Marvelous Meatloaf Muffins*

I feel like meatloaf gets a bad rap most of the time.

I like meatloaf. I do. Sometimes I even sing about it when I’m making it. I’d do just about anything for meatloaf…

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(but I won’t do that.)

I think when people think about meatloaf, it conjures up images from an outdated grandmother’s kitchen. I imagine that they envision their grandmother serving them this strange, log-shaped, tasteless, chewy meat thing that is covered in ketchup, of all things.

I remember eating meatloaf like that. I remember thinking, “when I grow up, I am never eating this log-meat again.”

Silly, silly me.

Meatloaf is glorious! It was one of those dishes that I needed to conquer and make my own, and once I found a few good recipes my opinion was changed forever.

I had the same experience with ham. Who on earth puts CLOVES in ham? I swore I would never eat it again. Until I did. And it was glorious! Remind me to share my recipe with you sometime.

ANYWAY.

I made meatloaf tonight. This is probably my most favourite meatloaf recipe as it has a bit of a twist and cooks in a third of the time regular meatloaf does. Also, it’s DELICIOUS, which is a major bonus. It’s very tender and falls apart in your mouth. No gross chewy texture, I promise!

Also, no ketchup. WIN.

It’s great for one of those “oh-crap-I-don’t-have-anything-planned-for-dinner-and-my-kids-are-hungry-RIGHT-NOW” days… which may or may not have been today. (oops.) Ruby loves it.

Recipe:

Meatloaf Muffins with Barbeque Sauce

Let there be meatloaf!

That is all.

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A December Update*

Has it really been a month since I lugged my desk up the basement stairs by myself and created my little kitchen nook so that I can write more often?

(I still LOVE my kitchen nook, in case you were wondering. It’s my fav.)

We’ve had a wonderful, busy month. Just after I last wrote I scrubbed my house from top to bottom to prepare for a visit with the Hubster’s mom! She flew in for a few days at the end of November and it was so lovely to have her here. We packed in as much as we possibly could during her time here, and we had so much fun. I have always wanted my kids to have strong bonds with their grandparents, so it warms my heart right through when I saw how much my sweet Ruby loves her grandma.

It just feels like we’ve had a lot on the go these past few weeks. We squeezed in quick visit with my family and a wonderful family lunch to celebrate what would have been my grandmother’s 99th birthday. She passed away in July, and I find myself missing her just a little more this time of year. We were able to get together with some extended family that I don’t see often, and it was so nice to get to know them a little better.

I also ran my fourth race! We ran a “Santa Shuffle” as a family, and I can honestly say it was my best race yet. For some reason the course ended up being only 4km instead of 5, but I felt so strong and had a good, consistent pace through out. I think my official time would have been below 35minutes if it had been a full course! This new coaching app I’m using has been amazing. I’m running better for longer distances and I feel SO GOOD. More on this soon.

And since then it’s been a whirlwind of baking and Christmas prep! I finally finished writing (and editing) our Christmas letter, and we spent a few nights getting them ready to be sent out. We mailed a few to our immediate families, and we tested out an e-version this year. I am personally such a fan of real mail–especially at Christmas–but now that stamps are $1 a piece, it was going to cost us almost $80 just to mail them… and it’s just a little more than I can part with right now! So hopefully it worked out okay, and maybe we can just rent out a carrier pigeon or something.

Other than that, it’s been an exciting few days around here. Ruby’s speech (and sense of humor) has progressed at a crazy pace. She speaks in full sentences and she understands SO much more than I sometimes think she does. She is obsessed with the dark and loves to play hide and seek with her Dad. (And yes. They are playing right now.)

For two months Hank the Tank has been doing this army-type crawl that looks like he is crawling through a war trench, but in the last few days he finally figured out the “real” way and is really starting to move around. He is also climbing and trying SO hard to climb the stairs. I don’t think it will be long before my “small” boy will be standing on his own!

It’s been a busy, wonderful few weeks, and my only lament is that I’m struggling to find time to run on a regular. The days are so short right now, and it’s hard to get out while it’s still light out. I know it’s temporary, but I really miss it. I can’t wait until the days are a little longer and a little less busy.

Well, I’m off to rest for a bit… I’ve had a mild case of mastitis through the weekend and I’m a bit wiped. I’m very thankful it wasn’t as bad as last time, but I have decided it’s time to wean the Tank, come hell or high water. Wish me luck!

