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Monday, December 15, 2014

Running Torture

running torture


One night last summer, I texted my friend, “Let’s run tomorrow in the morning.”

But autocorrect changed it to “Let’s run torture in the morning.”

And ever since, I’ve fondly referred to the act of putting one foot in front of the other at a pace faster than a walk as “running torture.”

And for some reason, I keep doing it.


I’ve been doing Couch to 5k for 17 months now.    Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Like I’ve been in a really good fitness routine for over a year.  Pretty awesome of me, huh?

Except C25k is a program that is meant to train beginning runners to run a 5k (3.1 miles) in 9 weeks.

And I haven’t completed the program, yet.


I’ve had a myriad of setbacks – First, shin splints.  Then winter came.  Then, migraine headaches after running.  And then shin splints again. Now, apparently I’m back in the “headache” part of the cycle.

But, I’ve made progress.  When I started, I could barely complete the 60-second jogging intervals that are part of the first week’s schedule.  And then we moved on to 90 seconds, and it truly was torture.  Now, the longest single interval I’ve run was 25 minutes.  Did you read that? 25 minutes of running torture! And I survived.


My current 5k time is somewhere between 41 and 42 minutes. And I joined a community gym and have been faithfully running two times a week for  the last month while Isaac’s at preschool.

Slowly, but surely, I’ll make 3.1 not quite so torturous.


And then I’ll start working towards a 10k.

Because running torture is good for me, right?


Are you a runner? I need to hear your inspirational stories!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Favorites on Friday

Another week.  Where do the days go?

This week, the days flew by, mostly because Bart and I spent 2 1/2 of them at the Iowa Turkey Federation’s annual convention, which he lovingly refers to as “vacation.”  We tried to pretend we were on vacation, staying up too late, eating too much, and well, maybe drinking too much (but not as much as Bart did at the turkey federation’s summer convention, but that’s a story that I probably won’t elaborate on. At least on my blog, or on facebook. But ask me about it in real life, ‘cuz it’s a gooooood story.)

Anyway, while we were vacationing, Bart also attended several “educational” sessions, learning about animal welfare issues in the turkey industry, alternatives to antibiotics in turkey production, and an update from the National Turkey Federation, to name a few. I also planned to attend these sessions, but I had a couple things come up. 

First, our lunch speaker cancelled, and I decided it would be no big deal to recycle a presentation I did last year.  Except, the audience was one I could not picture in their underwear, like many suggest, because they were people

a) I knew personally


b) who have some seriously serious credentials after their name like DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) or Ph D. (Can’t remember what that stands for.)

So, while I wanted to listen to the presentations, I was busy working on my own so that I didn’t make a fool of myself. (My real goal was to get invited to take the presentation on the road to, say, Puerto Rico, where the National Turkey Federation conference is going to be held in February.  The request hasn’t come in yet, though.)


The theme this year for the banquet was White Out.  We like to have a good time with our outfits, so Bart decided to try a different look.  He’s such a silver fox, isn’t he?

2014-12-10 17.39.33


And my outfit? Well, I wore white tights, which were the reason I had to miss the afternoon educational sessions.  I had to drive across town to get those tights, and when Target didn’t have any, I had to go to the mall.  And then, I realized I was across the street from the Goodwill, so I had to run in there.  And I made it back just in time for hospitality to start before the banquet.

Anyway, besides our fun times at “Turkey Day,” here are a few other favorites from this week:

1. I checked out this audiobook on my phone via the Overdrive app, and I’m almost done with it.  It is funny, y’all. And an insightful story about marriage.

I didn’t even realize until today, 3/4 of the way through the book, when the author mentioned her BLOG that she is a big time blogger.  I’m her new biggest fan, so head over to and check it out.  (I’m not sure if she’s as funny on her blog, or if she’s as funny when you can’t here her gorgeous Texas-southern accent, but the audiobook is good, anyway!)

And here’s a link to the book. (affiliate link)  The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life

I understand there is another book on parenting, which I will probably be reading next.


2. Sheilapalooza!  My friend, coworker, and fellow turkey farmer’s wife, Sheila, started her blog a couple weeks ago. 


We’d been talking about it for a long time, but when her 5 year old daughter (who is my Adam’s class at school) was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at Halloween, she decided it was time to start writing.  Sheila and her daughter also have Celiac Disease (and a great sense of style.)  Check out her blog and follow her on facebook at


3. News from the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers.  Agriculture is responsible for 1/3 of Iowa’s economy! That’s amazing! 

Screenshot 2014-12-12 17.15.55


4. 25 holiday home tours hosted by Just a Girl.

Christmas tour vertical


5. Walmart app

Yeah, I totally admit it.  I shop at Walmart sometimes.

Today was one of those times.  And today, I finally downloaded the Walmart app and used the Savings Catcher.  Some of my friends have saved some serious pennies using it, and since I was there, I thought I’d try it out.  As we speak, it’s comparing the things I bought to prices at other stores, as a part of their low-price guarantee.  “If a competitor advertises a special deal for a lower price, we’ll give you the difference!”

Sounds good to me, thank you very much!



Now, our weekend is starting with a VERY important basketball game (Go Cyclones!) followed by decorating, wrapping and the Sunday School Christmas program.  See you next week!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The question I was dreading…

Elf-640x1240“Why don’t we have an Elf on the Shelf?”

It wasn’t my 6 year old who asked. 

It wasn’t the 3 year old.

