My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans

My journey to a smaller jean size

I Am Thankful

I am still playing catch up with my Elf for Health challenges.  This post will cover Thursday’s challenge of listing 20 things I am thankful for.

  1. My husband.  He puts up with all of my crap, and I love him.
  2. My kids.  Some days they drive me absolutely crazy, but I couldn’t imagine my life without them.  They are amazing, and I love them to bits.
  3. My cats. I know some people don’t like cats and say they are antisocial.  Well, they haven’t met my cats.  Our cats, Crosby and Ovie, are two of the craziest, friendliest, cutest little bundles of fur you could ever meet.  They keep things around our place pretty interesting.
  4. My health. Sure, I would like to drop maybe 5 pounds and tone things up, but in general, I am pretty healthy. 
  5. My friends.  They are the best bunch of girls and we always have a great time when we are together.
  6. The fact that my sister lives around the corner from me.  I get to see her all the time, we get to run together, and it’s nice having my best friend so close.
  7. Being able to run.  There are days when I hate running, but when I get to run with friends, it is awesome.
  8. Getting to spend time up at our cottage.  Rory’s parents have a cottage about an hour and a half away from us.  We go up whenever we can, and we always have the best time.  Our kids absolutely love going up and just being outside. 
  9. Our home.  I love it and I plan to stay in this house for a long time. 
  10. Finally finishing a half marathon in under 2:30!!!
  11. Clean Eating Magazine.  I’ve found so many awesome recipes that my family loves, it makes it easy to stick to a healthy diet.
  12. Leftovers.  Seriously, they make me so happy.
  13. Being able to golf once a week in the summer.  Being a member of the EWGA ensures I get out to golf at least 9 holes once a week, plus the odd competition here and there.  I’m horrible, but I love it.
  14. Discovering BobHarper.com.  I love these high intensity workouts.  They are quick, and I love that I can always squeeze a workout in.
  15. All of my Apple products.  Especially my iPad and my iPhone.  I love them.
  16. Olga, my housekeeper.  She comes once a week and keeps our home clean, leaving me time to just enjoy it. 
  17. Starbucks Chai Latte.  This is heaven in a cup.
  18. A quiet house.  Most of the time it is total chaos around here, but every once in a while, the boys are out and I’m home alone and get to enjoy the quiet.
  19. My blog.  It gives me a place to track what I’m doing, keeps me accountable, and is just fun.  Plus, I’ve discovered so many other great blogs and learned so much from them. 
  20. My job.  I actually like my job so much, I bought the company!  The Friday before the Christmas holidays it became official.  Myself and 3 other colleagues bought the company from our bosses.  It was a long time coming and we were happy to finally get the papers signed.  It’s a little scary, but exciting at the same time.  I start 2013 as a small business owner!  Wow!

i'm thankful

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My First Mug Cake

Before the Elf for Health Challenge, I had never even heard of a mug cake.  So, I hit Google and did a search.  Trust me…there are a LOT of mug cake recipes out there! 

I finally settled on that I found on Babble.  A Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mug Cake.  I will admit…it was pretty easy to make.  Crack an egg in a mug, add 3 tbsp of brown sugar (I used 1.5 tbsp of brown sugar Splenda since I was out of regular brown sugar), 1/3 cup flour, 1 tbsp softened butter, and 3-4 tbsp of chocolate chips.  Stir and bake in the microwave for 1.5-2 minutes. 

mug cake

I wasn’t too sure how this was going to turn out, but I mixed it up, stuck it in the microwave for 2 minutes and waited.  I was a bit nervous when the cake started to rise out of the mug while it was cooking, but when the timer went off, it sank back down into the mug. 

It wasn’t the moistest cake I have ever had, but it was pretty good.  if I do it again, I will take it out closer to the minute and a half time, rather than leave it in for the full 2 minutes. 

In the end it was a quick and tasty treat.  According to My Fitness Pal, when I punched in all of the ingredients, it is about 500 calories or so.   I will not be eating too many of these bad boys…and I definitely need to got for a run and do a workout tomorrow to burn off some of these extra calories.

