Category Archives: Holidays

Healthy Food Lovers Beware: Part 1

Part 1:  Cincinnati Family Time

Warning:  the foods consumed in the last few days (many of which will be featured in these posts) are by NO MEANS considered healthy foods.  Napking may be required to wipe the drool from your chin.

So let’s see, Matt and I headed up to Cincinnati at 8am on Tuesday morning to visit with my dad’s family (especially my little brother who will be deployed in a month or two).  The day started out innocently enough with a mini Clif bar:

Then Matt decided to stop at Chick-Fil-A around 10:30.  For some reason, the two mini croissants he ate at 8am were just not holding him . . . SURPRISE SURPRISE!  I need to teach the boy about fiber and protein . . .  Anyway, I love Chick-Fil-A and rarely get to eat it, so, I had to get a chicken biscuit . . .

I do love their diet lemonade, too!!  Anyway, when we got to Cincinnati, we decided to head over to Skyline for some Cincinnati chili!  Matt loves it!  I’ve heard it might be a Cincinnati thing, but I love it!  I only got two coneys (no cheese).

My brothers each had four coneys!  CHUBBY BOYS!  Here’s my brother, Tom, enjoying his coneys

And no trip to Cincinnati is complete without some Graeter’s ice cream!  This is where I worked in high school. My favorite is Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip!  Matt got some Buckeye Blitz.  This ice cream is so rich and good!  The giant chocolate chips are made by pouring liquid bittersweet in to the ice cream and letting it break how it will as it cools.

After all of this eating of WONDERFUL food (tasty yet very rich), we had dinner at my dad’s.  He made a roast with salad and baked potatoes.  Thank goodness I am not a big red meat fan, so it was easy to say no to fatty meat and yes to a baked potato and this tasty salad:

Following dinner, we stretched Christmas out just a bit more, and celebrated with my dad and brothers.  My younger brother, Tom, did a wonderful job of wrapping his present:

Don’t you love the note from my stepdad informing my brother that this was his present to me?

My dad got Matt and me matching sweaters.  Aren’t we fashionable?

At least they look warm.

Then we met up with some of my friends and Tom’s friends for some drinks at BW3′s.  I love this place as a place to hangout, and wish we had it up in Beantown!

I had four glasses of wine at BW’s (thank goodness Matt was driving home).

Wednesday morning, we woke up and drove to Richmond, Indiana to visit with Grandma (dad’s mom) and Grandmother (mom’s mom).  It was so nice to visit with family.  Towards the end of the evening, we had to do a few family pictures to document the occasion.

Grandmother, Tom, and Grandma

Matt, Aunt Sue, Dad, Me, Tom, Becky, Grandma

And finally,

Me and Cpl. Tom of the USMC.  He’s leaving for a 7-14 month tour of Afghanistan (his second tour).  It was so hard to say good bye.  Can’t even type about it now without tearing up.    Please keep him and all of our service men and women in your prayers.

Coming up . . . part 2 . . . and you thought there couldn’t possibly be more bad food in the country!

Macaroons, Morning Exercise, and M's BDay

Okay, so where did we leave off?

Well on the first day after Christmas . . my true love gave to me . . . A FREE GINGERBREAD KIT!  They were giving them out at the Food Lion (Food City?), whatev.  So that provided us an hour of entertainment while we watched BC lose to USC.

Here’s the gingerbread kit team (minus me):And the finished product!And the rear view:

Notice how the two structural engineers had to add some reinforcement to the back of the snowman and gingerbread man to get them to stand up straight.

Sunday was church then lunch at Outback (had shrimp en fuego . . . not much of a red meat person).  Then I told M that we had to go running.  I guess the last few days of not exactly eating the best things was catching up or something, but I just couldn’t go more than two minutes of jogging.  So we walked (with spurts of jogging) for about 2.5-3 miles.  Still took 45 minutes, burned 450 calories, avg HR of 151, max HR of 179.

