Finally Friday.

My homemade gingerbread cookies

Well, hello there.

Did you notice that it’s December 20 — which means only 5 days until Christmas. Or, if you’re my family… 4, since we celebrate on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

Growing up I was always worried about how Christmas would work once I got married. My family, being just the 4 of us in Colorado, developed our own set of Christmas Day traditions and giving them up when I got married wasn’t something I was real excited about. Luckily for me, Christian’s family had always celebrate on Christmas Eve… meaning I didn’t have to give anything up. Truly the best of both worlds.

My world has been all over the place this month. I started out in Iowa for my Great Uncle’s 90th birthday and have since returned and attended a slew of holiday parties/comedy works laugh fests/dinner with friends and still have a packed weekend ahead. Let me lay it out for you… I’ve got another holiday party, a showing of the Nutcracker, a dinner, lunch downtown with family and a Nuggets game. All packed into 4 little ‘ol days. Holiday hustle and bustle? I’m your girl.

I hope that this coming weekend is packed with hot chocolate, gingerbread cookies and as many twinkle lights as you can possibly tolerate. In the mean time, here are my finds from around the interwebs:

As you may well know, I’ve already developed my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe… but after reading this post on the science behind the cookie (and that he went through 32 lbs. of flour and 1,500 test cookies to get to the perfect one), I’m just the tiniest bit interested in tooling around with my recipe just to see what happens.

Back in my dating days, I used to think about writing a blog about all the mishaps, the weirdos and the flat up ridiculous stories that resulted from my dating escapades. Turns out, I didn’t have to because Amber is doing just that… only better.

I feel really overwhelmed when I look at my calendar. I see my days in hour-long increments overflowing with things to do. That’s why I really appreciated this post on not being over-committed and overwhelmed. Now if only I could take the advice and apply it successfully.

The holidays bring out the best in people — but it also bring out a lot of discussion on religion, the role of Santa and a lot of other stuff I don’t really want to get into. This post on Santa (and Jesus) and the way Christian’s relate to and ultimately use Santa was really interesting to me.

Are you looking for some good circuit workout ideas to help negate your overload of cookie consumption? Here’s a great round-up of 50 different circuit workouts. There’s bound to be at least one in there for everyone. I, personally, have many of them tagged and added to Pinterest boards for New Year inspiration.

Ever feel like everyone around you was given an instruction book on life and you’re left wondering what the hell to do and/or how to pull it all off? Turns out, everyone feels like that and nobody was given a guidebook to life — even those people who make it seem like they came out of the womb 10 steps ahead of everyone else.

P.S. Have you seen these t-shirts? I’m thinking I may need to purchase one.

Finally Friday.

Finally Friday.

If I had to dub this week something, I would dub it the week of the corn chip. And, the week of the rain. First of all, my diet has been squeaky clean this week with the exception of corn chips (and a touch of gluten-free/healthified chex mix). The corn chips started with a stop of at my Mom’s earlier this week to try out her freshly made salsa, then dinner at a Mexican restaurant with a friend, then a Mexican catered lunch at work. I can pass up the flour tortillas and the cheese just fine… but you offer me a slightly salted, crispy corn chip and all bets are off.

Also, have you heard about the rain in Colorado? They’re calling it the 100 year flood. I’ve lived here my entire life and have never seen rain this hard for this long. It’s crazy and wet and sad and glorious all at the same time. My heart is so sad for those that are suffering damage, leaks and flooding — it’s absolutely mind-blowing to see all the photos and videos of normal streets turned into rushing torrents of muddy water. On the positive note it’s nice to have a reason to wear pj’s from the moment you walk in the door and feel totally justified spending the evening snuggled in your bed watching episode after episode of Rules of Engagement (in which Jeff makes me laugh every minute).

This weekend is a total toss-up — the only thing I know for sure is that I’ll be having dinner with my Dad tonight. Otherwise it will be a mishmash of wrapping up ceiling painting, debating whether to start installing our wood floors and living out of the kitchen and our bed room, the only two rooms that aren’t full to the brim with couches, tables, chairs and other furniture. Having a house in renovation flux really forces you to be flexible in the way you live. Dinner on the bed? Sure, why not.

What are you up to this weekend? If you’re in Colorado, I hope you’re staying safe & dry!

Here are my finds from around the interwebs:

It turns out that I’m right at that age where people are starting to get pregnant, share the news and pop out kids. This site/app that keeps all your friends and family informed on your delivery status looks insanely perfect for abating all those constant questions and texts about “is he/she here yet”. Plus, it’s easy to use (and cute) to boot.

I’ve already put this recipe for Zucchini crust pizza on the menu plan for next week. With our over abundance of squash varieties we’re getting really creative in ways to use them. Shredded, sliced, blended, grilled, roasted, sautéed, baked, and on and on and on.

In order to burn off all those corn chips, I probably need to start/re-start a fitness routine that actually has a schedule. When I do this, I’m going to add this quick AB workout video to help spice things up.

How many times have you prevented yourself from starting something because you knew you wouldn’t be able to do it as well as you’d like. [slowly raises hand] Personally, I don’t like to feel like I can’t even meet my own standards so I’ll let ideas and projects stall instead of giving them my all. This, my friends, is called perfectionism and at its heart it’s ridiculous. Here are a few ways to beat perfectionism to a pulp that I intend to try.

This article on how to, successfully, use Facebook for you business is one of the best I’ve seen. It’s officially book marked for sharing and using and re-reading. If you’re looking to up your game, there are some really great (easy) ideas to help you get started strategically.

