Tag Archives: holidays

Resolving to Save the World: and other impossible endeavors

Just like millions of other people, New Years means I choose to make a major change in my life — and then don’t.  I’ve tried the “I will get a 4.0 GPA this semester” resolution, the “I will run a marathon” resolution, and the ever popular “I will I will lose 10 pounds by summer” resolution.  All of these I did strive toward for a couple months, and some were more successful than others.  My GPA isn’t a 4.0, but it’s pretty dang close.  I haven’t ran a marathon yet, but heck at least I run more than I used to!  And I lost 5 pounds, not 10.  So my New Year’s promises weren’t epic failures.  Still, I think I’ve been going about them all wrong.

I’m not going to resolve to not make a resolution because I do think it’s important to give yourself a goal and have something to strive toward.  I feel the problem with New Years is that people are completely unrealistic. Planning on going to the gym every single day is not practical.  If you have a family or any other obligation in your life, something will inevitably come up that keeps you from getting there one day.  Then you’ll feel like a failure and give up completely.  I’ve been there, done that.

This year, I’m taking my dear, sweet time developing my resolutions, but here are a few that I’m thinking about:

1) Do something to show my husband I love and appreciate him more often.

2) Continue to work toward running goals, and run first race this year.

3) Do something to give back to the world in some way – volunteer, donate, etc.

I feel like these goals are general enough that I cannot fail, but will still make me a better person in one way or another.  I didn’t make the same promises that I’ve made in the past because I don’t want my past failure to impact my new goals.

My advice for developing your own resolutions?

Make smaller goals. Success is relative — you don’t need a large goal to work towards.  Maybe you’ll even accomplish them early in the year and be more motivated to continue on!  So this time instead of telling yourself that you’ll lose 100 pounds by next year, don’t give yourself a set number.  Just resolve to see the number on the scale go down.  That way, your goal is reasonable and attainable.

Make more than one.  Heck make 4 or 5 resolutions!  Okay, at that point you might lose track of them.  But if you make multiple promises to yourself, you’re bound to keep at least one.  On the other hand, make sure if you’re doing more than one that you don’t spread yourself too thin.  Keep them small and simple.

Don’t resolve to do anything you failed to do in the past.  This doesn’t mean last years resolution to get in shape doesn’t matter any more.  Being healthy is one of those goals that never goes away.  I just feel your chance of fulfilling a New Years promise increases if it isn’t the exact same one you didn’t do last New Years.  If you resolved to “start eating healthy” before, and it didn’t pan out, make a fresh, new goal this year.  Instead of trying to do major calorie cuts in your diet, resolve to swap one junk food item for a more nutritious option.  If you eat out almost every day, resolve to make one meal a week at home.  These will still get you on a healthier path without the sense of imminent failure.

I hope these help! Have a safe and Happy New Year everyone!

This just made me giggle...

Have you made any resolutions this year?  What are some things you hope to accomplish in 2012?

Holiday Rewind

Once again another Christmas season has whirred past like a red and green blur. After all the wrapping paper is torn off the presents, and the last morsels of Christmas dinner are finally devoured, I’m always left with the feeling of remorse.  I don’t love winter, but I love this time of year.  I enjoy the time with family, and the excitement and anticipation that Christmas brings.  After it’s all set and done, I’m left feeling like a girl who just got dumped and wondering, “Is it really over?”

About all the decorating I could handle this year

This year was especially strange because none of our typical holiday traditions took place thanks to the stomach flu epidemic that invaded our household a week before Christmas! Instead of baking my traditional fudge and setting up decorating our tree, Nick and I took turns heating up Cambell’s Chicken Noodle soup for the two of us.  Very romantic.  I sound so sarcastic, but it really was awful.  The upside is we were feeling MUCH better by Christmas Eve, and managed the drive down to my parent’s house in time for “Santa” to arrive.