Afterwards, M’s friend came over to watch the Colts game (don’t get me started! STUPID COACHES!)  and then the Clemson game (which they won, hooray!).  In lieu of dinner, I ate a ton of macaroons:

I also had some apples, carrots, oranges, and a snack of a mini clif bar (peanut butter of course).  So, question, does anyone have a good macaroon recipe? I tried to make them last year and while they were a bit yummy, they didn’t look like the ones that I’ve gotten at bakeries.

Anyway, M’s mom goes to the gym for swimming aerobics, so I asked to tag along to the gym this morning.  I had an hour and half (WAHOO!  M usually only gives me 45 minutes, 60 max), so I did one of my PT routines.  I wished that I had brought them, so I just did one of my last ones that I remembered.  It was the really hard arm one, which started with chin ups!

So yeah, morning exercise.  I’m an evening exerciser.  I’ve always heard that you should workout when you feel your best.  And I’m a night person.  The last few times that I’ve gone in the morning, I get really nauseous/dizzy, and my heart rate is high. Any suggestions? I did eat a banana before I went.  Should I have some more protein?  Should I wait a bit before going? I am concerned, because I was going to start going 2 mornings per week when I get back (to work with my study schedule).

Still I according to my HRM: 566 calories, 70 minutes (I laid down and did gentle stretching for the last 15 minutes or so), 177 max HR, 138 avg HR (that was all of my breaks to stop feeling nauseous).

Afterwards, I came home and munched on PB spoon and chex mix while we played some cards.  Then it was lunch time, where I decided to start eating better.  I made a salad of spring mix greenery, carrots, and BBQ pork.  And, since today is M’s birthday (and his twin sister, D), we had COOKIE CAKE!

OH NO!  My secret code of using letters has been broken!  Oh well, Happy Birthday Matt and Diana!

Then it was onto the bookstores and dinner at a fancy restaurant, the Regas.  It’s a steak and seafood place, complete with cheese wagon!

I actually am not a big cheese fan, so I wasn’t too excited.  Anyway, I decided to order the scallops and potato.  The last time we were here, I had the scallops and I remember not liking them, but I couldn’t remember why.  Unfortunately, they only have seafood and steak on the menu (no chicken), and I am not a red meat person (seriously, I eat it about once/twice per year at Arbys).  So I again went with the scallops.  Okay, I live in Boston, I should know that it wouldn’t be THAT great in Tennessee, and yes, not so good.  Here are my slightly overdone and/or slightly cold scallops and baked potato (we started with a nice salad with honey vinegarette though)

We finished the meal with some red velvet cake for birthdays.  I had a small piece.  It was a bit dry, but had REAL BUTTERCREAM icing!  SO TASTY!

After dinner, we went to see “Sherlock Holmes”.  It was really good!  I would recommend it!

By the way, we also saw “Avatar” the other day . . . meh . . I don’t know if I liked it.  The first 45 minutes concentrated on the main character who was a marine who had lost his legs (hitting a bit close to home with my brother, so I was uncomfortable), and then they were being chased in the jungle (one of my big fears, why I didn’t like LOTR #1 that much).  Afterwards, it was okay.  The plot was rather obvious.  Someone told us that it is a bad rendition of “Dances with Wolves” (an AWESOME movie) and makes of for a mediocre screenplay with visual effects.  I concur.  It was cool looking, but that was all.

Okay, must scoot.  We have to wake up early to drive up to Cincinnati!

Joyeux Noel!

Did you know it’s Christmas (okay, the day after)?  Sorry to be MIA for a few days.  I guess it’s been busy, so let’s start with Wednesday, December 23rd.

We got to Logan Airport about 1.5 hours before our flight, and it was DEAD!  Seriously, there was no line at the airport.  The flight to Charlotte was uneventful aside from the two kids behind us.  The one year old screamed for about 15 minutes before the flight took off, then the three year old kept asking “Are we in the air?  How about now?  Now?  Now?”  Anyway, had two hours to kill in Charlotte.  We wanted to have a sit down dinner, so we went to the Fox Skybox in Terminal E.  I was very surprised at how tasty the food was (and how good our waitress was!)  M got tortellini and I got a Southwest Salad (chicken, beans, corn, avocado . . mmmmm).  We had no problems on our flight to Knoxville either.  That is until we got there!  I had to gate check one of my bags in Charlotte since it was such a little plane over to Knoxville.  And then they lost it!?!  How do you lose a gate checked bag?  My bag that I had ALL of my jewelry, M’s birthday present, our coats, Lost Season5, my Polar F6 . . . aww geez!  I was FREAKING OUT!  Luckily, they found it and it got to me about 4pm on Christmas Eve.  And all of its contents were in it.  I had a rather sleepless night on December 23rd, though.

