• About Allison

    I am a 26-year-old married Michigan gal living in Sarasota, Florida. This blog is a chronicle of my journey toward a healthier lifestyle! I started running in January 2009 and began to change my eating habits in May 2009. Now, I am dedicated to training smart and eating right. Join me as I seek to balance running and eating healthy, local foods with my crazy work life and hilarious home life.

    Contact me: allisonisactive@gmail.com

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Peanut Butter Question

Question for you natural peanut butter eaters:  What’s your method for mixing in the oil on top?

I seriously make a huge mess every time I do this!  Also, I don’t think I mix it well enough because the bottom 1/3 of my peanut butter is always really dry and crumbly.

Today, I was opening a new jar I tried pouring half the jar into a bowl to mix.  I still don’t feel it got mixed well enough.  Maybe I need to throw it all into a mixing bowl?

Tips, please!

Today’s Eats

As you might have guessed based on the above peanut butter rant, I had peanut butter for breakfast!  Two slices of whole wheat toast with peanut butter, to be more specific.  Despite my PB woes, I still love 365 Organics natural peanut butter from Whole Foods!  It’s one of the products I always buy there because it’s a good deal.

Morning snack = unpictured carrots and ranch.  Crunchy!

Last night, we ventured out to Word of Mouth, the restaurant down the street, to grab a quick bite.  I wasn’t super hungry after my afternoon at Panera, so I ordered the appetizer chicken quesadilla:


Not only was this thing huge, it was also amazing!  The filling included chicken, cheese, onions, and red peppers, and I have no idea what was going on with the tortilla, but it had a great flavor and crunch.  This picture was taken after I ate 1/4 of it.  It was so gooey and spicy that I wanted to eat more, but it was super filling and I limited myself to one piece.

Two of the leftover pieces made a great lunch today:


This quesadilla was just as good after it was microwaved!  I’m looking forward to eating the last piece tomorrow!

Afternoon snack = bag of microwave popcorn.  It’s my stand-by snack at school when I need to eat fast!


I rocked another nonrunning workout today.  At the gym, I spent 30 minutes on the elliptical doing a random hill workout and reading.    I broke a serious sweat, so I think I still had a good cardio workout without running.

I’m looking forward to my 4–miler on Saturday; it’s a “rest week” for my training program.  Hurray for rest weeks!

The Husband is currently heating up a bowl of chili for me, and then we’re going to veg out and watch TV.


Teacher Talk: My Tuesday Night Class

Teacher talk time!  Since January 2007, I have been working on earning my Florida reading endorsement.  This is basically a “stamp” on my teacher certification stating that I have completed the six competency courses in reading education.  I have already done the first five, which have centered around understanding how humans acquire cognition and language, interpreting educational data and applying it to instruction, and differentiating reading instruction in the classroom.  Super fun, right?

This semester, I am taking the sixth and final competency, which largely involves demonstrating your understanding and application of the principals.  So, I have a three-hour class on several Tuesdays between now and May, and I have to spend a lot of time reading articles and videotaping myself teaching lessons for critique.

Bottom line, I am SUPER busy and was in a three-hour class today!

My hectic schedule left no time for a creative breakfast.  Luckily, I love oatmeal!  My old standby:  1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup oats, 1 tbsp. maple syrup, 2 tsp. brown sugar, almonds and coconut for toppings.

Lunch was a more creative dinner.  Last night, I mixed up some leftover whole wheat pasta and Parmesan sauce, steamed broccoli, and roasted chicken breast:


Yummy and filling.  I also had two more M&M cookies:  (So grateful that the Husband is adept at scooping cookie dough onto a baking sheet!  I like that he keeps making these cookies.)


No morning or afternoon snacks were had – when I arrived home at 8:00, I was starving!  Luckily, the Husband made some brinner:  I had a plate of hash browns with two slices of bacon, and then went back for two pancakes!

It’s late and I still have things to do around the house, so I’m out!  My number one goal for tomorrow (outside of school stuff, that is) is to RUN!

Bike Workout at the Gym

I’m going to make this post super quick!

Today’s Eats

  • Breakfast:  Oatmeal!  As always, this included:
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
    • 1 tbs. maple syrup
    • 2 tsp. brown sugar
    • Slivered almonds and coconut for topping
  • Morning snack:  Carrots with ranch.  I didn’t eat many because I got busy teaching about FCAT key words.
  • Lunch:  Campbell’s V8 mixed vegetable soup.  Surprisingly, I don’t find this soup too salty.  I liked this brand (the kind in boxes) back when it was Campbell’s Premium or something like that, and I may try the V8 soups again.  It wasn’t too bad!  Also, I had two slices of Pepperidge Farm cinnamon swirl bread, toasted.
  • Afternoon snack:  Handful of pretzel chips; half a carrot cake Clif bar before the gym
  • Dinner:  Bowl of homemade chili with cheddar cheese and green onions for topping, and tortilla chips for dipping.  Plus two M&M cookies (dough purchased from cheerleading fundraiser; Husband is making it all the time now) for dessert!


