Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lordy, Lordy, Momma's Forty!

Happy Birthday to me! I know that age is just a number but I must admit that this day is one I've been dreading. I have issues with getting older, I mean really, I cried on my thirtieth birthday. Over the year, I have watched all my high school friends turn 40 on facebook and although there are two who still hang on to 39 for a couple more days, I really enjoyed being one of the youngest... I guess graduating at 17 has some advantages. ;)

Being a "holiday baby" has always been something I've enjoyed. Others have asked if I got "ripped off" at the holidays because I am so close to Christmas, but as a child, my parents always made sure to keep the days separate and it's really nice to start off a new year with a new age AND an actual new year, it makes keeping track of events pretty easy if that makes any sense. I've also felt like the celebrations just continue from Christmas all the way through to New Year's... nothing wrong with that!
2009 has been quite a year for me. I've had lots of ups and many downs but I don't generally like to discuss my "downs" on my blog, I try to keep this a positive place for myself so, for today, I'll just focus on the positive happenings from the past year.
  • I continue to have loving support from all my family and friends. The Son is thriving in Kindergarten, The Husband loves me through thick and thin, (pun intended) I've made so many new friends at the Y this year and my dogs keep me happy and healthy (most of the time.)
  • I lost 83.8 pounds in 2009! I will definitely reach my goal of a total of at least 100 lost some time in 2010. This is an accomplishment I never thought I could do but I can now look back and say it's been a really fun journey. I've learned simple things that will keep me healthy for the rest of my life and I know I will never been obese again.
  • I am running! RUNNING! And... I actually like it. I have so much more to accomplish with my running but I love that it's the kind of activity with which I can always set goals to improve, be it increasing my speed, my distance or just trying new runs outside. I will never get to the point where I can't improve and that's the kind of activity I like. I can reach the goals and then set new ones for myself to just keep getting better and better... do you think that in 10 years I'll be talking about running marathons? It's possible!
So, those are probably the best things that happened to me when I was 39, I look forward to what 40 will bring for me. I do have some goals to set for myself but I'm waiting until 2010 to write about them... my goals for today however are simple and a fun way for me to celebrate my birthday. I am heading to the Y to run six miles today, this will be the longest run I've ever had and I will probably be very sore when it's finished but I know I can do it. (I'll be taking tomorrow off from the gym, I will need it) After my work out, I am getting my nails done, not something that's terribly pleasurable but at least it will be done. Following my nail appointment, I plan on heading to the Goodwill for a little thrift shopping, I know to most this wouldn't be an exiting birthday but I can't get enough of my finds at the Goodwill and I get compliments on my wardrobe all the time... little do people know... I will also hit Trader Joe's to pick up a few of my much needed items, European yogurt and my tomato soup, yes, I'm an addict! After that, I'll be coming home to a clean house! The Husband took off from work today so that he could clean the house for me and as most women know, this is a fantastic present! The Son is obviously home from school today and The Husband also took off so that I could enjoy my day by myself. We'll be eating a yummy healthy dinner of filet, shrimp, asparagus and roasted potatoes for dinner. Woo HOO!

Well, my bloggy friends, I'm off to the gym. I hope you all have a fantastic December 29th... I know I will!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Holiday Poem Rewrite and a Recap of our Holiday...

'Twas the day before my 40th birthday when all through the house, The Son was enjoying our new Wii console with a man I call The Spouse (or The Husband if you want to be particular.)

The presents were all opened, lots of toys had been unwrapped and I felt like this was the perfect time for a little holiday recap.

On December 20th we thought, "What do you know?" as we enjoyed watching lots and lots of new fallen snow. Ziggy was thrilled,

The son was too, he laid right down and knew just what to do.

On the day after the snowstorm we knew just where to go... to Longwood Gardens, not many others were visiting because of the snow. The company that joined us enjoyed all the beauty as did The Son, our little Christmas cutie.

In lieu of presents for the Kindergarten teacher we were asked instead to buy items for a "Giving Tree" that would feature, socks and underwear and hats galore for children who didn't have many and needed some more.

