Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Winner!!!

Hey there.  Just stopping by to make a really quick announcement. 

A huge congratulations goes out to

Jamie at Couch to Ironwoman.  Have you been to her blog?  She's so sweet and is doing the Clean Food Challenge right now, just like Jill and Stacy.  She is lucky enough to run with her husband all of the time too.  I am very jealous of that.  What's even cooler is that she went to high school with one of my real-life friends! 

Jamie - could you please email me with your shoe size and mailing address?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Today is my birthday.  I know I've been celebrating this day like mad since last Friday, but I have continued the celebrating through today.

I started off my day with a visit to Starbucks.  

One of the awesome benefits of being a gold card member is that I get a free drink on my birthday.  The card actually came last week sometime, but I held strong and waited until today to use it.  I also received a free Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal as well.  Of course I saved that one as well and used both this morning.   A fabulous way to start off the day.  

Mocha Frappucino Light.  Yum!  I sucked this down so fast but not as fast as the oatmeal I scarfed down!  

Then one of the fine ladies I share my classroom with came in with a Chocolate Raspberry Torte from Wild Oats bakery.  Oh my.  Such a decadent dessert.  Of course I had to take pictures of this little piece of heaven and send it to my sister-in-law, Jill, and friend, Stacy, who are participating in One Mom In Maine's Clean Food Challenge.  I wanted to do the challenge, but then I wouldn't be able to indulge like I have for my birthday.  Next time, Emilie.  

I also found out that I won, not one, but TWO giveaways today.  First off, I won Amy's giveaway for a See-Me-Run iron on decal that is reflective.  After much discussion with Ward and obsessing with the site, I've decided to go with the Skull on Fire iron on.  I think it will go nicely with my badass socks.  

I'm still not sure what I'll be ironing this onto.   But I do have time.  I might also share with the hubby as well, since there are two iron ons in the package.  Maybe.  If he's nice.  

I also found out that I won Penny's Pride Socks giveaway.  I know for sure I want knee high socks,  but I just don't know!  These are fun. Actually all of their socks are fun - that's why it's so hard to decide!  You should check them out.   What socks would you get?

And I need to add in that I did get in a daylight 5 miler and Ward made dinner - my absolute favorite meal ever - pizza.  What a sweetie.  

How was your day?  Did you do anything special?  Were you able to get in a run?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Attune Cereal Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review three cereals from the Uncle Sam Line from Attune Foods.  I was immediately drawn to the slogan "Simple Ingredients.  Simply Made."    When I look for cereals, I try my best to find something that the family will eat and is good for them.  To be honest, sometimes that task is quite difficult.  With these cereals, I am confident that my family is eating a very healthy breakfast or snack.  

Another big bonus was the Non GMO Project Verified Stamp on the side as well.  Definitely have to love a company with this kind of stamp of approval.  

In all honesty, I'm not a cereal kind of girl.  Most of the cereals out there just don't cut it for me.  But the Uncle Sam Strawberry cereal was simply delicious.  I enjoyed it with my almond milk.

And with my Chobani.  

Even Izzy loved it as a snack.  

Ward and Tucker were drawn to to the Honey Almond cereal.  Sorry, no pictures of this.  They ate it in the morning while I was at work.  

Lately, I've been taking the Original to school with me to eat with my yogurt at lunch.  It's quite filling and has some impressive ingredients.  
- Whole Wheat Kernels, Whole Flaxseed, Salt, Barley Malt.  

4 Ingredients in a cereal.  I told you that's impressive.  I love it when I can read the ingredients on the side of a box and can recognize the ingredients and actually pronounce them.  

In addition to adding adding the Original to my Chobani, I've actually used it in my granola as well.  Here is the original recipe. The only modification I made was to add 2 cups of Uncle Sam Original to it.  Delicious.  

Are you a cereal eater?  What do you look for in a cereal?  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rail Trail Chicks Night Out +more

Yesterday morning, I woke up to a couple of inches of snow.  Rather than wait a little for the plows to go through, I put on my yaktrax put the Halti on Pepper and took off for an easy 5 miler.

A fresh snowfall always looks pretty.

But this was not pretty.  While running with Pepper is great for both of us, it's also incredibly messy.  I truly had dirt splattered all the way up to my chest.  

And as promised, a picture of me with the incredible yaktrax.  

Last night, the Rail Trail Chicks had a night out on the town in Hallowell.  We went to Slates.  One of my favorite places to eat for sure.  It's extra nice going there with the girls and we get to wear real clothes and we're actually showered.  

