Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Good Blog & My Reminder List

We all have blogs we visit for inspiration and ideas. I've been visiting a few blogs regularly to help me with getting back into my low carb groove and improve my numbers on the scale and my health.  Now I'd like to share these blogs with you. I'll share one at a time.

Today I want to introduce you to Kent Altena. He is an Atkins success story who lost over 200 pounds and has kept it off for several years.
 You can read part of his success story on the Atkins web site HERE.

Kent has run several races including half marathons and marathons all while eating low carb. He has been very helpful to me and answered questions regarding fuel during racing and little questions in general.

But the reason I keep going back to his blog are for the recipes! Every single thing I have made of his has been excellent. My family is constantly asking for his Garlic Parmesan wings. It's my son's favorite thing now. And I love the mock danish. The cinnamon buns are downright dangerously good! There has not been one thing I've made that hasn't been great! Oh, and I'm making his Faux Fried Rice (just click on fried rice link in post) again this week because the kids have been asking for it. Weird! My kids are asking for vegetables.

I also visit his blog to watch his extensive library of videos he's made to answer all kinds of questions about eating this way (found at top of blog). They've been more than a little helpful to me.

He has a section in Low Carbing Among Friends cookbook devoted to his story and recipes. Great book and great recipes.

As a matter of fact, I made one of his recipes for dinner last night. I'll share that with you in a moment.

But do go check out Kent's web site. A nice guy and GREAT recipes and videos. Plus when the scale isn't budging it's nice to see such a success story to motivate me. ;)

So this is the first blog I wanted to share with you. There will be more. Try one of his recipes. You won't be disappointed. I'd suggest the chicken wings. They're pretty much legendary around here and will make you say, "I can eat this and lose weight? No way!"
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Monday was a busy day for the Happy Texan. I had some coupons to clip and head to the grocery store. My morning got away from me and I just had a small snack for breakfast.

One thing I've learned is never go to the grocery store hungry! So before I left for my errands I had a filling lunch: chicken fajitas, mashed cauliflower, and massaged kale salad. Look! I got in some veggies!

Off to the pet store for frozen rats and mice, bird food for the parrots and a nail trimmer for the dog. Pets are expensive! Yes, I did say frozen rats and mice. The snakes eat once a week. Yes, I said snakes. Aw, they're not so bad. And they're quiet!

At the grocery store I ended up saving a good chunk of change by shopping the sales and clipping a few coupons.
I get home and Chuck demanded suggests asks nicely that I have dinner ready by 4:30 so he can go shoot a match that night. It's a zombie match (still not sure what that means) at an indoor range called The Arms Room. I'm not anti-gun but they just don't hold the same appeal to me as they do to him but I'm ready to be a cheerleader when duty calls. I did get a gun for Valentine's Day once. Somehow I don't think that mistake will be repeated. Ever. Nothing says I love you like a bullet.

Anyway, it's after 3pm and I have to have dinner ready pronto. And I have fried chicken, steamed fresh broccoli and mashed cheddar "potatoes" planned. Not exactly a quick weeknight dinner.

I throw all of the ingredients together for the breading which is parmesan and a bunch of seasonings. Look how pretty! I love the colors. Hmmm....might have to use that scheme as paint colors in the house.  (yes, I do get distracted easily)
 Then, oh crap! I forgot to buy cream at the store! It was even on my list. I was told that it is common for women to make this mistake but I do not believe that and take great offense.

I'm back home in a jiffy but Chuck walks through the door at around 4pm. Dang! I haven't even started!

Bread the chicken and let it set for a few minutes so it and the breading can become friends and bond. (recipe called for chicken parts but I have trouble eating chicken off the bone. I blame my years studying biology because I hate being able to name the tissues and bones. Will always remind me of the cat I dissected. ewwww and awesome at the same time! Darn it! Got distracted again.)
 Guess what. Dinner completed and on the table at 4:40. 10 minutes later than the 4:30 deadline I was asked to meet but I heard no complaining.
Oh good golly Miss Molly! This is some good eats right here. (I will refrain from being distracted and going on a tangent about Alton Brown and Good Eats.) Every plate was cleaned. I might have seen someone licking his plate but I will not mention names. Charlie asked if we had more. Rachel asked if we could have it again and said it was one of her favorite fried chickens I had ever made.

