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Archive for December, 2010

This Is How We Do It Dec 31

Celebrate Christmas, that is! (Yes, Christmas. I’m behind. New Year stuff coming shortly.)

Christmas is a big deal in our house. For my husband, it’s about the opportunity to buy gifts for friends and family and watch their faces light up. While this is also important for me, I just enjoy the warm, fuzzy feeling the decorations give me, the opportunity to bake, and the increased niceness of people. Well, until you get to the last couple days before Christmas and all the procrastinators are out and angry that they’re not done yet. 😉

We were all spoiled this year, which was a bit surprising to me. Everything I’ve read in the last few weeks told me to expect hugs or small tokens under the tree, because Christmas is all about the kids. Well, the same quality (if not quantity) of gifts was given to us by our family and friends.

Here’s a few pictures of the Santa magic and our Christmas Day.

If anyone knows where I can buy a bigger house to fit all the new stuffz (preferably in Central Florida), shoot me an email. 😉

Now, it’s time for me to walk away from the computer and go back to enjoying the warmth of the season. Unfortunately. I hear the cool weather will be returning though!

Happy Holidays!

Category: Alyson, holiday, partytime  | One Comment
A New Year 5QF Dec 30

Link up with MamaM and join the fun!

1. How long does your Christmas tree stay up?
This is an ongoing disagreement in my house. If I had my way, the tree would stay up until Jan 6th, if not later. My husband prefers it to be down before the new year. He won this year, because I was too sick to fight the take down.

2. Do you have plans for New Year’s Eve?
Not this year. I think I like it? I’m not sure though, I’ve really come to like hosting all the holiday get togethers.

3. Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
Not really. I’m going to extend last year’s weight loss goal and try again this year. I definitely made progress (which I’ll talk about in an upcoming post), but I need to get back to a healthy weight.

4. How did you spend New Year’s Eve when you were younger?
ALWAYS at home because my mom always said there were too many crazies on the road to be out. I might have spent one at a friend’s house, but I can’t remember clearly. At home, we’d always make nachos and our last batch of Christmas cookies for the season and watch Dick Clark.

5. What was the best way you’ve ever spent New Year’s Eve?
Wow, that’s a tough question. New Year’s has always been a quiet holiday for me. Maybe the 2008/2009 celebration? It was an impromptu party hosted here because I was VERY pregnant and didn’t want to travel and no one else had plans, so they all came here. If I remember correctly, we almost missed the ball dropping because we were too busy playing Rock Band. 🙂

Category: 5QF, holiday  | One Comment
Almost to Christmas! Dec 20

This week’s weight: 156.2 (loss of 0.8lbs)

While still nowhere near where I want to be, I’m impressed with this number. And this is why…

Dinner

Chocolate Delights

Even more chocolate

Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

Tea Cakes

Chocolate Pasta

This past Saturday was the Christmas Baking Extravaganza at my house. I hosted them for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas this year after a few friends were so excited to help me bake last year. I’m not sure I’ll be repeating this event. Not only does it create a mountain of dishes that takes a good half dozen dishwasher runs to clean, but no one showed up remotely on time. The Facebook event was scheduled to start at 5, but one friend had a minor job change and wouldn’t be available til after 5:30. No biggie, things happen, 6 is also a fine start time, and will give us plenty of time to mix and bake prior to the start of the usual shindiggery that goes on at our house on Saturday nights. Except that the other baker didn’t show up until after 8.

She was off work all day.

And when she got here, she said she forgot all her ingredients at home. Luckily, it was an easy recipe and I had all the ingredients, but still, who says they’re coming to an event and then shows up 2 HOURS late forgetting important items? I was so frustrated, but letting the frustration interfere with the festivities was not part of my plan. So we ate, we baked, and then we ate and baked some more and ended the evening swapping Christmas presents.

