Foodie Pen Pals – August

It’s Foodie Pen Pal Time!!!

Boy did I luck out this month.  I was paired with Ashley, a reader, and boy did she exceed my expectations.  Little did she know that earlier in the week I was wondering if I wanted to participate again the next month.  Thanks to her, the answer is definitely yes…provided I get someone as good as her 😉

First thing I noticed when I opened the box was a plastic takeout container.  I said “I think I got something homemade!” and got all excited.  I took everything out of the box and then jumped to the letter.

Not sure if you can see it, but it was a breakdown of all the goodies as well as a recipe for the goodness in the takeout container.  POWER BALLS!

I know it’s big, but I just had to.

At the top are the balls.  So good.  I’ll post the recipe in a separate post.  (edited to say: almost gone and I’m surprise they even lasted this long)
Then you’ll see the raw wheat germ which Ashley says she adds in to foods.  Definitely going to try that as well as research it a bit more. 
Banana bread flax bar – very intriguing
Gluten free brownie – it looks good.  I’m actually surprised I didn’t smell it since I have a tendency to smell wrapped baked goods.  Ha! (edited to say: tried it…AMAZING!!!  Fudgy and delicious!!)
Black bean spaghetti – I love the concept of pasta made out of something other than just flour.  I can’t wait to try this.  On a tangent, at my bat mitzvah (just a few years ago) we had this awesome pasta bar.  All different types of colorful ravioli and pasta.  I clearly remember black fettuccine which looked awesome.  However I learned the black was from squid ink and as a result I refused to try it.  Back on track… (edited to say: tried it, so different than traditional pasta.  I think I went a little crazy and made way too much but it was good and I’ll definitely have it again.  DJ said he thought it tasted like black beans, but I didn’t get that.)

I am very excited to try each and every one of these items!  I’ll try to remember to post details on them when I have them.

So does the whole Foodie Pen Pal thing sound like something you’d be interested in?  If so, here are the details…

  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
  • Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.


I love you Thursday

Yay Thursday!

I hope you had lovely Wednesdays.  My day was OK, nothing special.

Last night was TapOut Plyo.  I had mentioned that I was a bit scared and I had good reason.  Thankfully it really wasn’t much like Insanity (phew).  TapOut’s version of plyo isn’t quite as well, insane, as Insanity.

I was sweating a ton but was probably only able to do about 60% of the workout.  Lots of jumping lunges, weird pushups (of course), and compound movements involving quite a few different moves.  Even though it was hard, it was still somewhat enjoyable and again, nowhere near as repetitive as Insanity.

I think Yoga is on the schedule for tonight so we’ll see how that goes.  We didn’t get to the cycle shop last night so I think we’ll try to get there tonight.

This is the road bike that they rent. (nice little plug for the cycle shop)

It’s a Trek 1.5 Compact and retails for $1120, which is nice since it’s not the bottom of the barrel.  I think we’ll make a happy couple. 🙂  I’m kind of excited about the prospect of a new hobby.

In another random direction…

As I think I mentioned, for my birthday I got a Google Nexus, which I wanted primarily to use as an e-reader.  I just finished my second book on there, Girl Unmoored, so I was in need of a new book.

I’ve been using the free Kindle app for reading so I was browsing Amazon for their under $3.99 books (I can be a bit frugal).  While looking at one book, there was a suggestion for another book which got decent reviews and while the cover photo was a bit cheesy, the price was $0.00.  So I figured I had nothing to lose.

It downloaded and when I opened it up to read, I saw that it was a Harlequin Romance novel.  I laughed out loud and was a little embarrassed.  I laughed even more when on the first or second page a woman accidentally ran in to a man and the descriptive text had to mention her ample yet firm breasts crushing up against him.  Really????

I’m trying to be open-minded but it’s hard.  Has anyone ever read a Harlequin Romance?  Feel free to comment anonymously (ha!).  Should I just give up now?


They like me! They like me!

Yesterday was my busiest blog day ever!  Woo hoo!

Thank you to anyone who reads my nonsense ramblings!  So I guess people like reading about things I just don’t get.  Speaking of which, I’ve added a couple. 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday is farmer’s market day down the street from my office.  I love driving by in the morning and seeing the trucks/tables/tents getting set up for the day.  I think that will be my lunchtime activity today.  Any recommendations on out-of-the-box veggies to try?

