Thursday, December 29, 2011

Health Goals for 2012 (The Holiday Curse)

Photo Source: Patrick Hoesly

I'd like to think that I'm fairly health conscience... at least part of the time.  It's definitely an area where there will always be room for improvement.  First off you should know that I'm no expert but I have strong beliefs when it comes to certain things.  

If you were to come to my house for a visit you would learn that I am not a fan of extreme dieting and that my personal motto is founded upon balance.  I don't believe in taking out a certain food group.  You know like the diets where you completely cut out carbs or can only eat a small selection of certain fruits and vegetables because of calories.  I don't think that we even have to cut out all sugars completely.  The thing I'm finding is that we need a variety of different foods because they all work together to keep our bodies in tip top shape.  Cut out carbs and you get rid or our bodies fastest source of energy.  Of course that doesn't mean carbo loading at each meal = unlimited energy.  Calories are not created equally.  The calories you absorb from a pile of fresh veggies are not equal to the carbs in a box of fries even if the numbers say otherwise.  It goes into much more depth than that but I'll save that for another post.

So what does this have to do with my health goals for 2012?  Like I said previously, I think I'm doing pretty well when it comes to making healthy dinners for my family a good portion of the time.  What about the rest of the time?

Have you ever noticed that the "holidays" become the exception to every rule we set for ourselves.  "I'm not going to worry about how many sweets I eat,  it's the holidays.  I'll get back to my regular diet afterwards."  "It's the holidays, just this one time won't hurt."  Think about it though, how many major holidays do we have throughout the year?

New Year's Eve/Day
Valentines Day
Memorial Day
Fourth of July
Labor Day

It would be one thing if we splurged a little only on the actual holiday but how many of us really throw the rule book out for only one day?  I'll be honest, the time between Halloween and New Year's Eve is all one holiday combined in our home.  Halloween doesn't just start and end on October 31st.  It's a few weeks long.

Let's not forget about vacations either.  I went on a cruise a few months back with the thought that it was one week.  I could forget about what I'm actually sticking in my body for a week and that I did.  I gained 4-5 lbs in that week which may not sound like a lot but I haven't really gained a whole lot of weight in at least 10 years.

So what?  I enjoyed my vacation and my holidays, that's what really matters.  Right?  What happens when January 2nd rolls around?  I feel like an Oompa Loompa, sick to my stomach, and yes even a little bad about myself.  That's where all of our New Year's resolutions come from.  In my head I may be thinking it's just one week of bad eating but combine it with all my other exceptions, aka other holidays and vacations, and it's a pretty large chunk of time.

Should life be enjoyed?  Yes.  Do we have to deny ourselves of all "good food?"  Of course not, though I'm finding that there are some pretty delicious healthy recipes out there for all food categories.  One divine chocolate cupcake with a cream cheese frosting is not going to kill me.  Weeks of this kind of food however could.

Thus, my health goals for 2012 are to stop feeding my excuses... literally.  I will still enjoy my holidays but I'm going to scour the web and books for healthy alternatives.  At Christmas time I may have two holiday treats instead of one but I'm not going to eat the whole platter and move onto the next.  I hope to find healthy side dishes for holiday meals that are not made of up of mostly butter but just as tasty.  This may mean breaking some of the traditional molds I've grown up with and practicing more self control when I'm not the one making the meal.  I think there may be a lot of trial and error but in the end I hope to enjoy my holidays just as much as I did before and then some because I know my body is not suffering because of my pleasures.

I don't want to enter each January, one of the most depressing months of the year, feeling bad about myself because my body is screaming for me to stop eating so much crap.

No more excuses or exceptions.  I deserve more.  Here's to 2012 and my newest health goals.

If you have any recommendations for good websites or books I would love to hear them!          

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Goals and Plans for 2012

2012 should be a rather exciting year, at least that is my hope.  I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in the next year, trying to figure out how and when I will reach some of my goals.

First off I want to of course add tons more product to my website to increase selection on things such as baby and graduation announcements.  I want to get a couple of packages completed to include "Save the Dates" and coordinating wedding announcements.

I also want to put together packages for photographers so that they may buy some of my templates and use them in their business, as a flattened image for their clients of course.

