Ok…. what is it with me and candy in the house? You would think it would not be an issue. I am a grown woman. I should be able to have better control.
I recently bought some chocolate covered almonds for Al (DON’T LAUGH! They really were for him!). Al doesn’t ask for much and I wanted to treat him since he is working so hard with our business putting in long hours and our time together this time of year is short….
ANYWAY – I bought the good stuff…. the kind you scoop yourselves, put them in a pretty jar and he enjoyed them while we played cribbage one evening. However Al – can eat a few and be satisfied.
So last night I am up WAY TOO LONG reading after midnight when I should have just went to bed…. I looked over at the jar and swear they were chanting my name. (Yes, in little almond voices I hear, “Sheila! Sheila!”…)
I decided to have a few, I mean after all, almonds are good for you right? I think I read somewhere that chocolate is too…. next thing I know… I have eaten most of them and the ones remaining I am trying to reposition in the jar so it doesn’t look like I just had my own personal almond fest.
I am pretty sure they started it.
The Tour of Lakes bike event took place yesterday morning – Key and I started at 6 am, meeting in the Forestview parking lot at a brisk 39 degrees (it is June right????)
There were many riders there dressed in different types of layered outerwear, from rain gear to sweat shirts, winter caps, face masks, gloves – and even some so brave they tackled this event in shorts. BRRRRRRR!!!!!!
This was Key’s first bike tour event and I was thrilled to do this with her…. our goal was to do the 70 miles, the longer of the two routes, the shorter being 35 miles.
The route was awesome! We enjoyed the roads that had been selected for this tour, a lot of scenery and little traffic. At our first stop off of Lower Sullivan Road had great eats like the breakfast burrito, fresh fruit and plenty of it, as well as granola and candy bars you can could grab for the continued ride. The volunteers running the stops were friendly and fun to talk with.
Back on the trail we continued through some “a little too cool” wind, around hwy 210 to around the Legacy golf course and back on great little roads with beautiful homes on the lake. Key, who enjoys motorcycling made a note that she had to ride this area again as the roads were good and the scenery beautiful.
Our second stop was off of the Gull Dam Road and there we had a chance to walk a bit and warm our hands and feet. They had cookies and fruit to enjoy. A fellow “Tour of Laker” took a couple pictures of Key and I. At this point we were right around 20 miles into the ride.
We hit the road again and found our way into Baxter off of Olivewood Drive (having no idea how the roads that we were on connected to this area – but we were pleasantly surprised!). We traveled down by Whipple Beach and encountered a near miss for a car that was almost hit by a man taking down trees at his home and one went right across the road. We were far enough away to be out of the danger area but it was still a bit freaky. From here we went all the way down Clearwater road, up Inglewood and over to Cherrywood where we stopped in the driveway of a home that was purchased by Brett and Kate Richmond and had a picture taken just for them.
As we neared the end of the 35 miles we had made the decision, along with many of the other bikers we had chatted with, that the 35 was going to be our destination for this tour. The clouds held back the rain but looked as though they were going to burst forth any minute. While I was bummed that we didn’t complete the goal I had set…. I agreed the wind was a little cold to do the second part of the tour – even Key, being such a trooper said she would go as far as I wanted to.
We finished well…. grabbed out 20 year anniversary cups and headed to Coco Moon for a hot cup of coffee and conversation in a warm environment!
Kudos to all those involved in making yet another Tour of Lakes event a success. I imagine it takes many hands to pull this off each year and pull it off as smoothly as it always is. Thank you.
Paul Bunyan Cyclists (who I plan to be joining soon!)
I had made a decision to get a tattoo my 40th year on this earth. My girlfriends pitched in… and two years after the commitment… today I complete it.
The girls (or accomplices…) helped me with a date and a place and we all went together. The together part was really fun, Heidi, Cindy, and Sara helped me a lot. I had the basic idea of what I wanted, yet wanted to be open to suggestions too. I wanted whatever I did to mean something personal to me and not be a cookie cutter copy of what everybody else does.
In the end… I think we did great! I did not go in thinking I would be doing a rose, but as the idea came full circle – a rose was perfect… I wanted it to be feminine, but not overly. I wanted it to represent a bit of who I was and why… and I think that was covered well too.
