Monday Musings

Hello world! Well not only is it another edition of Monday Musings, it also happens to be Christmas Eve on this particular Monday…. which gives me another perfect reason to write a Christmas post.  ( I told you it would be coming ) We’ve got plenty of time heading into 2019 to continue our health and fitness conversations.

But for now…..

As I write this it’s Sunday night. My weekend has been busy with all kinds of preparations and the usual Christmas activities getting ready for the big day.

Who else out there hasn’t been up to their eyes in wrapping paper and tape?

I’m ready to be still for awhile, drink some coffee, and let my thoughts out writing.

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this is my current mood and comfy place while I’m writing. This cute fox cup is one of my favorites Starbucks offered at Christmas two years ago.

Yesterday the kids and grandkids were over to decorate cut out cookies. These are definitely a more time consuming cookie to make, but are so worth the effort.  I get the cookies made, (using cutters that were my grandmothers)  and the kids decorate till they are covered in frosting and sprinkles.

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Can you resist a fat sugar cookie?

I may or may not have eaten one or two”ish” 😉

I love building memories with my family. It’s especially fun watching not just my kids playing and making cookies, but my grandbabies as well.

Oh… and if you know anything about cookies like this then you know they have to be rolled out to a specific thickness.

Rolling pins are the necessary tool….

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Old family rolling pins and some greenery gave this a festive look…. just ignore the coffee part… I was to lazy to change it 😉

So the cookies are done ( well mostly) I never think I have enough. I kinda like giving stuff away to people too and the clan likes having some left to graze on… which means plenty of candy and cookies all around.

Speaking of all those treats….. 

It’s always tricky finding the right ways to put the treats out, yet keep them safe from the dog or little child hands.

I love how this 100 year old desk I refinished earlier this year looks so festive with some goodies on it….

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The cookies are made… the packages are wrapped and spilling from under the tree….

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Christmas evokes many emotions and feelings…..

I love all of the traditions we have during this season. I love the energy and excitement of it. Most of all I love watching my kids during this time. Even my adult kids still get excited.

I recently asked them what made Christmas “Christmas” for them, excluding gifts. (this is what happens when your Mom has a blog and writes. Everything becomes a writing exercise. )

My oldest son told me that Christmas made  home feel “extra homey”

Another one told me that “Christmas is Christmas when all of us are piled up in the kitchen in our jammies, anticipating gift opening and just enjoying the company of FAMILY.”  ( when everyone is older, it’s easier to wait till day breaks to open gifts haha)

Another told me she “loves the “glorious mess” created in the living room on Christmas day. ” she continues…. ” I love the excitement we get waking up, eating breakfast and then opening gifts .”

( it should be noted, they anticipate my breakfast as much as gift opening)

I am going to remember and hold onto the “glorious mess” reference.  I think it’s one of those cool statements to keep for future use. ( I will attempt to remember this in the aftermath on Christmas day)

Christmas is also bittersweet……

I think of all markers of time, each Christmas shows me how we’ve all changed in a year. I look at my children, now adults, and in my mind see them years ago as they were on Christmas morning, children.  Now I watch my grandkids with the same eager anticipation of the morning and know next year, they too will have changed.

Next year as well,  we will have a new family member with the addition of another granddaughter.

I look at all of their excited faces as they sit in their “spots” we all claim each year. This has had to adjust at times when someone new comes into the  Christmas morning.

I see my husband playing “Santa” handing out gifts as he’s done for …well… a whole lotta years now….and think how blessed I am to have him and share another Christmas with him… our 36th.

The dogs are awkwardly everywhere not sure of this loud chaos in their morning.

As I look around the room at my “tribe” my mind also goes to Christmases past, thinking of family no longer with me. Thinking of times when my parents would take certain places on the sofa, or how we’d tease about them falling asleep on each other in the afternoon when things had settled down.  They would come loaded with beautifully wrapped gifts for everyone in huge bags.

