February Squat Challenge

Have you tried that other squat challange that’s floating around pintrest?

The one where you have to do like a million squats a day?

Did you get sick of it after about a week and a half?  (embarrassingly, like me!)

Sure, if I did a million squats a day I’d have the most amazing butt of all time!

However, I don’t want to do a million squats a day.  Let’s face it, if I had the sort of determination, I wouldn’t need some silly CHALLENGE thrown in my face to force myself.

Presenting … Amber’s Squat Challenge (for people who hated that other squat challenge).  I think this is actually doable.  What do you think?
squat challenge

Who’s in for February?

Report back with your progress!


Wedding Recap – programs

I’ll never forgot a wedding program for a wedding I was a bridesmaid for about 12 years ago.  She had included a little blurb about the wedding party.

I loved it for 2 reasons:

1.            It gave everybody something to read while they were waiting for the ceremony.

2.            Sometimes, especially if you are ONLY  friend of the bride or the groom (not both), it help answers questions like, “who are those super attractive people standing up there?!?”

I’m a little embarrassed, but I think I made the program within a month of getting engaged.  It’s like the firs thing I did!  Our wedding party was small, and locked in right away, so that helped.

I had a lot of fun creating it and embarrassing the wedding party at the same time!

It’s just printed on a normal 8.5X11 piece of paper, and folded in half.  I have a color printer, but if you don’t, color copies are pretty darn cheep at FexEx or even a library.  Fancy think paper may have been nice, but who cares?  Ribbon on it would’ve been nice, but why spend the money on something that everybody is just going to spill beer on at the reception and then immediately throw away.

I was pretty proud of the back of the program (the left part below).  I used my limited photoshop skills and a greeting card that I found with Chris’ deceased mom’s handwriting.  Notice the stamp on the postcard is the breast cancer ribbon and the fake postmark says ‘Saturday’.


program (page 2)

Wedding Recap – quiz time!

The last wedding I went to, my entire table all made a random bet on what the first ‘group dance’ would be.

About an hour later when the cupid shuffle came on, our entire table went, “heeeeey!” and patted the winner on the back.

That sparked my idea of giving out a ‘quiz’ to everybody at my wedding, just to get them a little more interested.

I’m honestly not sure if anybody cared or if they even participated, but it was a super easy touch that cost pretty much nothing!

betting sheet

betting sheet page 2

Recipe: Pumpkin Stuff

My ‘signature’ dish for all work pot lucks is PUMPKIN STUFF.

It’s actually called pumpkin ‘crisp’, but it’s not very similar to apple crisp, so I’ve renamed it STUFF!

It’s AMAZINGLY delicious.  Even if you’re not a huge pumpkin fan, I encourage you to try it.

It’s also INSANELY easy to make!  Just dump stuff into a pan and BOOM!

Pumpkin Stuff
1 (15oz) can pumpkin
1 c. evaporated milk
1 c. sugar ßI’ve been using a little less, because 1 cup sugar is a lot!!
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
1 (18.25oz) package yellow cake mix
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. butter (melted) ß wow, this is a lot of butter!  I think the last time I only tossed some of it down the drain
Whipped cream (optional)

Step 1:  Stir together the first 5 ingredients (pumpkin, evap milk, sugar, vanilla & cinnamon).  Pour into a greased 9X13 pan.  (Note – I’ve used smaller pans too.  It just makes the stuff thicker)

Step 2:  Sprinkle dry cake mix over mixture

Step 3:  Sprinkle evenly with pecans.  (Note – the last time I did this I couldn’t find pecans for a reasonable price at the store, so I just skipped them)

Step 4:  Drizzle melted butter evenly over mixture.  Feel your heart closing as you play with a full cup of melted butter!

Step 5:  Bake uncovered at 350 F for 45 minutes.  Dish is done when the top is golden brown.

Serve with whipped cream, because everything is better with whipped cream!

Dish can be stored at room temperature.  Actually, don’t worry about storing it, because there will be no leftovers!

Notes from the 2014 WDW Marathon

Pre race:              I’m so glad I got a hand-me-down sweatshirt from a girl at work.  I’m so warm and toasty, while everybody in race tanks are freezing!

Mile 1:                  As I wait almost 45 minutes to start (slow pokes like me start last) I see a Japanese guy carrying a tuba start in the group in front of me.  A huge tuba!

Mile 2:                  A 73 year old lady and 68 year old man pass me.  I know their ages because their shirts say, “73 years old and going strong!”  I wonder if I’ll be that cool when I’m in my 70s?  I also pass a guy with a photo pinned to his shirt with the phrase “ever mile I’m thinking about you”.  It makes me tear up.  How sweet.

