Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

I know I promised to be back on the 29th, but life has a way of getting past me during the holiday season. I haven't been near the computer in days and I have so much to tell you, but it will be tomorrow before I can take a breath!


For now,

Happy New Year!


May 2010 be a year of health and happiness for you all! (P.S. I'm throwing in a few wishes for prosperity, too!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I had good intentions to check in with you all this week, but in the run up to Christmas, it just didn't happen. Here it is Christmas Eve, however, and I couldn't let you think I haven't been thinking of you all. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I started this blog at Christmas time last year, when we were basically snowed in with 80 inches of snow, I was suffering from cabin fever, and wondered if anyone would read anything I wrote. It turns out this blog has helped to keep me sane through a year of ups and downs. This blog has helped me stay connected to friends and family far away and some of the bloggers I've met this year have become treasured friends themselves. I truly feel blessed by all that has come my way through blogging and, though I've been a bit absent this week, I want you all to know I appreciate your comments, your emails, and your visits.

To my friends in real life who use this blog to keep us connected, I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my posts and staying part of my life and allowing me to stay part of yours, even though we're separated by so many miles.

To my bloggy friends, every single comment you make encourages me. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Some of you have become friends who've helped me through some challenging times and I'll always be grateful that you opened your hearts to me.

So, my dearest wish for you all:


I wish you the merriest of Christmases, filled with all that is sacred and special about this time of year.

P.S. I'll be back on the 29th...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Making Your Home Sing Monday (Christmas Is Coming Edition)


Can you believe Christmas is Friday?! I can't believe it! Of course, I have so much that is coming down to the wire, despite my best efforts. So much is going on and so much is yet to be done, but ready or not, Christmas will be here on Friday.

Making Your Home Sing Monday?! Seriously? Oh, yeah. This is the kind of week where attitude is everything. With the amount of pressure moms feel to make the holidays bright, with the hectic social calendar, and the adrenaline-filled behavior of our children, joyful and busy and can easily turn into overwhelmed and cranky. Throw in the normal concerns like getting your house ready for guests, keeping to your budget, and getting your regular chores done and this week can be daunting. For me, this week can easily spin out of control.

Keeping that in mind, I will be doing everything I can to keep the reason for the season in mind: LOVE. At its purist, most simplest interpretation, this season is about love. I will keep this message in the forefront of our minds by filling our house with signs of love: Christmas carols filling the air and the sweet smell of baked goods tickling our senses. Chores will get done, but silliness will be part of the schedule. I will be mindful of my children's growing excitement as the week progresses and remember how much of what I do is designed to feed that excitement and create those feelings of anticipation in them. My children are excited because I've worked so hard to make them aware of just how special this time of year is. They are excited to give to each other and beyond. They are excited to spread that love beyond our family and do random acts of kindness. I will not let my tiredness bring them down...I will lead by example and not forget why I do what I do: LOVE

So, this week is a love song, from start to finish. From the giving to the baking to the cleaning...it is all a love song.

Super Cute Snow Men - Corrected Flour Amount


The shopping and baking continue. I thought I'd pause to share another gratifying recipe before I head back to the trenches (okay, the kitchen!). This recipe is a family favorite. It is quick, easy, and super cute. Who can resist these adorable snow men?

Snowmen Butter Cookies
Makes - 12

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon water

Red and green liquid or paste food coloring
Black/brown jimmies and red hot candies (cinnamon candies) (eyes and noses)

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla extra together.

Gradually beat in flour and water.

Place 1/2 cup of dough in each of two bowls, reserving balance in separate bowl. Add red food coloring to one bowl and mix thoroughly. Add green food coloring to one bowl and mix thoroughly. Shape the uncolored dough into twelve 1-inch balls and twelve 1 1/2-inch balls.

Place one smaller ball above one larger ball to form the snowman body and head. For each snowman, then form the hat and the scarf. For hat, roll 1-inch ball and a flat disk for brim. Place on head. For scarf, shape 1/4 teaspoon of each color of dough into a 3 inch rope and twist together. Place scarf around snowman's neck. Insert jimmies for eyes and press the red hot in for the nose.

Bake at 350 F for 15-18 minutes until set. Cool on baking sheet.