My parents were children at heart during the Christmas season and loved doing for others.

They haven’t been gone that long that the ache in my heart isn’t still tender and deep with a carefully grown scab on the grief.

My mom has been gone 4 years and my dad not quite 2.

So my mind sees them and thinks of those days… I remember them in their places and with all their funny quirks that amused us.

I miss them and fiercely wish they were still a part of our family and Christmas celebration.

The beauty in bittersweet….

Although my mind may wander back to Christmases from the past and memories of those I loved, I focus on the beautiful blessings of those I have and the memories we are creating together.

Nothing makes me happier than one of the kids telling me something they enjoy or mentioning a tradition they look forward to.

I find myself doing the same thing I once used to tease my grandmother and mom about. Everyone would almost be done opening gifts and they would have a pile of gifts around them, lost in watching everyone else open theirs.

Last year my kids were like… Mom! open your gifts! As I too, had my pile around me, watching the antics of my family.

So I will join in opening my gifts this year, watching, and adding to the “glorious mess” of the morning and another Christmas will go down in the books.

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Gorgeous right? An unexpected gift this week

But for now…..

For now, tonight, I will sit and admire the beauty of the tree with all the gaily wrapped packages under it.  I know in just a short time, the place under the tree will be empty again. a “glorious mess” left in it’s place,  so I will appreciate the view for this season, for these last few hours.

I will drink my coffee in my fox cup, memories dancing through my head, with my mind thinking about things to still do, tasks still waiting on my list before Christmas day arrives.

I will give thanks I have so much that can’t be wrapped and put under a tree and it’s those gifts I value the most, those are quite priceless.

And Christmas will come and go, and long after a gift may be forgotten there will be new memories, stories and traditions that will become a part of the tapestry of our family, and that my friends, is what makes Christmas “Christmas” for me.

I wish you all the merriest holiday season and a joyful New Year!

Now tell me… what makes Christmas “Christmas” for you?

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Saturday Snippets

Oh my gosh has this week sailed by! Here we are posed on the weekend before Christmas and my jolly little self has several tasks to still accomplish before Christmas day arrives.

All things I enjoy….like baking and wrapping gifts and shopping for food…. it just seems like the hours in a day fly by in my attempts to finish them off.

I love this time of year. I don’t want it to rush by.

How do you feel about it? Does time fly or do you get done and have time on your hands?

One thing all done has been my decorating and I love, love, love being home with my house all festive.

As my son said, Christmas just makes home “extra homey”.  I love that.

So for todays Saturday Snippets, I’m going to leave you with a couple posts from Christmases past… don’t worry no ghosts are involved in these posts being shared with you 😉  ( if you don’t know, I am referencing The Christmas Carol here)

You can read at your leisure. In them I’ve shared things I love, and what makes Christmas “Christmas” for me. I talk about traditions and things that get passed down thorough generations. I share some of my “favorite things” with you as well.

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My old cardboard village is one of my most favorite Christmas things. The house and churches are between 75- to nearly 100 years old.

Find my favorite things post here……https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/12/22/favorite-things-of-christmas/

Find my Most Wonderful Time of Year post here…… https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/12/08/the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year/

And stay tuned…. Christmas makes me sappy so I’m sure there will be another one or two nostalgic posts in the days ahead.

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Holly, jolly and bright…. with a little edge 😉

Tell me… are you ready for Christmas? What do you enjoy most?

Saturday Snippets

If you missed it, last week was my first edition of my Saturday Snippets. You can find it here….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/12/08/saturday-snippets/

I’ve had the idea for awhile to just toss out something short and sweet ’cause on the weekends yours truly is busy and I know you are too.

These posts will contain anything from a current recipe I’ve found and love, an exercise idea, thought, inspirational quote… well… you’ll just have to check in week to week to see what it is.

Today I want to offer up a sweet treat recipe. Birthday’s are still a big deal in our home regardless of how old you get.

