Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Workout Goodies Giveaway

I don't know about you but racing season is winding down and this is typically the time of the year that most people are either taking a break or gearing up for a big race early in 2015. For those who are entering the winter training season I hope these goodies will be useful to you. I wanted to go with a variety of items that perhaps any athlete can put to good use this winter!



None of these are items that I've used personally so I don't have any reviews but they all look like winners to me! With the days getting shorter those who are still running outside in the early morning or early evening need to be equipped with reflective gear such as the reflective snap bands (think slap bracelets!) above. I like these because you can put them over a long sleeve and gloves if you are bundled up and they really do remind me of slap bracelets which I really liked as a kid. If you're biking now that temperatures are cooler here in the south then perhaps the Nathan water bottle with bike clip will be perfect for you. Finally the Nike women's workout gloves (size Medium) are a great fit for anyone who's spending time in the gym during the cooler months.



No matter the activity we always seem to use gels at our house. Allan keeps some in his gym bag and we both use them before and during runs. Allan even uses them during his soccer games! GU gels are typically the ones I use most often but Allan uses a little bit of everything. The ones included are GU strawberry banana and tri berry, Honey Stinger acai pomegranate, Hammer gel vanilla, and Pocket Protein strawberry.

We hope one of you will enjoy this collection of workout goodies to aid in your winter training. Just leave a comment if you'd like to win. The giveaway will close on Friday, November 21, at 11:59 PM. I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner and then publish a post to announce it.

**All of these items were purchased by me and not donated by any particular company.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Trail Running is Back!

Thank goodness it's been cold here because that means the snakes are gone (please don't correct me if I'm wrong on this!) and we can head back out to the trails with Sasha and Lucky. We have a great spot to run that's only a few miles from the house. There's a small wooded area with a trail that winds through and two ponds with trails that wind around them as well. The big open fields were a little muddy this time and quite difficult to run through. All four of us were sore afterward! Nothing better than waking up on a Saturday morning to go run with the dogs and then settle in for a day of college football. That's nearly a perfect day at our house as long as our Auburn Tigers win!





Sasha is doing great after her surgery and although she has a couple of other small fatty tumors I'm certain Allan is going to keep a really close eye on them. At some point she will probably have a second surgery if they get much larger in size. She's lost a few more pounds and weighed 65.5 lbs today! She hasn't been that tiny since she was less than 2 years old. She looks so good!






Lucky wore his tail out running trails last weekend and I do literally mean his tail. He runs with it straight up in the air and it was Tuesday before he was back to wagging it like normal. Normal is defined as swift enough to knock over almost anything at tail level. He had such a good time running and swimming in the ponds though. The arrival of cold temperatures a couple days ago have made Lucky extra cuddly which makes him even cuter in my opinion!







Rusty is having a blast spending his days out in the backyard watching the leaves fall and then pouncing on them. Watching a breeze blow through the leaves is hilarious! Rusty chases the leaves and gets crazy eyes which sends him sprinting around the backyard. He still thinks he's acting like the dogs when he lays down next to them and plays with small sticks. So far he's a fan of the colder temperatures but I haven't been brave enough to leave him out all day if it's going to be too cold. Last night he escaped coming back inside and ran under the guest bed. That's fifteen minutes of my life I'll never get back!




How's your fall going?
Anyone else enjoying running trails right now?

Hands Free Hipster Jogging Leash Review


Pros:

  • Comfortable waistband
  • Ideal for small dogs
  • Ability to attach two leashes
  • Includes two zippered pouches and a mesh pouch

 
Cons:
  • Leash material needs to be stronger
  • D-rings appear unable to sustain pulling from large dogs
  • Pocket for the phone is too small for my phone in its case
  • Handle for grabbing the leash is for tiny hands and could use padding to keep it from cutting into your hand
  • Water bottle holder will only hold small bottles (example: 8 oz. mini water bottle)  

 
Overall Thoughts:

The Hands Free Hipster Jogging Leash is a great product in theory but unfortunately not in practice for us to use with Sasha and/or Lucky. Sasha and Lucky are too heavy for it and a slight pull sent the waistband moving. In our short walk it was impossible to keep the leash in place. It slid up and down despite my attempts to tighten it around my waist. However it was comfortable and didn't cut into me like one might think a product like this would. My greatest concern was in the ability of the leash and the ring it's attached to to hold our dogs. Lucky pulled to get closer to our fence and I saw the leash strain and it felt like the ring might pop off with a few strong pulls by either Lucky or Sasha. I wouldn't trust it for a long run. Other aspects that make this unsuitable for long runs are the small water bottle holder and the phone pocket. If I can't put my phone or water bottle in the belt then I am left to carry both or use my water bottle that has a phone holder.



Ideally I'd like to see a product geared towards larger dogs and one whose design more closely resembles fuel belts that I use for running. They can hold a larger water bottle as well as a phone, snacks, or poop bags (since we are talking about running with dogs!) If I'm going to run with the dogs I'll have to stick to using my fuel belt and holding their leash in my hand. This leash would be a great fit for small dogs and their owners since most people with small dogs don't typically do long runs with their dogs. I believe you could easily walk one or two small dogs easily with this leash and have space in the belt for treats, baggies, etc.

Thank you to the makers of the Hands Free Hipster Jogging Leash for providing me with this product to review free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Where Treetops Glisten

When I first saw that this book was coming out this fall I knew that it was one I wanted to read. As most of you know I love World War II fiction! If you're like me and you love WWII fiction then you know these three authors are some of the best out there. Where Treetops Glisten is a novella collection of Tricia Goyer's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Cara Putman's White Christmas, and Sarah Sundin's I'll Be Home for Christmas.