All said and done – I am really pleased with the final product.
Cross that one off the Bucket List! Thanks friends – I felt like Vorizon wireless today with all of you supporting me on this.
First bike event of the year and man, I was so ready for it! The Ironman brought in over 4,000 riders! I had never done a 65 before and with the assistance of my cousin and the loan of his wives road bike (while I was still waiting to find one I liked) I was counting down the days….
My friend Cindy and I arrived In Lakeville on Saturday evening along with Tim and Kari Lake, also from Brainerd. Tim was also doing the bike event.
The morning of the event we were on the go by 6:45 a.m. – ready to roll… literally. It was a cool morning of 40 degrees and predicted thunderstorms awaited us as we took off. The first 23 miles was rain free and a pretty sweet ride. The area of Lakeville is quite beautiful to ride through; with rolling hills, properties and homes of all sizes and shapes… I enjoyed just taking it all in and was thankful for such a great opportunity to be part of this event.
At the 23 mile mark in Jordan Minnesota we had our first stop. Riders were treated to fresh fruit such as oranges and bananas, Cliff bars and energy packets, Snickers bars, M & M’s, hot tamales, and trail mix, granola bars, as well as hot coffee and water.
Once back on the road, the rain started. It came down heavy with thunder and lightening. For a time, the rain felt like needles as it hit my face. I started to sense my right shoe filling with water and found it odd that just the one shoe was doing this. No worries – the left shoe soon followed. Riding onward with my head down for this stretch (which turned out to be 22 miles) I started to think about all the things I was grateful for on this ride.
1. The extra pair of winter gloves that I had brought along to cover up my biking gloves.
2. The winter stocking cap that Justin had left in the Durango that at the last minute I grabbed and put on my head under my bike helmet.
3. The loan of Farrah’s bike which really handled all the hills well and made me really anticipate purchasing my own road bike (which with the help of the knowledge of Jarrod and Farrah, we found in St Cloud at Erik’s Bike Shop on Monday!)
At this phase in the ride – I started to hum the tune “these are a few of my favorite things”… that list included: hot chocolate, warm blankets, curling up by a fireplace with a good book, pretty much anything that had to do with warmth.
With my head down out of the wind and rain I had a good eye view of the road and watched as I passed things that riders were losing to the road…. I seen several bike gloves, a hat… and an unopened full size Snickers bar. For a few delirious moments I considered stopping to get the candy bar. This quickly led to me thinking that I did not have the energy in my now frozen hands to open the candy bar let alone pick it up. Perhaps, I could just rip it open with my teeth and eat it off the ground or just lick the chocolate off it…. yeah… I think my brain was freezing too…
We road through New Prague which was kind of a neat little town and it was fun to ride right through the middle of it. For someone like me who has never been in this area of Minnesota before I really enjoyed seeing the different towns.
After a very cold and wet stint at mile 45, we stopped in Lonsdale. All 4 layers that I was wearing were soaked through. I carefully removed my hands that were now frozen in a grip shape from the bike. Once inside, I tried to take my gloves off with me teeth with no luck. I could not use my hands to grip anything and 2 women helped me get my gloves off. This stop offered delicious hot pasta, however I could not hang on to the fork or stop shaking so eating it took a little time and a lot of energy.
At this point, as I looked around at a room full of people covered in blankets and paramedics were on hand to watch for hypothermia… I made the decision that this was the end of the road for me for the 2009 Ironman. As much as I wanted to finish what I had come to do… I knew it was not worth the cold, rain, and wind, that awaited the last 20 miles. Tim joked that we had completed the “Aluminum Man” instead of the Ironman…. and those who dropped off after the first 23 miles had completed the “Plastic Man”. Kari came and picked us up at this point as the sag buses were full of people who also were stopping at this point.
I was able to capture just a few pictures. I would have taken more but by mile 45 my camera must have became damp because it refused to take any more pictures. I would have really liked to have captured how cold everyone was at that 45 mile stop. (Later at home when my camera dried out – it worked fine).
