Posts Tagged ‘family


Wins, Wishes and Wellbeing

I’m winning more than Charlie Sheen at this point, even with some minor losses along the way.

Win = Hello, sunny Florida!

Loss = Not knowing who to root for at a baseball game


Win = Seeing your all-time favorite player from a few yards away 

Loss = Said player hits a double-play ball on his first at-bat, but that’s ok.. he’s still healing!

Ultimate win = Winning the game, no matter who lost.  I’ve got to have a team in both leagues, after all (thanks to my family and their fan stances).

Loss = Thinking I’ve spotted Johnny Depp and being disappointed by a strikingly similar wax figure.

Win = Finding fun new treasures that lessen my disappointment.

Loss = Not being Cinderella.  Hence, not being able to live in her digs.

Win = Cinderella still came down to say hi during a magical parade


Loss = Long walks on bum legs (thanks to over-exercising while on vacation)

Win = Having family around to make the walks feel (almost) painless

Ultimate win = Sharing an amazing experience with this gang – and a more furry gang..

and a leathery gang…

and a feathery gang…

The gang’s all here.. well there.  We had such a wonderful time – between seeing the Braves & Yankees, visiting parks and relaxing by the pool, it’s always sad when good things come to an end.  Fortunately, we will all be together again soon and we did make some great memories last week!

I am one incredibly blessed girl!

PS – If you LOVE Trader Joe’s like I do, go over to Friends for Weight Loss and enter their giveaway!


The dark side of snow

Snow is beautiful, peaceful, calming.. right?  Wrong!  Snow is evil, inconvenient and annoying!

Let me just emphasize how such a thing could be possible.  Every Christmas, my aunt and uncle travel here from Georgia.  Most years, I am lucky to see these dearly loved family members twice a year.  I have not yet seen my aunt thanks to flight issues last June and so this holiday, I was even more excited to spend time with them.  We cooked together Christmas eve, enjoyed breakfast and gifts together Christmas morning and had planned to enjoy the Lion King live show and dinner on Sunday.

The snow had other plans.  Thanks to a foot of snow – something our area does not deal with often or has any idea how to deal with – our show was cancelled and I was stuck inside, 20 miles away from my family.

Yes, it’s clean and white, but that car is going nowhere.  I could will it to move with every fiber of my being and it couldn’t get over even a small hill of snow.  I have lost my love for the fluffy white stuff.  I truly have.  I have not, however, lost my love for this new camera with which to photograph all of that white.


Huge difference in detail, right?  We upgraded from a Canon 5 megapixel to a Canon 12.1 megapixel.  Our new toy:


In any case, I suppose I am still a bit lucky that I did get to spend 2 wonderful days with my family.  Preparations began early Thursday morning for our big Christmas Eve dinner. Mom & I spent the entire day prepping casseroles, simmering berries, proofing bread dough and roasting vegetables – all for a delicious spread.

 I absolutely love our Christmas Eve dinner.  It’s a relaxing time with my family and such a memorable tradition for our family.  It really doesn’t feel like the holidays until we sit down around the table.  I had to change-up the tradition just a smidge this year, but the family didn’t seem to mind since it involved the baking of delicious mounds of carbohydrate goodness.  Warm, soft, buttery goodness!  Thank you, thank you, audreystyle, who happens to be a member of my new favorite cooking site, Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen.  I followed her recipe to a tee and it was amazing.  For our dinner, I figured these monsters would be a bit too big, so I created 30 rolls instead of 15.  Still worked out lovely!

They were loved by all! I think just the sight of them (and all of our other tasty treats) put even Jack & Norris into food comas.

They have such a hard time finding a comfortable spot..

I suppose I can’t complain as I was able to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my family.  I am just not the kind of person that enjoys being home-bound.  The snow finally melted enough that I felt (semi) safe driving the 20 miles to see my family yesterday before they left.  I just love these guys –

and this girl too, who has made a brief return from Miami!

We go way back.  Back to layered socks and side ponytails.  No, that wasn’t a normal outfit for me.  I was heading to my dance recital.