Have you ever made a mug cake? 
How was it?

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My Three Things

As part of my Elf for Health Challenge, my task for last Wednesday was to look in the mirror and find 3 things that I like about myself.  I have been avoiding this challenge.

look in the mirror

Despite making some changes and improvements in the past 10 months, most days when I look in the mirror, I tend to see things that still need work.  So, finding three things that I like is a different way of thinking for me.

I probably shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but that’s just the way it is.  I will try to work on that in 2013!

Anyways, the three things that I like are:

  1. My crazy, curly hair.  I have finally learned to embrace the curl.  It also helps that I have a great cut that let’s the curls go wild.  The curlier the better.  It is no maintenance hair and I spent maybe 2 minutes on it in the morning.
  2. My eyes.  I like the colour of them…hazel with gold flecks.  They are kind of neat.  Now if only I could get rid of the bags that seem to permanently be under them, that would be great!
  3. My curves.  I have accepted the fact that I will never be a “skinny” person.  I’m just not built that way.  I have curves.  My goal now is to make the curves look as good as possible.

cat lion mirror

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

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The Friday Five

This week has flown by…which is too bad, since it’s a holiday week for me.  Oh well…here it is…

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This week’s edition is going to be five things that I need to get done before the weekend is over.

1. Catch up on my Elf for Health Challenges. I am a bit behind in my Elf challenges.
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Before Sunday is over I need to do the following daily challenges:

    • Wednesday’s challenge:  Look at myself in the mirror and find 3 things that I like about myself.  I have been putting this one off, since most of the time I look in the mirror and see the things that need to be improved. 
    • Thursday’s challenge:  Make a list of 20 things I am thankful for.  This one probably won’t be too bad to complete, I just need to take the time to do it!
    • Friday’s challenge:  Make a healthy mug cake in the microwave.  I have never made a mug cake before, so I am going to have to do some surfing and find a good recipe.  Some of the other elves have posted links to the recipes they used for their mug cakes, so I will have to check those out and see what I can find.
    • Saturday’s challenge:  Take some time for myself. Suggestions were to read a book for fun, do a craft, or take a bubble bath.  I’ll see what I can come up with.  Maybe I will try to do a bit of scrapbooking, since I really enjoy it, but never seem to have the time. 

2.  Go for a 5k run.  The Resolution Run is Monday evening.  I’ve only managed 3 runs to get ready for this.  I dragged hubs with me for a 3k run around the neighborhood, and then I did a 4k and a 5k run on the treadmill.  Ideally, I would like to get outside for a 5k run sometime tomorrow or Sunday. 
2013 resolution run

3.  Plan my week of meals and workouts. Aside from Christmas Eve and Christmas day, my dinners this holiday week have been rather unorganized.  And my workout schedule has been even worse!  I’m still off from work Monday and Tuesday next week, but need to get organized for when I’m back to work and things will be back to the usual chaos that is my life!
meal planning

4.  Write my Beautiful Blogger Award Post.  I’ve been nominated for a Beautiful Blogger Award by Veggie Bento Love, (thank you!), and I need to figure out what is involved with this award and then write my post. 

5.  Start thinking about my goals for 2013.  With the new year just around the corner, I think I need to figure out what I need to focus on moving forward.  I am really enjoying my Bob Harper workouts and I found a great site, FitnessBlender.com, with other workouts that look awesome too(yesterday’s kettlebell workout was from this site and I loved it…and I’m totally feeling it today Smile).  I’m pretty sure I will keep up with this type of workout…but I need to figure out how running will fit into my goals.  Running is not easy for me…and training for races takes a lot of time.  I will have to take all of that into consideration when I plan for 2013. 
2013 goals

Wow…now that it’s all written down, it looks like I am going to have a busy weekend!  Wish me luck!

How was your week?
Have you started thinking about your goals for 2013?

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I Survived Christmas!

Sorry to have gone MIA for a few days, but Christmas sort of took over my life for a few days!

Here’s what’s been going on in my crazy life.

