Home Sweet Home :)

So, I apologize for not posting in a while--I'm in California right now visiting my family and they've been my priority lately :)  I'm sure you understand.  Right now I'm with my sister helping her make chicken enchiladas!  As Rachel Ray would say, "YUMMO!"  I always get hooked to the Food Network when I'm home :)

My workout schedule will probably be a little off this week, but I'm still going to be intential about staying active.  I don't want to fall behind with my training for the 1/2 marathon--so one LONG run will be due this week!  Yesterday I ran for 37 minutes, and it kicked my butt!  Running in a different climate is tough, so I need to give myself some grace :)  Tonight will be on the elyptical for 30 minutes and doing some abs (300-400) plus push-ups (just for Tim!) ;)

One of my favorite parts about coming home is being the daughter again :)  Not that I'm not the daughter still, but when I come home--I GET SPOILED!!!  Not in the way that some people think...

Example A:



My mom spoils me with PRODUCE!!!  And lots of it!  While I am kinda obsessed with fruits and veggies, my mom still finds a way to go over the top!  I love you, Mom :)

Yesterday was a great day!  Run in the morning, lunch at the Elephant Bar with Sister, Ella, and Mom, then shopping at Trader Joes!



My neice, Ella!  (Oh, and that's Hippo!  They go EVERYWHERE together--Hippo even walked down the isle with Ella at my wedding!)



I love her so much!



Mom and Sister @ the Elephant Bar!  My favorite restaurant in Modesto!  Here's what I had for lunch...some sort of Thai salad with grilled tofu.  As my sister would say, "It was nummies!"



Snack later on was a Lara Bar and a Gala apple.  And dinner????  Made it with mom :)  And we had my sister and her husband over!  Comfort food=pasta!



Brown Rice pastat with grilled veggies (eggplant, brocolli, onions, and green bell peppers) and Prego pasta sauce!  Side: Green salad and a piece of organic focassia bread from Trader Joes!

I love my family!!!



My dad licking the bowl from my Peanut Butter, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip cookies!!!  Just hangin' out in the kitchen :)





My parent's home :)  And yes...IT'S SUNNY!!!!

Tonight's dinner will be leftovers from last night.  I also helped my sister put together a meal plan plus helpful tips to be consistent with eating healthy that I hope to share this week!

Blessings to everyone!  Take time and catch up with a family member today.

At the airport!

Sorry I didn't post yesterday--busy day that literally didn't stop until I went to bed.  Tim and I went to an orientation at Oregon's Massage Therapy school--he wants to do Sports Massage--so we didn't get back until later.  But despite a busy day, I did fit in a 40 minute run :)  Here's what my workouts looked like this week:

Monday: 35 minutes run (remember--this was an emotional day for me, so I kept it low key)

Tuesday: hill/speed workout out

Wednesday: bike ride with Tim :)

Thursday: 40 minute run

Friday: rest day

Saturday: TBD--probably a run though (I'm going to have to accumate myself to California's climate, so it will be a test run--nice and easy!)

Sunday: Another run, hopefully longer (I'll let you know!)

Every night I also do abs and push-ups--I want to stay consistent with this.  I didn't end up doing wieght training this week because of a different schedule, but when I get back into Portland, I'll start that back up!  Can't wait to run in the warmer California weather though!!  YUPEE!!!!

Right now I'm at the airport waiting to board my flight...I just got off the phone with my mom and she almost started crying because she is so excited to see me!  I feel like I'm in my undergrad again--visiting my parents :)

A week of goodbyes...

This was definitely a week of goodbyes--finished all of my jobs and getting ready to go into Student Teaching full time!  This next week is my only week off before the new kind of craziness begins, but I'm excited! 

One of my jobs, if you didn't know, was nannying for the most precious 2 year old--Amelia.  She is why I love Thursdays and Fridays!  It is a perfect way to end my week.  It feel kind of weird getting paid for playing :)



I've grown so attached to her, but I promised her some play dates in the future, and I'm going to follow through with that! 

Amelia.  I'm going to miss you.