Come on! You have to admit that these are super cute!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One Week Left! Christmas Baking Time

Can you believer it? There is only one week left to get ready for Christmas. In the last day and a half, I've done my very best to get the Nagle family Christmas celebration on track. I've been doing some last minute shopping and I'm looking forward to a weekend of sewing and baking.

It has become our tradition give our friends and neighbors platters filled with yummy baked goods right before Christmas. I'll be sharing our recipes with you all weekend, so you can add anything you fancy to your own celebrations.

Tomorrow morning (Friday), I'm going to be making Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls...I remember my mom making these 35 years ago, so this recipe is definitely a keep. Be prepared to fall in love, because these are more like a home-made Reese's Peanut Butter Cups than anything else. As soon as I get them made, I'll share some pictures with you, but if you want a head start, here is the recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
from Erin's mom - makes about 100 balls

1 cup butter - softened
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup angel flake coconut
1 lb powdered sugar (approx 3 1/2 cups)
1 cup chunky peanut butter (you can use creamy with no problem)

12 ozs chocolate chips
1/4 cake of paraffin wax

Directions:

1. Beat butter until creamy. Add in graham cracker crumbs, vanilla extra, coconut, and powdered sugar. Mix well.

2. Stir in peanut butter with wooden spoon (or upright mixer...this will be too stiff for a hand mixer).

3. Shape into 1" balls and place on cookie sheet. (Note: If you take the time to insert toothpicks into each ball at this point, it will make dipping them in chocolate much easier.) Chill for at least an hour.

4. When balls are chilled, melt chocolate chips together with paraffin and mix well.

5. Swirl peanut butter ball in chocolate and set on waxed paper to cool. Store in freezer or refrigerator.

As I said, I've been making these for years and year and my mother before me made them for years. They are always a big hit and repeat favorite.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

30 Day Shred - Day 30 ( The "We Did It" Edition )


Finally...it is here! Day 30 of our 30 Day Shred Challenge and Valiant and I saw it through to the end! I can't believe we did it. We didn't skip a day, we didn't shirk an exercise...we did the whole thing! I feel amazing. I'm so glad I did this challenge for myself. I am super proud of Valiant for sticking with me the entire way...I know it wasn't easy.

I'm sorry it made my blog so boring, but don't worry...I'm done posting about exercise for a while. (Okay, not quite done...I have some closing reflections about the challenge, but that will be it!)

For now, however, I'm doing a Happy Dance and going to frost Superman's birthday cake! Yes, you read that correctly. Today is Superman's birthday! Happy Birthday, Superman...thanks for all the support!

Monday, December 14, 2009

30 Day Shred - Days 28 and 29 (Craft Party Edition)

Well, it took me until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday to do Day 28, but I did it.

Day 29 had to be finished early today, as the kids and I were excited to be invited to a craft party this afternoon. Valiant and I did our 25 minutes of cardio plus our 29th Day of the 30 Day Shred before 9:00 a.m. this morning. We spent the afternoon at a friend's house painting Christmas ornaments...it was so fun!

Anyway, do you know what this means? It means tomorrow is our last day of the 30 Day Shred Challenge! Seriously...we're already there...it has already been 30 days! Where did the time go? 30 days will have passed already and it occurs to me that it easily could have been another 30 day period where I talked about getting up off my rear end and ended up doing nothing about the state of said rear. It wasn't a resolution...it was a commitment to myself and it feels really good.

It is never too late. And to those of you who have emailed me letting me know I've inspired you to make your own commitment? I think you so rock! You make sharing the journey worthwhile. Thank you!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Food For Thought


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie

Jamie@ Beach Family Updates is posting an inspirational quote every day for a year. This one touched me so much that I thought I'd share it with you.

30 Day Shred - Days 27 and 28 (Church Supper for the Family Edition)

Day 27 of the 30 Day Shred Challenge has come and gone. Given that yesterday was Saturday, we were more in the mood to lounge around. Fortunately for me, things were on the schedule: a friend was stopping by at noon to drop something off and Buttercup had to be ready to go to a birthday party at 12:15 p.m. and, finally, our family was invited to a wonderful Christmas supper at a the church of some friends of ours. What did that all mean? It meant I couldn't procrastinate all day. Nope, I got the Shred done by 11:00. Admittedly, that was all the exercise I did yesterday, but still, I got it done.

