Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ruts and Stuff

Can I be honest?

Ruts suck. Big time.

They happen in all aspects of life. School, career, diet, foods, exercise.

Once you fall into a rut, it is SO challenging to dig yourself out of it. It requires a lot of determination, motivation, and plenty of hard work. For me, it can also mean growing a set o' man jewels and actually being brave enough to fix what needs fixing. 

I'm in a "winter rut" because I feel cooped up and just want to hand over my bus pass and walk and run everywhere like I do any other season of the year. If ever I want to go outside, if even only for a few minutes, it means taking a good 20 minutes first to bundle up the kids and ensure they're properly covered to handle the harsh cold weather. And then there's hearing them whine and moan throughout the time spent outside because it is too cold (okay. It's me whining and moaning.) Then there's the not having proper footwear for long walks (my boots are old and poopy).

Outside = smiles
My fix? I really need to stop letting winter be an excuse and just get out there - I'm so much happier when I'm outside, walking or running, even in the cold! GET OUTSIDE!

I'm in a "food rut" because the hubs and I haven't been trying new recipes like we always did. Our fresh produce isn't always affordable and we find ourselves eating a lot of the same things. Also, with school and work, we really have to make an effort to put in the time to make fresh, nutritious, homemade foods. I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes we are so wiped that we go with what is fast and easy, with health and nutrition being the last things in our minds. 
More of this, please!
My fix? I've decided to just give myself the kick in the ass - STOP being lazy and START fixing the diet. Nobody is going to do it for me. If I want it, I need to work at it. It's important to me and so crucial for my family's healthy growth and development! Keep meal planning and making time to prep it all is the best way to keep on top of it .. and not buying crap foods. If it isn't in the house, we won't eat it.

I'm in a "job rut" (which I've talked about before). I'm working a job I'm just not happy at anymore. I was when I first started it over five years ago, but now I just dread every shift and count down the minutes until the shift is over. I'm always taking vacation days and early leave to just get out of there. Yes, I'm in school and working towards a career that I will love, but until then, I just can't suffer through my current job anymore.
True story.
My fix? This is where I man up. I've never been a fan of change - I'm a huuuuuge security blanket kind of person. I dream of only working jobs I LOVE (which isn't a very practical dream for anyone, really) and I fear rejection and failure. My husband said it best - I won't find a job I'm happy at if I don't put myself out there and try new things. And while I'm working towards my dream career, I can try new jobs in the meantime. Maybe I will come across that job I could love, who knows? And if I don't get hired, it's not a rejection - that's just fate's way of telling me that the job isn't right for me :) 
(Side note: For those I work with - I am not putting down the job. It is a good job and a good company .. Just not for me anymore! If you are happy there, amazing! Keep smiling!)

Wish me luck in fixing my ruts .. Or not luck, wish me motivation to keep it going!! :)
Have you ever been stuck in a rut, or more than one? What did you do to help yourself out of it? Let me know, we can support each other!

Monday, March 11, 2013

First Run of 2013!


Okay. That's out of the way.

I'm not an indoorsy kind of runner. This is because I don't own a treadmill, nor do I have a gym membership (though I *might* invest in one in the future ..). I'm not convinced that if I had a treadmill or a gym membership that I would ever choose to run inside instead of outside (they are called the dreadmill for a reason!). I'm an outdoors runner at heart!

That being said - Canada, during the winter? Not ideal running conditions for this Mama. Mounds of ice and snow and slush make it super hard to run (and super easy to get injured!). My double stroller isn't of the jogging variety, thus making it impossible to push through the snow (and dangerous to run in the road!). Plus, my asthma does NOT behave in the icy air.

So, sadly, my running took a vacation during the winter. Too bad it wasn't in Florida! I admire the many of you who choose not to let winter stop you! Maybe that's something I'll ensure to work on next year, since I was so unhappy with being unable to run. Looking back, I wish I'd never let winter stop me .. But also knowing the struggles I'd have with my asthma, maybe it was best. Maybe I should have invested in a gym membership sooner.

