Friday, December 31, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - New Year's

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog carnival where you can blog about your memories and link up.  All are welcome, and this week the topic is New Year's.

It's been a long time since I've done anything interesting for New Year's, because of the kid-factor.  So I had to wind back quite a bit on this one - ten years to be exact.  One of my favorite New Year's was when a large group of us bought tickets to go hear The Worx play.  They are a regional band that has some really fun music.  The tickets included snacks and champagne at midnight.  People from both my work and Paul's work were there, so it was a lot of fun.

This is me with my friend, Tiffany.  I had to crop out some random person to the left, since I can't remember her name and don't have permission to put her on my blog.  But Tiff has said before (granted it was 10 months ago...) she doesn't care!  Everyone needs a friend like Tiff.  She's vibrant, fun, geniune, and a true girly-girl who still manages to be down to earth.  I adore her.  Plus, she talks a lot.  I always like when I don't have to carry the conversation.  Tiffany has always been there when I needed a friend to lean on, and she also carries a very strong faith.  What more can I say?  Where there's Tiff, there's fun!
Note the date in the bottom corner.
Now I know this picture was taken before midnight.
Why?
Because the year that we hit 2000, I stayed at home all night refusing to go out and I watched a marathon of The Crocodile Hunter on television.  Ha!

Anyhow, we danced and drank our champagne at midnight and heard some great music.
And I vaguely remember stopping at IHOP on the way home, where I was practically starving because they took so long; I even saw stars.  I was so happy when my eggs and toast and bacon finally came!

Want to join in on Memory Lane Friday?  Just add your blog to below:
Please be sure to visit the blogs of other participants and leave them comments.
Next week Memory Lane Friday has no theme.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Deluxe Banana Pudding - Vintage Recipe Thursday

It's been a while since I've joined in on Vintage Recipe Thursday over at Joy of Desserts.

Today's recipe is for Deluxe Banana Pudding.
This is my grandmother Lin Lin's recipe, and is handwritten in the front of one of her Southern Living cookbooks.
Mix 3 regular or 2 large boxes of instant vanilla pudding with 5 cups of milk.  Fold in 1 cup of sour cream and half a 9 ounce carton of whipped topping.  Layer in a large glass dish, starting with coarsely crumbled vanilla wafers, a layer of sliced bananas, then half of the pudding mixture.  Repeat the whole thing one more time.  Cover with remaining whipped topping and chill.

I've 'skinnied' this up many times by using 1% milk, fat free sour cream, fat free cool whip, and reduced fat vanilla wafers.  It does just fine with the substitutions.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mister Tooth Decay

Pierce has been going to the dentist since he was 2 years old.  So for 2 years now we've gone every 6 months.  We started early because Pierce had severe acid reflux the first 3 years of his life.  He had numerous appointments with specialists, tests, and medicines.  It was a long road, but he is mostly past all that, and has been free from medicines for over a year now. 

Anyhow, the first four times Pierce went to the dentist, he wouldn't allow them to do anything other than peek at his teeth and count them. 

This time, he did allow the cleaning of teeth, but he was very nervous and jittery the whole time.  He also wouldn't sit for the x-rays, so they didn't happen.
They gave him some cool shades to wear so the light wouldn't be in his eyes.
He looked so funny I had to sneak a picture:

Unfortunately, Pierce did have one cavity.  We are on well water, so this isn't too surprising (the twins are on fluoride drops, but for some reason they weren't prescribed for Pierce).  The cavity is behind one of his front teeth.  The dentist said that because it's a baby tooth, it doesn't have to be filled - it's optional.  Based on his jitteriness at the dentist, I decided to wait and see on the tooth.  The dentist said to limit sugary foods, which we do anyhow, but I'm going to make an effort to start brushing his teeth after breakfast every morning, since he loves his waffles.  In another 6 months, we'll either see that the cavity hasn't gotten any worse, and maybe it won't need filling.  Or, if it has, perhaps Pierce will be a little more capable of sitting still for more than two seconds.

