Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved eating olives. It’s one of those foods that’s easily found at any gathering. You know, those black canned olives on what your grandma used to call the pickle tray.
As I got older, my tastes evolved from those canned morsels to a variety of olives, but I still love snacking on them.
I was at my parent’s house the other day and my mother had me try this olive tapenade she whipped together. It was down right tasty and I easily could have eaten the whole container, but I resisted. I got the recipe from her and whipped up my own at home. The best part is that it doesn’t contain anchovies!!!
Why yes, I do hate all forms of seafood.
Here’s the simple recipe for you.
3/4 cup Kalamata Olives
3/4 cup Manzanilla Olives (I used olives with pimentos)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic (Fresh chopped or Jarred)
Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and blend until the consistency you like!
Seriously, that’s it and it tastes amazing. You can use any proportions of olives if you have a preference of one, like 1 cup Kalamata and only 1/2 Manzanilla. Just as long as you have 1 1/2 cups of olives. Also, you don’t need a food processor either. You can just chop up the olives by hand and mix it all together. I actually like the chunkier consistency of just chopping it myself.
There are a lot of uses for the tapenade, but I like to just spread it on some flatbread for an afternoon snack.
I had the pleasure of participating in a special event November 7 put on by runDisney before the Wine & Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. These are special social media events that are posted on the Disney Parks Blog and Tweeted about. Once you see the tweet, you send out your email and hope you’re one of the lucky ones to get in. If you’re interested in getting into a meet up, check out my post here to find out how to get into one.
I got to Orlando around 6pm and headed to meet one of my fellow runners I was rooming with for the night. I threw my stuff in the room and we headed out to Epcot. Since I’m a runDisney newbie, I didn’t really know anyone who was going to be at the meet up. There were a couple of ladies from one of my running groups that got into the meet up too, so I would get to meet them for the first time. We headed into the park to find a few people before we could check into the meet up. Once it was time to check in we went out front of Epcot and got our special runDisney meet up shirts and a bag to hold our items while we were on the run portion.
We also received a park ticket for the night and a fastpass for Test Track. A group of us headed over to Test Track first. It was nice to get to ride the new version, since I haven’t rode it in a couple years. After that we headed to Mexico and a few of us grabbed something to eat. A few others ended up joining our group and I met a few nice people that I spent the night talking with.
We headed over to our reserved meeting spot for Illuminations. Before it started, I got to meet up with some of my fellow Princess runners.
We watched Illuminations and then headed over to the American Gardens Theater. There was food, wine, and water for us for the night. We got a welcome and speeches by Darrel Fry, the head of Disney Sports PR, and Faron Kelley, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Disney Sports.
They also did some awesome giveaways including some runDisney bags and a few entries into future runDisney races.
Next up was former Olympic marathoner Jeff Galloway and runDisney’s nutritionist. They had some great tips for running at night and fueling for a race. They were followed up by a Disney sommelier and two executive chefs to tell us about some of the food and beverage offerings at the festival, including the vegan food and wine options they had for us.
Next up was the New Balance group. We go to here from the women’s mile record holder Jenny Simpson and then we got to hear a little bit about the new runDisney New Balance shoes.
Do you spy that new branded runDisney shoe box?
They are letting out bits and pieces of information over the following months before the big reveal. They did let us in on the custom shoe inserts that are race specific and the charms for your shoe laces.
We had a little time for some pictures before we set out on our run, so of course I had to get a picture with the main mouse and Jeff Galloway!
We set out on our run in two groups. There was a run, walk, run group led by Jeff Galloway. I joined that group because how often do you get to run with Jeff?? We did a :20/:20 interval, which was weird being that it was such short intervals, but I never really felt like I was running. I’m going to have to try out those short intervals on a longer run. The other group was a straight run group and I was told they did between 8mm-10mm.
We took a group picture for the run, walk, run group and then a large group picture with everyone.
After the pictures, we finished a short run to the front of Spaceship Earth where we had a champagne toast!
