Archive for December, 2009

Hi everyone!  I’ve missed reading all of your blogs.  I feel so out of the loop!  But that’s okay because I had the most wonderful week away.  And it’s not over yet!  After 5 days with Dave’s family in Seattle (and 2 long days of travel!), we are off tomorrow to visit with my family and do Christmas all over again!  I could get used to this!

I took no pictures of food at all while we were away.  But I assure you, I ate very well.  My sweet sister-in-law, even with infant twins at home, bought mt a bunch of gluten-free foods.  And my incredible mom, sent 2 tins of our family’s Christmas candies to Seattle:  one for the family, and one labeled “gluten-free, for Shannon.”  I love my mom!  She went through the work of making new batches of all of my favorites (with gluten free flours) because she wanted me to be able to enjoy the seasonal treats along with everyone else.  I have the most wonderful family!  And I was lucky enough to marry into an equally wonderful family.  No horrible in-law stories to tell.  I love them all!

I have no food pictures because the entire visit focused on 2 things: babies and running.  The food was great; We had salmon and crab for me, and steak and meatballs for the meat lovers.  Delish!  But the highlight was definitely in experiencing the city and getting to know my new nephews.

Over the 5 days we were there. I ran 45.5 miles all over the northern part of Seattle!  That was a lot of running, but what a high!  Each run was better than the last and I loved being able to see the ocean and the mountains all at once.

You can’t really see the mountains in the background in this grainy iphone picture, but they were there.  Absolutely beautiful!  It meant some pretty intense hills, but it was worth it.  No better way to get to know a city!

With the exception of my morning runs, the rest of the visit was filled with this:



A very happy Aunt Shannon and (as Uncle Dave is now called) U.D.

And are you ready to melt???

Oh, I just love them so much, and miss them already!  Living so far away makes me sad 😦   But we had such a great time, I know we will be making trips out there as much as possible.

Dave loved them too, and if I hadn’t already known that he will be a great dad, I certainly do now.  He is great with them and is even willing to change diapers!  The only thing he had some trouble with was when baby cuteness came between him and the start of  present-opening!  Here’s Dave pouting that no one is gathering around to open presents:

Nah, he was just being dramatic. We got to opening the presents shortly thereafter, and Santa was good to him.  Santa was good to me too!  My sweet hubby got me tickets to see “The Lion King” when it comes to Boston this winter!  I am so excited!  And i got several new books, including a couple of gluten-free cook books from my very thoughtful sister-in-law.  I am excited to try out the recipes while have have some time off between semesters.  One class starts right away, on January 6th.  But one doesn’t start until the 26th, and the other doesn’t start until March!  (the one in March will be a condensed, super intense 8 weeks of hell!).

With a little more free time, I hope to tweak some gluten free recipes to make them quicker and healthier.  I am going to try to blog at least one new gluten-free experiment each week.  I also want to do a little more work on my blog:

  • setting up my own domain
  • figuring out how to make posting faster and easier so it doesn’t take an hour to publish one post!

(I might need some help with those….anyone????)

  • adding some new pages, perhaps.
  • giving it some direction.

I love the wonderful people I have met through the experience of blogging, but I need to find a way to make blog-writing more practical.  It takes too much time out of my already busy day and I know there are programs that make it easier.  I just need to figure out how to do it.  I also feel like I need to create some purpose for this blog, other than just a run down on each day.  I don’t want to document everything I eat.  That would be boring for me to do and probably not healthy either (for me, not necessarily for someone else).  I don’t want to dispense nutrition information, because although I love the subject matter (good thing, since I want to study it!), I don’t feel qualified to do so yet.  I don’t want to bore people with my tummy woes.  So…..I have some thinking to do.  But it’s nice to have the time to do it now!

I hope to compile a 2009 reflection sort of post tomorrow, before we leave for christmas #2.  It has been quite a year, and I feel so, so fortunate to have had so many dreams come true this year.