Every year is worthy of a celebration.

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My amazing hubby just celebrated another trip around the sun so when I asked what kind of delicious cake he wanted me to whip up for him I got the not so unexpected response of…

Carrot cake.

Now don’t start gagging if the idea of veggies in a dessert seems every kind of wrong. Carrots make a wicked, moist and tender cake… and I promise you have no idea they are there.

Anyway, I’ve made these before but went searching for something “new” and found a recipe to try.

Oh my goodness. It was worth the little extra effort it took to make it ( you make a buttermilk glaze to pour on warm cake.. then frost when cooled) the frosting is …well.. can I find words??

Cream cheese and  real butter with a hint of vanilla…

It made a marvelous 3 layer cake that even my carrot cake hating kids were drooling over… they are now singing a different story 😉 It really was the most amazing delicious cake.

And here’s the recipe to try out. Be sure and check out my board “homemade cakes” on Pinterest!

Are you a carrot cake lover or hater? If you don’t like it, why?

Holidays And Healthy Eating

December. A month packed full of tasty possibilities.  You may have office parties to navigate, neighborhood get togethers, church gatherings, and of course your own family festivities to attend.

Healthy-Holiday-Eating-Tips

Food. There’s an abundance of delicious fares available during the holiday season.

Eat, drink and be merry now because January will soon arrive and all you’ll see will be weight loss shakes, diet books, and new plans for starvation after all your feasting has gone on.

Tell me I’m wrong. It’s a sad dismal reality every…single…year.

Like anything, I believe balance and moderation are crucial during the holiday season. Not only in regards to weight, but really, overall wellness and how you feel. To much excess in food or alcohol will make you feel sluggish, bloated and not your best.

Maintain balance and moderation and you won’t need or want any of those awful shakes. Live a constant healthy lifestyle and you can move through this season and not have to think about doing anything different in January.

I get it.

Among other things I love doing for Christmas is baking and making candy.  I’m old school so it’s all from scratch. Really, nothing is better than sugar cookies made with real butter.

A fat Santa? A fluffy reindeer? A round snowman? Who can resist a fun sugar cookie with frosting and sprinkles?

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Not me that’s for sure. Those are my favorite Christmas cookies and I don’t restrict myself… but nor do I go crazy and over eat on them as either.

It’s all about that balance, right?

I think where people often fail is having an “all or nothing” mentality. They restrict so much that when they decide they are going to have treats, it turns into a feeding frenzy.

Neither approach is really helpful or healthy.

Let’s be honest. Of course you/I/we all know we are going to indulge. It’s just a matter of how you handle the indulging part.

Make healthy eating your main thing.

I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, just because we are in the “holiday season” doesn’t mean you just need to go hog wild eating everything in sight. It doesn’t mean you proclaim you’ll worry about it “next year”.

To keep feeling your best, limit any weight gain and enjoy yourself, make sure you keep your meals as healthy as possible.  If you know you will be participating in a party later that day, eat well, but don’t go to the extreme of not eating because you are “saving your calories”.

All you’ll do is show up ravenous and most likely eat way more than you would have.

Eat sensibly, go with a plan to the party, and then be super selective about what you eat.

For goodness sakes, don’t eat everything on the buffet if there are some things you don’t like a lot.

Save your calories for your most favorite foods 😉

I wish I could claim the fat loss hack below….

I saw this and it was perfect to share here. I tend to operate this way and find it easy to do.  I especially love the second part. To often people think if they’ve had one “bad” meal they should just throw in the towel and eat bad the rest of the day.  No… you get back to sensible eating again.

I think this is a great reminder as we go through the holidays that one meal full of extras doesn’t have to be what the rest of our day is like.