But I’m getting side-tracked.  I had started writing this post 2 days ago in frustration.  I sat here, crying about being stuck inside, away from my family, friends and the gym (it’s important too!) without realizing that the snow would eventually melt.  My family and friends weren’t going to disappear and 2 days indoors wasn’t all that bad.  I just needed the reminder of how important those people are to me and how much I need their presence in my life… and a bit of snow won’t change that.

I guess I need a little white fluffy stuff now and again.


I am thankful..

1. That the gym is open on Thanksgiving Day so that I can burn the calories before gorging on them.

2. That I can eat said calories with my husband, parents and grandmother by my side.

3. For delicious food to share with my family

Cran-Apple Sauce

12 oz. fresh cranberries

2/3 C splenda, granulated

1 tsp cinnamon

1 package of unflavored gelatin

1 C peeled, chopped apples (crisp, tart apples work best – I used Fuji)

1/2 C pineapple chunks, drained

Add cranberries, splenda and cinnamon to a medium saucepan.  Add 1 3/4 C water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minuts, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, mix 1/4 C cold water and gelatin in small bowl.  Stir until dissolved.

Once berries have popped, remove saucepan from heat, add gelatin mixture, apples and cinnamon and mix well.  Chill in fridge for several hours (or overnight).  Stir in pineapple just before serving.

This got rave reviews from Dad and requests to make it for his holiday luncheon at work.  We have a winner, folks!

4. That I can allow all of these delicious calories to put me into a coma-like state and enjoy every second of it – kinda like Maggie

5. That I was given the opportunity to pet-sit this cutie for my in-laws so that they could celebrate the wedding of my sister-in-law yesterday.

6. For my new brother-in-law.

7. For December’s arrival and 1 more month to achieve the goals that I set out to accomplish in January.  Not just that, but I love everything about the holidays.  Family, festitivities, food and fun.  It usually translates to a month of excitement.

Here’s to you, December.  Try not to speed by like the rest of the year!


sweet, brave success

It’s no big secret – I’m an Atlanta Braves fan through and through.

I’ve sat through rain at Turner Field for hours, only for the game to be called.  We “Brave”d Atlanta traffic 24 hours later to watch them the following night.

I’ve forced (okay.. maybe he looks like he’s having fun) Steve to sit through games with me.

In fact, I’ve made him sit through several!

I’ve accumulated many, many pictures of this gentleman (and his behind).  Yes, that’s Chipper Jones and next to Tom Glavine, he is my favorite Brave of all time.

I can’t help it.. I’m maybe slightly obsessed.  So, of course, it was a sad day when he was injured early this season and had to sit on the sidelines for the remainder of it.  Last weekend, we ventured up to D.C. to see my beloved Braves play the Nationals.  While I was impressed with the stadium,

their awesome food offerings,

and the fact that they honored an awesome Braves manager,

I couldn’t hide my disappointment that the Braves lost another game so close to the postseason!  Luckily, they pushed through and clinched the Wild Card spot for the National League.  Thank goodness!

I can now enjoy my breakfast.  It’s also no secret, if you’ve paid attention, that I love my sweet breakfasts.  Berry-topped oats, berry-topped pancakes, yogurt sweetened with Stevia and topped with cereal.  It’s almost too sweet to handle!  I need a break from the sweet and a return to the savory.  But, I can’t just turn my back on the end to my sugar cravings.  So what’s a girl to do?  Compromise!

Half sweet and half savory!

An egg puff with broccoli (and a hidden wedge of Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb) + Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats with peaches and strawberry syrup

I thoroughly missed my egg puffs.  Not to mention how much I missed my Laughing Cow!  If you didn’t get your fill of seeing these last Fall, be prepared to see more.  I actually found this to fill me up as much as custard oats and yogurt for about 100 fewer calories.  It’s a win-win situation.

But.. I still craved some more sweet later in the day.  Trust me, the news about the Braves making the post-season was not enough.  Enter Starbucks Vanilla Rooibos hot tea. 