The Christmas dinner? Fabulous! Valiant's Boy Scout pack sang some songs, Buttercup's youth group did a song, the program was inspiring and the food was wonderful. We were made to feel very welcome and, as always, a church program is just the ticket to get me fully in the spirit of the season.

Today? Well, today I'm paying the price for eating too much junk food yesterday and not getting in enough exercise. I woke up with a stomach ache that I totally earned. Jumped out of bed and got my workout clothes on. I've already done 24 minutes on the Life Cycle and run a mile in under 10 minutes. I haven't actually done my 30 Day Shred, but I will (I'm waiting for Valiant to wake up).

It is Sunday, so I'm turning off the computer after I finish posting. I'll see you tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

30 Day Shred - Days 25 and 26 (Passing It Along Edition)

I cannot believe we've already complete Days 25 and 26 of our 30 Day Challenge. On Tuesday, we'll be done completely! Valiant and I would not have guessed how quickly the time has gone. Only four more days and we'll have completed the challenge. Unbelievable. The best part? People are being inspired to jump start their own fitness routines and moving their bodies. How cool is that? We're actually passing it along...

Last night I gained renewed inspiration from my friend A, who has struggled with a lifelong weight problem. At our Christmas party she told me she was behind on on her blog reading and just discovered I was doing the 30 Day Shred. Wednesday, during our almost-weekly "Biggest Loser recap conversation", she told me that she and her husband were committing to each other to make serious changes in 2010. She had plans to start canvasing Craig's List now for a treadmill and a bike.

After dinner last night, I heard from Superman that Mr. R was giving away his treadmill! Seriously!! I called A immediately (at 8:00 o'clock at night) and said, "Were you serious? Do you want a treadmill for free?" She said, "I'm getting in the car right now," and proceeded to do so. The best part? She told me that she'd put in the 30 Day Shred video earlier in the afternoon, did 4 minutes and walked away...but that she didn't allow herself to quit and she came back to it and finished the entire level. Isn't that fabulous? A, I am so proud of you for doing this. I know how hard this video is and the fact that you made yourself finish it is something to be proud of! (P.S. A, don't forget about adding a towel under your knees for the girl push-ups...older knees just aren't as forgiving as younger ones!)

As for our Challenge, Level 3 is difficult...I won't lie. It is not as if it gets easier with each level. Jillian knows what she is doing and each of the moves you do in Levels 1 and 2 are preparing you for the demands she's going to place on you in Level 3. I'm wrung out by the time I finish it and a lot of the time I have to do the "easier" version. The reward? My clothes are fitting better, my posture is better, and I feel better. And Valiant? He's stronger, more coordinated, and his stamina is increasing. Even Superman is noticing a difference, and he's only 13 days into it.

If you're at all tempted, A told me that you can get the video at Costco for $5.99 if you use a $2 coupon they've got in their current mailer. Honestly, if you choose to do it, it will be difficult, but you won't regret it.

So, what are you going to do today to make yourself feel proud?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

30 Day Shred - Day 24 ("I screwed up the bank account" edition)

Okay, so today was one of those days. You know the kind. The kind where you think you'll have smooth sailing for a little while and then you realize, "uh-oh". My uh-oh? I forgot about some payments I'd scheduled automatically out of our bank account. Yep, I scheduled them and then forgot I scheduled them. I can't even blame it on direct debit snafus. Nope, it was all me. The end result? I overdrew our account and cost us $75 in fees (or, as Dave Ramsey says, "stupid tax").

I called Superman to let him know and to apologize profusely. I called my sister to cry on her shoulder about being an idiot. It derailed my entire day and it was all my fault! Oh, I know how it happened, but that isn't much comfort. The truth? I'm spreading myself awfully thin and I have a lot going on right now and I lost focus.

Even more truth? This is life. Life happens. If I'm going to achieve my goal of getting fit again, I'll have to do it even when life is happening. I've watched with great interest as Melissa at 365 Days of Exercise grapples with her goals and the reality that she's back at work full-time (something that wasn't in the plans for this year long journey). I've watched with a heart full of compassion as Jen at Prior Fat Girl struggles to continue her journey after the devastating and unexpected loss of her mother. My heart goes out to Marcelle at South African In Germany (yeah, I shortened it) as she struggles with crippling loneliness, but doesn't lose focus. I've kept my fingers crossed as my friend Generations Gone By has continued to exercise, even as she feared she was going to hear that she had serious health problems. All of these women's stories highlight for me a singular truth: everyone struggles. Those who succeed transcend their struggles. They don't deny them, they push past them. I'm am honored to be able to learn from their lives.

