Sunday, December 18, 2011

More DIY presents

I can't believe Christmas is almost here.  Where did December go??  Thank God I've been on my game with gifts this year (which is most definitely not like me).

I just finished another one of my more labor-intensive gifts and I'm actually pretty excited about it!  I saw this crafting blog on Pinterest and immediately loved it.  This particular post shows how to make coasters from basic ceramic tiles, fun scrapbooking paper, and modpodge.  What a great idea!  I always see those cute coaster sets in stores and can't get over how crazy expensive they are.  And they're always in sets of four.  I mean, who's only going to need four coasters? Seriously.

I had every intention of making a set for myself with the scrapbooking paper.  And then I had a brainstorm.  What if I used pictures instead?  I could use them as a personalized present idea!  I immediately thought of my friends Ray and Ashleigh who were just married this past summer.Ashleigh can be pretty crafty herself, so I knew she'd appreciate the DIY aspect of it as well.

Here's what you'll need:

- ceramic tiles from your local hardware store ($0.16 at Home Depot)
- modpodge
- the pictures you're going to use
- acrylic top coat
- felt pads
- scissors, cutting board, etc.

I originally debated using real pictures with this, but I wasn't sure how the thicker paper would react.  I erred on the side of caution (and convenience) and found digital versions of the pictures I wanted to use.  Thanks Facebook!  I cropped each picture to 4x4 and printed them out on regular old computer paper.  Then I trimmed all the excess paper from around the edges.

Using a sponge brush, I painted on a thin layer of modpodge onto a clean tile.  Gently place the picture onto the tile and adjust so it's it's centered.  I don't have a fancy scraper, so I just used an old movie loyalty card to smooth out the paper.  Then I added another thin layer of modpodge on top.

Not too bad for my first attempt!  Once the glue was dry I added a second coat to be thorough and let them dry overnight.  The next morning, I added a top coat of the acrylic spray paint to seal and waterproof the coasters.  Let them dry, repeat.  I think I did three coats total.  Maybe I should have done more, but I was cold and just wanted to come inside.

Once they were completely dry, I added felt pads to the bottom to prevent scratching.  Sorry for the terrible picture!  I couldn't get my flash to cooperate.

Tah-Dah!  All ready to be wrapped and given as a present!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Race recap, and then some

Remember this post?  When I decided my "comeback" race was going to be the Santa Claus Shuffle?

Well it was great!  We had a lot of fun, and felt ridiculous wearing those silly Santa suits.

My friend Ray opted to wear my warrior dash helmet instead of the traditional Santa hat.

All together there was about 1400 people, about roughly 1000 of them were Santas.  We were quite a sight, I'm sure.

And I'm pretty proud of how I did!  I've been having some hip flexor issues, and was worried that is was going to significantly affect my time.  Turns out, I did have to stop to stretch/walk a few times, but I still managed to run the 3 miles in 34:38.  I'm not going to break any world records, but that's pretty good for me!  In fact, I played with the numbers, and figured what my time would have been if I had needed to run the extra 0.1 miles to made it a full 5K- I would have PR'd!  Especially since I used my average pace for the entire race, and I know my last mile was by far my fastest.  Not too shabby for gimpy Katie!

My goal for this year was to run a 5K.  I've decided to step up my game for this upcoming year.  The company who organized the Santa Shuffle has released their running schedule for next year.  Everything from a short, one mile downhill speed race, to the epic NH 10miler.  My goal for next year, is to run each and every single one of them.  And you know what?  I'm not going to stop there.  Since the 10miler is in September, I figured that it would only make sense if I push myself the extra little bit and run the Manchester half marathon in November.  I mean, at that point what's another 3.1 miles, right?  So between those races, the 1/2, the Warrior Dashes, and the local races I did this year, I've got a busy year planned.  This is what it looks like as of right now:

1/1 Millennium Mile (1 mile)

3/25 Shamrock Shuffle (2 miles)

6/9 Warrior Dash NE

6/17 RibFest 5 Miler

6/? Goffstown Gallop (5 miles)

7/3 HASLAW Manchester Mile (5k, 1 mile speed race)

8/? CIGNA 5K

8/11 Warrior Dash NY

9/1 NH 10 Miler

11/? Manchester City half Marathon

11/22 Thanksgiving Day 5K

12/1 Santa Claus Shuffle

I know it looks crazy, but I think this is the best way to ensure that I keep going!  I tend to slack if I don't have a race to push towards.  Easy solution- always be registered for an up coming race.