Luckily My Parents Got It Right

Christmas Day, I came to the realization that I am either completely spoiled, or I was a very good girl this year.  I received a Garmin Forerunner 305 from my husband, which was the exact one I was pining over.  My brother gave me a running journal and a gift card that bought me a pair of Brooks Infiniti Tights and an Asics soft shell running jacket.  I now feel like I can get down to the more serious training because the below freezing winter weather can no longer stand in my way.  I won’t be a slave to my gym’s treadmill any longer.  Ha!  And last but not least, my parents gave me my favorite Lola perfume, so now I can smell delicious whenever I’m not sweating it out on a run.  All in all, I feel completely blessed to have such a thoughtful family.  But the gifts were still not my favorite part of the holiday season!  I love the food.

Green Bean Casserole

I still managed to run despite all the hustle and bustle of the season.  I did 3 miles in the great outdoors before the flu bug struck.  I took my dog, Dixie, with me using my hands-free leash (which I still love).  She needs the good ol’ stretch of the legs as much as I do!  I even cut a minute off my running time compared to my pace on the treadmill.  I haven’t ran since Christmas, but personally I wanted to give myself plenty of time to rest and recover.  Plus, I truly feel spending time with family during the holidays trumps my running plans.  I know I can make up for the time off, and it only happens once a year.  I’m sure the more dedicated runners of the world were out running 15 miles, while I was watching Muppets Christmas Carol and sipping a cup of hot cocoa — but I enjoyed myself!

I love this picture

I hope you all had a lovely holiday!  

What were some of your favorite moments? 

Cinnamon-Sugar Coated Pecans

For the last two years, I’ve been making these delectable pecans for all our family get-togethers.  Any time I serve them at parties, I’m immediately bombarded with requests for the recipe.  I have actually caught my aunts and uncles scraping the baking pan in hopes of devouring any remaining morsels.  If you’re planning any kind of holiday party, you’re going to want to serve these.

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Delicious

Ingredients

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 pound pecan halves
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Grease one baking sheet.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whip together the egg white, water and vanilla extract (if desired) until frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Add pecans to egg whites, stir to coat the nuts evenly. Remove the nuts, and toss them in the sugar mixture until coated. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.

This recipe is phenomenal.  I’m able to whip them together in minutes, and then it’s just a matter of baking time.  I’ve made these a day or so in advance and they taste amazing, but I especially love them hot and fresh out of the oven.  I’m thinking next year I will give these as hostess gifts to those who invite us to their parties.

Give Them Away as Tasty Gifts

I hope you all Enjoy!

You’ll Run Your Legs Off Kid

I Can Totally Relate

“I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle,” screams Ralphie as he clings to Santa’s red slide.  Ralphie, I can totally relate.  You want a Red Ryder BB gun, I want a Garmin Forerunner 305 with a GPS Receiver and built-in heart rate monitor.

Let's Hope Santa Reads Follows My Blog!

How I long to break free of my treadmill, my phone’s GPS applications, and MapMyRun.  To slap on this little beauty and head out in any direction imaginable for a serious run is all I’ve thought about since I made up my Christmas list this year.  Yup, we still make wish lists.  I think I’ll get lucky because this model isn’t the newest out there, so the price is reasonable compared to others.  Keeping my fingers crossed!  I’ll be so happy to tear open the wrapping paper and find myself holding the forerunner in my hands, I imagine I’ll bust out the front door and immediately start running down the street to test it out!

Other items on my Christmas list include:

Cold Weather Running Tights

I wasn’t very specific with the running clothes, as long as their made for cold weather.  For someone who lives in a state with frigid winters, you would assume I already have warm clothes to workout in.  Nope!  I had two pairs of long underwear, and somewhere along the line they’ve disappeared into the abyss that is my closet.  I have a pair of sweatpants, but they’re capris — not too good for running through slushy roads.  So any cold weather item would be greatly appreciated!

Because I Like to Not Smell Bad

I remember smelling this perfume in the department store a year or so ago, and I haven’t forgotten how much I loved it!  I’m one of those girls who loves nice scents and perfumes, but I can never justify spending so much on such a little bottle.  So I decided to put this on my Christmas list because it’s something I’d never by for myself. Plus it just looks so pretty!