Eat your normal foods more often than not, if you eat extra treats get back to normal at your next meal. Keep things simple.

fat hacks

Other things to consider…

Make sure vegetables and fruit are a big part of your daily diet. Well, you should even if it isn’t Christmas time, but more so now. They keep you full, give you energy and keep that sluggish feeling from setting in when you’ve had an overly laden high fat/carb meal.

Drink adequate water. This will help keep you hydrated, especially if alcohol makes it’s rounds with you.  Water can help flush excess sodium from foods we’ve consumed and it also helps prevent headaches that can come from to much excess.

Mindful eating. So often we graze and just load food into our mouths without even being aware of what it is or why we are eating it. Think about what you eat. If you aren’t hungry, walk away from it.  Find something else to occupy you till the desire passes.

Keep up with your exercise. Not only does it help reduce stress, it also allows time for you to think and sort ideas, clear your mind and help with creativity.  Not only that, it can help keep your weight in check as well. Don’t dismiss it as not having enough time. I am a big fan of HIIT workouts that are 20 minutes, but packed with lots of hard work.

Trust me, you’ve got 20 minutes in your day to do something positive for yourself.  Check out this weeks Monday Musings for one of my 20 minute workouts.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/12/10/monday-musings-29/

Keeping a few simple strategies in mind will let you enjoy the tastes and flavors of the season you love while keeping you from gaining excess pounds to deal with in the new year.

Your turn. Do you have any tips or tricks for enjoying the holiday season but not being to self indulgent? Do you keep up with your exercise ?

 

Saturday Snippets

Welcome to the first installment of Saturday Snippets! I’ve had this idea bouncing for awhile and am finally getting it out.

Uh… what’s a snippet?

It’s a small piece or brief extract of information.

I decided this might be a fun forum to post a new recent recipe, a healthy tip that might not need a whole post, or just sharing a quote or thought I may have come across.

But overall, it will be a short and sweet post that will offer something positive, informative or maybe thought provoking and it won’t take but a moment of your time 😉

And on that note… today’s snippet…..

priority

 

Time. It’s something we all get the same amount of. How we choose to use it is where we differ.

When it comes to health and fitness, specifically exercise, it seems that is the thing most often heard as to reasons why someone isn’t exercising.

It’s not that they/we/I/you don’t have the time, it’s just something that we may not choose to make a priority.

Move exercise into “priority status” like having a meal, brushing your teeth, being at work on time, watching tv or playing on the computer, meeting a friend for coffee or anything else you do in life that you may set aside as important.

Do this often enough and you’ll find you do indeed, have the time to exercise.

 

 

Monday Musings

Hello World! What a week it’s been. We just wrapped up Thanksgiving here in the states ( sorry my Canadian friends, I know your turkey and pumpkin pies are a distant memory now 😉 ) and I’m left wondering why it whirled by so fast.

All in all it was a good week. There was shopping to be done and food to be prepped for the big day. I always admire those perfectly set, Norman Rockwell style pictures I see of some families meals and I’m over here figuring the best way to feed a lot of people before the turkey starts chillin’ up.

Really though, it’s the people that are there that make it what it is, right? No one is concerned over the plate or glass. People want to feel comfortable, enjoy good food and better dessert and watch some football 😉

Food, laughter, more food, pie.

Thanksgiving is easy ( mostly) it’s all about the food. You don’t have to buy gifts, or wrap or worry about parties. You just throw down a bunch of tasty dishes and let people at it.

 

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Pie. I made this a few days before Thanksgiving to see if it was any good. Well, needless to say it made it to the Thanksgiving menu. I’ll try and add recipe at the end

Of course Thanksgiving weekend is also my kick off for Christmas. It’s time to wrap up all my Fall decorating items, and start Christmas decorating. I love being able to create beautiful areas to look at through out my home so it takes me a good part of the weekend to get it set up. I just love creating magic others appreciate.

