Friday, July 29, 2011


The Ohio Women's Tri for the Cure is tomorrow! I am really excited about doing it and a little peeved.

Like--"Why the heck did I sign up for this thing that has me swimming when i just learned how to swim right four weeks ago?" I didn't know that you had to wear a swim hat and goggles or that you should exhale through your nose in the water.

Every time I get ready to do a race, I get testy and just want the gosh darn thing to be over with. For me, the best part if planning it and signing up for it -- the rush of excitement, my goals going through my head, marking off my training schedule.

And then race day comes...

Or the night before...and my stomach hurts all day.

Having the girls and Brandon cheer me on are about the only thing I look forward to.

Wednesday night I swam with Heather again and felt a lot better. We did the swim race course twice so I would feel comfortable. And can I tell you how amazing Heather is? I just love her spirit and how much she goes for her goals--hello Ironman! She has a race in September and I know she will do amazing.

And Brandon is letting me ride his rode bike, which is sweet. I told him now I know why road bikers name their bikes. Going from the hybrid trek to his road bike was like going from peanut butter to nutella.

So, how do you handle new situations? Do you become more outgoing? Or less? I have all of my things on the floor, ready to go.

I would love to finish the race under one hour. Second goal is to finish the race under 55 minutes. I know I can run pretty fast, but not sure how I will run after swimming and running. I would love to run a sub 8:30 for two miles.

Fresh summer goodness

Summer food like Jeni's strawberry buttermilk ice cream and fresh corn on the cob from the farmer's market are my favorites. On nights when the temperatures soar to 90-plus in the humid plains of Ohio, soothing ice cream going down your throat cool off the days' extreme heat, making even the grumpiest person happy.

With ice cream, I try to use whatever is local and in season. For the ice cream in the machine (far below), I picked them from a farmer's market. The corn was from a farmer's market too.

I have also made fresh peach custard from another recipe (Curtis Aiken), which had little frozen peach chunks with peach juice from the macerated peaches. MMM.

Jeni is doing a book tour to promote her recipe book, Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home. In Columbus, her ice cream has cultlike status and seasonal favorites like lemon blueberry yogurt and my personal favorite backyard mint are unctuous creations--tart, sweet, bursting with flavor.

Plus, you can't forget coffee in your french press to go with it! We have the bodum french press and love the coffee!

For perfect corn every time, fill up a large pot with 10 cups of water (more or less depending on corn), add about 3 tablespoons kosher salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Cook only until you smell the fresh corn smell and remove. To make it easier for little kids, break cob in half before cooking. Also, the sugars in corn start to break down very quickly--after losing many ears of corn to this I have learned it's best to buy corn on the day you want to make it!

I love to make different compound butters to top corn. Here are some favorites:

To one stick of butter (can half recipe)
  • Pizza butter - 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 TB of fresh basil cut, red pepper optional
  • Chili butter - 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 TB chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 TB diced green onions, 1 tsp. chopped cilantro
  • Parm butter - 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 TB of parsley cut, 1 TB of basil, Add 2 tablespoons of fresh parm.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Heart-shaped valentine

Here are some more photos of our friends, Sarah and Jay and their little Diesel and Lula. We had a great time visiting with them. Love them. Also, I made some cute heart cutouts from watermelon for our pool snacks. The girls loved them and you can do almost anything with cookie cutters.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Trip to Michigan

We visited Michigan last weekend so we could celebrate Sharon's birthday and Brandon could go salmon fishing. He had a great time with his dad and brother and the girls relaxed, visited the splash park with the kids and had pizza and the cutest little cupcakes for Sharon's birthday. Christina and Cale ate with us too and loved getting to see them--miss watching little Cale grow up! He's a little Troy!