A Water Bottle with a Built-in Filter

This whole concept intrigues me.  I would love to be able to fill up my water bottle at the gym or school and always have good tasting water at my fingertips!

That about wraps up my Christmas list this year.  Obviously, I don’t expect to get all of these things, if any!  It’s fun to dream and no harm in that!

What are some things you’re hoping Santa brings to you?  What is has been your Red Ryder equivalent?

 

Make It Through the Holidays Without Gaining a Pound

Healthy Holidays

 

Healthy Holidays!

How do people make it to January without weighing 10 pounds more than they did before the festivities began? Here are a few tips that I plan on putting into practice myself and you may want to as well!

Eat! Yes, eat breakfast, have healthy snacks readily available and always, always, always… Eat before going to a holiday party. Don’t feast, but have a light meal so you don’t show up starving and ready to polish off that cheese dip.

Don’t worry about saving room for dessert because half the time it’s not a diet friendly dessert anyways! Instead, fill your plate with a lot of healthy lean meat and veggies. For example, this would be turkey breast without skin and salad. Eat the healthy stuff first, then have a tiny sample of one or two other things you can’t live without.

When it comes time for dessert… If you must have it – split it with someone! Or better yet, bake your own healthy dessert and bring it to share! Then you are being healthy and a good guest! (See recipe for Baby Tiramisu at end of article)

Another tip? Don’t fill up on alcohol! Its a calorie black hole and may also have a lot of sugar. Plus you end up snacking in the process. Better to have one glass of wine or one light beer. Avoid margaritas and pina coladas unless you plan on skipping that piece of pecan pie!

And of course… Keep moving! No slacking on exercise! Try to get in something everyday! Shoot for 20-30 minutes. If you can’t go long – go hard!

Baby Tiramisu

Baby Tiramisu
Thanks to EatingWell for this recipe!

6 servings | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 45

Ingredients

1/2 cup nonfat ricotta cheese, (4 ounces)

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

12 ladyfingers, (about 1 3/4 ounces)

4 tablespoons brewed espresso, or strong coffee, divided

2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips, melted (see Tip)

Preparation

Combine ricotta, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Place 6 ladyfingers in a 9-by-5-inch (or similar size) loaf pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons espresso (or coffee). Spread the ricotta mixture over the ladyfingers. Place another layer of ladyfingers over the ricotta and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons espresso (or coffee). Drizzle with melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Tips & Notes

Tip: To melt chocolate: Microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Or place in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.

Nutrition
Per serving:

107 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 3 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 0 g fiber; 125 mg sodium; 29 mg potassium.

1 Carbohydrate Serving

 

Gift Ideas for Everybody

If you’re like me, you probably haven’t finished your Christmas shopping.  I have so many people to buy for (like my dad) who just don’t want anything and if you buy them something it will remain unopened and unused till the end of time.

I did find some things that seem fool proof and I’m hoping they’ll help you as well.

Kids Gifts

Hallmark Recordable Story Books

These make wonderful keepsakes.  Record your voice or the voice of a loved one reading the story.  You can lock the recording so it can’t be recorded over and the batteries are replaceable so you won’t lose the memory.  They run about $29.95 but there are some coupons floating around as well!

Razor Rip Rider 360 Drifting Ride On

Razor Rip Rider

I saw something like this on Ellen and I thought it was absolutely the coolest toy ever.  She even got on and rode it!  I think it holds up to 160 lbs and is for children 5 and up.  The reviews on Amazon.com are very good and one lady mentioned that her kid got it for Christmas and hasn’t stopped playing with it. It runs about $85.

There is another brand called Ezy Roller Ultimate Riding Machine and it too has great reviews, but is a little pricier at $104.  I think either one would be a ton of fun for kids of any age!

Spouse or Boyfriend/Girlfriend


A gift to a spa for the two of you is amazing.  We had a spa day with our whole bridal party this past fall and let me tell you, BEST time ever.  The guys were skeptical (they are very manly men), but they immediately admitted to enjoying it immensely.  We want to make it a tradition to go there at least once a year now.  So I highly recommend a day of relaxation to get away from stressers of daily life.