It’s good to be back.  I’ve missed my blog friends! 🙂


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So Full!

No, this time it’s not my belly I’m speaking of.  I am taking about my suitcase!  After 2 hours, I am ready to leave for Christmas tomorrow.  Our flight to Seattle isn’t until 4:30 tomorrow, but packing is such a production for me, that I can’t wait until tomorrow to pack.  We want to be able to avoid the check-in line at Christmas, so I was trying to get everything into my carry-on and my backpack.  Given that my sister-in-law is forced to do a couple loads of laundry a day with her twin boys, I figure I’ll be able to wash and rewear a lot.

All this packing got me thinking about our next trip….  I was hoping to go to the Fitbloggin’ Conference in March that some of my favorite Boston bloggers will be attending.  But the conference falls the same week as my spring break from school.  That makes it the perfect time for our annual trip to Belize.  Dave has been going to Belize for years and loved it so much that he even bought some land on an uninhabited island (yep, that’s my guy!)!  He introduced me to the country a few years ago and we’ve gone each year since (except for the year of our honeymoon when we went to Maui instead!).

What an amazing place!  We’ve spent each trip on an island called Caye Caulker.  It’s a snorkelers paradise!  We weren’t snorkelers before, but we are now.  We even got our own gear!

With the exception of the snorkel, fins, and mask, there not a whole lot of complicated packing when it comes to traveling to Belize.  Warm weather clothes don’t take up any room at all.  This is pretty much our wardrobe for the entire week:;

Packing for Christmas, however,  is requiring bulky sweaters, gloves, hats, lots of running layers, and of course… Christmas presents!  Much more space required!  But I think I’ve made it work and will have everything I need.

This will be a great trip.  I can’t wait to meet my baby nephews!  We’ve had a few web cam meetings, but it’s not the same.  I will try to blog a bit while I’m there, but I’ll have to put down a baby in order to do that.  That will be tough to do!  In case I am MIA for a few days, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!  I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of heaven before I go!!

In March I’ll be able to show you some pictures of the rainforest and the Mayan Ruins.  I love the island so much, Dave hasn’t been able to show me the interior of the country yet.  It will be adventure, that’s for sure….as most of our travel tends to be!

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I did it!  I finished my first semester back in school.  I think I did well and I feel like I learned so much!  And best of all…it’s all over for 3 weeks!  I am free!  Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I left my test and went right to get my hair cut.  It felt so good to have all of those stringy ends cut off.  My hair is very fine and it can’t go months and months without a trim.  I had requests for hair pictures, so here you go.

Me, striking a pose:

And look!  I have layers again!

I am feeling much better now.  We are going out for dinner tonight for Dave’s birthday.  Nothing too fancy.  He wanted a burritto, and it’s his birthday, so we’re heading to Boloco.  There are several of these in the Boston area, but the gentleman who started the company, opened one in Hanover, NH as well.  We went there alot while we lived there.  It’ll be a little bit nostalgic.

When we come home, I have a treat for Dave.  I wanted to go out and buy the ingredients on Saturday, but he wanted to take my car when he brought our cats to my parents’ house.  So I was carless that day.  And yesterday, we were snowed in.  So today I stopped into the store.  When Dave was growing up, he never had a birthday cake.  He doesn’t like cake.  (Blasphemy, if you ask me!  I love my frosting!!).  But he always had a cookie pie.  So I made him one.  With the only chocolate he ever craves…peanut butter cups!

Since he doesn’t “do” frosting.  I frosted it with peanut butter.  I wanted to know it would be good, so this one is packed with gluten.  I’ll just watch him enjoy.  After we get back from Christmas, I am going to spend some of my free time experimenting with some gluten-free flours.  I am missing my baked goods!!

I am snuggled up with a hot water bottle and sipping hot chocolate while blogging.  It doesn’t better than that!  Tomorrow I have to clean and think about packing (ugh!).  But tonight, I am going to be a bum!  It feels great!

