Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cookie of the Month - Leprechaun Rainbow Cookies!

Despite loving celebrating the random, Monday rolled around and I hadn't put out leprechaun coins or planned anything festive.  My eldest started asking right away if there were any leprechaun clues, so as they ate breakfast I had to steal away upstairs and put out some tricks.  She kept me hopping, because after seeing the footprints and green water I had put in the bathroom sink (he went for a swim), she wanted to know where the trail of coins were.  Ack!  Downstairs I ran as they looked upstairs, found a rainbow drawing from my son, and put some coins out on the floor (thank you Girl Guides for having given my daughter coins a few days before).  St Patty's Day rescued!

When the littlest went down for a nap, I figured the middle and I should do our monthly cookie baking - but what to do?  Googling leprechaun cookies turned up a whole bunch of shamrocks using cookie cutters, so I turned to rainbows, and found these.  I was daunted by the amount of work, but I was also doing an incredible amount of laundry, so these seemed like something I could do in between loads and folding.  (Note:  these are not for those unsure about food coloring.  I figure you could do some of them naturally, but not all?).


1 1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 whole eggs
2 whole eggs yolks
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat well, for about 2 minutes. Add the whole eggs and 2 yolks, continuing to mix until combined. Stir in the vanilla extract and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder and whisk until sifted. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture about 1 cup at a time, stirring with the paddle attachment (not the whisk) to incorporate each cup. Do not over mix.
Divide the dough into six equal portions - it helps if you have a kitchen scale for this. Using gel food coloring (gel works so much better for vibrant colors than standard food coloring), color each layer a color of the rainbow. I used a hand mixer to combine the color in with each dough section and then rinsed the bowl and beaters before moving on to another color.
Place dough in individual ziplock bags or saran wrap and refrigerate until firm, about an hour or two. One at a time, roll colors into approximately 6x9 inch rectangles. Refrigerate each layer after rolling, and then add subsequent layers on top in rainbow color order.
When all layers have been stacked, trim edges for a neat rectangle. Wrap again in saran wrap and freeze until very firm. Slice strips across the 6 inch side about 1/4 inch thick and cut each strip in half. Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze again (this helps minimize spreading).
When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for 6-10 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cool the cookie sheet in between baking each batch.
Leftover dough can be stored in the freezer for a few weeks.

Not wanting to waste any dough, we turned the scraps into cookies as well.  These were a great quick eat for the littles who didn't want to wait for the 3 hours it took to have the rainbow slices ready!

Some tricks I learned along the way:

It was easiest to roll the layers out on parchment paper, then flip it upside down onto the previous layer, and peel off the parchment.  A little bit of flour helped with the rolling as well.

The kids LOVED these.  They were worth the work.  The toddler quickly exclaimed "more ookie!" after she gobbled down the first one.  The big two both took them to school on the 18th to share with their friends, and the eldest asked me to make more the following day - ha!

These will probably make it back onto our list for a birthday, or for St. Patty's again next year.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Mind Game

Last week I read a quote that said "If it were easy, everyone would do it".  How true those words are.  I've been keeping them close to me, and especially on my long run yesterday.  Why should 18, 27. 30 (insert any number here), feel easy??  But for some reason, I had it stuck in my head that it should.  Truth be told,  I think I was glamorizing marathons of years past.  Truth also be told, I've had moments in the past few weeks where I have been sorrily tempted to quit.  That this is all too hard.  Kind of a woe is me - too hard to find the time to run, not enough balance with the kids, and the worst, gosh my body just can't do this.

But I have a pretty awesome cheerleading team.  My hubby being #1.  For each of those moments I've managed to get out the words of wanting to quit, he's been there to tell me "you've been sick, give it a few more weeks", or yesterday after being exhausted from a long run "we will make our weekends less busy so you have more recovery time".  I was thinking yesterday after my long run that I owe these runs to my hubby, to my kids (especially the toddler who does not have any patience for her Mama being gone), to my parents who help out with getting the kids to and from places just so I can get the kms in, and to Clif bars, gatorade, GU, and sport jelly beans.  As a nursing Mom doing long miles, I need as many calories while on the run that I can get.
17K in I ran through a beautiful cemetary.
 Yesterday, I texted my hubby at 10K that I was feeling good.  And I was.  But at about 22K, I hit a wall.  My body was tired, and I still had 4K to go.  It was a pure mental game.  One foot in front of the other, and distract the mind from what is actually happening.  I think maybe what seperates a long distance runner, from a middle distance runner, is the ability to get past the physical, and trick the mind into thinking the ridiculous of what is happening, is ok.

