Friday, October 18, 2013

Virtual Racing: racing in your own neighborhood

I'll be honest, I'd never even heard of virtual races more than a year ago. When I did start hearing about them, I really couldn't wrap my head around why people would do them or how they work. 

I figured it was gimmicky - more of a way to pretend that a group was running together. Honestly, it lacked the sense of competition and accomplishment I enjoy in a "real" race. Then I found Jost Running. That's when I realized virtual racing can be real racing and not just another run. 
Jost Running: the virtual racing company

Jost Running was created by a mother-daughter team who share a love of running and races, but not the expense and travel. It can get expensive and definitely time consuming to participate in races regularly. So Courtney Klein and her mother Cynthia Murray Elder came up with this reasonably priced, charity supporting, medal toting race organization. And they do take their race medals seriously - here's just a few previous medals you can check out:
Jost Running: the virtual racing company
Jost Running: the virtual racing company

They regularly choose different charitable organizations to support with proceeds from these races. In their inaugural month (August of this year), they chose to support the ALS Association. (ALS is also known as Lou Gherig's disease.) They designed their medals accordingly with baseball diamonds and hot dogs. And if you don't get why, I have no idea who you are or where you're from.

In regard to the relationship between Jost Running and its charitable contributions, Cynthia is quoted as saying:
Running and Charities have gone hand in hand since forever, but local races can be limiting in what they can do and how far they can reach. We think that combining a virtual race with fundraising is a great way to increase the donation. Without a specific racing location the quantity of runners is infinite, making the possibilities endless. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cold Weather Comfort Foods

As the weather has gotten colder, I've been baking like crazy. I've created my very own Comfort Food City over here. I can't be the only one, right? Something about slow cooked, baked, made from scratch everything just makes this time of year seem cozy for me. 

I am an eMeals Blogger, and as such, I've been enjoying all the benefits of an eMeals subscription. Well right now they've got a few yummy extras for those of us who appreciate classic comfort foods like baked potato soup and chicken pot pie. With all new subscriptions, they're offering up 12 comfort food recipes - including this one for French Dip Sandwiches!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Oregon Moves: fitness and fundraising

Leading a healthy lifestyle is pretty important to me - that includes staying active and making healthy choices with foods, exercise, and medical care. LifeWise of Oregon is a local health plan that is working to encourage people in getting more active in their lives. Starting this month, they've got a program called Oregon Moves. So what is it? It's a little boost to help motivate and reward you and the community for being active.

Oregon Moves is a 4 week fitness challenge created through EveryMove. You can sign up NOW and throughout the duration of the program, which runs October 21-November 17. The earlier you sign up, though, the more you will benefit. The EveryMove app can be downloaded to your Android or Apple device for free, and you can log in your activity each day - anything from a several mile run to simply cleaning your house.

Here's the best part, for every day you are active and log your activity with the app or on their website, LifeWise will donate $1 to your choice of one of 5 local charities up to a total of $50,000! You can choose between the following organizations:

·         American Heart Association
·         American Lung Association
·         United Way of the Columbia-Willamette
·         United Way of Deschutes County
·         Brian Grant Foundation

Saturday, October 12, 2013

LEGO® KidsFest: Portland Review

First, let me say how awesome this event is! My entire family had an amazing time at LEGO® KidsFest. I received free admission for us in exchange for promoting the event and posting my honest review.

Once I told G what it was we were going to, he could hardly contain his excitement. The night before, as he laid down to sleep, he said "I can't wait for LEGO KidsFest tomorrow!" (And yes, he really calls it by the full event name, because that's just how he is. My husband, on the other hand, kept calling it LEGOLand...)

G and I arrived right at opening, and there was already a crowd. (My husband arrived shortly after with N.) There is so much to see and do, we almost didn't know where to start. The life-sized LEGO sculptures are impressive, to say the least. I think G's 2 favorite areas were the brick piles, and the activity area. 

The brick pile is just what it sounds like - an ENORMOUS pile of LEGO bricks on the floor. Fun to build with, and apparently fun to lie in (as you probably noticed in that very first picture). 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DIY-ish Foaming Soap Refill

This is sort of a DIY, but more of a money-saver tip.

Do you know what the main difference is between regular liquid hand soap and foaming hand wash? Water. I learned this little trick years ago, and it's so simple. It saves money, and reduces waste.

First, you need a foaming handwash dispenser.
It really doesn't matter which brands you choose for this. I always buy whichever is least expensive. So, be very certain that this is not a brand endorsement:
It was just the least expensive liquid hand soap refill at the last time I needed more. I've actually even used dish soap before. Just fill your dispenser about 1/8 full with soap, then fill it the rest of the way with tap water. Replace the lid and shake it up to be sure it's well mixed. That's it!

I do occasionally replace the dispenser when it's worn out, but it's a pretty simple routine all in all. What are some simple things you do around the house to save money? 

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Monday, October 7, 2013

It's Fall: Making Apple Cider

So, my son is in kindergarten now. I plan to post some pictures of his first day at some point. Anyway, it's month 2, right? We've already gone on our very first field trip!

The kids were learning about the life cycle of an apple. So, after a tour of the historic farm, the entire class got to help make apple cider!

This was by far the highlight for all the kids. It was fun and tasted delicious, so of course G insisted we should make some of our own at home. Because we have an apple press at home. Okay, we don't. But it turns out the modern comforts of home allow a slightly simpler approach. Don't get me wrong - it's still a lot of work, but the result is worth it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

MommyCon Portland

First, I want to express my gratitude to Xza for so generously allowing me to experience MommyCon like I did. Watching her at work keeping things running smoothly while checking in on all the different vendors and presenters - she is amazing. It's truly inspiring me to get organized and accomplish a few of my own goals.

This will be a relatively quick overview. There was just too much great stuff to fit into one little blog post. So trust me when I say, I could gush a lot more than I'm going to.
Review of #MommyConPDX: boutique natural parenting convention

If you've looked into MommyCon, you know there is an option for VIP events. And if you're like me, you won't have a grasp on what those events actually are. I got to join in on the Birth Without Fear Breakfast and the Leaky Boob "Meet and Leak" or "Leak and Greet". I have to say - if you're considering making that extra investment, just do it. These events are very informal, but you get the opportunity to come face to face with some AMAZING bloggers (including Xza herself!). And the swag you get? I wish I'd bought my own tickets to the events! What you get in return is worth WELL above the ticket price, and that's not even taking into consideration the awesome opportunity you get for photos like this:
A Cloth Life meets The Leaky Boob at #MommyConPDX
And now I get to pretend that we're BFF's who hang out all the time. Just don't let her know or she may start referring to me as the "Creepy-Stalker-Blogger I met at MommyCon." In case you don't know who she is, it's Jessica of The Leaky Boob, and she's pretty much awesome-incarnate. She is as lovely and likeable in person as she seems online. Actually, even more so.