Tag Archives: Holiday Hub Bub

Week In Review~Christmas Catch-up and Recovery

So here we are on a Monday and I’m actually getting my Week In Review up and going on time! I’m pretty excited about this.  Be sure to check out the other reviewers over at Meghan’s party place, Clean Eats, Fast Feets.  Trust me, it’s worth it just to see what Meghan has to say on any given day.  So here we go!

As I’m sure it was for everyone, last week was pretty darned busy.

After totally procrastinating (read that to say that I had wrapped NOTHING!) I got to work on it.  I had felt really under the weather the previous week (still not sure why) when I Should have been wrapping so Monday was do or die.  I never even got out of my jammies.  I wrapped and wrapped until everything was finished, then I collapsed to get some more rest.  Christmas Eve was our big day and I needed to store up some energy.

Christmas Eve morning, we always go out to breakfast with Gail, Alice and Gail’s brother Ray.  Went to our favorite diner and forgot to take any photos!  Duh!  That faux pas will continue throughout the day!  We had a great time.  I was already missing them since they’d be leaving for Florida the coming Saturday.  I ate too much.

Lunch time found us out with Ralph’s daughter in law Heather, grandson Alex and grandson Patrick home from the Army.  We were very happy to see them all.  We Skyped with Ralph’s son Bill from the parking lot and I found out that I can Skype on my phone which made me very excited!!  I ate too much.

When 7 pm rolled around, we headed to my sister Ele’s house for our traditional Christmas Eve free for all where we open our presents.  Not as many bodies as usual, but we had a really great time.  I ate too much.

Wednesday, Christmas Day we slept in and I needed it.  Around 1 pm we headed to our new tradition, the recreation of the Chinese Restaurant scene from A Christmas Story.  It was great and we had a wonderful time.  I ate too much.

Thursday and Friday were designated as packing day for Gail’s trip to Florida.  I always offer to help but due to her broken arm, she needed a little more help.  We got a lot done Thursday, almost everything together, then on Friday, we packed the car.  It was not as bad as it might have been.  They don’t really need to take a lot since their condos down there are just like home.

Saturday the Girls left for Florida and I headed, a bit reluctantly to Weight Watchers. Part of my reluctance was the fact that I would miss Gail and Alice but also, I knew I had not been the best WW example throughout the week. I had a 1.6 gain which all told, was not so bad and actually better than I anticipated.  I was satisfied.

Speaking of WW, I wanted to share a photo of one of our members at our meeting.

Santa John


We call him Santa John.  He’s done a great job and just a few weeks ago he reached Lifetime status after losing 90 pounds!!  He had to get a new suit.  He is a sweetheart and in spite of his busy schedule, he visits us in costume every year.

After WW I picked up Ralph and we headed back to Ele’s to visit with another section of the family including Princess Colette.  We had great fun.  I ate too much.

Sunday I sort of crashed.  I planned to run errands but it was raining and I still didn’t feel great.  Since Ralph’s focus was on football all day, I went in a different direction.  At 5 am I started watching Law and Order.  That ran until 3 pm at which time I switched to Law and Order: SVU and watched that all evening.  I was a happy camper.

I want to share one more thing.  I forgot to do it last week and I want to share our Christmas card for this year.

Christmas Card 2013


We were pretty happy with it.  Just so you know, the symbol that Ralph used for the star is the Zia which is the symbol of New Mexico.

I hope everyone had as wonderful a Christmas as we did.  On to the New Year and all that we will discover!  Be sure to check out the other reviewers over at Meghan’s Clean Eats, Fast Feets.

Happy Monday!

No More Humbug~The Day After Christmas

I’ll say it before anyone else has the opportunity: I was a Humbug this year.  It doesn’t help to apologize. We all lived through it and in the end I did pull out some Christmas spirit.

