Saturday, December 31, 2011

How are you ringing in the New Year?

The older I get, the faster the years roll out -- they told me it would be like this  :)    I know there are lots of plans for New Years... watching the ball drop;  pigging out for the last time in 2011;  and partying it up with friends.    I hate to say it - but I'm usually asleep before the ball drops.  In the past, we've had get-togethers with friends - enjoying food and playing games until the New Year rings in.   

Last year, we tried something different  - the Running of the Lights.   It's a local 5K (this year it's changed to 5.5K) combined with a 1.75 mile walk/fun run.  We had a blast despite the fact it was close to single digit temperatures by midnight.  Personally, I couldn't think of a better way to ring in the New Year this year.  I've tried really hard to embark on a healthy lifestyle over the past 12-15 months and this helps with that!    Super-husband and super-son will be doing the walk and I will be attempting the 5.5K run.  I'm hoping to push myself a little harder than the Thanksgiving Turkey Strut.

Try as I might - I could not convince our friends to join us this year!   However, my friend, Sally, will be doing the race with me via her treadmill.  What are your plans for the New Year?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Workout... Let's celebrate!

Merry Christmas!
As my brother & I said when we were little, it's Christmas Eve, Eve!  

With the holidays,  people are busy with out of town visitors, shopping, baking, cooking and cleaning up the chaos.  Sometimes, we allow the entire month of December to be an excuse to over indulge or break from our exercise routine.  I want to encourage you to stick with the program!    Our boot camp was cancelled for today & Monday (since our instructor has out of town guests) -- but she emailed us a workout to do on our own.   I looked at the workout and thought it would be difficult for me to watch the clock for intervals & pay attention to the workout!   I had settled into the comfort of my couch when a friend of mine posted she was heading out for a run.  *ding, ding, ding*  Just because I had chosen not to do the boot camp routine - did not mean today was a "free pass".   So I laced up the tennis shoes & grabbed my iPod. 

I can definitely tell boot camp is making me stronger.  I am definitely still slow, but I'm reminded of this quote I found on Pinterest.   "It doesn't matter how slow you are, you are still lapping the people on the couch."  (AMEN!)  My comfort zone tends to put into a brisk walker or an interval girl - but as I've posted before I really want to be a runner.  I decided I would run one mile and then walk one mile back home.  (By the way,  it's 60 degrees here today & I went in shorts!!!).   Did I want to stop short of the mile and switch to intervals or walking?  Yes - but I kept telling myself - push to the next street sign; the next stop sign; around the corner to the next street - before I knew it one mile was DONE!   It was slow - 12 minutes - but faster than the 14 minute mile I did Thanksgiving.  On the walk back home, I enjoyed looking at the neighborhood houses decorated for Christmas & patting myself on the back for a job well done.

So today I celebrate --
  • getting off the couch
  • pushing myself a little further
  • believing I'm stronger than I think I am
  • 12 minutes is faster than 14 minutes
Here's hoping for some more mileage on Christmas Eve! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Are you ready for Christmas?

Are stockings hung by the chimney with care?
Are the presents tucked neatly under your tree?
Are the cabinets stocked with food for your family & guests?

If the answer to any of those questions is "no", the good news is you have 3 more days until Christmas!  :)   I'm not sure why, but I tend to wrap my gifts on Christmas Eve, so our tree is bare underneath.   We've hosted my husband's family the past several years on Christmas Eve, but this year his parents are hosting again.  I'll probably take a dish or two, but I won't spend alot of time in the kitchen. 

Overall, I'm choosing to minimize the stress & simply enjoy the time with my family.   I haven't done any baking this year, and I'm ok with that.   Food can be a weakness for me, and so far I'm pleased with how I have handled the holiday gatherings.  

I realize I'm rambling but my point is to enjoy the PEOPLE over the holidays and focus less on the hustle & bustle, gift-giving or the ridiculous amount of food before us.  It's the people and relationships we should be celebrating!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Favorite Holiday Snacks...

