How Do You Do It? – The Big Secret

Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious:

I live my life a quarter mile at a time.

I’m about to reveal my big secret for how I get so much done in the time that I have. I took some advice from Dominic Toretto. No, I don’t secretly street race cars. I do however live my life in blocks or chunks of time.

Think about your day. There’s 24 hours in it, no more, no less. What do you get done in those 24 hours? Maybe you take care of small children. Maybe you work fulltime or parttime. Maybe you are retired. Maybe you go to school. Whatever you do, you do it in those 24 hours. You have to find time to eat, find time to sleep, find time to clean, find time to workout.

I get a lot done in a 24 hour time frame. I get the boys to school. I run. I work at the library. I keep my house decently clean. I cook. I find time for myself. And I do it all in 30 minute chunks of time. Yep…that’s how I do it. I see my day as 30 minute chunks. Because you can do anything for 30 minutes, right?

When my house gets out of hand, I set a timer for 30 minutes. I clear the clutter, putting things back where they go. I start a load of laundry. I empty the dishwasher. I vacuum the living room. I go through the mail on my desk. And before I know it the timer is beeping at me. Maybe I’m done or maybe I need another 30 minutes. Either way, I made a dent in the mess that used to be my house.

People ask me if I liked running in the beginning. Most people might be surprised to learn the answer is no. It sucked. My pace was slow. I had to take frequent walk breaks. I used Couch to 5K which conveniently lasts 30 minutes (give or take a bit) per workout. You can run/walk for 30 minutes…you can do it! It might be tough. Your lungs and legs will burn. But it’s only 30 minutes…as long as a sitcom, as long as a waiting room wait at the doctor’s office, as long as it takes for you to check your social media.

You don’t have to use my 30 minute secret just to do housework or workout. You can use it to treat yourself too. 30 minutes is usually a decent break to clear my head. I give myself 30 minutes to cruise the internet, sit down with a book, or watch one of my favorite TV shows. Then I can tackle my next 30 minutes of whatever else I need to accomplish that day.

Once you master doing things in 30 minute chunks, you can take it another step and do things in one hour chunks or more. This is how I mentally prep myself for my longer runs. I know a 6 mile run will take me a little more than an hour, so I get through the first 30 minutes and then the next. My first 8 mile run took me three 30 minute chunks. Breaking it up makes it more manageable.

It seems simple but it works. You can be tough mentally and/or physically for 30 minutes. Self motivation. Self control. Mind over matter. It’s just about getting it done…30 minutes at a time.

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A Look Ahead – Week 8

First things first, this happened this morning:

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Brown has been acting out a bit lately, both at home and school. Daddy Man and I finally figured out it was because he wasn’t getting enough attention. He’s our easy kid…good at doing things for himself, a good not-picky eater, mostly independent. We forget that he’s still just six years old and craves our attention. A 3 mile Sunday morning run with mama fixed that right up. And isn’t he the cutest thing in his little tights, running shorts, and shoes! Love this kid! He is a natural born runner. I can’t wait to see everything he can accomplish in running shoes!

Now let’s see…what do I have to do this week…

Tomorrow is what Blue calls a “Family Day.” No one works. No one has school. We have no plans yet. Daddy Man and I both have a 5 mile run, which we can hopefully do together. We don’t get to run together very often. I owe Brown a new running outfit from when he had strep throat and had to get an antibiotic shot, so we can go run stuff shopping, which is just about my favorite thing to do.

Tuesday is usually my off day, from both running and work, but I have a workplace violence seminar that I have a horrible feeling that I will forget about. I set an alarm on my phone, so hopefully that will help!

The rest of the week is business as usual. My long run this week is 8 miles. The weather is supposed to be wonderful all week, so I’m hoping I can do all of my runs outside. Maybe I can even get a 10 mile XTing bike ride outside.

And of course, I will try to get all of my blog posts done! I hope everyone has a great week!!

Week 7

Running: Week 4 of half marathon training is in the bag. I didn’t miss a single workout yet again. Ok…I didn’t do a Fun Workout last Sunday, but I did yoga the day before and decided it counted. I did a total of 21.75 miles! I got new running shoes, but haven’t run in them yet. Brooks PureCadence 2s. They are pretty and match my husband’s PureFlow 2s.

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House: Nothing really new. I’m a little behind on laundry, and the kitchen is a bit of a mess. But I haven’t been cooking much lately…hmmm. I need to work on that. We have a small goal to not eat out until next weekend.

