Monday, January 19, 2015

Finding the Magic in Winter

January is crawling along.  Every year, Christmas ends and January arrives and by March 1st I feel like I might go insane.  I yearn for warm sunshine and fresh air.  I start to get such bad cabin fever I'm willing to charge vacations I can't afford just to remedy the situation.

Don't worry I always cave.  I plan the whole vacation and then something inside of me is still smart enough not to pull the trigger.

This year I'm trying something new.  I'm making every effort to embrace the winter season.  It's a time to slow down and recharge.  There is no other time of year pajamas are quite as useful.  Snuggling with my kids to keep warm is a nightly occurrence.  Comfort foods and crock pots become essential to my well-being.

I've decided these are all good things.  It's not so bad spending time inside and setting the DVR.  There is something magical about snow falling and an early sunset.  Little things like getting in a warm car become big things.  And this winter rather than bitch and want to claw my eyes out I'm realizing there are bits and pieces of this season that aren't so bad.

I'm learning to love the sweatpants and appreciate the early nights.  My feet adore warm boots and there is nothing like a soft oversized sweater.  When the sun is out and the air is warm we run all day long.  This time of year?  We run much less.  When the weather is bad we're forced to stop and stay home.  All of us.  

And that's when memories are made.

Before we know it we'll be firing up the barbecue with friends around us celebrating the start of summer.  And maybe, just maybe enduring these long, cold months will make that first barbecue so much sweeter.

Stay warm.  Snuggle.  Call it a night early.  That's what gets us through until the warmth returns.  Having an excuse to stay home isn't such a bad thing.  We need it every once in awhile.

It's all about attitude. 

Cheers and have a blessed week!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

3 Ingredient Turkey Meatballs

One of the very few bonuses to winter in my house is that my family actually gets home cooked meals.  Every year, from June through September, I go on a cooking hiatus.  I do this for two very good reasons:

1.  I refuse to stand in front of a hot stove without central air-conditioning.
2.  I love, love, LOVE to eat out in the summer.  I love to be out.  I love the sunshine and warmth and not having to put my kids in coats and armor to survive the sub-zero temperatures.

It's called "everyone get on your flip flops and get in the car."  Ah, heaven. 

This week, because it's winter and the house is freezing, I cooked up a house favorite.  These Turkey Meatballs make the cut because everyone eats them.  I have two kids who dip the plain meatballs in either barbeque or ketchup, and I have two kids who eat them jazzed up with sauce and mozzerella cheese.  All munchkins eat the warm rolls I add on the side.

And hubby?  He eats them as meatball subs.

Win-win-win.

And me?  I love them because they have only three ingredients.  Simple, easy and delicious.


1 lb ground turkey
Squeeze ketchup (about 2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup plain (or Italian) bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray baking dish with nonstick spray or drizzle olive oil on bottom and set aside.  Using hands, mix all three ingredients in a large bowl.  Shape turkey into 2" balls, and line in a baking dish.  Bake at 400 for 40 minutes until center is done.

Serve with red sauce, plain or make subs.  Add mozzerella cheese and warm rolls.  If you have salad mix serve with a salad.  The possibilities are endless.

Stay warm and remember...it's almost the weekend!


*a much loved repost*

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Progress

Progress. It’s a word I never thought much of until recently.
While sitting at a gymnastics private lesson, I was listening to my daughter’s coach work her through her vault. Vault is her worst event, and I say that because she hasn’t really improved her score in two years. She is good for a solid 8.5 every meet, maybe a little more, maybe a little less. She saw an 8.9 at one meet and I almost fell off my seat. She's kind of "stood still" with her technique. Nothing better, nothing worse.
After one of her many vaults that session, her coach pulled her aside and told her he saw progress. Truthfully I didn’t see too much of a difference in that particular vault, there was a smidge but not much.  
But to him, that’s all that mattered.
He praised her for the progress, no matter how small. He reminded her that’s all he cares about. Progress. That’s it.
Lately I’ve been thinking about that concept. I realize how hard we all are on ourselves. We set these gigantic goals and we ride our kids hard about doing better. Imagine how much more fulfilled we’d be if we focused on the progress instead of the big picture? Leave the big picture for long run and let every day be about the progress.
It’s important to look at the journey, and I know I get too caught up in the end result. This week I started drinking that Detox Water. I eat like garbage, I know I do. And I decided that drinking a few liters of this water a day couldn’t hurt.
Here I am, four days in and I see so much progress. It all stemmed from deciding to drink Detox Water. I stuck with it and in one week I drank about 5 less cans of soda because of that dang water. One small change leads to another. And before you know it you’re accomplishing things.
The key is constantly stepping forward. If you step back twice, step forward three times. We may not see much of a difference, and some people may see nothing.
Remember the vault. I sat there, and my thoughts were “Eh, that was a little better…”
But my daughter’s coach? He pulled her aside and what I heard was, “NOW THAT’S PROGRESS! That’s what I’m looking for! That’s all I care about.”
Progress people. We don’t need to ban sugar and promise to exercise an hour a day til the end of time. We don't need to reorganize and restructure our houses and fight our kids about every little thing they aren't doing.
How overwhelming.
We need one less cookie every afternoon and a walk around the block every night. And when that’s natural? Take away another cookie and add another loop around the block. If your kids are struggling in something? Praise the smallest of accomplishments. If they left fifteen juice pouches in the living room last week focus on the five they cleaned up this week.
When you add up tons of small accomplishments over a stretch of time you see big changes. Focus on the progress, no matter how tiny and small and unnoticeable.  Every night, let's hit the pillow and think about the small changes we made. Instead of thinking of what a miserable failure you were at something, think of what a kick ass job you did of turning down that cupcake.

Progress. It's a pretty cool concept.