Christmas Eve was a bit busy.   We wrapped presents, played games, had lunch at Ruby Tuesdays.  I still haven’t mastered taking pictures at restaurants (especially with guests), so there are no pictures from December 23rd.  Then went to the 6 o’clock candlelight service.  M’s mom and sister were playing bells at the service, and they ended up needing a sub . . ta da!  So I got to play bells at their church!  HA!  It was bass bells (C4 through G4) and pretty easy music, but difficult with so many bells and the way the music was set up.

Anyway, after that went to M’s dad’s parents for Christmas, then headed to Applebees with everyone else and their brother (it was the only food place open aside from Krystal AKA White Castle).  I had the Shrimp Diavolo, which was pretty tasty!


M woke me up at like 8:30, because he was excited (and hungry, typical!).   My mom was sad that I couldn’t be with her for Christmas, so she sent me a stocking and lots of presents that I could open up in Tennessee.  First my stocking . . . (we are always allowed to open it before breakfast):

Santa always brings lots of candy and an ornament.  Reese’s trees are my favorites.  I had one for breakfast on Christmas and one for breakfast today.

FINALLY PRESENT TIME!!  Here’s the spread:

Santa, my mom and stepdad, and m’s family were very good to me!

M’s sister knitted me a beautiful scarf.  Then we have “The Lovely Bones” YAY A NEW BOOK TO READ!  And “Deceptively Delicious”.  Everytime it says “to trick your kids”, I think it should say “to trick M”.  He doesn’t eat a lot of veggies, so I’m going to sneak them into some foods.  The concept is to put pureed veggies into classic dishes.  Most of the dishes aren’t THAT healthy, but not too bad.  Just making kids eat veggies.

YAY! NEW MOVIES!!  I haven’t seen “Night at the Museum 2″.

Of course, my mom sewed us some holiday/winter pillow cases.  Then a pretty sweater (that I helped to pick out over Thanksgiving).  And an ASCE calendar of BRIDGES!!  Something to replace my two year old Purdue calendar in my cube.

Wii Fit!  I’ve heard it’s not the BEST workout ever, but I figure it could be fun.  Especially the beginning part when it tells me that I’m overweight!

Here are a few of M’s presents:  giant red suitcase, clothes, books, pillow cases

More shirts, MarioKart (for Wii) and a foot!

Then we had to clean up for M’s mom’s family to come over.  We had a tasty meal of turkey, stuffing, rolls, sweet potato casserole, green beans, corn, fruit, and of course dessert.  I was sad that there were no mashed potatoes, but that’s okay.  I had some turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and fruit.  Then a few cookies for dessert.

Here’s a few of the family (and one of M) anxiously awaiting a Christmas Feast

Ha!  That’s not the best picture of M.  After dinner and a few more presents, and a board game, the family left.  Then we played two games of Rook.  M’s family is really into games.  M was exhausted after that (he did wake us up at 8:30!)  So he took a nap (I was unsuccessful at getting a good picture of him napping):

After naps and dinner had settled, it was (of course) time to eat again, so here’s my small dinner: leftover shrimp diavolo from Applebees, and some salad.

Then we watched “Drop Dead Gorgeous” (I love this movie!  It’s hysterical)

Now a pretty open day after Christmas.  Had the second Reese’s tree for breakfast, then went to IHOP, where I had the nutella crepes and some turkey sausage.  Probably not the most healthy thing ever . . . but eh!

Phew!  That took forever (the internet was super slow with the pics).  I hear them playing some games, so I must go investigate.

Enjoy the weekend!

Lost in Lost

Well the big snowstorm finally come up to Boston.  It was weird, because they didn’t make a big deal out of it at all.  We didn’t really know that it was coming until Saturday morning.  Then the snow started sometime after midnight and didn’t let up until after noon on Sunday.

