Sunday, December 16, 2012

Let's Get Awesome: Tear Off Sheets

I am doing my best to put some thought, right now, into my new years resolution and how I might motivate myself.

Let's Get Awesome!

I am not trying to lose a specific amount of weight and I am not training for a particular race.  I just want to exercise more.  I have been reading about Blue Zones and it strikes me that the one place I fall down is not walking everywhere.  I am not in a position to relocate my life all to one walkable work/life location right now, so I want to at least get up reasonably and walk or run or bike or do some yoga or whatever.

Enter my new idea: Tear Off Get Awesome Sheets.

Me and my son crossing the finish line at a 5k
I really can exercise!  Seriously!
The thing is, I have a hard time making the choice to go run for a half hour when I could be sitting around or baking cookies or doing something else.  In an effort to motivate myself, I have entered into a pact with one of my friends.

The Get Awesome Gift Pact

  1. Find a friend and set a budget
  2. Buy each other a specific amount of presents (we are doing 6) during the post-Christmas holiday sales
  3. Wrap the gifts super tight so that your friend cannot tell what you got her and exchange gifts
  4. Print out your tear off sheets linked to this post, or make your own!
    1. Pages has a template for flyers.  I assume MS Word does as well.  
  5. Cut the bottom little flaps so that you have 10 easy-to-tear-off strips of paper and post it somewhere you will see it.  
    1. I'm putting this on my fridge or maybe my calendar. 
  6. Every time you exercise or do whatever life affirming activity you are doing, tear off a strip.  When you get to 5, open a present!  
For my sheets, when you get to five, you get a present. am doing 3 sets of sheets, with 10 items on each sheet.  This is ENTIRELY because I use Pages (the Mac document creator) and there's a template that has 10 tear off strips on the bottom, and I like getting a perk halfway through.  We are going to do 6 gifts each so that we can print 3 sheets.

My friend is not sure if she wants to exercise or do something else, so I am including two templates.  One for my exercising.  Each unit is either 30 minutes running, 45 minutes biking, or an hour of yoga.
The other is for life affirming activities.  For some people, that might be "getting out to coffee without my kids" or "going on a date with my husband" or "taking my car to the car wash because I love it" or "spending an hour crocheting that blanket I've been working on".  Whatever works for you.  

Get Fit

I think this is fab for a few reasons:
  • There's no time limit or constraints.  
    • If you wanted to run on Thursday but Thursday ended up sucking, take a break.  Run whenever you have some time that weekend.  Your reward is waiting for you.
  • After Christmas sales are awesome and full of cute little things to gift each other.
  • You are helping a friend.     
  • It's motivating and fun and mysterious.  
    • What is in that little cylindrical one, anyway?  Man, I have to know!  I'm going to run four days this week.  
If gifts are not your thing or you and your friend are strapped for cash, you can give your friend cards with permission to do things for herself. I know it sounds silly, but being able to say "hey, Connie told me I got to have a 20 minute bubble bath today" to your partner or kids totally works.   I authorize you one trip to the library and get a new book.  Permission to paint your toenails hot pink with black polka dots.  Whatever you think she'd like.  

So that's my crazy idea.  Thanks to Pages for having an easy to edit flyer template and thanks to Vintage Printables for having free clip art I used for the flyers linked here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Peppermint Pretzel Bark

You guys, I made some awesome candy bark thing!!!

I was reading a magazine of Christmas Cookies, on account of how I am addicted to buying magazines and then mucking up the recipes.  But anyway, my mom is allergic to nuts, so I was looking for recipes without nuts and there was a Thin Mint Bark recipe, but that wasn't quite what I wanted, so I doctored it up to be Peppermint Pretzel Bark!  It was super easy, too.

Here's (most) of the cast of characters:

MISSING: Some milk chocolate chips, see below
  • 1 bag of Hershey's mint chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of Sharfen Berger semisweet chocolate chips
  • about 2 cups of pretzels (I like the ones that are little squares kinda)
  • about a cup of peppermint candies - pulsed in the food processor.  
    • If you don't have a food processor, you can also put them in a zip top bag and crush them with a rolling pin
  • half a bag of milk chocolate chips 
You can also add a bit of shortening to the chocolate if you like, when you're melting it.  It makes it shinier, but I kinda didn't care so much about that.  I did use some butter to coat the bottom of my jelly roll pan.

