Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review - What I've Learned About Me!!

Looking back, 2012 was incredible.  I set goals and blew them out of the water.  I met challenges head on and went into 2013 with even loftier goals.  And I learned a TON about myself while I worked toward those goals.

I learned 

  • Goals are great to have, but listening to my body and learning to adjust the goals I have for myself is more important.  Sticking to an artificial goal and hurting myself further by pushing and pushing is not worth hurting myself.  I set a mileage goal last year.   With the hurty hip I've been dealing with since spring, I wasn't able to meet that goal, but I kept myself healthy.
  • I am stronger than I ever thought - I finished a half marathon!  And I blew my old time out of the water.  I got faster and stronger week to week.  
  • To listen to my body and REST when I need it - this might be the HARDEST lesson of the year that I learned. 
  • To take a risk - and try for a new job that was beyond my comfort zone and away from my Brookfield family.   Change is tough - but I did it!  And I love the challenge and the new job!
  • To balance work and play a little better in the second half of this year.   
  • To declutter and do more with less.  Moving this year was a fabulous experience for me.  I learned to let go of much of the stuff that was filling up my life.  Selling, donating and letting go.  Still working on this.
  • That I like to try new things.  It takes a while to feel brave enough and sure enough, but I like to try them!  I tried Gravity class and Bikram hot yoga.  Both are way out of my comfort zone. And I did both of them more than a few times!
  • To make fabulous choices when it comes to food, most of the time.   I met a goal in my weightloss and maintained it.  I learned new habits and ways of eating that will be with me for the rest of my life. 
  • How much friends mean to me.  I've learned much more about assessing the friendships

2013 was a great year of growth for me.  I'm looking forward to 2014 and so many new lessons!  I can't wait to see 2014 is ready to teach me!  I'm open and ready to learn and grow!

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you." ~Emerson

Friday, December 27, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude

In November I participated in a challenge to recognize all the things in my life I have to be thankful for. It was a great feeling to lead up to the holidays to help me realize just how truly blessed I really am. It also helped me realize I didn't need much as headed into the giving season.


Update: Christmas Card Display

So now that Christmas has passed I wanted to update you on how my Christmas Card display worked out. It was perfect! Look at that lovely display....and I see it everytime I turn around and get to check out my family and friends! Love this!

How did you display your cards?

The original post can be found here.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Christmas Feast!

I hope you had a very relaxing and enjoyable Christmas day!   We spent the day inside, watching movies, sleeping in, opening presents and I cooked us a feast!

First, we started with breakfast: a sausage, tomato and bell pepper fritata with fresh squeezed orange juice.  This is one of the things my boyfriend absolutely loves.  He has a couple of local restaurants that he frequents that hand squeeze their juice=as you order it.  So I planned this as a surprise for him and squeezed us a pitcher of juice on Christmas Eve before he got off work.

Then we opened presents and vegged out on the couch till midafternoon!
Then I started preparing our feast.  I pretty much stuck to the planned menu from yesterday and everything was delicious.  

We started with a cheese plate... cracked pepper and mango jalapeno cheddar cheeses with Fig Butter (from Trader Joes).  This stuff is seriously good.  Go get some now!


I made these citrus ginger carrots (defiintely making these again. They were incredible!)  

I think I bundled too many beans in my bacon bundles.   Two of the 4 came apart...but they were good!   This is one of the risks when you make a smaller batch than the original recipe calls for.

Crispy Brussel Sprouts and the Sausage Stuffed Peppers were kind of a made up recipe, after checking out a few - I threw together seasonings and made these myself.  The brussel sprouts were just halved, thrown in a pan with some grass-fed butter and salt and pepper.  I cooked them on the top shelf for about 30 minutes at 375.  The sausage was seasoned with sage and pepper, then stuffed in mini bell peppers and baked for about 40 minutes at 375.
Everything came together perfectly - with only one problem.  We barely saved room for dessert! The most un-paleo, un-homemade dessert on the planet.  Costco's ginormous pecan pie.  No worries, we each enjoyed a bit of this...one of us more than the other!  :)  

It was an amazing day.... I love that I was able to leisurely prepare a homemade meal, all of these yummy foods, while we relaxed and enjoyed time away from work and time with each other.  We watched more movies today than are probably good for you (saw a few good ones too!) and seriously were lazy bums all day.  It was a fantastic Christmas!

And I just wanted to share this FREE adorable chalkboard printable from LilLuna.com

How will you enjoy Christmas?

I'm very excited for Christmas tomorrow - not because of any THINGS or gifts I might receive, but because I get to spent almost 2 whole days at home with my ❤!  It's not often that he has days off completely (working in a business based completely on commission, it's hard to take time off and be away). 

Right now we are having a movie-marathon and enjoying some vino.  Low-key is best in my book (for today anyway!)

Tomorrow, I have a feast planned!  It's just the two of us, so I will make small portions of what I cook.  I started by scouring Pinterest for ideas and pinning the ones that seemed like a good idea to this board - Christmas Dinner.

Christmas Day 2013 Menu

Citrus glazed Cornish Game Hens
Orange and Ginger Glazed Carrots
Crispy Brussel Sprouts
Bacon Green Bean Bundles
Cheddar with Fig Spread
served with Virginia Wine

and for dessert - a very non-paleo Pecan Pie 
(I braved Costco today to gather this!)!

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We'll get up and open presents, I'll make breakfast (I squeezed fresh orange juice today!) and then we'll probably watch another movie, and finally I will start cooking after lunch.  Dinner will be an early afternoon dinner.  These are all new recipes and I hope they turn out!  Check in after the holidays for an update!   Maybe we will finish the night off with a movie theatre trip.    

The best part of Christmas - being off work and together from mid-day Christmas Eve until the morning of the 26th.  :)   

My plan is to go shopping early with some friends for Christmas Clearance sales (re-stock for next season at 50% off!) and then head to see family for a few days.  The celebrations will continue with my WV family until New Year's Day.

What do you have planned for your holiday?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Handmade Christmas Cards

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is exchanging cards with my family and friends.  I take great pride and make my own cards each year from materials from Close to My Heart.  I love hand writing the addresses and the inside of the cards, taking the time and effort to make something to show I care.  It's a long process and each step is done with love.

First - I decide on a design. Usually I look through pinterest, catalogs and collect ideas.  This year I found a design in the Close to my Heart catalog. I loved and HAD to use that stamp!  I ordered my materials and started to get so excited!

My first step was to cut everything - small rectangles of olive, ruby, colonial white and Kraft.  I also folded my card bases and cut my bakers twine to the proper length.

Then I started stamping - the main stamp for the front is why I wanted to make this card from the start!

and the sentiment inside the cards:

and the address (on the back flap) and decoration on the envelope:

and the small snowflakes on the top 1/3 of the card front:

After all the stamping, it's time to start assembling.  Add the olive and ruby strips to the front of the card:

Then put the Merry and Bright on the Kraft paper.

Wrap the base of the kraft paper with the baker's twine.
Add the sparkles at the top left and on the bakers twine.

Use foam adhesive to give dimension to the kraft, adhere to the front of the card.

Then I hand address and sign them and add a stamp!  Off to the post office they go!

This week was fantastic since I had a snow day to finish up my cards and get them out.  I usually aim for the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year I was a week behind.