Dec 31, 2013

Bloggy Distractions

I am still alive.  I have just had some pretty big distractions the past couple weeks, that have kept me from blog entries.  The good news is that I will have plenty of stories and topics for the coming weeks.

In the matter of two weeks we have had:

  • Travel for the holidays (awesome, but definitely a distraction.

  •  I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and put on medication.

  • I am adapting to said medications and am learning which work and which just knock me out into a drugged stupor.

  • We have been without heat since Sunday night and had to purchase a new heater -- which wiped out our savings account (yay, homeownership!)  The men are here to install it now.

  • We had to buy a new heater because our old one was emitting lethal amounts of carbon monoxide. We are all lucky to be alive, which definitely softens the blow of having to clear out our savings.

         (And, yes, we had a carbon monoxide detector.)

So, yes.  It has been an adventure.  I will be back to my usual routine soon -- as soon as my fingers finish thawing out.

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Dec 11, 2013

Festive Favorites Link Up


I am really enjoying the holiday link ups lately.  This one seemed like fun, so I decided to link up with Amber and Jennifer today to discuss my Festive Favorites.  

Favorite Christmas Song:

When it comes to Christmas songs, I am a sucker for the classics.  My all time favorite is 'O Holy Night. There is only a short list of Christmas songs that bring me to tears, but this one does it every time...especially if being sung by a choir.  By the time they get to the "fall on your knees" part, I am a weepy mess.  Silent Night when being sung at church on Christmas Eve also does this to me.  

Christmas song you can’t stand:

I cannot STAND "Hey, Santa" by Wilson Phillips.  Tim and I heard it on Thanksgiving and were laughing about the awfulness that is that song.  Hearing this song makes me almost hate Christmas.  Well, it isn't really THAT is just freakin' awful though...freakin' awful.

Favorite holiday movie:

Anybody who has read any of my blog entries in the past week knows that Christmas Vacation is my all time favorite holiday movie.  It is funny every time I watch it.  I never get sick of Eddie talking about how the shitter is full or about how Audrey's eyes are frozen.  I am looking forward to my yearly viewing of this movie on Saturday.  Can't wait!
Real or artificial tree?

Even from childhood, I have always had a real tree.  This is probably for the best.  I cannot keep plants alive.  I am a murderer.  Plus, I would probably burn the whole house down due to the tree getting too dried out, etc.  It is nice to get a tree out of a box rather than try to tie to to the top of our Prius.  Just sayin'...
White or colored lights?

I prefer colored lights.  They are just so pretty.  I have never decorated with plain white lights.  Don't get me wrong, white lights can be beautiful too...I just like colors more.

We bought the big ass LED lights for our tree last year.  I love the big ones.  It gives it kind of a retro-ish feel.

All matching ornaments or more random personal ornaments?

I love random personal ornaments.  I wrote a whole blog post about just that last week, actually.  I think the random ornaments help tell a story. They are memories.  I love them.
Favorite ornament:

My favorite ornament has to be the last one my grandmother ever purchased for me.  It is so pretty and reminds me of her.

Pretty little silver bells

Angel or star tree-topper?

We have had both, and I like both.  We are using a star now, however.  When we did not have either, we would put a Santa hat on top -- that is also very cute.

Does Santa wrap presents or leave them unwrapped?

Santa wraps his presents.  He is egotistical, so he always must use wrapping paper with pictures of himself on it.  He also tops it off with special Santa Claus gift tags.  

Favorite childhood memory:

Christmas Eve in general was always really special to me.  We would always go to my grandparent's house and open gifts, eat sweet treats, and just enjoy one another's company.  

If I were to pick something specific, I would pick the Christmas morning where my sister and I got a Nintendo.  We had finished opening gifts (or so we thought), and my sister and I were checking out our new stuff.  All of a sudden, from the den, the Super Mario Brothers theme song started playing...loud.  My sister and I ran into the room, and there it was.  We played Super Mario Brothers and Super Mario Brothers 3 for most of them morning...while our parents went back to bed for awhile.  I do not have a copy of it, but my mother actually got a picture of my sister and I running to the Nintendo. Good memories...

Coffee, hot chocolate, or eggnog?

I am going to go with coffee.  I am loving coffee lately -- especially with the fancy International Delights creamers they have on the market now.  YUMMY!