And you know what happened?  I hit 26 and wasn't back to where I needed to be, and rather than stop my watch, I kept going.  I had been telling myself how good it would feel if I had run for 3 hours.  So I ran, for 3 hours, and hit 27K.  I am really proud of that accomplishment.  I don't think I could have tacked on an extra 15K to get to a marathon goal yesterday, but there are still 8 weeks to go before I need to get there.  And in those 8 weeks, alot more miles to be logged.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Celebrate Pi

I'm a big fan of celebrating the ridiculous, and was disappointed I didn't take part in National Pancake Day last Tuesday (I don't remember the reason I didn't have time to make pancakes for dinner, but there was one).  So I jumped at the chance to celebrate Pi day today.

Wikipedia - Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14 in themonth/day date format), since 3, 1, and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form

What better way to celebrate Pi day than by eating Pie?  

So I splurged today.  On a pie made by Crave.  Oh it looks delicious.  

Not sure what makes me more excited.  Eating pie tonight, or after my 26K long run tomorrow ;)  

Happy Pi day to you!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Change is Coming

Spring sort of sneaks up on you.  I first noticed it last Monday night, while taking my daughter to dance.  It wasn't dark out at 6 pm.  On the way to the bus one morning, I noticed the sun was brighter than it had been just a few days before.  We used to watch the sunrise at the breakfast table every morning, and now we get up with the sun already up.

Last night, my big two slept over at my parents house.  The littlest gets tucked into bed at 6 pm which also means she wakes very early - usually 5:45.  I pretend to keep sleeping as she plays on the bed until she starts requesting "breaky!".  When we made it downstairs at 6:30 this morning, we were greeted with this spectacular display.

I grabbed her in my arms and we went and STOOD outside.  (Take that in for a minute.  It was WARM enough we stood outside, on our deck, at 6:30 am).  It was breathtaking.  And I know as Spring slowly creeps in (yes!), sights like these will become fewer and fewer.

"Colour! Colour!" she said as she pointed.

What a beautiful way to start a day.

Friday, March 7, 2014

So long Speedy

Speedy Gonzales was the second running watch I've owned.  I was sure I had had it my entire running career, and was a bit shocked when I saw the Forerunner 301 was only released in 2005.  Really?  I had to go back through my scrapbooks to see when exactly I started running with the Forerunner.  And here it was June 2005.

I really had thought it had seen all my marathons, but in reality it ran perhaps my most important ones.

Calgary in 2005.

Boston in 2006.

And my first marathon back after my eldest, Goofy in 2009.

So it didn't quite last the 11 years that I thought.  But it did see me through an amazing 9.  (Ok, ok, I realize it probably was in hiatus for awhile in there while I had my kiddos).

After the battery malfunction last Thursday, my husband and I spent this past week looking into a new watch for me, and we landed on the Forerunner 220.

Tonight, I'll take "Speedy 2" and the original "Speedy" out for a run together just to compare the results.  It will be the last "spin around the block" for my Forerunner 301, and the first for the 220.  It already seems to have an easy interface, and I hope I catch on quickly to all the things it has to offer.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Charity Knitting?

Alright all you knitters out there who lurk this blog - yesterday I came across two articles involving charity knitting.  They are both so great that I want to share them with you here, and if you have the time and resources, a gentle nudge to do some knitting!

Here's the first.  I came across it posted by another knitter and runner on Ravelry.  After the tragic bombings in Boston last year, the church near the finish line is collecting scarves to wrap around the necks of those who cross the finish line.  They are encouraging the scarves be knit in the colours of the marathon - blue and yellow.  Read more about it here.

And the second, a chance to knit for some little penguins!  A girlfriend linked this to me on Facebook this morning.  It would be a great way to use up scraps.  Read about the Penguin knits here.

Unfortunately with the Boston run coming up so soon, I don't have the time to get a scarf knit and mailed down.  I wish I would have known about that one sooner as it combines two of my passions.  I will be looking to see all those scarves on the runners come April :)  Extra special I read that the marathon is being run on Easter Monday.  The year I ran it it was also on Easter Monday.  Made me smile and think about alot of great memories of that day.

Now the penguin sweater.  That I think I can do!  Want to join me in a little penguin charity knit?

