Hanging At Home

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!  We had a great time back in Atlanta spending lots of quality time with both my family and Bobby's.  It was sad to leave everyone but always happy to be back in my own home. 

Speaking of being back in my own home... I've been home from work all day today, and will be home again tomorrow. I wish it was just because I decided to take a few more day's off from work but apparently, according to the NP at the Doc in the box, I have shingles. I'm not really sure if I should be sharing that on the internet... but I have no filter, so oh well. I plan on going to a primary care physician tomorrow just be on the safe side, but as of right now, that's what their saying. If you've never had shingles (which I hope you have not) it is not fun. By far the most painful thing I've ever experienced. There's no way to avoid the pain either... sitting, standing, laying down.. it doesn't matter.  So, since I'm stuck at home in aganizing pain and discomfort I thought I might as well get going on decorating for Christmas! So that's what I've been doing.  We only have a few things here... the rest we accedently left at my husbands parents house (big bummer) but my amazing mother-in-law is so fabulous that she is mailing them to us this week. =) My plan is to get this all finished by the end of the weekend. We'll see.

For now here is a sneak peak on what's been in the works..


Healthy Tips for Thanksgiving

Did you know that 3500 calories equals 1 pound of fat?! With a holiday focused around food, it can be real easy to go overboard on Thanksgiving without even realizing it, so here are 7 tips to help you make some smart choices and still enjoy all your favorite dishes this Thanksgiving.

1.  Eat breakfast! So many of us think that by skipping meals we will "save calories" for the rest of the day. Wrong! Skipping nutritious foods will make you hungrier and almost always leads to over eating.  By starting your day with a small meal consisting of lower calorie choices, such as fruits or high fiber cereal, you'll help curb your appetite for the rest of the day and avoid over eating at dinner.

2. Start with Soup. If this is an option at your meal, start off with a small bowl of broth based soup. This was something we really encouraged to clients when I was working at Jenny Craig. A hot liquid, like broth based soup, can help fill you up on very few calories and make it easier to avoid over eating later.

3. Check your portions. When it comes time for dinner, find your favorite foods and take small portions.  This helps avoid the feeling of restriction which can so often lead to over eating. By taking smaller portions, your able to still enjoy your favorite dishes, but keep calories under control. Select additional options such as fruits and vegetables to help bulk up the rest of your plate.

4. Eat Slowly.  Enjoy the food  your eating, don't plow through it! This helps people mentally feel satisfied but more importantly it allows your stomach the time it needs to communicate with your brain that you are full (about 20 minutes).

5. Get Active! This does not mean you need to throw on your running pants and go for a jog or leave all that family in town to hit the gym! Take a family walk or coordinate a friendly game of football or basketball.  You'll be able to spend more time together while burning some calories (and help with digestion!).

6. Floss or brush your teeth. Kind of strange, but, flossing or brushing after a meal has been shown to help you stay away from food for about an hour!

7. Drink water! Before you reach for that second cookie or piece of pie, have a glass of water first. Many times it's hard for our brain to decipher between being hungry and thirsty (until we get that dry mouth feeling when we're dehydrated).  Water (or even decaf tea) is a low calorie way to help curb your snacking. Not only that but it also helps flush out extra sodium in your system from dinner and helps promote digestion!

As a bonus, here are two yummy recipes that are low in fat and calories that can also be made ahead (always a plus!).

Chunky Cranberry Spread

1 8-oz. package low-fat cream cheese or fat-free cream cheese
1-2 Tbsp. low-fat milk*
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds or other nut
1/2 tsp. orange zest, preferably fresh

Place cheese in a medium bowl and allow to soften at room temperature. Mash and work with a fork until texture is light enough to combine easily with other ingredients. *Gradually add enough so cheese is easy to spread.

Mix in remaining ingredients.   Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days ahead, or let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to blend and mellow.

Spread on whole grain crackers or apple wedges.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Per 1 Tbsp. made with low fat cream cheese: 36 calories, 2g. total fat, 1 g. saturated fat, 3 g. carbohydrate, 1 g. protein, less than 1 g. dietary fiber, 29 mg. sodium.

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

2/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 c. mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9" square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine sugar, pumpkin, egg, egg whites, and oil in a large mixing bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended.  Add flour, baking powder, cocoa, and spices.  Beat on low until batter is smooth.  Stir in morsels. Spread into pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Serves 16.
Per 1 serving:  100 calories, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 18 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 25% daily need of vitamin A.
Recipes are from www.aicr.org. More tips to come as we continue on through this holiday season!