My 30 Day Shred Challenge? Oh, I spent a good hour feeling sorry for myself. Feeling embarrassed for screwing up our finances. I cried, I lamented, I regretted. Then I got the exercise bike and I pedaled. When I was done with that, I got the treadmill and ran. Finally, I pushed play and I did Day 24 of Level 3 of my 30 Day Shred Challenge. Why? Because when it is all said and done, if the worst thing I ever mess up is money, my life is truly, truly blessed.

Nutter Butter Santa Cookies (aka Quick and Easy Festive Recipe)


Who doesn't want cute, quick, and easy cookies to bring an air of festivity to a gathering? This recipe fits the bill completely, even if you don't normally bake. One caveat: If you're worried about peanut allergies, this recipe won't work for you.


Nutter Butter Santa Cookies

Ingredients:
1 package - Nutter Butters
3 or 4 blocks of Almond Bark (found in bakery section of your grocery store)
Red Decorating Sugar
White Chocolate/Vanilla Chips
Red Hots
Mini Chocolate Chips

Directions:
Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Open package of Nutter Butters.

Melt Almond Bark in microwave according to directions on package. (Hint: use a taller, narrower container as it will make it easier later on.) Put decorating sugar in a cup.

Dip each Nutter Butter about 3/4" into the melted Almond Bark. Then dip the same end into the red sugar. Lay on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat until all cookies have been dipped. (Move relatively quickly, as you don't want the almond bark to cool before you're done.)

Once all the cookies are laid out on the cookie sheet, get a toothpick or small knife and dip it into the Almond Bark. Use melted Almond Bark to coat the bottom of a white chocolate chip and add the "tassel" to the Santa hat. Do the same for the mini chocolate chips (the eyes) and the red hot (the nose). Repeat for all the cookies. Let them cool completely and you're done!

10 or 15 minutes from start to finish and you have super cute Santa cookies, sure to please everyone.

Note: On the cookies pictured, we used Royal Icing for the tassel (no white chocolate chip) and as the glue for the eyes and nose because we had made Royal Icing for the gingerbread houses and cookies. As you can see, use a squirt bottle and it works just as well.

Peanuts? Peanuts!

In case you hadn't guessed already, our Christmas Party is like Game Night on steroids. We still keep it casual and inviting and easy. Through trial and error, I've discovered that the men really love to have peanuts in the shell for Game Night. My problem for the Christmas Party? How to have those peanuts available, but make them festive.


I think my solution was inspired, don't you? (Excuse the fingerprints...people had already been in it by the time I snapped the picture.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

30 Day Shred - Day 23 (-2 Degrees F Edition!)

Can you say cold? It was -2 F when Superman left for work this morning and back down to 5 F at 7:00 p.m. this evening. Boy, am I glad I don't count on being able to go outside to exercise. -2 is super cold, even if you don't mind the cold.

Valiant and I did Day 23 (or Day 3 of Level 3) and we sailed through it. I am amazed at how much stronger we've gotten in three weeks. If you're considering jump-starting your exercise program, a commitment to this 30 day program is just the ticket. I can't say enough about how different I feel inside. I'm more flexible, I have more stamina, my balance is better, and I have rediscovered muscles I thought lost forever. And it is not just me...Valiant is getting stronger, his coordination has improved and his stamina is fabulous. This journey has been a win-win for both us.

Now, I've got to go sit by the heater and watch the Biggest Loser Finale! See you tomorrow...

Do you want to see some pictures from our party?

Yeah, I thought so!

The star of the party arrived early on. Look at this proud daddy. Mrs. M gave birth to baby Kaleb on the 20th and she brought him to the party! Did you notice the adorable Santa outfit? As you can imagine, a 2-week old baby did not lack for arms to hold him.


Miss Sue got him first. (If you look at the first picture, she barely let Mr. M get into the house...see? She's peeking right at the baby as Mr. M walks in and she's sitting on the stairs with Kaleb.)