I think we got about a foot.  Plus it was super light fluffy snow, and therefore super easy to shovel.  Here’s a few pictures of it.


That’s M helping our landlady out with her driveway.  Isn’t he so nice!  I think the Tennessee boy is learning how to deal with snow.  He was actually excited that it was snowing!  And when his family called last night he said “yeah, we only got a foot”  ONLY!  For them, they’d have school out for the week!  All of this considering, the first time he had ever shoveled snow (or is it snoveled show?) was when he visited me in February 2007!

Now you might ask, how productive were you on Sunday?  Well, we were productive in that we finished Lost Season 5!  So many questions, not many answers!  Now we have to wait for Season 6 to start.  We’ve never watched them on TV though.  Just through the DVD’s . . . it might be hard to wait each week for the next one. 

We did end up going to the gym for an hour.  When I informed M that we were going to the gym, he decided that it was my secret motivation for cleaning the driveway.  I did my training session from the other day.  It was a super hard one with lots of arms.  Hopefully I raised my metabolism enough to negate all of the cookies I’ve been eating . . . . nah, probably not.

Our landlady dropped by some tasty treats:

Baklava and some cookie with nuts . . . all delicious!  The plate might look a bit empty, since it has been ravished by M and me (well mostly me).  So I brought it into work today.  There’s this magical thing that happens at an office . . if you put food out, it just disappears!  Especially since I work in an office of mostly men.  SCORE!

Onto finishing the three days of work before VACATION!  Running tonight (must remember to review some interval plans), PT session tomorrow, running Wednesday morning then off to the south!

Christmas Time is Here

Since M and I will be in Tennessee for Christmas, we decided to have our own Christmas up here.  So after my Holiday Tea with the ladies (where I forgot to take pictures BAD BLOGGER and was freaking out that my car would be towed from the Whole Foods parking lot the whole time) I stopped by to pick up some Christmas dinner for M and me.

I love Papa Johns pizza.  In fact, a friend of mine from high school, who will remain nameless (you know who you are), and I used to order a large cheese pizza at midnight whenever I spent the night at her house.  Unfortunately, the closest PJ to us up here is like 15-20 minutes away and they won’t deliver to us.  So we have to go pick it up.  Luckily, it was right on the way home from the Tea, so I stopped.

One meats pizza with olives and one veggie pizza.  Guess which one is mine and which is M’s?  ;-)

After letting it settle, we decided to do Christmas.  M is so thoughtful. I swear he could read my mind.

We got tickets to see “The Lion King” when it comes to Boston in February.  I just saw the commercials the other day and thought about getting tickets!  I love musical theater, but don’t want to subject M to anything he wouldn’t like.  Two years ago I gave him Spamalot (since he loves Monty Python) tickets for his birthday.  Unfortunately we missed the show, because I thought we had evening tickets and they were for the matinee . . . I’m dumb!  We ended up seeing it in Vegas.  Anyway, I thought he’d also enjoy the Lion King.  He’s seen the movie (obviously) and the costumes and set are supposed to be amazing.  See, he read my mind!

He also got me “Lost, Season 5″.  Now I understand why he wasn’t so concerned that it kept being out at Blockbuster!  We ended up watching 4 episodes last night.

Finally, I got him a great toy . .  Wii!

I am semi-morally opposed to video games.  But a lot of the Wii stuff you do have to at least be standing up.  So we went through all of the Wii sports games.  I am VERY bad at them.  Oh, until I got to boxing.  I killed the guy I was fighting!  M really liked the golf.


Cookie Swap!

For those who don’t know me, I’m the baker of the family.  My favorite item to bake is chocolate chip cookies.  I have two books dedicated solely to chocolate chip cookies.

When we decided to do a cookie swap, I went to my books.  I decided to make chocolate chip cookies with Rice Krispies (since we have a full box of them).


1 c. butter (as I always say, I use 1/2 c. butter, 1/2 c. crisco for fluffy cookies)

3/4 c. each granulated sugar and brown sugar.

