Dec 14

Lots of Winter Fun

Lots of stuff to catch up on.  Sit back and enjoy.

Christmas Tree

The weekend before last, Jennie, Bailey and I ventured out to find the perfect Griswold Neumann family Christmas Tree. As in previous years, we headed out to Vormittag Tree Farm to pick one out.  It was a bit rainy but that didn’t stop us.

image 2011-12-03 11.08.36

Bailey was very intrigued by the whole thing and helped us pick out this gem; a nice white pine.  The fact that it was high off the ground and easy to get under helped seal the deal.  I even planned ahead this year and brought scrap piece of carpet along so I wouldn’t have to lay in the mud.

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Bailey even wanted to help decorate by insisting on being the one to put on the star.  In the end, he was a bit too short to reach the top, so we helped him out.

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So far there hasn’t been any problems with Bailey and the tree. He hasn’t chewed up or broken any ornaments yet.  He has gotten his head or tail tangled in the lights a couple times when he looks out the front window, but that is it.  It sort of freaks him out when he turns around and half a strand of lights comes with him.

Ironman Party

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to an Ironman Party.  Bruce, one of the guys I swim with, invited me to an annual end of the year party he hosts at his house.  The party is every year on the date of the NBC Kona special. While the broadcast itself was a little dull (at least compared to watching it live back in October), the party was awesome. I met so many great people and actually saw a few familiar faces from previous rides and races.

Gingerbread Houses

On Saturday, Jennie and I began the prep work for our Sunday activity. Matt and Jenn Smith were coming to visit and we had some gingerbread houses to make.  While not a a difficult task, there were a few steps that required baking and then waiting until the next step could be done.

2011-12-10 10.52.35 2011-12-10 15.43.13
A fresh batch of gingerbread! Jennie helped roll out the dough and cut out the shapes. We cut up the extra dough into stars and Mickey Mouse heads with the only other two cookie cutter shapes we have.

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We were running out of room for all the pieces to cool down. 
Once cooled, we began the assembly phase.

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It worked! A free standing house!

Blogger Meetup!

On Sunday, Matt and Jenn came to visit.  We are really glad that we could get together because they are such an amazing couple.  We’ve had a few meetups in the past at races, but this is the first one with no running (except by the dogs), biking or swimming.  Along for the trip was their pup Maglee.  She and Bailey had a blast chancing each other around in the snow outside.  In fact, Bailey seemed to like Maglee a little too much and he hasn’t quite learned “No means no” yet. Sigh…

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We hung around chatting for a while before decorating our gingerbread houses.  We had each brought some of our favorite candy for decorating and some of the candy actually made it onto the houses and not into our mouths.

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The aftermath!

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The final product!

After wrapping up our houses, we headed out for a watch with the pups.  Bailey and Maglee were great walkers as we walked up to Reeds Lake and the Gaslight Village area.

After the walk it was getting to be time for dinner so we caged the beasts and headed back up to Gaslight Village to Big Bob’s for some pizza.  It is one of our favorite places and oh so good.

The pups were protesting the group shot.  At least Bailey is laying down
for this one and not giving you a butt shot like other attempts.

An Early Christmas Present

I got an early work present from work yesterday – a brand new iPad2! Woohoo!


I’m still figuring it all out and getting it setup.  If there are any iPad users out there, do you have any recommendations for a blog posting app? Or any other must have apps for that matter?

Actual Training

Rest assured, I am actually doing some training still.  In fact, last week I logged 57 miles running making it my highest volume week of running ever.  This week marks the beginning of a new marathon training plan with another 55 miles on tap. I’m hoping to post a bit more about the actual plan and my goals later this week.

How is your Christmas season shaping up? Lots of fun activities? More fun to come?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2011/12/14/lots-of-winter-fun


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  1. BDD

    Holy pincushions!!!! We use to goto Vormittag Tree Farm!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the memory!!!!!!!!!!

    I never made a gingerbread house, when do you eat it? or you dont?
    BDD recently posted..Weekly Ramblings – Sort Of

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Wow!! Why the heck did you come all the way over hear for a tree??? Small world.

