Saturday, December 31, 2011

December in Pictures

I feel like a bit of a bad blogger lately, but the truth is I've been spending some great time with my family, working hard on T2 Multisport, getting back into the swing of consistent training, and basically just recharging my batteries for next year.

So to make up for my lack of holiday posts, I give you our month in pictures.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Most Perfect Afternoon

Every now and then the stars align, and we have a most perfect afternoon at our home.

Today that happened. I got all of my stuff done in the morning and all of my errands done in the afternoon. I remembered to buy all the ingredients for our very special reindeer cookies and pretzel bark. My children got off the bus in good moods after a great day of school. (Ryan was just a tiny bit tired, which certainly didn't hurt!)

We cleaned the kitchen and the family room and then got down to business creating our reindeer treats. These are the cutest, easiest cookies you will ever make with your kids (or by yourself!!).  I'll put the "recipe" below.

We were surprised by Kel coming home a bit early, so while I put some presents together and made some almond butter, Kel and the boys did a Christmas puzzle by the tree. Then Noah and I delivered the gifts, and came home to a lovely supper of soup.

After a very good violin practice from both Noah and Ryan, they are both quietly watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas.


I have to remember this day, because this is the kind of day that you think other people are lying about on Facebook.  Come on...I know I'm not the only one who wants to gag just a little when someone posts about how wonderful their children are day after day. Please tell me I am not the only one.


Reindeer Cookies


White chocolate candy discs
mini chocolate chips

1. Melt chocolate discs in a big bowl. I do this in the microwave one minute at a time, stirring in between each minute.
2. Dip the oreos in the white chocolate with a fork, shaking off any extra before you set it down on wax paper. (Hint: if you wipe down the counter before you put the wax paper down, it will stick nicely.)
3. Use the pretzels for antlers, the chocolate chips for eyes, and the M&Ms for noses.
4. Let harden and then store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dolce Flutes Holiday Sweets

Please excuse this short commercial break so I can do a little shameless self promotion!

This is the perfect CD to play while you are decorating for the holidays. It's also a wonderful stocking stuffer. Your kids will love it! It's definitely better than coal! I'm sure your husband will jump up and down and hug you with joy to find this little jewel under the tree.

Seriously...check out my picture...I'm not even wearing bike shorts...I'm for reals!

Featuring beautiful holiday music played by Dolce Flutes. 
Here is a little taste!

01 Angels We Have Heard On High

Make your holidays even sweeter with Dolce Flutes!

$10 plus S&H

Friday, December 9, 2011

Project Reduce Stress

It is 8:35 a.m., I just put both of my children on the bus, and I am sitting by the fire with a cup of coffee and my laptop. This wouldn't be so weird except for the fact that Noah is in half-day kindergarten this year and usually goes in the afternoon. The whole school has another half day today, so Noah gets to go in the morning. Speaking of half-days, I figured out that since October 31, my children have only had one full week of school. They have had 5 half-days (FIVE!!!) and 4 days completely off of school. Since Noah only goes to school for a half-day, when the entire school only goes in the morning the a.m. and p.m. kindergarten flip-flop so they all get the same amount of days in. It's very confusing.

The whole half-day kindergarten thing has really been hard on me. I put Ryan on the bus a little bit before 8 and then I put Noah on the bus around 12:15.  It has been really nice getting to spend some quality one-on-one time with Noah, but I always feel like I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. If we do anything in the morning then I have to be sure to get back with enough time to get some lunch in Noah before the bus comes. Because of that I end up trying to get tons of stuff done in the afternoon, but still just feel like I running myself ragged so I can get back home before the bus gets home. I am almost always in a state of panic that I am going to miss one bus or another!!

This has really gotten me thinking about how I can reduce stress in my life. Come January, I have a little race that is going to be in the forefront of my mind training-wise (more to come on that later), and I have got to figure out a way to be able to lower my stress levels and schedule my time in a way that doesn't make me feel like I am always rushing and running late and trying to squeeze in my training in between all the other, equally important stuff.

Basically, I need to make myself a schedule and keep it. The tricky thing about that for me is that I don't really have a normal job. My day-to-day schedule is so variable. The only day I have to work is Tuesday when I go to Ithaca.  I've been thinking a lot about this, and my tentative plan, which I will start to shape next week, is to designate certain days/times for certain things. For example, I will try to schedule appointments (chiro, hair, Ryan's appts., etc.) for the same day of the week, so I know that Thursdays, for example, are the day that I will get that stuff done. My thought is that if I can consolidate all the running around to one or two afternoons a week, I can use the others for getting my coaching work done and then have more flexibility for training and practicing (oh, yeah, I do practice the flute every now and then!).

In many ways, I love the schedule I have. It is flexible. It allows me to really spend a lot of time with my kids. I love all of the things I do. On the other hand, it is so flexible that it becomes cumbersome. Kel's schedule seems so solid and simple: go to work at 7, leave at 3, go the gym, come home. I'm not saying I would like that schedule, I just like the simplicity and the day-to-day sameness of it.

So, I guess I will officially dive into my "Project Reduce Stress". I'll keep you posted on my scheduling ideas and stress beaters. Please chime in if you have any ideas, especially if you are a busy parent like me. I'm sure I'm not the only one who could use some great tips.

Interestingly enough, while I was writing this a friend of mine was doing one of those funny things on Facebook where you plug the first 9 friends on your list into a funny thing.  This one was "Having a Christmas Party" and my name showed up under "Juggling three glass Christmas ornaments."  Maybe it's time to just step away from the tree!! :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Power Walk

I am a bit out of commission this week due to some stupid moles I had to get removed last week. I have been relegated to no swimming until next week, and all easy all the time this week.

So today I got to walk. It was raining and dreary, so I went out to Beaver Lake for some peace and inspiration. It wasn't about heart rate or speed or power, but power is what I found.

Power in the beauty of God's hand.

Power in realizing how great our world is and how small I am and finding comfort in that.

A power walk indeed.