Then Angela got him (she was the other one who ambushed Mr. M when he first walked in, but she had to get that darned jacket off, costing her valuable time in the baby race!). Joy made Angela give him up so she could have her turn while she joined in the reindeer games. She kept Kaleb while Mrs. M looked on. (Wasn't she awesome to even come to the party 2 weeks after giving birth? I think the fact that we live one block from each other helped!)


Finally, finally, I got my turn and my friend Mrs. R. got a picture when I was blurting out a guess in our annual Men vs. Women Pictionary game. (Look how little he is!)

This is what the table with the gingerbread houses looked like when it was surrounded by children.

Did I mention the Men won the Pictionary Game this year? As you can see, they weren't having any fun at all.
(This is James attempting to get someone on the Men's side to guess "The World's Fair" - it didn't take long.) Doesn't Superman make a good easel?

Serious thought is going on here!

P.S. Tricia, don't doubt it for a minute: if you'd been here, you'd have been at the party!

Monday, December 7, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 22 (Manic Monday Edition!)

I cannot believe we're already 22 days into our 30 Day Shred Challenge. Valiant has kept up with me the entire way and is now my official workout buddy. Monday always finds the Nagle5 doing chores and returning the house to a state of order after the weekend. This Monday was no different. What was different, however, was that we could hardly wait to get done with our chores and get to our exercise. Seriously.

We love Level 3! If you're even considering jumping on board and committing to doing this video, all we can say is that you need to push through Level 2 to get to Level 3. Level 1 is hard...it gets you used to working after no working for years (!), but Level 2 just seem tedious. When you get to Level 3, it is like the sun has finally come out.

Don't misunderstand me. Level 3 is really challenging, but the truth is that it leaves you so invigorated when you're done. I told Superman Level 3 reminded me of aerobics classes I took when I was younger. Back then, I'd pick my classes based on the teacher. The hardest classes that managed to be fun were the ones I picked. I wanted to feel like I worked, I wanted to be tired, but I didn't want it to feel like drudgery.

So, there you have it...Day 22 is done and we have only 8 more days to go until Valiant and I can say, "We did it!". Pretty cool, isn't it?

A clean house, enthusiastic exercise, and a husband who did his first day of Level 2...that is what made me proud today!

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Have you noticed that it is snowing on my blog? Have you noticed the gorgeous Christmas-themed background? Both the snow-effect and the new background are courtesy of ShabbyBlogs.com. Just wanted to give credit where credit is due.

Oops, I Made Butter!

I've been meaning to tell you all about this for a week now, but life has a habit of moving faster than I notice! On Thanksgiving, I decided I absolutely had to serve home-made whipped cream rather than store-bought with my home-made pies, so I pulled out my food processor, added a bit of vanilla and a bit of powdered sugar to the whipping cream and turned it on. I was so excited as this was the first time I'd done this. Unfortunately, I didn't pay close enough attention to what was going on and, in the blink of an eye, I'd made butter!


Seriously. It is that easy. Obviously I didn't have a butter mold and if I'd known I was going to make butter, I wouldn't have added sugar and vanilla, but still, this took no more than 2 minutes.

Since I'd added the vanilla and powdered sugar, we saved it and used on on our French toast the next day and it was fabulous!

So, am I the only one who didn't know it was this easy to make my own butter? Seriously? Why didn't you all tell me? This was fabulous. I can hardly wait to do it again!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

30 Day Shred - Days 19, 20, and 21 (Christmas Party Edition!)

You'll have to take my word for it, but I really did do the 30 Day Shred on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

I spent much of Friday whining to Generations Gone By about how much I loathed Level 2, but when Superman called at 2:45 p.m. and told me he was leaving work at 3:30 p.m., I got my butt in gear and did my time on the LifeCycle and did my 20 minutes so I could be done before he got home from work. The rest of the evening was spent in preparation for our annual Christmas party being held the following day. Bathrooms were cleaned, the coat closet was emptied to make room for the coats of our guests, and the boot caddies were put out. We got the meat cooked for our wontons, the gingerbread cookie dough was made and put in the refrigerator to chill, the sugar cookie dough joined the gingerbread cookies in the frig, and the Santa cookies got their hats. We even found time to hit the grocery store for the last minute ingredients we needed.