 I need NO stevia with this drink.  It’s slightly sweet and perfectly spicy.  I successfully satisfied my sweet tooth today.

What is the best thing to satisfy your sweet tooth?


the feel-good formula

The good thing about  my job (despite the long shifts) is that I have a lot of time to read.  Whats even better is that, working at a gym, I dont feel guilty about reading Oxygen magazine, AKA my fitness Bible. I like to hang on to my back issues and reread them.  We forget the article information so quickly, don’t we?

During my last shift, I pulled out my October 09 issue and came across a Letter from the Editor about a “Feel-Good Formula” or what makes her feel her best.  I got to thinking about what makes me feel my best.  More importantly, am I incorporating these things into my routine?  What’s makes up my feel-good formula?

1. Time with my Husband – I am a newlywed, of course!  Unfortunately, I don’t get this as much as I want (and I’ve said it so many times…) due to my working hours.  We spend 1 night together during the week and most of the weekends together.  I suppose I can’t complain too much, since many of my friends have hubby’s who are on deployment.  When it’s an aspect of my life that I can change, however, I start to seek ways to do so.  New job hunt much?

2. Time with my family –  I am super lucky!  My parents and my in-laws live 20 minutes away.  My mom & I are adamant about having 1 afternoon together for lunch or shopping each week and I couldn’t be happier about that.  As an only child, I am extremely close to my parents.  I am also lucky to work (at my other part-time gig) with my Dad.

3. Time for me – This is an encompassing theme that would include my dedication to my health (workouts, healthy eating) and completing some of my favorite activities (dancing, scrapbooking, shopping, crafts).  I gave up dancing about a year ago (and that’s a whole other story), but still having my giant scrapbook center at home, though it hasn’t been used as much as I’d like to –

I still get to shop with my mom on occasion and I get crafty when I can.

Still after reading this article, I began to feel imbalanced, as if my formula wasn’t being properly applied.  Between work, financial stress and medical issues, I haven’t been able to keep things in order.  I get my workouts in, I eat right and I take advantage of what time I do have with my husband and family.  Physically, I feel amazing.  Mentally?  Not as much.  I feel as if I am lacking the opportunities to really integrate my formula.  So what’s a girl to do?

Other than finding a new job with regular hours, I have no answers.  I suppose it’s just a wait and see..

(On a side note, upon previewing this entry, I noticed that the program removes all apostrophes from my typing.  Odd.)

In any case, the job hunt continues, as do my workouts and healthy cooking!  Check out this weeks gangbusters workouts:

Tuesday – Chest & Tris with 30 minutes of elliptical intervals and a 15-minute bike cooldown.

  1. Cable Crossover superset with Cable Tricep Pressdown
  2. Jog for 5 minutes
  3. DB Chest Press superset with Bench Dips
  4. Jog for 5 minutes
  5. Incline Chest Press superset with Tricep Kickback

Wednesday – Back and Legs with 37 minutes of elliptical intervals and 15 minutes of biking

  1. Bentover DB Row superset with Ballerina Plie Squats
  2. Jog 5 minutes
  3. Lat Pulldown superset with Reverse Lunges
  4. Jog 5 minutes
  5. Incline Prone Row superset with Calf Raises
  6. Jog 5 minutes

Thursday – Whole body circuit with 15 minutes of elliptical intervals, 10 minutes of hills and 20 minutes of biking

  1. Circuit 1  – Squat with Bicep Curl, Chest Press with Skull Crushers & Bench Hopovers (3 sets of each in sequence with no rest)
  2. Circuit 2 – Step-ups with Glute Squeeze, Bench Dips & High Knees (3 sets of each in sequence with no rest)
  3. Circuit 3 – Ballerina Plie Squat, Deadlift with Row and Jumping Jacks (3 sets of each in sequence with no rest)

Friday – Happy rest day for me!!

