Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Great Taste Off - Yoplait vs Chobani

This was Ward's 3rd year running the Boston Marathon.  We are quite lucky, because when we head to Massachusetts for the marathon, we also get to have a family reunion with Ward's family, since they do live 15 minutes from Hopkington.  
I knew on the way down they would be the perfect taste testers for the Yoplait vs. Chobani Taste Off.    

The ingredients for the taste off:  Yoplait Greek 100 Strawberry, Chobani Simply 100 Strawberry, and a blindfold.   

Then out came the blindfold and open mouths.  

There is no better way to liven up a party than to pull out a blindfold and have family members taste yogurt.  Oh yes, I know, we are party animals!

To keep my tasters guessing, I would switch the order of the yogurt, sometimes.  I didn't want them to know which one was coming first.  

And the results...... 

As you can see, Yoplait was the clear winner in this taste test!  

Now,  your turn!  I challenge you to do the taste test and share your results!  I'd love to see what you think!  Let's make this a fun game and share on my Facebook page.   

Disclaimer: This taste test was sponsored by Yoplait, but the best yogurt was determined by my family and myself.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day! Let's #Ditchdisposable Together!

There are many positive actions you can take to show your love for our Earth and to keep it clean.  Using a reusable water bottle is just one of the many ways you can do this.  As a new CamelBak Ditch Disposable Ambassador, I am happy to have taken the pledge to be disposable water bottle free for a month.  Actually, my month pledge is now over with, but I'm still going strong!

As part of the pledge, I took on the challenge to get my family on board with me.  I wanted them to see the importance of saving money, taking care of our Earth by not adding to even more waste, and having water with you whenever you need it.  

The kids absolutely LOVE their new water bottles.  Before we take off for any car trips - even a 5 minute drive to the grocery store, they run and fill up their water bottles.  How awesome is that?  

On the way to dance!  Gotta have her CamelBak!

My husband is known for buying bottled water quite often at work.  Now, he will reuse that water bottle, over and over again.  But that's not good either!  I've converted him for sure and now he fills his bottle before heading off to work.  

Tucker keeps this bottle at school,
so he always has a water bottle filled for him!
Better hydration = better focus.  And he needs it!

Let's do a little math.  

1 bottle of the Poland Springs will cost you roughly $1.89 for 33.8 oz.  I drink over 100 oz of water a day.  That's 3 of those bottles a day.  3 x 1.89 = $5.67 a day!  

Now, one CamelBak Chute costs $13.00.  Since that one has been my favorite. $13.00/5.67 = 2.29 day it will take me to recoup my money I would have spent on disposable bottles!  Amazing!  

Let's look at 1 month savings....and for the fun of it, we're going to average a month to be 30 days.  30 x $5.67/day = $170.10 a month!   Which means, if I buy a $13.00 CamelBak Chute and use that daily, instead of purchasing my water, I'm saving roughly $157 a month.  That's assuming I actually purchase 3 bottles a day.  Even if I only purchased 1 bottle a day and refilled it 2 more times each day,  I'd spend $56.  That adds up fast! That's GOT to feel good!  And you are helping the environment.   

Some people swear bottled water tastes better.  I disagree.  CamelBak has filtered water bottles that run about $22.00 and the Relay for $37.00.  That's still quite the savings!  

We've even just brought our water bottles to dinner with us.  We each get our own.  Most of the time we use the Relay, and pour our water into glasses, but it's just as easy to bring our own water bottles!

What do you do to show your love for our Earth?  Are you a CamelBak fan?  

Join me and take the pledge!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Feet

Keeping my feet happy is quite important to me.  You know when you put your feet in a pair of running and shoes and they feel just right?  Oh, you know that feeling!   Recently, it's been a rotation of three pairs of shoes that have kept my feet feeling quite awesome.

Skechers Go Run Ultra

I'm still shocked by these shoes.  I never thought I'd put my feet in a pair of Skechers.  But I did and now I'm in love.  These shoes are like super light clouds on my feet, that offer a great amount of support.   Ward still comes back from running in his Ultras, picks them up, looks at them lovingly, saying "wow, I really love these shoes."    I've done long runs and speed workouts in them.  An overall awesome shoe.  

Reebok One Cushion

And then there is the Reebok One Cushion.  The first shoe I trusted my feet to after my injuries this summer.  They make an incredible trainer that has gotten me through many miles. I'm even on my 2nd pair of the One's.   It's a pretty big indicator that if I buy a second pair of shoes, them I'm obviously sold.  

