Make sure you leave plenty of room for desserts like classic Apple Pie, Mud Cake or Bakewell Tart.

One of the best aspects about reviewing a cookbook is that I take the time to make a few of the recipes.  First of all, I like photos that make me want to make a recipe and there was a long list of recipes here that I wanted to try based on the photos alone.  Second, I like to see if the recipes are easy to follow and the 3 that I chose were well written and precise.  Finally, the proof is in the pudding so to speak - how good does the food actually taste and more importantly, does my family like it and would I make it again?

Want to see what we made?

The unanimous first choice was Eggplant Parmigiana.  First I prepared the eggplant...

Added the cheese and easy to make sauce....

I baked it and look at this -  How delicious does that look?  It was excellent!!  When my husband states that a dinner I made is the best he ever had, I know I have a winner.  This was by far the best eggplant parmigiana I've ever made.

Next up was a Mushroom Risotto.  I've never made any kind of risotto and I have no idea why not.  It was super easy to make, quick and very good. 

I served the Mushroom Risotto as a side dish with the Chicken Parmigiana, which was easily another winning recipe.  It consisted of chicken breasts with a homemade sauce and cheese.  Paired with the risotto, it was a perfect meal and one I will make again.

Great Pub Food offers a lot of fun Pub recipes from around the world.  The food photos will make you want to try your hand at recreating delicious Pub Food at home.  Pour yourself a beer or a glass of wine, sit back and enjoy.

I was provided an advance copy of the book for review purposes and asked to give an honest review. All opinions are my own.  All photos are property of Rizzoli Publishing and cannot be reproduced.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Identical Vintage Desks

The other day I was blog hopping and I clicked on a blog named Creative Southern Home because this picture of her refinished desk caught my eye....

Nice looking desk, right?  Sturdy, great lines, beautiful coloring and I did a double take because hey, that looks like my desk!!  What do you think?

So here's a funny story.  Anne over at Creative Southern had recently bought her desk and refinished it for her daughter.  You can read her story about it here.   At about the same time, I was out hitting garage sales when I came across this well loved beauty....

My desk had a garage sale price tag on it for $ 50.00 that was marked down to $ 40.00 and was then repeatedly marked down.  By the time I got there and showed interest in it, it was marked down to 10 bucks and when the old woman saw we had a truck, she begged me to just take it - for free!    :-)   Oh, was I giddy - what a deal!!  I practically clapped my hands and did a jig but I refrained myself.   Honestly, I fell in love with that desk at first sight, even though it was pretty beat up and missing one handle that I later found stuffed in the drawer.  The thing that sold me on the desk was the cool metal plate on the top drawer that read Chicago Office Furniture Company.  Since I'm from Chicago that sealed the deal!  Into the back of the truck she went.  The desk - not the old lady.

We took her home and I removed and stained the drawers inside and out and fixed that broken handle. 

Then I gave her a complete light sanding and a good staining all over and finished up with a couple of coats of Poly U.  On the top of the desk there was a couple of bubbly spots and cracked veneer.  I really didn't want to sand them down too far and then have to mess with fixing that veneer. 

Since I'm keeping this desk for myself and taking it to the lake house for my desk top computer, I decided to just put some old maps on the top of the desk.   I copied some maps from my map book, burned the edges and then smeared them with a little ash to age them a bit.  Then I took mod podge and glued them down and once they were dry I sprayed them with 2 coats of an acrylic sealer.

After that I covered the desk top with 4 more coats of poly U.  So here's the finished version of my desk complete with strategically placed maps which won't bother anyone who is writing anything.  I have empty spots at the top right and left corners where the computer and my printer will go.  I probably could have skipped the whole map gluing process and just laid maps on top of the desk and covered the whole thing with a sheet of glass, but I really didn't want to spend the money for the glass.

I was telling Anne at Creative Southern Home about my desk and she suggested we run a dual post about our dueling desks.  Isn't it fun how we met over a shared passion for refinishing furniture and it turned out to be the same piece of furniture and we are in completely different states?  Stop by, check out her blog and say hi!

I can't wait to get my desk down to the lake.  It's going to be awesome in my sunroom.  I'll be sure to take pictures and post them when that finally happens.

I'm linking up at Obsessive and Creative and Sunny Simple Life.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

5K Update 9-23-13

The END is in sight!!

Week 7

Day 3

35 minutes 2.06 miles   114 calories

5 minute walk, 25 minute run, 5 minute walk.  Seriously??  I was shocked when I saw the 25 minute run pop up on the screen but you know what?  I did it!!  I ran the entire 25 minutes.  After 22 minutes I SO wanted to stop but I just kept going and pushing, and panting, and I did it!!

Week 8

The end is in sight! 

Day 1

38 minutes

2.15 miles   130 calories

5 minute walking warm up, 28 (Holy Crap) minute run, 5 minute walking cool down.    Honestly, it took a lot to drag myself up off the sofa and get on that treadmill tonight.  I did not feel like running.  Not a good attitude going in, I know.  I did fine until I was 23 minutes into the running part and I felt like I hit a brick wall.  It was tough to do the last 5 minutes of the run.  I slowed down and did a little speed walking for 1 minute of it and then forced myself to finish up the run.  When am I going to start liking this?  Ever?  I just do not like this.  I hate it.  Oh God how I hate this.   Afterwards I figured out that I actually RAN 1.78 miles during the 28 minute running part.  I have no idea if that's good or if it sucks.  I just know that I RAN 1.78 miles straight.  Did I mention how much I hate this?