Mile 3:                  I pass a firefighter wearing full gear.  She’s going really darn slow (I can imagine since she’s in full gear!), although I’m worried she isn’t going to make it in the 16 min/mile pace.

Mile 4:                  Yay for going downhill near the Contemporary!  Although a massive downhill can only mean 1 thing … a massive uphill!

Mile 5:                  We’re entering the Magic Kingdom.  I’m so pathetically jaded that I’m actually annoyed because now everybody is going to start stopping and/or slowing down for photos.  I’m trying to keep a good pace here!

Mile 6:                  I see Louis from Princess and the Frog!  I sometimes wish I ran with a camera.

Mile 7:                  Backstage Magic Kingdom smells HORRIBLE.

Mile 8:                  The sun is rising and burning my eyes!!  I almost wish I had a silly pink sequined visor like my roommate Michelle!

Mile 9:                  Hell yeah, I’m going fast (as I mentally calculate that I’m doing under 15 minutes miles)!

Mile 10:                Yowsers … I’m not sure what smells worse, backstage Magic Kingdom or the smelly recycling plant (or whatever this building is) that we’re jogging by.

Mile 11:                It’s banana time!  I don’t like bananas, but I eat ½ of it.  I figure if they are passing them out, they must be good marathon food.

Mile 11.5:            I ask somebody what mile we just passed.  I think I just blacked out for a second.

Mile 12:                OMG – there is an Animal Kingdom employee holding a baby owl!  No time to stop though.

Mile 13:                Half done!  Crap, this is hard.

Mile 14:                I consider using the bathroom inside Animal Kingdom, but the line is way too long.

Mile 15:                Now it’s a bathroom emergency, so I use a port-o-let on Osceola Parkway.  The girl who exited before me was dressed in full on fairy wings.  When I enter the dark port-o-let I see, what appears to be, splashes of pee all over the place!  I don’t’ have the time to wait for another port-o-let or the toilet paper to clean all of this up!  Then I realize it’s just glitter.  Lots and lots of glitter.  And, surprise, surprise, there is actually toilet paper!

Mile 15.5:            I see Brittney (a girl I used to work with) passing out food!  Even though I barely know her, it’s always nice to see a familiar face.  I have a new pep in my step.

Mile 16:                I can see people going towards Studios, but I still have 5 miles before that’s me.  I wish that was me!  I want to be done.  This hurts!

Mile 16.5:            I could stop running and still make it on time.  Or I could keep running and not be such a pussy.  I keep running.

Mile 17:                Running on the cushiony track inside ESPN Wide World of Sports feels good on my feet.

Mile 18:                They are passing out cold towels, but not very many.  By the time I realize what’s happening, I pass that section by.  Bummer.

Mile 19:                I found a hidden bathroom!  And perfect timing because my stomach is killing me (I only had to go #1!).  I’m the only one inside the bathroom.  How is this possible?  And I go in the men’s room b/c it’s closer to the walkway.

Mile 20:                Holy crap, they’ve picked up everybody who isn’t inside ESPN.  Am I going this slow?  I thought I had at least a 30 minute cushion.  I’m getting scared.

Mile 21:                I don’t think I can jog anymore.

Mile 22:                I KNOW I can’t jog anymore.  I can’t do it.

Mile 22.5:            Please kill me.

Mile 23:                I’m finally inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Rumor has it, if you make it inside Studios, they will let you finish, since you are officially off the roads (since they can’t hold up traffic all day!).  Theme parks are always more fun than roads too, but you can still please kill me.

Mile 24:                How the heck are people jogging past me?  I ask an Asian guy next to me, and he’s also baffled by the joggers.  He is as dead as me.

Mile 25:                One more mile!  I put on “all I do is win, win, win no matter what!” on my iPod on repeat.

Mile 25.5:            I start jogging again, because there’s no point in holding anything back now.  And by “jogging” I mean taking about 10 running steps, feeling my muscles tear away from the bone, then walking again.

Mile 26:                I pass the gospel choir.  They are quite loud, which makes me wonder if they are actually singing or if it’s just a recording.  I call shenanigans!

Mile 26.2:            I sprint to the finish line and I got a pretty good time.  I was hoping to finish in 6 hours 30 minutes, and it’s 6 hours 33 minutes!  I figured I’d be around 6 hours 45 minutes since I did the ½ marathon the day before.

Mile 28:                I can’t find my car!!!!!  Dear God, please let me.  I have the biggest blister on my foot and I can’t feel my quads!