Got any good tips for youngsters with dentist anxiety? 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Dog in the ER, on Christmas

Paul and I received a sports video camera for Christmas from his parents.  You can wear it on your head and take video as your are biking, running, riding the horses, etc.  I saw many people wearing these at the NYC Marathon, and thought they were pretty cool.

So on Christmas Day Paul set off to go for a run to try it out.
Scooter loves running, so of course he went with him.

We had a couple of inches of snow on the ground that had fallen during the night.  Not much on the roads, but Paul and Scooter were hitting the trails on our place, where there was more snow.

As Paul was running, he heard a crunch, and realized he'd stepped on some glass.
He didn't think much about it, but a few minutes later he saw blood all in the snow.
Turns out Scooter had hit the glass (Paul later went back and found it - it was a very old bottle) and cut his paw severely.

They came back of course. 
Our back porch is covered with footprints like these:

So off to the emergency vet ER with Scooter.
Thankfully, they are open on holidays.  We have long been a customer there.  In fact, in their database we are customer number 68.  Out of some 60,000.  They thought it was funny. 

Scooter had cut a tendon and an artery.
It's good we got him in.
He got good loopy drugs and 6 stitches.
And a bandage that he promptly removed himself when we got home.

See the stitches, just above the pad?
Anyhow, because a tendon was cut, Scooter is supposed to stay quiet for 3-4 WEEKS.
Yeah, pretty sure that they didn't take the 'border collie effect' into consideration when they made that recommendation!
You never heard such big baby crying when he doesn't get to go outside to join in running and sledding.
Hope he survives.

I'm linking up today with Show and Tail over at WV Treasures.  Check it out, HERE!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sledding, 101

What do we have here, Reid?
Well, Cort, I believe that's Daddy on his sled.  Note his form today.  He's got a very nice lean going, knees slightly bent. 

Reid, how fast do you think he's going?  These sleds can get going pretty fast, right?
Yes, Cort, the sleds can reach speeds up to 10 miles an hour.  That's a heck of a lot faster than our wagon.

Now, Reid, this is a really technical move here.  The lean on this curve has to be approached just right.
That's right, Cort.  You really have to be careful about the angle of the sled too as you go around the apple tree.  It's a hazardous time for the sledders.

Uh oh.  Well, I know how that feels.
Oh yeah.  You think he'll do it again?  This is the best entertainment since we used to have chickens in the house.
Oh, I hope so, Reid, I hope so!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Broccoli Shrimp Alfredo

Thanks to all who entered my CSN Stores Giveaway.  MeeYeeHere, commenter #5 won the giveaway.  Congrats!

This is a Taste of Home recipe, and is super easy.  It turns out delicious every time, but as it is calorically dense I usually save it for times when I've been running high mileage.  I've also had good results using 1% milk and reduced fat cream cheese.

Ingredients:
1 package (16 ounces) fettucine
1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup butter
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 package (10 ounces) frozen broccoli florets (I typically use fresh and just steam it prior to adding)
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper

Cook fettucine according to package dierctions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the shrimp and garlic in butter until the shrimp turns pink.  Remove and keep warm.  In the same skillet, combine the cream cheese, milk, and parmesan; cook until cheeses are melted and smooth.
Cook broccoli and drain.  Stir broccoli, shrimp, salt and pepper into cheese sauce; heat through.  Drain fettuccine, top with shrimp mixture.

I know some of you don't like shrimp, but this could easily be made with chicken instead.  Also, I like to add fresh sliced mushrooms to mine.

I will be linking this recipe with Mere's Foodie Friday.  You can find her blog HERE.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas

We've had loads of presents, too many to count.  Too many even to photograph.  Thanks so much to generous family for getting the boys wonderful gifts and contributing to a future swingset.

There were lots of new things to taste and smell. 

Including Cousin Grady.  He's not totally new anymore, but it was his first Christmas! 

So much excitement and fun, that a certain non-napper fell asleep on the way home from seeing the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousin.  New toy still in hand. 

Then opening presents at home.  Remote control cars, a Fisher Price Nativity, a very special book.  Thanks Shutterfly. 