Despite a rough start, it was a nice evening. 🙂

Getting back to McFatty Monday, you probably understand by now that I’m impressed that I’m down ANY weight after all the goodies that I’ve been devouring for the last month, and will probably continue to devour for the next two weeks or so as we get through the New Year. All I’m doing is trying to stick to one semi-reasonable serving of the things that I really want. So far, it’s working, and I hope it continues to. 🙂

Category: Food, McFattyMonday  | 2 Comments
Top Ten Tuesday – Holiday Food Dec 14

Yep, it’s another fantabulous Holiday themed meme, this one from Sluiter Nation. I’ve tried several times to join in to her Top Ten, but I’m not good with things that have short deadlines. However, today as I was walking through Target dreaming of the thousands of goodies I could make if only I had more time and money, I decided to give it another chance. I mean, if I don’t have time to make all this stuff, why not toss the ideas out there and maybe someone else does?

Also, it is very hard for me to pick just ten foods for any label, so I’m going to list my holiday foods in no particular order and the first ten that come to mind. Be forewarned, I have a huge sweet tooth, and it’s possible that the majority of the list will be sweet treats. Just sayin’.

1. Ever since I made them last year, people have asked for more Red Velvet Whoopie Pies (decorated with green sugar for festivity, of course!), so I WILL be making these this weekend during the Christmas Baking Extravaganza. I will also be attempting their cousin, White Chocolate Raspberry Whoopie Pies.
2. Home made sweet potato casserole. Only my brother and I are big sweet potato fans, but if you make them “just right” the whole family chows down.
3. Baked brie. The family version is brie doused with honey and cherries and wrapped up in Pillsbury Crescent rolls. Served with water crackers or eaten with a fork, it’s a warm and gooey delight.
4. Cookies. I make tons of cookies at the holidays. They are rarely made the rest of the year, because you just can’t find the cool chips any time except the holidays, and I don’t like “everyday” cookies. So far this year, I’ve made Toffee Apple, Dark Chocolate Peppermint, and Dark Chocolate Andes. I’m hoping to get some Oatmeal Scotchies made too, but we’ll just have to see how things go.
5. Turkey. For some reason, we only eat turkey at the holidays, so it’s definitely a favorite. I prefer mine smoked or fried and ALWAYS with gravy. I have a bit of an obsession with gravy, just ask my real life friends or family if you ever see them perusing my blog. I’m sure they’re all nodding their heads.
6. Pumpkin and Banana bread. I made Peanut Butter Banana Bread a couple weeks ago (Wow, that recipe is getting a lot of hits!) and pumpkin bread back at the beginning of November. I love all the specialty breads, and wouldn’t mind finding the time to make an Orange Cranberry Loaf. Just one more item to add to my To Bake list! 😉

Oooh, this is getting tough. It’s making me a little hungry to make this list. I also want to go bake something, but I really need to tuck the babe in for her nap. Let’s see if I can get to 10…

**Please hold, the babe requires rocking and snuggling for nap time**

Well, I didn’t make it to 10 before nap time, but let’s see if I can come up with a few more now that the babe is tucked in.

7. Sausage balls. The old school ones with just sausage, cheese and Bisquick. Easiest appetizer ever.
8. Gingerbread. Snaps, houses, cookies, all tasty and also fun to decorate!
9. O.M.G. How have I waited this long to mention EGGNOG??? Oh, eggnog, how I love thee, let me count the ways… *sigh* *drool* While it’s a pain to make yourself, I prefer the homemade kind, because most store bought have too much nutmeg in them. Land O’Lakes used to make eggnog without nutmeg. It was the greatest. I haven’t been able to find that in a few years, so now my fave is Southern Comfort Vanilla Eggnog. It does not actually contain SoCo, and has only a little bit of spice, so it’s my go to ‘Nog!

Well, I don’t have ten, but I think I have everything important for the holidays. Eggnog, baked goods, appetizers, entree and sides… Yep. I’m good with that list. For now. 😉

P.S. I’m sure everyone is now aware why I needed McFatty Monday. 😛

Category: Food, meme  | 3 Comments
Let’s See What Happened This Week Dec 13

I don’t have high hopes for my weight this week, but anything is better than last week’s weight. The holiday food is really getting to me, and while I’m trying to be more active and keep the eating down, everything just tastes SO. DAMN. GOOD. I even went to Michael’s and bought treat boxes so I could give away a chunk of the baked goods I made so I don’t eat them. This week I made Toffee Apple Drop Cookies and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies. Well, it’s time to see what the scale says…

This week’s weight: 157.0

Well, there it is. Less than last week.

