Monday Musings

Happy Monday you crazy kids! I don’t know about you but I’m hitting the floor today with a smile and a mile long to do list!

This past weekend was busy as I was preparing to move my little vintage business to a new location. The new place isn’t that far away but moving is always, well, moving right?

You still have to pack it up and drag it to the new destination.

Oh. And rain.

Yes, let’s add rain to the mix for a little extra fun. ( Insert sarcasm here 😉 )

I was pretty happy with the month in sales…lots of stuff went to new homes so it means I gotta get going on some new projects.

Thankfully my barn has plenty waiting for me.

Seriously though, I’m so grateful for new opportunities and can hardly wait to see how this next part of the adventure unfolds.

Sunday afternoon I got my new space all set up and Monday will find me at the shop entering all my inventory in the computer.

It’s hard to believe that July marks my one year “officially” doing this.

A year of doing this messy, fun, challenging, and extremely creative work. I’ve learned to do so many things I never knew how to do.

Thankfully I have a “jump in the deep end” personality so it’s never crossed my mind I couldn’t fix up some horrible, ratty, falling apart piece of furniture. It kinda comes naturally to me.

It has been the most unexpected, satisfying work.

Speaking of work….

I love that summer mornings get light out pretty early allowing me to get on the road for some miles while the sun comes up on me.

Did I mention though, our county decided to “pave” our little country roads? This amounts to pouring out hot tar, and then covering it with small stones and rolling over it a few times.

It is then expected the usual traffic will pack it down. The bad part is that all the loose stone where cars don’t drive gets pushed into areas and that can make for some, exhilarating ? Moments on the bike if you hit one of those patches.

Curves and cul de sacs I used to ride into like a wild woman, well, I have to be a little more cautious on….. for right now 😉

In the ways of athletic shenanigans….

More than once this week I’ve been reminded of the payoffs for my strength training days. I’m more than capable of helping lift various pieces of equipment at my sons shop….me offering to help unload something from a truck…ha…

Surprised looking man “Oh you’re going to help me?”

Me: indeed I am.

I’m always amused at the usual expectations that because I’m a female I’m not equipped to handle heavy things .

Now I jokingly quip I don’t just have muscles for decoration haha

I helped move a big china cabinet out of my shop yesterday that I sold. I felt like I handled it better than the guy on the other end 😉

Seriously though, you get stronger by using your body. Practicing functional movements and lifting heavy things transfers over into real life by being able to handle all the day to day things you may deal with.

In addition to all that….it’s empowering to be strong.

And today starts a new month…..

Not just any month, July. All things summer and our nation’s birthday month and yours truly as well.

It will be time for another birthday post so stay tuned for that 😉

Speaking of the United States birthday. My kids have been pleading with me to whip up my homemade strawberry ice cream.

This is like seriously the most amazing treat ever. It will not be on my healthy eating tips post Haha

It is made with nothing but heavy cream, buckets of sweet, juicy bright red strawberries, and uh, sugar.

You let it churn for quite awhile in the old ice cream maker ( electric of course) although I’ve entertained my kids with stories “back in the day” where we had to hand crank that thing for eternity before we were rewarded with actual ice cream.

Did you ever get that experience??

Homemade ice cream is one of those quintessential summer treats for sure.

It will also be accompanied by hot dogs off the grill topped with various condiments, along with tasty side dishes to keep them company.

The night will be topped off perched on a blanket, watching spectacular fireworks while that delicious ice cream drips off my chin or runs down my arm cause that stuff gets messy.

But I ask you, is there a better way to end a celebratory day than hanging with people you love and eating tasty food?

I think not.

If you’ll be celebrating the 4th, what treats do you enjoy? What are some if your favorite summer foods?

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Monday Musings

Happy Monday world! This isn’t just another Monday. Here in the states it’s Memorial Day.

Yes many often view it as a three day weekend, a kick start to summer and a day to BBQ. The reality is, its a day of solemn remembrance for the men and women who served and gave their lives for our country.

I know if I made a trip to the military cemetery where my father is buried, a flag would be on his stone as well as the thousands of others who surround him.

My father did two terms in Vietnam. He was always immensely proud of his service to our country.