Jill, Kim, Jess, Stacy, Carrie and myself

I mentioned on yesterday's post that I had some money to spend on new running shoes.  I've been slightly obsessed lately with what shoes should I get.  I really wanted girlier shoes - purple or pink, but mostly I wanted something lightweight and with a wide footbed.  I was hoping to not have to buy men's shoes this time around.  

I went to Maine Running Company with the kids yesterday.  I had in my mind that I was going to be buying the Mizuno Elixer.  But the heel to toe drop wasn't what I was looking for and the heel was awfully stiff.  I could definitely see myself doing a lot of heel-striking with this shoe.  Bummer.  They are a beautiful shoe for sure.  

I then laid my eyes on the Mizuno Precision.  They felt really good but unfortunately, MRC didn't have my size.  Again, bummer.  I tried on the Saucony Kinvaras and New Balance 890s.  But both pairs had really narrow footbeds and smaller toe boxes.  

When I started thinking I should head on over to the mens section, I spied the Brooks Pure Flow.  Not girly looking, but really, when it comes to fit, does it matter?  Plus I did win some incredible pink shoe laces that I would look incredibly fun with these shoes.  

These shoes fit quite well and I loved the light, airy feeling.   They just felt right to me.   So that is what I went with.  However, before checking out, I grabbed a container of Nuun.  I haven't been lucky enough to win any of the Nuun giveaways, and I really needed to find out how good Nuun is.  (verdict  - I LOVE Nuun!)  

Because I'm quite impatient, and really wasn't thinking, I took my new shoes out for a run today. But it wasn't just a little run.  The girls and I had a 12 miler planned.  At first the Flows felt awesome: light, airy.  But around mile 7 my ankle felt a bit achy and feet were not feeling the greatest.  I wasn't in pain at all and I didn't get any blisters.  When I came home, Ward saw that I had on the shoes and told me it wasn't the smartest things to do.  I cannot make any judgements on them until I've given them a couple more (shorter) runs.  Luckily, MRC has an incredible policy so I can return/exchange them for another pair if these don't work out for me.  

Now I need to share some more awesome birthday gifts.  Stacy bought me some eye candy, I mean a Bob Harper Kettleball DVD.  The Kettleball was shipped separately and will be here soon, so for now I can just pop in the DVD and watch Bob.  I do love you Jillian, but you are not eye candy for me.  

Next up, Carrie MADE me a medal display rack.  She has got to be the craftiest girl I know.  She totally tricked me the other night on facebook when she was asking me about getting a medal display for herself.  She is sneaky.  

She even had all the girls sign the back of the rack.  How sweet.  I have the greatest running group ever.

On a sad note, today was my last day of vacation.  Back to school/work tomorrow.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vacation Week Recap

Why do vacations always fly by so fast?  It's very sad that the vacation week is coming to an end.  So let's just move onto bigger and better things (breaks) like - 7 more weeks until April Break and 16 more weeks until Summer Break!  I am worse than the students.  

How did I spend my week off from school?  

It was really a laid back kind of week.  Tucker had quite a few sleep overs, we did some shopping, Ward and I worked on sanding and painting our bedroom and the ceilings in our bedroom and kitchen.  

Stacy and I tried out Crossfit.

I also did a lot of running this week.  Yes, I do run every week.  But this vacation weeks are extra nice because the running happens mid-day in sunlight!  

I was featured on Another Mother Runner.  That was my rockstar day.  

I bought myself an early birthday present.  I absolutely love these socks.  I have decided that these socks will be my official racing socks for 2012.   You can get them too for less than $12 at Amazon.  Actually, right now they are $11.03, but two days ago they were $12.   

Yesterday I did take the kids to the Maine State Museum.  Admission is quite inexpensive ($3 for the 3 of us) and it's a 15 minute drive.  

Then last night we had family over to celebrate my birthday.  We did celebrate a bit early since my actual birthday is on Tuesday, the 28th, but it's break and I wanted to do it early.  

I did get an awesome YMX shirt and some Zipfizz from Jill and then some cash from my dad and my in-laws.  

I'm pretty sure she rocks as a sister-in-law.  Don't you think?  

I am definitely going to be spending the $$ on some new shoes.  I really want to get girlier with my new shoes but at the same time, I know mens shoes fit me better.  I have a lot of thinking/shopping to do! 

I also wrote my Yaktrax review after walking in the woods to find snow.  I definitely called it in the post when I said after I post this we'll get snow.  I actually said something like a nor'easter.  We did not get a ton of snow, but we did get a couple of inches last night and it is so pretty.  

