Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pictures....What Pictures???

I need to become better friends with my camera.  I try to take pictures - but honestly I think most of the times I'm a big fail when it comes down to capturing great photos.  Case in point - trying to pull pictures together for our annual Christmas card.

I searched through all of the downloaded photos I have of our family for the past year ---- and what sort of great family photos do we have?  None.  Zero.  Nada.  Fail.  We ended up taking our family photo in front of our tree this year - and we used the timer on the camera to do it.  I'm sure there were MANY times over the past year where we were dressed up and could have had at least 1 other picture taken together (like a birthday party - or a family event, but nope.  Not a single one).

I also looked back over my daughter's birthday party pictures ---- and I'm not very happy with myself about those either.  I really should have STOPPED and taken the few minutes to take a picture of the group of lovely little girls that attended their parties ---- and probably a picture with each little girl and my daughter(s) at their parties.  But, nope - I've got nothin.

I did manage to take pictures of the girls at the State Fair and on the first day of school that turned out well - and they are on our Xmas photo.............but I still feel like I missed out on capturing some really great moments over the past year.  With all of the technology I have at my fingertips (ie.  my phone, my ipad, my camera) I'm hoping that in 2014 we have A LOT more photos to choose from for the annual Christmas Card!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Five on Friday - Cookie Edition

I'm linking up with Darci for Five on Friday --- what is on my mind today:  Cookies!!!!  My girls, my sister, my neice and my mom get together every year to make and decorate Christmas Cookies.  The last 2 years my future sister-in-law has joined us too.  We are making cookies on Sunday.  Cut-out sugar cookes are my girls favorite - but they take SO long to make and decorate that tonight we will be making some of them and then finishing them up on Sunday.  These are my top 5 favorite cookies:


ONE:  SUGAR COOKIES
These can be VERY time consuming, but so fun and pretty on a cookie plate.  These are really cute - I love to look at other photos to figure out how to decorate mine.


TWO:  PEANUT BLOSSOMS
My future sister-in-law has Celiac's disease, so we make these now without flour and they are still delicious!



THREE:  SPRITZ
We use my grandma's recipe --- she made the absolute BEST Spritz cookies ever!

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FOUR: MEXICAN WEDDING CAKES (aka Russian Tea Cakes)
This is one of my favorite cookies.  My sister and I typically make and eat the entire batch alone.  



FIVE:  PRETZEL LOGS
Ok, this isn't technically a cookie --- but they are one of the most requested things our families ask for at Christmas time!   We dip them in this amazing caramel and then decorate with mini m&m's or chocolate.


I can't wait for cookie day on Sunday.  I'm sure I'll be bringing plates of cookies into work to share next week!!!!!  What is your favorite Christmas Cookie?????






Thursday, December 12, 2013

Festive Favorites Link Up

I love Christmas time - even though it is so crazy and busy - it is still my absolute favorite time of the year!! So what is more fun that a Holiday/Christmas link-up?  Today I am linking up with Amber and Jennifer for the Festive Favorites link-up.

Crafty Healthy Mommy

1. Favorite Christmas Song:  Last Christmas and Silent Night

2. Christmas song you cannot stand:  All I want for Christmas is You (that song drives me crazy, all I can picture is Mariah in that dumb dress)

3. Favorite Holiday Movie:  Elf

4. Real or artificial tree:  I love real trees, but I always forgot to keep giving them water; and I hate, hate, hate cleaning up the needles............so we have a pre-lit fake tree.

5.  White or colored lights:  White lights inside the house (goes better with the decor).  Colored lights outside on the house/shrubs/trees.

6.  All matching ornaments or more random personal ornaments:  Random personal ornaments (but matching color-coordinated bulbs)

7.  Favorite Ornament:  This is really tough, my hubby gets me a new family ornament each year and I love all of them!!!  But, I think the favorite one is still the ornament he got me for our very first Christmas together.

8.  Angel or star tree-topper:  Star on top of the tree.  My angel sits on the mantel next to my other decorations in the living room.

9.  Does Santa wrap presents or leave them unwrapped:  Unwrapped

10.  Favorite childhood memory:  Running into our living room on Christmas morning to see if Santa brought me the Barbie Dream House that I really, really wanted!  He did.  And then I told my sister that it was only MINE!  Because I asked for it, not her.  Ha-ha-ha!!!!  She wasn't very happy with me.....but after a while that morning I did end up letting her play with it too :)

11.  Coffee, hot chocolate or eggnog:  Coffee, with peppermint mocha Coffeemate or Baileys!

12.  Christmas morning at home or do you travel?  At home.  We host an early 10am brunch at our house with my family.

13.  Traditional family meal or something unconventional:  I guess, we consider it traditional.....for at least the past 15 years we always the same basic brunch menu:  Stuffed French Toast and Spicy Cheesey Potatoes - along with that is whatever else we decide on (bacon, sausage, fruit).  Last year I added Mimosas to the menu.  My girls even got to have them (made with sparkling grape juice).....in as my oldest daughter said "Women's cups" - meaning wine glasses.  Luckily I had some extra plastic wine glasses that they could use for their drinks!

