Quiet Mornings and Goals

It’s the quietest that this house has been before the sun has risen in days.  I’m still living on good parent-filled memories from the past week, and COFFEE!

One of the stops that we made was to T.J. Maxx, my #2 in the top five favorite stores to shop in when you need to waste time and money.  While there, I saw an adorable coffee mug that I simply had to have or I would burst into a million pieces.



I love that the fine details that are etched on the mug, and the hidden treat on the inside.  I decided to try out my new K-Cup selection: chai latte.


It is a bit sweeter than I’m used to, so I’ll have to cut it with some plain coffee, but the creaminess was just enough to get me through the muted morning.

Having people over is wonderful and I cannot wait to dust off my hostess hat again, but it also means that routines get ruffled a bit, both food choice and exercise wise.  I was able to get in a few quality workouts with my parents here, but the pull towards spending that time with them in the mornings was just too great to overcome all four days.  I am a member of Spark People, and love reading their Weekly Spark emails.  They’re filled with helpful tips, exercise routines, and recipes to help me get through ruts in all three areas.  The perfectly timed Weekly Spark this morning outlined Five Easy Goals to Meet this Month.

5 Healthy Ways to Embrace Fall

By:  : 11/7/2012 10:00 AM     12 comments : 17,078 Views

It can be easy to complain about the dark mornings, chilly temperatures and gloomy weather that fall brings. It’s also the start of the holiday season, which can be cheerful (presents, family and fun!) or dreadful (food, stress and calories!), depending on your viewpoint. But if you look on the bright side, this season of changes has a lot to offer when it comes to your health and fitness.

In fact, according to SparkPeople.com polls with more than 5,000 responses each, fall is a clear winner for exercising outdoors (46%) and offering the best activity options (47%) of all the seasons.

So how can you avoid the pitfalls and let this season work in your favor—so that you get fitter and healthier and continue reaching your goals?

Embrace Fall to Enhance Your Health

  1. Take Comfort in Your Foods
    34% of you vote soups and stews as your favorite fall food (get our best fall soup recipes!). Fall is a great time to turn to comforting foods that warm you up on a chilly night. There’s nothing wrong with that—when you make sure the foods you choose are good for your body and your waistline. Forget the high fat ice cream, hot cocoa and baked goods. These fall comfort foodswill satisfy your cravings without hurting your weight loss goals.
  2. Get Outside!
    Fall is by far my favorite season to run, walk and hike with my dog (or friends), and I’m not alone. SparkPeople members vote hiking as their #1favorite fall activity. There are so many options for enjoying the season and taking in the sights while still burning calories. For example, you could view all that raking as a hassle, or as a great way to get outside and enjoy the colors, sights and smells of the season while burning calories. Here are more ways to burn fat with fun fall activities.
  3. Get Your Sleep Back on Schedule
    I’ll admit that as much as I love sleeping and have a tendency to oversleep (a vice, as too much sleep is just as bad for your health as too little) along with problems falling asleep each night. It’s a vicious cycle. But thanks to the recent time change, I’ve actually been feeling more rested thanks to my extra hour of sleep—and been able to wake up earlier each morning without feeling tired for once! I’m doing my best to stick with this improved sleep schedule even on the weekends. In truth, the darker nights definitely make me tired sooner and actually do help me get to bed earlier than I would normally. Take advantage of this to get your circadian rhythm back on track. And when you wake up feeling rested, you’re that much more likely to squeeze in that morning workout you promised yourself. Here are more tips to help your body adjust to the end of daylight saving time.
  4. Start Your Day on a Healthy Note
    Although spring and summer offer brighter mornings, the saying “early to bed, early to rise” is true even in the darker months. I tend to have more energy and motivation in the morning, especially after a restful night’s sleep. If you’re like me, take advantage of it! It can be tough to leave the house in the dark, return home in the dark, and then make yourself hit the gym or cook dinner. That’s why it pays off to start your day on a healthy note: withbreakfast, a little exercise, even a little “Spark” time. Pack your lunch in the morning or get dinner ready to go in your slow cooker. This way, when you come home and it’s already dark out, you’ll have at least made some smart, healthy decisions to start your day.
  5. Eat Your Vitamins 
    Hippocrates’ famous wisdom tells us to “Let thy food be thy medicine and they medicine be thy food.” We know that what we eat influences our health maybe more than any other habit in our lives. And when you eat seasonally, you’re taking in some of the most essential nutrients you need. Fall produce(think pumpkin, winter squash, apples and garlic) are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to keep your body healthy and your immune system in tip-top shape. There are so many healthy and delicious ways to enjoy them, too, weather straight-up or as additions to your favorite recipes. Be creative and eat those vitamins to stay healthy all season long.