      As for the ginger bread houses, yes, you can eat them if you want. We usually don’t though as they end up sitting around for so long getting dusty/dirty and what not. I used the Simply Recipes guide (http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_a_gingerbread_house/). The only thing that is potentially inedible is the royale icing. It calls for egg whites which are uncooked so a potential for salmonella. However, we used pasteurized egg white powder as a substitute to keep it safe.

  2. Carolina John

    Nice! Western NC grows a lot of christmas trees, it’s a huge industry there. I love going to a cut your own tree place.

    We’re doing the gingerbread house thing this afternoon. should be fun!
    Carolina John recently posted..Jolly Elf Pics!

  3. Beth

    Wow – the gingerbread houses look amazing! That’s pretty funny that Bailey like Maglee that much. Looks like the two wonderful couples had an awesome Sunday.
    Beth recently posted..Wordless Wednesday

  4. Jeff

    Those gingerbread houses look like they take some serious skills to make – well done!

    Congrats on the big mileage week!
    Jeff recently posted..Week in Review – All Pictures

  5. Christina

    What a wonderful time with friends (both dog and human)! The houses turned out great, but I can imagine the chatting was just as awesome. I think us old married with kids folks forget times like these. Loving the hair in the mixing bowl shot. Nice.
    Christina recently posted..Quick Note

  6. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    I am with BDD on the question of eating the gingerbread houses. Do you? I’ve never made one and wanted to this year but haven’t gotten around to it. Maybe I’ll make one this weekend with my nephew.

    Looks like life has been treating you real well this holiday season and that is important since soon enough it will be IMMT all day all the time.
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Blogger Gift Exchange

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Yes, you can eat them if you want. We usually don’t though as they end up sitting around for so long getting dusty/dirty and what not. I used the Simply Recipes guide (http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_a_gingerbread_house/). The only thing that is potentially inedible is the royale icing. It calls for egg whites which are uncooked so a potential for salmonella. However, we used pasteurized egg white powder as a substitute to keep it safe. I’m not sure what the vegan friendly option would be. Possibly just an egg white substitute? Also, if you want to keep it super simple, you can even do a graham cracker ginger bread house (http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Gingerbread-Houses-Using-Graham-Crackers).

      Post pics if you end up making one!

  7. Jon

    Awesome run volume! Gonna be exciting how the marathon build goes.

    So I wrote on Matthew’s blog that to determine the winner, whoever eats theirs the fastest wins! 😉

    P.S. You are all very tall people!
    Jon recently posted..(random) Wordless Wednesday

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      BAHAHAHA! Can the dogs help with the eating contest?

      PS: We will try not to step on you.

  8. adena

    Nice job on the GB houses!! Can’t wait to hear what apps you find for the iPad. I can’t imagine blogging from the iPad though.
    adena recently posted..Kona Race Report

  9. Matt Smith

    Nice writeup. And, you freaking scored on that ipad2. I’m still wondering if I really want one or not. Since I got my iphone, I don’t use my Macbook Pro as much. If I got an ipad, I think it would be game over.

    57 is my record for running…IN A MONTH! Good work there, Kevo!

    I liked your reply to Jon about not stepping on him. Watch out below!!!

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      You know, I really didn’t want an iPad bad enough to buy one myself, but I am absolutely loving it. The same thing happened with the Kindle last year. Normally I would undock my laptop and bring it in the living room each night. I haven’t undocked it at all since I got the iPad. It is making for a good division of work and play. I haven’t typed a full blog post on it yet, but typing on it is easier than I expected. If you have to do lots of punctuation (parenthesis, !’s, etc.) it gets to be a little bit of a pain, but otherwise it works very well.

      I’m thinking of doing a post eventually with some of the cooler apps.

  10. Morgan

    You guys have been busy getting in the holiday spirit! 🙂
    Morgan recently posted..Wedding Warbling

  11. Beth

    Damn, those are impressive gingerbread houses!
    Beth recently posted..Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Holiday Cookie Season

  12. lindsay

    nice job with the gingerbread landscaping. i was sure to never forget to ice the whole yard and stick extra candy down. i wish i could make a house now, but there’s no real point since i can’t eat any of it 🙁

    your tree though is green, not white. just fyi.
    lindsay recently posted..november 2011: mile high

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      You are right. We totally got ripped off on the tree color… damn.

