I have a fun new toy to talk about today but first let’s talk about our evening and dinner.
Yesterday Nick and I had lofty plans to come home and whip up dinner before heading to North Fork Trail and go snowshoeing. We were also planning on going to the gym together afterwards.
Well, I whipped up dinner but Nick still wasn’t feeling great and decided against going snowshoeing (major bummer!). Our dinner was a stand-by favorite – Chicken Cilantro Tacos. I originally made these tacos by following a recipe from Cooking Light and making a few changes: namely, chicken in place of pork.
I’ve had this magazine and recipe marked for nearly five years now. Even though I have the taco recipe memorized, I love flipping through this magazine and finding other recipes to try – five years later, it’s still a good resource. I make the tacos by memory now and I often add a little of this or a little of that to change things up a bit. The basic gist of things is to sauté diced jalapeno with half of a yellow onion – add in long-sliced chicken breast seasoned with salt, pepper and cumin. Once cooked, add in some diced tomatoes, a little chicken broth and simmer. Just before serving add in chopped cilantro and some lime juice.
Last night, I only used half of a jalapeno because I know Gary has a strong dislike of spicy foods and I omitted the chicken broth, using additional tomatoes to form the “broth” instead. I also subbed out a tortilla for a fold of flat bread – and topping the “taco filling” with some shredded lettuce and cojita cheese. The cheese and lettuce really brought the meal to a whole new level and I think that’s one change that will be sticking around.
Once dinner had settled and we had sufficiently tickled and worn out Spencer –magoo, my father-in-law, Gary, went to the gym with me and Nick stayed home. Nick and I are (supposedly – if he is feeling better) starting our marathon training today so I thought it would be best to do a non-running day last night and stuck to just the circuit workout.
This was my first time completing the circuit without doing any cardio beforehand. I still really like the circuit, but I definitely favor the cardio/circuit combo. Reading through the training materials for this marathon plan – which I’ll share soon enough – I am wondering how my overall fitness plans will come together. There is an awful lot of running and I am just hoping that I’ll have time/strength/energy to pursue other types of fitness while I’m doing this plan.
Anyway, after our quick mini-workout we came home and watched the Biggest Loser. Eating ice cream while watching that show? Irony. At. Its. Finest. The mini Haagen Dazs were on sale at Harmon’s 10 for $10 so naturally, we bought ten of them. I tried the Rum Raisin flavor last night and it was really, really good. The guys were kind of making fun of me because my ice cream had much more fat and calories than theirs – but I could read all of the ingredients on the label. Sometimes I wonder – do the nutrition facts labels mislead us? Certainly real food is better than processed food that is tweaked so much it comes out with less fat and calories? I think so… And anyway, the ice cream was my treat! I didn’t want a calorie-judging-committee raining on my parade.
Just before Christmas, I got an email from a friend about Tegu Blocks. I guess he is on their email list and got a discount offer because it was Christmas time – he forwarded it to me thinking I might have needed a present for the kids.
I had never heard of Tegu Blocks but the photos really caught my eye.
Tegu makes wooden blocks that have a small magnet inside of them so little hands can build all types of imaginative creations. I have long been a fan of wooden toys so I immediately started reading over their product information, reviews, etc. Turns out, there’s a lot more going on here than just a fun new toy.
Tegu was founded in 2006, by brothers Chris and Will who have really created something wonderful. The toys themselves are fantastic, but in setting up shop in Honduras, the company has provided jobs and taught craftsmanship to their employees.
After reading through the about sections and looking at some of the projects kids have submitted to their online gallery, I was totally fascinated. I immediately emailed the company, asking for more info and if they could help me in writing a blog post about what they were doing. Their response: “ask us anything but first let us send you some blocks.”
I was really shocked at this offer and I was really excited when the blocks arrived in the mail. They sent us a pocket set in the natural finish.
Now, most parents are thinking two things right now – a magnet, is that safe? and also, are the colors safe? Yes, and yes. The magnet is completely enclosed inside the block (you can barely find the seem it is so well hidden) and the colors meet all US safety standards. Also, should the magnet ever become exposed, say your dog chews up a block or you drive over it, you can send the blocks back to Tegu where they will recycle them for you (all at now charge to you) and they can get a replacement out to you.
The kids enjoyed the blocks but to be honest, the set we got is a little too small to really get building with. I think the pocket size is much more apt to be a feature on my desk, something to fiddle with when my brain is stuck on a math problem or I have writer’s block. Though on my desk I think I’d like these colors much more
this “explorer set”
I will admit to you that the blocks are rather pricey. The pocket set that was sent to me retails for $32.00 and the two sets I’ve shown are $140 and $110, respectively. But here’s my thing – Mack has a Brio train set and the pieces and parts for that are just as expensive. The starter Brio set runs about $145 depending where you buy it from. Mack is actually still playing with the train set that was Nick’s when he was a kid (plus added sets and additional pieces Mack has) – over twenty years later. I think quality, and quality wooden toys especially, are worth their weight in gold. So why not spend a little more money now and have something that my kids can hand down to their kids eventually? And in spending that money, I can feel good knowing that I’m supporting a company with a business model I can really get behind.
You can order the blocks and car sets from the Tegu website. And believe me I tried to find them cheaper.They are available on Amazon but for just about the same price as buying direct from Tegu*
Alright friends, I’m off to tackle the work day and I’m really looking forward to hitting the gym after work. Marathon training day 1: I’m comin for ya!
*I was neither paid nor requested to write this post. I did receive free product – the pocket pouch of blocks – from Tegu. Thoughts and opinions are my own, as always. I will add the blocks to my Amazon Associate store and any purchases made there will result in a small commission paid to me, from Amazon.