Christmas makes me still feel like a kid 😛 

One of the “traditions” we enjoy is going to a festival our town hosts every year called “Dickens on Main”.  Sometimes you can get a little shopping in ( not easy with loads of extra people in the stores) and it’s fun to catch up with people and buy some of the tasty street vendor snacks… like Kettle Korn.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s popcorn that’s sweet with a hint of salt. It’s perfect when it’s crisp, steaming and hot from the huge metal kettle they cook it in.

They also have a snow machine…. yeah…. that’s what happens when you live in south Texas… you gotta make the stuff and shoot it through a machine.

Unless… unless…. it’s one of those very rare moments that came to us last December. We got real, real snow.

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How gorgeous is this ???

Anyway, I don’t hold out any hope we will see that this year so I have to live vicariously through last year.

I promise to share more fun Christmas recipes, pics and fun ideas in another post : )

Once decorating is done I can focus on shopping and Christmas cookies.. and candy… and cookies…

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A sneak Christmas peak……

And that is why I keep running and cycling….

Oh. Speaking of that…. I may or may not have mentioned I had a duathlon coming up… 😉  which was last weekend… I have so much in my head to still process out over that event. Stay tuned for a post this week on it. I’ve been dragging my feet waiting for a few race pics to come in to add to my post.

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I love picking up my race pack and a new number. Never, ever wear the shirt till you actually own the race 😉
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Early morning warming up settling pre-race nerves. That finish line looming behind me. The weather did an unexpected shift into cold, wet and windy.

Anyway, I have an entire duathlon recap post planned so stay tuned for that this week 🙂

I will say, I always have such a euphoria at finishing, followed by a let down that what I’ve been working towards is now over.

What do I do now? What’s the next “thing”?  I will be pondering that in the days ahead.

Speaking of days ahead….

I am almost finished with all my decorating. I have plans to do some shopping and (hopefully) finding a few perfect gifts this week.

Why does it seem like once Thanksgiving is over you are ushered on the Christmas bus at full speed ahead?

Every year I fight against that and try to just focus on things that matter and remember what the season is about.

Seeing people fight over electronic devices and TV’s and boxes of cheap made in China items piled everywhere isn’t what I want Christmas to be about.

I want to embrace the peace, the joy, the love of the season and I try to offer that where I go, even if I sometimes have to chew on my lip to behave.

Now let’s talk about some food….

First just some words of advice. If you feel like you “over did it” eating this past week, leave it and move on.

Get back to normal eating and your purposeful exercise.  That is enough. Please don’t think you can “work off” food you ate.  All you will do working out harder is maybe hurt yourself or make yourself sore so you want to not workout for a few days.

Don’t take on guilt for what you feel you over did on. That isn’t what the day is about. Guilt and food are two words that shouldn’t go together. You can read more about that in my post here…..  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/07/food-and-guilty-feelings/

And below I’ll share a few things I made for Thanksgiving…..

 

 

 

All of these recipes made an appearance at my Thanksgiving table.  I’m such a sucker for desserts haha. Of course I also had the traditional pumpkin and pecan pies as well.

Other popular items of course are fresh green beans and a jalapeno corn casserole that I’ve had to literally triple up on the recipe ( grown men children devour it haha)

Ok your turn! What do you like best about Thanksgiving ? Favorite food?  Christmas is coming…do you think the commercialism is pushed on us?  How do you embrace a joy and peace in a time where people seem to be moodier and less than happy?

Monday Musings

Hello world 🙂  As I’m writing this it’s at the end of the weekend…. a weekend that has been near perfect weather. A weekend that has breathed the promise of fall and changing seasons and all things cozy.

Forget the fact it’s still warm enough for shorts…..

The sun was out and after so many weeks of mostly rain and dark cloudy days, this sunny weekend was a balm for my soul and I know, many others.

This meant some long overdue work outside in the yard and it was wonderful to just be able to work outside in the sun and feel the wind on my skin and hair.

There was some time spent cutting grass…. I don’t mind using a push mower and honestly enjoy the work of pushing it everwhere. We’ve got a lot to cut so it can keep me busy.