Christmas morning at home or do you travel?

We travel to Indiana.  Santa always visits our house on Christmas Eve morning so that we can have that special time with the kids.  We then travel to see family for Christmas Eve night, Christmas morning, and Christmas day.  
Traditional holiday meal or something unconventional?

I always make a big turkey dinner for lunch on Christmas Eve.  When it comes to Christmas Day, we have dinner at my mother and father-in-law's home.  When we are there we do appetizers.  I love that.  It is kid friendly food and people can just take what they want whenever.  

Personalized photo Christmas cards, store bought cards, e-cards, or “ain’t nobody got time for that”?

For the past couple years, there has always been the IDEA of Christmas cards.  I always have the best of intentions, but they never materialize.  It's nothing personal, my dear friends and family... Maybe next year...

Dec 9, 2013

My Favorite Blogs

I not only write blogs, but I read 'em too!  I have been really behind in my reading the past several weeks because my stress level was extremely high.  When my stress level is extremely high, I tend to shut down. Instead of relaxing on the couch with my laptop before bed time and reading my favorite blogs, I was just falling asleep...because if I am asleep, I do not have have to think about the things upsetting me.

Is this unhealthy? Yes.  I know it is.  Have I dealt with it?  Yes.  I am fine now.  I was in a low place, but I am out of it now and feeling good.  When I got back to reading, I realized how much reading my favorite blogs uplifted me.  Certain blogs can make me laugh and cry -- inspiring me all the while.

That being said, I would like to recommend some of my favorite blogs to read.  A lot of them have to do with weight loss, but that is what inspires me nowadays.  So, anyway, check some of these awesome ladies out...

This is Jacquelyn.  I love her blog. She blogs about more than weight loss.  I actually really enjoy her fashion posts.  I like them because she puts together fantastic looks, but her pieces are from stores that I can afford. Several of her items come from Target, for Pete's sake!  She has given me more reasons for shopping at Target, and for that, I thank husband on the other hand...

No, but seriously, her posts are fun, insightful, and genuine.  At the risk of sounding stalkerish, she feels likes a friend.  Maybe it is because of her honest posts, or maybe because she actually replies to my comments. Either way, she is worth following!


I also really enjoy Jen's blog.  This awesome chick has lost over 100 pounds...the old fashioned way!  I enjoy her posts because not only are the helpful and entertaining, but I can also identify with them 99.9% of the time.  Sometimes it honestly freaks me out a bit, because it feels like her posts come directly from my thoughts.  She is inspirational, funny, and just darned helpful.  Check out some of her recipes and workout tutorials sometime!  She's great!

Against the Grain

Gwen is also great!  She is actually a really cool mentor who has given me a lot of honest advice in reference to nutrition and otherwise.  I love her blog because whether I like it or not (and I most usually like it), I learn from her.  She has some incredible insights and includes some fantastic references for eating clean and just taking care of yourself in general.  Visit Gwen, you will not be sorry!

Operation Skinny Jeans

I am also a big fan of Jess at Operation Skinny Jeans.  She has lost over 50 pounds and is looking great! One thing I really like about Jess is her honesty.  She is just as honest about her struggles as she is her successes.  I appreciate that.  It isn't that I LIKE to read about someone struggling, but it is comforting to know that you are not alone in the world.  


This is Marcy.  I also love her honest look at weight loss.  I also really enjoy her posts about life, in general. Another cool thing is that she lives in my neck of the woods.  It is just nice to read something from a local. She is also funny as heck.  

There are many, many more blogs that I follow, but these are the ones I find myself reading on a regular basis.  I will feature more every now and then.  These ladies did not sponsor me or ask me to feature them. I just felt compelled, because whether they know it or not, they keep me going and inspired.  Do yourself a favor and check these ladies out!  I am so glad I did. 

December Goals

I have this sad trend in my life.  I lie to myself.

This past summer I finally got on a healthy routine.  I was eating the best I have ever eaten in my life.  I was exercising.  I was actually losing weight.  Then, summer ended and I went back to work.

