Friday, November 27, 2009

A Busy Holiday

Liam left at 8am this morning to head back to Chicago with my parents and Hannah. What a great fun filled holiday weekend! There are so many things to be thankful for in my life that I cannot even get it all down in one journal entry. Liam got in Thanksgiving Day, and OMG is he TALL!!! LOL. He can almost look at me eye to eye, and the kid is in a size 9-10 men's shoe! Guess I'll have to stick to borrowing his clothes, because I haven't been able to fit in his shoes since last year when he was a men's 6-7.. lol. Hannah is growing as well, and it's just insane how quickly time passes us.

Dinner at the Ramada was just unbelievable. Every meat, fish, side dish and dessert imaginable. The food was incredible, and we left there all at least a pant size bigger. We walked around the hotel to look at all the mini trees the different local area companies decorated for Toys For Tots, and then in their courtyard was the biggest decorated tree I've personally ever seen!! Sure I've seen them on tv, but this was HUGE. It was donated from a local family farm. I barely got a picture of it!!

We headed back to the house for some Guitar Hero competition, and then my parents and Hannah left because Ry and Crusher were heading to bed, both having to get up for work btwn 1-3am. Sucks I know. After they went to bed Liam and I headed out to grab some stuff and went out to BB and rented some movies. I ended up crashing out because it had been a long day. Moreso for him and my family due to the 10 hr drive from Chicago.

My parents woke up Black Friday and headed to a few stores. I heard the lines for Best Buy, Kohl's and Toys R Us were insane. I'm not a Black Friday shopper, and usually do everything online, since it's the same deals, and free shipping.. lol. They came to the house and we headed out to Tyrone to Gardner's Candies to check out the Candy Museum and Ice Cream Shoppe. I just bought a little piece of almond bark, but Liam, Hannah and my Dad got these HUGE ice cream cones.

My mom had to get some stamps, so we took a stroll through Tyrone down to the post office, so they could eat their ice cream, and she could get her stamps. We then headed back to the house, and played a card/chip game called "Sequence" that my parents brought with them. I baked some lasagna and made a simple romaine salad, and then we bundled up and headed to downtown Hollidaysburg for their "Light Up Night".

It was cold and windy, but we had fun. We browsed through the local stores, moreso to keep warm than to shop.. hahaha. They had a man doing ice sculptures with a chainsaw. The kids saw Santa, and they had a petting farm. We headed over to check out the soup tasting contest, where the local restaurants competed for the best soup. Each line had about 50 people waiting so we just grabbed a few goodies and hot cocoa. They had bands there playing seasonal tunes, but the best was the Junior High School that have a percussion group called "Can It". With overturned plastic blue bins and old metal garbage cans, these kids rocked! The beats were contagious, and we danced to the drums as they did thei drumming, along with choreographed moves. They were unbelievable!! So talented! I was bummed because my camera battery went dead, and didn't get a very good picture of them, or later for the lighting of the tree. The kids got wacky balloon hats and after the towns tree and streets were lit up, we headed back home to relax. The kids watched Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and Liam passed out. My parents and Hannah said their good nights.

Saturday morning I made a huge breakfast for everyone... eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, toast, pancakes, the works. We then got ready and headed out to the Slinky Action zone to meet up with Ry's nephew Aidan and they had a blast running around, playing games, winning tickets, and they went on the bumper cars. I took the kids over for cake, ice cream and presents for Aidan's birthday, and my parents took that time to relax and do whatever they wanted, just the two of them. We then went and took Ry's mom with all of us to Lakemont Park for "Holiday Lights on the Lake". You drive through the park and all the local businesses have lighting displays. They were really nice. Lived here 9 years and never went through it. Leave it to my parents for getting my butt out there.. lol.

We headed back for some homemade chili and pumpkin pie that Ry made and the kids watched a movie while I uploaded the pictures from the weekend, and the parents bs'ed in the kitchen. We said our good nights, and I curled up with Liam on the couch. My dad picked him up this morning and it's been a very quiet day since then. I miss all the activity, giggles, running around and smiles.

