Helpful Hint for Holiday Food Prep

blogpic.JPGHey there.  As you know from my earlier post, I am changing my eating habits in an effort to get healthy and hot.  🙂  But it is hard, right?  Especially during these upcoming holidays.

We have tomorrow- Thanksgiving- which is the day where it is socially acceptable to gorge ourselves with any and all food products (and even some questionable “food” products) and it is totally cool.

I know we personally have a huge Christmas party the following weekend and then of course, Christmas day.  I am nervous thinking about it.

Tomorrow we are lucky enough to go to family’s for dinner.  I volunteered to bring an appetizer, a dessert, sweet potatoes and rolls.  To help myself with one little thing, I decided that I was going to add Pecans to the sweet potatoes.  I realize to many of you, this is normal.  I, however, do not like pecans and would typically not make the casserole with them so I could gorge on them (see above).  However, by making the small decision to add something I don’t particularly like, I have taken sweet potatoes off the menu for myself- no cheating happening there.  Its a small victory, but I will take it where I can get it.

Now to be clear, I am not telling you to ‘jack with the food’ so that it doesn’t taste delicious to family and guests.  I am merely saying- perhaps bring popular items that you aren’t a fan of and serve them.

For example this weekend we are having a small Christmas Tree decorating party day- I bought 2 flavor pies that I don’t care for.  They will still be decadent to my guests, but it takes the temptation away from me.

It helps me and if it helps you, well than, that’s awesome!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

One Word- the book

So for the last two years, I have taken notes from a book written by a local man in town called One Word.  The idea and concept of this book is SO easy.  You guys, we can all participate.

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This book asks us to shed the idea of overbearing New Year’s Eve Resolutions.  How many of us create these super-versions of ourselves for the New Year?  We set off our year burdening ourselves with these huge hardships which lead to sometimes even more huge disappointments/ failures and self-hatred.

Not me. Not once I read One Word written by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton and  Jimmy Paige (I will post a link at the bottom of this post).  One Word asks the reader to pray to find the One Word we should focus on and embrace for the first year.  Everyone’s word is different and unique to them.  Even people who chose the same word, chose it for different reasons and with different meanings.

For example.  I know two people who chose the word Forgiveness last year.  The first person chose that word because they were a recovering alcoholic and they were trying desperately to learn the art of self-forgiveness.  Forgiveness for the things she remembered and the things she did not but knew hurt others.  The second person chose forgiveness because they had a rocky upbringing and they were struggling to move passed the hurt, the shame and the disfunction experienced in their early years.  Two different journeys all stemming from One Word.

Once you choose your annual word, you create (my fave part) a piece of art to display in your home or office as a reminder of that One Word you are striving to work on all year long.  A lot of people paint canvases.  My art for the passed two years has been ceramic that I paint and then the pottery place puts in the Kiln for me.  It is a decoration and a reminder to me.  It has been so very helpful and much less intimidating than a gigantic resolution that has a high fail rate percentage.

So, seeing as this has been such an incredible experience for me, I wanted to share it with my readers/followers.  AKA My Blog Buddies.  I highly recommend you check out One Word and see for yourself the power it can hold.  The power YOU actually hold when you give attention and dedication to one focal point.  Its a small concept with massive results.

Time for more personal sharing.  I will tell you my words from the past and my reasons.  Hey, we are all friends here, right?

In 2013, my word was Extraordinary.  I chose this word because I wanted to make sure I tried my best to be extraordinary at everything I tried and I wanted to make sure that when I walked away from someone, that I had left them feeling extraordinary themselves.  In choosing this word, relationships in my life seemed better, I was more willing to try and learn new things, I was kinder to myself and to others.  It really was an Extraordinary experience.

2014 brought a new word (you must choose a new one each year.  The word I chose was LIVE.  I wanted to be sure that I was living to my fullest potential.  I wanted to do the things I wanted and LIVE!  This has been an awesome ride this year as I believe my attention and devotion to the One Word, Live, helped me to focus on myself. The word Live kept me driven with my writing and thrust me to pursuing my passions.

I hope you all will consider choosing One Word for 2016.  Feel free to share it or NOT.  Telling others your word is fine but it isn’t what this is about.  This is a personal journey.  I am happy to share with you.

My word for 2016 is Immerse.  I feel so complelled that this is my word, I honestly feel that it chose me.  Aside from being a writer, I also LOVE TO SWIM.  I have gotten away from it and I have decided that my One Word will have Two Meanings.  🙂

The first and most obvious is that I want to get back to swimming.  Back to the water and back to an early passion I had.  I loved swimming even before I loved reading and writing (if you can believe THAT).

