Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Charlie Brown Christmas (The Meaning of Christmas)

The Real Meaning of Christmas!!!

Sometimes it's easy to lose track of the reason we have Christmas at all. Today I hope you pause to remember, or come to know the "real reason for the season." Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Time to Bake

It appears I've picked up a nasty habit. Baking.
For most of my life I've been sweet tooth free. I'd like to remain that way. I'm already addicted to salty junk. I don't think I can manage being hooked on the sugary stuff too. This new hobby of mine, is pulling me over to the sweet dark side. It's not like I'm in love with sugar, but if I make a German Chocolate cake, then I'll eat some. If I make two different flavors of cheesecake, and a pineapple upside down cake, well then I'll eat those too. If I happen to make, and sample all of those things in a 24 hour period, well you can see how this becomes a problem.
I'd like to enlist the help of my family to control this behavior. Unfortunately, they are very supportive of my new habit, and all too happy to be enablers. Below are a few of my recent favorites. Best advice I can give? Bake and share.
(This one is all about the frosting. Get the frosting recipe at the end of the cake ingredients list).

If you are pressed for time, and can't make a German Chocolate Cake, try these ridiculously delicious and easy and cookies:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter Garden

In a perfect world I'd own a century old farmhouse on about twenty acres. I'd have fruit and nut trees. I'd grow all the produce we consume. I'd raise laying chickens for fresh eggs. I'd have an herb garden like none other. There would be flower brushes every where.
Let's just say my husband's perfect world doesn't look like mine. His includes a condo and no mowing, so our current home is a compromise. For now my dreams of vast garden spaces are on hold. I'm content to play around in the tiny patch in our backyard. It is from that patch that we grew these:

Oh and trust me these are MUCH tastier than their store bought friends

Monday, December 2, 2013

Big Dreams

"If your dreams don't scare you they are probably not big enough." 
When I first heard that statement I instantly thought two things "wow" and "what are my dreams?" I'm not referring to the crazy ones I have at night, believe me, I have enough of those. I'm talking about my ultimate design on life. If I could do, or create anything, be anything, what would I do or be? What would you do? What would your life look like? Would it change? What's holding you back? Those are the questions in my head.
I did pose a similar question to my twelve year old. I won't mention her response, because I don't want to make light of her dreams. Let's just say it involved a career that does not bolster financial security, or security of any kind for that matter. My response to her was, "good now let's think of an idea that will allow you the ability to buy food and eat." 
My comment bothered her. She viewed it as an attack on her dream. I decided I'd drop the topic, but after a few moments of silence, the mom in me attempted to reason with her again. 
I tried a different approach. I told her, "your dad and I are thinking of starting a llama farm (yes I lied). What do you think about that?" 
Truthfully I was being a bit sarcastic an hoped she'd recognize the ridiculousness of her own plans through the wackiness of our llama farm idea. *No offense to any of you who own or dream of such a place.*
Her response: "well that's a bit weird, and unexpected, I'll support you guys." She never made the connection to the lesson I was trying to teach her. That was her honest response, encouragement and support. 
So here I sit again thinking about dreams. This time my thoughts are on the importance of encouraging others to pursue them...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Maybe Next Time...

OK, I fully intended to cook a healthy Thanksgiving meal, BUT my husband has had a rough past few days. He specifically asked that I fixed a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I just couldn't say no to him, so I caved. Now that I know what we'll be having, there is only one thing left to do, break out the elastic waist sweatpants. I figure I'll need them for both the pre-meal workout, and for the meal itself. I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving, and I hope you MAKE time over the next few days to be active. It may not always feel like it, but just as the body enjoys good food it also enjoys activity. Treat yourself to both. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Healthy Thanksgiving