I'm going to miss our Friday mornings story time with Maria.

I'm going to miss watching the ice skaters at Lloyd Center.

I'm going to miss dancing to the Veggie Tales soundtrack.

I'm going to miss Balls Balls Balls at the community center.

I'm going to miss making pancakes together.

I'm going to miss snuggeling under a blanket reading stories.

I'm going to miss the park.

I'm going to miss trampoline class.

I'm going to miss being a kid with you.

I'm going to miss you Amelia Julilee.



My flight it boarding.  See you all tomorrow!

I love you, Tim!  I miss you so much already.

I'm such a Wife :)

I felt like such a house wife today!  Laundry, cleaning, cooking...oh my!  But I do it joyfully because I know that I'm serving an amazing husband who deserves it!  Tim is really busy with school and track lately, so I feel like it's the least I can do!  He loves me back in such wonderful ways too!  For example...

After Tim's long day of school, work, and track practice, he came home and went on a bike ride with me :)  I know he was tired, but he did it for me!  I haven't ridden my bike in a long time and was a little nervous, so he ventured out with me!  I like the idea of cross-training in between all my running.

Meet Izzy (my bike!)...



I enjoyed the bikeride--it reallyworks the quads.  I also enjoyed working out with Tim--my favorite workouts :)



Yes, in the bathroom :)  That's where our only mirror is.  And yes!  We have a map of the world for our shower curtain!  Am I sharing too much information?  Well, if it's making you smile right now, I guess it's okay!

Tim and I ended up biking to New Seasons to get a loaf of bread to go with our Pasta Salad for dinner.  We're both seriously obsessed with this store!  We especially enjoy their bread samples :)

Pasta salad is a stable dinner for Tim and I.  Lots of carbs for Tim after his workouts, plus LOTS of veggies.  It's something you can be really creative with...add your favorite veggies and your favorite dressing and you've just created a masterpiece!  It's also tasts even more amazing the longer it sits!!!  So Tim and I are definitely having leftovers from this--we always make a lot on purpose!

Pasta Salad, ala Tim and Becca :)



Ingredients

Pasta (whole bag!)

grilled onions

grilled eggpland

grilled brocolli

canned corn and black beans

Red bell pepper

black olives

artichoke hearts

fresh basil (chopped)

avacado

handful of raisins



Pretty much any veggie I could find in our fridge :)  I also used up the leftover black beans/ corn from burrittos and the leftover eggpland/ onions from last night's grilled eggpland sandwiches!  Made for a quick fix meal :)



Lastly, mix everything together with your favorite salad dressing!  Tim and I used this dressing from Trader Joes--Tuscan Italian.  It's almost creamy and sticks to the noodles well.  If you can, stick the pasta salad in the fridge because it tastes best when it's cold! 

You really can't mess up this recipe!  I promise :)



I ate my pasta salad over a bed of lettuce.  Tim simply had his in a bowl.



I went back for seconds tonight--another big scoop of pasta salad and another small piece of bread.  I definitely overate and it doesn't feel good.  I figured it out though--why I overeat at night sometimes!!  My blood sugar.  I need to have balanced meals throughout the day...breakfast, a good lunch, and a small snack.  The most important being the lunch--nothing crazy filling, but substancial enough to sustain me and my blood sugar level.  Today with that slice of cake for lunch, then some snacks in the afternoon...well, my blood sugar went crazy by the time 6pm came.  I wasn't even really hungry for dinner, but I needed nutrients to calm my nerves!  It's not good...so...I overate, and usually eat too fast when this happens!

Does this ever happen to you...the blood sugar problem??  I know what I need to do for my body, just gotta do it for it!

Anyway, enough about food!  Just remember, food=energy.  And energy will give you joy throughout the day :)

Maybe a God talk tomorrow?  Blessings to everyone!

When I'm happy--I bake!

Exciting news!  Oh my, such exciting news!!!  I'm going home next week--home meaning, Turlock, CA--where my family lives :)  I get a whole week with them, which means you'll be seeing lots of pictures of family next week!