My mom is one of the best cooks I know - she loves to try new recipes & read cookbooks.  However, baking is not her thing, so for Christmas our treats were often snack related and not cookies she had baked for us to ice.  :)  

Here are a few of my favorites...
  1. Sausage Balls - quick & easy... the trick -- letting all the ingredients come to room temperature before trying to make them into balls...
  2. Butterscotch Haystacks - again, quick & easy... some people like to add peanuts, but I prefer the noodle & butterscotch only version  (yes, I even omit the peanut butter & marshmallows)
  3. Chocolate Pretzels - am I repeating myself - another quick & easy recipe... this is a great one to let kids help with ... they can unwrap the hershey kisses or places the M&M's on the finished treat!
  4. Fudge - For as long as I can remember, our family has always used the recipe on the Kraft marshmallow creme jar.
  5. Spinach Artichoke Dip - my favorite appetizer & snack!
  6. Queso Dip - again, right off the back of the Rotel label
There are many other "treats" I love during the holiday season, but these are just a few of my favorites.  Do you have a favorite holiday treat?

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Christmas Wish List...

My 2011 Wish List
  1. Moving Comfort Sports Bra - It's possible I'm crazy for listing this as number one on my list, but I desperately need a new one!   This particular brand is rather pricey - but having had two in this brand for the past 3 years - I can honestly say hands-down they are the BEST.   They keep the "girls" in their place better than any other sports bra I've worn -- especially for running and high impact activities.
  2. Super Thick Yoga Mat - The end of October,  I switched from running M-W-F to Boot Camp.  I've been using the yoga mat that came with our Wii and let's just say I have battle wounds.  The boot camp is outside and we do lots of planks, push-ups, and other crazy ab work & I'd like to believe a super-thick yoga mat would help make it more bearable.  :)  
  3. Saucony Ride 4 - new shoes! - It's that time of year when I need some new tread.  The Ride4 has been my go-to shoe for the past three years.  If you've never been professionally fitted for shoes, I highly recommend it.  Since wearing the appropriate shoe for my foot, I have not experience any shin splints!
Those really are my top 3 items.  It seems crazy that I am asking for fitness stuff - but that's kinda where I am in life right now.  :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry CHRISTmas... nearly perfect Christmas card

Super-son (10 y/o old);  Wei-Zei (black) and Heidi (gray)
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!   This picture was snapped quickly last Sunday evening & it's nearly perfect of Superson and our 2 four-legged family members - EXCEPT the I could not edit the dog's flash-struck eyes! 

I finished classes for the semester on December 12th and I've been enjoying some relaxing evenings. However,  I do have plenty I should be doing!   We had a busy & lazy weekend - hosting some of super-husband's coworkers for lunch on Saturday and today (Sunday) we've been rather lazy.

I'm looking forward to Christmas and enjoying some time with family!   Are you ready for Christmas?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Another Holiday Tradition...Candle Tea

I love this picture of young & old working together on the Beeswax candles.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is attending the Candle Tea at Old Salem.  And as part of the tradition, we usually stand in a really long line outside with really cold temperatures.  We don't get alot of snow in our area, but the past two years it has snowed while we've been waiting in line.  The Candle Tea is sponsored by Home Moravian Church and held in the Single Brothers House at Old Salem.  The Candle Tea consist of hearing a little history of the Moravians and specifically the Single Brothers House;  singing Christmas carols;  the candle-making room (see pic above); going into the kitchen and enjoying Moravian coffee and sugar cake (my favorite!);  the Putz; and ending with the nativity & reading of the Christmas story.   Nothing changes about the candle tea each year - but we love going as family and remembering the simplicity of the season.

Do you have any holiday traditions?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Simple Christmas Decor

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is look at the ways people get creative and decorate for the holidays.   I'm a pretty simple gal with a pretty simple family, so I like to keep it simple.  I scored the Christmas Subway art ($14.99) from TJ Maxx the end of October.  Last year, I took all of my old garland to Goodwill - it was quite tattered and some of the electrical cords were questionable.  I found this prelit garland on sale at Target ($7.00) over the weekend.  I kept the the Willow Tree angels, family plaque, and digital frame -- I know they aren't seasonal - but it defines so much of "who" are family is.  The vase in the middle was one I had on hand and the ornaments inside came from the Dollar Tree.   I'm very happy with the look and the simplicity of it.   I'm linking up to the Mantel Party at Southern Hospitality.