I'm going to admit, I'm not one who does well on any kind of diet. I once heard someone say that "no is the greatest aphrodisiac of all time." Seems the truth where I'm concerned. Tell me "no" or "not to" and I'm instantly attracted to whatever it is I'm supposed to avoid.
With the holiday season in full swing, I'm getting request to both prepare, and partake in the delicious, not so good for you foods reserved for just this time of year. While I'm not an avid calorie counter, I have been trying, with some success, to eat relatively clean. I'd like to stay focused on that during the holidays. I plan to enjoy, and share in the food and festivities, but I decided I'm going to try something new this year, healthy Thanksgiving.
My family dislikes when I attempt to "healthify" anything.  They are not necessarily traditional, so they won't mind me changing up a holiday meal. In fact we haven't prepared a turkey on Thanksgiving in years. Their only rule is that whatever I fix needs to be tasty, but I've learned that healthy on their palettes is not tasty.
I don't intend to go this far...
For years now I've tried to talk them into some sort of baked fish meal for the special day. I've gotten no takers. This year though, I'm putting my foot down. This Thanksgiving I get to choose what's on the menu. Hey I'm fixing it, sounds fair to me. Plus, my husband has proclaimed (for the past two Thanksgivings (thank you very much) that those were the "BEST Thanksgiving" meals AND the "best meals" he's had in his life. He's in his forties. That's a lot of Thanksgivings, and meals. Point is, I have earned the right to bomb one. So this year I'm going with a healthier Thanksgiving. I'm hoping someone out there is crazy enough to join me. I'll post a menu later, but we have a week to plan. You don't have to make a tofu turkey or anything, just offering a few healthy alternatives is a great place to start. Happy healthy recipe hunting. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Seeing Red

This time of year has me seeing red.  Ruby Red that is. I have had a love affair with Ruby Red Grapefruit for years. I enjoy grapefruit for perhaps the very reason most people don't, that tangy, bittersweet flavor. It's sort of an acquired taste I guess. Apparently, both my kids have "acquired" the taste, because they both love them too. I was forced to share. It has become our thing, sharing fruit. Grapefruit being chiefest among them. 
This time of year begins the best season to buy grapefruit in the US. And buy them we do! In addition to the simple pleasure of enjoying a treat with my girls, there is a lengthy list of health benefits associated with the fruit itself, and even with the peel! Ruby Red Grapefruit is credited with everything from reducing the risk of cancer to weight loss, and skin care rewards.
Go get some!
I can't mention the benefits, without mentioning that grapefruit does have interactions with certain medications, some of them severe. That's a topic worth discussing with your Dr (I'm not one). If you are not on any medications, and haven't indulge before, or tried one in a while, starting now is a really good time to try one. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Crazy Grateful

Sometimes I can get really discouraged when I think about all that I don't have, and all that I want. The "my life would be so much better if....." conversation can be haunting, and usually steals my peace. When I indulge these thoughts, I often ignore my current blessings. This morning I woke up to a healthy family, and I am suddenly feeling more grateful than ever. When I think of all I have (and I don't mean material things) I could scream! This is sheer joy! Today I am just crazy grateful for a functioning body, an incredible family, good friends, and the wisdom to KNOW that I am crazy blessed!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Just Dance

I don't know why I'm wired this way, but when I hear upbeat music, I can't help myself, I have to move to it. I can't tell you how many times I've been in a crowd, heard a great song and felt like I was losing my mind trying to control the urge to dance, then looked around and it seemed like no one else could hear the music playing or was having the same issue. I really don't even have to hear music out loud, if it's in my head, same problem. My sister even came up with a name for it, "random dancing." Apparently I break out in spontaneous fits of dancing. Her son, my nephew has the same ailment. Whatever is wrong with me I've learned to except it. It's my normal, and thirty some years have taught me this oddity isn't going anywhere.
Lately, it's been harder to control the urge. What I need is a few hours of nonstop dancing, to get it all out of my system. I feel like I need to just hit a dance floor (most likely in my kitchen) dance like crazy, and leave it all there.  If I don't address this soon, I'm afraid I'll end up like this guy:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Black and Brown

A while back I shared that fashion wise I have gotten a bit lazy. It's not that I do not have a sense of style. It's more that I no longer put in the effort. I have moments here and there where I dress nicely, but those moments are few and far between. Workout clothing is my uniform. It's been a long time since I've shopped with myself in mind, but recently I was forced to. My only practical purse/pocket book began falling a part. I need a new one. I know exactly what I want. I want a bag that's simple, with colors that go with everything. I want a brown and black purse like this:

I also want some boots in the same colors. These will do:

Seems the lazy in me has taken over. I really want black and brown accessories, so I don't have to buy different colors of anything. I haven't found what I want, with a price that I want to pay, but I'm still looking...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Homeschool Beat Goes On...