So like the title of this post says--"When I'm happy--I bake!"  Dinner last night was DE-LICIOUS!!!  I went to New Seasons and bought some yummy, freshly baked ciabatta rolls and grilled some veggies to make the whole thing into a sandwhich.  The result....



There are many layers to this masterpiece :)

Avacado, hummus, roasted red peppers, roasted egglant, grilled onions, fresh basil leaves, and juicy slices of tomato!  It was a messy amazingness!




 


 


 


 


 


 


 



As I was talking, actually squeeling!, on the phone with my sister about coming to visit her, I started baking cookies!!  I feel like I was just in the kitchen and somehow, subconciously, started baking :)  It's a true reflection of my HAPPINESS!!!

I tried out this vegan recipe on "Post Punk Kitchen's" website.  I changed the recipe a bit (like I always do), but lets just say these cookies were definitely a guilty pleasure :)  I usually like baking cookies that provide some good health benefits, like oatmeal or banana or less oil and more almond milk, or agave syrup instead of sugar, etc.  But this time!  I made them deliciously a treat for my belly :)  A girl can splurge (especially after such good news and a great work out!)

The cookie:  Vegan, Chewy, Almond, Chocolate Chip Cookies



Ingredients
3/4 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract/ 1 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon whole flax seeds
1/2 cup soymilk

2 cups all purp flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda and salt.

In a seperate large bowl cream together oil and sugar. Add the flax seed/soy milk mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla/almond extract.

Fold in the dry ingredients in batches. When it starts to get too stiff to mix with a spatula, use your hands until a nice stiff dough forms. Add the chocolate chips and mix with your hands again.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and flatten into a disc that's about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, then set them on a wire rack to cool completely.



What makes these cookies so amazing!  Making them original from the usual chocolate chip cookies???



Almond Extract!!  Any cookie that has this flavor is so good.  You'll be seeing a lot more baking recipes with almond extract :)

The apartment smells so yummy!!!  P.S. Tim couldn't stop eating the cookie dough!!!



The final product...





Seriously, a sinful treat, but worth it!  I had one cookie for dessert :)

Speaking of sweet foods, today was my "Goodbye" party for working in Admissions @ Concordia, and they got a Vegan, Gluten Free Chocolate cake for me--it was yummy!  I'll probably snack on some veggies this afternoon since the slice of cake was eaten around 11am :)

Breakfast however, my favorite...fruit!  This is my usual breakfast--so refreshing for the morning!



Packed it to go for work :) 

Later today Tim and I are going on a bike ride--it will be good to loosen up my legs.  Long runs the next couple of days before I travel to California!!!

Hope

Hope is one of my favorite words.  There's always hope...these kids give me HOPE...



For the past two summer, I've gone up to Northern Canada to do soccer camps for First Nation kids and teens.  These are remote communities who don't have much to do during the summer.  While we're supposed to be running soccer camps, a lot of the time we're just hanging out and being goofey :)  Especially during the kids' camps--this last summer when Transformers II had just come out, some of the boys would run around pretending to be a transformer!  Good times.  Anyway, these mission trips have changed my life and I would love to share more stories with you.  For now, I've added a couple Youtube videos on my "Team Jesus" page that show a slideshow of pictures from this last summer and winter.

I'm feeling more up beat today--yesterday I was really homesick.  I woke up and told myself, today is a new day!  I don't have to feel like I did yesterday.  So I started my day off by taking some "Overnight Oats" to go with me to work.



Same recipe as last time, except I bought some Raw Almond Butter from Trader Joes the other day, and used that for a topping.  And of course there was sliced banana to go with this too!

After a full morning of work, I came home to do my workout--I really wasn't looking forward to it.  I don't like speed drill.  A huge reason why I never enjoyed Middle School track!  (I made soccer a full time deal after that!)  But I also know that speed drills provide my legs with a lot of strength to do those longer runs. 