Yesterday was Day 2 of TapOut.  Still going well.  I can’t remember the name of the one we did yesterday but it was pretty much all upper body.

Just yesterday I put an official ON HOLD notice on my 100 push up challenge page.  Well let me assure you that with TapOut I am still doing a ton of push ups.  Oh my goodness!  Yesterday’s workout included lots of arm work with the resistance band they provide, then in between sets you’re on the floor doing pushups of every variation under the sun.  Intense!  Up, down, up, down.  Yikes!  Most were done on my knees.  I do fully believe that you can get just as good of a burn doing a good form knee push up as with a full push up.

What am I not loving right now about TapOut?  The band that it comes with is a bit weak which means that you have to buy more.  I had bought two earlier in the week, a Medium and a Heavy by Reebok but that Medium is just too thick.  Therefore I need to find a set that has more options.   Also, he never reminds you of how to breathe and I could honestly use the reminder as I tend to hold my breath without knowing it.  Pretty minor issues though.

Tonight is Plyo and I’m a bit scared.  Guess I’m having Insanity flashbacks.  Has anyone else done or tried Insanity and not been a fan?  Is it just me?

Honestly things here are pretty uneventful!  I subbed out my class tomorrow night so I’m teaching on Saturday only.  Actually I’m also subbing out on Labor Day which will be nice.  Sometimes teaching a class is such a great thing because it gets me to the gym and gives me at least a little workout.

My goal is to be able to bike to the gym, teach, and then bike home.  That would probably be about a 9 mile ride each way.  I think it seems do-able.

Have a great Wednesday!!  And again, thanks so much for reading, it really makes me 😀

Things I don’t get

Ever feel like everyone is obsessed with X and you just aren’t?  I feel that way somewhat often so I figured I’d put together a list.

I’m going to make this a page as well and think it might be interesting to see how my list changes.

So here’s a teaser, head over to the page for a longer list.

  • Call Me Maybe – Still not doing it for me
  • Vibram Five Fingers

Want more…come over here.

where did the time go?

I know I’ve said it before, but looking at the date and seeing that today is August 28th makes me wonder where the time went.  Even more kids are going back to school today and it’s just weird.  I’ve been at my “new” job for just about 4 months now which is weird because it feels like it’s been way longer yet the summer feels short.  Time truly is relative.  It has always fascinated me that the same period of time can feel short to one person and long to another.  I’ll stop before I get all existential… 😉

Yesterday was an OK day.  In the midst of working I was also doing some research for our upcoming ride.  I have a hybrid and DJ has a mountain bike (with hybrid tires).  After doing our 16+ miles on Sunday I think we were both thinking that a road bike might make the 30 miles a bit easier, therefore I was looking in to cycle shops with rentals.  While I did find one, it’s not the most convenient, so the hunt continues today.

I got home and this happened…

(finally figured out how to insert youtube videos)

I had watched the video on the TapOut XT website yesterday at work and I liked what I saw.  I also really liked the before and after shots.

So yesterday we got started.  We both weighed ourselves and wrote it down on the little scorecard they give you.  We didn’t take before photos but apparently we’re going to do that tonight (per DJ).

My thoughts after Day 1 – not too bad.  It was tough, I’ll admit that.  While it’s not like I’m starting as a sedentary couch potato, it’s still something new and it takes time to acclimate/learn.  The moves are pretty unique with a constant focus on the core, although that could have been because this dvd is called Core Combat.  The pace is quick which helps the time pass.

We did run in to some issues with space.  Quite a few of the floor based moves require moving around and/or flipping over.  With one person this wouldn’t be an issue, but with two it required some coordination.  We’ll just have to work on that.  There were a lot of pushup based moves which were TOUGH and other than doing them on your knees, there weren’t many modifications offered.  Perhaps the thought is that you try to do what you can as opposed to modifying.  Who knows.

I’m a little sore today but it’s not terrible.

It was fun though and I look forward to doing it again today.  I’ll definitely update as I go along.

There’s not much other excitement here, so I’m back to the grind.  Have a fabulous Tuesday!