What a great way to end a fun night!
As we claimed our bags, we were handed a bag with some goodies from Clif and New Balance.
So if you never knew that they did these special meet ups, it might be worth it to try for one. Such a unique experience and I can’t wait to hopefully get into another one!
This past weekend was incredibly busy for me and it started out with a 5K in Orlando. A few months ago, a fellow runner introduced me to a charity named Give Kids The World. She decided to be a charity runner for them for the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon, and was starting her fundraising. I looked up the charity and thought it is such a wonderful organization. According to their website, this is their mission:
Give Kids The World is a non-profit organization that exists only to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids The World Village for as long as there is a need.
They do multiple fundraisers throughout the year, and one of which is called the Gingerbread 5K. It is a 5K race through the Give Kids the World Village and surrounding neighborhood. I decided I wanted to go for the run and check out The Village even though it was an hour and a half drive both ways. Everyone who registers to run, is encouraged to do some fundraising for the charity. I did a little fundraising, but wish I could have done more. The run was this past Saturday and I had to get up at 4am to head out by 4:30 to make it to Orlando. Of course I got out a little late, but still made there by 6:30am thanks to the lack of traffic on the highway.
Since there is no parking at The Village, they had three locations setup to park at and provided bus transportation to and from. I got on my bus and got checked in by 7am. There were some tents setup with local businesses giving out some free stuff, and characters out roaming to take your picture with. I was meeting up with some of my fellow runners from the area, but wasn’t really sure how we’d find each other. I let them know what I’d be wearing and one of them found me while I was watching the zumba warm-up they were doing for the runners. Then I messaged another and we all found each other.
Here we are before the start of the race and see that mushroom behind us? It’s a carousel. Yea, they really do have some cool stuff there for the kids. I forgot my interval timer in the car, so I decided to run with two of my friends and we were all just going to wing our intervals. There weren’t corrals, but they had people holding signs with paces so the faster people wouldn’t have to weave through people. It was all on the honor system.
We started out running through one side of The Village and out into the neighborhood next door. We were running and not doing our intervals, so I just stuck with it. It was a slower pace than I was used to running at, but it was comfortable. We then ran up and down the main road before heading back into The Village. Once we entered, we went down to where some newer villas are and new ones are being constructed to provide more places to stay for families. Oh yea, a shout out to some of my running girls (and guys) on the route!
There were volunteers handing out candy along the route for the runners. We grabbed some and kept going. One of the best parts of the run is that some of the families came out to cheer us on. We decided to give our candy to some of the children that were along the route, and even though I’m sure they get all kinds of goodies while staying there, they were so happy with the runners giving them their candy.
We finished the run and it was the first time both Elizabeth and I completely ran a 5K. We both are just so used to running intervals, that we’ve never tried running straight. So not only did we get to finally meet up with some of our awesome “virtual” runner friends, but we both ran without intervals. We’re not counting when we stopped to give the kids our candy. Not a PR in a 5K for me, but a great accomplishment that I was excited for.
I was going to take pictures of The Village and post them, but then I decided that the virtual tours on the Give Kids The World website would be much better than my phone pictures. So if you have a moment, go check out their website and their charity here.
Once you crossed the finish line you got your medal, a gingerbread man cookie, and a bag of fliers and a comic along with a bottle of water. We waited for the others to cross the finish line and chatted for a little before everyone headed out. I went over and grabbed a banana and muffin and watched the characters they had dancing with everyone for a bit before heading back home.
The only negative to the day was that they ran out of medals for some of the walkers. This seems to be a trend in races recently. They did send out an email letting everyone know that a box had been misplaced and the participants would be mailed their medal. It’s great that they will get their medal, but it’s not the same as getting the medal after crossing the finish line and wearing it around, regardless of the race distance.
Kind of a long drive for a 5K, but it was worth meeting some awesome running friends and knowing I can run 3.1 miles straight.