I hit the gym for a non-running workout today since my hip is still giving me some pain.  I was in a time crunch because of cheerleading practice, grading essays, and wanting to be home by 7:00.  Here’s what I did:

  • 30 minutes on the bike; random workout level 6?  I think.  Read some Harry Potter to pass the time.  (Nerd.)
  • 20 sit-ups and 20 twist-ups on the bosu ball with a 6–pound weight
  • 30 second plank
  • LOTS of leg and hip stretching
  • Rolled my IT band (both legs) on the foam roller.  PAIN, but in a good way. 

My hips and legs are feelin’ great right!  If my shoes dry out (I wore old running shoes today) I should be running again on Wednesday.

See you tomorrow!  (Pictures are coming back soon.  I feel like my meals are boring lately.  I like them, but you are probably bored.)

Post by Request

So, I just sat down to post (at the request of my friend Cindy, who send me a Twitter message today about how she missed my posts) and our smoke alarm started going off.  No worries, though – the Husband has steaks on the grill pan and our smoke detectors are extremely sensitive.  🙂

I’ve been MIA because I’ve really had to focus on getting my classroom and plans in order for this semester – Florida’s high-stakes testing is in March, and even though I focus on reading skills all year and hate “teaching to the test,” it’s still crunch time.

So, here are updates on everyone’s favorite topics!

What Have I Been Eating Lately?

Monday’s dinner and Tuesday’s lunch were pasta with onions, sugar snap peas, broccoli, and chicken:

Tuesday night we made a mess of veggies:  roasted mustard potatoes and onions; sauteed carrots with sage; and steamed broccoli.  This made up my dinner on Tuesday and lunch on Wednesday:

(Don’t worry, those are the serving platters – all those veggies were split between dinners for the Husband and me and a lunch!)

Recent snacks:  I cut up a boat load of carrots on Tuesday (what can I say, they were on sale!) and have been keeping them in my lunch box with hummus.

I’ve also been dipping a copious amount of pretzel chips into this hummus, and also snacking on chocolate chip walnut muffins from Sunday night.

Yoga in January (Yanuary)

I’ve only fit in one yoga workout so far this week – a half-hour workout from my Five Day Fit yoga DVD.  The sessions are numbered on the DVD menu, and only on a list on the back, which makes figuring out which workout is which presents a huge task.  The one I meant to do was PM Stress Relief Yoga (it was Wednesday night), but I think I ended up doing AM Yoga for Weight Loss.  Oh well, yoga is yoga, right?

My goal is to get in a yoga workout on Sunday because it’s a rest day after my long run on Saturday.


Almost forgot that yours truly is training for a half marathon, didn’t you?  I did a quick run at the gym today after teaching and coaching cheerleading.  Stats:

  • Time:  30 minutes (plus 2 minute warm up and 2 minute cool down)
  • Distance:  2.37 miles
  • Run 2/walk 1

The treadmill gives me major foot and shin pain lately.  I think from now on if I know I won’t run once I get home, I should switch to elliptical or bike workouts at the gym to still get some cardio.  Treadmill running, in my opinion, is only going to lead to an injury and I need to cut it out.

So that’s that – I’ll try not to let school keep me away from blogging any more and post more regular updates.  I’m off to grab some Edy’s peppermint ice cream (I have only had one dish since I bought it, which is a crime!)

Christmas Fun & Upcoming Race!

Greetings from Wisconsin!  Here’s a quick round-up of our Christmas activities…

Wednesday night, we had a bar night at New Holland Brewing Co. with a bunch of our friends from high school and from Mike’s fraternity.

Clearly, things got a bit crazy as the evning went on.  🙂

Christmas Eve, I spent the afternoon shopping and lunch at Panera with my mom, then wrapping presents with Mike at my parents’ house.  During this time, my dad decided to put a bunch of potato peels down our garbage disposal; it of course clogged up, and he and Mike spent about two hours trying to fix this!  Then end result was having no sink for Christmas.

My parents’ house was perfectly decorated, as always.

