Monday, November 22, 2010

Give Thanks

It's nearly Thanksgiving and I'm counting the days. I love the smells of the turkey slowly roasting in the oven, the spices of the pumpkin, the baked bread smell of the stuffing...I love watching the Macy's parade in the morning, as cheesy as it is...I love having a day that's just about being together. It's kind of surprising to me that I love Thanksgiving so much, considering I don't really like turkey or pumpkin pie, I don't care about the football game (especially not this year, Vikings!), and I know too much about the true history of the first Thanksgiving to feel very warm and fuzzy about the origins of this holiday.
But still, I find a way to appreciate the parts of it that I love, and I guess that's really what the message of Thanksgiving is. We find something in our lives to appreciate and be thankful for, and for one day (or hopefully more), that's what we choose to focus on. Forget the checking account balance, the weather, the project at work, or the funny noise your car just started to make. Forget all that, and be thankful. Thankful that you have more food than you could possibly eat, thankful that you have loved ones to share it with, thankful that the car making funny noises will-probably- get you home safely, and thankful that you have a home to return to. With a cat in it who is very happy to see you and your leftover turkey!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin!

I wish I could take credit for this one, because it is brilliant! This photo is of my son this morning, with his gift from the Great Pumpkin. Let me tell you all about it...
I was at my "book" club (loosely termed because we rarely actually read a book!) last week and we were all lamenting the vast amounts of candy that our kids still had stashed away from Halloween. How to get rid of it? Throw it out while they're at school? (Seems dishonest.) Donate it? (That one always sounded to me like passing along my problem to someone else.) Then someone piped up, "Well, haven't you heard of the Great Pumpkin?" We all agreed we'd heard of it from the Charlie Brown cartoon, but so what? How does that help us get rid of gobs of candy? So she told us that the Great Pumpkin comes in the night, like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny-- they all hang out together and share the same MO-- but in order to get something from the Great Pumpkin, you have to give him all of your Halloween candy! In exchange, he leaves you a small gift. I love it!!!!
So, I proposed this to my son, and he was all over it immediately, like I knew he would be. He likes candy, but he likes toys much better. So, what to give for the gift? I think the best way to do this is to buy something that you had already planned to give for Christmas. That way, you're not spending more money on yet another toy. My son had asked for this Lego Advent Calendar a few weeks ago, and I was planning to get it for him as an early Christmas gift, so it fit the bill perfectly. We let him open Door #1 this morning, so he would have something to play with, and you can see the little snowman there in front of the box. So, we have the advent calendar and NO candy!!! It's a beautiful thing!
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Candy Train to Easter

I once heard someone say that Halloween is the first car of the candy train to Easter. For those of us who are following a healthy lifestyle and slimming down, this can sound terrifying. I imagine a big, bloated back train huffing out gobs of candy from its smoke stack (this is an old train!) and me gaining 5 pounds as each car goes by. Yikers!

So, I'm making a plan. I'm preparing myself and my family for the sugar rush that is the holidays and trying to think up ways to have fun, participate in all of it, yet not hate myself in the morning.
Since opting out is not an option, I'll tell you how I'm planning to enjoy the ride.

First of all, I'm going to keep temptation to a minimum. With Halloween, I didn't buy my favorite candy to had out to the kids. Too hard not to need to "sample" it. And test it. And make sure there's no razors in it. Aaaaand maybe just one more sample. Yeah.

Once the trick or treaters were done for the night, I got rid of all the leftover candy. I packed it up and told my husband to take it to work the next day. I could have taken it to my office, but I didn't even want it that close to me! So, off it went to wreak havoc on someone else's hips.

Now, we just have the 10-lb. bag of candy that my son collected to deal with. For some reason, I'm not tempted by it. I had a few pieces on Halloween, and that's it. I let him have a piece in his lunch, a piece when he gets home from school along with something healthy, and a piece after dinner. Once the candy is a few weeks old, we'll either throw what's left away or take it to Lifetime Fitness. I hear they have a box where you can donate your leftover candy and they will send it to the troops overseas.

As for the run-up to Christmas, as much as I love the smell of baking cookies, I'm just not going to go there this year. It's not worth it. I know I'll get plenty of treat temptation other places; I don't need to have it in my own kitchen.

This battle of the bulge is really aptly named. Sometimes it does feel like a war. It's amazing how much junk there is out there that can derail a perfectly good diet. Instead of the candy train, I'm taking the healthy eating and exercising train. It's not glamorous, but damn it will feel good to go bathing suit shopping come Spring!