Candy Cane Vodka

I've been slacking with posting lately, but I have a valid reason!  My big project at the moment is for my mom, and since she sometimes reads my blog, I can't exactly post pictures.  I promise though, once Christmas is over I'll post all about it!  I'm really excited about this one I can't wait to see how it comes out!

In the meantime, I'll share my most recent mini project.  I learned here that you can  make flavored vodka using any sugar-based candy.  So, in honor of the holiday, I chose to make...

Candy Cane Vodka!

Very few ingredients needed

- vodka
- mason jars (I went with pint jars)
- candy canes

I added two broken up candy canes to each jar, and filled it most of the way with vodka.  The candy starts dizzolving immediately, which is kind of cool to watch.

Cap them, and let them sit for about 2 days.  I shook mine up occasionally to help the process along, but I honestly don't know if that made a difference or not.

Finished product!  You can either use as it, or dress is up to give away ad presents.  Since I'm not a big drinker, I went for option #2.

I know, the bow is a little over-exaggerated.  I loved the candy-cane string, it just didn't allow for pretty little bows.  Oh well.  Thats a lot of vodka.  I doubt anyone will notice after a few candy cane martinis.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Twofer Thursday

I actually made TWO crafts today.  Look at me- I'm a regular Suzy Homemaker.  Except for that whole part where I still have no idea what I'm cooking for dinner.  Oh well.  Can't have everything.

Craft #1- Firestarters

One of my friends is... an outdoorsman shall we say?  He lives very simply and I'm pretty sure he keeps all of his money in his mattress.  I had no idea what to get this guy for Christmas.  The only things he really wants are car parts for the junkers he keeps in his yard.  Luckily, I have a brilliant boyfriend.  He suggested that I make this friend firestarters for his wood stove and bonfires.  So that's what I did!

They're not pretty, but they're definitely handy.  And (like everything else) pretty easy to make.

You'll need wax, a double boiler to melt it, the bottoms of egg cartons, and dryer lint.  While your wax is melting, fill each well of the carton with dryer lint. 

When the wax is fully melted, (make sure you're stirring!) fill the wells the rest of the way.  The lint will compact, so I made a second pass to make sure they were all full.

Let them cool completely, then break them up!  From what I hear they'll even get a fire going with wet kindling.  I don't build many fires, so I'll have to take my friend's word for it.

Craft #2 Candles!

I knew that I would have extra wax, so I made a few candles as well.  I saw this on Martha Stewart's website and thought it was pretty cute.  Candles in old teacups?  Sure.  Why not?  I was at Goodwill a few days ago for a different, yet to be completed project, and I saw the cups.  I snapped them up for under $1 apiece.  I got some wick, wick anchors, and some cinnamon apple scent.

I used bent paperclips to hold the wicks.  They weren't perfect, but they weren't terrible for my first time.

Once I was finished making the firestarters, I added about 30 drops oil to the remaining wax and filled the cups.  Let them dry, trim the wick and that's it.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sugar Scrubs

Today's project was DIY sugar scrubs.  Just like my honey butter yesterday, it was really simple and yielded a great result.  I admittedly haven't tried it yet, but I did handle it a little bit while testing the consistency and my hands smell wonderful.

I got the basic ideas from here and here, and tweaked it for what I had.