Saturday – Shoulders with 10 minutes of elliptical intervals, 25 minutes of elliptical hills and 15 minutes of biking

  1. Lateral DB raise
  2. Upright Row
  3. Arnold Press
  4. Front Raise
  5. Jog for 5 minutes
  6. Bent-over Lateral Raise
  7. High Knees for 30 secs

(Each exercise done for 3 sets)

Holy moly.. my calorie count for this week is over 4,900!  This was a week of phenomenal workouts!  I love incorporating short bursts of cardio into my weight training to keep my heart rate elevated.

The food this week was also phenomenal!  I failed at capturing some meals (after all, I have a lot of repeats!), but did manage to make my hubby a new dinner and use a fun gadget that’s been sitting in the cabinet since moving day!

Oats with Frozen Blueberries + Plain 0% Fage with my own MixMyGranola creation (muesli, dried blueberries, dried strawberries & pomegranate powder)

I can’t believe I have ignored this thing for so long.  This sucker makes amazing popcorn with NO oil or butter necessary! 


I used mine to make some amazing cinnamon sugar popcorn.  My popcorn obsession has a new form of satisfaction!

I also made Steve some yummy, healthified Chili Mac this week and it couldn’t have been easier to make!

Heidi’s Healthy Chili Mac

1 lb. ground turkey

1 box elbow macaroni (I LOVE Barilla Plus!)

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can corn

1 can diced tomatoes

1 C chicken stock

3 Tbsp. Chili Powder

1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper

1 Tbsp. Cumin

  1. Cook turkey onion and garlic until no longer pink.  Drain.  Meanwhile, boil water for macaroni.
  2. Add corn, tomatoes, stock and spices plus salt to taste. 
  3. Cook macaroni until al dente. Drain well.
  4. Stir cooked macaroni into turkey mixture and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Serve with shredded cheese (optional)


Steve had his with cheese.  I had mine without macaroni over some steamed spaghetti squash.  Oh my…

The week that I face promises to be insane levels of busy!  I am watching 2 dogs that I have watched many times before, but I have to shuttle them back and forth to daycare/training.  On top of my odd work schedule, it should be fun to fit my workouts in!  At least these pups are a small part of my feel-good formula 🙂

What’s your feel-good formula?


Heat returns!

Just as I was starting to become accustomed to temperatures of 30 degrees (not..), the weather has the nerve to warm up!  Squee!!

It’s been a GREAT Saturday.  I’ve spent nearly every moment of it with my hubby, minus the 1 1/2 hours in the gym this morning.  But I must rewind to Friday, so that I can insert this fabulous flashback:

Yep, that’s me in 2002 with my beautiful cousin, Madison.  Look at those tiny hands!  We ran into her with her mom (my cousin, Jen), Jen’s boyfriend, Ray, and their new son, Conner at breakfast last weekend.  I can’t believe how much she has grown up. 

Here she is as “Cake Face Maddy” in 2004 at my college graduation party:

I need to find some updated pictures, but when I saw her last weekend, I was just astonished at how quickly time has gone by!

In any case, the events of yesterday were pretty routine.  I didn’t have any desire to drive to the gym in the morning, so I did a Jillian Michaels Cardio workout on On Demand.  It was a kick-booty circuit routine with resistance training and quite a bit of plyometrics mixed in.  I admit, I thought it would be terrible, but it was not that bad. Despite her inability to work out to the tempo of the background music (something I didn’t realize was important until yesterday), it was a good burn.

I gobbled up a familiar breakfast after:

I “root for the cute”:

These breakfasts seem to hold me for a while, but I always scarf it down after my workout.  I am trying to work a bit harder on slowing down my eating and enjoying meals. 

Lunch was later and, again, another familiar sight before I went to work.

Herb-roasted turkey, spinach and Garlic Herb LC on a Sun-dried Tomato Flat Out with some clemmys and apple that wouldn’t fit in my work to-go bag.  Yum!

I also attempted my first batch of kale chips before work.  While they tasted good, some of the smaller pieces were a bit overdone while the larger pieces stayed a bit chewy.  Next time = even pieces!

Even the overdone pieces were pretty tasty.  I sprinkled it with salt and a little garlic powder (cuz that’s how I roll) before baking.