Paul and I can't stop laughing over all the pictures of Pierce.  Such a cute read. 

Cookies for Santa. 

Someone has been a very good 4 year old. 

And the twins have been pretty good themselves. 
Merry Christmas all! 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - Holiday Traditions

Hope that you are having a very nice Christmas Eve.  Today is Memory Lane Friday, and the theme is holiday traditions.  All are welcome to blog on the subject and link up.

I recently scanned the pictures from my grandparents' photo album.  And there were tons and tons of Christmas pictures.  Too many to post, to be truthful.  But I wanted to share a few of them.

You have to study this one closely to realize it is a Christmas picture, but I'm sitting next to a poinsettia, so it must be.  I like this picture because guess what?  I look just like Cort.  Or he looks just like me.

We would always visit both sets of grandparents over Christmas.  Sometimes it might be a weekend early or a weekend later, but we would go and enjoy food and family.
This is the Christmas I got my furry Snoopy pillow cover.  It was rather pink.
Also, note my awesome stuffed Garfield riding the pretty pony.
I also had a stuffed Odie. 

Every year my grandmother would get me a fancy doll for Christmas, in spite of the fact that I was a tomboy and didn't want to play with dolls.  But she tried so hard.
This is the Scarlett O'Hara Madame Alexander doll.
I still have it, in it's original box (although the box is a bit beat up). 
Oh yes, and you can't see it to well, but I appear to be sitting in a Tonka truck box.

And of course, I mustn't forget to include a picture of kid brother Taylor.
This is the year he got his bubble mower and a huge Tonka truck, mentioned in the picture above. 

This is my aunt Pam with my dad.  This must've been taken before dinner, because afterwards they would've been stuffed too full to smile. 
Christmas Eve morning we'd head out to breakfast.  This was a special tribute to my Mom.  My Dad always said she did so much work (baking, wrapping presents, making gifts) that she deserved to eat out for a meal.  So off we would go to someplace like Cracker Barrel or the Silver Diner.  Along the way, my Dad would butcher singing the Feliz Navidad song when it came on the radio, and my brother and I would practically fall out of our seatbelts in laughter, then beg him to sing it again.

We always opened presents on Christmas Eve, after attending a Christmas Eve service and eating a ham dinner.  We would always bug my dad, and he'd say, "No presents until it's dark outside!"
Then he'd tease us.  He'd say, "Hmmm, maybe we should just wait until Christmas Day this year..."
Below...me with my mom, the year I got my highly desired Animator. 
Overall, our Christmases were pretty simple.  The main theme?  The main tradition?  Just being with family. Which makes for very nice memories indeed.

Want to link up with Memory Lane Friday?
After you add your link, go visit the links of other bloggers, and leave them a comment.
Next week is a 'no theme' week on Memory Lane Friday. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Italian Lentils and Broccoli - Healthy, Hearty, and Vegetarian!

I got this recipe from this month's Prevention Magazine.  Love their recipes - several of my favorites have come from them. 

Ingredients:
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken broth because it's what I had on hand)
1 cup dried green or brown lentils
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red-pepper flakes
6 cups broccoli florets
16 large pitted green olives, slivered
4 tsp shredded parmesan

Combine onion, carrot, garlic and oil in medium saucepan.  Cover and cook over medium heat until veggies soften, about 5 minutes.

Stir in broth, lentils, oregano, and pepper flakes.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender - about 20 minutes.

Add broccoli.  Cover and simmer until broccoli is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in olives (I also stirred in 1/2 can of diced tomatoes that I had leftover).
Serve sprinkled with fresh grated parmesan.

Serves 4, 271 calories per serving, 17 grams protein, 7 grams of fat.
It was easy to make, and the serving sizes were very generous.  Not to mention, it's a very economical recipe.  We'll definitely be making it again in the future.