As far as this blog is concerned I want to get more design related posts up.  This includes more posts about color, design tips for interiors, and even a little bit in the fashion world.  Throughout the years I have learned that dressing how I want to feel has helped me through a lot of hard times.  If you have any questions on any of the above I would love to hear them and address them to the best I can in a blog post. Please email me at .

Finally, perhaps my biggest goal and news... the husband and I have decided its time to take more drastic steps towards starting our family.  We are going to go through the In-Vitro process.  It's exciting and scary all at the same time.  The dates on everything are not set quite yet.  This has led me to want to start a blog dedicated to my journey through In-Vitro as well as address the constant battle I have with anxiety and even depression.  Writing has always been a great outlet.  However, this blog isn't quite appropriate for such topics. Thus if you are interested in following our story head on over to my other blog Nitty-Gritty Fairy-tales to get the latest.  My only request, if you have a story to share please make sure it's a positive one.  Tales of how hard the process may be or how someone else found little to no success only makes me more anxious.  I want to focus on the positive.

2012 should be great and I have you, my fantastic readers, to thank for that.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shabby Christmas Tree Skirt (DIY)

Once again I have finally finished another Pinterest Project!!! I found and followed the directions for this Shabby Christmas Tree Skirt from Lauren over at My Crazy Life.

The directions themselves are super simple, the time it takes to complete the whole project is another story.  It took hours and hours and HOURS of hot gluing to get all these beautiful ruffles.

I highly recommend using a canvas painter's drop cloth as your base.  I originally cut out a muslin circle but knew that it would support the weight of the ruffles.  I found a 5 x 5 square drop cloth at Home Depot so I didn't have to make any adjustments before cutting out the circles.

I used an unbleached linen for most of the ruffles and a white cotton with silver flecks for a contrasting color and to make it unique to me.  I cut out three inch strips in both colors and began gluing my little heart away.

Now is where you will have to start using your imagination.  Imagine I have a whole tree... one that has beautiful white Christmas lights, silver and gold and just hint or red Christmas balls, silver and gold garland, and brown packages tied up with string placed strategically underneath on my brand new tree skirt.  Are you seeing my vision for the perfect Shabby Christmas Tree?

While my vision may not come to life this Christmas I am excited that my skirt turned out so well and I can't wait to see everything come together for next Christmas.

What does your Christmas tree look like?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday's Moment (Up On the Rooftop)

Photo Source: Joe Buckingham 

One of the great things about siblings is getting to share the excitement with one another. Today's Monday's Moment is more of a culmination of similar moments that happened on Christmas Eve growing up.  After the Shepherd Meal and caroling together as a family we would of course open our one gift.  Surprise, it's pajamas... again.  Then we would go down to our rooms, fall asleep quickly, and sleep in until 8 or 9 in the morning.  Ha ya right.

The family rule was that we weren't allowed to wake Mom and Dad up until 6:00 A.M. and we couldn't go upstairs and peek at our presents until they had gotten up.  After all, Santa is watching our every move to know if we are being good or bad.

Between the time we "went to bed" and could wake mom and dad up were the longest hours of our very existence.  The boys had a room and the girls had a room but on Christmas Eve it wasn't uncommon for us all to end up in one room, each counting down the minutes by increments of 15.  I remember one particular Christmas Eve we tried to stay up ALL night long and we made it until probably 4:30 or 5:00 bouncing with excitement, wondering what we would get, analyzing each sound wondering if we had just heard the reindeer on top, etc.

Another night I remember being so excited that I couldn't sleep, which was pretty much every Christmas Eve.  Anyway, I lay in my bed when I swear I heard a sound coming from the fireplace in the next room followed by a creak on the stairs.  It had to be Santa and since he know's if your sleeping I hurried and shut my eyes hoping he wouldn't skip our house.

As I got to be a teenager it was still fun to have my younger siblings come wake me up wondering if we could get Mom and Dad up yet.  The funny part is that my youngest sister sleeps like a log and out of all of us kids could totally sleep through Christmas morning if we didn't wake her up.

Confession:  I still get a little giddy on Christmas Eve and wake up more than usual wondering how long until we can get up out of bed.

It's funny but no matter how old I get I don't think I will ever outgrow the "Christmas Magic" especially since so many fond memories are attached to it.

What were your Christmas Eve traditions?

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Weekend Before Christmas

Twas the weekend before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse... or cricket or whatever we may have. Why? Because they can't find their way through all the chaos!