The second reason I chose Immerse is that I want to Immerse myself completely in my life.  In my passions, in my family, in my joys.  I simply want to be immersed in this glorious life and I am choosing this word as a daily reminder of that fact.

So take the plunge with me.  Choose a word and watch the miracles take place!

You can find out more at http://getoneword.com/about-the-book/

 

XOXO

 

Enter Stage Left…Marlin!!! Our Elf on The Shelf!

Holiday greetings, blog world!  For you early holiday decoration haters, I am sorry!  I had to do it this year!  Christmas celebrations are in full swing over here and we are having a lot of stress and fun all mixed together!

Every year we have a Christmas party at the BEGINNING of December.  So, this means we have to have all our decorations, both inside and out, completed.  Talk about motivation!  We have really gotten in gear with the help of good family bonding with friends that may as well be blood relation!  We are slowly but surely getting everything ready.  Deep breaths….

Now, back to important discussions and the reason for my posting today (when I should be working on decorating).  Marlin has officially returned!!!  Whoop Whoop!  I will tell you how this came about because as you know, Marlin typically arrives Thanksgiving Day.  This year, he came over a week early!

While unpacking some Christmas boxes, Clever, Dapper, Spicy and I came upon their ELF ON THE SHELF pajamas that Marlin left for them last year.  I  was telling the kiddos how I had to wash the pj’s before they could be worn when Clever asked, “Do you think if we wore them tonight, Marlin would come early? Do you think Santa would let him?”  Well, Gosh!  I thought we better give it a shot and LOW AND BEHOLD- Bam!  It happened!

marlin10He came with the sign up above saying, “I’m back!  Go to bed!” love, Marlin.  They weren’t thrilled about being told to go to bed but…they went to their rooms to find

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CHRISTMAS Bedding!  I don’t know how Marlin did it!  I guess traditional Christmas Magic!

Thursday night, Marlin left the children a special treat for breakfast!

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Special Christmas cereal is always a fabulous way to begin a day!

Friday night Marlin remembered the “Reason for the Season”, Jesus.  Which I thought was nice because we all can certainly get wrapped up in the commercialization of Christmas.  Don’t get me wrong, I think Jesus would have no issue with Santa and his elves on shelves.  A special spirit that brings joy and generosity to the hearts of children?  I think Jesus would say that is right up his alley!

marlin8And last night, Marlin replaced a photo frame with a selfie he had taken a while back.  I think it was a shout out to our Glenn and Marlin’s way of letting us know he thinks Glenn really special, too!

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I will keep you all apprised of Marlin’s adventures and shenanigans for 2015.  I have to admit that I am hoping he will not find our home too boring this year!  Last year, we were traveling and Marlin got to go on some pretty amazing adventures (which I will be showing here as well).

THROW BACK HOLLY STYLE: 2014

marlin11Marlin playing a guitar in a shop in Jamaica!  Ho! Ho! Ho, Mon!

ps- Just a suggestion to all my friends out there who also have an elf visit you:  we have been photographing Marlin every morning that he arrives.  Then I put together a coffee table book that helps us remember all the fun times we had that year.  The kiddos LOVE looking back through it and I bet it probably helps keep Marlin on track and original so he doesn’t do the same things year after year!   🙂

Let us know what you all have planned for your elf!  Who knows, maybe we can feature some of your photography here!

XOXO

 

He is almost here……

Hey guys!  Hope you are having a great week so far!  Thank you for all the messages and comments.  Talking with you has been great!

I wanted to real quickly come on here tonight (this am if we want to be technical) and ask you how many of you do THE ELF ON THE SHELF?  We started it back in 2012 with our little ones and let me just tell you, it has been a ball.

Our guy, Marlin…

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I will just tell you tonight that we named our Elf Marlin because that is the name my husband wanted for our children.  He is an avid fisherman and our children’s names fall in line with that theme but I just couldn’t name one of our children, Marlin.  Nothing against it, truly.  It just wasn’t for me.  SO, I thought, I would name something Marlin- and that special someone was our ELF ON THE SHELF and he has turned out to be a pretty amazing and fun guy!  Our Christmas would not be the same without him, that’s for sure!

We are super excited for his return this month and I just bet he has so much fun stuff in store for our family!

I did, however, kind of wanted to take you all on a journey of where Marlin has been, what he does during his “down time” and ways I have come up with to keep his memories intact for the little ones for their whole lives.  I hope you all will stay tuned!

Here is a photo of Marlin in Haiti last December.  He was in Labadee just soaking up some sun!  That is the cruise ship he was on.

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XOXO

Not my best day…

Good Morning!  Hope you are all having a spectacular day today.  I know I am planning on doing so.