He never talked about his time there. It wasn’t until the last year of his life that he said some things that made sense to some of his ( we thought, idiosyncrasies) and I think it was only the advancing of his alzheimers that may have loosened the memories and let them out.

He always wanted the windows closed and locked. It made my mom crazy. He revealed in his later days that the enemy used to hide in the jungle and trees and then attack. ( we live in the country surrounded by some very dense terrain) he had never lost the worry that they were still out there.

Or more chilling how the sound of aircraft made him tense… the enemy would fly over and throw the dead soldiers from the helicopter. A reminder they could be next.

It was a roadside bomb exploding and causing the vehicle he was in to crash causing injuries that sent him to Germany to rehab and then finally home.

I’m not sure you or I can even begin to grasp what our service men and women go through, or how it makes a lifetime indelible impact on them physically, emotionally and spiritually.

On this day we remember those who sacrificed their lives. Those who left behind loved ones, dreams, and plans for the future.

I thought of how so many laid down their lives as…..

I passed a man selling fresh produce on the side of the road this morning.

I saw a bumper sticker proclaiming political views.

I drove by multiple churches.

I made plans for my business.

I recently voted in an election.

I shopped in stores with a great abundance of food and other items.

Freedom.

We have so much freedom in our country to use our voices, to run businesses, to move about freely, to worship as we choose, or not choose. We have freedom to vote for our elected leaders.

We have so many freedoms and it’s on this solemn day we stop to remember…to remember those who gave all so that we can live in the daily freedoms we take so for granted.

Thank you seems so small…..such small words for gratitude of giving and serving with ones life.

As you gather with your family on this day, I hope you take a moment to pause and give thanks for the precious gift of freedoms you have and for the lives of those who make it possible.

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?

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?

Hello 2018!

Happy New Year boys and girls, and welcome to 2018! As I’m writing this evening on the first day of this new year, with football serving as back round noise, I have many thoughts dancing in my head and a writing partner by my side….

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There is a fire in our fireplace as we are starting the year off with some wicked cold weather. Coffee and soft leggings have been a staple the last few days. In the south, we are not used to low digit weather!

 

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Family has been gathered together. We’ve laughed, eaten food and eaten more food. We’ve played games and just hung out a lot enjoying each other.

Hubby has been on vacation for these two weeks and it’s been a fun, laid back and a bit  of a lazy time hanging out and doing stuff together.

My thoughts are of the year ahead, the freshness of it, the opportunities and all the new adventures. It is natural for me to look at what I’ve accomplished in the previous year and want to do just… a little bit more… in the upcoming year.

I’m always down for new challenges.

Ah well, I guess I could post the obligatory “new year, new you” stuff. Or the “it’s been an awful year and I’m ready for the next one” or any other sappy mushy quote that’s prevalent right now.

I won’t do that to you.

It is a new year. I’m pretty sure you don’t need to be a “new” you, but if you’re like most of us there might be one or two things you wanna shape up more.

And I never complain about the year gone by because well, first, it’s a year you’ve been given to live and second no one has a year free from difficult things and sails through without any trials.  With joy there is sorrow, with triumph there are trials, with pain there is hope, and with difficulties come days of ease.

It all makes up a year in our lives, right?

I’m already brainstorming ideas for this year. I have my new planner set up ( go me) and important info logged in.

Once I get the household returned to normal from Christmas festivities I have plans to work on some more chalk painting projects ( something I got into at the end of this past year) I will also be working on a now (empty) room my newly married son has vacated ( it was named the Batcave but I’m thinking with my new ideas for it, Batcave might not be suitable haha 😛 ) I have all my grandparents bedroom furniture so I’m hoping to do something cute and vintage looking in there.

Then of course there are my athletic goals and shenanigans that I’m thinking about. It is hard to not want to challenge myself more after tackling my first duathlon in November. ( read about it here….. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/12/05/duathlon-journey-the-recap/

That being said, it is once again, on my goal list for 2018. I’m eager to cut my teeth on it once more and improve my skills.

I’m also looking at my first ever actual bike race, a cool 60 miler.

And I really want to get back to some distance running so I’m toying with a spring half marathon.

I’m in my element when I’m focused on training for an event, what can I say?

Right now I’m just ready to get back to my athletic activities. With this month and family, schedule, weather etc it’s been minimal maintenance stuff.