Christmas Eve is really our busy day and except for eating Way too much I got through it.  I’ll give more detail on Monday in Week in Review but we had three food related events on Tuesday which had me at the far reaches of my Points after breakfast.  That was my own fault. Food wise it went down hill from there, but Christmas Spirit wise it went up.  That was actually more important.  I can handle the aftermath of the food.  I needed to pump up the Spirit and it improved greatly as the day and evening went on.

Christmas day is low-key for us.  Sleeping in was a good idea and Ralph and I both took advantage of that.  Dinner out with Ele and Jim was fun as always in our annual recreation of the Chinese restaurant scene from A Christmas Story.

chinese restaurant scene


It’s always fun and we go to a really great restaurant.  No smiling duck, Thank Goodness!

Now I’m looking toward all those projects that I set aside as I moped around prior to Christmas.  First I’ll be spending most of the next two days helping Gail and Alice pack up for Florida.  I’ll get Lots of exercise to help me work off everything I’ve eaten over the last two days.  Boy do I need it!

So this is me, facing the day with a positive attitude and a few thing circled in the sale papers.  I’m waffling (something I’m Very good at) over whether I should buy something or not.  We’ll see how that goes.

Happy Thursday!

Saturday Snapshot~December 21

We’re closing in on the last few days before Christmas.  I’ve had a tough time getting into the Spirit this year as I have for the last few years.  I finally succumbed to listening to the All Christmas Music radio station in my car which helped.  I also remembered that the music channels on our cable provider also has a Sounds of the Season channel.  That has helped and I’m listening to that as I type.  I’m getting there.

Saturday Snapshot is a great time to share little tidbits of life.  I like to use it to share things that make me happy.  This week’s certainly does.  Remember that Saturday Snapshot is graciously hostessed by the lovely Melinda at West Metro Mommy Reads.  Be sure to check out what the other Snappers are sharing this week.  I’m sure they will help to bump up all of our Holiday spirits!


I’m sharing something that has been in my life for a very long time.  My sister, Ele currently has custody of it, but we’ve shared it over the years.  We were at Ele’s house for my nephew, Patrick’s birthday celebration on Thursday night.  As we were sitting there waiting for Patrick and his wife, Carrie to arrive, I suddenly realized what I needed to photograph.

I have no real idea how old he is.  I remember it being around when I was a child.  I remember rediscovering it at various points in my life in various basements.

Sleeping Santa


Say hello to Sleeping Santa.  I have no idea if that is his real name, but that’s what we’ve always called him.  Santa  is actually a bank!  There is a slot on the back of the chair.  We never put any coins in because there is no opening to retrieve the money and we would never think of breaking him open.  Santa was something that Grandmom and Grandpop probably found at an auction (they went to a lot of them when we were growing up) or he could be much older than that.  By the looks of him, I’d say he’s probably from the 30’s or 40’s before Ele and I were around.

I am so happy that he survived over these many years to brighten our Christmas on another year.  The only thing I know that I have that is probably older is a Christmas ball that had belonged to my Great-Grandmother.  I never met her and I think that is why Sleeping Santa is so special, because I knew Gram and Pop and loved them both so much.  I hope the sight of Sleeping Santa makes you smile the it does for me.

Be sure to check out all of the other photos over at West Metro Mommy Reads.  These folks are a great group!

Happy Almost Christmas Snapshot Saturday!

Strange But Good~It Started As Soup~December 13

Holy Cow! I’m writing this on Thursday in preparation for Friday’s Strange But Good and I just realized that tomorrow is Friday the 13th!  Yikes!  Not that I’m superstitous…just makes you think.

Anyway!  I love Strange But Good hostessed by the lovely Laura at Sprint 2 The Table.  I don’t participate as often as I’d like, but hey we do what we can. As I’ve said before, teaming up with the other Strange But Gooders makes  me feel not so strange. So Here Goes!

Sprint 2 the Table

I’m vegetarian…No news there.  My best friend Gail is also vegetarian.  She has a close personal relationship with WebMD.  Closer than she’d like.  She gets so many e-mails from them that if I were her, I’d be afraid they were stalking me.  She does find some really good and easy vegetarian recipes sometimes.  This one was one of the best and easiest.