March 8 Edit - sadly I have heard the sweater knitting for the penguins is an old story, and they no longer need them :(

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Flip side of a cold

I honestly can't say if it was a cold or the flu - what's the difference?  A fever?  In anycase, the run on Thursday did me in, and by Friday I was a mess.  Something I rarely do, but I called my husband home from work early in the day, and my Dad picked my big girl up from the school bus.  I don't want to post about the misery of a horrible cold, because we ALL know that they are miserable.  So instead, here's a post of the positive side of this fever inducing, chill and sweat, coughing, congested, aching monstrosity that entered my world Friday morning (and is determined on sticking around!).

1.  As of yet, only my little and I have been hit the hardest.  My big girl has been HEALTHY the entire time it has slowly hit the rest of my family.  Yes to health!
2.  It hit me as we entered a weekend, so my hubby was here to take over with the kids.
3.  As a result, I was able to nap, and get to bed as early as I needed to (6 pm on Friday), just to try and get better.
4.  Tea.  I'm not usually a tea drinker, but I drank alot of lemon and honey water (I'm still nursing the littlest so no meds for me), and it was really nice (especially with windchills outside of -40!)
5.  Saturday there were plans to celebrate a friends pregnancy, and with my hubby helping with the kids so I could rest (and a steady stream of Motrin), I still made it.  Nothing makes a cold better than pretty toes :)
6.  Each day I felt better than the previous.
7.  Everyone in the house is now on the mend.
8.  Sometimes being sick is what forces you to slow down and RELAX.  With the cold weather, and all the rest, we spent alot of time indoors together watching movies, and just being.
9.  A friend of mine has promised me a big bottle of Sudafed when the toddler weans :)
10.  Fresh clean sheets on the bed after being sick feel the best.

Sometimes it helps to look at the flip side of a situation :)  Today the congestion remains but I feel like I might be able to attempt a short run, and tackle deep cleaning the house and folding a mountain of laundry.  Stay healthy friends!

Monday, March 3, 2014

February Review and March Forecast

As I sit here typing it is -43C outside with windchill, -23C without.  It's truly hard to believe it is March with those kinds of temperatures.  I think everyone can easily say that we are ready for Spring.  The sad truth of it though is I know Spring (trees budding, grass turning green), doesn't usually arrive until early May.  So rather than hope on Spring, I'm hoping on warmer temperatures.  Anything between 5-10C.  That should be an acheivable wish!

February was a good month, and despite being a short month, felt like a nice long one.  The Olympics in Sochi made it even better.  We are a cable free household, but I had it on daily via webcast (thanks CBC!).  One of my goals in February was to knit a birthday dress for my eldest.  That dress deserves a knit parade post all on it's own, but I'm proud to say I cast it on on February 7th while watching the Opening Ceremonies, and cast it off on February 22nd!  It was ALOT of knitting, and it took me until today to even want to knit again.  Had a bit of knitting burn out from doing THAT much knitting in such a short time frame.  It used up 6+ balls of wool!

February also had me wanting to continue working on being Facebook free.  I will say I have re-lapsed a bit, and have been logging on daily.  I am not logging on multiple times like I used to, and I haven't been posting personal statuses.  I have turned into a bit of a lurker.  I have thought about saying something, but it feels like after being "gone" for two months, your first status should be something profound - ha!  I'm ok with how much I'm on it right now, but don't want it to increase at all.

Running wise, I never did get that elusive 7K.  I realized last week while on a run, that it was the end of February, and I hadn't acheived my goal.  I thought it was 6K, so at the 5K mark kept going.  Logging on today to do this post, I saw 7K was the goal.  Boo!  I'll try again.  Sad part is I'm sure that I could have acheived that 7K that night - I felt strong!  

Also on the running front, I ran my first half marathon of the year (and the first since my eldest was 18 months, which means my first in 5 years!).  Wow.  It was bloody cold that day, but I'm proud to have finished it feeling great and in a time of 2:14.  Next race this month will be in Hawaii (yes!).  

My final "goal" for February was to try and focus on the Love Language of my eldest.  She is a bit of a mystery.  While reading the Love Language book it was really easy for me to identify the language of my middle.  I think my eldest falls into the camp of "touch" and "quality time".  This fell off my radar though in mid February (hello Olympics and the inlaws visiting from out of town).  Refocus in March!

Here's some March goals:
  • knitting a surprise gift as a thank you!
  • hitting that 7K straight!
  • running two new long distances - 26 & 29 (eep)
  • running on lava fields in Hawaii (ok this may not be a goal, but I'm excited for something new!)
  • working on that quality time with my big girl
  • I have a coffee budget that I'm determined to stick to this month.  WISH ME LUCK (I'm a bit of a SB Junkie).