In the last few weeks I haven't felt like doing much of anything. That is, I haven't felt like doing the things I know I need to do. Last week it seemed appropriate to reduce our work load given the activities we had planned, we did. This week is a bit different. I don't have a legitimate excuse, I just don't want to face the litany of things that fall under the umbrella of my responsibilities. Homeschooling happens to be one of them. There is no question that if I decided we should take the week off my student would celebrate with her own personal parade, and actually so would I. There are so many ways in which I can use the time, but common sense an logic prevailed, so she, and I are forced to do school this week. This whole scenario got me thinking about the importance doing the right thing despite my feelings. That's a true mark maturity; mastering your feelings, allowing your brain to tell your body how it's going to be, not the other way around.
We'll that's what I'm getting out of this week as we struggle through it. My child on the other hand would rather we take the week off, and I keep the lecture on the importance of discipline to myself, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

You Versus You

What motivates you?  No, I mean what really motivates you? I've been asking myself this question in an effort to make sure my actions are pure. I hate the idea of doing, or not doing anything based on something or someone else. To me, that's control, and I'm not in habit of handing control of my decisions over to others. Go ahead, call me a control freak. I'm OK with the label.
I'm not saying that I don't appreciate good advice, or sound counsel. I do. I just try not to live in the bondage of another person's expectation, or action. I'm free. The hallmark of freedom is a pure choice. It doesn't have to be the right choice, just an honest one. For the most part I have been able to practice this. I try to choose the things I HONESTLY want, not what others want for me, or what others are doing. My motivation comes from me. I'm not trying to be like anyone else, and I'm not in competition with anyone but me. It's me verses me. That's the way it should be....or so I thought.
I just read a verse in the bible "but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." 2 Corinthians 10:12.
That verse shifted my focus back to the fact that it's not always "me versus me." There is a MUCH standard higher than my own. God's. Turns out He and I are often divorced in our views. When it comes right down to it, I can never do what He does, or did, but I'm supposed to be more like Him. That means that my actions though performed by me, should look more like Him/His. Not easy, considering He said things like "love your enemies, and do good to them that hate you." Lots of things come to mind when I think of an enemy, but I assure you "love" isn't high on the list! I've got a long way to go before I can get excited about doing "good to those who hate me."
Anyhow, all that to say that I'm trying ever so hard to take a backseat in my life, to get out of my way and over myself. I still conform to my "you versus you" mantra in certain areas where it naturally applies like finances, fitness,etc. It' not an all together bad idea, and I truly don't need to impress or satisfy anyone outside of myself. I'm just trying to keep in mind that there is more to this equation than me. While it may feel good, and even right to say, "I'm going to do the best I can" if I'm honest I'll say, "God do the best YOU can with me." It's a surrender to a standard higher than my own, which also happens to be the "best" for me.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Lionel Richie is not alone. I think I'm also "easy like Sunday morning." 
This morning I went for a run in and around my neighborhood. The smell of fall in the air had been replaced by the smell of bacon and eggs. Apparently that was the breakfast of choice this October morning. I finished my run, and came home to find that the hubby had prepared my breakfast. He also fixed bacon and eggs. All smiles over here. I LOVE Sundays.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I'm not a personal trainer. I just love fitness. Sweating puts me in my happy place. While others might take pleasure in crafting, I'd rather put together a workout to torch my obliques. It's the only kind of research I enjoy. Actually, there isn't a lot of research involved anymore. There are so many great sites available now. Oh, and did I mention You Tube??? Truth is, I find it hard to narrow down what I want to do. I'm really like a kid in a candy store. In addition to fitness there is also a wide range of nutrition programs to choose from.

This is the time of year when most people relax, let go and gain a little. Instead, I'd like to encourage you to do the opposite. Take this time and set a new goal for yourself. Get fit. Get strong. Lose weight. Whatever your goal, get moving. No excuses. No regrets.