Sunday:  Neighborhood Potluck.  27 of us gathered to celebrate the season.  We were assigned appetizers as our contribution.  I debated over what to bring.  I wanted something healthy, but tasty.  I had tossed around a few ideas  – roasted veggies or a healthy dip – but in the end I decided on Raspberry Asparagus Endive with Candied Pecans.  I found the recipe at YummyMummyKitchen.com …and it was fantastic!  It looked amazing, was easy to prepare, and was absolutely DELICIOUS!

rasp asp endive
Hubs also made 2 different varieties of baked brie.  One was wrapped in puff pasty and the other was in crescent roll dough with raspberry jam. Both of these were VERY good.  Our apps were a hit at the party and both of these recipes will likely be made again for our New Year’s Eve party.

Monday:  Last minute groceries.  I was hosting Christmas dinner, so had to grab a few last minute items for dinner.  We always get a fresh turkey from Vince’s, so we needed to go pick it up, plus we needed fresh berries for our Christmas Crepe Breakfast.  I also picked up a few needed ingredients for a Cheesy Mexican Quinoa casserole that I was making and taking over to my sister’s for our Christmas Eve dinner.
cheesy mexican quinoa

This was another fantastic recipe find courtesy of The Lean Green Bean.  I have tried a number of her recipes and they are all delicious.  I doubled the recipe since we had a crowd to feed.  I may have gone a bit too heavy on the spices though…it had a bit of a kick that was a bit too much for the little ones, but I loved it.  There was a bit leftover as well, so I’ve got a couple of lunches in the fridge to help give some variety when I need a break from turkey sandwiches!

Tuesday:  CHRISTMAS!!!  We were all quite spoiled again this year, and everyone got some terrific gifts.  Nick’s big present was a very cool Parrot A.R. Drone, and Jacko got a new snowboard and bindings.
presents

Hubby and I tend to not exchange, but this year we got each other something from the kids.  We got him a Sony alarm clock dock for his new iPhone – which I had put through the laundry Monday morning…so it was in a bag of rice drying out and he couldn’t even use his new dock!  OOPS!  He and the boys got me a fantastic gift…

kettlebells
…a full set of kettlebells:  4, 8, 10, 15 and 20lbs.  I LOVE them!

Christmas day was filled with good eats as well. Breakfast was our traditional crepes made by hubs.  I enjoyed mine with Nutella, fresh berries and whipped cream.  Freaking amazing!
crepes

After breakfast and gift opening, we did some prep for dinner and I made the pumpkin pie…I love, and I mean seriously LOVE, pumpkin pie.  I have a recipe from my mom and it is quite honestly the best pumpkin pie EVER.
pumpkin pie

While the pie was cooking my mom and I prepped the bird, got the stuffing ready and once the pie came out…the bird went it.  It was a bit too big for my roasting pan, so we had to cover it with tinfoil.
the bird

After the bird went in, we had some down time, so we read, played with Christmas gifts, and I got in my Elf for Health Challenge when my mom and I took her dogs for a walk around the neighborhood.  We had a good 30 minute walk and Henry (on the left) and Angel (on the right) loved it!
henry and angel

My sister, her hubs, and their kids came over later in the afternoon and the kids opened their presents from us.  It was so fun to see the excitement on my niece’s face.  She is almost 3 and totally “gets” presents.  We had a great afternoon visiting…and then it was time for the main event.  Dinner!  My mom helped me with dinner, and we pulled off a feast:  turkey, mashed potatoes, squash, sautéed asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts, and stuffing.  There was a ton of food, and there are lots of leftovers!

christmas dinnerAfter all that food, we were all too full to eat dessert…so the pie had to wait until the next day, when we had some for breakfast!

Wednesday:  Boxing Day.  Boxing day we headed down to London to visit with hubby’s parents.  The kids really roughed it on the drive down…watching a movie for most of the trip.
movie boys

We had a nice visit with Nana and Gramps, and after dinner, piled back in the car for the drive back home.  Normally it is about a 2 hour drive, but there was quite a snow storm last night, and the drive took about 4 hours.  it was exhausting and we were quite happy to finally get home and crawl into bed for a good night’s sleep and a sleep in this morning.