Brown and Blue: The boys enjoyed Valentine’s Day immensely. Brown had his school party on Thursday because of parent teacher conferences, but he came home with lots of goodies from his classmates. Blue got to go bowling Friday morning with his preschool class and then had a party back at school. There is nothing cuter than 8 four-year-olds bowling with ramps and bumpers. Blue bowled a 74 and got one spare!

We went to the circus with the inlaws Valentine’s Day evening. The boys had a blast. They got to ride an elephant and loved the clowns. Of course, the highlight of the evening was when the elephants started pooping during their part of the program. Little boys think poop is the funniest thing on the planet! (Ok…I’ll admit it was pretty darn funny watching the guys scramble to clean it all up while the elephants were still doing their tricks!)

Books: I started Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau, but I’m having trouble finding the concentration to sit down and read.

That’s it for this week!

Not-So-Wordless Wednesday

We had my grandparents over for dinner last night. I owed Grandpa roast chicken. I didn’t disappoint. And neither did Blue…

Blue is jumping on the couch.
Grandma: You’re gonna make your mom crazy!
Blue: She’s already crazy!

Daddy Man to Brown: Did you give a special Valentine to Grace*? Isn’t she your girlfriend?
Brown: Dad! I don’t have a girlfriend!
Daddy Man: Well, is she a girl?
Brown: Yes.
Daddy Man: And is she your friend?
Brown: Yes.
Blue: Then she’s your girlfriend! HAHA!
(Oh…little brothers!)

HDYDI – Meatballs, Quinoa, and Broccoli…oh my!

I did a 7 mile run on a MONDAY. Woah. I gave Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk/Run method a try, and I am 100% sold. My legs don’t even feel like I ran this morning, let alone ran seven miles. I used a 4:1 ratio, and my overall pace was 11:23, which is nearly 20secs faster than my normal long run pace. Mind blown! This makes my goal of a half marathon at 2:30 completely, totally, and 100% possible! BRING IT ON!

I forgot to write my look ahead post yesterday. Oops. It turns out that was a good thing because the phone rang at 5:30 with a recording letting me know that Brown didn’t have school, which threw my whole week off track. The trace to two inches of snow we were supposed to get turned out to be closer to four inches. It only took me four tries to get out of my driveway to go to the gym this morning, after calling Blue in “hookie.” Brown and Blue love that word. The roads weren’t too bad though. I’m getting good at snow driving. As long as we have snow and no ice, I’m good.

Anyway, my “How do I do it?” post today will be to share a recipe. I cook from scratch whenever I can. And I LOVE meatballs. I used to buy frozen meatballs, but have you ever looked at what is in those suckers? MSG. Lots of sodium. And who knows where they get the meat for them? Ick. So I make my own meatballs and freeze them. Viola…meatballs whenever I want!

I adapted this recipe from the “Everday Italian Meatballs” from Eat What You Love by Marlene Koch. Awesome book. I should really own a personal copy because I check it out from work at least four times a year. I love this recipe because I always have all of the ingredients on hand.

My Meatballs

1 lbs lean ground beef
8 Ritz crackers (put in a ziplock bag and smash them with your hands, or let the kids do it!)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1.5 Tbsp dried minced onion
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 large egg
2 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Using a stand mixer, combine all ingredients together. If you don’t have a stand mixer, get one and mix your meatballs in it. It will blow your mind. Or use a bowl and spoon/hands, and dream of using a stand mixer.

Form into 1-ish-inch balls. I use a food scale and make 1.1oz meatballs. I’m a bit OCD about them. I usually get around 20-22 meatballs.

Place meatballs in an 8×11-inch baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until tops are browned and the meat is cooked through.

Ok…so you made meatballs, now what do you do with them? Most people probably think spaghetti and meatballs. Yes, we do this with them quite often. But what else can you do with them?

This is my current favorite thing in the world. I have eaten it for lunch at least 50% of the time for the last month. I wonder what I ate before I discovered the joy of quinoa and broccoli. I cook my quinoa in just chicken broth, and I steam my broccoli in my waterless cookware. Hello, lunch!ou could also make BBQ meatball sliders. Think cheddar cheese and King’s Hawaiian rolls. Or meatball subs with jarred pizza sauce and hoagie rolls. Or Swedish-style meatballs by making a simple beef gravy (remember, I’m dairy free) and serving it over egg noddles.

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So how do I do it? I keep homemade meatballs ready to go in the freezer at all times. ­čÖé

Week 6

Running:
I completed week 3 of my half-marathon training plan without missing a single workout. That might be a first! I did 21 total miles and one elliptical workout. Awesome week! All of the runs were done on the treadmill because of the blasted polar vortex. Is it spring yet? I NEED to run outside! Oh…and I went to yoga today. I had to break in my new Nike studio wrap shoes. I will definitely be posting my thoughts on those. Preview…they are AWESOME!