Simply called Black Bean Soup it was so easy that in a hectic day when I planned all day to make it and then had many stumbling blocks, I still made it and it was done in short order. I had no cumin, tried Alice-she didn’t have any, tried Gail-she didn’t have any.  Resorted to going to the grocery store.  As I’m getting into the car, Ralph calls and says our Christmas cards are ready at the printer and I need to pick him up and we have to drive the 20 minutes to the printer.  We do, I come home and this soup sounded so easy I said what the heck, I’ll give it a try.

As with many things I seem to show on Strange But Good, it tastes better than it looks.  I feel the need to warn you of that.  This is not pretty food, but oh so tasty.

Prepared BB soup


See…as I said, it’s not pretty.  The recipe calls for putting it in the blender, but I’m not a fan of blended soups, I like texture.  I have an immersion blender, but I didn’t feel like getting it out and probably ending up covered in soup.  I got out my trusty potato masher and mashed away.  It worked very well.  Smashed things up just enough, thickened the soup.  Excellent.

But I felt it need to be a little more substantial to hold me for the evening so I quickly cooked up some quinoa.  Who can’t use a little added protein?

I put the soup over the quinoa and added some of my ever-present Romano cheese.  A little cheddar would have been more appropriate, but I work with what I’ve got.  Also didn’t add the sour cream or cilantro for the same reason.

BB soup over quinoa


Again, not pretty but so good.  The prep time says 30 minutes but I don’t think it even took that long.  You can have most of the ingredients in your pantry ready for when you want to make it.  Believe me, I will keep them on hand All The Time.  It could also be a good basis for other dishes.  I like that in a recipe.  Give this a try, it’s worth it!

Be sure to check out what the other strange people are sharing over at Sprint 2 The Table.  You never know what you’ll find!

Happy Friday!!

Week In Review~December 9

Time for another Week In Review as sponsored by the spritely Meghan at Clean Eats, Fast Feets.  I have to say that I really enjoy playing along with WIR even when I don’t feel as if anything has happened.  I think this is one of those weeks.

As I sit here in the wee hours of Sunday morning trying to review the past week, I’m thinking about the weeks ahead.  I think I’m going to pause things for a while.  Not blogging, Not Week In Reviewing.  Projects.  Sorting and Packing…all of this unearthing of my life around here.

I don’t have a lot of Christmas spirit.  That’s nothing new.  I haven’t had much in recent years. Not really sure why.  I seem to pull it out in the end each year but not with a lot of enthusiasm and I would almost let it pass by without much fanfare.  I do hope that some year soon I’ll get it back.  I try each year, but…The season will show up with or without me so I do try.

My week should probably have been filled with shopping and decorating and general Jingle Belling.  It was not.  I’m trying to rev myself up and I probably will get there.

I spent a lot of the week with my best friend, Gail trying to be helpful while she has a broken arm.  I must say that she is a very good patient and only occasionally pushy (“I think it’s Snack Time!)  We watched lots of Law and Order: SVU (our favorite) and generally enjoyed spending time together, solving the problems of the world (well at least Our problems.)

I had a pleasant weigh-in at Weight Watchers on Saturday.  I lost 1.2 pounds so I’m feeling better in that regard.  I’m getting back to my pre-vacation weight which I’m happy about.  Saturday afternoon, my sister Ele had a Christmas Tea for some ladies we know.  This was the table.

Christmas Tea


I’m proud to say that the only thing I had was the cup of tea you see in the foreground.  I did indulge a bit at home later in the evening with the goodie box that I brought home for Ralph.  But I savored everything at home when I could really enjoy it.  It was a lovely afternoon.

I’ll be going out this afternoon with Ele again and seeing some of the same ladies.  I’m looking forward to it.

I will be  working to get some more spirit in the coming week.  To prove that I’m not a complete Humbug, I offer this photo.