While I followed directions and we picked out hats and gloves, I had had to make
something for the teacher we loved, a few note cards I crafted and wrapped up real quick, my usual "go to" item when I want to play St. Nick.

The next thing I knew, it was Christmas Eve and Santa was leaving some PJ's under the tree, they weren't very Christmasy, that much was true, but The Son was excited by them and posed really cute too.

Christmas day was spent with family and friends, a busy, busy day, the kids hoped the fun would never end. The Niece, The Baby Niece and also The Son got lots of fun presents and enjoyed every one. The children we have must have been especially good this year because Santa was generous, he's such a dear.

Maxus Dragonoid, a Bakugan toy is the favorite present of my little boy, he's played with it more than any toy yet and he even played with The Niece and her Princesses set.

Another year past more memories made, hold those memories close and don't let them fade. I hope you've enjoyed my little holiday story, I'm off to enjoy this day with The Son for tomorrow I'll be FORTY!

Happy Monday to you all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More fun with gingerbread...

It's been a busy week so I haven't posted much and by much I mean, at all. I wanted to take a minute this morning before I start my busy Christmas Eve Day to post a few pictures of our large gingerbread house. This one was especially fun to make too. Click here if you didn't see my teeny tiny Gingerbread house and you want to take a look at it. The Son was gingerbreaded out at this point so The Husband and I got to decorate this one all by ourselves. I actually baked this gingerbread from a mix, rolled it out and used a pattern that I downloaded to cut out the pieces. It's a very basic pattern, next year I might go for a slightly fancier house.

Here we are working hard, we used Frosted Shredded Wheat cereal for our roof.

Various views of our house. We kind of went for a Tudor style, the tree you see off to the back is from one of those kits, The Son and the Step-MIL worked on this together, it's cute as an addition to the house scene but I was surprised that it it came out looking smaller than I imagined judging by the picture on the box.

This sledding guy is one of my favorite parts, isn't he cute?

I bought these little gingerbread men cookies to use as decoration, we decided to taste them which was a big mistake. They're surprisingly good and 35 calories a piece, I've only eaten two but I'm pretty sure that will change as the holiday progresses.

Merry Christmas! I hope you and yours enjoy the magic and wonder of the season.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Teeny Tiny "Gingerbread" Houses

Oh, the weather outside was frightful... but our tiny gingie houses are delightful!

We got a lot of snow yesterday. Official estimates are close to two feet for our area. This is more snow than we've gotten TOTAL for the rest of The Son's life, he's kind of excited to say the least...

Needless to say, we were snowed in yesterday. Fortunately all snow-related disasters were averted because I managed to hit the grocery store the day before to stock up on bread, milk, eggs and snacks. We wouldn't want to be one of those tragic families you hear about who die in their homes stranded without any food to see them through the long 24-hours of snowstorm. Just terrible those stories, huh? ;)

Anyway, I also stocked up on supplies to create some super-cute gingerbread houses out of graham crackers. The Husband, The Son and I had a lot of fun and it truly kept us busy for the day. The FIL and his wife are also visiting and I am happy to say that my Step-MIL helped The Son with his house which made it easier for The Husband and I to work on ours. I highly recommend this activity, we all got into it.

I hit the bulk bins at the store first, it's easy to buy a couple tootsie rolls or starburst candies when you use the bulk bins, and the cost is definitely better so unless you need an entire bag of tootsie rolls, hit the bulk bins. These cute little trees and "wreaths" were fun.

I made my own "royal icing" to use as our glue, it's a very simple recipe. I used four cups of confectioners sugar, 3 egg whites (you can use pasteurized egg whites if you're worried about salmonella, I'm not, plus we didn't really eat any) and 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Throw it all in your mixer and stir it all up. It mixes for about 7 minutes and makes a nice thick icing.

We then cut the graham crackers with a serrated knife. You need two full graham crackers cut with a point at the top, two half sheets to make the walls and two additional half sheets to make the roof. I cracked the first one I attempted, don't press too hard on the opposite side when you cut.