I have a great family and feel very blessed. I'll see them all again come Christmas time when I head out to Chicago. Now it's time to go relax in a big bubble bath, and then get ready for work. Back to the grind tonight. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Girls Nite Out! - Thankful

Got to have a little fun this weekend with the girls. I love when we all actually have time off and can get together, just the girls!! No men allowed! LOL. We had a blast dancing the night away, and getting in some crazy karaoke, and the only one missing was Wendy, who ended up getting sick earlier in the day. We missed you!!

All in all it was a great time, and even though the Steelers AND the Bears lost last night, it was a good weekend. Just wanted to touch base, as it's been so crazy with the cleaning and preparing for my parents and my son and neice coming in for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

The 3 things I'm most thankful for are:

1. The love of the best, handsomest, smartest lil man on the planet, my son Liam.

2. The fortune of having the most wonderful, loving, caring friends and family EVER!

3. Having not only one, but three jobs that I love, and people I love working with in this crazy economy.

I am very fortunate and very thankful for all that I have in my life and wouldn't have it any other way!

Doubt I'll be back on here til after the holidays, but I'll twitter when I can! Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and if you ever need something to make you smile, and make you be thankful for what you have, all you gotta do is look around!! *hugs* Love ya! Take care!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The "Fat Burning Zone" - Outdated Myth

Great article for those that like to get on their treadmills and ellipticals and just do the "fat burning zone" workouts..

The Rule of the Game: Intensity

If you're looking to shed stubborn pounds, the rule of the game is to increase the intensity of your workouts. I want you to be working out at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). However, you may have heard the "fat-burning zone" theory that encourages you to work out at just 70 to 75 percent of your MHR. The outdated assumption is that your body is drawing predominately on fat calories for energy — WRONG! It's completely misleading and it's time to lay the "fat-burning zone" myth to rest.

During physical training, your body has three possible sources of energy: carbs, fat, and protein. Protein is a last resort — of the three energy sources, your body is the most reluctant to draw on your protein stores.

Whether your body takes energy from glucose, which it gets from the breakdown of carbs, or fat depends on the intensity of your workout. Training at a high level of intensity forces your body to draw on carb calories for energy — they are a more efficient source of energy, and your body goes for its premium fuel when you're working hard. If you are training at a low level of intensity, your body doesn't need to be as efficient, so it will draw on a higher percentage of fat calories for fuel.

Sounds like low-intensity training would be more effective when it comes to losing fat, right? Wrong. These physiological facts are the ones that spawned the mistaken belief that low-intensity activity is better than high-intensity activity when it comes to burning fat and losing weight. These days we know that even though the ratio of fat-to-carb calories might be higher during low-intensity exercise, fewer calories are used up overall. High-intensity exercise burns the biggest number of calories.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Holidays are Approaching!

There are so many articles out there about how to stay fit and healthy over the holidays. I have to be honest. When it comes to the food, I've never been one for "pigging out" at holiday feasts, because most of the foods I just don't like! I don't like ham, I can't stomach sweet potato anything. Usually my guilty pleasure is green bean casserole. I'm such a rebel right?

My problem has always been the sweets. I'm not talking the candy, because unless it's Reese's, it's usually never an issue. I'm talking the cookies, or more importantly, my mother's sugar balls. They are just a no bake receipe of oatmeal, cocoa powder, butter, vanilla extract, rolled into little one inch balls and rolled through powdered sugar. UGH!!! These things are addictive!!!

Over the years I've become more disciplined in my choices and I think for me that has been because of knowledge and information I've acquired over the years through maintaining a food journal for my dietician because of my diabetes. Do I want to eat X-amount of calories in cookies and feel unsatisfied in a half hour, or eat X-amount of the healthier dishes at a meal that will keep me satisfied longer, and I won't crave those sugar balls because I'm FULL! I've tried to do that, because in knowing MYSELF, I can't eat sweets on a full stomach. It literally makes me ill just thinking about it.