In other news, even after Toddler Talk Thursday I still have very little idea what to get my about-to-turn-2 year old daughter. The husband and I made a trek to Toys R Us yesterday in hopes of finding some inspiration, but didn’t find much. I want to give her a big Christmas, but she already has everything she needs, and she’s not old enough to have a list of wants. Well, I’m sure it will work itself out.

Now I’m off to do some grocery and Christmas shopping while the babe is at school. That will have to pass for my workout, because I need to get Christmas taken care of before I go crazy. 😉

A Christmas 5QF Dec 10

Link up with Mama M!

1. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
Christmas Day. Although I have a friend who opens everything Christmas Eve, I never understood why Santa got to some houses so early, but never mine until Christmas Day.

2. What is your favorite Christmas cookie (or candy)?
Everything. Most recently requested at Christmas has been Red Velvet Whoopie Pies, and since I love them too, I’m more than happy to make them. 🙂 Due to my weight issue, I’ve had to be a little more selective in my sweet treats, but they still get eaten.

3. What’s the worst Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
Nothing stands out in my mind as the WORST Christmas gift. I used to hate clothes as a kid, especially socks and underwear. I also hated the plain brown box of Salvation Army clothes my grandmother brought over every year. They weren’t pretty or cute or cool.

4. Christmas song that you love?
All of them? Traditional Christmas hymns or “rockin’” holiday tunes.

5. How many trees do you put up?
Just one, but one day I’d like to have one BIG tree in our main living space and little (2-3 ft) ones in the bedrooms and office. Maybe even in the kitchen if you can’t see the big tree from there. They just look so festive and happy.

Toddler Talk Thursday – Holiday Gifts Dec 09

This week’s topic is : What gifts do you plan on getting your little one for the holidays?!

This has been a difficult question in our house this year, especially since my daughter’s birthday is just 2.5 weeks after Christmas. I already bought and gave her one of the things I put on her Christmas list (Beauty and the Beast on DVD) because I thought it would help during our car trip to NY. And then I left it on the kitchen counter, but that’s beside the point. 😉

I’ve deemed the Cozy Coupe a must have because my brother and I had so much fun with his when we were young. Nothing like presenting an almost 2 year old with her very own car! 😉
I’m not sure if this is the exact playhouse I’d like to have. The husband and I will look more closely when we go out to holiday shop for the babe, but this seems to be an all-in-one design that will amuse my daughter at least for a couple years.

The problem with those two items, though, is that we don’t have a lot of outdoor space. Our cars take up most of our short driveway and there isn’t any space out back to ride the Cozy Coupe. The playhouse will fit great in the back yard though! It should focus toddler attention nicely so we’re not always chasing her through the neighbor’s backyards. 😛

I’m at a total loss for indoor toys. Again, we don’t have a ton of space, so the indoor play things (like popup huts or tunnels, or ball pits) aren’t a good choice for us. She is totally in love with all things Crayola, but we’re still working on things like not coloring on the walls. She’s getting better, and seems to know that when mama says no and takes the crayons away that it’s something she shouldn’t do, but still, every now and then, color gets on the walls that isn’t supposed to be there. 🙁

Tips appreciated for holiday gift ideas or Crayola cleanup. 😉

P.S. It’s also time to refill the closet with next year’s size, but kids never REALLY want that until they get into their teens!

Category: Alyson, meme  | 4 Comments
Pure Geekdom Dec 06

I’m feeling like a kid at Christmas. Tomorrow in the early hours of the morning,

becomes available for play. So after my “run” this morning, I am more than ready to go to bed early and hopefully snag a few extra hours of play time before the babe wakes in the morning. It is ridiculous how excited I am over this, but hey, I love the game and have played it for more years than I’d rather admit. (Yes, I said years. There’s a reason I was vague in the first place! ;))

I’ll be needing coffee and Peanut Butter Banana Bread. Maybe I should get that ready now…

Category: General  | Leave a Comment
To Call that A Run Dec 06

Is almost laughable. 3.11 miles (Hey! That’s a 5k! :)) in 58 minutes 46 seconds. A yoga cooldown has never felt so good… Child’s pose, Upward facing dog, Downward facing dog, and tree (I think it was tree, might have been mountain. Too lazy to look it up.) Now I’m typing this and downing some water before I go shower and pick up the babe from school. (Side note: She’s doing SO well now! No more tears! Yay!)

