It Takes a Village

ymcalogoIn this case it doesn’t take a village of people to raise a child, but a community to help me get fit. My mum was reading my blog and noticed me mention I wanted to get in shape in the new year.

My biggest issues are starting a routine and to be held accountable for working out. It is very, very easy for me to talk myself out of going to the gym or doing some sit ups. It is much easier to put a kettle on for a cup of tea.

So my mom is sponsoring me at the local YMCA.  She added me to her membership plan–Just so long as I use it. Which I fully intend to do!
I don’t so much have a plan yet or a routine. I’m trying to figure out which machines I prefer, the times I can go and when certain classes are being held.

So far, I am really enjoying the general vibe of the gym. There are people like me that are out of shape and just doing their best. There are also folks there that are already in shape and are extremely friendly. That is not something I felt when I went to my university gym. It is nice to think others are happy you are trying rather than trying to show you up or boot you out.

Today makes day three of my membership and day three in a row I will have gone to the gym. So far my plan is working because each time I go I have a buddy to come with me–I am being held accountable for showing up. My mom is an old pro and goes either swimming or lifting about everyday. My arm muscles are sore today from lifting yesterday. Love it and I can’t wait to lift some more on Monday.

Once I settle on a routine I am hoping to incorporate swimming, toning with the weight machines, cardio on the elliptical. I am keen to get into the zumba and yoga classes. Everyone tells me that the spinning classes are done, but I’m still not entirely convinced. I will try.

So can I get some likes to keep it up?
I promise not to share every single detail of my workouts, but if I reach some milestones I’ll share, or if need some encouragement it would be wonderful to find some here from my readers. Besides, over-sharing is for Facebook. I can’t promise I won’t share a gym selfie. hehehe.

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Day 264: Candy Cane Cookies {Recipe Revealed!!}

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Now you can see where I get my hamming-in-photos face.

My mom got inspired by my December Adventivities that she made her own list of activities. She did a lot of pay it forward types of adventivities. Which included volunteering at her church, ringing and singing for Salvation Army and getting a little nostalgic about cooking.

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How do you get nostalgic about baking? Mom hunted down the Betty Crocker Candy Cane Cookie recipe that her mother made one Christmas when she was a little girl.
Like many people from Mom’s generation her mother cooked for the family and didn’t want help in the kitchen. So, to be specific, my mother has fond memories watching and eating these cookies.

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We had a touch of trouble making the cute candy cane shapes because the dough is mostly butter and it got soft very quickly.
we made weird squiggles,  and round button shaped ones.

I forgot to copy the exact recipe my mom used that day but I found this one online and this seems pretty close. You may think these are a peppermint cookie but in fact they are a buttery vanilla and almond cookie. Super yummy.

I found the recipe on Cake Spy.
If you’re the type of person that hates following links then here ya go:

Candy Cane Cookies
-makes about 4 dozen –

Ingredients
1 cup butter 
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
Red food coloring

Procedure
Heat oven to 375 F. Mix butter, sugar, egg, and flavorings thoroughly. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting; mix flour and salt; stir into the wet mixture.
Divide dough in half; blend red food coloring into one half.

Roll a 4-inch strip from each color. For smooth, even strips, roll them back and forth on a lightly floured board. Place strips side by side, press lightly together and twist like rope.
For best results, complete cookies one at a time–if all the dough of one color is shaped first, strips become too dry to twist.

Place on ungreased baking sheet. Curve top down to form the handle of the candy cane.

Note: If you want a variation, you can also place strips side by side and roll them into a spiral and affix small triangles of white dough on either end, to have the look of starlight mints like in the picture on the top of this post!

Bake about 9 minutes, until lightly browned. While still warm, remove from baking sheet with spatula; if desired, sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and/or crushed candy canes.

Day 252: Bookshelf Manger

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While decorating the house, Isabella perched and watched with baited breath. She was watching for anything dangling or low enough to attack.

She was very successful in stalking and taking down parts of our Christmas tree. We low a couple of ornaments to Isabella this year.
Thankfully, all the glass and fragile ornaments were put very high on the tree.

The tiny pieces that make up my manger had to be on some surface she couldn’t get to. The top shelf of the bookcase was my only option. Seriously, she perches on everything.

This manger came from my mom so I have a few special pieces included. When my mom was young she traveled with her parents. One piece in this collection is a hand carved model of Barry the rescue Saint Bernard she bought when she was in Switzerland.
I like to think there was a huge slobbering dog at the birth of Jesus.

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