Ah well. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. I choose to live and learn, not regret. Onward and upward!

I'm happy to say that I was able to get my first official run of 2013 in today!! My feet practically sang with glee as I slid them into my running shoes (which are in dire need of replacement!).

Since my normal running path looked like this:

I had to pick somewhere else with a path that I knew would be clear enough and safe enough to run with the stroller .. And so, I chose the streets of a nearby neighborhood.

I ran week one, day one of my Couch To 5K running app, which was SO hard the first time I used it back in June and so very simple this time around. I was almost giggling through it (1. Because it was so easy and 2. Because my bum jiggled a lot more than I remembered it doing on my last run .. Time to run that thing back into shape!). The intervals were one minute of running, 2 minutes of brisk walking, for a total of 20 minutes, starting and ending with a warmup walk and a cool down walk. It was so much fun, and the kids were happily cheering me along (good job Mama, almost there Mama!). It was great! Even though my favorite running pants were a little tighter than they were before winter ..

So that was my run. It was cool outside, but bearable, quite wet (I expected that - MELT, darned snow!!) and my asthma only bothered me a little.
Me with my favorite little cheerleaders! :)
I am running Ottawa Race Weekend's 5K this May (not the 10K as I initially wanted to do - I'm not quite there yet!) and really want to try for a PR, so I'm starting the running program from the beginning and picking up my pace. It's going to be such a fun springtime running challenge!

Can't wait for a snow-less, puddle-less run on my favorite path this summer! But until then .. The neighborhood road will do :)

Happy Springtime running, folks!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Homemade Granola Bites!

I've always been a huge fan of granola bars. They were often found packed in my school lunches while growing up, and were a favorite go-to snack when on the go. They're yummy, portable, and healthy .. Kinda ..

Sure, store-bought granola bars can have some nutritional goodness to them. We all know the health benefits of the oatmeal and whole grains they are made from. A huge downfall, however, is that they are absolutely loaded with processed sugars, which completely negates any of the health factors the granola bar presents. I mean, a handful of oatmeal isn't good for us when it's smothered in sugar, right? They're also full of fillers which aren't healthy or necessary.

And so .. I got to looking online for some at-home recipes to make myself. That way they are freshly made and I know what goes into them. Knowledge is power, right?!

A bunch of recipes I found either had too much sugar or required special ingredients that I didn't have in my pantry, so I had to mash together a few and tried it out - turns out my recipe was a winner!

Also, this recipe is quite small and doesn't make a big batch, so double (or triple) it if you'd like to have granola bars. Just one batch of this recipe made a delightful amount of granola bites, hence the name!


- 2 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy adds a nice texture!
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 C whole grain oats
- 1tsp ground (or whole) flax


- Preheat the oven to 350F.

- Melt together the peanut butter and honey (stovetop or microwave, but caution - it doesn't take long!). Mix in the vanilla, cinnamon, oats and flax, and mix well (caution - the mixture is sticky!).

- Spread out onto a cookie sheet (sprayed down with cooking spray first!) and bake for 9 minutes. Divide into bites while still warm (or else they'll just crumble apart if you wait until they've cooled!). Cool down until they're nice and crunchy (yet still chewy!).

These nutritional bites are so perfectly yummy, not too sweet and not too crunchy - just perfect. Be sure to seal them in an airtime container or a plastic bag to ensure they don't dry out on you.

Feel free to experiment with different ingredients. When I'm stocked up on crushed almonds and raisins, I plan to make a new (bigger) batch! I also have almond butter than I plan to experiment with.

No fillers, no refined sugars, no junk ingredients - just a pure and simple granola bar (although, it's more an oat bar, isn't it?!). These, I am happy to give to my kids! Now if only Boy Lego liked peanut butter ..