Tiny Tree


This is our tiny Christmas Tree.  Not a great photo, but I wanted the lights to show.   It makes me happy.  The tree skirt is a treasure that my Mom crocheted for me many years ago.  I will be working on the whole Christmas Spirit thing in the coming week.  I think I can do it!

Be sure to check out Clean Eats, Fast Feets and see what all of the other Reviewers have to share.

Happy Monday!

Strange But Good~Not So Hoppin’ John

As I’ve said, I’m really enjoying participating in Strange But Good hosted by Laura at Sprint 2 The Table.  I fit right in because people sometimes think my food looks strange…Hey…there are times that I think my food looks strange!  But it’s usually good, so I’ve found a home with Laura!

For years, I’ve heard about Hoppin’ John.  This is a dish that is made traditionally on New Year’s Day.  It’s made with black-eyed peas and rice.  The black-eyed peas are supposed to bring you good luck in the New Year.  I had never actually tried black-eyed peas until sometime in 2012, I don’t exactly remember when.  Cooked up a big crock pot full and then used them as I do any of the other beans I make.  I liked them and planned to try them again, then I thought about the Hoppin’ John tradition.

I cooked up a half bag of them in my smaller crock pot on Monday with the intention of making it on Tuesday.  Didn’t happen…Until Wednesday…

I had also searched on-line for some vegetarian versions and found many.  They sounded good, but Heck…it’s rice and beans, why not try my own version.  I decided to just go with what I had in the fridge, knowing it would be different from the traditional, but I didn’t care.

I cooked up a pot of brown rice with some knock off Mrs. Dash added in.  I sautéed onions and garlic, added red bell peppers, a cup of the black-eyed peas, veggie broth, cabbage and snap peas.  Ok, I realize, not traditional, but Someone has to eat all of these veggies I bought!!  😉

The result:



Colorful if nothing else!

How about a close up…



Yes, there ARE black-eyed peas in there.  Can’t see the rice, but I hadn’t mixed it up yet.  I was up in the air about what seasonings to add so I just added a little more of the Mrs. Dash and left it at that.  I must say that I would consider it a success.  Traditional, No…Delicious, Yes!   Lucky me, I have enough of everything that I can make it again tonight!

One strange footnote.  I tried to look up black-eyed peas on the website I usually use to get nutritional info.  They were Not listed!  Best I could figure out from other sites, I got 11 grams of protein from my peas.  Not bad, although when you compare to 18 grams for a cup of lentils…well we know who the winner is.

So that’s Strange But Good for today.  Be sure to check out the other blogs over at Sprint 2 The Table and see what odd things everyone comes up with!  😉

Happy Friday!  Cook something Strange!

WIAW~Welcome 2013!!

Happy 2013!  An entire New Year…so much promise!  Let’s all see how far we can go!

I’m not moving too far from my routine because, in spite of the New Year, I can’t miss out on being part of What I Ate Wednesday!  That of course is the wonderful foodie party started and still hostessed by Jenn at Peas & Crayons (even though she turned 100 last week!!)  😉   So before we use up too much of this brand New Year, let’s get started!

Peas and Crayons

Friday, Ralph and I were treated to lunch by his sister, Maddie and her husband, George.  We headed to Olive Garden.



Love the salad at Olive Garden.  I had two plates of it, but I resisted the bread sticks…I’m proud of myself for that!



Cappelini Pomodoro…with Lots of parmesan cheese.  Tasty and just the right size serving.

We decided not to have dessert at the restaurant and instead went back to Maddie and George’s house for coffee and dessert.



Homemade cherry cheese cake.  This was delicious.  I need to get the recipe and see what I can do to lighten it up.  Yum!

Sunday found us at one of our favorite places, Subway.