It was their father who uttered those ridiculous words a few nights ago.  Their father, who is a middle child (I feel like that’s applicable here) asked me why we don’t do Elf on the Shelf IN FRONT OF our children.

“Because we didn’t invite him to our house,” I replied, through gritted teeth with my head cocked sideways and eyes burning holes into the man with whom I am bound, till death do us part (which may be sooner rather than later, if he keeps this up.)

We are not an Elf on the Shelf family.  We have not invited him to our house.  No Chippy or Jolly or Whatever-His-Name-Is watches my children to make sure they’re well-behaved.

It’s not that I’m a fun hater.  I’m just rather selective about my fun.  And fun that requires a daily commitment during one of the craziest, most frazzled-est time of the year, from a mom who prefers to sleep the entire time her children are sleeping (Why does the school bus come so early?) does not actually sound fun to me.

I don’t think he’s creepy, like some say.  I don’t really care that he is part of commercialization of Christmas.  I don’t think that his funny, messy antics will teach my kids that making messes is funny.

I’m just lazy.

And that’s why we don’t have an Elf on the Shelf.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

20 Awesome Gifts for Lego Lovers

(This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you order something after clicking the link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  Thanks for supporting On the Banks of Squaw Creek.)

My boys love Lego.  And I think it’s a great toy for them.  But I’m tired of buying the expensive, over-engineered kits.  Those kits are neat, but they only bring a few hours of entertainment, and then major frustration.  When the creation is complete, one of two things happen:

1. Little Brother plays with it and it falls apart, shedding pieces all over the house as it goes.


2. We put it up high on a shelf so Little Brother can’t reach it, and then NO ONE plays with it.

I was on Amazon, looking for Lego gifts that wouldn’t be destined for this terrible fate, and decided I should share what I found with you all.

And so, I present, 20 Gifts for Lego Lovers, and I promise, everything (on the list) is awesome! (Cue the music…)

lego lovers


Stocking Stuffers

Inexpensive, small gifts for Lego Lovers.

Lego Kids' 9009976 Movie Emmet Minifigure-Link Watch

My Adam got one of these watches from a friend for his birthday and he loves it!The extra links make it expandable.

Lego Building Accessories Orange BRICK SEPARATOR #630

These are a must have for Lego builders.  It helps pry the bricks apart when their little (or big, depending on who’s playing) fingers can’t get a good grip.


LEGO Mixels Building Kit

These little Mixels are so fun, and only $5!  My boys love them.  Sure, they fall apart, just like other Lego kits, but they are meant to be mix-and-match, so the kids don’t mind.

LEGO Minifigures Series 12 71007

These little Minifigures packs are fun, too.  Each one has a minifigure, and you don’t know what you get until you open it!


Gifts for the Master Builder

We all want our kids to be Master Builders, right? We want them to use their creativity and engineering skills to create their own Lego masterpieces, not just follow the directions in the box.  These are my favorite sets to encourage creative building.

LEGO Juniors 10667 Construction

For the younger builder.  This set has instructions for simple construction machines, but it also has a lot of versatile parts for play later on.

LEGO Education Wheels Set 4598357 (286 Pieces)

This is one of our favorite sets at home.  Wheels, windshields, steering wheels…everything you need to make unique vehicles!

LEGO Education Large Building Plates 4570274 (4 Pieces)

You can never have too many of these.  Enough said.

LEGO Education Doors, Windows & Roof Tiles Set 4587438 (278 Pieces)

The Doors and Windows set is another great, versatile set for creative building.  My boys use it to build sheds for their machines.

LEGO Bricks & More 10662 Creative Bucket

We find ourselves running low on basic pieces sometimes, because of all the creations we’re able to make with our Wheels set and Windows set.  You can also buy Legos by the pound, but I think this is a better deal.


The LEGO Ideas Book

Some Master Builders need a little help getting ideas.  This book has a ton of inspiration!


The Little Box of Lego Projects

The Little Box of Lego Projects is a new product that I’m excited to order for my boys.  It has 52 project cards…one for every week for a year!


Storage and Organization:

Storing and organizing Legos is a never ending battle, isn’t it?

 EZY Tidy Storage Bag

This was recommended to me by a friend.  She said it made Lego play and clean up a lot easier!

Lego Sort and Store

We don’t have one of these, but I want one!  The head has three different chambers, and sorts the Legos into small, medium and large pieces.  I think this would make finding small pieces so much easier!


Just for Fun

Who knew there were so many cute Lego accessories?

 LEGO Brick Calendar 853195

My kindergartener is sort of obsessed with calendars and the date, so I think this would be a great gift for him.


LEGO Card Making Kit 850506

Great for Thank You cards or birthday cards for friends.  This Lego themed card kit makes 15 cards.


LEGO Kids' 9005701 Super Heroes Superman Alarm Clock

There are a ton of different Lego figure alarm clocks to choose from. So fun for a kid’s room!

LEGO Kids' 9002168 Red Plastic Alarm Brick Clock

Or, a classic “brick” alarm clock.

Cooper Cases(TM) Blocks Apple iPad 2/3/4 Silicon Folio Case

Amazon has cases in many sizes and colors for all your electronics.  Isn’t the easel on this one awesome?


 LEGO City Advent Calendar #60063

How cute is this?  The Lego Advent Calendar looks like a great way to count down to Christmas!

The LEGO Movie (Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Combo Pack)

And of course, I have to include the Lego Movie!  If you haven’t seen it, you need to!  It’s a great flick for kids AND adults!



Hope that helps make your holiday shopping a little easier!

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