Also, tickets to a game or concert that they’d enjoy.  I bought my husband two tickets to the Packers/Bears game on January 2nd.  I know he’s going to LOVE it and I’ll have a good time too!  Ticketmaster.com sells a lot of the tickets for these events as does Stubhub.com  but you might even check with the actual venue as sometimes they sell directly.

For the guys, stay away from buying wallets as they usually like to buy these and break them in.  His may look worn out, but I assure you he loves it that way.

For Spouse/Boyfriend or Girlfriend (who enjoys reading or any kind)

Kindle Video

Definitely the Kindle.  Amazon has two different kinds, one is $139 without wi-fi and the other is $189.  They come in two colors, but you can buy skins or cases for them.  The screen is the closest thing to electronic paper that I’ve seen. There are a bunch of free books as well.  Most of them are classics like Pride and Prejudice or Sherlock Holmes, but still good if you enjoy reading them (which I do!).

If you are looking for an actual book to give someone, try getting them the first edition of their favorite author.  For example, if they LOVE Gone with the Wind, try finding the first edition of it.  This can get VERY expensive though depending on whether the book is extremely rare.  Their are websites like Alibris and AbeBooks where owners will sell first editions so it makes shopping for them easier.  Another tip, be aware of what the first edition should look like.  For example, if the seller claims it’s a first edition but it was published 20 years after the book was actually written, it’s not the edition you’re looking for.  There are many sites out there that will help you and it is a very personal gift.

For Teens/College Students

I-Pod Touch (4th Generation)


Yes, everybody already has an I-pod by now, but this is the newest model they’ve come out with.  It does everything and even allows for FaceTime.  FaceTime is a camera that is similar to a webcam, meaning that you can actually see the person you are talking to and they can see you.  Kind of a neat feature!  The I-Pod also feature video editing and the ability to be your own DJ.  Plus a ton more, perfect for any college student or high schooler.   Even your techy husband/wife would appreciate it!

Mom and Dad


Let’s get real, parents are hard to buy for.  At least mine are.  My mom has MS and isn’t very mobile, which limits what I can get her because her ability to use it isn’t there.  Last year, I made her a photo album of all our old pictures growing up.  She loved it so much she cried.  It took a little time, but turned out great and was a very personal gift.

Create Something Amazing With Your Pictures

If you are short on time, Shutterfly.com can make the albums for you.  They look awesome and aren’t that expensive.  I believe they start around $15-20 dollars and look GREAT!  You can even make a calendar out of your family photos.  Right now they’re offering free shipping and buy one get one!

As far as Dad’s go, it all depends on what he is into.  Does he like technology?  Maybe a new camera or a handheld camcorder (to record the grandkids or vacations).  If he’s a handyman, tools are always needed.  Even when you think your dad has EVERY tool in the world, there is always one tool he could use.  Maybe he wants clothes.  This year my dad asked for a new set of screwdrivers, some dumbbells (he wants to workout in the morning), leather slippers and some heavy cotton button ups.  Yeah, not that exciting but hey, that’s what he wants so that is what he will get.

If your dad is more business-y, try new cologne or a gift certificate to a nice restaurant in the area (enough to maybe take his wife or girlfriend if he has one).

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

So now that one of my favorite holidays has come and gone, I have no excuse not to be up doing my P90x! My parents were staying with us this weekend and I had so much to do that, to be honest, I just didn’t feel like getting up early yesterday to do my video on top of all the cooking and entertaining.

I helped my mom get a workout in though. She has MS and her muscles are pretty weak. She can’t walk very well anymore and it makes it hard for her to do things. I popped on a simple yoga video and in between cooking, I’d help her get into the next pose. I know its hard for her to so it on her own, but I also know that she needs to be doing something to keep strong!

So despite my lack of physical activity over Thanksgiving, at least my mom got some in her day! And tomorrow I’ll be back to my routine of early mornings and workout videos!