I am currently blogging about everything. Jump in where you are and thanks for coming by!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bourbon Slush Drink

Okay, I accidentally invented a cocktail tonight, we can call it Christmas Bourbon Slush, because I made it at Christmas time. It is a cool and icy drink, but when you have Christmas so close to the equator, sometimes a cool drink is a must.


2 ea. teabags (regular size)
1 c Boiling water
1/2 c Sugar
1/2 can(s) orange juice, frozen concentrate (large can)
1/2 can(s) lemon juice concentrate (large can)
1/2 c Bourbon (I use Elijah Craig, but any will do)
1/4 c Sweet Tea Vodka (I used Seagram's, but whatever)
1 c water, boiling

I legitimately tried to follow the recipe from Just A Pinch but I left out about 2 3/4 c of water overall and I added the sweet tea vodka, but mostly because I had never made this before and forgot the step of adding additional water. Also I REALLY wanted to try that sweet tea vodka.

Brew the tea bags in the cup of boiling water. Mix hot tea with sugar in a large glass measuring cup. Add the frozen juice concentrates plus the alcohol and stir to combine. Freeze in the measuring bowl, stopping every 15-30 minutes or so to stir the slush as it sits in the coldest part of your freezer. Scoop some slush into a cup to serve and top off with a lemon lime soda such as Sprite or 7UP. Yummy festive slushy punch!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Crunch

I just survived the busiest weekend I will have this holiday season. Friday night was spent in a flurry of activity, building sets and completing tech work for my daughter's recital. I baked for the bake sale that goes along with the holiday show, packed and prepped her for the show, drove there, helped with props and then I ran some tech stuff at her matinee all with able and good natured assistance from my husband. He seriously deserves a medal for all he did this weekend. I have to leave elder child with other mothers who can feed her and help her get ready for her evening performance, because Hubby and I are on our way to his office holiday Christmas party. You know you're tired when you want to duck out of a luau BEFORE the fire dancer comes out. But we rallied and stayed till the end. Got home around 11 p.m. to find our

elder daughter, still stoked from her performance and having an unexpected sleep over with a cousin and cousin's new dog, AWAKE and watching a movie. We put the girls to bed.

Wake up around 6:30 the next morning, to dress and get ready for an all day trip to Disney World. A trip that had been planned MONTHS in advance before we knew there was going to be holiday parties and dance recitals.

I really wish I had a Fitbit or other type of pedometer. I could have used the one on my phone, but I was hoarding battery life so that I could use my camera and text location information to my husband. We have a good system for the lines at Disney (thankfully very few yesterday!) I wait in the line and hold our spots, while he takes the girls to get pictures with characters or ride another ride with a shorter line. Another way we divvy up responsibility is that he does NOT do spinning rides (Tea Cups, Dumbo, even the carousel) but I do all of them with the kids, my inner ears don't bother me. While we are on the stomach churning spinning rides he runs ahead and gets Fast Passes for other rides for us. Anyhow, I am pretty sure we ended up walking just MILES yesterday and I'd love a pedometer to tell me exactly how far we traveled.

Do you use a pedometer? Do you use it just when you are explicitly exercising or do you use it every day to see how far you walk?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hey guess what?

I'm back! Just in time to start school up again in the Spring, after 6 months or so of working at our law firm, taking up MARCHING BAND (I play the cymbals now, yo!) and getting a dog, things have been amazingly busy!

And of course, if you celebrate it, Christmas is right around the corner. And New Year's! My resolution this year is to write more, exercise more joyfully, and appreciate what I have. I will be back to posting full time again soon, but for now let's have some fun.

You know you're going to hear 45 different versions of "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" this year (and probably hate every single one of them except for Brenda Lee's.) But you know what I like? Sad Christmas songs, or maybe not even sad, moody and atmospheric Christmas music. Sometimes Christmas with all of its forced gaiety and expectation of joy can underline the depression a lot of people feel in the winter, either because of SAD or they miss someone near and dear or perhaps the holidays just aren't a happy time for them.

Sad Christmas music makes me feel less alone.

Here are two of my favorites, first off Leigh Nash's version of Hard Candy Christmas a song originally sung by Dolly Parton and the cast of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Leigh Nash is of course, the former lead singer of everyone's favorite peppy, indie Christian band, Sixpence None the Richer.

The of course there is the classic song, River, originally by Joni Mitchell. My favorite version is by Robert Downey Jr and Vonda Shepherd from the album "A Very Ally Christmas" which may be the best Christmas album I've ever heard. No, seriously, a great mix of upbeat and moody Christmas classics.

Fight it out in the comments.

This post, apparently, brought to you by the 90's and my teens and 20's.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Busy Bee

One of the ways I have been busy these last few months has been in helping my husband to open our law firm. I KNOW!!! It is terribly exciting to go to school full time, shuttle the kids from school to activities and help out in a law firm, but such is the fabulous social whirl of my life. You know what, aside from the actual running around has proven to be a big workout? Relearning how to walk in heels!