40 minutes

2.39 miles and 146 calories

5 minutes walking warm up, 30 minutes running,  5 minutes walking cool down.  Well, I didn't think it was possible for me to run for 30 minutes straight, but I was determined to do it.  Today was the first time where I felt like I found my “legs” after the first 5 minutes of running.  Usually my calves feel weak and I struggle with running the first 10 minutes, but today I felt stronger much sooner.  I ran a steady 3.8 on the treadmill and did fine until the last 3 minutes of the run.  By then I was getting tired.  Tony must have sensed it because he came into the room and stood next to the treadmill and cheered me on with encouraging words.  That was a huge help!  The last 2 minutes I just shouted out 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4 constantly in time with my steps.  And I did it!!  Woo-hoo only one official day left on the program, altho at this point I don’t see how that will equate to a 5K.  I’m still way too slow and too far from the 3.1 miles yet.  But we’ll see.  I’m averaging 15 minute miles and I know now that is a HORRIBLE speed.  But I think I’ll keep plodding along until I actually run the entire 5K and then maybe I’ll try increasing my speed.  OMG - does that mean I am actually considering continuing with this once the program is done??

Well, tomorrow I'll do the last official day of the program.  I shudder to think what that's going to entail.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Refinishing 2 Cedar Chests

Chablis and I have slowly amassed quite the varied collection of furniture that we wanted to refinish.  We've been hitting garage and yard sales all summer and our garage is overflowing.  Crammed to the rafters with so much furniture in fact, that Louie finally told me that we had better start working on some of this stuff and get it out of there.  I gave him the sad face and before I knew it, a new storage shed was erected in the yard and all the furniture was moved out of the garage.  Chablis and I staged everything out in the yard to decide what we wanted to start on first.  Let me tell you - there is a lot of stuff!

With the weather forecast calling for a few days of cool temperatures and sunny skies, we decided to tackle a couple of projects this week.  We decided that the 2 cedar chests were first on the list to be done, because we could easily store other stuff inside them once they were finished.  Smart idea, huh?

I decided to tackle this Lane Cedar Hope Chest.  Other than being severely scratched and badly water stained, it was in really good shape.  All the wood was sturdy and intact.  I gave it a good sanding down and also removed and cleaned the hardware handles.

Chablis had finagled  negotiated a really good price on this antique cedar chest and she couldn't wait to start on it.  This one was in really bad shape.  It had several cracks in the wood, missing moldings, rusty hardware and really dirty all over.

Since we had the sander out, we decided to sand down several other projects right away as well.  After all, if everything was going to get saw-dusty, we might as well get that out of the way...

After the sanding we gave everything a good vacuuming and a thorough wash down...

My son had also just asked me to find him a small dresser for his room.  I picked up this one for free!  He didn't care for the wood finish, so I sanded it down and then he asked me to paint it dark brown.  If you look closely in the background you can see my new shed that is still crammed with lots more stuff to work on....

Here's his finished dresser.  Plain, I know, but it was exactly what he wanted....

Here's what the finished Lane Cedar Chest looks like.  Based on the serial number stamped on the bottom, I think it was made in October of 1974.   I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet but it sure is beautiful!

**  I wanted to add this after- the- fact discovery.  I contacted Lane Furniture and asked about background information on this chest.  I got an almost immediate response: " It was from the CACHE collection by Lane. Mounted on Hidden casters and made out of Oak veneers and had a dark oak finish.  It was also identified as being made in 1974."  I'd like to thank Susan B. over at Lane for helping me find the correct information on my chest.  I'd also like to highly recommend the Lane Company - they go above and beyond for their customers!  **

Chablis was thrilled with how her Cedar Chest turned out.  She put a ton of work into it.  She had to repair a crack in the bottom, removed a lot of the crappy trim and really cleaned up the hardware.  Then she stained it.  I love the color and the natural dents and dings.  It has a lot of character.  She said she's definitely keeping hers.

 The original hardware looks amazing!

We got railroaded by rain the last 2 days so our projects got put on hold.  We have lots more to finish up before winter hits and it's too cold to work outside any more.  Unless I give my husband the stink eye and worm another shed out of him to work in.  Hmmmm.........

I'm joining Craft Frenzy Friday at Obsessive and Creative and Sunny Simple Life's From the Farm Blog Hop.  Stop by and say hi!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to Geo-Fish with a Stick

Recently we were out geocaching and we came across a cache hidden high up on this pole.  It was way too high up for us to reach with my metal grabber.  It was even too high to reach if we pulled the car up next to the pole and stood on top of the car like we've been known to do from time to time.  What to do??  Can you see it?

Dad tried reaching it with my hiking pole, but even he couldn't stretch far enough...

We kept trying different things until finally Louie stuck a long tree branch into the sharp end of the hiking pole.

Unfortunately, the branch was a little limp....

But teamwork and persistence paid off....

And the cache was soon in hand!

We signed our names....

And threw that sucker back up where we found it for the next guy!

High fives and a job well done!  We also grabbed a few other nice geocaches that day.  We had a good laugh at this one.  Mom was searching all over for the cache and it was right over her head!

Dad did a little tree climbing...

Mom found a cache hidden on this cannon....

I loved this cache container.  When we opened it up....

... a snake jumped out at us!

This cache was in a cemetery and we enjoyed looking at the old headstones afterwards....

This one was a quick grab....

We found a Veterans Memorial out in the middle of nowhere...

This is a propane tank painted to look like a Chicago Style Hot Dog with all the trimmings.  We do find the strangest things when we geocache sometimes....

By then we were ready for lunch so we stopped at Hagen's Fish Market in Chicago.  I've been eating there since I was a kid and they have the best fried shrimp around.

Any day with geocaching, family and fried shrimp is a good day!
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