Saturday was crazy busy. We got up and got cleaning. Vacuuming, dusting, and getting ready. The "gingerbread" houses were assembled and placed on the plates that we'd threaded with ribbon and tied an ornament to, the royal icing was placed in squeeze bottles for the kids to use, and the candy decorations were placed in bowl. The gingerbread cookies were baked and cooled, so the kids could decorate those, too. The tortillas were cut and fried for tortilla chips, and the wontons were assembled and fried, too. The serving table were laid out with napkins, paper plates, and cups.

In between all that, we all did our exercise...Valiant and I did our last loathsome day of Level 2, as well as getting in our 25 minutes of additional cardio. Superman did Day 9 of Level 9 and his cardio.

All that planning made me feel like we were ahead of the game, but...apparently I was the only one who thought our Christmas party started at 6:30 p.m. Everyone else received invitations that said 6:00 p.m.!! You guessed it...our guests were arriving while we were putting finishing touches on everything. Thank goodness I'd showered and gotten dressed and ready early! Lesson learned.

Today? Today was our day to take a deep breath. Still, Valiant and I were excited to try Day 1 of Level 3 and we loved it! Seriously, we actually felt invigorated when we were done. Superman finished Day 10 of Level 1 and is unenthusiastically anticipating doing Day 1 of Level 2 tomorrow. ( Guess we should have kept our dissatisfaction to ourselves!)

Andrea at The Train to Crazy commented that she is maintaining order in a house full of little girls and wonders if that counts as doing something that makes you feel proud? Oh, yeah! There is no way I could be doing this if my kids were younger. Truly. You can have everything you want in this world, but you can't have it all at the same time. Pat yourself on the back Andrea! Getting your house cleaned with toddlers is something to be proud of!

Melissa at 365 Days of Exercise is struggling to figure out how you balance life as a wife, mother of a toddler, and full-time worker with a burning desire to transform your body. She posted that she slipped up a bit this month and her measurements reflect her split focus. You can clearly see the effects of all those steps she's taking at work, however, as those calves are getting smaller and smaller. Melissa, after much reflection, I've come to the conclusion that you can only devote yourself to "x" number of things at a time. Why am I now getting back into shape? Because my youngest child is 10, not 2! I feel less torn when I spend time on myself now than I did even 3 years ago. Cut yourself some slack, celebrate your successes, and view the situation with honesty. You've done a fabulous job this year and you have a super cute haircut! What else does a girl need?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 18 (Church Supper Edition)

Sorry for the late post, but my day ran away with me and by the time I could get to the computer, it was time for me to leave for a Ladies' Dinner at the church of my friend, Joy. She kindly invited me to join her for this holiday dinner and it was wonderful. There must have been 20 different kinds of soup to choose from, salad, bread, and cheesecake for dessert. There was a wonderful story to remind us of the power of human kindness and service to others, prayer, and hymns. It was a wonderful welcome to the season.

When I inquired about the dress code for this dinner, Joy laughed and said, "No workout clothes and you have to be done being sweaty. A shower would be appropriate!" That tells you how everyone sees me these days. Everyone understands I'm committed to getting fit and that means most weekdays finds me in workout clothes most of the day. (I don't think she really thought I'd attempt to show up in workout clothes, however!)

So, about the Challenge. Day 18 was our 8th day of Level 2 and I still don't like this level. It is actually a bit easier than Level 1, but it seems a bit boring to me. Valiant and Buttercup feel the same way. I know it is working my legs, though, because they are feeling super tired at the end of the day. Today I did my other exercise (24 minutes on the LifeCycle and 25 minutes on the treadmill -- than translates to 8.7 miles on the bike and 2.3 miles on the treadmill) before the video because the video just wipes me out. Valiant agrees that this was the way to arrange our exercise, so I think we'll be doing it this way going forward (at least until we're done with Level 2).

Checking in with everyone else: Superman is still going strong and finished Day 7 of the Challenge. LoveAphid is back in the game and did Day 11, which means she did Day 1 of Level 2. She has to stay with the program because she's traveling for the holidays, so she's got to get done by the 23rd. My friend Tricia is trying to talk the Pilot into joining her when she starts the challenge after December 7. Joy is trying to get her 20 minutes in each day and staving off her husband's requests that she take up running. She says she's finding herself tempted to try the video when I'm done with it. (As soon as I told her it was pulling in the lower abdominal pouch that seems impervious to exercise, it was all over!) Generations Gone By is getting 20-30 minutes in on the Wii each day, despite have her house torn up with remodeling projects that must be done before her holiday guests arrive on the 19th. Melissa at 365 Days of Exercise is focused on her challenge to lose 10 pounds in December and end the first year of her challenge to herself on a "low" note (pun definitely intended!).

