Logging Miles in the Winter

December 31, 2016

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy…” – Elle Woods

…………….


(Photo by the Grand Forks Herald)

When Jared gets home from work, he can usually tell if I squeezed in a workout that day due to my demeanor. Unfortunately, running in the middle of winter is tough to do when you live in North Dakota. Here are some things I do to allow me to log my miles even if there is snow on the ground.

1. Find a running buddy
I have a dog, Argo, that LOVES to go running with me. Knowing that he will eat our entire house if he is not exercised is great motivation for me to get moving.
(I have been using this hands-free leash for months and it prevents one arm from getting sore.)

2. Learn to love the dreadful treadmill

My rule is that if the temperature (with windchill) is above zero degrees, I will run outside. If it is below, I will run on the treadmill.

A few years back, we purchased this treadmill and it has held up great! We already had one functioning treadmill but when our neighbors moved away, we jumped in and bought a second one. Why? So Argo and I can run side-by-side in the basement!

Treadmill training is brutal so I have little tricks to save me from boredom. These include only allowing myself to watch my favorite television shows while on the treadmill and covering up the display so I can’t look at my distance or time.

3. Lower those expectations
When I run on the treadmill, I do it at a SLOW pace. When I run outside in the winter, as to not fall on my face, I shuffle my feet. The things I just listed simply make me run slower. On my outdoor runs, I just run for a certain amount of time OR miles but never both. If I tracked both, I would be too discouraged by my pace after seeing my miles per minute report.

4. Get some great gear!

Do you remember the show What Not To Wear? If you saw what I wear running, you would want to nominate me for a similar style makeover. If I had to pick two game-changing pieces I wear outside, it would be my facemask and pants.

Facemask
We all know what a facemask does, I don’t need to tell you that. I love my Cold Avenger mask and it makes a huge difference. It manages extra moisture away from skin and allows for 100% free breathing where other masks eventually freeze up. It also comes in two pieces so if you become too warm, you can take of the ventilator.

Tights
I was gifted North Face windproof pants a few years ago and have worn them faithfully since. If they were waterproof, I would actually wear them downhill skiing in addition to running. The only downfall is that they have an unflattering waistline that digs into my hips. I have yet to find a pair of pants that tops these.

5. Set a goal 

Runners are naturally crazy people. Some of us crazies will actually run races in the middle of winter. I have set a goal to run a half marathon in January. Although I will have to travel five hours to get to the start line, I look forward to the experience! Someday, I will run the Antarctica full marathon but until then, the midwest will suffice.


(Photo by the Grand Forks Herald.)

The Schanilec Christmas Card

December 21, 2016

One of the many things I like about my siblings is that we all have different strengths.

If I need help finding a unique gift for someone, I ask Sam.

If I have questions about anything to do with money or investments, I ask Ben.

If I have questions about my phone or computer, I ask Bizzy.

If I need help with anything math-related, I ask Philip.

When Christmas comes around each year, I always put on my design hat and start creating our family Christmas card. My siblings and parents know that is “my thing” and they just let me run free. They will give input as to their favorite photos and will answer questions if I have them but overall, everyone steers clear of Jess. This year, with a one-year-old running around, I had to keep the design VERY simple. I was thankful a storm day that allowed me time to complete this project.

My mom is a great photographer but it is impossible for her to be behind and in front of the camera at the same time. With that being said, my parents hired a photographer this year.

About two hours before we were supposed to be in the studio, my dad called and said that they were still harvesting beans and he couldn’t leave his business. Thankfully, our photographer was able to travel to Forest River on such short notice.

The wind was a little rough on our hairdos BUT we were able to get some great shots! In some of the photos, you can even see the trucks in the background dumping beans!

Merry Christmas from the Schanilec Family!

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(Photos by SB Photography)

A trip to Pisek, North Dakota

December 21, 2016

Underoos 



Three years ago, I rigged my in-laws’ Christmas gift exchange. For some reason, I thought it would be easy to shop for a gift for my father-in-law and the plan was to get him bullets for his gun. My dreams were shattered when I realized that bullets are a hot commodity in North Dakota and needed to be preordered. He got a knife instead.

