Monday Musings

Happy Monday beautiful people! It’s really Sunday evening as I write this, and I’m  finally finding a moment to sit down after a long busy day and catch my breath.

Football has been on all day and of course all my men must keep the sound at a level that resembles being at the actual football game.

When the games are over, the sound comes down, it’s then I’m reminded how nice a quieter house is.

With everyone here I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family…. even if they do have the football games ridiculously loud 😉

Family.

It’s hard to not reflect on how blessed I am with my family. I have an amazing, wonderful husband, great kids, my sons wives, grandkids ( another on the way arriving in the spring!) and my daughters boyfriend who after 2 years of putting up with her 😉 is also family.

I’m grateful for who we are as a group. For the love, laughter, silliness and uniqueness of each person.  I guess I’ve become even more appreciative in a world where so many families aren’t like that, who are mean spirited and cut throat to one another, where jealousy and petty things take place over the value of relationships. These behaviors are so sad to me.

It just makes me want to hold closer those I love and what we have. I don’t mean “perfection” because not one single person or family is “perfect”… that also is an illusion many try to present…. just learn to love perfectly with not perfect people.

But really though, if you don’t take care of your family, at the end of the day what do you have? The world is a rough place, love those who are yours, over look faults, be patient with weaknesses, set loving boundaries, speak truth, love fiercely and  value the uniqueness of those who are your tribe.

Ok I’m gonna get off my soapbox now 😉

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Speaking of family… for me Christmas and family are closely tied together.

This past week I’ve gotten all my Christmas decorating done and my massive tree all decorated.

All 13 feet of it.

It’s got over 400 lights, 180 feet of silver beaded garland, and 100’s of ornaments. It took pretty much every ornament I have and my 6’0 body hanging precariously off the very top of a 6’0 ladder… but it’s done.

It is really, I think, the most spectacular tree we’ve ever had.

I love turning all the lights off at night and just sitting in the quiet house before I go to bed and just looking at it.

I find those times peaceful as it lets my mind unwind and wander and reflect on so many things. It’s a practice I’ve enjoyed for years and I find simple joy in it.

Here… I’ll let you have a sneak peak at it all….

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All of the glass ornaments that were my grandmothers and moms go at the top for safe keeping 🙂

 

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How beautiful is this?

Long before you young whippersnappers had that crazy little Elf on a shelf thing going on, I had this little guy be a part of all my Christmases…which are getting up there now 😉

According to what I was told a long time ago, these little guys came on dish soap bottles back in the dark ages.

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My grandmother was the one who got them ( a green and a red one) the green I retrieved from an old tub of my mom’s where Christmas decorations go to die. Although faded and more worn looking I dragged him out and he has a spot on my primitive toy tree ( I’ll show you later )

The red one comes out every year to quietly perch among the branches of my tree.

I don’t have to do anything with him, move him around or pose him in a bowl of cereal.

He’s just a quiet sentinel marking another Christmas in his family.

I love having things from my childhood past to share with my kids and grandkids. Those things evoke feelings and memories of Christmases long ago and the people I loved who I shared them with.

I hope these traditions continue a long time in my family.

 

But on the topic of trees….

I somehow, in the past few years, have managed to have more than one tree. I’ve got little theme trees that I haven’t been able to resist doing.

A primitive toy tree surrounded by my old rocking horse obsession. A cool black and silver tree that holds all my kids ornaments they lovingly brought home from school projects years ago, a silver tree that holds tons of little glass ornaments that date back to my great grandmother. It’s so vintage looking… I love it.

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This tiny tree is only about 2 feet tall. In a old wood crate it’s surrounded by old glass  ornaments who are “wounded” and can’t hang on the tree anymore.

A few years ago I got a pink one. Sorry, I’m a girl and pink is like one of my favorite colors. It’s in my kitchen and it’s all gingerbread and candy themed and my granddaughters adore looking at it.  It’s full of whimsical sparkly play candy and garland although I do buy various colored candy canes to add to it.

I think I’ve got like five theme trees around my home… but hey! It’s better than being a crazy cat lady, right??

In other news….

in a busy month with not only usual life activities, but holiday preparations as well it might be tempting to skip your workouts.

May I suggest something short and sweet that also brings a punch ? HIIT (high intensity interval training) is hard work in a short amount of time.

Got 20 minutes?

Here’s an example of one I did last week.

10 push ups

10 burpees

10 jumping squats

20 jumping jacks

20 mountain climbers

30 sit ups

30 second plank hold

Do as may sets as you can in 20 minutes.

It was a cold morning when I did this. I was sweating at the end. I managed to get 5 sets done. I was thinking that didn’t seem like…a lot.. until I realized I had done 150 sit ups in those 5 sets. I do butterfly sit ups with a 25 lb weight plate to make it a little harder.  I do a longer hold on my plank as well.

It’s important to remember that you can always modify a workout to your current physical abilities.  If you’re stronger, add some weight or push a little harder.

If you are just starting out, reduce reps if you need to and go at an easy pace.

Short, powerful workouts are very effective and if you are limited on time, they offer a high energy boost and get you on your way.

Visit me on Pinterest and find more short workouts on my fitness boards.

Ok and you know I need to leave you with something tasty….

I will also encourage you to maintain healthy eating habits during the festive season of Christmas and all that goes with it however there are going to be tasty treats to eat as well…..

My daughter in law found this recipe and suggested we should try it. We are quite the dessert lab rats around here haha

These are delicious and will probably be added to our list of favorites. Don’t take my word for it, go make it and see what you think.

My cookie baking and candy making will be getting going soon so I’ll share some of my favorites with you in an up coming post 🙂

So tell me… are you ready for Christmas? How goes the decorating? Are you done shopping yet? Do you have a favorite Christmas item or recipe?