I don't remember the last time I made fried chicken. Back in 2010 and it was from America's Test Kitchen. What do you know? I DO remember the last time I made it!

Low carb chickeny goodness coming in at 2 grams net carbs each. I have a ratings system for my recipes which runs from 0-5 stars. I ask the family to rate each recipe then I write the results in my cookbooks along with the date I made it and any comments. So when I asked for the rating for the chicken I was told 11 stars, an obvious reference to Spinal Tap the movie but my cap is five stars.
You want to make this recipe. And where did I get it? You know the answer to this. Low Carbing Among Friends. And whose recipe is it? Kent Altena's. You can find the recipe on his blog as well as the cookbook. Enjoy!!!

After dinner we went to the zombie shooting spree. I sat in the waiting area and ventured into the range area when it was Chuck's turn to shoot. Not a good night for him but I think he had fun. My view:

Had the munchies when I got home so had a few pork rinds with a little jalapeno cheddar dip which is way too good. Chuck hates pork rinds and he was noshing on them.

I spent the rest of the evening looking through my Atkins book. My weight has been all over the place lately. Some was hormonal but after Austin I had a gain and it just doesn't want to go back down.  Well, I take that back, it has been steadily decreasing. So I decided enough was enough and I was going to get hard core about this.

The following are things that I highlighted in my book and is meant as a list for me to review. It may hold no interest for you whatsoever but I need it so I can glance back at it as a reminder.

Atkins Induction (and extended induction) Reminder List
  • can stay in induction up until I only have 15 pounds to lose then I really need to move to Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) so I can start adding more carbs and more foods back into diet. Can move sooner if I wish though. Up to me.
  • Cheese-only have up to 4 oz per day
  • cream- only have 1-1.5 oz per day
  • eat 3 meals a day or 4-5 smaller meals
  • if not hungry at mealtime, just have a small low carb snack but make sure it has fat and protein
  • sweeteners- only have up to 3 per day (oops)
  • drink two cups of broth per day until I add 50 grams of carbs back to my daily intake
  • drink 1 cup of broth an hour before strenuous exercise
  • always have veggies with a fat and a protein
  • don't go more than 6 hours without eating
  • lime/lemon juice- have up to 2-3 tablespoons per day
  • purchased salad dressings should have no more than 3 net grams carbs per serving
  • ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen can cause water retention and may block fat burning. Use Tylenol instead
  • drink at least 8 8-oz glasses of water per day
That's it for today. It's a rainy day here in Houston but even if I have to run in the rain I'm going to get in my training. Determination is the word for the day.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Plan B: The Race Report That Wasn't

Before a mini weekend recap, let me tell you about my half marathon!

Saturday night I got every little thing together including electrolyte mixes, Spibelt with bib pinned on (I was #1968...Chuck's birth year), Bodyglide.....everything! My timing tag was attached to my shoes:
I read every single thing on the race web site about the course and looked up the route on Google maps. Then I showed the family the course and everybody shook their heads in disbelief. Thirteen point one miles is a respectable distance but I never realized how far it was until I saw it on the map!

I began to dread this race which is something I've never done. There's usually a feeling of nervous excitement but never dread. Surprisingly, I was able to go to sleep without any trouble. Maybe it was the melatonin I took. No clue.

Sunday morning comes and I have to get up at the ridiculous hour of 3:30 am.  Insane! I'm thinking night races are the way to go in the future.

Having things put together the night before is always a good thing for me because I walk around in a semi-conscious state in the morning. I can't think at all. I just grab clothes and start putting them on.

I stumble to the kitchen and make a little breakfast that I have no desire to eat and wash it down with some caffeine. Sitting on the sofa, the dread of the upcoming race will not go away. Not only am I not ready for this but mother nature decided to visit that morning and I'm worried about logistics of the race. It's like I kept getting slapped in the face by the universe but I refuse to listen.

Finally Chuck sits beside me and starts to talk. He's already told me that he didn't think I should do this run but he would be there to support me if I want to do it. He even loaded his bike in the van so he could ride near me and keep me company. With a camera and a cowbell!