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Ready for work… need your grass cut ?

 

The electric company was also out cutting trees back this week and left some oak trees cut laying off the side of the road. Well, actually, it was down the hill…. so it was run down, grab chunks of wood, and back up the hill with it.

Me… I’m thinking… I should go get those, drag them home, and get hubby or my son to get the chain saw and cut them into more manageable pieces that we can use later for our fireplace ( eventually we’ll get one or two cold days :-P)  and I love having a fire on those cold dark nights.

So I apprehended the red flyer wagon laying around my grandkids use occasionally and loaded it up and dragged the wood back home.

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Uh… yeah.. it was a little workout haha

It was overall one of those satisfying, working weekends.

Don’t over look the fact that doing some extra movement outside can be a fun part of keeping fit 🙂

Oh… but then… food.

When I’m not doing athletic things or other activities, I am a wicked baker. So there’s cookies…..

I made two kinds. Hubby had requested oatmeal raisin but then I just wanted something chocolate …so…..

I’ll share recipes below. Find all of my tasty dessert recipes on Pinterest. ( you can also find lots of exercise tips and workouts too 😉 )

https://www.inspiredtaste.net/18596/soft-and-chewy-oatmeal-raisin-cookie-recipe/

https://www.ihearteating.com/chewy-brown-sugar-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe/

I’d never made a chocolate cookie recipe where you melted butter first, then stirred everything else in. I loved how fast and simple these were and sooo good too 🙂

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Aren’t they pretty ?

 

In other weekend fun….

One of the things hubby and I enjoy doing is going for breakfast dates at a local place in town. The building is old. It’s not fancy.  During the winter it can be stupid cold in there ’cause their heat is sketchy at best. On any given morning you’re hoping you can score a table because the place is packed and sometimes you are wrestling for the last fork in the utensil holder.

The food is good and the coffee is too.

This past week I couldn’t help but again get distracted people watching and observing.

Couples, families, friends meeting for coffee the place hummed with a low key activity and bright energy.

It’s one of the cool things about living in a kinda smallish town… the local eating place. The place that isn’t fancied up… it’s just down home cozy.

That’s one of the things I love about my home town. These small areas that still feel “homey” in the mix of growth and things changing so much.

Not only can you meet new people but it’s often a place to catch up with friends you may not have seen in awhile.

For a social person like me….well.. it’s a good fit 😉

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A cozy corner you can sit and watch the world go by in….

Oh… and so like… Halloween is this week.

Stay tuned… perhaps in next weeks post I’ll have a pic of my costume. Let’s just say I’m putting my own spin on Glinda the Good Witch from Wizard of Oz.

Am I the only one who mooches candy of their kid while you’re out making the rounds to houses gathering candy? Please tell me I’m not 😉

Actually now days I’m mooching it off my grandkids hahaha

Of course once Halloween is over, it seems like things are full speed to Christmas. My kids have already begun to present their gift lists to me.

How early do you start shopping ?

And finally… that approaching duathlon…

Got a solid brick training session in on one of my days last week. Out on the road in the dark early morning, fog still in the air, I really wanted to be inside drinking coffee.

But somehow, there I was, out on the road taking off for my first run. I kept it short. A 2 mile run, followed with a 10 bike ride, then a 2 mile run.

I’ll tell you, it’s always that last leg that I have to intentionally and purposefully dial in on my mental muscle. I guess because at that point I know I’m close to finishing and I have to remind my legs, we aren’t quite done yet.

I have to stay focused and sometimes that’s hard when I know finishing is so close!

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Finished for the morning!

I’m actually anticipating a training week ahead that doesn’t involve wet stuff outside! Although I know race day can offer up anything, I’m hoping for perfect weather like we had last year.

That’s a wrap for this week….

It’s another busy week ahead with lots going on. What will be keeping you busy? Have you tried any new recipes? Had any new adventures?