My usual favorite, the veggie with pepper jack cheese. So tasty.  Now here’s a deal for you.  You’ll notice the little card.  Each time we go I hand in the card and I get points. This day, when I gave the card, the man serving us asked if I wanted to use my points.  Two 6 inch subs, two drinks and a bag of chips for Ralph came out to $13.87.  After the man calculated the points on the card…it cost us 80 cents!!!  I was pretty excited!  Good reason to hand in that card every time we go! 🙂

On New Year’s Eve we were heading to a friend’s house, but decided we’d do better with snacking if we ate first.  We headed for the diner.  I felt I was making a good choice.  I ordered the eggplant parmesan mini meal.  The operative word here Should be Mini.  This is what I got…



Can you say Huge?! I had to take half of it home with me! It did come with a salad.



Might have been part of the reason I got so full and had to bring home the leftovers.

Now the interesting thing is that when we got to our friends house, where we thought we’d just be having snacks…Dinner was served!  I didn’t take any photos there because other than the couple who invited us, I didn’t know the people very well.  I didn’t fee right taking photos.  Besides, I had the feeling they were the kind of group who would have asked me a hundred questions about what I was doing and I just didn’t feel like answering questions.  Suffice it to say that I had asparagus (tasty!) and the very best baked sweet potato EVER!  It would have qualified for Bigger Than My Head, if I had taken a picture.

My decision was that I would just write ALL of my 49 Weekly Weight Watchers points at the bottom of the page for Monday and be done with it!   I now have 4 days to get back on track before my next weigh in.  I think I can handle it.  Tracking and exercising every day will get me back to where I want to be!

Don’t forget to visit Peas & Crayons to see what everyone else has been eating and be sure to leave some comments!

Happy first WIAW for 2013!  On to a great New Year!

Carrying On in 2013

Realizing that this title could have two (or maybe several…) different meanings, I suppose some clarification is required.  The carrying on of one type happened New Year’s Eve, if you can call visiting friends at 8pm and being home by 10pm carrying on, then yes, we did!

I’m talking about the good kind of Carrying On.  I have been extremely happy with how things have been going toward the end of 2012. My plan for 2012 was ambitious, I accomplished some, and some not quite yet.

Here’s 2013- In part:

1.  Christmas Spirit– Didn’t even know I could still muster it up.  Happy that I could.  This may not seem that important, but it is.  It made a big difference for both Ralph and Me.

2.  Focused and on Track with my Weight Watchers Efforts-I don’t know where that focus came from but I hope it decided to live with me for a while.  I plan to keep working at it and get to my personal goal.  Two pounds to go, I know I can handle it.  Then I need to Stay there.  That’s the plan.

3. Reading-Who ever would have guessed, least of all Me that I would end 2012 with 84 books read? I’m pretty excited about my reading plan for 2013 and we’ll see how I do.

4. Daily Journaling-It didn’t happen daily and it didn’t get started until later in the year, but now I’m journaling at least a few days a week.  I’ll work on improving that.

5. Exercise-I’ve kept up with my exercise bike on an almost daily basis…it’s really just an excuse to read, but I’ll take what I can get! And I’ll try to keep it up.

6. Getting out of New Jersey– Not quite there yet.  We did get the chance to spend almost a month in New Mexico during August and that was incredible.

7. Getting reading to get out of New Jersey-There is still much work to be done, but I have a plan and I’m sticking to it.  We WILL get to New Mexico.  Nothing can stop us now!

8. Gratitude Jar– Such a simple concept, but I love the idea.  As I mentioned in Sunday’s post, I have my big old Mason Jar and each day (that’s my plan) I’m going to write down one thing for which I am thankful.  I think it’s a good idea and I’ve had comments from several people who like the idea and plan to join in.

The beginning of a new year is always just a little scary.  What will it bring?  Will it be good or will it be bad?  I think it’s all in the attitude with which we approach it.

A New Day is Dawning…



Let’s make the most of it!

Happy New Year!!! It’s going to be a Great One!!

Famous Faces and Facing Up

To start, Ralph and I had the chance to spend most of Friday with his wonderful Sister, Maddie and her terrific husband, George.  We always say when we go to the family lunches that we just don’t have the time to spend with them.  We corrected that on Friday.  We got to their house at about 1pm and didn’t leave until almost 8pm.  It was great!  They took us out to lunch and then back to their house for coffee and dessert.