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That Time I Carried a Desk Up a Flight of Stairs by Myself*

I AM SO EXCITED.

I have long been lamenting the fact that I don’t have a proper space to sit down and write. I have a laptop, so technically I can write anywhere, but I have really missed having a desk.

Three years ago I sold my big desk from my student days to make room for Ruby’s nursery. I didn’t mind as I certainly didn’t need such a big desk anymore, and I downsized to a smaller table-style desk once I started teaching again. It was in my living room, but as we then needed the extra space for Ruby’s play corner and I was trying to do most of my marking at work, my desk was banished to the basement.

It’s been sitting there, sad and lonely, ever since.

I’ve never been a big fan of sitting on the couch with my laptop, so lately days will go by before I even turn it on… which does very little to help my desire to write.

So, today I did something about it. As I stood in my kitchen pondering where on earth I could find space for my desk, a light turned on: my kitchen! Why had I never thought of this before?! I use my computer to find and make recipes ALL THE TIME, and I am constantly shuffling it between the living room, my counters, or the kitchen table. I have always been jealous of people who have a little computer nook in the kitchen, so I decided to make my own. I spent about an hour rearranging my pantry, microwave stand, table and high chair to try and find a combination that would create enough space for my desk… and after a few tries I was pretty sure I had it.

I spent about a minute reflecting on the fact that I should probably wait for the Hubster to help me haul the desk up a flight of stairs, but that idea quickly flew out the window.

Note to future self: it is almost always easier to move furniture up stairs where there are two people involved.

I began to inch the desk up the basement stairs one step at a time. I was several steps up when I definitely decided that it was probably a terrible idea for me to be moving this desk up a flight of stairs alone.

Then I realized that I was stuck behind the desk. As I precariously balanced the desk on a step, I contemplated how bad it might be if I missed my footing and the desk (and I) fell back down the stairs. So, seeing that my options were rather limited, I decided there was only one choice. Press on!

(My choice may also have been affected by the fact that Hank was sitting in the living room and was starting to fuss for me. Oops.)

I inched the desk up the stairs and around the corner through the door (that part was fun) and lived to tell the tale! And now here I am at my little kitchen nook. I’m still playing around with things a little so it’s not “picture ready” yet, but I am SO happy. I made a new recipe for dinner and I didn’t have to share counter space with my laptop, and here I am, writing at a desk again! Huzzah!

My heart is so happy. It’s the little things, lovelies.

Life is good.

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Eating, Hallowe’ening & a Jerk on a Bench*

Oh, hi November.

I can’t quite believe that it’s actually NOVEMBER, but here we are–the month before Christmas. Or, the month before the Christmas month.

Or something.

I feel like a lot has happened in the last few days. Hank is still not sleeping terribly well, but I feel like things are getting a bit better. He was waking almost every hour, but his stretches are beginning to lengthen out a little more, and I’m actually making it into my own bed… at least for part of the night. Progress!

I’ve also had some success getting him to eat in the last two days. I’ve been giving the baby led weaning thing a go over the last two weeks, and he seems to really enjoy feeding himself. He hasn’t actually been ingesting much, but it’s a huge leap forward from his refusing to let anything near his mouth. It had been a few weeks since I tried feeding him anything from a spoon, so on a whim last night I gave it a go… and he ate a third of a jar of baby food. I thought it may have been a fluke, so I tried it again tonight… and he ate again. It’s a Christmas miracle! I am SO hoping that we are on the road to solids. My big boy has been nursing exclusively until now, and mama is ready for a break. :)

This was technically Ruby’s third Hallowe’en, but it was the first year that we took her out trick or treating. She was the cutest little lamb that there ever was, and she loved ringing doorbells and calling out “Trick or Treat!” at every house.

I ran my third race with my brother and a friend, and while I didn’t quite get the time that I wanted, it was still my best official race time yet. Also, Doodle ran the 10km race and came 8th (!!) overall. He is unreal… so proud of him!

I really struggled with my running throughout most of October. I feel like I lost my guiding hand when I finished my c25k program, and I wasn’t progressing the way I felt I should be. The lack of sleep I’ve had, combined with some hip / pelvic issues I’m still working on from my labor with Hank has really pushed my motivation to an all-time low since I started running.