So overall experience – I may be crazy – but I really enjoyed it. The area was great, the roads were good and there was plenty to look at as you rode – even if your eyes were on the ground for part of it! I am already marking it down for next year.
Comments from the Ironman website:
For those of you that joined us – a hearty congratulations and an even heartier THANK YOU for braving the elements and making the 2009 Ironman another successful event. We had over 4000 riders on the road. There were no serious accidents (perhaps a few cases of hypothermia). Despite the weather, riders were upbeat and up for the challenge. To all of you who rode: you earned your bragging rights for the year, whether or not you finished your chosen route. Young and old, 100 milers, 65 milers and 30 milers—we congratulate all of you.
Monday up at 6 am – shower and go to gym – Group Power at 8:15 am – biked 32 miles on bike trail (Nisswa and back) -update my schedule book -work in Church office early afternoon to get things prepped for Tuesday – find a book waiting for me in my to do box (Thanks Mark!) - clean up church office and make sure Grace video is ready to go – run errands for Al and work in home office – late afternoon grab lunch – prep for Grace Class – sweep all floors in house -clean our bathroom – 6:00 pm teach Grace Class until 8:30 pm – home to watch a little tv with Al before he goes to bed -time to wind down with computer and a little Gilmore Girls , up until 11:30 pm – Tuesday up at 6:30 am – in office by 8 and prep for Staff Meeting – be in staff meeting until 11:30 am - work in office and meet with Mark at 1 pm – leave office at 3 pm – take a 10 mile bike ride on trail – check in with Brad to see how things are going – stop at grocery store for a few supplies - Fold up the laundry and put away – start new load of laundry -home at 4:30 to prep supper for Al and talk to Al - 6:30 Book Club at Matty’s – home at 8:30 pm – send out book club email of book for May and where we will meet – Clean up kitchen - stay up to late reading friends blog posts and catching up on their lives- get to bed at midnight – Wednesday up at 7 am (LATE!) – prep a lunch for the office and get in around 8:30 am – get the phone call that our book selection is only available in hard cover (we avoid hard covers due to pricing)- Call the “Queen of Bookies” (yes, we have one and she’s wonderful!) and ask her what she wants to do about the book – send out a new email with the new book selection info – make arrangements to be in home office most of Thursday to help with new hire set up -work until 2 pm – stop in and see Wendy Lane (who is doing well!) and tan at her place - 3 pm – hit the gym and take the 4:15 Group Power Class even though I dont want to - run home at 5:30 and grab my study book and a quick bite to eat – walk into my bike rack on the back of the Durango and almost give myself a black eye – cuss out the bike rack and remove it from the Durango because apparently it is dangerous to even those of us who know it is there -make Al dinner and go to the Soup Kitchen to help out with serving but find I missed it, our small group has already completed it - small window of time to refresh for the study – 7 pm is small group study – stop at grocery store after group (9 pm) for cottage cheese and apples – home by 9:30 – wind down with computer and a little reading and cocoa with coffee in it- make a conscious effort to be in bed by 11 pm and actually do it – Thursday – up at 6 and see that no one is planning to go to coffee group so I dont either – read devotion while I am getting ready for day – prep to go weigh in and happy with the result - home at 9 am and have breakfast and check emails – toaster literally catches fire when I make my fat free crumpet (couldn’t believe it) - take toaster to dumpster and make note to pick up a new one -make a plan with Justin to watch Slumdog Millionairre when he gets home from work – chat with my cousin on Facebook – answer emails -work in office prepping for new hire and checking employee files for start up of season – listen to Pandora Radio and wonder where they come up with some of these songs they think I will like - Give a job reference to a friend – Make a plan to visit the Grand Parents on Saturday hopefully – invite Deb to the Dance fundraiser at Renada’s next Friday – clean the office – confirm a hotel for next weekends bike event -late afternoon grab lunch and make a plan to read a little bit as time has been short lately and I have three book reviews due by the first week of May for a company – talk to new employee starting tomorrow -throw in a load of laundry – 3:30 hit the gym thanks to a little prodding by my friend Heidi who guessed I was home and into