This year, I did not rig the drawing and I still drew my father-in-law’s name. I love giving practical gifts BUT most practical items (socks & underwear) he would just buy for himself if he needed them. I told my husband that I was thinking about getting his dad SAXX underwear. Jared politely suggested that I refrain from shopping for underwear for grown men. Back to the drawing board…

J Mart with the Win

I chatted with many grandpas at the gym over what to get my father-in-law. After many discussions, someone suggested candy! This was the perfect gift because most people love candy AND my father-in-law likes weird candy that you can’t get at gas stations.

On a day that was 10-below-zero, we headed to Pisek, North Dakota to J-Mart to shop for some treats. When we pulled up, we noticed that they do NOT accept debit or credit cards, so we rummaged around for some dollar bills and headed inside.

When you walk in the store, you take a step back in time. This general store had boxes upon boxes of candy lined up for customers in addition to their basic household items. After talking to the Jelineks, they said that the assortment in front of us was half of what it was a month earlier. 

Each year, they increase their order and each year, they still sell out of many items.

They take detailed notes as to how many cases they ordered, the price, when the item arrived, and when it sold out. 

In addition to candy, they proudly sell pickled herring, headcheese, nuts, and much more.

When we arrived home, mom someone asked if we could open the bags of candy and we decided that was a great idea! Based on Jude’s smile, his favorite was the chocolate-covered coconut. Can we count that as a serving of fruit?

J-Mart was a great experience and we look forward to making a trip to Pisek, North Dakota a yearly Christmas tradition.  Next year, we will make sure to visit earlier in the season so we are able to get the full selection before the items sell out!

PS- This is our secret. Don’t tell my father-in-law about this post!

Our 2016 Christmas Card

December 18, 2016

ChristmasCard2016OutlineChristmasCard2016backOutlineMay the joy of Christ fill your hearts this holiday season and throughout the new year. Merry Christmas from the Gowans!

4(Photo by Granny Kelly)

2(Photo by Granny Kelly)

3(Photo by Granny Kelly)

8(Photo by Granny Kelly)
6(Photo by Granny Kelly)

9(Photo by SB Photography)

Snow Day Reindeer Art Project

December 12, 2016

We were blessed with two storm days this week! On the first day, I made a lofty check-list of all of the items we were going to accomplish. Although an art project with the boys made the list, it didn’t happen until our second snow day.

Jude (with the help of his teachers) made an adorable reindeer at school and being he was already a seasoned pro, we decided to make another one!

Supplies:
Brown paint
Paper
Glue gun
Pipe-cleaners
Red puffy ball
Wiggle eyes

Cost:
Less than $5 (I used a Michael’s giftcard to save 40% off on this pack)

Steps:
1. (Optional) Mix the paint
I wanted to make our paint a LITTLE lighter as to not make it look like pure poop.

2. Paint the feet


3. Press the feet onto your canvas


4. Make and attach the antlers



5. Add the nose


6. Glue on the eyes


Jude thought it was necessary to take a snack break mid-project. Thankfully, we made a few extra prints.

I realized my dad’s birthday was coming up and as an avid hunter, we knew this would be a perfect homemade gift.

Ta-Da!

 

Running without pain.

December 8, 2016

…….

I couldn’t walk without pain.

I trained responsibly for the Fargo Half Marathon. I followed a training plan, actually rested on my off-days, cross-trained, and did strength training. However, after the Fargo Half, I was in quite a bit of pain. Although my entire body ached, my shins were screaming the loudest.

After a two-week rest, my shins were still wounded. I wanted to begin running again but I didn’t want chronic shin pain throughout the summer. In a last-stitch effort to save my favorite hobby, I visited our local running shop, See Dick Run, to get a running analysis and shoe recommendation.

(Before going to See Dick Run, I was running in the Brooks running shoes. Specifically, the Glycerin 11s.)

