Tuesday, April 5, 2011

4:30 am kicks my butt!

The Herriman Rec Center has finally opened. Hurray! It's about a mile and a quarter from our house and I have been anxiously awaiting a membership. Matt signed us up right away and then managed to talk me into getting to the gym when it opens at 5am. In order to actually do this and make it a habit, we decided every day is necessary. 4:30...am? Seriously? I said yes to what? For those of you who don't know me well, I'm a night owl. I love to burn my candle at the end of the day, during the hours when the children are asleep. Oh, sleep is so precious.

Once upon a time I used to run on a regular basis. In fact, when Elijah was an infant, he would wake up about 4:15 am to nurse. After I fed and changed him, I'd hit the road with Verlene to run every morning. Then of course I'd go home and take a nap! This past year and three months Matt and I have been getting up at 6am to cook breakfast for the kids every weekday and I felt like that was uber early. Now 6am feels like sleeping in!

It's been about a year and a half since Matt and I were going to the gym down in South Jordan. Needless to say, I'm SO out of shape. Eat right and exercise is the name of the game. We downloaded a "Couch to 5K" program onto our ipods to help us build up some running stamina. It's pretty cool. I turn on the music on my ipod, then start the App and the guy tells me to walk and run. There's a five minute warm up, then I run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds for the next 20 minutes, finally a 5 minute cool down. I'm so excited to be running again...one minute at a time! LOL! During the last two running sessions I'm basically draggin' my wagon around the track, but I'm feeling SO much better!

I'm ready to start week 2 on the Couch to 5K program. That means I'll be running for 90 seconds and then walking for 2 minutes. Woohoo! I know it's pathetic, but, at least I'm finally working on getting my butt into a nicer shape. Hopefully my belly will lose it's shape all together. In the meantime, I'm no longer a night owl. 9:30 pm rolls around and I am beat. Anything left will just have to wait for tomorrow morning. 4:30 am comes awfully fast.

Cinnamon bears? YUCK!

With six of us in the house (I really should count Nanna, our gargantuan dog, in that head count since she gets into anything she pleases), it is hard to keep treats around the house. They get devoured pretty quickly. I won a gift basket for Valentine's Day that included a small bag of cinnamon gummy bears. I was trying to cut back on sugar and my kids don't care for them, so I shared them with my Sunday School class. Sara broke down and ate one to discover that she really likes them! After church she claimed the rest of the bag and finished them off.

Sara and I soon realized that it was rather exciting to have found a treat that the boys in the house despise. They turn up their noses and run, while Sara and I enjoy a few now and then. Not that I buy them very often, but I do like to spoil my only girl with treats once in awhile. We tried a cheap brand to discover they weren't all that great. I'd left them in the car, in a drawer where I typically keep granola bars for emergency sustenance. Zack discovered them after church last month and decided to try one since he was so hungry and there were no "good" granola bars. He went for another, and yet another. I was shocked. I put my hand to his forehead and asked if we should head to the ER to see what could possibly be wrong to make him like cinnamon bears! (I enjoy teasing my kids now and then.)

We have found that buying cinnamon bears in most of the grocery stores costs too much. Harmons charges about $8 a lb. That's crazy! I did find a small bag of cinnamon bunnies in the Easter candy section at Walmart for a couple bucks, but Sara wasn't as keen on them. So tonight, I dropped my teenagers off at the library and took the little boys to Peterson's to buy some meats on sale. Elijah and Joshua wanted to spend part of their allowance on a treat. While they were deciding, I figured I'd check to see if they had any cinnamon bears. I found a 5 lb. bag for $8. AND, it's the brand we like, SWEET, no really, that's the name of the brand. Anyway, 5 lbs! Luckily this is not like chocolate where anybody wants to binge, it'll actually last us a good long time. Only three of us will be slowly working through that great big package. Cinnamon bears, YUM!

Project Popcorn

We had JUST finished Zack's science fair project, when Elijah brought home the paperwork for his first science fair project. UGH. Ok, let me clarify. I didn't help with Zack's project, just constant prodding for nearly two months. And the JUST part was actually something like Friday to Monday. Zack turned his in on a Friday, Elijah brought home the paperwork for his on Monday. You've got to be kidding me! The good news is that Elijah's teacher gave us a list of ideas for age appropriate projects. Hallelujah! At least I was thrilled until Elijah started reading them to me...ALL FOUR PAGES. Holy Cow! We ruled out anything that had to do with plants or bugs. I don't have a green thumb, and we already have enough critters around here. We put a star next to anything that sounded remotely fun.

There were several popcorn ideas. Elijah decided on the one testing different brands of kernels to see which brand pops the best. With Matt's influence, we also decided to do this on the stove, the old fashioned way. YUM! We bought four types of popcorn: Orville Redenbacher's, Pop Secret, Jiffy Pop, and the generic brand. A friend added some Amish popcorn to the group and we figured that was plenty to keep us eating popcorn for many nights to come!

In order to have a control group, we chose a random brand, timed it and popped it 'til it quit popping, then popped the rest for the same period of time. We used 1/2 cup popcorn to 3 Tbsp. oil, turned on the heat and put the lid on. One batch a night was plenty for us to eat what we were testing! Then after we ate the popcorn we set aside the kernels that didn't pop to be counted.

We started eating popcorn all the time without keeping track for Elijah's project. Next thing I know, we're running out of popcorn! Elijah was burned out from taking notes on each batch of popcorn and so the days turned into weeks and next thing I know, it's the day before the project is due. Luckily I had purchased a project board. So...Sunday between conference we started popping popcorn to do round 2, which was to pop the kernels until they stopped on their own. I think the kids ate one batch, and the other three batches went to waste, but we kept all the kernels.

As we're matching the leftovers kernels round 1 with round 2, I discover that we haven't done round 2 for Pop Secret. AND there's no more Pop Secret in the pantry. Oh boy! Being Sunday and coming up on the next conference soon, I was determined to get this project finished. We decided to include Pop Secret without round 2 results, but a side note saying this was apparently a family favorite since it all got eaten, and was particularly fun since it pops larger kernels! In the end, the generic popcorn popped the most leaving very few kernels, with Pop Secret close behind. Elijah had hypothesized that Orville Redenbacher would pop the most kernels.

Elijah did nearly all the typing in order to post his information on the project board. I typed up the column "Other Observations" which wasn't a required part of the project anyway. We put the information on popcorn colored paper, and also taped the results of leftover kernels in baggies onto the board as well as samples of what Amish popcorn looks like popped and unpopped, and generic popcorn popped since it was the winner! The board was awesome! When we showed the board to Sara, she commented, "Wow! None of my science project boards ever looked that good." My response was, "You never let me help." "Yup," was her response. Crazy kid.

Each student in Elijah's class had to get up in front of the class to tell about their project. Elijah's took the longest at about 10 minutes. Apparently he did a very thorough job...with the help of his detail oriented mother! Sadly, we will never know if Pop Secret would leave fewer kernels unpopped than the generic brand in round 2. Makes me want to search the stores to buy another container just to see! That's the yummiest homework we've had around here in years!