 

 

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Monday Musings

December. It’s December ya’ll.  How has this happened already ? We were just eating turkey and feeding on pie not so long ago.

We started our December by going to the night Christmas parade this last Saturday. The weather was perfect  ( comfy low 60s) and dry. The parade is of course a light parade and all entries have to have lights on them…. yes… even people walking dogs had lights on their sweaters.

I may have rolled my eyes a little haha

The parade is a tradition we’ve had in our family from forever, well since my boys were little.  And now I’m taking my grandkids too! We like to hang out by the local bakery as they provide cookies for the kids to decorate… I may be guilty of eating one….

Seriously though it’s a fun and a festive way to start the Christmas season.

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This was one of the coolest floats in parade.

The past week I’ve managed to get pretty much all of my decorating done and we got THE most amazing tree the other night.

I love big tall trees. I’ve kinda passed the madness on to my kids. We were out with my son and his family, they had found theirs and we stopped at another place to see if they had any suiting my specifications.

Lo and behold there was this one rather large monster, still wrapped in it’s net. Honestly, I’m not sure how it was still there… it was at least 13 ft tall. We unwrapped it and it instantly exploded to almost triple it’s size. ( gotta inspect it, right??)

My son, at 26, was having more fun than I was assuring me we could get it in the house and that we just “had” to get it.

There’s something about watching my 6’5 son be as excited as a little kid that was more satisfying to me than finding the perfect tree.

While my husband proclaimed we were crazy and telling us it was to tall, we just (ignored him) kept at it, surveyed and inspected it, and decided that indeed, this tree was coming with us.

I won’t lie. It weighed a ton and it was as awkward as anything wrestling it around.

Thank goodness I work out hahaha

Anyway, we got it in. It’s an amazing beast of a tree. It fit … which we gleefully reminded my husband of 😉

The first morning I woke up as soon as I opened my bedroom door all I smelled was the amazing scent of evergreen. Such a beautiful smell… well.. I think it is …

I’m the weirdo in the tree lot walking around shoving my face into a tree and breathing it in.

Honestly, I’m sorry for all you who suffer with allergies this time of year…

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I promise an after pic when it’s done 🙂  It’s it stunning ?  The photo doesn’t really convey how huge it is.

I got the lights on it tonight and hopefully, it will be ready to be finished off tomorrow in all of it’s splendor 🙂

Fun factoid… I used 400 small bulb lights on it….232 feet of light strands.

But I haven’t just been whipping up Christmas cheer everywhere….

Oh no. When you have perfect, gorgeous mild sunny weather in December… you just have to be out in it.

So today I was up and out for a ride. I just wanted to do a long ride, with no agenda or thought of time or speed, This was my first long ride in awhile. I’d been training and kept mainly to what I was focusing on for the race so I hadn’t done many “fun” rides.  ( I uh tend to be a bit…focused on my goals 😛 )

Today was 24ish glorious miles on a beautiful cool Sunday morning.

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Trust me.. the weather was perfect 🙂

 

The season of food.

I want to touch on this topic here, and maybe I’ll run with it more in a separate post. I heard someone say the other day that they weren’t worried about losing weight right now because that’s something you did in the “new year”.

Basically, it’s a feeding frenzy all month long for many people.

I don’t think you ever have to wait for a new week, year, day, whatever to start making better choices and choosing a healthier lifestyle.

Those choices are day to day and we can certainly make good choices many days of the month during the holidays.

You do yourself no favors embracing an “eat  and drink it all” mentality during these weeks of celebrating.

I mean, really? A random day during the month doesn’t require excess.

However a day making sugar cookies? Uh… I’m down for those… and I fully understand I will enjoy some of the fruits of my labors.

After all who can resist eating a Santa or reindeer cookie??

Have a plan of action.

First I think it’s super important to keep to an exercise regime during the holidays. Don’t skip workouts because you have “so much to do”.  Getting a little purposeful movement in will center you and make you feel less stressed. Not only that it is a little extra calorie burn in your day.

Don’t use every day as a reason to over eat. Yes there will be special days to enjoy things, just don’t indulge all the time.

Be mindful of parties. Choose wisely what you eat.  I never put stuff on my plate I’m not crazy about.

Take small amounts of what you like, and don’t waste calories on things that don’t matter so much to you.

Don’t go hungry. So often people think they will “save up” for a big party and not eat all day. That really isn’t smart as you will be starving and most likely over eat.

Don’t be restrictive. Seriously, don’t be one of those people who go to a party and watch others eat wishing you could let go of your control and enjoy the moment.

Really, navigating through the holiday season is about mindful eating. Be selective, don’t restrict yourself, eat the things you love in moderation, get in your purposeful exercise, and you can move into a new year lighter or at least having maintained your current weight.

Things you should avoid this holiday season…..

Crazy cleanses to “detox” you before or after holidays. Don’t ok? No detoxes.  Just say no. That’s what you’ve got a liver and kidneys for 😉

Holiday weight loss challenges that require weigh in’s, food tracking or other restrictions. If you think you need to participate in that during the holidays maybe Santa should withhold a gift from you 😉

Holiday themed workouts that punish you for eating those sugar cookies … like you ate those and you have to do this many jumping jacks or some other physical activity to work them off.

UGH, You can’t “work off” food from the day before! You can just get back to your sane sensible workout program, eat normally and that is perfect.

OK my rant is over 😉

If you follow a few simple steps you can have your cookies and still fit in your jeans too as you move into 2019.

Your turn.. how do you keep balance during the holidays with eating well, enjoying the holiday treats, and exercise? Do you have tips or tricks to keep from adding holiday pounds?