We all know what works and doesn't work with our own self and body, and if not, we need to recognize the patterns we set for ourselves. If we know that we can't stop at just one, then don't take one at all. If we know eating this will lead to us craving that, have something else that will keep you from indulging too much. I also know that working out the morning of or the night before a party or gathering will leave you feeling less likely to want to "ruin" that workout you did. It's all about choices, and there are tons of suggestions out there on how to do this. There are a few links below. Pick and choose for yourself. They just might work!!

Keeping Fit Throughout the Holidays - Personal Fit Coach

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

Eat Healthy Over the Holidays

Have a great week!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Total Burnout!!

With all that's been going on with my life, this article came to my attention, and I wanted to share. Remember to take care of ourselves first!

Recognize the Early Signs of Burnout
Yasmeen Abdur-Rahman

Most of us are trying to balance work, home, and a family life. We tend not to accept the early symptoms of burnout and carry on our daily lives. In my opinion, living your life isn’t supposed to be that way. If you ignore the red flags, you’ll become gravely ill and your life could come to a complete halt.

To add to the normal day-to-day stresses, what about the poor economy and the war on terrorism? How many of us watch the news and all of a sudden, you get a headache? As much as I find the news to be a source of information, I try not to watch it everyday.

Here are some strategies that I put together that might help you right now:

- Eat well and exercise. Take vitamins and drink plenty of water

- Get your rest. Slow down

- Ask for help. Some of us are so self-reliant that we won’t ask for help from our family members or close friends. You can’t do it all, all the time, by yourself

- Take care of yourself first before you commit to others

- Don’t wait until the weekend to take that long, hot bubble bath. When you get home from work, (temporarily) turn off the ringer on your phone, shutdown the lights, and light a scented candle while sipping on a cup of tea. If you have children, find a babysitter for a few hours

- If you haven’t read a good book lately, start today. Go to the nearest bookstore (Barnes & Noble or Border’s) and order a latte then enjoy yourself

- Don’t skip your vacations and breaks. Spend your breaks meditating, praying or reading. Don’t bring work or your laptop with you on vacation

- Use technology to your advantage. Let the voicemail pick up your messages. Ask those who have email access to send their responses to your email account. That way, you won’t have to respond immediately

- Meet for brunch or dinner, at least once a month, with a group of close friends who share your common goals

Remember, take care of your body because it is yours to cherish. If you don’t, life will be hard to manage, and every little incident, small or large, that happens will become a huge risk towards a sound, healthy life.

Yasmeen Abdur-Rahman, Lifestyle Entrepreneur Coach and owner of The Brownstone Workshop in Cary, NC , or call for a free consultation. This article could be reproduced. Please include the authors credentials. . Article on early, burnout, finding balance, stress by Yasmeen Abdur-Rahman

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Can't to Won't to WORK IT OUT!!

A great blogger I follow is FitJerk. He couldn't have achieved a better name. He's an in your face, no apologies kind of guy when it comes to health and fitness and his latest blog really hit home. It's called The Real Reason Why You Cant Get Shit Done! It's brutal honesty at it's best people! If you can't handle the truth, then don't read it.

The main point in his blog is changing your excuses from "I can't" to "I won't" because when it comes to health and fitness, in the end it's a CHOICE, so make sure you're being truthful as to WHY it is you're not achieving what you want to achieve. So basically it's not that you CAN'T do or achieve something, it's because your lazy butt just WON'T get up and do the things you need to do to get there. I know for a fact I fall into that category when it comes to fitness. It's definitely fallen by the wayside since starting my second job, and it's getting worse.

I'm always thinking I can't make it to the gym to do what I need to do, when in the end, that's a choice. Here's MY can'ts changed into won'ts. I can't make it to the gym because... I won't make it to the gym, because I won't schedule time, I won't get to bed on time, I won't get up early, I won't use my time off for fitness, I won't miss this tv show, I won't pass up relaxing on my ass to workout. HELLO!?!?! See what I'm getting at.

When it comes to fitness, I know I'm my own worst enemy. A lot of us are. The excuses are just that. Excuses. Sure there are days I work 14 hours, but then again, if my days that long anyway, what's an extra 20-40 minutes of weights, yoga, pilates, kickboxing or just plain walking?