Mile 29:                Found it!  And it’s bed time …

So you want to run a marathon …

Is ‘run a marathon’ on your bucket list?  Then sign up and DO IT!

(I should clarify … there is no need to actually ‘run’ a marathon. Walking the entire 26.2 miles is perfectly acceptable.)

It was on my bucket list, and I’ve successfully crossed it off 4 times now!  Each time is just as painful as the rest. Each time I think, “holy crap, this hurts. I hate this.  Why am I doing this?”  Then the second you cross the finish line (and start crying b/c you’re so proud of yourself) you think, “hell yeah!  This is the best!  I rule!  I did this.”

Check me out … crying at the finish line.  Happens every time.  I make it a personal goal to “sprint” to the finish line, which hurts just a tad.  Pretty darn sexy huh?
Picture 1

As the runDisney DJ said at the starting line, “Get ready y’all – this is a life changing experience folks.” And it really is! (now turn off Mmmm Bop and the Macarena runDisney DJ … that is NOT pumping me up!)

Let’s face it, when’s the last time you pushed to your limits? I mean your ACTUAL limits? Do you have any clue what your limits are?

I think most of us have tried hard at lots of stuff (work, love, exercise, a hobby, home decor), but we always stop when we’re tired or bored or both.

During a marathon, you can’t stop. You WILL be tired. You WILL be bored. You WILL want to give up. You’ll wonder if you take your shoes off if you’ll see a pool of blood or puss. But (as Miley Cyrus once sang), “you can’t stop … you won’t stop!”

When you’re done, you get a pretty cool medal too. In my opinion (and I think I’m alone in this opinion), I don’t need your medal. When people wear “will run for bling” t-shirts I’m always annoyed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take the medal … but I’m not pushing myself for some petty gold hardware. I’m pushing myself for pride and personal glory. I guess I can’t take a photo of me fake chewing on some pride, so a medal will have to do.

So, just go for it.  Sign up.  Unless you have a legitimate medical excuse why you can’t, then you have no excuse.

I finished the same time as a 73 year old woman, so the “I’m too old” excuse won’t work.  I also was behind somebody at least twice my size, so the “I’m too big” excuse won’t work either.  And I’m not taking the “I don’t have enough money” excuse either.  Yes the entry fee is a few hundred dollars.  However, my race shoes were $35 from Ross.  I wore a wife beater style tank top (hand me down) and regular old work out shorts I bought at Target about 7 years ago.  Fancy running crap isn’t necessary.  I am wearing a race belt in the photo, but I borrowed that from a friend.  My watch is used for a timer, and I bought it at Wal-mart for about $4.

Checking something off your bucket list – priceless.

Start Google “marathon training” or ask me.  Actually, don’t ask me, b/c I don’t do the classic training.  I don’t have time to run for 15 miles.  I just run 1 or 2 miles every other day and walk 2 or 3 miles the other days.  And for some reason that works for me.  My blazing 15 minute mile pace consists of walking for 5 minutes and running for 30 seconds.  So that’s me … see what works for you!

Tip – always run for the cameras! The photos are way more impressive that way. 🙂
Picture 2

Dopey challenge – day #4

(I didn’t take this photo, but it was the funniest sign I saw on the course. Especially since I have a history of losing toenails).

Whew – that’s over!

The past 3 days I’ve been saying that that hardest part about the Disney Dopey challenge (day 1 – 5K, day 2 – 10K, day 3 – half marathon, day 4 – marathon) was waking up at 3:45am every day.

Well, today the hardest part was the marathon. Holy !@#$, that’s hard!

I knew it would be. It’s my 4th Disney marathon. I was horribly prepared this year, so I can only blame myself.

Once again, mile 20 is where I start falling off the wagon. I managed to keep up my pace of power walking for 5 minutes and running for 30 seconds all the way up until mile 20. Then I managed to run a couple more times, but the walking really slowed down.

Mile 21-24 I just wished for death and kept plowing forward.

As always, mile 24 (around the Boardwalk and Beach Club) I start to cry. It’s half crying because it hurts and it’s half crying because I’m so glad it’s over.

Mile 25 I put on that song, “all I do is win, win, win no matter what!” on replay and attempted to go as fast as I could. It wasn’t fast at all, but no use to holding anything back at that point.

I always manage to sprint to the finish line and BOOM – done! Then it’s gasping for breath and mild crying as well.

I finished with a blazing time of 6 hours and 33 minutes.

And now I know what it feels like to have horrible arthritis. At least, I assume that’s what it feels like. I can barely walk, and forget about squatting down on the toilet! 🙂

And, hey runDisney DJs …