I think this is a great photo!  We had such a good time and hope to do it again soon.

Because of that lunch out…eating a little more than I would ordinarily on a Friday, when I got to Weight Watchers Saturday morning, I had gained a half pound.  It didn’t bother me very much because of Friday’s lunch out and because I’m just feeling very strong at the moment when it comes to Weight Watchers.  It’s a great feeling.

Another great feeling is having a special guest come to visit at our WW meeting…



Surprise!  It’s Santa!  Our leader Marylou and our member John who is one of Santa’s Helpers.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

John is pretty amazing.  Since joining WW he has lost 83 pounds and had to have a new suit made that gives him the bowl full of jelly he no longer has on his own! He such a nice man.



He told us the story of his “special” key.  It only works on Christmas Eve and allows Santa to get into any house that doesn’t have a chimney or a fireplace. This Santa’s Helper takes his job very seriously.  He wasn’t able to come to last weeks meeting because…hey, he was a little busy!  We were all happy to see him yesterday!

There were several good deals on Saturday…one of them was this…


I wanted a nice big mug to use that was for winter but not Christmas.  Found these at Big Lots at 50% off…cost me $1.50 each!  I love cardinals, they always remind me of my Mom.

I have a lot of Goal Setting and Wrapping Up to do in the next few days.  I really need to sit myself down and do some serious thinking.  I have seen one thing on several blogs and on Facebook that I would like to do for the New Year.



Jar of Gratitude


I really like this idea and will start it on New Year’s Day, maybe even New Year’s Eve.



Here’s my jar!  I think it’s too big to be  a quart, it might be a half-gallon, I’m not sure.  But it’s one of the old Ball Mason jars I’ve collected over the years.  I love them and I thought it would be appropriate.  Since it’s so large, it will leave lots of room for gratitude.  😉  I like the idea a lot.

I’m off to have a hopefully productive day.  Lots to do.  The sun is shining brightly and I sure hope it warms up!

Happy Sunday! Use the day well!!

Christmas Dinner~Strange But Good

This is my second week of participating in Strange But Good-hosted by Laura at Sprint 2 the Table.  I think it’s a fabulous idea and I wish I’d thought of it! MOST of my food is Strange But Good if you ask some of my friends.  I thought it might be fun to talk about Christmas dinner, so here goes!

Sprint 2 the Table

Several years ago, as our numbers at the Christmas dinner table started to dwindle, we decided to give up on the idea of a big fancy Christmas dinner.  We used to do the whole turkey thing like at Thanksgiving, but with fewer people to eat it, it just didn’t seem practical anymore.  Although of course, I have been known to buy a turkey and cook it Just For Ralph…He never thinks there’s too much turkey!   😉

We decided instead to recreate the dinner scene from The Christmas Story…dinner at a Chinese restaurant!  We think this was our 5th year and it was fun as always.


We went to our usual restaurant, Sakana Oriental.  It’s nearby which is great. I started out with Hot and Sour Soup.  I love this restaurant because they have vegetarian Hot and Sour.



It doesn’t really look that appetizing now that I look at it, but it Is delicious!  Clears your sinuses too if you need it!

For dinner, I used to always have the Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce and I loved it.  Last year, I decided I needed to add some protein to the mix. I requested tofu be added to it.



Again, it doesn’t look great, but it is Delicious!!  Brown rice on the side.  This is just my favorite dish.  We always say we should go her more often than just Christmas, but we rarely do.

I’m not sure if this is a staple on other Chinese restaurant menus.  This is the only one where I’ve ever seen it.  It is just so good.  If you ever see it offered, give it a try!

So that is Strange But Good for this week.  Even though I just ate, looking at these photos…I’m getting hungry!   I really do love it.  I should try to replicate it myself!!

Just so you all know, I’m feeling strong with my efforts to get back on track with my Weight Watchers efforts.  Feeling successful and in control!

Happy Friday!  Go eat something Strange But Good!