Have you entered my CSN Stores fitness giveaway yet?  Yoga DVDs for you and your child.  Go enter!  Click HERE!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Fierce Game of Christmas Tag

Okay, so it's not fierce.  It's more friendly.  I have been tagged by JDaniel4sMom. She has a fabulous blog full of fun ideas for kids.  I have answered her questions below and have tagged a few bloggers at the end of this post who will hopefully continue the game.

1.When do you usually know and feel that it's finally the holidays? Around September when the displays go up in the stores.  Okay, not really.  But that does irritate me.  Usually once Thanksgiving hits.
2.What do you want for Christmas this year? Well, I already posted my list about a week ago.  We're on a tight budget this year, so nothing really big, just small piddly things that I need to replace other things I've broken/lost.  Oh, and I need a new calendar for 2011, to track my running mileage of course!

3.Do you go all out with decorations? Not at all.  We have a tree, stockings, 2 wreaths, etc.  One year Paul put lights all over the cabin on the outside, and it looked so cool!  But he hasn't done it in the past few years, because it takes a lot of time.

4.What are you doing Christmas Eve? We hope to go on a 'lights run' to see the Christmas lights by running with our Striders friends.  Also, I'd like to attempt a Christmas Eve service, even though Cort is a heathen and hates church, but it's supposed to be bad weather here.  We always opened presents on Christmas Eve in my family growing up, so we'll be doing that (because on Christmas day it's all Santa). 
5.What are you doing Christmas Day? In the morning we'll see what Santa brought.  And then weather permitting, we'll head to my parents to meet up with family, eat a lot of food, and open gifts.  When the boys get older, I'd like to have the tradition of going to see a movie later on Christmas Day.  I know several families that do that, and I've always thought it sounded fun. 

6.It's Christmas time. What are you reading? I'm reading a Jeffrey Deaver book called The Burning Wire.  LOL, not exactly Christmas fodder.  I've read 78 book this year, so I'm hoping to get through this one and a couple of others to hit 80 for 2010.  That's not anywhere close to Good Girl Gone Redneck's awesome 100, but it's not too shabby either.

7.Favorite movie to watch during the holidays? I love A Christmas Story. I blogged about it last Friday.  But I also have really fond memories of going to see Prancer in the movie theatre with my dad and brother when I was a kid.

8.Favorite Christmas song? Okay, so I'm a little Grinchy.  I'm not huge on Christmas music. 

9.Favorite holiday drink? Diet Pepsi. It's good all year round.  Seriously, though, this weekend I tried to make Wolfgang Puck's gingerbread man martini.  It ended up so gross.  Not even Paul would drink it!  So I'll stick with my Diet Pepsi thank you very much!

10.How is your Christmas shopping going? All done.  Everything is wrapped too :-)  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I hate the crowds.

11.If you could spend Christmas Day anywhere else, where would you spend it? I like being home for Christmas.  But if I couldn't be home....well...I'm always eager for a trip to the Southwest.  Somewhere in Arizona with lots of Mexican food and festive lights.

12.Any holiday traditions? We get our tree the weekend of Thanksgiving.  We always have an advent calendar, and this year we have a speaking advent bear too.  We also do The Elf on the Shelf.  When I was growing up, we always went out to eat for breakfast on Christmas Eve.  That was a fun tradition.

13.Favorite thing about the holidays? I love spending time with family.  We still haven't made it up to my grandparents' yet this year, due to weather and illness, but hopefully we'll get up there too after Christmas.

I know everyone is super busy this week, so I'll only pick a few.  The following bloggers have been tagged:
JP at Home in the Hollow
Myya at Myya Says
Tiggerific at Birds and Nature
Mary at The Englar Family
Sonya from Under the Desert Sky

Have you entered my CSN Stores fitness DVD giveaway yet?  If not, click HERE!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Disgruntled Snow Babies

We got some snow last week.  I decided to let the boys go out to play and get some fresh air.
It's quite a task getting 3 boys layered up in snow bibs, gloves, hats, and boots.

This is Reid's "I can't get up" expression.  He didn't seem to care, and just laid there placidly on the floor while I got everyone else dressed. 