When I arrived at the shop, the salesmen, Adam, did a quick ipad recording while I ran down the sidewalk. Afterwards, we analyzed the clip, chatted about my goals, and he suggested I try on the ugliest running shoes I had ever seen… The Hoka One One Cliftons.

I wanted to hate these shoes because I couldn’t imagine wearing them in public. They make me look like I am trying to add two inches to my beastly height of 5’2 (and ¾… can’t forget that ¾ inch.) Nevertheless, when I laced them up and went for a run down the sidewalk, my outlook changed.

These shoes are magical. They made me feel as though I was walking on clouds! In the following months that I wore my Hokas, I was finally able to run a full marathon (26.2 miles). This was a goal I had previously never accomplished due to injuries.


…….
A few weeks ago, my shins started to hurt again and I knew it was time to visit See Dick Run. This time, the owner, Richard, was in the shop with his adorable daughter. I tried on a few different types of Hokas but ended up sticking with the Hoka Cliftons.

If you haven’t tried the Hoka brand of shoes or have not been into our local running shop, please give them a shot. See Dick Run has a treadmill in the shop so you can even try running in them before you make your purchase. The staff is very welcoming and supporting a small business is one way to help your community!

Summary
Who: Richard, Adam, and YOU…treat yourself!
What: Hoka shoes
Where: See Dick Run
Why: Because Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life.

Travel: A weekend in New York city

December 5, 2016

As a kid, I grew up watching hockey games at the University of North Dakota. One of my favorite memories was riding the zamboni during period breaks on the opening night of the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Although it would take a lot to top that experience, a weekend trip to New York City to cheer on our home team came awfully close!

Friday-3:45AM
I woke up and realized that we overslept. We hurried out of the house and we were on the road by 4:00 AM. We arrived to Fargo at 5:10 and squeezed through security with one minute to spare. You may think I am just being dramatic but we literally had ONE MINUTE before they were shutting the door. When we got to our seats, I turned around to see my shoeless mom walking down the isle. We were off to a wild start!

(Watching 13 Hours– I highly recommend it!)

After our layover in Chicago, we arrived in New York City. In looking for a taxi, Andres, a random man I met on the sidewalk, lined us up with a car service and to our hotel we went.

Tip: If you have a party larger than four, instead of getting two taxis, look into getting a private car service. It can be cheaper to have a car service provide you with a suburban (and driver), than flagging two taxis. In our case, that was true. 

Central Park
After lunch, we walked to Central Park to look at trees, rocks, and grass.

Jared asked me to Photoshop pigeons on his arm like in Home Alone, but I thought a random photo of him sticking his arm out was more entertaining.

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Lion King
We stayed at the Marriott Marquis and the Lion King broadway show happened to be a few feet from our hotel door. As someone that isn’t crazy about theater, I thought this production was outstanding. After the show, we were all raving about the play. My dad, however, was not as impressed. We later realized that the play didn’t make sense to him because he had never seen the movie… He always surprises me!

Tip: If you are going to go to the Lion King musical that follows the storyline of the movie, watch the movie. 

Night Caps
We went out for drinks after the Lion King and only walked a few feet before flagging down a few carriages. We pressured our bike driver to race the other driver and we lost. After a few drinking games and changes of scenery, we called it a night.

Hockey Hockey Hockey
On Saturday, we did some sightseeing, napping, and eating. My dad insisted that we all wore unflattering matching green jerseys on our Saturday adventures. Before the hockey game, we went to two receptions for UND fans. Both were completely full and we had to leave. That’s when I knew we had a wild night ahead of us. Upon arriving to the game, we met one of my college friends, Joe, and did our best to show him a true North Dakota hockey experience.

I think we succeeded.

(Keeping up with the UND football game.)

(Matching green tents courtesy of the man footing the bill.)

Sunday- 6:00AM
Bright and early we left to the airport. Once again, we used a car service and it ended up being the same price as a taxi fare. By 4:00 PM, we landed in our great state of North Dakota.

