Holiday reflections and looking forward to 2015

Hello, hello!

I hope you and yours had a very merry Christmas!

I had planned on taking a few days off of blogging but certainly didn’t plan on a whole week!

Our Christmas was pretty fantastic.

Thing 2 had to work the early shift on Christmas morning but I still got up early.


I had muffins to make and deliver to her at work! 🙂


We did gifts when she got off work.

Let me tell you something – we clearly are still children because that was the LONGEST. WAIT. EVER! We kept looking at the gifts and then at the clock and then out the window. #impatient

Then, it was time for Christmas dinner!

Of course, we grilled our turkey. Thank you, Mother Nature, for giving us a gorgeous day for it!



Think this is enough for 4? 😉

And then the bubonic plague flu set in and we’ve been down for the count ever since.

I’ve literally been on the couch since Friday. It’s my new home.

There are only a couple of pictures of my misery.



As you can see, I was well taken care of. 🙂

Thing 1 came up the day after Christmas and took one look around and decided she was better off at home. It was nice to have her here but I understood her early departure.

My sailor got hit pretty hard too – he’s a day or so behind me in the recovery process so this New Year’s holiday and weekend is going to be filled with rest and recuperation rather than parties and celebration.

Speaking of the new year, ’tis the season for those resolutions!

Are you making any? Did you make any last year? How did that work out for you?

I find that most people make resolutions in hopes of “changing” something fairly ambiguous (usually revolving around a number on a scale) like a behavior. “I resolve to lose weight!” or “I resolve to get back in shape!” Gym memberships tend to spike in January and then, by February, all those “resolutioners” are back on their couches because they didn’t actually set GOALS.

Instead of saying, “I resolve to get back into shape!” say, “I’m going to train and run a 5k!” or “I’m going to learn how to dance.” (that’s fun!) or “I’m going to eliminate soda from my diet in January.”

Smart, attainable goals that allow you to see results and move forward from there!

I’d already been thinking about my goals for 2015 but all my recent time on the couch has afforded me some extra time for reflection. At least, when my brain wasn’t foggy, that is.

So, without further ado, these are my goals for 2015:


Well,  I have a few fitness goals. Barring any unforeseen accidents, one goal is to stay physically healthy. I should be able to manage this by working more on mobility and flexibility, upgrading my shoes on time, and listening to my body. Getting back to back fractures in my feet really stunk and I do NOT want to go down that road again. I also plan to run just because I love it. I’ve kicked around the thought of still shooting for a 50k. I obviously haven’t gotten the okay to run from the orthopedist (now THAT would be a sight since I’m still in the boot! ha!) but, once I’m clear, I just want to enjoy my time out on the road. I’ve got plenty of time to do a 50k if that’s what I decide I want to do. As far as CrossFit is concerned, I plan to really work on achieving chest-to-bar pull-ups, strict ring dips, and a bar muscle-up.



In case you missed it, I am starting back to school on January 5th! I’ll be completing my undergrad science pre-requisites this year and completing my application into the Coordinated Program in Dietetics. My goals are to earn all As and have a perfect application packet. 🙂


A friend/colleague of mine recently suffered a huge health problem. She went in for a hysterectomy and, while the doctors were operating, they discovered she had a severe case of flesh-eating bacteria. It was literally eating her from the inside out. She had 13 (!) surgeries, flat-lined twice, and spent some time in a coma. She was in the hospital for numerous weeks. During her first week back at work, we talked about some of the things she had experienced. She told me about this dream/vision she had during the second time she essentially died. I won’t go into the details because, well, it’s not mine to share and it was also a little scary but basically, she saw the face of evil. The take-away she got from it was that she needs to love people more. But not just her family and friends. ALL people. Especially the ones she doesn’t want to love.

I happen to think that’s an excellent idea.

There is entirely too much negativity and hatred in this world. But, just because we’re surrounded by it doesn’t mean we have to let it into our own world.  We certainly don’t have to add to it. Maybe we can even help to change it. A smile and a kind word go a long way, even if you’d rather give that person a piece of your mind instead. So, in 2015, my goal is to love more and to get involved with a humanitarian organization in my community.

Well, there you have it. It’s going to be a busy and fantastic year!