I know, Halloween was last week, but we had so much going on this past week month. Our Halloween festivities started with a local festival that had a car show and trick or treating for the children through the local stores. So what was my daughter dressed as?
Not that I’m biased, but she made for a cute little strawberry. Since this was her first year truly trick or treating I wasn’t sure how’d she do, but she loved it and got everyone to give her more candy. She also insisted on carrying her bag and didn’t want any help, so she drug it down the street with her.
Kert and I had an adult Halloween party that night, but we don’t really have many pictures from it. Besides we just threw together something from what we had at home, because starting next year we’re doing a family themed group costume. The next day we finally went to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin. We found the perfect pumpkin and carved it Tuesday. A carved pumpkin doesn’t last long down here, so that’s why we waited to carve it. Alyssa wasn’t really into picking out all the seeds and stuff, but she did do a little. And here is our Jack Skellington pumpkin.
Since Alyssa doesn’t really get to eat candy, we decided to meet some family at a local church for a trunk or treat. If you don’t know what that is, it is when a group gets together and decorates their cars for Halloween for a safe trick or treating instead of wandering through the streets. It’s nice for the little ones before they are ready to trick or treat. So what did you or your little ones dress up as this year?
Last month we took a cross country trip to California with our then 15 month old. This was our first time flying with her, so I was kind of nervous how she’d do having to sit the whole time. We’ve taken road trips with her and she did ok, but we did a lot of driving at night. And this was going to be different since she had started walking 2 months prior and was in the constant state of motion now. We decided to fly Southwest because of two things. First off, we got three tickets for the price of two tickets with other airline carriers. The second thing was that you get to check 2 bags for free and since we were traveling with a little one, we also had the option to check a car seat and stroller for free to.
Tip #1: Don’t be afraid to bring the car seat on the plane.
We decided to buy a seat for her, even though we didn’t have to, because we figured she would be comfortable and it was something she was used to sitting in. Luckily, Southwest still has family boarding, so we got to board after the first group of premium boarders so we could get the car seat in and all settled.
Tip #2: Bring snacks and a drink. Lots and lots of snacks!
We brought all kinds of different snacks for her. Little ones love to eat, so snacks will occupy them for quite some time. We brought all kinds of puffs, crackers, pouches, & fruit chews for her. Make sure you bring stuff you know they love. You are allowed to take a certain amount of baby food or formula through security, so make sure you check the TSA website before you go for the most up to date guidelines. You also want to make sure you bring a cup/bottle they like. Once the plane has taxi’d and started to lift off from the runway, give them a drink or snack to help with any ear popping they may have.
Tip #3: Bring some fun toys, books, or phone/tablet apps.
This is kind of a no brainer. You want to make sure you have stuff to occupy them. My daughter loves books, so I bought a few new lift flap books for her. They are great because they love lifting those flaps to see what’s there. Apps and shows are great for them to play with, just make sure you bring head phones if they’ll wear them or turn the sound off to be courteous of others. This next toy I made to bring was a hit and she loves to play with it still.
It was a $1 cup of cookies or crackers that you can get at any local grocery store and a bag of pom poms from a craft store. I cut a hole in the lid and voila! Instant fun. I can’t tell you how many times we dumped and put the pom poms back in the cup on the flight.
This was our first time ever flying Southwest and we learned that you will most likely run late, so plan for that if you have a layover and have to change planes. We did have a layover, but we didn’t have to change planes. It was nice to not have to take the car seat out and put it back in again. We only had about a 20 minute layover, so I wanted to run off and grab some food. I wasn’t sure if they would let me, but they did and told me to hurry so I could be back before they started regular boarding. I only had time to run to the little deli and get us sandwhiches, but that was better than nothing.
Our flights were pretty uneventful besides running late, and I’m pretty sure it’s because we planned for the long trip. We didn’t have any meltdowns and the only crying fit was on the way back because she was tired. Quickly fixed by letting her sleep on my shoulder. So if you plan to take a flight with a little one, make sure you are well prepared!