Their heartwarming and at times heart wrenching tales center around a time period that defined a generation. The Turner family could easily have been many families around the country and I can only hope there are people out there who will read this and connect with it as I have. I'll always think of these stories when I hear the Christmas songs they share their titles with. Most people probably don't realize that all three of these songs debuted during the years of WWII. I love that the authors tied that in!

The most interesting and one of the most enjoyable aspects of this book is that it tells the story of three siblings and weaves their stories together over a three year time period. Most novella collections center around friends which I feel are much easier to tie in than family. I can only imagine the work it took Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin to stay organized and put this collection together. Where Treetops Glisten is a book I can't wait to share with family and friends and I hope all of you love it as much as I do!



Book info

About the book: 

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime
Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas
Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America's involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
In Cara Putman's White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements---until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail's brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin's I'll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete's friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he's no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, "Merry" to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that's precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
The Turner family believes in God's providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ's birth and His plan for a future?

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/BwVP9

About the authors: 


TRICIA GOYER is a prolific author of nearly forty books, including Chasing Mona Lisa, and a speaker and blogger. 

CARA PUTMAN is the author of twenty books including Shadowed by Grace. She is the winner of the 2008 Carol Award for historical fiction. 

SARAH SUNDIN is the critically-acclaimed author of the Wings of the Nightingale series, the Wings of Glory series, and the forthcoming Waves of Freedom novels.

 Blog Tour Schedule



I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.

A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson

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A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson is the third book in her Lone Star Brides series. I have not read the first two but I would assume that you would gain additional back story on some of the characters without taking away from each book's stand alone value. Let me start by saying that I liked this story but disliked the main character (Jessica Atherton) from nearly start to finish. I began to warm to her just as the story drew to a close. All the references to her selfish and shallow ways were a bit much. I don't believe anything she did or didn't do in this novel were very selfish but it seems as though sometime between the end of her schooling (1893) and her current age of twenty-one (1896) she behaved in a way to where she felt herself to be shallow and selfish and thought others viewed her as such. Perhaps more back story to fill in this time period would have enhanced this aspect of her character if the reader is to assume that she's rich, selfish, and shallow but trying desperately to change herself into a better person.

Although I found myself being critical of her character I enjoyed the story and how her friendship with the two suitors (Harrison Gable and Austin Todd) developed. Austin was my favorite character in the story and the way his story was written made his pain nearly palpable. I couldn't stop reading because as bit by bit of Austin's character was revealed I became interested in learning more. What had happened to his family? Why did he move so far from home? Harrison had the complete opposite effect on me and I immediately disliked him and wondered what was wrong with him. Even on paper I felt him to be untrustworthy. The other characters added so much to the story and it was easy to feel the love and gentleness of both Jessica's mother and father. They obviously adored her and wanted her to have nothing but the best in life. I wish we had gotten to "meet" Jessica's brothers. Since I haven't read the first two books I don't know if they make an appearance in those. If not I hope the author will share their stories with us in the future!

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Meet Rusty Cat!!!

On August 16 we became a family of 5 with the addition of Rusty Cat to our family. Growing up on a farm means I've had cats my entire life. They've always been outside cats and that's our plan with this little guy. So far Rusty is in love with the backyard and all the trees. We've been crate training him like a dog (yes, you read that correctly!) and he's learning to go outside and come back inside like the dogs. Surprisingly Lucky and Rusty get along the best of all even though Sasha tries desperately to get the kitty to love her. I'll be the first to admit that I was a little worried when we got Rusty that Lucky wouldn't like him and that could lead to very bad things if you get my drift. Thankfully they are both respectful of each others space and seem to be good friends most of the time. Lucky is still adjusting to Rusty's erratic, catlike behavior that sends him flying across the yard chasing bugs and leaves.












Rusty's birthday is April 21 which is kinda neat because that's the day we got engaged in 2008 and it's the day after Allan's birthday. In case you're curious Lucky's not the only one that's become fast friends with Rusty Cat. Allan likes him and dare I say might even love him a little bit. They're quite the pair playing Destiny on the PS4 with Allan holding the controller and Rusty leaning over the controller watching what Allan's doing. We also lucked out with a cat that loves riding in the car like a dog. By some miracle we survived a 3-hour car ride with Allan driving, me riding shotgun holding Rusty, and Sasha and Lucky riding in the back. Road trips won't be lacking for entertainment anytime soon!
















So there you have it. We are officially cat owners!

Tried and True by Mary Connealy


Tried and True by Mary Connealy is the first book in her new Wild at Heart series. While I didn't do this on purpose this book also centers around women who fought in the Civil War disguised as men. The Wilde sisters (Bailey, Shannon, and Kylie) fought for the Union and after the war headed west to homestead. It was their father's urging that sent them all into battle and then out West. This first book introduces us to the Wilde family but centers around the youngest sister, Kylie. As it turns out Kylie is the most feminine of the three girls and has no desire to cut her hair short and continue to dress like a man. The way she sees it is that no one is going to venture out to her land anyway so why worry about hiding who she really is. That all changes when Aaron Masterson, the local land agent, stumbles upon her cabin just in time to catch her as she's falling off the roof in a dress and not looking at all like a man. This begins a whirlwind romance between two people who couldn't want more different futures. Kylie wants to put in the rest of her time required to homestead, sell her land to her family, and head back east to live in a civilized city where she can wear bonnets, serve tea, and be a lady. Aaron, however, intends to fulfill his commitment as land agent until the land rush settles down and then he plans to find a spot in the mountains where he can live in peace.

Not to worry this isn't a cut a dry love story. Things don't seem to go quite as either Aaron or Kylie planned and when danger strikes they both discover the depth of their feelings for one another. In my opinion the depth of all the characters is what makes this book so well-written. This book was a quick, easy read and one that I enjoyed. I can't wait for the next two books in the series so I can read more about Shannon and Bailey!

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.