These are the “fancy” holiday decorations.  We keep the silly stuff like the Star Trek themed tree in our family room downstairs.  😉

After church on Christmas Eve, we cooked up a storm:

My mom put on quite the spread:

We had a pretty big group for our annual pajama dinner:  myself and Mike, my parents and sister, and Mike’s parents and brother.  We had a big dinner that included turkey, mashed potatoes, broccoli, zucchini with peppers and onions, stuffing, and rolls.  I only took a picture of my dessert:

Haagen Dasz “five” mint ice cream and chocolate syrup in my mom’s pretty holly cups.  (Secret: they came from Arby’s a long time ago!

Christmas day, Mike and I started at my parents’ house.  I put on some festiva holiday garb, which included my jingle bell reindeer antlers.

The stockings, of course, were hung by the fire with care:

My dad’s extended family came over that afternoon, and my mom put on another spread:

She kept it casual for a group of over 20 people:  sloppy joes and leftover turkey subs on buns, toppings, and potato chips.  She also made these snowballs:

I didn’t eat much at this gathering – I had had a huge bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and was saving my stomach for dinner at Mike’s parents’ house.  I did, however, take a snowball with me.  I haven’t eaten it yet, but I’m sure it’ll be yummy.

After Christmas at my house, we drove the five blocks back to Mike’s parents’ house for Christmas with them!  Mike’s mom put on a big Christmas dinner, too.  (No pictures because I was fading fast by this point!)  Dinner with them includedturkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, homemade applesauce, stuffing, and rolls.  By this point in our Christmas-ing, I had eaten way too much and still had Wisconsin Christmas to go!

The day after Christmas, we jumped in the car with Mike’s family (actually, two cars) and headed to Waupun, Wisconsin where his grandparents live.  Another spread of holiday treats awaited!

I snacked most of the afternoon on carrots, broccoli, and ranch dip; rye chips; cheese and crackers; and plenty of sugar and gingerbread cookies.  Then, his grandma served up a huge dinner involving pork loin, homemade applesauce, peas and onions, corn, mashed potatoes, and crescent rolls.  I ate a pretty light meal, given my hevy snacking all afternoon.  The women in our families really are masters of holiday treats, and I need to get some of their recipes!

Whew.  That was a lot of Christmas-ing!  We’re still in Wisconsin, relaxing and hanging out with his family.

Running Update

I never did get in my 11-miler this Saturday because we left for Wisconsin really early.  I am hoping to accomplish it early this week back in Michigan because I hate to miss a long run.  I am planning a short run for Monday night, so maybe the 11-miler will happen on Wednesday.

I got some awesome running related Christmas gifts!  Here’s a quick list:

  • A pink ankle Road ID!  I am so excited about this.  The Husband ordered it for me so I can stay safe while running.
  • A big bag of Clif bars and GU Chomps, also from the Husband. 
  • Some blogging and photography stuff for my running blog: a camera case, new and bigger flash drive, and one of those bendy tripod things.
  • A coupon for a massage after my next run.  This was from Mike’s parents, and I can’t wait to use it this week!

I really am spoiled, especially when it comes to running accessories.  🙂

I have an upcoming race!  I am going to do the New Year’s Eve Run, Walk, and Ramble event in Downtown Holland on New Year’s Eve!  This event is a 5k fun run (meaning that it is untimed) meant to kick off the new year.  It’s at 6:00 P.M., so I can do the run, shower, and get ready to go out for the evening!  I haven’t had luck finding friends or family members to run with me, but hopefully the Husband and my parents will come watch.

This Post is Officially Random

Wow, what a Monday!  Between teaching, yearbook stuff, coaching cheerleading at a “dress rehearsal” for tomorrow’s program, and getting to the library, my day has been hectic.  But, it was hectic in a pleasant way!

First of all, I have to rewind to Sunday.  My Sunday was pretty relaxing – I read the paper, did some Christmas shopping, grabbed lunch at Chipotle, relaxed and read for a long time, and hit the road for a five-mile bike ride.

Here’s my sexy night bike riding look, complete with head lamp:

Head lamp story:  The Husband loves to go for night hikes, particularly in the winter and even better if the snow is knee-deep.  He’s had a head lamp forever and it’s always been kind of a joke between us.  So, in December 2006 when he proposed to me, he took me on a night hike (with the head lamp) to a fire on top of the dune that one of his friends had built for us – that where he proposed!  It was wonderful.


We look so young!  I love how the head lamp makes it look like he just mined the diamond.

Anyway, later that evening, he gave me my Christmas present (as if a ring wasn’t enough, right?!) which included my very own head lamp for future night hikes.  🙂  It gets most of its use on night bike rides, however.

Okay, this post has somehow veered from my Sunday activities into a post about my proposal.  This would be a good example of a piece of writing losing focus, which I’m always telling my students not to do!