The girls love sleeping together in the basement although they both ended up sleeping with one of us. And they love seeing Poppa and Momma. Ava was following Poppa around all weekend. Sophia is still a little mommy's girl. She loves to give hugs and affection out. That is def. her love language. Ava's is quality time. Anytime we spend alone time together she is so happy and just brilliant. Momma and Poppa cooked a great dinner on Saturday--we had brisket, potato casserole, fried green tomatoes and corn on the cob. MMm!

We used Yelp on our iphones to search for food around Sylvania, Ohio and found Sahara on our way up. It was the best gyro I have ever had. All of the money went into the food-not decor! I had a greek salad because my stomach was so upset from being sick.

The morning we left I met Jess at Glacier Ridge at 6:30 am for a run. I got there early and got about 2 miles in at a great pace of 8:58. I ate a banana with chocolate GU while meeting Jess because I couldn't keep food in and the ran. But, I started feeling really sick, like the great Cap City half marathon of 2011. I bonked. I had almost zero food in my stomach, dizzy, and it was 80-plus degrees at 6:45 am. So frustrating having limits to what you can do while you are sick. Funny thing is I had just told Jess that running should be fun! Def. take a sick day when you are not feeling great. Or just run short and easy.

I swam in Michigan in a pond that had little fish nipping my leg. That was an experience. : ) I just looked at the water after the little fish bite and said, "Fish, you aren't going to keep me from practicing."

This morning I got a great, great run in early. I woke up at 5:30 am and ran 7 miles at 9:17 pace. And I had my first ever negative split for that long of a distance (running end part faster than beginning). I stopped for three water breaks and a chocolate GU.

On mile two, I ran up this hill overlooking fields in Marysville and watched some of the sunrise. What a beautiful way to start the day.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cooling off

Here are some fun photos of our times at the pool! We love going! We went with Amy and her girls, Isabelle and Caroline a little while ago and had a blast.

Stay cool today in the 100-plus heat Ohio. Nice to get an early run in with Kristy today. Thanks Kristy! Finally feeling little better after being sick this week.

If you are driving around, put some yum mint in your water. I love doing this. It's better than a sports drink and free.

We have been getting up super early every day and staying outside until around 9:30 am or so. Last night our family went to my mom and dad's and had frog legs, fried green tomatoes, pasta salad, and fresh peach ice cream I made with my Cuisinart. I liked the custard style, but would like to try just a plain ice cream style as well. The little chunks of peaches were amazing. I will post the recipe soon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday likey!

I love cooking. Cooking is relaxing and so enjoyable. But, if you don't have the right tools - it's not as fun. Wusthof knives are amazing and come with a lifetime guarantee. The kitchen shears are functional and precise. The chef's knife is sharp and cuts like butta. Really-it's amazing how easily this makes all of your cutting and dicing.

And it's always safer to have sharp knives than dull ones.

These knives are forged as one so that means the weight is in the middle making it easier to cut veggies or meat. The handle has a lot of weight so it feels comfortable.

Don't balk at the price -- just think of buying generic knives a couple of times as they wear out and you will see that you pay for cooking enjoyment.

Julia Child was an avid knife lover. She would send different french styles to her American friend Avis Devoto asking her to review them.

As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto

You can read more about their conversations in As Always, Julia. Christina bought me the book last year for Christmas and I really enjoyed reading about their friendship and intense love of fresh food and political gossip.

I haven't worked out yet this week because I got the stomach flu that the girls had. It's fine sitting around one day, but two days is hard. I don't like to rest. I was supposed to do a run through of the tri tomorrow night at Alum, but now I am not sure if I should work out.

With the extra time, I finished The Help from the 2nd chapter on in about 24 hours. My mom let me borrow it and it was so good. One of those few books that you wish weren't over at the last chapter. And it's going to be made into a movie. Click here for the movie trailer.

Have you read it yet? What's some book recommendations?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stay home Monday

Do you ever have those crazy weeks were you were so busy you blinked and forgot what day it was? Last week was a great week, but we are enjoying being home and getting some rest today.