My Fitness Goals for this week:

  • Monday: 4.5 Miles
  • Tuesday: Bob Harper strength training DVD
  • Wednesday: REST/6 Miles
  • Thursday: Rest/6 Miles
  • Friday Bob Harper strength training DVD
  • Saturday: Outdoor Walk/Jackie Warner DVD
  • St. Augustine Half Marathon!!!!


Wednesday Ramblement

I am an English teacher.  Did you know that?  How could you not tell by my professionalism and stellar grammar I use in this blog.

One method of prewriting that I utilize in my English classes is the Free Write.  It is a timed, but not always, writing event that takes place between a writer, their boundless thoughts, and creativity.  The majority of the time, I have my students Free Write after we have had a demonstration in class: a trust fall to emulate what it must have been like for Othello and Desdemona to blindly go on Iago’s word in the play, “Othello.”  The rules of a Free Write are that: 1.  You must write the entire time period.  2.  Write whatever comes to mind.  3.  Don’t stop and go back to correct spelling, grammar, or mushed-up ideas.  Again, I am very professional in the jargon that I use in class.

So what’s the point of me bringing this up?  Well mostly because I have nothing worth writing an entire blog entry about today; I have several snippets, but none worthy of being the singular focus.  Therefore, I shall free write (God help us) about the events of the past few days.

Ready? Set? FREE WRITE!

The past few days have been pretty eventful, but nothing incredibly exciting.  After my all-day baking extravaganza on Sunday, the fruits of my labors were enjoyed by the St. Paul School staff on Tuesday.  Everything was set to go and be placed in the Staff Room, with the exception of the Pizza Cresent Rolls.  Those were assembled Monday night by Dear Hubby and baked at school Tuesday morning.  The goodies were a total hit!  I brought home five empty containers and considered this Holiday Feast Day a success.

Dear Hubby's Desk - He always knows how to support his wife.

I’m usually very good at not buying myself anything that costs over $30 (please don’t rat me out, Dear Hubby) within the month of December for two reasons: Christmas and my birthday.  I hate it when I get a really great gift idea for somebody and then they turn around and purchase it for themselves.  I figured since I would be home shortly after my birthday this year (December 14th for those of you who would like to send gift cards) and shipping large items isn’t generally a task that people want to do during the holiday season, I figured I would be ok by purchasing a new coffee machine for our home from Amazon.com during their Cyber Week Monday sales.  This is what I picked up:

Dear Hubby and I had originally registered for a Keurig for our wedding, but then decided to take it off the list.  “Why would we want one of those way up in Alaska?  Too bulky to ship anyways.”  Famous last words.

I couldn’t wait to share my amazing purchase with my mom, along with a dozen other goodies.  I swear my household keeps Amazon.com in business!  Anyways, as soon as the word “machine” left my mouth, my mom started laughing on the other end of the phone.

“You’ll never guess what Dad and I picked up for you for your birthday!  I guess great minds DO think alike.”  I totally cringed because this was a large enough purchase that I should have at least given it a second thought that Mom would have bought one for me because she is the best gift-picker-outer, and knows me so well that it’s like “DUH,” of course she would know to buy that for me.  If she and my dad drank only one cup of coffee per person then I’m sure they would have given the Michigan Keurig a good home.

This morning’s workout had me chug along for three miles and then attempt the “1000 Workout Challenge.”  I knew better than to try and do all 1000 moves right off the bat, so I cut the challenge in half.  My 3 mile run was completed in 25:59 (8’36” avg pace) and I did the following workout with 8lbs weights.

I began reading a new book on the treadmill this morning, The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

It’s a pretty interesting storyline: it’s 1996 and a teenage girl discovers her own Facebook profile on AOL from fifteen years in the future.  I’m only about six chapters into it, and it won’t be another The Hunger Games or Divergent for me, but definitely should keep my interest for the duration of the novel.  There are so many references to the late 90s that make me giggle – again, while running on the treadmill; NERD ALERT! – such as, “Crash Into Me” by Dave Matthews Band, and running with a Discman strapped to your arm.  We have certainly come a long way from 100 free hours of AOL CD-Roms and 1996.