Since then, I have gained weight.  Since then, despite my recent efforts, I have not lost a single darned pound.  I have also not updated my progress page.  My weight has been frozen in time since July 18th. Since July 18th, I have gained 4 pounds.  Now, four pounds is not too shabby when you throw in stress eating since August and Thanksgiving.  It is still not where I wanted to be though.  It is almost like I have this mentality where if I tell myself that everything is GREAT, it will be.  Lies, all lies...  Admitting that things have gone backwards would mean that it is true.  If I don't own up to it, everything is a-ok.  Suuuuuure...

So, I am back to 255 pounds.  It makes me sick.  It is a sad thing to admit, but I know that it is a reality. People who know me and people who have seen me know that I am overweight...and thus have a number on the scale to match.  I could SAY that I weight 199, but that would be bullshit and everyone would know it too.

I am no longer going to do weekly weigh ins for my progress page.  I have decided to do monthly goals instead...monthly goals that I will report back on.  My monthly goals may include a weight, a task, or both.  I will sprinkle in some progress pics as I see fit.

I have decided to do this because I think I start to lie to myself when it comes to the number on the scale. I obsess over that number, and it needs to stop!  That number means nothing if I do not take the steps necessary to earn it.  I know it is kind of a late start to December, but I am still going to make some December goals.  I will report back on my results at the start of January.

Dec 8, 2013


As I mentioned in my Wednesday post last week, I recently finally purchased knee high boots that fit my calves.  I don't know if it is just because they were wide enough and because they are a little stretchy in back, or if it is because my weekly elliptical and running sessions are paying off.  Either way, I will take it!  Anyway, I finally decided to go out in public in my boots this week and wore them to work.  I was so excited that I had my husband photograph the moment.  I know he likely thought I was crazy.  I don't care.  This was the photo...

I decided to crop the photo.  Otherwise you would have seen the the Little Tikes shopping cart (a toy store threw up on my house), the pair of flats I almost wore instead because I almost lost my nerve to wear the boots, and you can see my husbands shoe in the corner.  During the week, I am not the best housekeeper. My schedule is more than hectic...but that, my friends, is another blog entry entirely.

ANYWAY, I saw this photo and I was all, "Dang!  I actually look good!"  I tossed the flats I almost wore to the side, and went to boots.  

I don't even know how to describe the extent to my insecurity.  Notice above where I mentioned almost losing my nerve to wear the boots.  It is true.  Somewhere, somehow, I got it in my head that I do not DESERVE to wear things like that.  Only cute, skinny girls with tiny little legs can wear knee high boots.  I know how ridiculous that sounds, trust me.  It still runs through my mind though.  I even see plus-sized women wearing knee highs and think, "Now SHE looks nice!!  If only I could pull it off."  The truth is, that I could all along.  

It is the same thing with leggings.  I see plus-sized girls wearing leggings and think about how I wish I could also pull of that look.  I got brave this week and wore some black leggings and flats with a tunic sweater.  I left the house thinking that I looked pretty cute.  I got to work and saw my reflection in the front door and thought, "Aw, hell, no!  This was a MISTAKE!"  I then walked in CONVINCED that everyone was staring at my chubby legs.  I carried my lunch bag strategically in front as if to hide them...not at ALL conspicuous. Ugh.  I went through my whole day feeling like this.  Finally, I went to leave and stopped to "pick up" my friend and co-worker so that we could walk to our cars together.  She went on and on about how cute I looked.  What? Seriously? I knew it was true because she is my favorite shopping partner.  She is totally honest with me about how I look in clothes.  Last week we went shopping and I tried on a pair of jeans that were way too big for me.  She said, "Seriously, Courtney? You look like you have a saggy ass in those things."  Ok, so maybe I won't give up on the leggings...  I knew I looked good when I was at home, but there was something about walking into a public place where others could see me that messed with my head.

Throughout my whole life I have felt like I should hide in my clothes.  I wear lots of black, grey, and navy blue.  Patterns are not part of my repertoire.  Bright colors? Hell, no!  All of those things will surely just draw attention me and the fact that I am fat!  I want to fade into the wallpaper.  I have decided that it is time that I get over that mentality.  This is not going to be easy for me.  I have thought this way for well over 20 years.  I have made some steps in the right direction though.