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp each soda and salt

1 3/4 c. flour

2 c. Rice Krispies

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 2 cups, because WHY NOT!)

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

Here’s a picture of the my cookies all wrapped up for the swap!

There were 9 total people, and I ended up with a pretty nice haul

Gingerbread cookies, sugar, meringue cookies with chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip, peanut butter, graham cracker/butterscotch/chocolate/peanut butter chip deliciousness, peanut butter brookies (brownie cookies), chocolate chocolate cookies

This was my afternoon snack:

I decided to do a pictorial story of my food for the day:

Breakfast (well pictures except for breakfast) was banana and pb spoon

Lunch:  West African Vegetable Soup and BBQ Pork Roast (FYI: don’t put BBQ sauce in Rubbermaid dish in the microwave for 2 minutes on high, it melts the plastic and burns a  hole in your container!  Luckily the food still tasted okay)

Since I’d had a few cookies today (maybe a few more than pictured), I went with a light supper of tuna+capers and broccoli+oil+parmesan+redpepper

Went for a nice workout of one of my PT routines (511 calories, 167 max, 140 avg, 55 minutes)  Then had FESTIVE vanilla pudding

Pretty healthy day (okay probably a few extra cookies) and do you like my new header?  I played with paint today!  =)

Staying on Track During the Holidays

As promised, I have come up with a plan for the holidays.

This year is going to be very odd.  For the first time EVER I am not spending Christmas with my family.

We are flying to Knoxville to be with M’s family (I got Thanksgiving, he gets Christmas). (And traveling to Cincinnati to see my dad and brothers then going to Atlanta for the Chick-Fil-A bowl)

So here’s my plan for the week and a half of traveling:

I will workout at home right until we leave.  Then take off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  This is a brief outline, so I’m not sure if days will get changed around.  And I might not even get to workout all of those days, but at least I have my thoughts of when it would be feasible.

As far as what these workouts will consist of, well, I figured I could go running once or twice down in Knoxville (it’s not as cold or snowy as Boston).  Then I combined all of my 15 personal training sessions and picked out various exercises that are cardio, strength training, different portions of the body, etc.  Yes I made an excel sheet, because I’m a big dork, in order to organize the different moves.  Here are my three workouts that I developed:

Workout #1

  1. Warm Up: Buttkicks, High Knees, Jumping Jacks
  2. Burpees: 12x
  3. 1 Legged Squats: 12x each leg
  4. Push-ups: 12x
  5. Hollow Rock: 15x
  6. Clock Lunges: 12x each leg
  7. Tricep Dips: 12x
  8. Back Extensions:12x
  9. Planks Front & Side: 60 seconds each
  10. Leg Lift: 60 seconds
  11. Repeat 2-10 another 2x

Workout #2

  1. Warm Up: Buttkicks, High Knees, Jumping Jacks
  2. Axe Chop: 12x each side
  3. Squat Jumps: 12x
  4. Push-up Hops: 12x
  5. Leg Swing: 12x each side
  6. Foot Taps: 12x each side
  7. Plyometric Lunges: 12x each side
  8. Mountain Climbers: 12x each side
  9. Leg Lifts: 12x
  10. Ab Lengthen & Crunch:12x
  11. Repeat 2-10 another 2x

Workout #3

  1. Warm Up: Buttkicks, High Knees, Jumping Jacks
  2. Elbows to Knees: 12x
  3. 1 Legged Pistol Squats: 12x
  4. Front & Side Raises: 12x
  5. Crunch & Punch: 12x
  6. Scissor Runs: 12x
  7. Fast Side Lunges: 1 minute
  8. Elbows to Knees: 12x
  9. Side Plank Crunch:12x each side
  10. Flutter Kicks, Scissor Kicks, Leg Lifts: 12x each side
  11. Repeat 2-10 another 2x

And of course “Whittle My Middle Exercises” could be performed.  All of these exercises assume that the only space I have is in the guest room and that I have ZERO exercise equipment.  I should try to bring a yoga mat, but with the whole flying thing, it probably won’t work.