All I used was sugar (granulated or brown depending on the batch), oil, and essential oils

For my first batch, I used 2 heaping cups of brown sugar, about 3/4 cup olive oil, and about 25 drops of peppermint.

I started by adding only 1/2 cup of the oil, and continued to add more until it reached a consistency that I liked.  In the end, it was best described as a crumbly paste.

The second batch was very similar, but I used honey almond oil.

The last batch was lavender vanilla, and I decided to go with regular, granulated sugar.

Each batch yielded two, 8oz jars.  I prettied them up with some pretty fabric, string, and jingle bells.

Voila!  Pretty Christmas gifts, just waiting to be given away.  The best part is that the lavender vanilla batch made some extra, so I get to paper myself a little as well.  I'll let you know how it is!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Homemade Texas Roadhouse Cinnamon Honey Butter

In my very first post I mentioned that I had recently acquired a whole lot of free time.  Unfortunately, The free time is courtesy of my company closing down the lab where I was working.  Business-wise, I completely understand their decision.  Personal life-wise, it stinks.  Big time. 

Aside from the obvious lack of job/income, this mega stinks because I'm BORED.  I've never been one to love sitting at home and now I don't have much of a choice.  Theres only so much time you can spend working out/walking the dogs/cleaning/reorganizing the closets/etc.

I've become obsessed with this fantastic website Pinterest.  If you've never been, you should.  It's full of wonderful procrastination.  Also, it's full of recipes and crafts just begging me to try them.  So that's what I've decided to do.  At worst it gives me something to do.  At best, I might find out I'm actually good at this stuff, and will have found myself a new hobby.

Today's project:

Cinnamon Honey Butter
(original recipe here)

2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup honey
2 tsp cinnamon

Whip it all up together.  That's it.  Really easy and really, really delicious.

I divided it into 6, 4oz jam jars for portion control.  I can't imagine this will last too long, so I'll think I might have to make more to give as gifts!

P.S.  Sorry for the terrible picture quality!

Monday, November 21, 2011



I know that this whole chiropractor thing is necessary, but man am I sore.  Even though my hips/lower back were out of wack, they never actually hurt.  Now that they're being re-adjusted, they're freakin sore. 

I know that things will have to get (briefly) worse before they get better, but I don't have to be happy about it.

Anyway.  Posts without pictures are boring, so here's your daily dose of cuteness. 

Murph with his new favorite toy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Why on Earth have I never made soup before?  It's easy, inexpensive, and oh so tasty.

The best part is, you don't really need a recipe.  I just threw a bunch of stuff in a pot that seemed to go together, and called it a day.  This actually made a lot of soup.  I plan on freezing half to eat later.  George thinks there's too much stuff and not enough broth, so you might want to consider more chicken broth.  I like the "stuff" though, so I left it the way it was.

Italian Tortellini Soup

3, 48oz boxes cans of low sodium chicken broth
1lb carrots, peeled and sliced 
8oz celery
about 10oz fresh spinach
2, 15oz cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
20oz tri-color cheese tortellini
salt, pepper, Italian seasoning
grated parmesan reggiano cheese

- Add the chicken broth, carrots, celery, and spinach to a large stockpot and cook until veggies are tender.
- Add beans and tortellini.
- Once tortellini is cooked, season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste.

You can add the cheese (to taste) at this point, or you can add a heaping spoonful to each dish when served.  I like more cheese, so I tend to add more later on.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beyond excited

I am officially registered for TWO Warrior Dashes next year!

Bring it on.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Boo gimpy Katie

You know, I'm not sure why so many people (and GP doctors actually) look down on chiropractic.  The science is sound, and it just makes sense.  If you have neck pain a GP will give you drugs to treat the pain.  A chiropractor will adjust your neck and potentially eliminate the cause, and consequently the pain.  Why wouldn't you just fix the issues straight from the beginning?

I've been debating going for awhile.  I know that gimpy leg affects how I walk, and I can only imagine that it's having an affect on my spine.  I kept putting it off though, since I wasn't having any pain.