the mint chocolate chip ice cream (how does she know these things?) - home at 4:45 to wind down and clean up – 6:30 Karen’s Spa party at her home so off and running - home by 9:30 to watch Survivor with Al, but realize it is too late so it will wait until Friday - plan for movie yet tonight with Justin – Friday -up way early to do the 5:45 am Group Power Class -as Al and I have a radio conference at 8:30 to 9 am for 3wi radio – bike a little afterward to relax – run errands for Al and pick up a few office needs – work in office in afternoon - later afternoon lunch and plan something good for dinner – hoping to have a little reading time – jewelry party at Paula’s at 6:30 pm (actually cancel this because I am too much on overdrive to even think straight – so tired out!) – where does the week go? – Stay home with Al and actually relax a bit – Saturday early morning workout at gym and possibly belly dancing class - decided it was too cool to bike and had house projects to work on anyway – cleaned bathrooms, dishwasher, vacced and shamppoed carpets – dinner with Al at Buffalo Wild Wings to support the Feed the Children efforts – possibly a move (Fast and Furious) still on my list to see – home to relax with my hubby after a long week – Sunday - up early helping at church with the pledge cards - at church at 8 am and probably staying for all 3 services to help out – afternoon hang with Chance a bit – maybe the bike trail or wii challenges – make a nice dinner for Al and I and enjoy our evening together catching up and watching Amazing Race together
(I just wanted to see what a week looked like…)
This is going to be pretty random.
I woke up an hour ago and the plan was to head out to the gym and do a bit of cardio this morning. I guess I should say the plan IS. The fact that I have so far wondered the house in my p.j.’s, sorted through a pile of clothes that I am going to donate, made a pot of coffee, sat down and caught up on Facebook and on friends blogs – that’s irrelevant.
I am still going…. I just seem to be in a bit of a fizzle here and having a hard time moving in the direction I should be. I think I will blame it on last nights trip to China Garden…. MSG hangover? Or it could be the Breyers ice cream I had last night before bed. My latest discovery in guiltless snacking, the Double Churn Chocolate Brownie is fat free, 4 grams of fiber, and 12 sugars. And yes I said Double Churn, not Double Chin. Not bad…. but you probably shouldn’t sit down and eat it right out of the container either….
While relaxing in my house over a great read today sounds appealing, I know once I get moving I will kick into gear and actually accomplish not only a workout, but a day of tasks that I will be thankful they are completed. From the above food confession, I really do need to move today.
I took a day off today. I am fried…. deep fried in fact. As of yesterday afternoon I was so tired I couldnt tell if I was just that tired or if I was coming down with something. After sleeping off and on for the past 18 hours I still am unsure but believing I just am tired.
I hit the ground running since our return from Honduras on Sunday morning… I felt good, so I kept on pushing, 3 hours of sleep Sunday, Monday worked a full day, cleaned house, worked out for two hours and stayed up until after midnight answering emails and playing a bit on Facebook…. Tuesday woke up at 6 am and went into the office early to work and from there…. I just drifted downhill in a spiral crash like way.
So here I am….. blogging from my bedroom…. I have postponed all commitments that I should be racing off to do – and with more than a little dose of guilt, I am still in bed in my p.j.’s with a cup of coffee and an uneaten apple.
I have drifted in and out today and now have just finished blogging in my book blog the books I have read while I was away… here are those links:
Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah… Our book club read for March. I started and finished it in Honduras.
For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn …. I have been reading this book slowly for the past month. I loved it and will read it again and use it for reference.
In Search of Eden by Linda Nichols … A great book loaned to me by a friend…. the book itself had a tragedy but the story was great!
Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli … Bought for me by Justin for my birthday, this book was filled with interesting facts and stories of the Harry Potter years.
So yeah…. thats what I have done with my morning. This is wierd becuase I dont do this… I never call in. I am so glad I did though and I am hopeful and pretty sure that this will pass from me as I just let go and breathe. Think I’ll sleep some more….