I love all the holiday activities but I’m also ready to get back into my “normal” again.

Anyone else? Yeah, raise your little hand.

I used to worry if I missed some days working out that I’d not want to do it again, that I’d be out of the routine and decide it was easier to not do it.

Not true. I’m eager to get back to hard work. My body feels better when I do workout than when I don’t. My mind is clear and focused when my day starts with some hard work.

Exercise has become a wonderful habit and one I’m grateful to have.

In a way, this enforced rest isn’t bad for me. I know rest allows my body to rebuild and replenish after a solid year of hard work. It’s the mental part of me that struggles with it. Yet I know too, my mind needs rest from it as well.

So I’ve rested. I’ve eaten tasty foods and treats and I’m more than ready to get back to my normal eating, another habit I’ve developed and appreciate having.

I just feel better eating healthy foods. I’m more aware of it than ever when my eating habits differ.

Oh. Speaking of habits.

One of the newest posts I’ll be bringing you is my review on the new paperback version of “Lean Habits For Weight Loss”.  I received my copy this week in the mail from Georgie and I’ll be eager to share with you.  I believe this is really the only tool anyone might need for help and encouragement in losing weight. The way to be successful and keep it off is to rebuild  bad habits that sabotage your success. To learn to change your thinking and behaviors with food that will lead to permanent weight loss.

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Did some reading on a recent road trip

 

That’s just one topic I’ll be dealing up here on my blog so I hope you check back.

This year is full of promise and new possibilities. I’ll continue to share sane, practical tips and ideas on nutrition and weight loss, diet and book reviews, personal experiments on products to educate you, exercise hints and tips, as well as my athletic shenanigans and real life stuff too.

Tell me what plans you have for the upcoming year. Anything new or exciting? What are you anticipating most?

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

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As the old Christmas song goes… “it’s the most wonderful time of the year….”

This is a disclaimer before you proceed reading anymore :

I’m gonna get all kinds of nostalgic on you so either buckle up and grab a fresh cup of coffee or abandon your computer for higher ground .

You’ve been warned.

I’ve always loved Christmas but I’m pretty sure my mom and grandparents had a lot to do with making that impression on me.

My memories of childhood were of fun, festivities, and family. Of course there were always lots of delicious baked goods and candies, and everything was always beautifully decorated. Christmas music was on and I remember my mom and grandmother singing along with various songs. There were special table linens and candy/cookie trays that were brought out every year to be filled again.

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Speaking of childhood and vintage. How about a couple pics of yours truly age 17 mos. and 6 years. I look thrilled over that baby which I still have…somewhere.

 

Cookies. Can you say… cookies? Of all the ones to be chosen, the cut out cookies still have my heart. All of those fun Christmas shapes in sugar cookie form … is there anything better? That is one thing today my kids all still love doing. Piling in at the kitchen table and decorating trees, Santas, reindeer, angels, sleighs, snowflakes, gingerbread boys and girls. My mom had tons of cool cutters that I enjoy using as well along with the ones I already had.

The season was steeped in many traditions for me.

As a family we always went together and bought a fresh tree. I’m grateful no one had any issues that kept us from having one because to this day it’s one of my favorite things to go do… pick out the biggest tree I can get my paws on… thank goodness I have 12 ft ceilings now! As a child our ceilings were much shorter so we were limited in the height we could drag home.  This years specimen comes in right around 11 ft and it smells soooo amazing. Some years the fragrance isn’t as strong, this year, beautiful AND fragrant.

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The photo really doesn’t do it justice

 

No, I don’t mind a real tree, and no I don’t mind cleaning up at the end of the season. It’s all worth it to me.

My children are adults now ( good heavens… I can’t believe that sometimes) and they too continue to expect a real tree and the married ones plan to carry on the tradition.

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I love looking into the tree when it’s lights are the only thing on. It’s still magical to me.

 

So we had the tree covered in bright lights ( remember those big C7 lights you could line a run way with?? I do have those on my tree but they are the more modern ones that stay cool and wont burn the tree down) and family decorations, amazing homemade treats, beautifully wrapped packages, family, special meals, worship service and of course the celebration of Jesus birth.