Have a great night everyone 🙂

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After being absent for most of last week, I am trying to get back into regular blogging again….until we leave for vacation on Wednesday at least.  To day I trudged down the hill to the fitness room.  It was short walk, but the walk there and back felt as grueling as the workout!  We “only” got about 8 inches (it’s all relative with this storm!), but with the wind and the drifting, I felt like I was fighting to stand upright a couple of times!  But I made it and had a really good elliptical workout while watching “Freaky Friday.”  That was a cute movie.  My workout flew by!  And it got me revved for my last day of cramming.

I spent about 4 more hours studying for chemistry.  This is the final that never ends!  There was the first part that I took last Wednesday,  take home portion, and then tomorrow’s final section that covers material from the last part of the semester.  I think I’m ready.  I’m a little shakey on visualizing orbitals and subshells, but I think I’ve got the rest down.  I’m just so excited to be almost down!  This was a grueling semester with biology and chemistry and statistics all at once.  Medical Terminolgy wasn’t bad.  Next semester won’t be as tough (I hope).  I have microbiology and chem. 2, but no statitics.  That was the class that pushed me right over the edge!

I am celebrating tomorrow by getting my hair cut.  I haven’t had my hair cut since July!!  I really need it.  But I have never been to this salon, so I’m a little nervous.  We’ll also be going out tomorrow evening to celebrate Dave’s birthday and my (freedom!).  His birthday is today, but I had to study, and we’re snowed in.  So we had a quiet birthday, with presents and a special dinner for Dave.  This is a man who has no taste for food.  He has his standbys, as he explained in his post last week (Honey Nut Cheerios, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Toll House cookies…).  But aside from that, he never really craves anything or gets excited about anything food-related.  So when he said today that he’d like to make a lobster for his birthday, I thought it was great!  He wanted it so badly, he dug out his car (and mine too!) and ventured out into the snow for his lobster!

He made it all by himself.  And he even cleaned it all up afterward!

I had some veggies that needed to be used up before we leave for Christmas on Wednesday, so I had some more broccoli slaw “pasta” with chickpeas, and a half of an acorn squash that was absolutely perfect!

Very tastey!

Time to relax and clear my head of chemistry.  The birthday boy is already warming the couch for me!

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I’m pretty tired of all this studying, but I’m still kickin’, and…. I am nearing the end!  In 48 hours I will be all done with my last final!!

It’s been a while so I’ll back track…  I took part on of my chemistry final on Wednesday.  I think I did okay.  I hope I did okay!  Then I came home and dove into part 2, the take-home portion.  I think I did well on that.  There was only one question that really had me scratching my head, and I think I figured it out in the end.

I studied all day on Thursday for stats.  That is the definition of torture!  I took a running break in the middle, and in an effort to postpone my return to stats for as long as possible, I cranked out 13.1 miles (the .1 was just so that I could say I did a half marathon distance!)  That’s the longest I’ve run since the race last month, so that was a confidence booster when I returned to my problem sets.

Rudy helped me study…

I took the stats test yesterday and I think I did well.  There was one question I really didn’t know how to answer, but all the rest, I knew how to do.  I just hope I didn’t make silly calculator mistakes!  As soon as I left my stats final, I came home to work on the biology final.  I had been plugging away at it all week, but I still had the long essay to write.  After dinner yesterday, I finally finished.  My brother, the biology major, was a huge help.  He explained a lot to me that I didn’t understand about RNA and the process of protein synthesis.  Thanks Chris!!

Today I sent in my biology final….12 pages in total!  And then it was a return to chemistry.  Part 3 is on Monday, and then I’m done!  I have 24 more hours to become an expert on Lewis structures and electron configurations (among other things.)

In all of this, I haven’t starved.  I’ll give you a quick rundown…

Spaghetti squash and broccoli slaw “pasta” with artichokes, marinara sauce, and chick peas!

An omelet stuffed with Laughing Cow, steamed broccoli slaw, and tomato, with a baked acorn squash on the side.