I can't believe how much everyone is doing to take care of themselves. It makes my heart happy to see it.

So, what about you? What did you do today to make yourself proud?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

30 Day Challenge - Day 17 (Museum Day Edition)

Well, it is Day 17 and Museum Day. What does that mean? It means we had to get our workouts done in time for us to leave the house before noon. Since we figured people would be more inclined to sit near us if we showered before we headed out, that had to be scheduled in as well. That makes for a hectic morning.


So, here it is 11:27 and Valiant is in the shower. Day 17 is done. The video wasn't a problem, but I am so tired today. Seriously dragging. I'd say I was tired enough to skip it, but that never occurred to me. Instead, I was wishing I could have two or three more hours before I did it. The bike nearly killed me. Today's workout was one of those where all I can say is, "It is done and I am done and that is all there is to it." So, there.

Day 17 is finished... no whining, no complaining, but not exactly exhilarating.

My friend at Generations Gone By got in her 30 minutes on the Wii yesterday (yes, she did extra) and my sister LoveAphid swears she'll be starting up again today. She hasn't done it since the 24th...you today is going to be a humbling experience! In the meantime, you should head over to Gens and see if you can't help her find Baby Jesus...he's gone missing. Also, my friend Melissa is back on track after a difficult few weeks...go say, "Hi"...she's got less than a month until she's done 365 Days of Exercise and she's starting a push to lose 10 pounds by the end of the year...pretty impressive, don't you think?

Okay, I'm headed for the showers...see you later...

What will you do to make yourself feel proud?

A Win- Win Trade

I traded this:

for one of these:


Isn't that super cool? My friend, A, had an apple peeler, corer, slicer she wasn't using. When I mentioned last year that I'd started making my own apple pies for Superman but that I had borrowed an apple peeler, corer, slicer, she offered me hers in exchange for a pie for her husband. By the time we did the trade, however, everyone was sick of baked goods and the kitchen tool sat in my cupboard until Thanksgiving.

Today is Museum Day and A will be there, so that beautiful apple pie is coming with me. Do you think she'll like it? I think it is beautiful. (The pies I made for Thanksgiving were just warm-ups for this beauty!)

This trade was win-win for both of us!

P.S. If you want to make a perfect apple pie every time, check out this site: www.myhomecooking.net. Step-by-step directions with pictures the entire way. I've been making these pies for two years now and have never had one fail. The crusts are perfect, the fillings are perfect and I feel like a star. (Her pumpkin pies are terrific, too!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 16 (Did you think I forgot? Edition)

I didn't forget, I promise! We had a power outage right at dinner time and posting took a back seat to panicking over bread rising with no oven to put it into and worrying about what we'd do if the power didn't come back on. (Hey, nights under 30 degrees means you care about your heater!)

Anyway, today was Day 16 of this 30 Day Shred Challenge! Day 16! Can you believe it? I am so proud of myself and my family. Valiant has kept right up with me, Buttercup has just finished her first day of Level 2 (so Day 11) and even Superman has already completed his Day 5. I can't tell you how much it makes me smile to see my family trying to get fit right along with me.

You might have noticed that I haven't mentioned weight or dieting at all during this challenge and that was deliberate on my part. Did you know we don't own a scale at our house? Seriously, we don't own a scale. Why? The numbers can make you crazy. Did you lose 2 pounds or gain a pound? Up and down all month long and having your mood determined by an arbitrary number. The truth is that you know when you're carrying to much weight and you don't need validation of your success by a scale. How many times have your heard someone say (or felt yourself) that they were in a really good mood and feeling fit until they stepped on the scale and discovered they didn't lose any weight or they gained a pound? A pound! Water weight, hormones, whatever...a pound on a scale sends their mood plummeting. Why? If you need measurements, use a tape measure. It will tell you what kind of progress you're really making without making you crazy day in and day out.

So, now you know...you'll never hear me mention weight. I don't really care what I weigh because it isn't really relevant.

Day 16 is done!