Yesterday, I went out shopping and purchased a dress on clearance for myself.  I would have NEVER tried this on before because there is a (gasp!) pattern.  By the way, if you like this dress, buy it in the store.  It is on the clearance racks there (not so on the website).  With the in-store discount, plus the clearance price, I got this dress for under $20.  BOOYAH!!

I have not taken a pic of me wearing it yet...sorry.  I do plan to pair it with a black cardigan though.  My arms are not ready to meet the world yet, plus it is WINTER in OHIO.  Arms must be covered. It looks cute though.  Heck, I may even pair it with my new boots!

I also just ordered this dress from Kiki LaRue.  I feel like I am the last person in the bloggy world to order from there.  I have been secretly drooling over multiple articles of clothing on that website for months now.  I finally ordered this...

This is a shorter dress, but I plan to pair it with leggings and flats...possibly even a cardigan on the colder days.  I am still waiting for it to arrive on my door step, so we will see...  I hope it looks the way I hope it will.

Anyway, I am a work in progress.  It isn't just about my weight, it is about how I present matter what stage of my weight loss I am in.  I don't want to fade into the wallpaper.  Not anymore.  

I am linking up with Motivation Monday this new outlook on things is very motivating to me!

Wendy @ Daily Dose of Del Signore
Veronica @ V Watts' Thoughts
Morgan @ Fat to Fit Confessions
Tiff @ The Fit Train
Katie @ The Carb Monster
Alisha @ Coily Locks

So the Heck What Wednesday!!

It's that time again!!!  So what if...


I have not wrapped a single Christmas gift yet.  I am saving it for this weekend.  I don't know why I do this to myself.  I stock pile all gifts and then am swimming in a sea of gift boxes, paper, etc.  I cannot count how many times I lose my tape, scissors, and marker.  I think have to get up and search under everything...only to realize I was holding it in my hand the whole time.  I am awesome.


My free personal training session is this evening.  When I signed up for my gym, I got one free session.  I am looking forward to getting some advice in my workouts.  Since I have joined, I have stuck mainly to cardio machines.  I stare longingly at the weights section, but do not venture over, because I have no clue how to use the machines properly.  I am going to make sure she teaches me.  


I have a coffee drinking problem.  I have been like a half a pot a day at work.  This is a lot for me.  It tastes good on these cold days though.  


My kids watch the most irritating cartoons ever!  They choose this awful cartoon called Courage the Cowardly Dog on Netflix and they watch the SAME episodes on repeat.  It grinds my gears.  Oh well, I am sure there is something that I was obsessed with as a kid that my parents hated.  Karma is a bitch.


I need new glasses and keep putting off going to the optometrist...mainly cause I lack vision insurance.  It's only my eyes, right?  Just kidding.  I plan to get on the ball soon.  


It is only the 2nd week in December and I am already sick of Winter.  OVER IT!


I have been seriously considering going back to school to earn my doctorate in higher education.  I am skeeeered though.  Some day I will take the plunge and just do it.


I have run out of things for the day.  Happy Wednesday!!

Dec 6, 2013

Christmas Traditions Link Up


I am a little late to the party, but I decided to join  Holly and Amy today with the Christmas Traditions link up.  I had a post ready that I thought I had published, and it did not work.  I would hate to put a post to waste, so here is my look at Christmas traditions -- just a day late!

Tradition has been a part of the Christmas season for me for a long time.  My parents always had tradition for us, and I have made every effort to create it for my own children also.  Traditions don't even have to rooted in creativity or anything like that.  Sometimes they are totally random.  My first tradition is a prime example

Filet 'O Fish

As a child, on Christmas Eve, my family and I would ALWAYS eat at McDonald's.  We would also ALWAYS eat Filet 'O Fish sandwiches. The reason?   Well, I am not sure about the fish sandwich part, but on Christmas Eve my family and I would always go to the children's mass at church and then drive about an hour and a half to my grandparent's house for Christmas Eve festivities.  We had to eat on the run.  It may seem silly, but even as I grew up, I still had a McDonald's fish sandwich at least once per year. 

Andy Williams Christmas Album

Listening to Andy Williams' Christmas album was a necessity.  We listened to that CD on repeat throughout the holiday season.  I feel sorry for anyone who has not had Andy Williams in their life at Christmas.  I was soooo excited a few years ago when Tim bought his Christmas albums on vinyl.