Dave enjoying his “North Dakota burritto,” and Jack looking for scraps!

Friday night “polenta pizza” with mozzerella and artichokes.  Mmmm!

Tonight’s protein pancakes with hot apple slices and raisins on top.

Dave took Jack and Rudy to my parents’ house today so they will be taken care of while we are away next week.  I miss them already!  But it’s going to be a whirlwind until we leave.  Between Dave’s birthday tomorrow, my exam on Monday, and packing and cleaning on Tuesday, Wednesday is going to be here before I know it!

I am giving Dave the best birthday present a person can get…I am giving him one more day before crossing over to that next year.  Even though his birthday is tomorrow, we will celebrate on Monday once my head is out of my books.  He’s a good sport!  With a big nor ‘easter coming in any minute now, it looks like we wouldn’t be going out to celebrate tomorrow anyway!  We are battening down the hatches and holing up for the next 24 hours or so.  I’m sorry the Blogger Meet-up had to be canceled because of the storm, but was sad I was going to have to miss it.  I’m excited to meet so many familiar faces in January!

I am calling it a night.  I DVR’ed Elf the other night, so I think that is on the docket.  My brain hurts and needs some mindless fun!

To all of the Boston bloggers and readers, stay warm and stay safe!

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The North Dakota Diet

Shannon has asked me, her husband Dave, to step into her blog for a night, hope you enjoy the ride . . . It always amazes me how much press the “South Beach Diet” gets.  Shannon’s Dad has been on the South Beach Diet for a while now and I don’t have the heart to break it to him:  I don’t care how long you’re on the South Beach, you’re not going to look like you should be walking among the Speedo’s in the South Beach of Miami!  The North Dakota Diet is much more achievable for the rest of us.  With some dedication and a whole lot of white food, I’m giving you a 100% money-back guarantee that you can look like you belong in North Dakota.

The true core of the North Dakota Diet is white food.  Why white?  Here’s a pic that reminds me of home.  It actually brings a tear to my eye . . . until the tear freezes.

Using this glorious feast for inspiration, let’s see where a day in the life of a North Dakota Dieter leads us, shall we?

Breakfast sets the tone for the day, so you’re going to want to start strong.  Although Rice Chex is probably the whitest cereal, it has been judged much too healthy.  The recommended approach is to wolf down a heaping bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios . . . every single day . . . for at least 25 years straight.  After 15 years or so, the simple aroma of HNC will be enough to make you think fondly of breakfast.  As the jingle says, “the best part of waking up is pure fiber and sugar in your belly!”

Lunch is a little trickier, this is where you’ll want to mix things up a bit.  My recommendation is to pick no more than two white sandwiches (with just meat and cheese, NO veggies if you’re going to strictly adhere to the Diet) and eat only those two sandwiches every single day for a good 10 years or so.  As for me, I prefer either ham & cheese (with JUST ham & cheese) or tuna fish (with JUST tuna and cheese).  The ham is more tan colored than I’d prefer but in North Dakota we call that “using your foodie creativity.”

Finally, the long-awaited North Dakota dinner.  There truly is nothing better than a North Dakota Burrito (chicken, cheese and rice, nothing more) along with two Pillsbury crescent rolls along with a glass of water.  I challenge you to find something that’s not white on that plate.  You’ll lose that challenge.

You’ll notice that there are no vegetables on that plate.  That just makes you love the North Dakota Diet even more, doesn’t it?   As an adherent to the North Dakota Diet, you’ve become a staunch vegetable right’s activist, so you’re actively against the senseless slaughter of innocent squash, peas and lima beans.  Unfortunately, some mis-guided nay-sayers will tell you that things like broccoli slaw, veggies and tofu are healthiest.  Those naysayers are wrong but we’re open-minded folks in North Dakota and won’t impose our (correct) views on everyone.  Seriously, who wants to eat this?