I'm sure I'll get slack for this, but I hear the biggest excuses from people with kids. Do you not realize the extra workouts you can get just by running around the yard or at the park? Riding bikes, skating, heck, even wrestling with them in the living room? It's about motion and getting the heart rate up! Heck, my son used to go to the gym WITH me, and be right there doing things with me and my trainer Eric. He thought it was FUN! Never occurred to him it was a "workout".

In the end, it's about making choices for ourselves, and making the right ones. As a diabetic, I need to exercise and workout even moreso to keep my glucose levels in check, ESPECIALLY with the extra hours of work I put in and my stress levels being through the roof. Exercise helps me sleep better, and I know this from past experience. It's amazing that we are a society that has all the information we need to live healthy, positive, longer lives and can recite what's healthy, and what's not, and yet all we seem to do is talk. That's it. It's all talk. Time to make that knowledge power!

I need to get back on the path, and turn those can't/won'ts into can do's!!! I have so much coming up in the next two months, and I'll need to focus and get things done, and I can't do that if I'm sitting on my ass, making my jobs the excuses for not staying in shape, exercising and working out. I found out this weekend, not only are my mom, dad and son coming in for Thanksgiving, but they are bringing my late brother's daughter Hannah with them. I'm so excited!!!

I want to thank FitJerk. His blog is brutual, but inspiring. I seem to be empowered more through tough love. It's maybe why I'm such a fan of Jillian. Not that I'm comparing Jillian and FJ.. hehehe. *muah* I just like things told to me flat out. Just like FJ has on his blog... No Diets, No Excuses, No Whining, JUST RESULTS!! He kicks people's asses so they are adored by the masses!! Have a great week everyone!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hungry for Change - Food Inc

If there is one documentary you MUST see it's FOOD INC. The hubby and I watched it over the weekend, and let me tell you what a wake up call it was. Sure we know fast food is bad for us. We all know it, yet we are drawn to it any way. But what about the food in your local supermarket? If this film doesn't get you to think twice at the supermarket, nothing will. Some people "don't want to know", and that's their choice. But it truly helps explain the epidemic growths of not only obesity and diabetes, but things like ADHD, autism, and other disorders.

Excerpt from the website about the movie: "In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here."

Fast Food Nation is also one to check out before you scarf down the dollar menu. It will definitely make you think twice. Same with Super Size Me and other documentaries that show the ugly truth about what all this crap food is doing to us, and what's worse, how the government's control, or lack there of, for the standards in the food industry is enough to make you sick.

These aren't "conspiracy" movies, but if the other side doesn't start talking, to me it's just further proof that the almighty dollar is worth more than any human life to our elected officials, and it's sickening. Rent it today, or check your cable on-demand for it!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A VERY Happy Halloween!!

I got a call from my dad yesterday morning. Seems they are picking up Liam and heading out to PA for Thanksgiving. I was so suprised, overwhelmed and brought to tears knowing I'll be able to see not only them, but MY BABY BOY! I called to thank his dad and stepmom. It's amazing the things that can happen when you get along so great with your "baby daddy". He's the best and I hope he knows how much I love him, his wife and all the kids. They are the bestest! *hugs*

Well, Halloween night was my first gig playing DJ and Karaoke hostess at the Kettle Inn here in town. What a blast! Of course it took some time for people to get up the liquid courage to sing, but what a great time had by all. I just wanted to thank all of Ry's family for coming out, and Kerrie and Jim, and to Milyssa, Rachel and Crusher for stopping by. Stacy and Ashley showed up right in time for the costume contest, and Ashley won first prize (for the 2nd time that night, as she won at Aldo's too) with the Hummer Transformers costume Stacy made in a WEEK! I want to thank my hubby Ryan for helping me at the DJ booth with the door prizes, songs, requests and everything, and for dealing with the whiney drunks that wanted everything about them.. LOL. All in all, it was a blash, and was so wonderful to have everyone's support and love there. Thanks to Chris and Lori of the Underground for thinking of me, and giving me a call!

I hope you all had a great weekend and didn't eat TOO much candy. Stay out of the kids stash!! LOL. Love ya!