Today was much more relaxing and I was fully motivated to hit the gym!  Pre-workout snack was just the right size!

I repeated Janetha’s circuit workout from Wednesday and added a new circuit courtesy of Jillian Michaels.  Each circuit was repeated 3 times.

  1. Hill climbers for 30 seconds
  2. 180-degree jumps for 30 seconds
  3. Jumping jacks for 30 seconds
  4. Jump squats for 30 seconds
  5. Scissor jumps for 30 seconds
  6. Burpees for 30 seconds

The last circuit did it.  Stick a fork in me!  Time to head home for crepes with hubby (well, protein pancakes with blueberries for me!).  I was on a roll today!  I had so much energy after breakfast that I cleaned our condo from top to bottom.  I can’t even explain how happy it  makes me to be in a home that’s as clean as mine is!

Dinner came with a little help from TJ’s!  I used their marsala wine simmer sauce:

I used turkey cutlets instead of chicken, added another package of fresh, sliced baby bellas and about 3 Tbsp of chives.  This will be repeated post haste!  Steve & I both loved it!

I’m sitting here sipping a cup of excellent green tea that my lovely friend, Pam, gave me from India.  I had to purchase a tea diffuser to enjoy it (since I never have loose-leaf tea), but I’m so glad that I can now.  It’s easily one of the best cups of green tea I’ve had:

In fact, I think it’s time for 1 more cup..


It’s like being a kid!

No, it’s not really like that at all.  You know how, when you’re younger, Christmas takes FOREVER to arrive.  Then, it’s gone in the blink of an eye.  Nowadays, Christmas comes and goes before you can take a breath. 

Despite the haste, it was such an enjoyable weekend spent with family.  We had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner at my parents house with my aunt (mom’s sis) and uncle, Omah and Steve’s parents.  We had a smorgasbord to enjoy! 

Veggies, red pepper dip with crackers, pineapple and traditional stuffings, my own sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, collard greens, HG’s Kickin Cranberry Sauce and a huge Dad-carved turkey.  For dessert – cheesecake galore, triple layer pumpkin mousse pie, and fudgy brownies!  I was good, but I still felt like I needed to be rolled out of the house!  I think I ate my weight in collards! 

I’ve been doggy watching and had to hit the road soon after dinner.  We headed back to mom’s house for breakfast.  I attempted Overnight Steel Cut Oats (courtesy of my fave Food Network star, Alton Brown) to take and I must say I have not had a better bowl of oatmeal to date.  My mom usually makes scrambled eggs, fried bread, grits and a variety of cooked meats, so I made an egg white puff.  A few family members questioned my oatmeal and egg whites, which made me increasingly uncomfortable.  I love my family dearly, but I honestly want to scream when they question my eating habits.  I would LOVE to tell them that it’s the only way I can keep off the 30 lbs. that I worked so hard to lose, but hubby encourages me to simply ignore it – so I do.

After breakfast, it was gift time!  We always seem to create a mound of gifts, and we always agree to cut back the following year.  Sadly, we never do.  It was a big year for technology in our house – Uncle Ken became a “Mac Man:”

Omah got a new TV:

Dad got a new Blu-Ray and Norris helped us to open it all:

Steve & I were celebrating our first Christmas and we enjoyed every second of it!

We all went to dinner tonight (courtesy of Omah) at Aldo’s Ristorante.  Steve & I will be going back.  It was delicious!  We had to say our farewells to my aunt and uncle (another reason Christmas comes and goes to soon) since they will head back to GA tomorrow morning. 

On the brighter side, my Christmas continues tomorrow when Steve & I meet with Dana and Henry for lunch!  I haven’t seen her since the wedding and am so excited! 

Until tomorrow..

Hi Ya’ll!

Hiya! I'm Heidi, a 28-year-old "retired" student living in Virginia. I am a newlywed and currently on the hunt for a full-time job that will use either my Biology or Secondary Education degree. In the meantime, I work in retail and at an event venue part-time. When I'm not working, I love to kill hours at the gym, scrapbook, and act as a domesticated diva to keep my hubby happy!