Once I got them out, Reid took off into the snow in pure joy.
Cort....not so much. 
Check out all the wood piled up for my nemesis, the wood stove.  Paul did a good job chopping - and we go through it so fast.

Pierce swooped in to give Reid a kiss. 

Reid was having a fine time running on the snow.  As was Pierce.  But where was Cort? 

As it turned out, Cort was mad.  Cort didn't like the snow, and he stayed under the porch roof and refused to walk on the snow.
So, being the mean mom that I am, I carried him out onto the snow.
He started complaining about this immediately. 

Pierce went and tried to give him a hug to make him feel better.
But Cort was a lost cause. 
It was right after this that Cort started screaming.  And screaming.  And I took him inside and he screamed some more.  For an hour more.
I got the point.
No more snow for Cort.  For a good long while.
At least I can empathize.  I hate winter too, Cort. 

Don't forget to go enter my CSN stores fitness giveaway with goodies for you AND your kids to stay fit in 2011.  Click HERE!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Holidays!

It's Muffin Tin Monday, and this is the last in the holiday series.  I used our snowman tin for the first time.
I made one of those cute crescent roll wreaths that so many of you have made, a banana pudding snowman, lentils with broccoli, corn, pretzels, and a reindeer hotdog.  Kind of a goofy tin, even by my standards!

Have you entered my giveaway I posted from yesterday yet?  If not, go enter to win yoga fitness dvds and mats for you and your child!  You can enter by clicking HERE!

And to join in on Muffin Tin Monday, click here:
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Sunday, December 19, 2010

CSN Stores Fitness Giveaway! For You and Your Child!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Thanks to all who entered!!

I am so excited to be hosting a giveaway for the CSN Stores.  They have a huge variety of items ranging from home bar furniture HERE to cooking supplies (even the ever-dreamy Vitamix blender) to playground equipment.  You can shop for all your needs at CSN Stores without having to leave the comfort of your home.  With 2011 just around the corner I want to help my readers (and their children) realize their fitness goals with some fitness dvds.  So here is what is up for grabs:

First, a Yoga Kids dvd.  Pierce and I have this dvd and love it.  It makes yoga so easy and fun for children. The cobra pose becomes snake pose (complete with hissing).  The kids get to try out volcano pose (with an explosion) as a way to deal with anger in lieu of tantrums.  Such a great outlet for kids, and what a nice way to burn off some energy while stuck indoors this winter.

To go with the Yoga Kids dvd, the winner will also receive a Yoga Direct Charter Oak kid's yoga mat, in the color of his or her choice. 

Next, is the Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss dvd by Gaiam.  I have this dvd as well, and I really enjoy it.  For one thing, it's challenging but not too hard.  Even if you are a beginner to yoga, you will enjoy this dvd.  For another, Suzanne Deason is not annoying (because nothing ruins a yoga video like an annoying exercise host). She has a really soothing voice, and even as your working out it almost feels like getting a nice massage to stretch and twist your muscles. 
To go with the Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss dvd is an adult extra thick sticky Yoga Direct Charter Oak mat, in a color of your choice.

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada.  The winner will be chosen by Random.org on December 25th at noon, which is when the giveaway closes.  To enter, simply leave a comment as to what YOUR fitness and/or health goals are for 2011.  If you do not have an email address attached to your profile, please be sure to leave me a way to contact you.  Winner has 48 hours to respond to notification email, after which a new winner will be drawn.  Good luck!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Needle in a Haystack Christmas Lights

Last weekend after feasting on appetizers at my running club's annual Christmas party, we decided to track down the hidden Christmas lights.
Why are they 'hidden'?
Well, these lights are way down the backroads.
When I say backroads, I mean backroads.
Hairpin turns.
Winding, stomach churning hills and turns.
And every year when we make the drive, we always wonder, "Are we on the right road?"
and furthermore, "How did we even find this place anyhow?"
Tracking the place down is like finding a needle in a haystack.
But finally, a distant gleaming glow in the distance
and we approach:

This guy has transformed the hills, the woods, and the fields of his land into a lights extravaganza: 
It's truly fantastic, and such a shame that it's in the middle of nowhere and missed by the masses: 
But for us, it keeps us coming back, year after year.
It's only a few miles from us, but it feels like an epic adventure each year trying to find the hidden lights.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - Favorite Holiday Movie

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog carnival, where you can blog about your memories and link up.  All are welcome.  This week's theme is a favorite holiday movie.