Ok this Christmas season has not gone quite like I had planned. First off we are still missing half of our tree. We let someone borrow it last year as we were still moving into our house after repairs from the tornado and somehow the top didn't make it into the box. Thus I think I'm going to need to buy a new one after Christmas when they all go on sale. Suffice it to say my house is nowhere near designer decorated liked I had hoped.

This weekend is getting busier by the minute between cookie exchanges, dinner parties, lesson preparations, finishing my new tree skirt etc. I swear every time I get the kitchen cleaned it explodes into a bigger mess than what I just cleaned up after from all of the cooking.

However, I'm getting ready to head to the post office to finally mail off my Christmas cards and the last of my Christmas presents. While I feel like many my plans have fallen through and my house is turning into a war zone I still feel merry... and bright. Christmas will not be canceled no matter what does or doesn't go according to plan.

Next week I hope to reveal my finished tree skirt and another Christmas project even if they are a few weeks late as well as make a couple of big announcements, like REALLY BIG.

How is your Christmas list coming? What's left? What do your weekend plans entail?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Easy DIY Apothecary Jars

Have you seen those apothecary looking jar ideas floating around on Pinterest? Ya me too. There were so many cute ideas however some of them were a little pricey to make, as in it would be cheaper to go buy a set already made. Sometimes there is more of a thrill when you can make something beautiful for almost nothing.

My sister in-law found an idea to use old pickle jars and candlesticks to make apothecaryesque looking stands. Too bad the husband and I don't eat pickles ever. However, I did have a few various jars I had saved.

My grandma has always lived by the principle of "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without." I've always admired her frugal ways and started saving my glass jars. Above the largest jar was once filled filled with artichoke hearts. The one on the right was probably filled with salsa or tomato sauce and the smallest is a canning jar that once was the home to well something I had canned.

This DIY is seriously so easy and since I already had the jars cost me a total of $3 to make.

Supplies Needed:
3 Jars of Various Sizes
3 Candlesticks ( I got mine from the Dollar Store)
E-6000 Glue

Put a little bit of glue on top of the candlesticks. Center your jars above the candlesticks and then place on top of glue. Let it dry overnight and Presto! All Done!

You could make so many great variations of this project. Say you wanted a black base... all you would have to do is spray paint the candlesticks before gluing. I have lids for all three jars that I may or may not spray paint silver. For now I really love the simplicity of it all.

It has added so much to my Christmas Decor and would be another great gift idea.

I'm in love.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday's Moment (Shepherd's Meal)

Ok I know I've taken a few weeks off from Monday's Moments but it's time to get back on the band wagon. Today's post is all about TRADITIONS.

When you hear the word "tradition" is it said in Tevye's voice from Fiddler on the Roof. Ya same here. In fact the song starts playing as soon as I think of it.

The holidays are often filled with various traditions. The husband and I are still trying on a few for size and deciding which traditions we as a family would like to continue on with. However, today I would like to talk about a Christmas tradition I had growing up.

Every Christmas Eve we would read the Christmas Story from Luke. When we were young we started adding on to this tradition by eating a "Shepherd's Meal" while someone read the story. We would pull out the blankets for an indoor picnic, turn some of the lights out and grab our meal that was in a muslin bag. Inside the bag we would find jerky, string cheese, crackers, grapes, and a juice box. Following the story and our meal we would sing a few Christmas hymns.

I loved this tradition because it helped us as kids to take a moment and realize the humble circumstances in which the Christmas Story is told. Our focus was momentarily shifted from the "I Wants" to the true meaning of Christmas : love, service, gratitude, joy, and Hope.

Hubby and I have yet to decide if we will continue this tradition but it is one I would like to at least try once those stubborn children of ours show up.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Missing: One Christmas Tree Top

Dear Mr. Grinch

While Christmas certainly doesn't come from a store I would really appreciate it if you would return the top of our Christmas Tree; the tree skirt I'm working on just won't look as good (and I'm really excited about this tree skirt).


Something About Silver Winner

Let's get right down to business. And the winner is (thanks to


Nicole said...

Following! I thought I already was, but now I guess I am for sure. :S.

Nicole I will email you the details.

Thanks to all who entered and don't forget you can get 10% off of your purchase from Something About Silver through December 10th using the code sarahdawndesigns .