Well.  Funny story. George and I were at a home show and the local chiropractors had a booth.  Turns out my shoulders and hip are out of line, and I don't carry my weight evenly.  According to Dr. Alyssa, anything more than a 3lb difference in distribution is potentially problematic.  I had a twenty pound difference.  That was enough to make me schedule an appointment.

I'm really glad I did.  We took X-rays, and let me just say, it isn't pretty.  Dr A keeps asking me if I'm sure I didn't have some sort of trauma that would throw my spine out of whack.  For the record, no, I did not.

The ironic part is that while my back/hips aren't perfect, it's my neck that is the main issue.

It's supposed to look something like this:

My Xray was somewhere between the two stages of disalignment below-

The black line is where the bones are supposed to be, red it where they actually are.
 Instead of a forward curve, my neck is mostly straight, with the bottom two vertebrae having a slightly backward curvature.  Not so awesome.  Apparently I'm "far too young to have a curvature like that".  But you know, I've always been advanced for my age.

So now I get to go get adjusted multiple times a week for the foreseeable future.  Kind of a time and money suck, but I guess it's better to start fixing it now while we still can, right?  It's better than starting 15 years from now when I'm even more messed up.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Matt Nathanson & Sugarland Perform "Run" at 2011 CMAs

Love, love, love me some Matty Nay.

I've never gotten into Country music, but I may be willing to revise my stance and check out some more Sugarland.

What? A race?

Thats right! 

Watching George run the half marathon reminded me what I was missing.  I may have my moments where I hate running, but I love racing.  The crowd, the adrenaline, pushing myself to beat my previous times- its just such a great experience.

So I looked through my 5K training program, guessed where I was, and went for a run!  I'm happy to report that I haven't lost as much as I thought I did.  I think my problem was that I didn't have a set plan of action.  When  I run without a route/distance in mind I tend to quit once I get tired.  I can do so much better if I know I'm going to run X miles or take a specific path.

So now I'm on track to run the Santa Claus Shuffle on Dec 3!  Go ahead and laugh, but all the runners will be dressed as Santa.

With registration you get the suit, a long sleeve tech race T, a pint glass and two free beers at the local bars.  Not too bad for my first race back.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Manchester Half Marathon!

Are you ready for a gush-filled, picture heavy post?  Good.  Because George ran his first half marathon!!!

I'm so beyond proud of him.  He's only been running for about six and a half months, so this is an amazing accomplishment.  He started running with my 5K group, got the bug and just never stopped.  He worked his but off for this.  The training group (same trainers as the 5K one) met 3 times a week, often running long after it got dark.  They even ran through that freak snow storm we had a few weeks ago.

I honestly can't say how proud I am!

Ready for pictures?  Here we go!

Frost!  It was COLD!

Team photo

Obligatory "before" picture

Fueling up.  Pre-race Gu.

Starting line!
 I tried to get a shot of them actually starting, but there was just too many people.  After the start gun, I ran like hell to get across town to beat everyone to the 8mile point.  I figured they could use some cheerleading!

Looking good 8 miles in!

I waited until most of them has passed, then I ran back across town to catch everyone at the finishline.

Strong finish!

Finish line!  Note the Rocky victory dance.

It's kind of hard to see, but there he is crossing the finishline at 2:02:31 gun time.  Net time was 2:01:48!  My boyfriend is a freakin rockstar! 

"After" picture

I think it says a lot that he can run 13.1 miles with a smile on his face.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This.  I don't even need to add anything.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Day #30 Photography Challenge

Self Portrait

This might be my favorite picture of myself ever.  Yay Warrior Dash!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nerd Crush- Jim Cantore

I love this man.  Just look how excited het gets!

Day #29 Photography Challenge

Black and white.

I'm totally stealing Bebe's idea since I don't have any black and white photos.

He's black and white, and he's a cutie.  So I don't think you'll mind.

I'm a week late with this

But it's still funny.