On Sunday, I also bought this DVD at Target:

I have lately been missing the awesome yoga class I used to go to in Celebration – it was called candlelight yoga and took place late in the evening on Mondays in a dance studio lit only by candles.  It was amaaaaaaazing, and I’m hoping to recreate that experience in my living room!

Anyway, I did two of the workouts yesterday – stress relief yoga and P.M. peak performance yoga.  Both were very relaxing, and made my back and shoulders feel wonderful!  (I have a lot of shoulder pain due to eight years of having people stand on me in cheerleading and also my ample chest.)  I liked the DVD and will be trying an A.M. yoga workout tomorrow!

Okay, so fast forward to Monday – my day began with OATMEAL!

My glorious plastic container of oats that I ate in the car on the way to work, as always, included:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • Coconut and slivered almonds for topping

These oats, plus the fact that I decided to wear my favorite and very comfortable hippie shirt, made my morning excellent.

My dad says this shirt makes me look pregnant.  I think it’s super cute!  I always get compliments on it because it is unique.

My morning snack was a chocolate chip ZBar.  I’ve posted way too many pictures of those, so I’m sure you can imagine it in your mind.  🙂

Lunch = pepperoni pizza leftover from Friday.

My afternoon snacks were two toasted pieces of cinnamon bread and a banana bran muffin, both unpictured because I ate them while teaching or coaching.

After school, I checked my teacher mailbox and discovered a gift from my secret santa:  a Mounds bar!!  Mounds bars are completely my favorite candy ever.  My mom and I like to split them… This bar, however, got completely gobbled up by me right away!

My nail polish is officially raggedy.  Yikes.

How cute is that bow?!  I love my secret santa – clearly, she is a person who understands that even a healthy snack lover like me can use a little dark chocolate on Monday!!  (I say she because I only work with three guys, and none of them wrote this note.)

I got home at 6:00 and immediately hurried to the library on my bike, which is a Monday tradition for Mike and me.  Upon my return, I was super hungry and threw together a repeat of Saturday’s veggie dinner.

  • Roasted red potatoes (leftover)
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Sauteed carrots with sage

This huge plate is proving not to be very filling, so I’m about to go scrounge up some more snacks.

Rereading this post, I am realize how completely random it is.  I hope nobody minds!  We all need some randomness now and then, right?!  🙂

Have a great night, everyone!

The Three R’s

My day was all about the three R’s:  rest, recovery, and relaxation!  After my 10-miler today, I hopped in the shower and then settled down to relax for a bit!

I put some ice on my knees and shins:

(Do you love my PJ pants?  They have old-fashioned winter postcards from ski resorts on them, and clash terribly with my quilt!)

If you’ve read my “Running” section, you’ll know that I was plagued by patellofemoral pain syndrome when I was a cheerleader in high school and college – although I believe the problem was mainly cause by wearing wooden shoes in marching band.  (This, however, is another story!)

Anyway, my left knee has been acting up again lately, and gets sore after about 7 miles, so I’ve started rest and icing.  I’ll get a brace for running or start kinesio taping again if I need to!

I read some Harry Potter while I iced:

I also snacked on leftover mini jalapeno popper pizzas from my Christmas party last night.

This recipe is from a Pampered Chef Season’s Best cookbook, and it’s one of my favorite appetizers!  The mini crusts are just Pillsbury pizza crust, which you slice instead of unrolling.  And the topping is Neufchatel cheese, bacon, jalapenos, red peppers, and cheddar cheese.  It’s a hit at parties!

After my lunch, reading, and icing, I proceeded to take a 3.5 hour nap and wake up feeling a bit better.  Between my stressful week, staying out at the party last night, and a 10-miler this morning, I think my body just needed to rest!

After my nap, I did some Christmas shopping online for the Husband and worked on plans for our Disney trip in March when I am running the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  🙂  Then I made a huge plate of veggies for dinner:

This delicious plate included:

  • Roasted red potatoes (olive oil, salt, pepper)
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Sauteed carrots with sage

Let’s not forget my glass of white wine.

All my favorite wines are from Oregon, and Publix recently expanded their selection of Pacific Northwest wines!  Right next to my favorite (King Estate Pinot Grigio, which they never used to carry) I saw five new wines from the Wilamette Valley, including this one from Duck Pond.  I’ve had three small glasses so far, and I think it’s very good – and the price was right at $11.99!

And dessert!  (It’s an indulgent kind of day, I guess.)

Oh, peppermint, how I love you!  Edy’s peppermint is a seasonal flavor that shows up in December, so I have to enjoy it while it lasts!  This was my first bowl of the season and it was delightful!

Now I’m finally getting around to watching Holiday Inn, one of my favorite Christmas movies.  I’m going to get back to the film – have a good night, everyone!