I am so looking forward to spring 2009 and beyond! I have some new biking goals and if anyone out there is game to join me – let me know. here is the tentative plan:
The Ironman: (April 26, 2009 in Lakeville, MN.): The Minnesota Ironman Bicycle® Ride, now in its 43rd year, is the longest running century bike ride in Minnesota. With routes of 100, 65 and 30 miles, this single day bike tour has something for every cyclist. Held every year on the last Sunday in April in Lakeville MN, the Minnesota Ironman is the start of the cycling season in the upper midwest.
Tour of Lakes: (Saturday June 6) The Tour of Lakes Bicycle Ride is a one day recreational ride for cyclists of all abilities. It is not a race. Experience the beautiful Brainerd Lakes area as you ride past lakes and forests on low traffic rolling to flat terrain. An occasional hill can be found as well. Our tour promises an abundance of beautiful scenery, fresh air, terrific rest stops and a different route each year.
The ride is held rain or shine. You can choose the short route or challenge yourself with the long route.
The Tour of Lakes Bicycle Ride is a non-profit event hosted by the Paul Bunyan Cyclists Bicycle Club. Any surplus revenues are used to promote safe cycling in our community.
Tour of Saints ( Sunday, July 12): Each summer from 200 cities across Minnesota,cyclists gather in St. Joseph to pedal quiet byways, sweat over challenging hills, relish the summer-rich morningand savor fresh treats along the way. The tour starts and ends at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota. The course traces 35 undulating miles of scenic byways, with a 50-mile option you can choose along the way. Riders enjoy rest stops with food and drink spaced along the scenic course.
Minnesota Aids Trek: (September 12 and 13th) A 1 or 2 day 100% volunteer supported, bicycle trek benefiting people affected by HIV / AIDS, and vaccine research.
We’ll start out bright and early on the morning of Saturday September 12, 2009, from a location to be announced. Gear transported by trucks. Snacks and fluids are provided at pit stops, approximately 15 miles apart. Lunch provided at the third pit stop.
Dinner and overnight camping at the Grand Casino Hinckley Campgrounds; see below for information about hotel alternatives. We are working on arrangements for a limited number of resort chalets at Grand Casino Hinckley.
Sunday September 13, 2009 we leave Hinckley for Duluth. Pit stops and lunch provided, also celebratory dinner at Duluth. Motorcoach transportation leaving Duluth for the Twin Cities at about 5:30 p.m. Bikes and gear transported back to the Twin Cities.
This is the plan as of this date. Contact me if you want to do any of these of more details. I would love to be able to get a few people to do this with.
You have probably heard of it…a friend gives you a ziploc bag with this liquidy batter in it and a copy of instructions. You have just been given friendship bread. The truth is, it is a really sweet tradition. A friend gives you the bread mix and you are all happy because they thought of you. You now have instructions to squish the bag around for the next 5 days, and then on the sixth day you add a few ingredients, then put back on your counter and squish for the next day or two.
For me… it falls apart pretty much from the offer of the bread. As of this date I have never brought a Friendship Bread to completion… IE. baked bread.
It’s not that I dont want too… I love that it is given to me… and I am right on it the first few squish days… but at some point I forget to squish… or miss the day to add in the new ingredients… and then I dont know if you can continue on… or if now you are making something deadly and lethal and would not be considered friendship bread at all if I passed it out to unsuspecting friends to bake, eat, and pass on. Kind of like a plague…
My friend Paula gave me a friendship bread bag last Sunday. And as of this date I have done my squishing as instructed, and am a little excited as tomorrow is the add in day and I am so far remembering that I need to do that.
Maybe – just maybe, this time will break the curse.
Amish Friendship Bread Recipe
Day 1 – receive the starter (the recipe for the starter is below)
Day 2 – stir
Day 3 – stir
Day 4 – stir
Day 5 – Add 1 cup each flour, sugar and milk.
Day 6 – stir
Day 7 – stir
Day 8 – stir
Day 9 – stir
Day 10 – Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Divide into 4 containers, with 1 cup each for three of your friends and 1 cup for your own loaves. Give friends the instructions for Day 1 through Day 10 and the following recipe for baking the bread.
After removing the 3 cups of batter, combine the remaining cup of Amish Friendship Bread starter with the following ingredients in a large bowl:
2/3 cup oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Using a fork beat by hand until well blended. You can add 1 cup raisins and 1 cup nuts (optional).