Thursday:  RELAX!  Today we had nothing to do, and that’s exactly what we did.  Well, that’s not exactly true…hubs shoveled the drive way after the crazy snowstorm yesterday, and I took my kettlebells for their first workout ride.  I spent a bit of time searching online for different kettlebell workouts.  Women’s Health has a good one that I will try soon, but for my first workout with my new toys, I did this beginner kettlebell workout from FitnessBlender.com.  I really liked the workout.  It was challenging, but doable, and it made me work.  I was dripping by the end of it, and I’m pretty sure I will be feeling the effects of it tomorrow….at least I better be!

Tonight, hubs and I went out on a date.  We went out for dinner and then went to the movies to see This is 40.  They are saying it is the “sort of sequel” to Knocked Up.  The movie was pretty funny, and there were lots of scenes that we could totally relate to.  If you go and see it, be sure to stay for the credits.  We laughed the hardest at the blooper rant that Melissa McCarthy has…it is hilarious!

Not sure what will be in store for tomorrow.  I should probably try to squeeze in a 5k run – which will likely happen on the treadmill, since the sidewalks are a bit of a mess with the snow.  The Resolution Run is just around the corner and I need to get a few more training runs in so I will be ready.

How was your Christmas?  Did you get any great gifts?

Do you have any great kettlebell workouts you can point me to?

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Run…

…is DONE!!
2.5 miles (4k), 300 calories burned, in 25:35….and still smiling!

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Thanks for the friendly reminder, Lisa!

Cheers !

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The Tree

It is finally decorated!

Some people have beautiful trees, all colour coordinated and perfectly symmetrical, with themed decorations. Out tree is not like that…at all!

We have mismatched ornaments, crafts the kids have made over the years, and hand-me-down decorations from my grandma.

There is no theme. It is not colour coordinated. Our tradition is to load it up with tons of lights and pack it full of decorations…And WE LOVE IT!!!

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A few of my favourite decorations include pair of “love birds” that my mom gave me a few years ago, some glass ornaments that my grandma gave me when we had our first Christmas in our first house we owned, a Toronto Maple Leafs ornament (this may be as close to hockey as we get this year!),  and a ceramic ornament that my Aunt brought me back from Holland a long time ago. 
Image

Our star is a hand-me-down from my parents.  This was the star that we always had on our trees when we were kids.  It is quite awful, it’s falling apart, but it will be on the top of our tree for many years to come.  Our tree would not be complete without it!

Finally getting the tree decorated makes it start to feel like Christmas around here!

How does your tree look?  Is it a perfectly coordinated tree?  Or a perfectly mismatched collection of ornaments that have special meaning to you?

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The Friday Five

I did it!  I survived this last crazy week of work…and now it’s time for the Friday Five!

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1.  I am officially on holidays!  My office closed today for the Christmas holidays, and I don’t go back to work until January 2, 2013!  This year has been incredibly busy for me.  I actually have 3 weeks of vacation left from this year that I didn’t get to take because I had too much going on to be out of the office.  So, being off for the next 11days is going to be heaven! Hopefully I can manage to Eat Clean and get a few workouts in between all the holiday craziness.
hurray

2.  I just realized I have a massage in 15 minutes!  The other 3 things are going to have to wait!
massage

3.  Nearly 4 hours have past since I wrote point #2 above!  My massage was awesome!  I can’t believe I almost forgot about it.  I had been looking forward to it for a couple of weeks now, since it would be the perfect kick off to my Christmas holidays.  I had a bit of a crazy day at work.  A good part of my day was taken up with a very important meeting, and when I got home I was just so happy to be done with work, I completely forgot about my massage.  Thankfully I had put it in my calendar and that 15 minute reminder was like an early Christmas present.  I feel relaxed and ready to enjoy the next 11 days.
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After my massage, my family picked me up from my massage therapist’s office and we went out for a nice Thai dinner.  Delicious!

4.  We are finally going to decorate our Christmas tree.  I’m not quite sure why this hasn’t happened before now, but our tree still sits empty in our living room. 
naked tree
That is all going to change in the next hour or so.  The decorations have been brought up from the basement, the Christmas music is playing from Songza, and we are ready.  I will post an update later with the final product.