Ward and guys are doing their 20-miler today, but before they head out, I'm going to get out there with my Yaktrax for a 5 miler, or more.  We'll see how I feel.  Have you entered my Yaktrax giveaway?   Enter here.  If you live in a snowy place, you will not regret it.  

Later on tonight, the Rail Trail Chicks and I will be heading out for another birthday dinner to the fantastic Slates in Hallowell.  I seriously love February break with all of the birthday celebrations!  

Finally, I need announce the winner of the Larabar's Giveaway.  Congratulations, Amy, over at Running Escapades.  She's another New England blogger and a teacher.  She just ran the Hamptons Half Marathon and it ends at the beach.  I need to add that Half Marathon to my bucket list.   

Friday, February 24, 2012

Powered by Plants

I was given the opportunity to review the Vega Sport.  I had been reading so much about Vega in the blog world and couldn’t wait to try out what Vega had to offer. 

Vega was developed by Brandon Brasier, professional Ironman triathlete.  He is also a best-selling author of plant-based nutrition.

The Vega Sport performance system is 100% plant-based, free from dairy, gluten and soy.  It does not contain any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.  Perfect for my Clean Food Challenge peeps out there.

Vega offers a comprehensive 3 stage system when it comes before, during, and after training. Actually, Vega breaks it down like this.  

Prepare:  Pre-Workout Energizer

flavors available: lemon lime and acai berry

Sustain:   Electrolyte Hydrator, Endurance Gel, Endurance Bar   

Electrolyte Hydrator Flavors: Lemon Lime and Pom-Berry.
Endurance Gel Flavors: Raspberry, Orange Zest.
Endurance Bar Flavors: Mocha, Acai Berry. 

Recover:  Recovery Accelerator, Protein Bar, Performance Protein

Recovery Accelerator: Apple Berry and Tropical.
Protein Bar: Chocolate Coconut and Chocolate SaviSeed.
Performance Protein: Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry.

I broke out the Vega for my 12 mile run with the girls this past Sunday. 

What I tried:
-       The pre-run drink is to be drunk 20 minutes prior to exercise.  Inside the package was a very handy chart.  Since we were running in Carrie’s neighborhood, it meant drinking on the way.  I tried the Pre-Workout Energizer in Lemon-Lime.   I really liked the flavor.  It light flavor and not overpowering.  I did not feel the need to drink anything else on the run, so I think it helped me with hydration.
-       At our refuel, walk break on a rather large hill, I tried the Orange Zest Endurance Gel.  First off, I noticed it was larger than other gels I've had before.  I had never had an Orange flavored gel and was intrigued by the flavor.  I did like the taste but it had some small flecks of something in it that threw me off.  I also brought along the Mocha Endurance Bar just in case I didn’t like the orange gel.  But since I did, I offered the bar to the girls.  Carrie and Jess both tried the bar.  Carrie said it was okay.  She didn’t really taste a lot of chocolate but could definitely taste pumpkin in it.  I love pumpkin!  I should not have given it away.   The handy chart suggests refueling between 1 and 3 hours.  
-       After the run, I immediately mixed up the Recovery Accelerator in Tropical.  This one was absolutely delicious.   It was very sweet, but incredibly yummy. The chart recommended taking this immediately after the workout (within 30-45 minutes).  
-       When I got home, I mixed up the Chocolate Performance Protein.  This one I wasn’t too impressed with.  I mixed it with water per instructions on the packet, but it had a very chalky flavor to it.    Maybe mixing it with milk or coconut water would taste better.  I’m not sure.   The chart did recommend taking this 30-60 minutes post-workout or up to 1 hour after taking the Recovery Accelerator.  

Bottom line – I liked everything but the protein powder.   I still have 2 more proteins samples to go, maybe I’ll like those flavors more.  I am quite optimistic and hopeful for this since I did like the other pieces to the Vega package. 

How did Vega make me feel?  After only using it one day, it’s hard to say.  However, this was an incredibly challenging run for me.  I had been out of running for 5 days a few weeks back and recovering from pneumonia and the 12 mile run was my first long run since the illness wiped me out.  In addition to this being my first long run in a long time, the side of the road was quite sloped and my IT band and knees ached so badly after the run.  Actually, Stacy and Jill had the same aches and pains after the run as well, so I feel quite confident blaming it on the side of the road.  We did a lot of jumping off the road to avoid oncoming cars as well and the jump from the road to the shoulder had quite an angle and we were jumping onto gravel that was loose at times.  Saying that, and acknowledging my aches after the run, then add in that I used the Vega recovery products, I’d say I recovered quite well.  By early afternoon, my IT band and knees no longer ached and I haven’t felt even the slightest twinge of discomfort coming from them all week.  Yes, I was wearing my compression gear, but I felt recovered much earlier in the day than times before when I only wore compression.  For that, thank you Vega.  