I simply grew up immersed in the beauty of Christmas, and not just the beauty, the magic too. The magic of waiting expectantly for Santa on Christmas Eve and the inability to fall asleep from excitement. My family always worked to make sure that the magic was a part of Christmas.

My mom was such a child at heart about Christmas till the day she left this earth. I’m afraid I’m no different.  I still get excited at Christmas and I have a hard time sleeping sometimes.. only now I’m Santa and my kids and grandbabies get to experience it.

It was a sobering moment to me thinking this year that I’m the only one left to carry on all these traditions that have become precious to me. To pass them on to my children and their families.

Let me say I’m fully aware that Christmas isn’t fun for many, especially when they are acutely aware of loved ones that are missing from their lives.

Nothing brings that loss home more than Christmas time and I can fully speak to that.

In the last 5 years I’ve lost my brother, my mother, and this past year, my dad.  At this time of year there are moments that the pain and anguish strike my heart and spirit  so hard it almost takes my breath away.

I deeply miss my people.

I miss the ones who shared those long ago memories with me. I miss taking out certain decorations or ornaments and reminiscing about them. Oh, I still do on many items as I share stories of various treasures with my kids but they don’t have the memories associated with it.

In this last year I’ve also been busy cleaning out my parents entire house and going through years of….life. It has to be done but there have been so many days it’s been an agonizing road to walk.  There were times I went in with the intent to work and only found myself sobbing on the sofa longing for those I loved to be there again.

However, in the cleaning process I’ve found some beautiful treasures that I have brought home to enjoy and to share with my kids. One thing I finally felt emotionally strong to do was go through the various boxes of carefully wrapped ornaments that had been my mothers and my grandmothers. I tried last year but opening the box that she had last carefully packed away was a bit more than I could handle at the time.

This year, I brought everything out. I laid them all on the table smiling, laughing and sometimes crying looking at all of the years of Christmas treasures in front of me. I pulled precious old ones from the mix, ones of my grandmothers that date back to World War 2.  There were treasured delicate glass ornaments that have always gone at the top of tree to protect them, now in my care to treasure. There were silly ones that for some reason I always loved, like these colored glass balls that had big fake eyes and a foam mustache. When my brother and I moved out my mom gave me a blue one and my brother a red one. Two years ago mine fell from the tree and shattered in a million pieces. Yes, I cried.  Going through my brothers ornaments I came across the red one… somehow it was like an old friend was back as I settled it into a position on my tree.

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He’s old and not fancy, but I love him. As a child I named him Oscar.

 

 

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One of several from my grandmother that date back to World War 2.

 

Speaking of trees….

I realized that one poor tree, no matter how big, reaches a point of holding all the memories of Christmas past.  However, I can have several other trees that are fun or have a theme. Of course my kids might secretly be wondering if I’m turning into a crazy old tree lady… 😉

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I love this little pink tree. It’s fun, whimsical and is my gingerbread/candy tree in my kitchen. I add real colored candy canes to it as well.

 

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The tinsel tree is a new acquisition this year. The tree is new but it’s covered in vintage glass ornaments. The little house in front is actually an old light bulb that my great grandmother used on her tree

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I love the rustic look of all of this. The trunk was a great yard sale find years ago for 15.00. It’s an 1800’s steamer trunk.

 

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I won’t lie. I’m seriously in love with this. I picked up the tiny white tree this year and it’s covered in more vintage glass ornaments. The old wooden coke crate contains many more that were on my grandmothers tree.

 

So many treasures are vintage collectibles now. Not just that, it’s the history they hold as well that means so much to me.

AH! I’m vintage.

Ha well in the life of Christmas decorations when they are up and over 50plus years that’s pretty old. I’m fascinated with the Christmases they have seen and sometimes wonder how they’ve survived so long.

My cardboard Christmas houses, so delicate and fragile and originally only pennies in a dime store are now worth hundreds of dollars depending on the era it came from, style etc.

I am completely enthralled with them. However, my love again, was started as a child when my grandmother would place her little village out with the Barclay skater people. It was one of my most favorite parts of Christmas. I was thrilled when my mother let me have the beat up old village when I found it in the back of the loft long forgotten. I took them home and carefully restored them. It was only when I began digging into their history that I found the ones I grew up with were actually the end of an era of these unique houses. The first ones had been produced in the late 1920’s -early 30’s into the 40’s and 50’s and were last made in the mid 60’s a far cry for the original grandeur they had been crafted in.