Now, I used to be a PRO at walking in heels. I was lucky enough to be raised by drag queens, so my training was thorough. Men walking in heels think about how to do it more than women do, I was told to walk more on my toes, suck in my stomach, walk from the knees instead of the hips. I had a pretty good "Sashay, Shante" in the late 90's, but a long fallow period of sneakers and flip-flops followed. I realize I have somewhat lost the knack since then. I don't know if it is actually good for you to walk in heels, but I always felt like "workout tired" after a long day of wearing them.

According to Jessica Kofoid in her article, "Walking in High Heels: The Physics Behind the Physique" I am correct, as Kofoid says, "High-heeled shoes are a classic way to enhance appearance because they create a classic poise and walk. They are able to transform the body to move in a provocative way mainly because they shift the center of gravity and cause the body to use more muscle and movement to maintain balance." (Emphasis mine)

So while I probably shouldn't wear high heels every day because Oh Em Gee, my back would break in half I think, at least I take comfort in the idea that wearing heels from time to time is giving me an unexpected calf and torso work out. It's science!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Summer fun!

I am taking a bit of a social media break, but I am going to get back to posting here daily. School's out for summer and here in Florida that means lots of beach and pool days, boating, fishing, snorkeling and even flat land hiking. This summer also means that I am saying good bye or sayonara to some dear friends who are deploying to Japan! They have promised to send my girls some Hello Kitty souvenirs, but I am hoping they will ALSO send us some fabulous

POPIN COOKIN toy candies!

Have you ever seen such a thing?! I find it mesmerizing in the extreme!

See you on the flip side, y'all and check out the Emmymade in Japan blog too!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stairway to Heaven

Started school this week. The campus is HUUUUUUUUUGE. Parking is sort of a nightmare too, but I have to drive to school, so I do what most people do, which is park in the first available space and then hoof it to the building where you need to be. Also, the campus has some old buildings that contain some rickety and unreliable elevators; that means I have been going up and down the stairs a lot.

Do you ever feel embarrassed that you huff and puff at the top of the stairs? Well, in orientation I was grouped with a bunch of fit-looking 20 year olds and let me tell you, when we got to the top of the stairs they were sucking air too! So, I did a little research, according to Dr. Harvey Simon associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School,
What’s so special about climbing stairs? Researchers in Canada answered the question by monitoring 17 healthy male volunteers with an average age of 64 while they walked on the level, lifted weights or climbed stairs. Stair climbing was the most demanding. It was twice as taxing as brisk walking on the level and 50 percent harder than walking up a steep incline or lifting weights. And peak exertion was attained much faster climbing stairs than walking, which is why nearly everyone huffs and puffs going upstairs, at least until their “second wind” kicks in after a few flights.

So there ya go, stair climbing is a wonderful, but strenuous cardiovascular exercise. Take a flight or two until you build your strength up and keep a slow, but steady pace. And most of all, don't be upset if you huff and puff, literally everyone does unless they have been doing regular stair climbing training.

Um, also? Maybe wear sensible shoes too.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Taking the First Step

So I, um, applied to college. And I got in. It was all sort of random and last minute; as is everything I ever do. I have been thinking about college for a long time, but it was not something I had taken any concrete steps towards. We lacked money, time and for five years we lived too far from any accredited 4 year universities. So for a long while college was just an idea and then it seemed like this week it suddenly became a reality. I spent the last five days attending orientations, meeting advisers, finding buildings, parking garages, the Student ID center, the Student Union and finally a temporary ice skating rink where my children and husband were waiting for me. Today I had to hit 3 book stores to find all of my books and supplies for school, so a lot more walking there. Judging by my handy-dandy college map I actually walked several miles this week. I also got in a pretty nice walk while my daughter was at math tutoring.

Needless to say the cool but comfortable weather made all of that pretty lovely exercise, actually.

If you are in a climate where the weather is not conducive to being outside, how can you get in your daily walk? There are some neat alternatives! Of course if you have a treadmill, you are set already, just jump on and go. Do you have a stair case in your home? Great! You get to walk and climb, increasing your aerobic fitness at the same time. No stairs? How about a single step, perhaps leading to a porch or garage? Then you have a place to do some step aerobics to any fabulous songs on your iPod. No steps at all? How about setting a timer and simply walking around your living room for 15 minutes several times a day? If you work at home simply set a reminder alert to take a walk around the house. Return phone calls while you pace in the kitchen. Wear a pedometer and you will AMAZE yourself with the number of steps you are able to take in a day. There are even some free pedometer apps you can use on your smartphone! Park a little further back in the parking lot, go up and down every aisle of the grocery store, take the stairs instead of the elevator at the office, set aside 15 minutes of every lunch break to walk the hallways, you can get a surprising amount of movement in each day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I'm Back (from outer space)

Or really I am back from the mountains of North Carolina, which for a Florida girl like me might as well be the ice planet of Hoth. I swear I saw a Tauntaun on the road to Boone... anyhow. I am back.