      Make a house any ways. The candy is never good once it has sat out for the holidays any ways. Then, after the holidays, you smash it like the Hulk in frustration!

      Oh, and Thank You very much for the Christmas card. You are really on the ball. Yours was the first one we got from anyone. But I have to give you crap about the picture – SC isn’t nice enough to find a spot to take a picture??? You have to go to NC for all the good scenery???? haha!

      1. lindsay

        that’s true. plus if you use the same kind of icing we used, it’s next to impossible to actually get candy off!

        as for the photo, last year we used one from tahiti. my theory is they’ll be personal postcards from all over the world and in the rare event someone saves them all, they’ll have quite a postcard collection. so basically hang onto it because it will be a collectors item.
        lindsay recently posted..november 2011: mile high

  13. katie

    your hair? in the first gingerbread house photo? AMAZING!!!!
    katie recently posted..wordless wednesday

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Note to self: Do not spend any time on my hair. Just shower and leave it. Chicks (apparently) dig it. Who knew?

  14. Heather O

    Where to begin….

    Christmas tree hunting sounds like a blast! Much more fun then getting it out of the attic and assembling it each year 😉

    Fun blogger meetup! The gingerbread houses look amazing! Do you guys actually eat them or are they just for decoration? Glad the pups were able to spend some quality playtime together!

    I wish my work would give me an ipad! That’s awesome!

    Great job training. You are a superstar!
    Heather O recently posted..Behold the Future!

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      The gingerbread houses are edible, but we usually don’t eat them. We used pasteurized egg white powder instead of egg whites for the icing to avoid risk of salmonella just in case though. Of course some of the icing was consumed during the building phase 🙂

      You wish your work would give you an iPad? If I were you, I’d wish my work gave me a rocket! haha

  15. Mandy

    OK once you figure that iPad out, let me know…I just got one as well!!

    LOVE the Bailey photos, especially the one of him holding up the tree with his back.

    The hardest part of gingerbread houses are getting the walls up!!! 🙂
    Mandy recently posted..Wagging Wednesday – Lucky Number 7

  16. Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)

    How fun that you all got to meet up together! AND, those gingerbread houses are awesome!!
    Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) recently posted..One More IMAZ Post!

  17. Sean @ Learn Fitness

    Nice gingerbread houses and tree, we just found our tree (natural) and set it up with my daughter the other day, that was fun.

    For iPad apps I’d check out Blogsy for posting to your blog and Reeder for reading blogs. I have a ton of other apps I’d suggest for other things if you’re interested … yes, I’m an Apple fan, I’ve had almost every one of their “i” devices. They’re pretty awesome. Enjoy!
    Sean @ Learn Fitness recently posted..Searching For A Spring Motivational Race

  18. Emily

    Every year I try to get my family to do gingerbread houses. We always drop the ball. I’m glad Bailey was helpful!
    Emily recently posted..Revisiting Ironman

  19. Matt Oravec

    Holy catch up post!!! Yup read the whole thing and forgot half of it at this point already…

    SOOOOOO, awesome on the blogger meet up, matt and his wife seem awesome! Plus they have an awesome pup, which doesn’t hurt either haha.

    Nice houses, however, you all lose points for not eating them that night!

    Nice work on the running mileage. I have gotten 60+ in and have felt the best for my marathon with that mileage. More IS better, trust me man. Just be careful for injury, if you are feeling a bit off take rest days, when you get your base up that high you can float a few more rest days.

    Keep up the good work!!!
    Matt Oravec recently posted..1+1+1 = 3…

  20. Colleen

    I love all of your pictures! You and Jennie are too cute! How fun that you got to meet up with Matt and Jenn and make gingerbread houses… maybe next year if we are all in Atlanta, you guys can fly down and we can all make them? 🙂

    I am super jealous of the iPad2. Dang… my company didn’t give me anything for the holidays! 🙂

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