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story:  My dad and I always had to watch this movie at Christmas time.  This was BEFORE it was played on TBS for 24 hours straight.  We took it so seriously that one Christmas I wanted a keyboard and we got through all the presents and no keyboard.  My dad pulled a "Christmas Story" moment and pulled the keyboard out of a hiding place behind the couch.  I was so excited.  I didn't get a Red Rider gun, and I surely wasn't going to shoot my eye out playing my keyboard, but it was a great memory.

Christmas Eve

The kids on Christmas Eve last year

Christmas Eve has always been my favorite.  The anticipation of Santa arriving, quality time with family...nothing beats it!  

I always wake up early on Christmas Eve and make big turkey lunch/dinner for us at home.  I love to cook and Christmas Eve is the perfect day for something a little more special.  In the evening, we all get dressed up and make the drive to Connersville, Indiana for Christmas Eve with my grandfather, his wife, and my parents, sister, aunt, uncle, and cousin.  We "feast" on snacks and sweets.  We open gifts.  It is always very special.  It is not the same since Grandma passed away, but it is still a tradition that we all hold dear.

Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights

We are zoo members, so we go multiple times each season.  It is festive it is fun.  We all love it!  It is a great family event. 

Fort Wayne, Indiana Santa

We go see this every year on Thanksgiving night.  It is this HUGE Santa in LED lights which is on the side of a building downtown.  His sleigh and reindeer are included, but it was far too big for me to get in one shot without walking across the street...and it was cold...and dark...and when this picture was taken, I did not have panoramic pictures on my phone.

Christmas Tree and Village

What happens when Darcy hangs ornaments-- all in one spot!  

Our mantle this year

The Christmas tree, at least, is a given.  The village is a tradition that my mother started in our home when I was a kid.  I loved it.  When I got married, my grandmother and mother purchased me my very first pieces. My mother-in-law continued to purchase me some pieces.  I have several more pieces than featured on my mantle right now, but I ran out of room.  I have my favorites up and try to rotate them out each year. 

Christmas Vacation

BEST. CHRISTMAS. MOVIE. EVER!! I know I already talked about a move in the beginning, but oh well.   I watch this every single year while wrapping Christmas gifts.  I cannot wait until my kids are old enough to watch this movie and appreciate it.  If they do not like it, I just don't know what I will do.  My dad and I went to see this movie together when it came out in theaters.  He took me for a special night of Christmas shopping, dinner, and a movie.  This was the movie.  It was the best night ever.  I got quality time with dad, I bought my mother a tacky as hell sweatshirt that she pretended to like and buried in her dresser (can't say I blame her), and saw a Christmas movie classic.  Maybe the memories behind the movie are why it is so important to me.  It is damn hilarious though.  Where's the tylenol!!

Dec 4, 2013

So What Wednesday

Here goes another installment...So what if...

  1. There is a winter storm coming.  I drive an hour to work each way.  My school district hardly ever cancels school.  I have every intention have having a self-imposed snow day on Friday if the weatherman speaks da troof.
  2. I am sitting on the couch fully dressed for the gym and am doing this instead.  I really am going to get off my ass.
  3. I am way behind on laundry again. What else is new?
  4. My coffee addiction has gotten out of control.  I have my own coffee maker in my office now and have found myself drinking a half a pot by lunch.  It just tastes so good and I have been so sleepy in the mornings lately.
  5. I FINALLY found a new pair of black flats for work.  I wear flats nearly every day and my old ones have holes in them.  I look homeless.  I went shopping all afternoon and part of the evening on Saturday and found NOTHING that I liked.  I finally decided to be brave and ordered online.  I got them today and they FIT.  Thank GOD.  
  6. It is the prime of college application deadline season and I am exhausted.  I have never filled out so many fee waivers, written so many letters of recommendation, and stuffed so many envelopes in all my life.  These kids will thank my some day, I am sure. :)
  7. I FINALLY got a pair of knee high boots!!  It isn't cause my legs have slimmed is because I found some with stretchy material on the back.  I kinda feel like I cheated, but they FIT.
  8. I have 2 on here about shoes.  Got a problem with that? 