I am nervous about “weirding” out M’s family.  I mean it’s one thing for me to say “Hey Dad, I’m going for a run”, when I’m up in the ‘Nati, but what about M’s family.  If I get M to commit to some of it with me, then it wouldn’t be so bad.

I also have no idea what the plans are for most days in Knoxville, so we’ll have to play it all by ear.  I just can’t be afraid of missing workouts.  Our bodies do need a rest.  And concentrate on eating well.  His mom has been doing Weight Watchers for a few months (I can’t wait to see her!), so she’ll be supportive of healthy eating, I hope!

What are your holiday plans to stay on track?  Are you going to be “out of your comfort zone”?  Any advice from those who have been there before?


Yes, I am a bookworm today.  I went to the Waltham library to pick up some books:

I’ve heard great things about “The New Rules of Lifting for Women”.  And after some discussion with my friend Katie in my comments section from earlier today I decided to do some research myself.  I’ll let you all know if I learn anything new.  I also got some slow cooker recipes!  Hopefully I’ll find some tasty food for M and me.

Earlier in the day I decided to have a Luna bar for a snack.

It was okay.  I might try some other bars for snacks (and make sure that I’m hungry when I eat so I can fully gauge it’s ability to satisfy me.)

M and I decided to begin studying for the PE tonight.  So after dinner (in lieu of running), we made our way to the wonderful Watertown library (a brief 10 minute walk from our house).  I started with this giant book:

I reviewed determinate structures!  YAY!! I love analysis.

I received several Christmas cards in the mail today and have put them in “card area” of our built-in dining hutch.

I was inspired to finally begin my own Christmas cards.  So we walked over to CVS, and I finally found some funny ones!

Productive evening!  Went to the library for some nutritional/exercise books, studied for 1.5 hours (only 298.5 hours to go!), and begin the writing of Christmas cards.

Now onto beginning that reading . . .

Hark How the Bells

Another busy weekend, but bells is over!  We played at two gorgeous venues this weekend.  Here are a few pictures:

M decided to try out the crockpot first, so I came home to a cuban pork roast.

It was okay.  Very moist, but not very flavorful, considering it had been marinating overnight.  I ended up having a bit with some Montgomery Inn BBQ sauce.

My mom and stepdad came to the concert on Sunday, and my mom gave me a tree skirt that she had finally finished making for me.  TA DA!

So plan for the week:  first of all, stop with the snacking!  All weekend I was very into eating cookies at our concert receptions.  Luckily, they are finished, so no more temptation (until our cookie swap on Thursday).

Monday: running (since tap is canceled)

Tuesday: personal training

Wednesday: ballet

Thursday: lifting

Friday: running

Saturday: rest?

Sunday: lifting


Productive Day Off

But no studying was accomplished . . .  shhh!!!

So I began my first Friday off by trying another version of oatmeal:

This version included Strawberry preserves and some cashew butter.  The strawberry preserves were DELICIOUS (of course).  I enjoyed every bite that contained a chunk of strawberry.  I also think that I don’t like HOT oatmeal.  Somehow it tastes different when it’s so hot.  I enjoy it just warm.  So it took me about 10-15 minutes (maybe more?) to finish the bowl just nibbling away.

Then I went shopping for some stuff, like M’s Christmas present.  I knew that I had to do it and get it home to wrap it while he wasn’t around.  Came home after 2 hours of shopping and had some leftovers from last night!  The chicken definitely needs some more flavor.  But still love me some guacamole!

After fueling up, I moved onto WRAPPING CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!!  Here’s the finished product so far:

This includes three presents for M, one for my mom, one for my stepdad, and M’s birthday present (his birthday is three days after Christmas).

On of my other purchases of the day was a fancy-schmancy crock pot!

So Lee (and anyone else) bring on the recipes!  I’ll take anything that you like.  Also, M doesn’t like onions or peppers (many veggies in general), so if you have any that don’t include those, share them as well!  Hopefully I’ll be updating soon with tasty uses for the crockpot myself!

Finally, the remainder of the day was spent running and a bit of whittle my middle at the gym (one minute each of plank, side planks, plank on stability ball, and jack-knifes).   Then onto date night with M!  A Friday Tradition!


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