I took a break from writing and WORSE a break from working out because of illness, holiday stress, ILLNESS, travel and did I say *illness*? It was sort of a vicious cycle thing, the kids would get sick, I'd get them better, then I'd get sick. In fact I celebrated the closing weeks of 2012 by getting a migraine. For the first time in 20 years I might add. I was vomiting from the pain it was so intense. The "hangover" from the pain was so bad I felt the next day like I had recovered from a severe stomach bug.

I am back to exercising though. Today was a weird day for working out; running, screaming and hiding like a fool in an empty storage facility. A classic work out? No, but super-duper fun one that my kids enjoyed. My poor husband had to be the grown up and put away the items we needed to put away while the kids and I raced around the empty hallways. I even put my 10 year old on a handcart and pushed her around. I will be capping the night by making my bed. Oh... that's not a workout you say? What if I tell you I have already stripped the bed down to the mattress pad, washed the sheets, fluffed the pillows in the dryer and I am flipping the king-sized mattress? Have YOU ever flipped a mattress? Well, you should, at least twice a year! Preferably, you do it in the following manner...

*Step One: Strip the bed. Remove all sheets, pillows, blankets, pillow shams, dust ruffles, pillow cases, stuffed animals, random pajama pieces, socks that come off in the night, remote controls, spare iPhone chargers, and other assorted detritus.

*Step Two: Put the stripped pillows in the dryer on high for 30 minutes. The pillows will re-fluff, refresh and be free of dust mites when you get them back. Have you ever seen a dust mite? Crank the dryer to 40 minutes just to be sure they are all dead. Consider to sleeping on a book, brick or other dust mite unfriendly surface.

*Step Three: Wash the mattress pad in hot water (unless otherwise directed by the care label). Whilst the pad is washing vacuum the mattress, top and sides. If you have the strength or a helper or two flip the mattress at this point, looking out for furniture, ceiling fans, children, small pets, breakables, large pets, and especially glasses of water you have left abandoned on the night stand. And for goodness sake replace the dust ruffle at this point, otherwise you will cry later. Or you could just invest in a bed spread that reaches to the ground. Ponder that.

Step Four: Take the steaming hot pillows from the dryer and put the mattress pad in. Was the sheets and pillow cases in hot water (unless otherwise directed by the care label). Dry on hot too if you can. I usually wash in cold water, but all sheets and stuff can benefit from a once in a while steaming. :)

Step Five: Make the bed up with sheets and pillows, while you was the blanket or spread if necessary. Since my husband has dust allergies I always purchase a washable spread and shams, but your may need dry cleaning. Plan accordingly.

Step Six: Finish making the bed. Lay down for a minute on your nice, neat, immaculately clean bed because a good workout always includes a cool down.

Today I also stopped by a friend's house to see her and hang out for a few minutes. As I left I asked if I could borrow her precious, precious T-Tapp DVDs. I have been doing T-Tapp off and on, well, mostly OFF since the last century. Seriously. And when I do T-tapp faithfully I do increase my flexibility, strength, and cardio endurance. I can FEEL myself getting stronger. The downside is that I usually experience a significant amount of inch and weight loss.

That's a downside? Well, yeah. (Content Note: discussion of disordered eating and exercise habits) I have discussed here before how weight and inch loss usually triggers unhealthy behaviors in me, either I begin obsessively dieting and exercising or I will eat a terrifying amount of food. I literally find myself thinking compulsively about either when my next exercise is going to happen or when my next meal is or both.

Anyhow, I am dusting off the old DVDs and giving them a spin. I really do like the wonderful muscle-y way my body reacts to Teresa Tapp's blend of cardio, flexibility and strength training moves. I mean, 2 weeks in and usually I can see "cuts" in my arms from newly found muscle definition. I mean, usually muscle definition for me is, "muscle: n. A band or bundle of fibrous tissue in a human or animal body that has the ability to contract, producing movement in or maintaining the position of parts of the body." :)

In other news hubby and I made a terrific New Year's Day dinner. We used a pork cut called a pork sirloin roast, rubbed all over with salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary from the garden. We made vegetarian collard greens, from The Food Network, we usually omit the red pepper flakes and the tomatoes are optional. We also made the lucky black eyed peas, remember not to add salt until the beans are cooked through so they do not become tough. I also add in onions, garlic, celery, and chopped carrots so that the bean broth is rich and flavorful. I also invented a new cornbread recipe. I used 2 C of self rising corn meal mix to which I added 1/3 C of greek yogurt, 1 C of milk, 2 TB of mayonnaise, 1 large egg and 1/4 C of oil. Beat all together until you have a pourable but thick batter and then pour into a pre-heated, pre-greased iron skillet. Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. It was delicious!