Ok, we’ve reached the end of the day, the coup de grace! After dinner, there’s nothing more relaxing than exactly 5 mini chocolate chip cookies.  Why 5?  Four isn’t worth it and 6 would be a bit much.  Don’t you think?

That’s it!  You’ve survived a day as a North Dakota Dieter and are well on your way to a well-sculpted North Dakota body.  All this fun for less than 2,000 calories! (Plus or minus ~2,000 calories)  Shannon will be back tomorrow (she’s got some less “traditional” opinions on the North Dakota Diet), thanks for taking the time to learn more about NoDak!

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Just Checking in!

I don’t want you all to forget me so I am checking in with a pretty blah post.  I wish I had more time to be interesting, but lately it’s been all school, all the time!

I have never really thought of myself a being really good at any one thing…. But back when I was in school (the first time!), I was a good student.  I was really good at being a student.  It was one of the reasons I chose to go right to grad school after college….I didn’t know what else to do, and I knew I would do well in school….so I stayed in school for another 3 years and 2 masters degrees.  Just as an aside, this is the wrong reason to go to grad school!  It turned out alright in the end, but because I didn’t really have enough life experience at the time to really know what I wanted to do, I didn’t end up doing what I really wanted to.  Now, having figured out what I really want to do, I am back in school and back to being a student.

Because I was always good at being a student I think people look at me as a bit of an over-achiever.  A bit of a perfectionist.  In the last week I have gotten myself really worked up as finals approach.  I have done well all semester, and I am still terrified of not doing well.  But I insist to people that I am not just an over-achiever or a perfectionist.  Sure, I am sometimes.  But the reason I am so nervous this time around is that I have taken such a leap of faith in making this career change.  We lost my salary so that I can take these prerequisites….all in the hopes that my grades will be good enough to get me into the dietetics program I want.  I need to do well because if I don’t get into this very competative program at the end of all this, these 4 semesters of prerequisites will be all for nothing!  I am trying not to think about that, but I still feel a lot of pressure.  A lot more than I ever did the first time around.

Fortunately, this time around, I not only have most supportive mom in the world, I also have an equally supportive husband.  Between my mom and Dave, I have been put back together and I am going into the next 7 intense days feeling calmer than I have in the last week.  I just have to keep breathing and not look too far into the future. I have finished all of my pre-finals work and I have completed my Medical Terminolgy final, so I am in good shape.

Still to go:

  • Wednesday: Chemistry Final Part 1 Wed.
  • Friday: Stats
  • Saturday: Biology Final is due
  • Monday: Chemistry Final Part 3 and the take home portion (part 2) is due

Sandwiched in between biology and chem part 3 is a blogger meetup on Saturday and Dave’s birthday on Sunday!  Oy! Looks like I am going to have to miss another blogger gathering.  Even Dave’s birthday is being postponed a day until my last final is over.  (He has no problem putting off 33 for one more day!)

I have managed to get in some good exercise and eat breaks in all of this craziness.  Yesterday was a great 10.3 mile run, and today, I did some easy ellipticating.  I would lose it completely if I didn’t have exercise as an outlet for stress.

Dinner last night was one of my favorites!  Spaghetti squash with chickpeas, marinara sauce and artichoke hearts.  Such a great combinations.  Speghetti squash is so pretty!

All pretty!

And all mixed together!

Dave now accepts that he loves butternut squash.  But spaghetti squah….not so much.  So he made his own dinner.  Granted, he just made a Trader Joe’s bagged meal.  But he made it all by himself while I studied and he didn’t ask a single question!  He even made his own soda in the Soda Stream!

I know I have been a sporadic and not-so-exciting blogger lately.  But I plan to spend some time in between semesters trying to become a little more creative.  And definitely playing more in the kitchen!

And to get you coming back this week…. Dave will be writing his very first guest post in the next couple of days.  I have no idea what he wants to write about, but he’s a great writer, with one book already under his belt.  Stay tuned…..

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