Why did I torture myself with an attempted run this morning? For the same reason I used FitTV yesterday to complete two 10-minute ab workouts. Because there was some FABULOUS food at our weekly party on Saturday night, and I ate. I ate so much that…

This week’s weight: 157.2

I’m disappointed, but not surprised. I wish I’d taken a picture of the spread we had out on Saturday night. There was celery, carrots and two kinds of hummus, crackers w/ summer sausage, tortilla chips and chili cheese dip, deluxe mixed nuts (no peanuts), smoked almonds, cocoa roasted almonds, dark chocolate brownies, mint chocolate delight cookies, white chocolate raspberry bars, teacakes, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and dark chocolate cookies.

And of course, water, coffee, beer and Diet Coke. 😉 I told you there was good food, and this happens a LOT during the holidays, as I’m sure we’re all aware. The inner bakers come out and next thing you know you’ve gained 5 pounds. Normally, this is not an issue, but I REALLY need to LOSE weight. So yesterday I did two ab workouts and today I tried to run.

I’m sure the real runners of the world already know this, but let me tell you all a few things I learned today during my run.

1) Wear real running shoes. Or else you might end up like me with pinky toes rubbed so raw that I took my shoes off and did the last third of a mile in my socks. I’m sure there are a few heads shaking over that…
2) Stretch more than you have ever stretched before. Especially your shins and arches, or you will HURT. I thought I did a good job, but I’m already starting to feel that I didn’t.
3) Music helps the time go by.
4) Even when it’s cooler outside, make sure you drink plenty of water. Or you’ll feel THAT later too, to the tune of a monster headache and some serious stiffness. So far, I have none of that, so maybe I did ok on the water intake.
5) Start with a good breakfast. Mine barely counts, Starbucks tall non-fat Caramel Brulee Latte w/ no whip and Banana Walnut bread.

Time to take a hot shower and get the babe. Then it’s time for me to get back to baking! I found a recipe in an old Cooking Light magazine for Peanut Butter Banana Bread. 😉

Category: General, McFattyMonday  | 2 Comments
Holiday 5QF Dec 02

Since I have yet to be able to wrap my head around a post detailing our epic Thanksgiving road trip, I figured I’d amuse myself (and hopefully a few others out there!) with Mama M’s 5QF. Just click the link to join the fun!

1. What’s on the top of your holiday wish list and why?!
Ummm… I don’t know… I have a wish list with quite a few items on it, but I’m not sure there’s anything I MUST have. The DVD of Eclipse perhaps? The iPod to make my car even cooler than it already is? The World of Warcraft Cataclysm Atlas that I probably won’t need by the time it’s released? The TomTom that I have yet to choose because there are just TOO MANY options?

I could live without everything on that list and still be a happy and content person. I just want to watch everybody else’s faces light up. 🙂

2. What is your favorite Christmas gift from the past?
The laptop I’m typing this on was a good gift. The desktop computer that preceded this was also a good gift. However, the one gift that I still have a zillion years later is a jewelry box my dad gave me somewhere in my early teens. My dad is a horrible gift giver and always a last minute shopper, he has since changed to just giving out cash for Christmas and birthdays. But that jewelry box has stayed with me through the years.

3. If you had life to do over, what would you be when you grow up?
A physical therapist, an orthopedist, or a registered dietitian. One of those will happen eventually.

4. When do you put up your tree?
We used to put up our tree after Thanksgiving dinner was cleared away. Now that we get the 3 cousins born within 3 weeks together for Thanksgiving, it’s one of the first things we do when we return home, or return to normal scheduling if we host.

5. What is your favorite Holiday?
Christmas, no doubt. I love the cold (even though there is very little of it in Florida), the decorations, giving gifts, baking until I collapse, and how the majority of the world just seems happier in the weeks leading up to Christmas.