He tells me, "I have no doubt that you can finish this race but I also have no doubt that it will set you back again and you will have to pay for it. I'll be there to carry you to the car because I know that if you have to drag yourself across that finish line you will. You've already proven that you can run a half marathon because you've already done it! There's nothing to prove. It's ok not to go to this race. There are plenty of others. Don't hurt yourself because you think you have to run this race."

He was right and I knew it. I hate saying I'm going to do something and not follow through. I knew I was going to be disappointed in myself if I didn't go.

We talked for a while then I looked at the time. 5 am. I wanted to be there by then. The slower marathoners had just started their long journey. What should I do?

I decided to stay home. But I already had all my gear on! I was ready to go so I looked online to see if there were any 5K races that I could run instead. Just to be able to do something. There weren't any.

So back to bed we went and didn't get up until a little after 10. I was pretty disappointed with myself all day but I still think I did the right thing by sitting this one out. There will be other races.

As a matter of fact, I signed up for a half marathon yesterday because I have to have goals. Very goal oriented person. They keep me going. I must have something to look forward to!

So April 1st (coincidence that it's April Fool's Day? I think not!) I will be running Angie's Half Crazy Half Marathon The theme for the 2012 event is “Salute to Firefighters” which translates into big trucks, bright lights and lots of firefighters from different municipalities all cheering for us runners throughout every stage of the event. Should be fun!
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Now for a little weekend recap.

Friday night I had the opportunity to go to a bbq for the volunteers of the Houston Chevron Marathon/Half marathon. I didn't get to run or volunteer this year but I got to go as a guest of someone who did! It was packed!
I put sunglasses on some folks in case they didn't want their pictures on a blog.

That was a lot of fun and we all got great bbq and goodie bags.

Saturday Chuck had a shooting match where he placed fourth (Yay! Good job!). I was very sleepy all day Saturday.

Made up some Crab and Avocado Salad with Sesame Wasabi Vinaigrette. So good! Glad I'm not allergic to crab!
 The recipe is in LCAF cookbook. Love the dressing. It's spicy and would be fantastic over cucumbers or over seared ahi tuna.

That evening after everybody was finally home (Chuck had been shooting, Rachel had been at the mall and Charlie playing with friends) Chuck cooked T-Bone steaks that were enormous and I made up some mashed "potatoes". Great dinner! This is my piece of steak. Charlie and I were able to split one.
 For dessert I cooked up an "apple" crisp.
 It's made with zucchini but you really couldn't tell. It even looked like apples. The kids were asking me if they were really apples. Nope. I'm getting some veggies in them! They eat apples too but I have trouble getting them to eat veggies like they should. Not this time! It was great and only 2.1 grams net carbs.

Sunday morning was the day of the race. When I finally got up I was a little restless with disappointment and wrestling with some feelings so I cleaned up the kitchen and tried a new recipe for a homemade version of Hot Pockets. For some reason my egg whites did not hold their shape after I beat them to stiff peaks. Instead of Hot Pockets I ended up with a hot mess. Some days it's best to just step away from everything because it's going to be one of those days. Know what I mean?
 That would be egg, cheese and bacon in there. Still tasted pretty good but I think I'd add a few more seasonings to the batter. That's just my personal preference. Egg Pockets. Hmmm.....not quite. I'll try them again sometime. Darn eggs.
 The day went by way too quickly. That happens when you decide to sleep away most of the morning. Went by in laws' house to see their new car and they gave us their old Mercury Grand Marquis! So sweet. Chuck is going to use it as his work car so he doesn't put more miles on the truck.  I forgot to take a picture!

That evening I decided I should stay away from cooking so we went out to Joe's Crab Shack where I got a bucket of snow crabs and a Caesar salad. Yum yum yum!! I left the corn and potatoes though.
 I started feeling better that evening so I made up a batch of No Bake Peanut Butter bars which are very similar to a pan of Reese's Cups! These are super rich and tasty. LOVE them. The recipe is in LCAF cookbook. 2 grams net carbs each.
I ran out of butter for the chocolate topping. Ugh. Another cooking disaster today? Nope! I made my own butter by whipping cream with a pinch of salt until the butter separated from the liquid, squeezed out some more liquid and voila! Butter!

So all's well that ends well. Sunday started out disappointing but ended on a good note with signing up for a new half marathon.