If you are interesting in trying to win your own Vega Package and an incredible Adventure Getaway, head on over to Vega Sport and enter their sweepstakes.   5 winners are chosen weekly.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yaktrax Rock (+giveaway)

If you have been a reader of mine, then you know I live in Maine and you know I run outside all winter long.  To get me through the Maine winters, I do need a little help from some gear to get me through.  One of my favorite pieces of gear is the Yaktrax.  Last year, I bought myself a pair and immediately loved the way they added traction to my run.  The only downside to the Yaktrax I had was that they did pop off at times and I had to go back and get them.  Thank goodness I bought the black ones and they are very easy to spot in the snow.  

When I given the opportunity to review the Yaktrax Pros, I was so excited because they have one extra feature that I knew I needed: a Velcro strap across top of the foot.  This addition is genius.  

fresh out of the box

I received my Yaktrax in late January and have been waiting to try them out since then.  I was feeling quite confident that I would get the chance to wear them for a run, any run, since it IS winter and I do live in MAINE.  But, because I have these wonderful little numbers sitting with my running gear, just waiting to go for a run, we have not gotten any snow.  Correction, not enough snow to run with them on. 

Is this really February in Maine?  

One thing I did learn last year was that the majority of your running route needs to have snow cover.  Running on the bear road does not feel good with Yaktrax.    It would be okay for short stints, but longer bouts do not feel well.  My suggestion would be just to take them off until you hit an iffy patch again.  Yaktrax are quite easy to pull on and off. 

where's the snow, mom?  

the Boudreau woods

Since I’ve been waiting a long time and really wanted to try out my pros, I decided to take a walk in the woods with Pepper.  That seemed to be the only place I could use them in my area. 

on there very secure - these are not going anywhere!

The traction they offered was incredible.  No slipping for me.  I even ran a little in them, and they worked like a charm.  I’m not really a trail runner, but that is something I’d love try out.   

excellent traction - especially on some slick icy patches

 Yaktrax has even labeled where you put your toe/heel on the inside.  It’s hard to see, but if you look close enough you can see it.  

The strap is quite secure and I feel 100% confident that my Yaktrax will not pop off during a run now. 

If you live in an area where you get snow, I highly recommend getting yourself a pair of Yaktraks.  I loved my older ones but did not enjoy them popping off on runs.  But, I do love my new pros.   

I know it’s nearing the end of winter and snowstorms will probably be quite rare at this point, but, if you are an outside runner – I have a great opportunity for you right now.  Yaktrax has offered one of my incredible readers the opportunity to win your own pair of Yaktrax!   

Of course, because I have been waiting for snow, I’m going to post this review and we’re going to get hit with a huge nor’easter.  Just you wait.  No worries though because I have my pros sitting here just waiting for their inaugural snowy run.   I promise I'll take pics and share.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided Yaktrax Pro to review and was not compensated in any other way.  All opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.  

2 days later and I’m still sore (a good sore)

Stacy and I ventured out (of our comfort range) on Monday to try out crossfit.  Our friend, Karen, is a crossfit queen and has been trying to get Stacy to come to a class for some time now.  Since it’s February vacation week and yoga was cancelled for Monday night, we had a free night.  So crossfit it was. 

At first I was very excited.  I couldn’t wait to see what crossfit was all about.  I’ve been reading plenty of blogs about crossfit exercises and have been pinning work outs left and right.   I’ve even tried to follow some crossfit videos on youtube.  The problem is that doing things at home, with a 3 year old who wants to “help” isn’t always great when I’m trying something new.  

I even shaved my legs for class.  It's winter, and I have not been wearing shorts at all, so I have been quite sporadic about shaving.  Knowing that the class was inside and knowing I was going to sweat, I was very excited to wear some shorts but that meant shaving those legs!  

But then, a few hours before class, I started to get really nervous.  I wasn't sure what I'd be doing and really, truly feared making a complete fool out of myself. 

This is from the outside.  I did not want to go inside until Stacy got there.  I am that much of a chicken when it comes to new things. 

Karen has been raving about her crossfit group and how welcoming her group was.  Indeed, her group of crossfitters were very nice and welcoming.  I didn’t feel like a complete loser. 

Drink that water!  We definitely needed it. 

Thank goodness there were only 4 other people in the class on Monday, adding in Stacy and I, and the instructor, there were 7.  Nice and small and not intimidating at all. 