I did a combo of a speed/hill workout today.  Duration of workout= 43 minutes (doesn't include stretching time).  I did my workout at a park close by that I could run to, and there's a reason why I did my workout at this park...it has a huge hill!  There's a running trail that goes around it, and half of the circle is up, but the other half is down :)

My workout: 6 times around the park, every other lap, pushing my speed to go faster (so probably a 7 minute mile pass or a bit faster).  The laps in between the fast ones are a nice slow jog (but it's still up hill!) 

A lap is probably around 1200 meters, so 3 times around a track.

I was POOPED by the time I got home.  My quads and hipflexers burned on my jog back home.  This means I did good for my muscles today.  Tomorrow will definitely be a relaxing jog :)

Do you ever have trouble pushing yourself to work out harder--go the extra mile?  I konw I do.  For me, it usually happens before I even start my workout.  Once I'm out there running and my endorphins are flowing, I'm fine.  Something that helps me when I get these mental blocks, is to tell myself, I'll only do what my body feels is good for it today.  I'm going to listen to my body.  If it doesn't feel good going 60 minutes, I don't have to.  So today I told myself, one lap at a time.  I don't have to finish all 8 laps (I was supposed to do 8, but my body told me 6 was good enough!  I listened to my body.)

Just don't be hard on your body--it will tell you when you feel strong enough to push further.  Don't ever push yourself to the point that working out is NEVER fun.  Some workouts are meant to be tough, but not all of them :)

Oh, here was my lunch too...slices from a loaf of Wheat Nut Bread from New Seasons Market, with left over guac from last night, cucmbers, red pepper, and a piece of lettuce on top to hold it all together.  And of course a couple of carrots on the side that I dipped in hummus...I LOVE CARROTS :)



Plans for later...a small grocery shopping trip to New Seasons to pick up some ingredients for Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches tonight, then watching the Biggest Loser with Tim :)  Pefect.

God bless!

Is it bed time yet?

I miss having a bed time!  9:00pm--go to bed!  I wish.  Honestly, I could crash every night at 8:30pm.  I might have to when student teaching starts up.

Well, thought I would share some pictures of dinner, only because the burrito was A-MAZING!!!  Tim made the comment that if he wasn't married to me it would have been a PB & J for him tonight--he literally bikes home from practices, showers, eats dinner, then bikes back to school for night class.  He's so tired lately--I feel like cooking is my way to give him energy through the day.  He needs some good nutrients for all that he does.  (he should be home soon!!!)

Dinner...



Ingredients

Mixture of grilled onions, canned corn and black beans

Red bell pepper

Carrots

Home-made guac (I got the kick from Trader Joes--it comes with all the ingredients.  You just need to mash or dice!)

Hummus

Tomatos



Tim really enjoyed his burrito!!  He gave me a lesson on how to fold the tortillia so nothing falls out of the bottom.  But sometimes you make burrittos with just too much stuff inside that it turns into a mess anyway :)  Those are the best ones!



The guac!

I also spent a wonderful evening catching up with Brie at Concordia Coffee House.  Don't worry, I got decaf.  I only drink coffee socially, so it's not too often.  Meaning--caffine REALLY wakes me up!



Hazelnut, soy (decaf) latte!

I think I'm going to fall asleep on the couch now (or browse facebook), while I wait for Tim to get home.  See you soon :) 

p.s.  Planning on working out in the morning, just to get it over with.  I'm going to try Tim's hill/speed workout this time--oh boy ;)

Renew my strength, God

It's a Monday.  I think that pretty much sums it up.  Not all my Mondays come with the "Monday blues", but today I just found out some disappointing news, that I would love some prayer for too. 

I may not be able to go home in February to see my family :(



Long story, but it as to do with not being placed for my practicum yet for my Masters in Teaching program--they don't know WHEN in February I'm supposed to start...oh dear!  Anway, it really got me down today because I MISS MY FAMILY SO MUCH!!!  Prayers would be great :)  But guess what?  Food always cheers me up!  Here's what I've had to eat so far today...

Breakfast: picture in your minds some fresh pinnapple, a HUGE navel orange, and a perfectly ripe banana!  Oh, and 1/2 a kambucha :)

Lunch:  Veggie wrap--this is a staple and is what I will most often eat for lunch.  I'll go ahead and put this on my recipe page just so you don't forget!