Dec 2, 2013

Carrie's Feta Dip

I cannot take any credit whatsoever for the recipe that is featured in today's post.  My sister, Carrie, brought this to our family Thanksgiving as an appetizer.  It was DELICIOUS.   I made some and added it to my menu for the week, so I decided to share.

  • 8 ounces of feta cheese.
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • olive oil
  • Greek salad dressing

  • Coat the bottom of a dish with olive oil.  I used about 3 tablespoons.
  • Crumble feta cheese and place in the dish.
  • Seed and chop tomatoes and toss in the bowl.
  • Chop green onions and toss in also.
  • Drizzle about 2 Tablespoons of Greek salad dressing over the top and toss together.

It will look like this:

My lovely sister served this with slices of baguette.  It was super good that way.  However, since I am trying to stay away from flour and grains, I plan to eat this with chicken.  (I had a carb binge over Thanksgiving and I felt like complete CRAP!)  

For dinner this week, I purchased a large package of chicken breasts.  I plan to grill up some chicken and top with a serving of this dip for dinner.  I don't even things sides are necessary.  If I do pair with a side, it will be green veggies.

Nutrition Information: 
Servings: 8

Calories:  141
Fat:  12
Carbs: 4
Protein: 5

Dec 1, 2013

Our Little Tree

Traditionally, like many families, we put up our Christmas tree and other holiday decorations the weekend following Thanksgiving.  There is always tradition involved and memories are always created.  Something really just dawned on me this year as I was trying to hand ornaments out for the kids to place on the tree.  It occurred to me what an interesting story our tree tells.  Some people (and it is fine if you are one of these people) have this uniform theme to their tree.  Our theme is friends and family.

As I was handing out ornaments, for most of them I could pinpoint exactly who gave us the ornament or the story behind it.  Some of these people are old friends, some new, and some have passed on.  A little memory of them hangs on our tree and I find that so cool.

Here are some of the highlights...

I made this ornament in preschool in 1983.  Yes, it is missing an eye.  But a cyclops Rudolph adds that extra little bit of character, right?  Homemade ornaments are essential.  I hope to add many many of these to my tree in the coming years as Darcy and Aidan make their way through school.

Our giant M&M Ornament --  Tim and I bought this ornament during our honeymoon in Las Vegas.  We did not make a ton of souvenir purchases, but this ornament from the M&M store on the Vegas strip was one of them!  

Our second Christmas as a married couple, Tim and I decided that it was absolutely necessary that we go out and buy the DVD version of Christmas Vacation.  Best. Christmas. Movie. EVER.  But I digress... As part of the DVD package, we got this extra gift ornament.  It is tacky.  It is made of thick cardboard.  It is just plain silly, but it has become an absolute necessary part of our Christmas tree.  The tree is not finished, until the Griswold house graces the branches.

When our kitty cats were our only babies, we found it necessary for them to have their own little stockings. We had no fireplace to hang them on, so we decided to hang them on the Christmas tree instead.  I wrote their names playfully (with backwards letters and everything...) with a Sharpie.  We now have a mantle for stockings, but we have human children now.  Therefore, the stockings still have a place on the tree.  We have also purchased one for our dog, Josie.

My family never had the tradition of placing a robin in the branches of the tree, but Tim's family did.  This tree brings all our traditions together, so now this little robin gets a prime spot every year.

This ornament is one of my favorites.  It is one of the last ornaments that my late grandmother purchased for me.  This picture does not do it much justice, but it is a dainty set of sparkly, silver bells.  I always put this one at the top of the tree.  I think of her every time I look at it.

Every year, Tim and I purchase a special ornament for each of the kids.  It usually focuses on their interests during that time.  When the kids are grown and have trees of their own, I plan to give them their ornaments so that they never have an empty Christmas tree.  Last year, Darcy's obsession was Rapunzel.  

Here is one of Aidan's special ones.  It was a gift to him last year.  Very appropriate for my little karate master. 

Here is Tim and the kids decoration our little tree.  Some day we will hopefully have a living room big enough for a larger tree.  This one will do for now though.  The top side of the tree looks flattened, and I discovered that it was because there were too many ornaments there holding the branches down.  Fixed now!

I love the holidays and this type of thing is exactly the reason why.  I hope that you and yours had a blessed Thanksgiving and continue to have a beautiful holiday season -- filled with memories just like these.


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