Smiling for Momma...

The Husband took his work very seriously.

Here's our mini-neighborhood...

The Husband designed a church, The roof is covered in whole wheat linguinie pasta which I must say, was a really nice food to use for decorating, I used it too as you will soon see... The cross on the steeple as well is made from linguine.

His stained glass window on the back of his church, is made from gumdrops

Here's The Son's house, his theme was clearly, "How Much Stuff can I Stick on my House before Momma and Daddy tell me I'm Wasting Candy?"

Don't you you just love the back? I think the "Andes Mint" randomly stuck to the roof really pops.

Yeah. The Son's house is kind of like your neighbor who puts out a few too many holiday inflatables and then adds even more to them each year...

Here's my house, I made the fence around it with the aforementioned pasta, and gumdrops

The snowman is one of my favorite parts, I used two different sized gumdrops and then a tootsie roll that I cut as his hat. I must admit that I drew the eyes and mouth on with a sharpie marker. Melted dark chocolate dipped in a toothpick works really well if you need everything to be edible, but the sharpie is easier.

Here's the back, you can get a good glimpse of the fence here...

I used coconut to make the snow all around after the houses were place in their locations and again, those long linguine noodles came in handy to push it around into all the little crevices and corners.

The FIL took a couple shots of us with our neighborhood, Ziggy decided that he had to be in this first one which made The Son act a little silly himself,

One more try... Merry Christmas!

As I mentioned before, this project was LOTS of fun, we will definitely be making this a holiday tradition. The Husband and I also made a real gingerbread house and it came out very cute as well, I'll feature that one later this week. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and if you live on the East Coast, enjoy the SNOW if you got any! (I'm off to the Y now, a couple feet of snow can't stop me from working out!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Decoration Preview...

How cute is this boy? Ziggy enjoys the fireplace, that's for sure! When we turn it on, he lays there for hours which is nice because if he's laying there, it means he's not running like a crazy pup all over the house or stealing things and hiding them behind chairs, we know where he is...

I thought for today, I'd show you some of the decorations that I have completed, a little preview if you will. Pretty much everything is finished but I'm still straitening up and putting boxes and boxes and boxes away. My FIL and his wife are coming tomorrow night so it will be done by then and if it isn't, it will look like it is.

This year, I wanted to do somethings a little differently. I used my apothecary jars to show off some candy I had in my cabinets. It's candy we'll probably never eat considering it's been there for quite a while but it sure looks cute in the pretty clear jars. By the way, three of these jars were purchased at the Goodwill or Salvation Army for less than $2. Every time I go to a thrift store, I make sure to check out the home goods area, you never know what you're going to find.

Here's a couple pictures of my snowman collection, I have LOTS of snowmans. (Yes, I know that's grammatically incorrect but I like it. ;) ) There are all kinds in my collection from little country crafty guys to a goregeous...

giant Waterford ornament, see him below, (to the left) I think he's one of my favorite Christmas decorations.

I also have a cute Santa Claus collection. They are on the mantel with a couple sparkly trees, unfortunately, the trees didn't photograph as especially sparkly but trust me, they are really, cute.

Nothing simpler than a pretty Lenox bowl filled with ornaments, I love this bowl, it's so different and special. Definitely another one of my favorite Christmas decorations. I think I'm sensing a snowman appreciation here... funny thing is, I really don't like snow!

And lastly, a preview of our smaller tree.

This is the tree under which Santa leaves our presents but we also have a nine-footer in the foyer. I'll post some pictures of that, and more detailed pictures of this tree soon. Until then, I hope you've enjoyed my preview.

Today is another busy day for the CityFamily/CountryFamily. I have my nutrition meeting and weigh in at 1:00, plus I need to work out and The Son has karate tip testing tonight, I have to get ready for company this weekend and I have to do all the other daily chores that people have to do so I bid you farewell and wish you a happy Thursday! Stay warm!