Last week we did the following:
  • Ava had VBS at Northwest Presbyterian Church-amazing, amazing church. Thank you for the fun skits, lessons about Christ and singing. Ava had a blast. See this girl here? She reminded me of my sister Jessie, world-famous actress.
  • We went camping with church friends for 3rd year in a row. It was great, great fun. At first with the rain we thought we might have to head home. But we stuck it out through wind, lightening and thunder. Oh vay.
  • We went swimming with family at Marysville Pool at night on Tuesday. Fratelli's pizza and family fun? Yes please! (Note:my iphone cord is not allowing me to download pics...need B to check it out). Biked 11 miles, swam 550 meters.
  • Wed. laundry! And ran fast three miles!
  • Thursday - ran fast three miles with Jess - 8:38 average, about 4 miles with warmup, cool down. Went to farmer's market and bought fresh peaches, berries and corn. And got some great deals on clothes!
  • Friday - Our friend Tonia had us over for yummy bread pudding after we dropped Ava off at VBS and then we said goodbye to Olivia who was traveling to Indiana. Christina, Troy and Cale visited us that night and we drove to GiGi's for the Steam Thresher's Parade and later Deer Creek Lodge for Shmidt family reunion. Thank you Gigi for a wonderful parade party. The swag from the parade was amazing and the kids loved watching the tractors. Pink boots below are little Charlotte's, my niece. What a cutie. Cale is our little nephew and he loved the baton they passed out. Did you see how much Troy and Brandon look alike? Right, they look nothing alike-but they are both great dads! And really nice spending time with Christina.
  • Sophia and Ava loved seeing Momma and Poppa Shmidt and gave them lots of hugs.

Deer Creek Lodge was a great place for a family reunion. So nice to see family after so many months. There were trails, pools (3!), tennis courts, a beach and a golf course. The price was steep ($160.), but you had a lot of activities for the family and didn't have to leave the place at all. We made a gigantic "90" with the family at Grammy's bday party and Jess took our pictures.

A humid day, it was almost 90 degrees. So nice seeing the love between Grammy and Poppa. Sharon and I both remarked that Poppa's war stories reminded us of the book Unbroken. They are an amazing couple.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption [Book]

We swam and ate pizza after the sweet birthday party for Grammy (90!!).

I was excited to swim laps and got lots of laps in after doing about a 3 mile run in the morning. My times for runs are finally getting faster. The funny saying of if you want to run faster you have to run faster and longer is true.

Here is a great list from on running faster if you are interested. Remember having running coaches tell me to "loosen up!" don't run so tense at the Emerald City Quarter race. That was my first race and honestly, I was like - really? I am just trying to finish at mile 6 and you are critiquing my form? But, thankful for it now. Good advice.

#7 - Let your feet run in a circle - helped decrease running time immensely
#10 - Keep pushing - duh - but really, it's only going to hurt for a couple of minutes. You can take a couple of minutes of pain for that PR!

On Sunday, Brandon and I were blessed to have Sharon and Creston watch the girls so we could run together. Brandon didn't want to run on the road, so we ran about 4.5 miles on trails And these boys were intense. I was running in my sports bra sucking wind. My G2 was gone by the 3 mile point and I was soaked. But, man, it's so nice to have that time together. Usually, we take turns running and running together is such a treat.

Brandon was an intense runner. I was like, "Just focus on his feet!" "Stay close." We finished and then had brunch with the family and packed and went home!

  • Brandon's softball team almost beat Sharon Mennonite on Sunday and then we relaxed since Sissy (Soph) has a stomach bug that she has passed on.
  • No plans for today other than relaxing and enjoying the nice weather. And the girls are wearing their firecracker shirts they made at our July 4th tie-dye party.

Friday, July 15, 2011


My dad had his annual Tonypalooza on July 3rd, full of fireworks, food and lots of family and friend. Love our family and friends that come to our house to celebrate the red, white and blue. I made a really fresh fennel, asparagus and parm. salad and the Barefoot Contessa flag cake as cupcakes.