5.  Tomorrow I need to go for a run.  The Resolution Run is getting closer, and I have still only run once since my half marathon back in October.  I dragged hubs out with me for 3k a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t gone again.  I need to get out there a few more times between now and New Year’s Eve or I won’t be able to make it 5k!  So…I’m putting it out there…tomorrow I will run 4k.  Feel free to nag me if you don’t hear that I have run yet.  It may be a treadmill run, since we are having a bit of a snow storm right now and I think it is supposed to continue for a bit of tomorrow as well.  Good thing I have a treadmill right downstairs in my basement.  NO EXCUSES!
hardest step

Happy Friday, everyone.
Got any big plans for the weekend?
Don’t forget…nag me about my run tomorrow…I need all the “encouragement” I can get!

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Favourite Things

This has been a crazy week. Only one more day to get through and I will be on Christmas vacation!

I’m am not doing very well on my Elf for Health challenges this week:
Monday: do a circuit workout – YES! All of the workouts I do these days are circuits. That is what Trainer Bob is all about. Short, intense workouts…and I love them!

Tuesday: treat yourself to something you have been craving – YES! During my lunch break I had to go do a bit of shopping for Christmas gifts, so treated myself to lunch out at Il Fornello with a colleague. It was $10 pizza Tuesday, and I indulged in my favourite Diavolo pizza. It had been a while since I had one, and it was delicious!

Wednesday: bake cookies- NOPE! Last night was my hockey teams Christmas party, so there was no time to bake. We had a favourite things party, where each of us bought some of out favourite things and we all exchanged. This was so much fun. Here are all the favourite things that I received las night:

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Thursday: make a casserole for dinner tonight – NOPE! I got home quite late from work and just didn’t have the energy to cook. Besides, we had lots of leftovers to eat up, so the extent of my cooking was taking food out of the Gladware, putting in a bowl, and setting the microwave! Dinner was quick…and delicious! Coconut curried chickpeas with Sriracha sauce…
YUMMO!

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I am hoping I can get back on the Elf track tomorrow. Friday is Pay it Forward day. Hopefully I will get a chance to do something nice for someone else.

I did get a chance to do something nice for my sister today. She just got an iPhone a few weeks ago and hadn’t yet got a case for it. So the timing was perfect when last week I bought a Team Buy for custom iPhone cases. We are both huge Bon Jovi fans, and I just so happened to have a VERY nice picture of JBJ….and here’s what we both now have as cases for our phones:

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He is definitely one of my favourite things! It’s probably not the best case in terms of protecting our phones, but it’s fun, and not too hard to look at! We can enjoy looking at this case until we get to see the real thing live and in concert on February 17th! Less than 2 months to go!!!

What are some of your favourite things?
What would you put on a customizable iPhone case?

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Totally Random Tuesday

I am resurrecting Totally Random Tuesday so I can write about a few things that are not related at all!

1. I tried 2 new Clean Eating recipes. Yesterday I made Coconut Curry Chickpeas:

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And tonight I tried the Pumpkin Pasta Surprise:

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Both of these were very good, but I think I liked the chickpeas better because they had a bit of a kick! I need to remember to bring some Sriracha hot sauce to work tomorrow to give my chickpea leftover lunch an even bigger kick! Both recipes can be found in the Best of Clean Eating cookbook volume 1.

2. I am sore today from my awesome circuit workout yesterday! I am getting back on track with my BobHarper.com workouts. Yesterday was “quick core and lower body” and HOLY COW…my lower body is feeling it. I think the best move and the one I am feeling the most was the dead lifts. They really work!

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3. Tomorrow is my “Favourite Things” Christmas exchange with my hockey girls. The concept was suggested by my friend Kathy (you may know her as Jack Rabbit, my super fast running buddy). I’ve got my goodies bags packed with a few of my favourite things, and I can’t wait to see what everyone else brings as their favourite things. We always have a great time when we get together, and I’m sure tomorrow night will be another fun Corona Crusher party.

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How was your Tuesday?
I hope it was totally random!

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