Karhu Flow3 Trainer

What my feet like about the Karhu Flow3?  These shoes offer incredible arch support. Not once have felt any arch pains during or after a run in these. They are unlike a lot of my favorite shoes.  They are not cushy.  However, they offer great support for long runs and are light enough for speed.   I did read some reviews prior to receiving these shoes that the forefoot ran slightly narrow.  Knowing my wide bunion feet, I ordered a half size up.  Doing so was the right thing for my bunions.  They are happy, therefore, I am happy.  

The only downside to sizing up in these, meant that the heel was a little loose.  Not the end of the world, but I did notice it.  However, shortly after receiving the Flow3's, I was offered to review the Stable 26 socks.  

Have you ever heard of Stable 26 socks?   These socks take care of any slippage you may experience in your running shoes.  For people, like me, with super wide feet but narrow heels, my shoes sometimes slip.  Doing the runners loop has helped, but it doesn't solve all of the slippage problems.  These socks solve the problem.  The blue padding on both sides of the sock fill that gap and provide cushion without rubbing.   With a shoe that doesn't slip, your run is so much better and chances of getting a blister are greatly reduced.

What makes your feet happy?  

Do you want to win a pair of Stable 26 socks?  I'm a new Stable 26 Ambassador and they offered my readers a chance to win a pair to see for yourselves how great they are!  Enter below.  I will announce my winner on the blog on 4/27/14.  Be sure I can email you, because I will also email the winner.   The winner will have 24 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be chosen.  

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed above are 100% my own.  I received product in exchange for this review and post.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Getting Ready for Boston

Tomorrow morning we'll be heading out to Boston for the 3rd year in a row to cheer on my speedy husband.  

We are beyond excited to head down to Boston for the expo, to spend time with family, and to spend the day watching the Boston Marathon - waiting for this guy to cross the finish line!  

this is last year at our meeting spot - we'll be meeting him here again!

Not only did he qualify again, he also raised money for the Boston One Fund at work and will be running in one of these shirts on Marathon Monday - honoring Boston One Fund and his coworkers who donated.  

Yes - two shirts made, just because he didn't know what he really wanted to wear on Monday and he'd rather be prepared!  

Here's to a great, safe, trip to Boston!  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1 in 5 - 5k Recap - As a Volunteer

Sunday morning, I volunteered, for the 2nd year, to take photos at a local 5k at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine.  From what I gather, this is the 3rd year for the race.  The first year it was a senior project, then grew to about 200 people last year to over 500 racers/walkers this year.  For a Central Maine town, it's a pretty decent sized 5k.

The 1 in 5 piece to the race is this "1 in 5 people will experience sexual violence in their lifetime".  For more information about the race, visit the website here.  

What I like about this race is that it starts a little later than a lot of 5ks, with a 9am start time.  The race registration/expo is well organized, in the gym, which allows the participants a great place to stay warm until the race starts as well.  Since it is April in Maine, you never know if it will be 80F or snowing!  Race morning was a bit chilly and quite windy.  Knowing it was cold there last year, I came prepared and brought my rain shell to fend off the wind and brought my gloves to stay warm. 

I found Harold prior to the start, chatted a bit about his training lately and checked out his new shoes and wished him luck.  Then I found a group of HS girls who were there with their PE teacher, which I found to be quite inspiring.  

Shortly after 9, racers came out to the starting area and after a few announcements, the race started and off they went, up the hill.  

Yes - this guy ran in his jeans!  I think it's absolutely awesome he does this.
He did it last year too!  He really makes me think I put far too much energy into picking out my race outfits!  

After the group of runners and walkers went past me, I headed inside to check things out and to warm up.  Then I headed over to the finish line area.  There I was standing next to a wonderful lady who was cheering on every single running coming in.  She was full of exciting and I loved it!  We chatted a bit and I found out that she will be in Boston on Monday as well, as her husband qualified for Boston too!  This was going to be his first year and they were both so excited to be going down.  I shared some of the things I've learned over the past couple of years.     

You can see my race photo collection on the Maine Running Photos blog or on the Facebook page.  I am happy that I've been able to take race photos over the past couple of years.  I know that after I run a race, I love going back and checking out my race photos and Maine Running Photos does this all for free.  The man behind Maine Running Photos - David Colby - spends endless hours finding races in Maine and trying to get coverage from the many volunteer photographers throughout the state.  It's a pretty amazing thing to be part of.  I look forward to taking more photos at more races this season and many more seasons to come.  