Ingredients: hummus, avacado, cucumber, tomato, onion, carrots, and lettuce :) 

I usually wrap it in foil, so that when I eat it I just tear off the top part (like a chipotle burrito!), and nothing falls out of the bottom.  Genious, I know ;)

Snack/ Post-work out energy: Larabar (Coconut Cream Pie)...so so yummy!



Dinner: Will be burrittos!!!

You know what I love about the title of my blog: Renewal?  Is that, we really do need to be renewed every day!  Food is just one way to cleanse and heal your body--make you FEEL renewed physcially.  And I've also discovered through my passion for running, that God renews me when I run.  Sometimes I imagine Him running next to me--He makes me laugh out loud!  God was definitely with me on my run today.  Tim had planned for me to do a hill/ speed workout today, but I wasn't feeling it emotionally.  I really didn't want to run at all, but I knew that in the end it would make me feel better, so Tim suggested a simple run.

I ended up running for...



35 minutes and 13 seconds--and let me just say that I felt RENEWED on my run!!!  My last 800 meters I kicked it up a notch and ran out all my emotions--it felt great! 

My sister also uplifted me today when I told her the news.  She sent me this online devotional called "Proverbs 31".  Reading God's word or talking about God RENEWS me and helps me refocus on God's plan for me and His love!  If you want to read today's devotional, it was perfect:  http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/

My plans for later?  Do the dishes, make Tim and I dinner, and go out to coffee with one of my favorite people!



Prayer:  God, thank you for being a constant in my life.  You're always there to lean on and I'm so thankful for your daily encouragement.  Allow me to always seek you when I'm feeling low, and to be RENEWED in you!  I love you so much.  Amen :)

A Silly Sunday!

Today was such a wonderful, relaxing day!  Tim and I haven't had a weekend like this in a long time.  Its been raining all day in Portland, so an originally planned bike ride got booted off the to do list, so I think I got a slight case of "cabin fever" today--in other words--I started acting really silly and Tim and I had some good laughs!  Our first laugh began with our new exercise ball that I inflated!  I was inspired by some other blogs to take pictures of how to do certain workouts--I focused on some ab stuff.  So here are some pictures (these work outs will also be on my Fitness page)...



Ab Workout # 1: Curl legs in and out using the exercise ball.  This really targets the lower abs!  Tim says if you're feeling it too much in your legs and arms, your not using your abs enough--so really flex those abs!!!



This is me stretching out my legs.  I would recommend starting with sets of 15--increase to 30 then 50 reps.

Me smiling at the camera boy :)



I really like using the exercise ball because it's easy on my back and neck.   Here are a couple others using the ball...



The basic crunch.  I like to do a set of 50 with my arms behind my head, going straight into a set of 50 with my arms crossed accross my chest.  These can be small crunches, meaning you don't have to come all the way up--the goal is to keep your abs activated the entire time.

You'll be able to tell through the pictures that things start to get silly--I can't help but laugh :)



And up...Tim insists I smile for the camera!



Now switch to crossing your hands accross your chest--no break between sets!  You can do it!

This next one is a staple for me.  For me it provides the best results of all other ab workouts I've done--the plank!  I usually hold it for 60-90 seconds, but just do as much time as you can, just make sure you can feel the burn :)  And yes, that's Tim's foot on my back!





Oh, strong Tim!  I'll try this one later, but feel free to give it a shot :)



Have a strong core helps SO much with any physical acitivty.  For me, I really notice it when I'm running, especially when I'm pushing myself for those long distances.  A strong core really helps me to keep my posture and running form, which helps me go further!

Overall, a great Sunday.  Bakes some cookies, had a yummy veggie sandwich for lunch, went to church in the evening and saw lots of friends, then stopped at New Seasons Market on the way home for some soup and bread for dinner (perfect on a rainy night!)  I'll post my cookie recipe sometime this week, because it was supper yummy!  Something to look forward too :)



Blessings to everyone!!!  Another week--lets all pray for strength!  We can do it!



Good night :)