In a word, I’ve felt really discouraged… and this really bothered me as I have come to love running. I really look forward to it every day.

Last week was probably my worst week, and I realized that if I wanted things to change, then I needed to change them. I found a free little coaching app, and I decided to give it a go today. I punched in my long-term goals, and it set a very easy, slow pace for me to run. As you run it kicks in and tells you to slow down or speed up if you move outside the pace it has set for you. I almost shut it off after I started because it felt SO slow, but as the kilometers stretched out one after the other, I realized that I was running easily, breathing freely and I had no hip discomfort. It was the first run in a long time that just felt so… good. I easily ran four kilometers and I only stopped because my “session” for today ended.

I so needed that today. And thank goodness it was such a lovely run, as it was interrupted by a not-so-lovely experience.

I run several different routes through my neighborhood, and people often wave or call out a greeting as I run past. As I was coming off a pathway today, I noticed a man sitting on a bench nearby. I could see that he was trying to speak to me, so I pulled my headphone off as I ran past. He smiled and called out, “Well, someone is getting a work out, eh?” I laughed a little, nodded and moved to put my music back on. Just as I was about to put my headphone back in my ear, I heard him sneer:

Looks like you still need to work out a bit more!

He continued trying to yell something else after I had my music back on, and it took me a minute to really understand what he was saying to me.

A few weeks ago, this would have really bothered me. Here was this man I didn’t know, blatantly yelling in public that I’m fat as I’m trying to run. But guess what? I already know that I’m a little overweight and that my body isn’t perfect. I know I’m not the fastest runner out there, and I may look silly to someone more experienced.

But I also know that the road to getting myself healthy again is a marathon, not a sprint. Just two months ago I was in a very different place, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.

And hey–he was the one with his bum glued to a bench, not me. So that’s something. :)

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Running Goals – Phase Two*

I’ve been trying to sit down and write all week, but the last few days have been a bit of a blur. And when I say blur, I really mean blurry eyes because Hank the Tank is still teething and has been waking up almost every hour at night. He is still such a cuddly sweetheart when he does wake up, but I’m pretty sure that I haven’t had more than two consecutive hours of sleep in the last two weeks.

So, when I “wake up” (I use that term loosely because to me it implies that sleep has happened) in the morning, it usually takes me an hour or two to shake off the “if-I-don’t-get-more-sleep-I-may-break-down-and-ugly-cry” feeling, and then my second (or seventh) wind kicks in and I’m okay for the rest of the day.

But the rest of my days have been filled with a revitalized effort to potty-train Ruby, as we are still fighting that war. We’ve had some small successes, but we’re not where I hoped we’d be. Today we inched closer to that dream, so I’m hoping to keep that momentum going. Pray for me. haha

I’m still trying to get out and run when I can, though the last two weeks have been really difficult. After I finally achieved my last running goal, it was like something inside me switched off and my motivation waned. The lack of sleep, incessant rainy weather and mismatched schedules with the Hubster made it really difficult to get out. When I did run, I didn’t have the same drive and my whole body just felt so sluggish.

When the times between my runs stretched 3 – 4 days, it scared me how easy it was to not go. I’m terrified I’m going to get lazy and break this new habit I’ve started, so I recommitted myself this week and set some new goals. I went out running yesterday and again today, and already I can feel the spark back. It makes SUCH a difference to have something that you are working towards–when I feel myself getting tired, they help give me that little push to keep going a little further.

Here are the new goals I laid out earlier this week:

Running Goals – Phase Two*

  • 10 run streak under 35 min {Current streak: 1}
  • 5km in 32.5 minutes
  • 2km avg pace 6:30 {COMPLETE – October 21}
  • 5km avg pace 6:45
  • 1km in 6:10
  • 5km in 30 minutes

I ran my butt off and achieved one of my goals on my run yesterday, and it was a great kick start to phase two. When I first started, it took me roughly 40 minutes to run my 5k route. I’ve since been able to shave about 5 minutes off that time, and my dream goal right now is to be able to run 5km in under 30 minutes. I’m still a ways away, but hopefully these goals will help me inch a little closer. I’m running my third race on Saturday, and I’m hoping these goals will help me push a little harder.

Anyway, both of the kids are asleep and I can’t remember why I’m still awake… so… bed time.

Sweet dreams!

(Fingers crossed that I’ll get to sleep long enough to dream… ha)

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