If you’re heading out to celebrate tonight, have fun and be safe! 2015 won’t be the same without you. 🙂

Talk to me: What are your goals for 2015?

– jennifer

Holiday gift ideas under $50 for people who love wine :)

Hello, hello!

Are you aware that Christmas is right around the corner?

Like, as in 21 days.

3 weeks.



So, you better get shopping!

1. Wine Cork Picture Frame

wine cork frame

2. Individual Mini Decanters

mini decanters

3. Wine Aroma Tasting Set

wine aroma

4. The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert

scratch and sniff

5. Wineopoly (I have this game and it’s fun!)


6. The Wine Bible

wine bible

7. Wine Cork Coasters

Wine coasters

8. Wine Journal

wine journal

9. Wine Charms

wine charms

10. Wine of the Month Club

wine of the month

**Please note that I am not in any way affiliated with any of these stores or products. I just think these are pretty neat. If you buy any of them, I will not be compensated at all. I will only receive the joy of knowing you bought someone what I thought was a cool gift.  I might be a little sad if you didn’t buy it for me. 😉

Talk to me: Are you a last minute shopper or do you pick things up throughout the year? (my mother does that, hides the gifts, and then forgets where she hid them. lol)

– jennifer

A weekend of surprises & some seriously amazing cake


Happy Monday!

hokey pokey


How was your Thanksgiving holiday?

Did you eat too much?  Did you score any amazing deals on Black Friday?

What about today – are you a Cyber Monday kind of person?

My weekend was full of surprises!

Thing 2 and I were getting ready to head out on Friday – yes, I know I don’t DO Black Friday but my fuzzy crew needed food.

Clearly, I need to work on my planning because I totally could have made sure we had enough pet food before the holiday hit.

Anyway, we were getting ready to go – okay, I was getting ready to go…Thing 2 suddenly wanted to “wait about 30 minutes.”

What the heck?


And then ….


Thing 1 was there!!!

Pretty awesome surprise, if you ask me. 🙂

So, we hung out for a bit, went to lunch, did a few errands (I actually braved the Wal-Mart! Crazy, I know!), and chatted and watched tv.


Then, on Saturday, Thing 2 and I made a surprise trip to see MY folks and my grandmother!




I even baked a Double-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze to take with me!

My grandmother LOVES chocolate. And, I love my grandmother so….

The best part of the surprise was the fact that my mother called me while we were 5 minutes away from their house.

She wanted a picture of Thing 2 for her frame she was taking to work.


Okay, I think we can handle that!

5 minutes later, Thing 2 is knocking on her front door!

It was pretty spectacular.

I love that we were able to do that. 🙂



So, let’s talk about that cake. 🙂

Like I said, my grandmother loves chocolate and when I saw this cake recipe from Food and Wine, I knew I had to surprise her with it.

Bundt cakes can often be heavy and overwhelming but this one was light, moist, and decadent without being overpowering.

In fact, it was pretty amazing.

Om nom nom!


Double-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze
makes 10-12 servings (depending on how big you make the slices)

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong-brewed coffee (I used Italian Roast)
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a small saucepan, melt 2 ounces of the chopped chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Scrape the chocolate into a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the oil and sugar until smooth, then whisk in the egg.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add half the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture along with 1/2 cup of the coffee and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk, whisk until smooth. Add the remaining dry ingredients, coffee, and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.

3. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake in the lower 1/3 of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. (Mine took 42 minutes so, depending on how hot your oven gets, I would start checking at 40 minutes. You don’t want an overdone cake!) Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn it out and let it cool completely.

4. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. In a heatproof bowl, combine the remaining 3 ounces of chopped chocolate with the corn syrup and butter. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand until melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Let the ganache glaze cool until thick but still pourable, about 5 minutes.

5. Pour the ganache over the cooled cake. Let the cake stand until the glaze is set, at least 30 minutes before serving.

6. Share with family and friends!


Question: When do you put your Christmas tree up? Are you an “immediately after Thanksgiving” person or do you wait a little longer?

We normally wait – mostly because I get frustrated with the mess it makes – but we came home yesterday to a surprise! My sailor had dug the tree out of our packed with boxes garage and put it up! Honestly, I’m really glad he did that. It looks awesome where he put it and I’m happy it’s up. 🙂

– jennifer