Guess it's time to start training!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hot Diggidy Corn Dog

Beautiful Thursday here in Houston, TX. I stretched and made myself a Muffin in a Minute. I added Truvia and made it a bit sweeter and also some pumpkin pie spice. With a little cream cheese these things aren't half bad. 3.5 grams net carbs each.
Sorry about the rotten photos. I'll start using a real camera to take pictures again.

Muffin in a Minute

Ingredients

Directions


  1. Mix the flax meal, baking powder, sugar substitute and cinnamon in a coffee mug or single-serving soufflé dish.
  2. Add the egg and butter (or oil). Mix with dry ingredients.
  3. Microwave 1 minute or more, until firm
  4. Turn out and serve with butter or cream cheese. Or toast before applying spread.
Net Carbs:


 I used a Nathan's skinless hot dog which has 1g of carbs. I dried it off to help the batter stick. It's a very thick batter so it must be shaped with your hands. I added 1/2 tsp. of unflavored gelatin powder to also help it stick. Then fried it in a little coconut oil.
 The taste was really good. It's not just like a real corndog but I liked it a lot. Next time I'll add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sweetener to try to give it a little more of that authentic corndog flavor. Definitely a keeper recipe.  You can find it HERE.

Served it with an ample amount of mustard and a big spinach salad with Caesar dressing.











 Chuck got a sirloin but when it came out it was so tough that he had to send it back. He never sends food back so it must have been pretty bad. So he decided to get what I ordered instead:
fillet with lobster tail, broccoli and grilled asparagus.
 It was very good! And I learned that I have developed an allergy to lobster. That is so unfair! First shrimp and now lobster?! I refuse to believe it even though my throat started to swell and it became difficult to swallow. I gave the rest of the lobster to Chuck who enjoyed it immensely.

Small victory: instead of devouring the loaf of bread they set on the table I just looked at it. I'm sure it wasn't that good anyway, right? Right?!

Feeling full and relaxed we went to a Starbucks to hang out and have a cup of coffee with a shot of sugar free hazelnut. Ahhhh.





Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Peanut butter bars and Cinnamon Rolls. Oh my!

Thanks for the comments about the gorilla run on the last post. It was so much fun!

Usually after a race my hips hurt a bit because I push myself. And did you know that Austin has hills? Why do I always forget that there are hills in other cities?!

My calves were sore the next morning which scared me a bit. I stretched like crazy and they got better quickly.

Let's talk races and bad decisions for a moment. Sunday I am signed up for a half marathon. The USAFit Half marathon in Sugar Land, Texas. I signed up long time ago when I joined the running club. All was going fine until I developed an overuse injury in both my calves.

After my first half marathon in December I had to take the rest of the month off because I could hardly walk. I was on steroids and had to do stretches at least 3 times a day. It took a long time to recover and during that time I did not run.

I've only recently been able to get back on the streets. The gorilla run was my first race since December.

I know I am not ready for this half on Sunday. I've debated back and forth whether I should do it or not. My head tells me that I should skip it. My stubborn self tells me I should do it.

So, I've decided to do it. I'm going to be super slow. I'm going to have to take many walk breaks. My only goal is to cross that finish line even if I'm the last person out there. I just want to finish. And if I get in and feel that I can't finish, at least I get a ride in a police car to the finish. But I have to try. No, this is not a wise decision. I don't need to be told how foolish it is. I know! Chuck has told me I should sit it out but since I've made up my mind to try this he says he'll be there to cheer me on and support my decision. That's all I need right now. A little support.
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Monday night I made a new recipe for Maple Nut Blondies from LCAF cookbook. I was surprised that with so few ingredients it developed a cakelike texture!
 I did alter the recipe slightly. I added some sugar free chocolates to the top when it came out of the oven and let them melt slightly then spread them around. Chocolate and peanut butter just belong together!
 Next time I'll add a little Truvia to the batter because I like things a little sweeter. Yes, I have a sweet tooth. :)  The original recipe was posted HERE but it has been removed. You have to get the cookbook if you want to make them. (They're so good!) 5 grams carbs per serving.

Ugh. My weight went up some from my free-for-all lunch I had Saturday. It ticks me off too. And you know what's worse? It wasn't worth it. I mean, if I'm going to have a splurge for a celebration it should at least bring a sense of euphoria from its goodness. As Chuck said, "The food we've been eating at home is way better than this." So it wasn't a good splurge. It was a mistake. Oh well. Live and learn.