Today, I have my grandmothers original set I still put out for that is where my childhood memories are.

But I’ve also carefully collected some beautiful, unique houses by shopping carefully and skillfully on Ebay. There are some I have to look wistfully at and let go as they soar in price zones I won’t participate in.

All of the houses in my collection are  70-80 years old. How they have withstood the test of so many Christmases gone by always amazes me. Some I’ve purchased and carefully done some restoration on. Others, I’ve purchased knowing they will stay “as is” in my collection mainly because the coloring or materials would be impossible to find and replicate now.

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Shhh step into my quiet winter wonderland…

 

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Churches are my favorite pieces. The red windowed one is from the early 1930’s.  The one on end hales from the same era. I’ve collected seven unique ones.

 

I wrote a post on them last Christmas, you can learn more reading “Favorite Things Of Christmas”  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/12/22/favorite-things-of-christmas/

I guess I should say for a more modern, trendy girl, I absolutely love and adore vintage Christmas. The new cheap modern day stuff doesn’t have the same appeal to me. I think though, it’s more because my heart is connected to the times gone by with the old items from the past.

But life moves forward, and memories are sweet and dear and keep us connected to those we’ve loved and have been privileged to share the journey of life with. As I’ve decorated this year it has been a sweet treat to incorporate so many things from the past that are old and beautiful with newer things I’ve collected with my family over these past years.

I love being able to create a magical, special season for my family like I knew growing up. It blesses me that they appreciate it so much and enjoy being there. I want them to have memories of special times and special things that they can share with their children.

Traditions. Simple or elaborate I want them to have the history of traditions.

But Christmas is so much more. It’s a time in the year when we should be more mindful than ever of peace, love, and joy. To be mindful of those we hold dear and the treasure that they are to us.  To give those gifts freely and generously back to them.  To embrace some of the simplicity of the season and not be swooped up in the commercial money train it has become.  To enjoy the presence of each other because that isn’t always granted to us.

I hope that you make your own traditions with those you love. I hope you value and embrace the simple things that make Christmas so beautiful and magical. I pray you know the peace and joy that this season is about and that it stays with you all year long.

As I’m concluding this post, and thinking of peace, I can’t help but mention it has been snowing here now for over an hour. I’ve watched big white fluffy flakes tumble from the sky and blow through the air, silently beautiful, peaceful.

It’s kind of a big deal for a girl who lives in south Texas… we rarely ever see snow.

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Do you wanna build a snowman? My adult sons crafted this big guy.

 

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Oh my! Did we get some snow! How beautiful is this?? Our first real snow since 1985. What an exciting day and night it turned into! A bit of a white Christmas for us.

 

 

It’s peaceful and quiet… it’s been reflective for me. I pray you know and experience all of the things that matter most in this Christmas season and that you have eyes of a child to still appreciate the magic and a spirit that receives the peace and hope of the Christ child.

Do you have special traditions or things that make Christmas magical to you? What are your favorite childhood memories?

Holiday Survival Guide

holiday survival

I’m struggling to grasp the fact we are nearly two weeks into October already.  Like where has the year vanished to? October heralds the start of all things “holiday” in the commercial realm here.

I’m not sure what it’s like in the rest of the world, but here in the U.S. it’s become sadly common place the last few years for stores to just throw all holidays together like some huge smorgasbord you just go in and pick from.

Why yes, I want to look at Christmas trees and lights while I’m picking out orange and black Halloween candy.

Back in the day when I was a wee little girl ( a really long time ago ha) there was a general appreciation for each holiday. It was recognized and then you moved to the next one. The official start to Christmas was after Thanksgiving and you didn’t go get your tree till December.

I’m remember my grandparents being shocked when the neighbor put theirs up before December one year.

One just didn’t break Christmas rules by putting the tree up to early.

And Thanksgiving, well that’s just about swept under the rug and barely given a nod to. If you’re lucky you may find some turkey napkins and fall leaves squished into a small area on one single aisle.

By the way….Do you know Canada has Thanksgiving in October??? Like they just had it… weird… although I was a little jealous they were already having turkey… but I digress….