I was sitting in health class my 7th grade year, tapping the floor with my pink and white Tretorns, when Ms. Hall walked in class and announced that there would be a special treat.  Last time she'd informed us we'd have a 'special treat' was when Officer Mike came to class and showed us his billboard of what all the illegal drugs looked like.  Then he had this girl Shelly drink Scope and blow in a breathalizer.  Now while this trick impressed many of the baseball jocks that sat on the right hand side of the room, I wasn't so enthralled.  So I pulled out a sheet of my hot pink notebook paper and started writing a note to my best friend Chelsea about how lame class was, how bad Ms. Hall's hair looked today, and whether or not she had seen Rudy yet (her epic crush). 

I didn't even look up when Ms. Hall wheeled the tv/vcr cart into the room.  I was too busy drawing a horse in the margins of my note to Chelsea.  Ms. Hall waved a vcr tape in front of the class and announced, "Today, we're not going to study health.  I'm giving you a break.  We're going to watch A Christmas Story".  Cheers broke out in the class.  Me?  I was clueless.  I'd never even heard of the movie.  Granted, this was December, so it was fitting, but I was imagining some story about the Nativity when I heard the title. 

Over the next hour, I watched A Christmas Story raptly.  Hands down, it was one of the funniest movies I'd ever seen.  Better, even, than my all time favorite Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt.  That note I was so intent on writing?  Completely abandoned.  I was taken in by Ralphie and Randy and their antics.  We weren't able to get through the entire movie before the bell rang, but Ms. Hall did make good on her promise by showing us the second half two days later.  And it's always been one of my favorite movies ever since.


Want to link up to Memory Lane Friday?  Just add your website to McKLinky.

Be sure to visit the other participants' blogs and leave comments!
Next week's topic is 'Holiday Traditions'. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why You Should Be Thinking of Fitness for 2011. Plus, Upcoming Giveaway!

Now I know it's December and the focus is on fun, family, and food.  Believe me, I'm no Scrooge when it comes to indulgence over the  holidays.  But even as you grab that 3rd gingerbread man, remember that now is a good time to be thinking of what you want for yourself in terms of health and fitness in 2011. 

I know that people say that New Year's resolutions are meant to be broken.  That most people don't keep their resolutions for longer than a week or two.  It doesn't have to be that way, though.  I'm proof that you can keep resolutions.  That's right, I have a shameful skeleton in my health closet.  I was a smoker.  I never touched a cigarette prior to my senior year of high school, but once I started I continued.  All through college I was smoking little sticks of death.  And after.  For ten years off and on, altogether.  So yeah, stopping was no easy thing.  But as New Year's of 2003 approached I made a goal.  A goal to stop smoking and to replace that habit with running.  And you know what?  I haven't touched a cigarette since.  And running stuck.  I've since run 8 marathons, 1 ultramarathon, and numerous smaller races in between.  Yeah, I'm not very fast, but I enjoy it.

Some of the benefits that have come from exercising regularly (besides general health) have come in the form of balance.  I can take the punches of life much easier.  Furthermore, exercise helps me to be more creative - many of my best ideas have come when running.  When I used to work full time doing juvenile probation, I often brainstormed on various problems my teens were facing as I ran up yet another hill.  Running has become a central part of my life.

You don't have to go all out with running, though.  I realize it's not for everyone!  You can, however, get health benefits and mental benefits from all different types of working out.  I challenge you to start thinking now about some fitness goals for 2011.  And when you set those goals, give yourself a 3 month spread.  Why 3 months?  What I've found from when I first started running (and in returns to running post-surgery and post-pregnancy) is that the first 3 months are tough.  They aren't necessarily going to be all that enjoyable.  You'll really feel like you're working, and some days you probably won't want to do it.  The thing is, though, if you can push yourself through those first 3 months, you will definitely reap rewards.  Not only will you be more fit after 3 months, but suddenly, you'll find that your workouts are more enjoyable.  And easier!  Yes, they do get easier.  Think about committing to 3 months of fitness for 2011, and I guarantee that when April rolls around you'll be feeling much better about yourself.