TUESDAY EATS

Breakfast was just a couple of scrambled yard eggs (my mom has given me 5 dozen eggs!!!) with some cheese, lots of hot sauce and a little bit of bacon. Tasty and filling.
 Lunch was some pizza. The crust is a cauliflower cheese recipe that I can't get enough of. I love this pizza! It's not crispy crunchy. Think soft crust. But full of flavor. Try it! Recipe found HERE. It was even featured on the Dr. Oz show.
Grocery shopping day. Not my favorite thing to do but I did score a mega spatula for half off! Now I can flip some big stuff!
Time to make the dinner. Meatloaf. I've never been a fan of the meatloaf (neither the singer nor the food). But I got ground meat on sale and I make my menus based on what's on sale.

This recipe is called Eggcellent Meatloaf and only has .9 grams net carbs per serving. After the loaf is formed the whole thing gets wrapped in bacon. Because a hug from bacon makes everything better!
 After cooking in the oven for an hour and a brief pass under the broiler this is what I got.
 And when you slice into it there's a surprise! A layer of boiled egg. The meat itself is flavored with finely chopped mushrooms, a few caramelized onions and Parmesan cheese.
 Served with a side of mashed "potatoes" and massaged kale. (I use Truvia as the sweetener in the kale and don't add mango or nuts as original recipe lists)
 Very good dinner. Filling too!

Dessert time! I tried yet another new recipe from LCAF (yes, I really do love this cookbook!). This time for Cinnamon Sweet Rolls.

Oh.my.goodness! These are so incredible. I'm without words to describe how tasty these are. Like biting into clouds of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. But the texture is much lighter but still full of flavor. Let me put it this way: I made 6 of them and they are all gone. The kids got into them. I had one. Chuck had....a few.  Definitely did not taste like 1 gram net carb!

And with a very happy tummy I went to bed. :)

Some good news: after my "little" splurge Saturday the weight is finally going back down. Not doing that again for a long, long time. It's just not worth it. My body loooooves sugar and starches. It loves them so much that it likes to keep them. Around my belly. And rear. And thighs. Not pretty.

Happy Wednesday to you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Austin Gorilla Run

I've been a part of "serious" races where the goal is to get to the finish line as quickly as possible. I've also been a part of an obstacle course 5K, a night race, and now a race dressed as a gorilla. These "fun runs" have always been the most memorable and the ones I've enjoyed the most. People are out there enjoying life and laughing and having a great time. These are my favorite runs by far!


Saturday morning Chuck and I got up at 5:30am which is mighty early when you go to sleep at 12:30 or 1 am! We go down to the lobby and have some breakfast then back upstairs to drink back a sugar free Rock Star (for caffeine) and I get my gorilla gear on.

We find a parking garage at City Hall in Austin. The "Occupy" people were camped out on the steps and must have been using the garage as their bathroom because it stank! It was so gross. I wish those people would go home and occupy their own homes instead of living like homeless and making our cities look bad.

We walk to the start line which was right outside the Run Tex store. Since it was in the 40's outside a lot of us gorillas stayed inside the store and just waited around for the start.
 Time to get the mask on and head to the holding area.
 The Guinness Book of World Record people were there doing an official count. We didn't quite make it. We had 1,023 gorillas and needed 1200. Maybe next time.
 The gorillas on wheels were allowed to start first.
 Uncle Sam gorilla. People were dressed in all kinds of crazy outfits. It is HARD to run in those masks! I carried mine.
 This gorilla got engaged right before the race started. I didn't get the gorilla-to-gorilla proposal picture. Congratulations, y'all!
 People were having the best time. Running, dancing, jumping around, grunting like a gorilla. People just enjoying life.
 Now this is talent! It's hard to ride a unicycle but with a costume and mask on? Bravo!
 This unicycler looked a little freaky to me. The head looked to big for the body.
 Super gorilla!!
 Just keeping Austin weird.
 Banana chefs! How clever!
 Oh no! King Kong gorilla got Barbie.
 Well, good for you, lady. Not sure I'd advertise it like that but do your thang.
 Oh la la! Bridal lingerie gorilla. How sexy.
 Tutus, roller blades, Planet of the Apes. All were represented.
 I ran behind these guys most of the time. At one point we were running under a railroad track and a passenger train came by and we got to wave at the astonished passengers. They had no clue what was going on. All they saw were a thousand gorillas running around and acting crazy. It made me LOL.
 This was my first race running on low carb. I felt so much better than the first run I tried last week. My legs felt good! By breathing, on the other hand, was not so great. I've lost a lot of aerobic fitness during my hiatus in December.