Thank you all for your birthday wishes!  I hope I wasn’t too much of a brat about it.  🙂

Like so many days do, it came and went.  Friday at work wasn’t too crazy so I was able to step out for a nice lunch with DJ and then leave at 5 on the dot.  Plus, both my parents/sis and DJ sent me flowers, which was a lovely treat!

Friday night was busy with cleaning and cooking.  I made a BLT pasta salad which tasted OK that night but didn’t have much flavor the next day.  It was super easy and good in theory, but I’m not sure I’ll make it again.  I also made the honey peanut butter granola for the Saturday class and that went over well.  It’s easy to make and kind of a crowd pleaser.  Here’s the recipe.

Saturday was chaos.  Ha!  I taught in the morning so at least that was good and uneventful but right after class it was errands and set up and non-stop movement until my family showed up around 3:15.  I had to buy a bunch of things at Walmart and the dollar store, pick up a keg, get home and move things around, clean some more, pick up the catered food, and oh yeah, shower, make myself presentable and get dressed.  Long list!

But it was well worth it when people started showing up.  I don’t really understand why NO ONE SHOWS UP ON TIME (ever!).  When did that happen?  The BBQ was called for 3/4 and I’d say people didn’t really start showing up until 5:30ish.  As a planner, this sort of thing kind of drives me nuts.  Oh well.  It was fun, lots of good food.  But boy was I exhausted.  I think I could have called it a night at 9p.  Old Lady!

Sunday was cleanup which thanks to some amazing neighbors and friends, really wasn’t so bad.  We then dug extremely deep to find the motivation to go for a bike ride.  Given that my ride is 13 days away, it’s no longer optional.  Thankfully once we got out it was fine.  We ended up doing about 16 miles, so I’d say it was a success.  DJ took the lead and I have to say that for a good part of the ride I had no clue where we were, which made it kind of fun.  We live in an area with some HUGE houses, so I love looking at everything as we pass by.

Once we got home and relaxed a bit the soreness/exhaustion hit.  I was pretty achy and tired and then I got a massive headache.  I called it a night around 9:15 and am happy to say that while my headache is still here, I’m not too sore today.

Those 30 miles are going to be totally do-able.

I cut myself a lot of slack on eating and working out this past week, so it’s back to the grind.  I agreed do to TapOut with DJ so that starts tonight.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

With that, have a great Monday!!!

Hi there!

So, in case you didn’t know…

I’m sure this comes as a total surprise since I’ve kept it so hush hush 😉

I’m really not that big of a birthday person but do love an excuse to celebrate and lavish some attention.  Since I’m at work today it won’t be too different than every other day, but the BBQ we’re having tomorrow will be nice.

Stuff here is pretty boring overall.  Tonight I have to do some prep work for the BBQ but am also going to make some honey peanut butter granola to bring to class tomorrow to celebrate the bday.  They should like that.

With that I’m off to get to work and enjoy the day.  Have a great Friday!!!

23 Paws – August edition

It’s that time of the month again!   Courtesy of Cinnamon over at Eat Pray Tri, you get to see more of Minnie every 23rd of the month.  Lucky you!

If you missed my first post, you can read it here.

So today I’m going to talk about Minnie’s name(s).  First off, she came with the name Minnie.  She didn’t know her name so we thought about changing it but couldn’t agree on anything so in the meantime we kept calling her Minnie and she eventually learned her name.  At that point it wasn’t worth trying to change.

I don’t know if it’s the same for kids because I don’t have any, but I call her about a million different names.

Minnie Moo, Miss Mouse, Moo Moo, Pretty Girl, Sweet Girl, Dog Face, Booger Face, The Minnie, Minnie Mouse Ruby Slippers, Dog Face Killer, Minner, Minnie Baby, Pumpkin dog, Dumpling dog, Pooper, wiggle-butt, little bunny….you get the idea I think.

Most are iterations of her name, but not all.  Are you the same way?


As I’ve mentioned before, while a beautiful dog, Minnie is not overly photogenic.  This just may have something to do with me using my phone as a camera, but that is TBD.  On occasion though, I can get a good picture of her. 

Since I have a few friends who love her almost as much as I do, I’ve taken to sending people pictures personalized to them.

A couple of examples:


Yes, officially a dog obsessed loser…and loving every minute!