Line a jelly roll pan with foil and rub it down with butter or spray it with nonstick spray, then cover with a layer of pretzels.

In 3 separate bowls, microwave each of the bags of chocolate chips for about 2 and a half minutes on high, stopping to stir every 45 seconds or so.  At some point, you'll still see a bunch of the shape of the chips but they'll melt when you stir.  When you get to that point, you have another 15 or so seconds to go and then you're done.

btw - if you can't find mint chocolate chips, you can stir in about a teaspoon of mint extract to 1 of the bowls of chocolate, but do this after it's done microwaving.  Don't overdo it.  

Start by glopping the dark chocolate onto the pretzels, kinda randomly.
see, kinda randomly?

Then do the mint chocolate.  Same thing, but try to get a good coating.
see?  at this point, I realized I needed more chocolate, so I bust out the milk chocolate.
So then do the last chocolate.
This looks pretty well coated.

At this point, you are going to take a thin spatula and start to smooth it all out, so you are completely covering the pretzels.  It's OK if you don't get it all the way to the edges.  It will taste fine just the same. 

When you get it all spread out, sprinkle the candies on top. 
The mints give you some idea what it's going to taste like.  Delicious, that's what.  

Cute!  Now chuck it in your fridge for about a half hour. After that, start breaking off little bits of it and eating it.  Mostly I did this because my son was bugging me like crazy to try it so I caved.  So take off some chunks to get your family to leave you alone and leave the rest in overnight.

Then take a big knife and start chunking it up.

At this point, if you have a blog, you set up kind of ludicrous pictures to make a cute thumbnail so you can pin it on pinterest.

OK I totally had to have my 5 year old hold up the corners of this towel because I don't have a good background.  I should figure that out over the Christmas break.  



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Geek Christmas

I love it when a plan comes together.

We are having a relatively geeky Christmas this year.  To start with, I made these:

Yes, we are apparently Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk and Ironman this year for Christmas.  I'm obviously the Hulk.  Thomas wanted to be Spidey, and Jeff said he'd be Ironman.

I saw the felt cutouts of superheroes on Pinterest.  To be honest, I have no idea how I got to them, but that's basically the joy of Pinterest, you know?   

I have them hung up by the chimney with care.  You know, right next to the infant stages of our Lego Christmas Village.  (Thanks Jeff!!)

I especially like the juxtaposition of Santa and the punk concert.  

We have them on both sides of the fireplace.  Someday, when I can figure out how to take adequate pics of my fireplace, I will show you.  Here's the other side.

Jeff decorated up some Harry Potter with blinking lights.
 I really don't have much content in this post, other than the geeky Christmas bits and to tell you that I am OBSESSING over getting a teeny miniature girldog schnauzer.  A lot.  So much so that I actually was looking at webkins schnauzers to see if they were adequately cute.  (They are not.)  I found one on petfinder that I have been referring to as the upcoming cause of my impending divorce, on account of how if I brought home a 3rd dog, Jeff would leave me.  I have a husband, a son, and 2 boy dogs.  I just want something to dress up in little dresses, you know?  Testosterone, yeesch.

So, to stop obsessing, I decided to dress up the dogs I have.  That's them in little matching hoodies.

To be honest, Dogma's is *way* too small.  (He's the red hooded dog, and he's a big guy.)  Karma's fits great, but Karma is also all skin and bones.  I am worried about him.  Every since we came back from Thanksgiving, you can see each of his ribs and vertebrae.  When I went out to buy the hoodies, I got them some kind of granola bone chews and that fake dog bacon.  He also got Thomas's grilled cheese ends.  Hopefully, he'll put on some weight, but he is 12 years old, which is kinda old for labs.  This is all kinda sad, and I'm not really getting a little mini schnauzer in a pink dress.  

I will just try to be happy with our superhero Christmas stockings.