I think I can, I think I can

We warmed up with some stretching.  I completely forgot to take a picture of the WOD (Workout of the Day) board.  I feel so smart right now, knowing what WOD means.  I has taken me a very long time to figure that out! 

After the warm up, Beau, our instructor, split us into 2 groups.  He split of the two newbies.  Darn!  He explained the WOD and sent us on our way.  Now, I cannot remember everything, but I’m going to do my best. 

Run – ½ mile on treadmill  (I did actually enjoy running on a treadmill again and being able to control my speed and crank it up)
Row  - 50 calories of rowing on the row machine (I always enjoyed the rowing machine at the gym during my gym days – so this part was a lot of fun)
Air Squats (easy peasy – but I believe we did 40?  Sure felt like 100 or more)
Box Jumps (we had to jump up on a box 16 high – this part was so intimidating – and 16 inches is the short box!!!  Somehow, I figured it out and managed to not fall on my face.)
Pushups (these I could handle, I started out with standard pushups but quickly switched to modified – I need to work on this)
Kettleballs (I was very excited to try these out and they rock!  You have to really focus on your form, but these are incredible!) 
Pullups (with huge bands you put one foot into and they really help you get your body up there…I needed the thickest – most support – band – yes, I needed that much help!) 

I am positive I’ve left something out.  But that’s what I get for not taking a picture and having a mom brain.  

Beau was extra nice to Stacy and I and modified our program.  Thank you, Beau.  For instance, he split the number for most of the exercises in half for us.  He also helped us with our form to make sure we were doing the workouts properly.  He was incredibly helpful. 

Are we smiling because it's over? or did we really like it?  

Overall, I truly enjoyed crossfit.   I liked rotating through the various workouts and I felt great after the workout.  The only downside is that the gym is 30 minutes away and that’s quite difficult to make happen during the week.  Hopefully I can figure out how to make it work to get to some crossfit classes this summer when I’ll have more free time. 

Thank you Karen and Beau and all of the crossfitters at New England Medical Fitness for welcoming Stacy and I into your Monday night group.  And thank you, Stacy for just being an incredible friend. 

Karen & Stacy - after the workout

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

LARABARS review + giveaway

Four empty Larabar wrappers.

I think that says it all.  I could not get enough of these.

The LARABAR is truly energy in it’s purest form. 

-       gluten free
-       dairy free
-       soy free
-       non-gmo
-       vegan
-       kosher
-       no added sweeteners or sugars*
-       Fair Trade Certified cocoa and coffee
-       No added sulfites
-       No preservatives
*Does not include the Chocolate Chip varieties. Chocolate chip flavors are made with a simple, 4-ingredient chocolate chip that consists of Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla. While no dairy is used to make our chocolate chips, they are made on a line that also produces chocolate chips made with dairy and soy. Due to possible cross-contact, the chips we use may contain trace amounts of dairy or soy from other chips made at the facility; thus we cannot claim these products as Dairy Free, Soy Free or Vegan. source

Most LARABARS have less than 200 calories to them.  Here's a screenshot from LARABAR of the Chocolate Chip CherryTorte.  

LARABAR prides itself on using minimal ingredients to make these fine tasting bars.  The sweet flavor of these bars comes from dates.   The maximum amount of ingredients in one of the bars is 9 ingredients.  That is amazing!  I didn't have one of those 9 ingredient bars, but I will share with you the ingredient lists for the bars I did sample.  

So simple.  I love it.  And the flavor is outstanding.  I love the fine texture each bar offered.   

When I opened the box, everyone stood around me like baby birds with their mouths open waiting for a sample.  I really didn’t want to share, but kind of felt bad for them.  So share I did.  I didn’t share all of the bars.  Are you kidding me?  I only shared the Peanut Butter Cookie and Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte.  Both bars received thumbs up from the Boudreau’s.  There will not be any pics of these two bars because they were devoured within minutes.  It was not pretty.  

I did stash away the Apple Pie and Lemon Bars for myself at a later date.    I wasn’t sure what to think of the flavor names and wasn’t sure if I’d even enjoy them.  But, man are they tasty!  

Lemon Bar

Apple Pie

I highly recommend you get these and eat them.  All of them.  I'm already building my list for my next trip to Target so I can stock up.  They make great grab & go snacks for anytime.  I love to keep them in my desk at school so I can snack on them during the day.  They are quite filling and good for you as well.

 Do you want to win your own LARABAR supply?

This is what you win -

a Rafflecopter giveaway

was provided LARABAR to review and did not receive any further compensation.  All opinions are 100% Boudreau and were not influenced by LARABAR.