I want to do something to help YOU reach your fitness goals in 2011.  Luckily, the CSN stores approached me about doing a giveaway.  Have you ever checked out the CSN Stores?  They have everything!  You can visit them HERE.  And next week, I'll be hosting a giveaway for some awesome fitness dvds and gear from the CSN Stores to help one lucky reader focus on workouts this winter.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cheesecake Pops, A Tutorial

I have been continuing to make baked goods projects as little gifts for teachers, family, and friends.
My newest project was cheesecake pops.
These are time intensive, but not necessarily difficult.  I got the recipe from Woman's World Magazine.

You will need:
2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each) at room temp
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. corn starch
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
24 (6" long) lollipop sticks
20 oz. semisweet chocolate squares, melted and cooled
Assorted toppings

Preheat oven to 325*.  Line 8" square baking pan with enough foil to overhang sides by 2 inches.  Coat with cooking spray.  On medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth, 2 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add sour cream, cornstarch, vanilla and salt; beat until smooth and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.  Transfer to pan.  Bake 40 minutes or until set.  Cool 30 minutes.  Using foil to help, lift cheesecake from pan; cool completely.  Return to pan; cover.  Refridgerate overnight.

Cut cheesecake into 24 portions.  Shape into balls (this didn't go so well for me, so I left them as squares); insert a lollipop stick into each ball.  Transfer to a baking sheet; freeze until firm, at least 1 hour. 

Line another baking sheet with wax paper.  Place garnishes in separate bowls (for garnishes I did holiday sprinkles, heath bar toffee crunch, and crushed oreos).  Dip balls, one at a time, into melted chocolate.  Let excess drip off, then dip into desired garnish.  Transfer to baking sheet.  Freeze until ready to serve.


I found these cute lollipop bags that tie with a ribbon at Michael's.  They offer a very nice finished (and might I add yummy) product: 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Border Collie Madness

Right now?  I'm running.  I'm running as hard as I can.  Gulping for air as I run after Her.  I can't let Her get away this time.  I push harder, every muscle burning as I strive to catch Her.

She's got my boys. 

She starts to pull away from me.  And I'm running out of energy.
I just can't seem to catch Her.  Push!  Push!  Push!  Why aren't my legs any faster?

Finally, discouraged, I slow down to a jog. 
She pulls even further away.
Until I watch the headlights round the corner.

I find myself about a half mile from home, paws slightly tender on the gravel under my feet.
Even though I am trying to be dignified, a small sob escapes me.

I turn around and start trotting towards home. 
Along the way are my friends Copper and Moon.  Well, Copper is a friend, anyhow.  Moon is a little stuck up.  I don't think she likes me so much.  But I go off-road for a minute to say hi to Copper.  Through the wooden fence boards, we greet in customary fashion, by sniffing scent glands.
When I smell him, a vision of his day passes.  I see the sights of damp earth, morning walks, Kong-chasing, and dry kibble.  I guess when he scents me he smells the wood stove and babies and cats and chickens.

I don't stay long.  I'll be in trouble if I'm not home when She gets home. 

I round the corner and head up towards the house, wary of the mean old rooster Crockett.  I don't see him anywhere, so I head up on the porch to my doghouse.

The aloneness hits me, and I howl a few times in sadness.  I want my family back.  Briefly, I wish that they would give me doggie valium for these alone moments, like my friend Shasta at the shelter, before I got adopted.  She chewed her back bald and afterwards got doggie valium daily.

I could totally go for some doggie valium right now.
Resigned, I lay down to chew my toes and count the moments until She returns.
I hate waiting.


I'm linking this post with WV Treasures Show and Tail.  You can check out more animal stories HERE.