Do you volunteer for races?  Ever take race photos before?  How do you give back to the racing community?  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sometimes I forget

Yesterday morning I had plans to run with my bff, Stacy.  She's training for Sugarloaf Marathon  in May.  I'm not.  But, I like to run with her when I can.  Which hasn't been a lot lately.   She had 14 miles scheduled and I could actually fit it in after my morning commitments.  But then her daughter got sick and she had to change her plans.  

So, when I got home from taking photos at a race, I changed and told Ward I was going for my run.  He asked his normal questions.  How far?  Where are you going?  I said 14 and to the rail trail and back.  He suggested a different route closer to the house that I haven't done in a long time and I thought, why not?   

So off I went.  For my 14 miler.  In the freezing cold rain, with crazy wind.   After 3 miles, I remembered why I don't do that loop a lot.  Someone put freaking mountains along that route.  I might be exaggerating a little bit here.   But they are some pretty significant hills. 

No worries.  I always need some hill training.  I'm never going to love them, but they will make me stronger.  So this run definitely was going to make me stronger.  After the third little mountain, about mile 5, I started thinking, as the winds picked up even more.  Wow, another 9.  Ugh.  This really sucks.  Oh wait!  I'm NOT training for a marathon!  Hmmm......  I'm going going home.  For a hot shower.  For a hot coffee.  Yep.  That's what I'm doing.  So, when I got to my road, I turned and went home.  So, yes.  I bailed.   And I think it was a great idea.  

But hey!  It's not like I've been slacking in the training department.  Here's my week in review:  

15.25 miles - with the girls!!!!  

3 miles.  And planking.  Actually, I've been planking all week.  All month.  But I don't have a running pic for Monday, so you get to look at me in my Spandits doing a side plank.  

4 miles.  With Pepper!  Poor dog.  She was exhausted after this run!  

3 miles.  Home.  Uphill.  The whole way.  From Tucker's conference.  
I wanted to go further, earlier in the day while Izzy was at dance.  Just as I dropped her off, Ward called and asked me to pick him up because the brakes were gone in his truck.  I had this little dilemma.  Go for my run or get the husband.  Ugh.  Get the husband.  So, off I went to pick him up.  Which meant my run would be after Tucker's conference.  I was able to squeeze in 3 before it got too dark for my comfort level.  

3.1 miles.  Got home just as the bus dropped off the boys!  


4 miles - with Tucker!

7.57 miles.  

April total: 60.52.  Not really slacking.  PLUS, I have a long run planned with Stacy and Jill next weekend.   Poor Carrie has to work.  

Plus, I've been planking everyday.  I even had a plank off in my class on Friday morning.  I won at 1:30.   They were not impressed they lost to me.  We actually turned it into a great math activity afterwards.    I had to related it to math some how!  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Meal Prepping

There are some weekends when it all comes together and I can get my meal prepping done.  I love it when this happens because my week just goes a lot smoother when I do that!  As I type this, I have two meals already done and in the refrigerator plus my lunch for the week is already completed and ready to go too!  

I love to eat salads for lunch. I love them even more if I can prep them on Sunday and just grab them in the morning.   With the weather getting warmer, I was feeling like a fiesta kind of salad.  So I tossed together some chickpeas, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, pepper, and onions.  Then I added Newman's Own Lite Lime dressing.  And boom!  I have a super simple fiesta salad and a new favorite salad dressing.  Since I only have four days of school this week, I only need 4 lunches!

Kind of cheating - but dinner at Reds, a local pizza place.  Reds is hosting a fundraiser for the Class of 2015, donating a percentage of the proceeds toward the class, and since I'm a Junior Class Advisor, I should really go and support my kids.  Which means dinner is done!  

Stuffed Manicotti with meat sauce.   Already done and in the refrigerator ready to pop in the oven.  Tucker is not a fan of ricotta or cottage cheese and always complains.  But for some reason, he is completely okay with greek yogurt.  So this time, I shredded some monterey, sharp, and parmesan cheese and mixed it with greek yogurt to stuff into the manicotti.  We'll see if he complains about this one!  

Meatloaf.  Already done and ready to reheat.  Plus Ward can take some to work with him, since he's working that night.   Izzy has dance tonight and isn't out until 5:30.  I love having something done already so we can just come home and eat!

French toast and eggs.  Always super easy and a huge hit here!  Tucker has dance tonight and isn't out until 5:30, so again, it's something easy!  

Homemade mac n cheese.  

Leftovers or burgers.  Or both!    

Did you meal prep this week?  What are you eating?