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas 2011 (doTERRA and Essential Oils)

I am a strong believer that our senses play a huge part in our every day life from our moods to our physical and emotional well being.

I've already written several posts on how color can affect our lives. Orange bedrooms anyone? How about blue kitchens? I know that color and light can make us feel sick or help fight off the winter blues.

Thus it should be no surprise to me that certain scents will have various reactions. I was first introduced to essential oils earlier this year while on a cruise. Any kind of motion and me just don't mix very well and I seem to feel the tiniest movements that most people don't. We had barely left port in "smooth" water when I started feeling really sick. My SIL had suggested I put a few drops of Peppermint Oil behind my ears and a little bit on my napkin to smell. Let's just say it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Since then I have found Peppermint Oil to be so helpful. When Peppermint Oil is placed topically is has a cooling sensation (kind of like an Icy Hot feeling). I was having headaches as a side effect to a medicine, a headache that lasted for two weeks. Throughout the day I would put a little bit of oil across my forehead and it would take the edge of my headache. As a result of the cooling sensation it took my focus off the headache for just a few minutes, providing some relief.

I also found it to be extremely helpful with my anxiety. I've had pretty severe anxiety since I was little as the result of some strong genes. It's something I will have to fight all of my life. Anxiety is run by irrational fears a lot of the time. Often I know my anxiety is rising and for no good reason but that doesn't always stop it. Lately, I place a little bit of the Peppermint Oil on my upper lip and again it serves as a distraction just like it did for the headache. It is usually enough for me to take control of my anxiety and push those thoughts away.

Anyone feel exceptionally gross on airplanes? I find that a little bit of peppermint seems to freshen things up and allow me to not think about all the recycled air as much. I could go on and on with the uses for Peppermint Oil.

Thus the doTerra Essential Oils made it high on my list of Holiday Gift Ideas for 2011. Luckily I didn't have to wait long as my SIL sent me this starter kit for my birthday a few weeks ago. They can be a little pricey but they are totally worth it in my book. Both my SIL and a chemistry friend of mine swear that this brand is the best and the most regulated (as in you know exactly what is in it).

Since I received my starter pack I have already fallen in love with the Lavender Oil. It too has helped with my motion sickness and anxiety. I put it in my bath water and almost instantly started relaxing, which is key to fighting those anxious thoughts and feelings.

For someone who is sensitive to most medications I have found the essential oils to be a huge blessings and would highly recommend them.

What is making the top of your list for Holiday Gift Ideas in 2011?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Evolution of the Digital Christmas Card

As you can see my digital Christmas cards for my own personal use have come a long way. I looked and looked for 2009's digital Christmas card as it was pivotal but I just can't seem to find it. It was about that time that I discovered my love for designing and creating cards and announcements for people. A year later I opened up shop and find that my skills are ever growing as I learn more and more about my programs.

It's not too late to get your Christmas card template for this year and still have time to send out your photo Christmas cards, mine are going in the mail this week.

In fact my friend Angie from Blessed Beyond Words is offering one of my Christmas card templates for FREE through a give-away. You can find details on how to enter on her blog. Right now your chances are really good for winning so make sure and enter now.

As always please take a look at my large selection found on my website and email me with any questions or concerns at

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Inexpensive Gift Ideas (Dec. Download of the Month)

Do you have your Christmas music turned up real loud? I know I've been jamming all day while I completed this month's free download of the month. As you may or may not have suspected it is another countdown printable just in time for Christmas. You can find this Christmas printable on my website under my "Download of the Month" section.

In addition I have left up the countdowns for Thanksgiving and Halloween as printing all three free downloads would make for an inexpensive Christmas gift for someone special in your life. All you would need other than the prints would be some kind of 8 x 10 frame.

Like all my countdowns each print was designed on an 8 1/2 x 11 size paper with the idea that you will trim it down to fit in an 8 x 10 frame.

It's fitting that since today is the 1st of December we would be having a blizzard and the freeway has been shut down. Thus I do not have a photo of the Christmas Countdown in my house, just yet. It works like the other two only you use the dry erase marker to keep track of the days on top of the star (on top of the glass) instead of the turkey or pumpkin.

Below are examples of the other free countdown printables.

I hope you enjoy them. I will leave them up until the end of December. Happy Downloading!