House:
We got a new vacuum, and I am overly excited about it. We went with a Hoover Windtunnel bagless upright. I happened to flip open the latest Consumer Reports and it was their best buy for bagless uprights. Plus…it was about $450 less than the Dyson. WIN! So with the money we saved, we bought a carpet cleaner too, also a Hoover. I am thinking a review is in order. I am in love with both of my new house cleaning toys. Gah…I’m just a housewife!

Brown and Blue:
Thanks to Tuesday’s snowstorm that dumped nine inches of snow on us, the boys were out of school and speech on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was a hectic couple of days trying to find stuff to keep them occupied. We went outside and played in the snow on Tuesday, but Wednesday was just too cold.

Blue’s birthday is coming up at the end of the month, and he’s dragging his feet picking a theme and the dessert he wants mama to make. Hard to believe my baby is going to be FIVE. Part of turning five includes no more climbing in bed with mama. We’re working on it.

Books:
I read two books this week. A Dash of Magic┬áby Kathryn Littlewood. It was a cute juvenile fiction book. It’s a second in a series, and the third one comes out next week. I also read The Devil’s Footprints by Amanda Stevens, who wrote one of my favorite series, The Graveyard Queen series. But I gotta say The Devil’s Footprints┬áscared the crud out of me. It probably didn’t help that Daddy Man was out playing poker with the guys while I was in the meat of the book. It took a whole episode of Sherlock to calm down in order to get to sleep. Seriously scary book!

Ok…that’s all for this week!

Let’s Relax Friday – Gilmore Girls…where would they be now?

I ran 8 miles this morning! EIGHT! Longest run ever. It was tough, but I got it done, inside on a treadmill no less. I had my usual distraction of Gilmore Girls, which *still* airs on ABC Family at 10am central time. It’s been on at 10am for at least seven years because I used to watch it when I was pregnant with Brown. Is anyone else a Gilmore Girls fan? Even though I own every episode on DVD because the awesome Daddy Man bought me the entire series…the one in the cute suitcase style case, I still like to watch Gilmore Girls at 10am on ABC Family. I can easily say it’s my FAVORITE television show of all time.

Anyway…does anyone else have strange thoughts while running on the treadmill? I mean stranger than normal. I usually come up with awesome blog post ideas and then promptly forget about them during the rush to pick up a kid or get to work on my to-do list. But as I was running Monday and then again today on the treadmill, I thought about the Gilmore Girls and began wondering what all the characters would be up to today. So I jumped on to Google to figure out how old they would all be now.

Gilmore Girls aired from 2000-2007. Rory graduated from Chilton in 2003 and from Yale in 2007. She was born October 8, 1984. Lorelei’s birthday is sometime in April 1968. Rory would turn 30 this year, just a year behind me. Lorelei would turn 46 this year. And Richard and Emily Gilmore would probably be in the their early 70s by now.

When we left them, Rory was off to be a journalist on Obama’s campaign. And Lorelei was standing in the street, on the verge of reuniting with Luke. So where would they be now?

Rory – I’d like to think that Rory is finally a writer for the New York Times. As for who she ends up with, I have two theories. I think she is either with Jess, who also lives in New York. Or maybe she finally realized that leaving Logan was a bad idea, and they compromised on Logan moving to New York. My vote would be for Logan. Maybe they just got married and are talking kids.

Lorelei – She’s still living in Stars Hollow, still running the Dragonfly, and still with Luke. I think they had a beautiful wedding at the Dragonfly. I don’t see them having any more kids, but they would be happy. VERY happy. Luke’s daughter April would be turning 21.

Lane and Zack- I see them still living in Stars Hollow, running the music store and still playing with their band every now and then. The twins would be turning 8…woah.

Sookie and Jackson – Sookie was pregnant in the last season. Davie would be 11, Martha would be 9, and the third kid (which we never learned the sex of…stupid Gilmore Girls producers!) would be 7. Sookie is still the chef at the Dragonfly and Jackson is still gardening.

Richard and Emily – Richard has probably retired, maybe selling his company or maybe Logan is running it now. I see them doing a bit of traveling. Friday night dinners aren’t as regular, but they are still happening once a month or so.

Gosh, I miss that show. It ended so abruptly. There was talk for a bit of a Gilmore Girls movie, but I think too much time has passed. Plus, I am enjoying Lauren Graham on Parenthood. Oh Parenthood…how I love thee!

Am I the only weirdo that is *this* obsessed with Gilmore Girls? Or maybe I just get a little crazy doing long runs on the treadmill.