This isn’t a post about me whining on how commercialized the “holiday” season (Oct-Dec)  has become or how I wish things were simpler, although I do.

No, this is a little post about having a survival fitness guide for the “holiday season”.

I saw the first meme the other day… you know.. one that’s designed to make you feel like a guilty loser for enjoying foods or treats for the holiday? Get out there and work off your food!

Yeah, I think those are awesome too… not really.

I think they are designed to steal your joy over something that should be fun and celebratory, isn’t that what holidays are about?

Family? Food? Friends? More food?

That’s what life is about.

However, all of us want to navigate through these upcoming months and not look like the Butterball turkey come January.  You really can go through these months and not gain weight, I promise.

When I started on my health journey, it was mid October. I stayed the course all through the rest of that year and when I checked in with my doctor in January I had lost 20 lbs.

Yes, you read that correctly. No, I didn’t starve myself or do without. I ate normal almost all of those days, I enjoyed the celebrations of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I baked, I ate cookies, I nibbled on my favorite chocolate treats, and I enjoyed the season.

I also stayed true to my exercise at the time, every day. I didn’t treat each day like it was a party that I needed to over eat on, I ate in moderation. I didn’t eat till I was miserable on the actual holiday.

I wore form fitting clothes to remind me of my goals. Crazy I know but it works. Trust me, you are much more aware of your body and how you are eating.

So I want you to have your own personal survival guide

This is gonna look different for all of us. It will vary by our goals, our lifestyle and what we are trying to achieve. I’m assuming, you really don’t want to add any extra weight to you.. that’s why you are here.

First of all, if you fall in the camp of already throwing the towel in and proclaiming “I’ll start in January!”

Stop. It.

Seriously, stop thinking like that. There are only a few days in these upcoming months that would be out of the norm for eating purposes. You have days of normal life going on there are no reasons to toss in the towel and view these months as an eating binge.

And… I’ve just told you I lost weight through these months so I know it’s possible. Either that or you maintain your weight.

Next, exercise.

If you aren’t yet at least get out and start walking. Regardless, you want to make time in your day for that. It not only helps with the weight issue more importantly it keeps you sane and focused on days that get busy with all the hustle of the holidays.

One of my fav things I’ve done every Thanksgiving since I started getting myself in shape, is getting up early for a sunrise run.  It centers my mind on what the day is about, let’s me think of all I’m grateful for and blessed with, burns off some calories and energizes me for the long busy day I’ll have as Chief cook and Dessert Master 😛

Food.

Oh there are so many delicious things to sample aren’t there? And pie. Glorious, delicious pie.

I eat the things I love the most. I don’t worry so much about the other stuff. I don’t eat it because “it’s there”. I feel no obligation to eat everything that’s put out, you shouldn’t either. If you can’t really stand Grandma’s sweet potato casserole with gobs of marshmallows, for heavens sake, leave it behind!

I don’t feel deprived or left out. I have what I want in small portions.. with so much food available it doesn’t take much to fill a plate.  I detest that over full feeling so I really try and keep away from doing it.

You need to make your plan now

~ determine what you will and won’t do. This puts you in charge and not just being bounced along day to day,

~ on the actual day be mindful of how you eat. Listen to your body. Trust me, there will be food for days so you don’t need to eat it all at once.

~ don’t over eat or eat “bonus” foods on random days. Eat normally and respect your decisions you’ve made.

~ don’t feel obligated to eat everything that’s put out. Be selective in what you want.

~ do try and limit alcohol and keep your water intake up.

~ do commit to daily exercise.

~ do enjoy your family traditions and foods. Don’t get hung up on how many calories are in things.

~ do remember, you can’t “work off” things you’ve already eaten.  It’s done. Move forward and work out sensibly.

~ do listen to your body. If it’s telling you “enough” then learn to stop. Like I said, food will be around for days 😉

~finally, do set a small goal for yourself to achieve at the end of the season. If you have something you’re mindful of, you will be more likely to stay focused on it.

Make sure you check back in the upcoming weeks for a few more tips and motivation to keep strong and fit through this season.

With some planning, awareness of yourself and each day, you can move through these months enjoying yourself, staying positive, and maybe even dropping a few pounds in the process.

Do you have any tips or tricks you use to stay on track during the holidays?