Doing good for dogs and people

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m going to be doing a 30 or 50 mile bike ride on September 9th to benefit the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind.  This organization is located in Smithtown, NY and raises and trains dogs to serve as guide dogs for individuals who are blind, vision impaired, or have another disability.

Growing up, my grandfather was very involved in this organization so I grew up with a great respect for this group.  I vaguely remember going to their HQ once and getting to meet the puppies and then being blindfolded and walking with a dog.  It’s a very worthy cause in general but has extra importance due to its importance to my grandfather.

And now…Happy 23rd of August.

I asked Minnie what she was getting me for my birthday.  I told her I expected a gift and that poop would not suffice.


I wish I had something really interesting to write about…but I don’t.

So, instead I’ll talk about a few not-so interesting things. 🙂

Last night:
Last night was the draft for my work Fantasy Football League.  It was at a Buffalo Wild Wings and I found it very funny to see us all seated at a long table with our laptops.  DJ came with me and gave me a little guidance, which was much appreciated.  We’ll see how the season plays out…
I’m a little torn because my QB is Tom Brady yet I strongly dislike New England..or rather, Tom Brady.  I think this is why some people don’t like fantasy, it almost encourages you to want other teams (besides your own) to do well.

This morning:
I had a follow up doctor’s appointment this morning.  Unfortunately the doctor is about 35 miles from my house which made it about 43 miles from work.  That sucks!  So by 10am I had already driven about 78 miles.  So not necessary!  However, the good news is that I will likely not have to return to this doctor.  Hallaleujah!!

This evening:
I had planned on taking a boot camp class at 6, but instead DJ and I are going to bike.  My 30 mile ride is in 18 days.  I’ve rode exactly once for about 7 miles.  Time to kick it up.  I’d like to get at least 10 miles in tonight and then try to ride about 3 times a week.

Tomorrow is a short day because we have a picnic that starts at 3.  Lots of food and games so it’s sure to be a fun time.  I’m looking forward to it!

So like I said, not much is going on with me. I hope your days are going well!!

August 21

Good morning!  Happy Tuesday!

It’s only the second day of the week and I’ve already failed with my gym plan for the week.  However I’m not too upset/disappointed.  It is what it is and waking up at 5a to go to the gym was just not happening today.  Thing is, I was awake.  I woke up a bit before 5, so that wasn’t the issue.  The issue was that I just didn’t want to be at the gym, so the motivation lacked.  Oh well.

I did however get in a quick and effective workout on Monday night.  Another reason I wasn’t really too enthused is because i’m not a fan of the night/morning workout combo, it’s just not enough rest time.  It would have been less than 12 hours.

I use the Tabata method in spin a lot.  I love it for interval work on the bike and think that members love/hate it too.  However I’d never used that methodology for strength training.  Until last night.

Once again, I took advantage of a workout posted by Blonde Ponytail.  (If I actually had a lot of readers, she should probably thank me for the referrals.) 😉

I’m finally realizing that the internet is a wonderful place for workout ideas.  I’m loving that I can jot down a workout and then know exactly what to do at the gym without having to really think about it.

Yesterday I used her ab workout which was tabata style.  She recommended 3 sets, I did 2.  My abs were burning by the end of the 2nd so I figured I’d stop at 2, then based upon my soreness decide whether or not to stick with 2 or move on to 3 going forward.

Here’s her workout…

1. Modified V-up variation
2. Ankle taps
3. Plank cross-unders
4. Side plank raise (one side)
5. Side plank raise (other side)
6. Russian twists

2 sets of these six exercises done tabata style only takes 6 minutes.  Nice!  I’m a little sore today, but not too bad.  I’m thinking maybe I should have eeked out the third set.

After that I did a repeat of the arm workout from last week but tabata style.  While doing it this way probably had me doing fewer reps, the fast pace of moving from one exercise to the next kept my heart rate up and left me breathing pretty heavily at the end.

It was fun! I think i’m hooked on this methodology even more than before!

Came home to the off-the-hook salad for dinner.  Nothing like a big salad to negate your efforts at the gym, but man was it good!  I know I posted about this salad before but I can’t seem to find it, will fix that later today.

Tonight is my first ever fantasy football draft.  I have no clue so it should be interesting.  Wish me luck!

And now it’s time to work.  Have a great day!

Birthday girl in 3 days! 😀