Las Vegas 2018
I am thankful we were blessed with such an amazing opportunity to travel to NYC and watch our hockey team dominate. I am already looking forward to the Las Vegas hockey game in 2018!

Gifts from people I don’t know 

November 30, 2016

For the last three years, I have been in Las Vegas when my birthday rolled around. (How great is that!?) This year, I was at home BUT I still figured out how to feel like a high roller on my special day.

…Discounts. Coupons. Free. Those words sure make me smile…

A few days before my birthday, I took to Facebook to find out which places in Grand Forks offered free birthday food. It turns out that I could only find THREE places in which you can get a free birthday meal with no strings attached. I discovered in most places, you needed a companion to  pay for a meal to get the free birthday entree …OR… you had to sign up for a rewards program.

Starbucks 1

After realizing there were only three places with truly free birthday meals, I got two identical e-mails from Starbucks wishing me a happy birthday. Included in each email was a coupon for a free food or drink item.

How could this be?!

It turns out that I used to have an active Starbucks account with my maiden name. Now, I have one with my married name. Being both accounts have had activity, they sent a birthday surprise to each!

Starbucks allowed me a window of a few days to use up my birthday giftS. Trying to get the most out of my free food or drink item, I ordered a sandwich the night before my birthday because it costs more than my regular drink. It was so good that I forgot to take a picture before I ate it. Please enjoy the photo of my empty bag instead.

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My big day had arrived! I started the day off with a trip to Starbucks after school drop-off. A few seconds after taking the photo, I realized that I should have ordered a venti instead of a grande because a venti is larger AND still free. Next year I will remember!

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Mama Maria’s 

I finished up my duties at work around 1:00 and headed to Mama Maria’s for my free lunch. I forgot to bring cash for a tip so I ordered a glass of wine, which allowed me to add gratuity on my card.

After triple-checking with the waitress that my entree would be free, I placed my order, and hung out with all of my imaginary friends.

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Paradiso

Onward I went. My next stop was Paradiso. After once again confirming that my meal would be free, I ordered a glass of wine and my entree. After a few bites, I asked for a to-go box and the check. I was in and out before I could take more than a sip of my drink.

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Cherry Berry

After leaving Paradiso, my car smelled of leftovers and my belly was full. I ran a few errands and squeezed in a workout before picking up our son at school. Together, we traveled to Cherry Berry for a nice treat. Upon our arrival, I quizzed the kind employee as to how to redeem by birthday treat. At the Grand Forks location, I was able to get 10 ounces free with my ID. Being I was full, I let our son fill up the cup and added a few gummies for myself.

When there was one gummy left, he told me I could have it because it was my birthday! How sweet is that?!

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Overall

Growing up, my dad was always gone on my birthday because he would be hunting out of state. Now, every few years, my husband also goes on that trip. When I told Jared of my birthday plan, he mentioned it sounded a little depressing and apologized that he couldn’t come with me. He was right. In fact, I was a little hesitant to eat alone. Thankfully, it turned out to be a great experience! I am going to make this a new birthday tradition.

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Birthday Gifts from the Grandkids

November 28, 2016

Each year, about three days before my mom’s birthday, my dad sends out an SOS e-mail. He asks if we have any ideas for gifts to get her. Usually, I just wish him luck because my mom is a tough one to shop for!

This year, I had two secret weapons when it came to my mom’s birthday gift: the grandchildren!

With hours to spare before her birthday, we went to Michael’s so Jude could lay on the floor and cry  to pick out something to make. Our foster son picked out cute wooden arrows AND a $1 birdhouse. Go big or go home folks.

The next day, we had a painting party in our kitchen. I stripped Jude down to his diaper because he likes to express his creativity by rubbing paint in his clothing. In order to control the finished product a little bit, I hid the red, brown, and black when painting the arrows.

To help Jude achieve the look he was envisioning, I poured paint on the wooden arrow and let him rub it in.

The cleanup took longer than the painting BUT we ended up with some pretty cute gifts for Granny Kelly.

Happy 65th birthday Granny!