Had a great night last night at a friend’s house where I got to meet new friends and have fun “grown up” talk.  It was a BLAST!  I recommend it if you haven’t had it in a while….

I wanted to write about something that happened on Wednesday.  Do any of you ever have days where you feel that one thing after another happens (the frustrating kind of things, not the fabulous things) and they just keep snowballing?  No?  Just me?  Okay.  Then I will tell you about MY Wednesday.

I woke up early and was super excited that I was going to get to..drumroll please…shower!  Don’t get me wrong, I shower every day, it is just not usually first thing because the kiddos are up and I am getting them ready.  So yea, I showered, I was like, “Oh yea, I am showering, this is awesome…” in a sing-songy voice.   I get out of the shower and I blow dry my hair.  And I keep drying and drying.  No matter how long I was blowing, my hair looked a little wet.  Greasy?  Ugh- now the kids are up and I can’t deal with that just yet.  So I throw on a baseball hat (my staple for bad hair days) and off to school they go.  I ran errands.  I did what I needed to do.  When I came home, I revisited my hair.  I even tried hair drying again.  LOL- like what good would that do?  It was still greasy as all get out.  Then I started thinking about it….my glorious shower, I was retracing the steps. Then it dawned on me, I didn’t wash my hair.  OMG, I didn’t wash my hair!  I cleaned everything and even conditioned my hair but I totally didn’t wash it!  I had missed the moment.  I was able to take an early shower, something at this stage of the game is a HUGE highlight for me and I blew it.  Ugh.  So, good news is, this problem has since been rectified and I moved on.

I moved on to Wednesday night when we were getting ready to go to bed.  I noticed my husband was holding a bottle of water.  This was strange because he ALWAYS brings a glass of milk up with him and isn’t a particular fan of water.  So I said, “Hey, Chach, why are you drinking water?”.  He told me we didn’t have milk.  WHAT?  That is not possible.  We had just gotten 6 gallons on Monday. We had only used 2 so I KNOW we had milk.  I checked the fridge and then I went out to the garage and checked the fridge out there.  He came with me and kind of smiled like I had forgotten milk and was going through a theatrical performance so he wouldn’t be upset that we were out of a staple food item.  Then I remembered, our son, Clever, had helped me with the groceries.  And I remember his very cute 6 year old voice (that he tries to make sound 40) saying, “I’ll get the milk, Mom.  Don’t worry, I got it.”  And he went out to the garage and took about 2 trips.  Question is, where did he put it.  I thought, “Oh no!  Did he put them in the freezers we have in the garage?”.   Nope.   We were looking all over the garage and found nothing.  Then my hubby’s eyes and mine fell in the same direction at the same time.  We walked over to our pantry closet in the garage and slowly opened the doors to find:

milk

Cute, right?  My little helper, Clever.  Perhaps I should have spent a little more time giving him his “Blog Name”!  Ha ha!  I am teasing, of course, he is clever and was sweet to want to help me.  We had to get rid of these as some days had gotten quite warm in our neck of the woods.  Moral of this story was don’t cry over improperly stored milk.  Sometimes it is just great to have a little helper who loves you so much they want to do things for us!  We are all blessed.

***Thinking and praying for everyone in France and for our whole world.  I pray we quickly find the fortitude we need to put an end to such hate.  The God I know doesn’t condone these things and shame on everyone who uses his name (their version of it) to do Satan’s bidding. Remember our blessings and remember that UNITED WE STAND, Divided?  Well, look around and see where that is getting us.***

Progress Report & A Recipe!

Progress-ReportHey guys!  Just a brief check-in to let you all know how I am doing since starting my healthier lifestyle change Monday am.  For all you knew, I wasn’t posting because I had gnawed my hands off because I was starving!

Well, rest assured, that is NOT THE CASE!  My fingers, hands and my whole being, for that matter, are all intact!  I am doing well, sticking to it and forging forward!  Has it been easy?  Of course not!  Will it be SOOOOO worth it?  You betcha!

Also wanted to THANK ALL OF YOU who reached out to me.  WOW! You guys are amazing and supportive and I am in awe of you all!  Keep up the contact!  I am loving getting to know you all and supporting one another!  We can do this!

Fun recipe to share (hubby didn’t like BUT EVERYONE ELSE DID)- he is kind of picky (that’s how he scored me!)

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower-Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower – chopped
  • 1/8 cup onion powder )
  • 4-6 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a 5 quart saucepan, add all ingredients.
  • Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes.)
  • Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.

I got this recipe from http://www.andoverdietcenter.com  Feel free to check it out for lots of lean protein recipes!

XOXO

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