Grease two loaf pans with butter, sprinkle with sugar instead of flour.
Bake at 325 for 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pans. Makes two loaves of Amish Friendship Bread.
Amish Friendship Bread Starter
This is the Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe that you’ll need to make the Amish Friendship Bread (above). It is very important to use plastic or wooden utensils and plastic or glass containers when making this. Do not use metal at all!
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk (110°F)
1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir well.
2. In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup sifted flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will get lumpy when you add the milk.
3. Slowly stir in warm milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Loosely cover the mixture with a lid or plastic wrap. The mixture will get bubbly. Consider this Day 1 of the cycle, or the day you receive the starter.
For the next 10 days handle starter according to the instructions above for Amish Friendship Bread.
I have been so busy lately I have hardly had time to reflect on 2008. Today, as I finish up a bit of paperwork and am heading home – I decided to breathe in what was 2008… and then exhale it into the wind…letting go.
So what was 2008?
It was the year of going back to the Mansions in Little Falls and celebrating in January with my friends and great pictures…
It was amazingly new as Justin said “yes” to Honduras and changed his world forever!
It was Choltecha, and Las Vegas, it was crazy times of feeling GOD bigger in my life than ever before….
It was the year of the second blog (Journey through Books) and then a third (DeChantal at the Movies)….
It was the miracle of Feed the Children event in an April snowstorm where hundreds of people in the community showed up to bag food…
It was weekends at the cabin… 4 wheeling with friends, hanging with girlfriends…
It was the year of Brad’s Honda, and Justin’s graduation….
It was Mink Lake Camp in June… and Jarrod and Farrah’s wedding…
It was completing the Tour of Saints 50 mile bike tour in July…
It was the year of the four wheel event with Kinship and Chance…
It was the second Queen selection for book club in Prom dresses in Kiwanis Park and laughter until we cried!
It was they year I kayaked with the staff…
It was the 4th Missions Banquet where we sold more tickets and brought in another year of record money to support missions!
It was saying “no” to things I knew I had to let go of… and learning every day that it is ok to say “no,”.
It was a year of great books like Three Cups of Tea and Safely Home by Randy Alcorn…. the 7th year for Bookies!
It was the year of Justin moving out… and Justin moving in…. the year of Brad moving out to Adam’s…
It was the year that Jorge came to Brainerd…. (Holy smokes… still blows me away!)
It was the year the Robin sat on my foot…
It was the year I took back a piece of me I had lost and put myself back on track with fitness and better decisions (and now 25 pounds lighter!)…
It was a year of laughter.. and a year of tears. It was a year of rejoicing a new birth… and mourning the loss of a neighbor, and a friend.
It was the year the desire came back in me write my book…
It was a year of learning lessons from grandparents and soaking in sweet words that I will carry in my heart forever…
It was a year of taking in great wisdom from someone who has cancer, and learning how to be brave in the face of certain death and embracing God through it all.
It was a year for me of learning a bit more what is truly - TRULY important and what needs to be let go of.
I box it all up and tie it with a bright red bow. 2008 goes into the memory vault. A shiny new empty box is presented to fill for 2009.
I want to end with this visual I picked up out of a book I read this past year called Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. She is describing a New Year’s Eve experience in India as she stands out side with a large group of people singing…
As the minutes pass, it feels to me like we are collectively pulling the year toward us. Like we have roped it with our music, and now we are hauling it across the night sky like it’s a massive fishing net, brimming with all our unknown destinies. And what a heavy net it is, indeed, carrying as it does all the births, deaths, tragedies, wars, love stories, inventions, transformations and calamities that are destined for all of us this year. We keep singing and we keep hauling, hand-over-hand, minute-by-minute, voice after voice, closer and closer. The seconds drop down to midnight and we sing with our biggest effort yet and in this last brave exertion we finally pull the net of the New Year over us, covering both the sky and ourselves with it. God only knows what the year might contain, but now it is here, and we are all beneath it.
Wow… Happy New Year to all! May 2009 be a year to reflect on – to capture moments in journals, in blogs, in our hearts and know above all else – that God is so good.