14.  Personalized photo Christmas cards, store bought cards, e-cards or "aint nobody got time for that":  Personalized photo cards.  We do a family picture together and then some other pictures of the girls.  I like having a family picture in our card,  I don't really like it when cards are ONLY pictures of the kids --- I like to see my friends & family in the pictures too.  Plus, its a good excuse to have a family picture taken together each year.  I don't have enough of those!!!  We also always include a holiday letter that my hubby writes each year.  It is a fun way to recap our year.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kids and Their Honesty

My kiddos, man sometimes they say the funniest things --- and sometimes they say things that they really shouldn't.  When my oldest daughter was about 2, we were driving home from the store and I said to her "Oh no, I forgot to get milk at the store".  To which she replied "Damn It Mom!" I was in the front seat, driving.  She was in the back in her carseat so she couldn't see me; and yes, I will admit, I started laughing.  And then I told her, that isn't the right word, it is DARN it.  There have been other examples like this over the years, but this was the first one - and it will be stuck in my brain forever.  

Fast forward a few years.....and we have my younger daughter, the 6 year old.  She is hilarious.  She says the funniest things all of the time (we really should record her answering questions, she has the best one-liners).  She and her older sister were watching the Disney Movie "16 Wishes" the other night and when it was over they both decided to make up their own version of a wish list.  My little bug told my husband that her #1 Wish was for him to have all of his hair grow back.  My poor hubby, he has been slowing losing his hair for years......I think it hurt his feelings a bit.  She didn't try to be mean or hurtful, she was trying to be nice telling him that it was her #1 Wish!

Then last night we were watching the very end of The Biggest Loser, waiting for The Voice to start and my oldest daughter said "Mom, do you still need to lose weight?  Maybe you should go on the Biggest Loser."  Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I would like to lose some more weight, I'd like to drop at least 15 more pounds.  But, the Biggest Loser?  I don't think I need to go on the show.  I will admit, that the comment did hurt my feelings, but I don't think she said it to be mean.  I didn't get upset or show her that it hurt my feelings.  Instead, I responded to her and focused less about the weight comment and tried to be more positive and focused on the exercise part of the show.  I said "Yeah, do you think that maybe mom should try to work out a little more like the people on the show?  They work out really hard, don't they!"  

Honesty from your kids.  It happens - they say things sometimes that make you cringe.  But, I don't want my girls to have issues with weight or body shape or appearance.  So, for me that was also a wake up call about the things I say around them at home.  It is another type of Motivation.  I want to focus LESS on the "WEIGHT LOSS" and the NUMBER and instead focus MORE on being HEALTHY.  I want to be a good role model for my girls, by showing them how to eat well, exercise consistently and to just have FUN doing both!  




Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday, Monday, Monday

I haven't been a very good blogger.  When things get busy at home, work, in life - this just has to take a backseat.  We have been pretty busy the past few weeks.  We hosted Thanksgiving at our house and things just haven't slowed down since then.  I'm still trying to keep up with my goals to get through this holiday season without packing on 10 pounds; but it hasn't been easy.  I'm finally back to my pre-Thanksgiving weight again.

I did gain a few pounds after Thanksgiving, not from that day --- but from all of the leftovers!  As I said we hosted....which equals leftovers.  I tried and tried and tried to give food away - but there were no takers - we are stuck with everything!  I could not believe that  NOBODY wanted leftovers.  This is about the 10th year that I've hosted Thanksgiving; people ALWAYS take leftovers.  We had about 10 people for dinner and 14 people for dessert.  Last year we about the same number of people and we only had a few slices of pie left over; so this year I decided to be smart --- make 4 pies instead of 3 (like last year).  But, what happened?  We had 2 entire pies left over.  What?!?!?!?!  How is that even possible?  And, NOBODY took pie home.  Come on, I don't need 2 pies at my house for my family of 4.   I have a weakness for sweets - and I made both French Silk and Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving.  We had 1 of each left.  We were eating turkey and pie for days after Thanksgiving.  That was NOT a help to the weight challenge!!!!

Next up is Christmas cookies............we end up putting these out in our freezer; so that I'm not tempted to eat entire batches of cookies in a single sitting.  Sunday is our annual Christmas Cookie day.  We make about 10 different kinds of cookies --- and they are Christmas Cookies, which means full sugar, white flour and butter.  You can't have Christmas cookies with substitutes, in my opinion, it just isn't the same.  

It has also been BITTER, BITTER, BITTER cold here.  I try not to use that as an excuse, really I'm trying.  But, when you get up to go to the gym at 4:30 in the morning - and it is -10 degrees outside......it makes it a challenge to leave the warm and cozy bed.  I haven't been to the gym since Saturday (after Thanksgiving).  I'm hoping to turn that back around this week - and hoping the weather gets a little bit better - but I'm not sure that it will ---- here is the forecast for the next few days - Thursday will probably feel like a heat wave!

It is Monday - time to get back into the swing of things!  
Goals for the week:
  1. Drink Enough Water - Every.Single.Day
  2. Get to the gym (or at least work out at home) 5 times
  3. Track food & calories -- Every.Single.Bite (even those peanut m&m's that are just sitting out calling my name)
  4. Finish my Christmas Shopping!  I know that isn't fitness related; but it needs to get done!