Somewhere along the course I lost my pink and black feathered boa and an earring. Wardrobe malfunction.

As I came around the corned to see the finish line I put on my gorilla mask but had to roll up the bottom so I could get some more air.
 Chuck finally spotted me. He didn't recognize me without the feathers. That man had the nerve to say we all look alike. How racist!!

Ashley and her husband Rob were waiting at the finish line with an awesome sign. LOVED it! That was so sweet of her to drive to Austin and cheer. I appreciated it and it was so good to see her. Wish we could have hung out longer.
 Yes, my face is very red. Even though it was cold outside it was very warm in that gorilla suit!

I'm not sure of my time because this was not a timed event and I didn't wear my Garmin. But Chuck did say I finished a lot sooner than he thought I would. And I was nowhere near the sag wagon so I think I did ok.

Then it was time for the post race street party at Fado Irish pub.
 Ashley and Rob left us to go get some food. Chuck and I got some Silverback Pale Ale and toasted a great run. This beer was good!!! I hadn't had beer in a while and according to the Atkins book the effects of alcohol are more pronounced while eating low carb. No kidding!! Dang.
 There were pink gorillas at the party too!
 We took our beer and free breakfast tacos and took a seat to listen to the bands and watch gorillas people have a good time.
 These guys were dancing in rhythm together.
 A band with a cowbell=awesomeness!

 The band tossed out sunglasses to the crowd and I got a pair!


 A nice lady offered me a massage. Oh sure. Why not?! Ahhhh. It felt good! I almost went to sleep.
 Made some furry friends.
 Whoa! Isn't that the name of the medicine the dentist gives me before a root canal?! I took that stuff once and woke up on the sofa of The Room Store. Messes you up!
 Time to make our way back to the parking garage. I'm hungry! I did not look out of place walking around. There were gorillas everywhere.
 It has been tradition to go out for pizza and beer after races. But since I'm trying to watch the carbs and my insulin issues and weight issues, we headed to Mimi's Cafe. I had intended to get something acceptable but decided to have one splurge meal. I am on a mini-vacation after all!

I got a five-way grilled cheese with turkey on it and fries. Then we split some stuffed beignets. It tasted like ambrosia. But as soon as we were finished with lunch we both felt sluggish and tired. 

Did I mention that I went to Mimi's in my gorilla costume? Yep. And a waitress gave me a hug. Several comments from patrons. Children stared. People were very supportive of my lifestyle choice of the day. This is Austin!

My favorite question was from the manager: "Is it your birthday?"
Ha! Because I guess if it were my birthday it would make sense to go out dressed as a gorilla with a tiara???

Back to the hotel where we took a nap for almost 2 hours. Then showered and back out. This time we met up with 11 people at a popular BBQ place called Salt Lick. There were buses in the parking lot. The parking lot is enormous! We had to get in a long line just to put our names on the list. We were told there was a two hour wait so it was time to get comfortable.

Under lit oak trees are long benches to sit. It's BYOB so people brought coolers of their favorite beverages.
 They sell fresh squeezed lemonade (you get to watch them squeeze the lemons!) and popcorn for the starving people who are waiting forever for some BBQ.

It was maybe 15 minutes before they called us. Yay! It was packed.

I wore my gorilla race shirt and got a shout out from a few people who had also run the race that morning. I love the camaraderie of races like that.
Chuck and I enjoyed sausage, brisket and smoked turkey (no sauce) and good company. It was a GREAT day!!

The only thing I would have done different was that lunch. It really messed me up. Both Chuck and I had trouble sleeping and didn't feel well the next day. You'd think I would learn!

Sunday morning Chuck shot a carbine shooting match with his friend until a little after 1 pm and then we headed home arriving aroun 6:30pm. It's good to be home but this was one incredible weekend that I'll never forget. I can't wait to do it all over again next year!