Do you ever have those quick moments of intense feeling when you want to tell your best friend (or husband or mom or sister or co-worker) just how much you love/appreciate them? But… you don’t. Yeah. That happens. If everyone were a little more proactive about truth-telling and self-expression I wonder where the world would be?

This layout of a “Fat Loss Template” was an interesting read. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with all the science out there these days it’s hard to know where to start. I feel this is a pretty good place.

And lastly, have you seen these Fridge Coasters — I want the polka dot ones in Orange or Yellow (I think). Now I just have to measure my shelves/drawers.

Finally Friday.

Finally Friday!

Hello Friday, it’s nice to see you. This week has been good and packed full of bible study, time at home, comedy works with my family and good weather. The only downside was the BIG TIME explosion of purple berry smoothie early this morning. But that humiliation (and extreme amount of clean-up) has now passed and made room for Friday excitement.

This weekend we’ve got lots of down time (which is always nice) — we’re having a BBQ date night tonight at Hickory House in Parker. Tomorrow we’ve got some birthday festivities and then we’re headed to the zoo for Christian’s summer work party (hippos + vino = yes, please). Sunday we’re going on a hunt for the cheapest organic produce near us — Costco and Sprouts, I’m looking at you.  Hope you have a great weekend!

Here are a few of my favorites from around the interwebs this week:

So I found this site from another post on raising a family outside the US, [side note: I LOVE reading about other cultures… or people in general… cannot get enough] and this post with the line “I make the babies, you kill the spiders” totally echos my sentiments when it comes to my marriage, but also embodies my fear of spiders 10 fold. Think we have spiders here in the US? Check out the ones from this post in the Congo.

Currently, we have 13 zucchini and squash plants growing in our back yard. I planted all these seeds thinking that only a few of them would actually come up. I was wrong (they all did) and then when I couldn’t give them away, I felt bad murdering the little baby sprouts that I had planted. Anyways. I’m about to have a plethora of squash varieties that will need to be used, and these zucchini pancakes look like a great option.

How often are you asking yourself “how much can I get away with?” — I’m guessing it’s a lot more than you think. I’d never heard it put this way, but your beliefs and efforts might be what’s holding you back.

I loved these free planners — especially the blog post layouts. Maybe if I write it all out for August it will inspire me to actually stick to a posting schedule. Just maybe.

Have you ever had paleo bread? I haven’t. But, I think I’m going to try to make a loaf this weekend and see how it turns out. I’m thinking either this cinnamon loaf or this more general bread recipe. If it goes well I’ll report back with details.

For the past few weeks I’ve been getting my butt kicked by Jillian Michaels in my living room, but sometimes I need a break from the same video routines. This pyramid workout might have to get added to the rotation.

Bonus: Here’s a free marriage manifesto printable — I’m a sucker for any sort of typography print, if you haven’t already noticed. How much is too much when it comes to hanging words on your walls?

My Favorite Things – December.

I love the month of December… I look forward to it all year. Really I enjoy May – December. January – April, not so much. So many wonderful things happen in December. People care, they take time to share cookies with their neighbors, tacky sweater parties and Christmas. Some people also go a little crazy, but I choose to keep the freaks at bay.

So while I enjoy a month of gaining back each one of the pounds I lost prior to the wedding (gingerbread cookies, cough, rum cake, cough), here are a few of my favorite things this month:

Big Bang Theory. I cannot get enough of Sheldon, there has never been a better played TV character. Swoon.

Bio Oil. Mix a few drops in with your lotion and voila moisturized skin.

Barefoot Contessa Chocolate Chip Cookies. Crispy, salty, chewy goodness.

Living Room Bootcamp. A solid workout without having to head to the gym. Particularly helpful on days like today when it’s 9 degrees outside. Brrr.

Dreyer’s Peppermint Ice Cream. Something about those crunchy little peppermint chunks gets me every time. Every Christmas my family would order a bucket of peppermint ice cream from the Schwan man, and each evening we would get a precious scoop of creamy goodness. Each bowl is chalk full of memories.

Twinkle Lights Everywhere. I love the way they can make even a simple tree or a boring staircase feel magical. I wish they could be around all year long.

*photo credit

What are your favorite things this time of year?

The Full 100.

Typically I don’t share my workouts because they aren’t very exciting and I’m 90% sure they wouldn’t be interesting or helpful to anyone… but I was feeling fairly ambitious the other day. I knocked out the first level of Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred and decided that level 2 sounded too boring to try. Instead of calling it quits I turned to the 100 workout I’ve seen making its way around the interwebs. Why not. Counting is easy enough. If you haven’t seen the workout, here it is:

It seemed to be lacking overall upper body components, so I just added my own in with hand weights. Here’s what I did:

100 Jumping Jacks
90 Abs (30 crunches, 30 reverse crunches, 30 bicycle crunches)
80 Squats (20 normal squats with hammer curls, 20 chair squats with reverse fly, 20 sumo squats with tricep extensions, 20 normal squats with press-outs)
70 Leg Lifts (morphed into 70 standing pike crunches – my legs are lifting so it counts)
60 Jumping Jacks
50 Abs (15 crunches, 15 reverse crunches, 20 bicycle crunches)
40 Squats (Same as above only do 10 instead of 20 for each)
30 Leg Lifts (aka Standing Pike Crunches)
20 Jumping Jacks
10 Minutes of Running

It helped to add in the upper body and definitely increased the difficulty of the work-out and kept me from getting bored doing 120 squats. I’ll definitely put this workout on repeat and use it when traveling. Easy to do in your room!