Happy Monday My Friends

Happy, happy Monday my friends! =) Why so cheery on this rainy and dreary Monday you ask? It's a 3 day work week! Whoop Whoop!!!

Hopefully you all have some wonderful gatherings planned for this Thanksgiving weekend. Our plans every year (the past one year..) involve heading back to "the retta" (Alpharetta, GA) where both our families live.  Knowing how distracted I get when I go back home, I know I'm not going to post again until maybe Sunday night so I thought I should probably go ahead and post about Thanksgiving today...

So like I was saying, both families live in the same area so we always split the day between the two. As hectic as the preplanning portion of that can be, once we get there it is so awesome getting to spend every holiday with both families.  My parents spend Thanksgiving with 4 other families we're super close with (one of which was my dad's college roommate!).  I absolutely love this group like they were my own family and they are absolutely a hoot to hangout with.  Bobby's family always spends Thanksgiving at his Nana's (grandma). I must say, I LOVE THIS WOMAN. She is so sweet, so funny and most of all so loving! She has treated like one of her own grandkids since they day we got engaged (maybe even a little before that). ;) That said, we made sure to prepare for our busy weekend by doing absolutely nothing this past weekend (and by nothing, I mean doing mounds of laundry). Bobby actually took a picture of it... that's how behind we were in doing laundry. He was so astounded by the heap of clothes he was inclined to photograph it.... ! I should be embarrassed right? He wanted to post it on Facebook but I had to explain to him how mortifying that would be for any girl, especially his wife, so obviously he did not. I could go into a whole list of excuses about how busy we have been and blah blah blah (even though we really have been!) but the truth is we got lazy, and frankly, I hate loathe doing laundry. ANYWAY.

Heading into this delicious day of giving thanks, I wanted share just a couple of thing on my heart I'm thankful for this holiday season... I am thankful that our families live so close to each other that we can spend every holiday with the people we love. I'm thankful for a husband who loves my family as much as I love his. I'm thankful for this beautiful marriage I have been blessed with. But most of all, I'm thankful to be eternally, unconditionally loved by an amazing God and beyond thankful that His love cannot be removed from me under any circumstances and by no power.

Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~Romans 8: 38-39~


On the Radio

Hello my friends! I have some pretty exciting news to share tonight! My fabulous husband will be on the RADIO tomorrow (Monday)!! Wahoo!!! I know! I am freaking out!!

He'll will be performing live in New York at the Evolution Sound Stage for the taping of 103.9 WRCN's The Real Radio Show.  The show will be broadcast live on their website (www.therealradioshow.com) Monday (11/14) at  **6PMEST** (**5pm** for all you central time zoners).  You need to click on "Live Studio Camera" to watch and listen.  Though 103.9 WRCN is Long Island's Classic Rock radio station, the Real Radio Show is a multi-genre format which is why they've asked Bobby on the show!  He's a guest along with a few other groups/artist's so he won't be on the entire time, if we get more details about when exactly he'll be on, I'll be sure to update the post.

I am so proud of Bobby and so thankful for this opportunity God has given him and am still trying to wrap my around the fact that I will be listening to him on the radio! Crazy!! 

So, if you're living in NY or have access to a computer, tune in!


I'm still here...

I promise.

Somehow I blink and an entire week just flies by. I have every intention of sitting down each night to finish one of my 3 million post's I've started but lately my time has been consumed with catching up on mounds of laundry after having a broken washing machine (I'll spare you the picture), as well as...

road trips with him

to surprise this her,

dancing my socks off at our YoungLife glow sticks club,

getting ready for her to come visit this weekend (yay!!!),

and way more time than I'd like spent creating this fabulous program,

to help people stop killing themselves with these,


So between all of that, and trying to update my blog (please excuse the work in progress and my missing background!), and about a million other things that I figured I wouldn't bore you with, somehow it ends up being way past my bedtime and blogging must be put off for yet another day.  I do promise, however, that the next few posts will be filled with decorations, recipes and whatever else I can come up with. =)

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this:
Yes that is a mustache and that would be Bobby "turned off".


A Chance to Give

If you've been hanging around the Cool Living corner for a while, you're very familiar with my random mentions of my friend Laura and her blog Twirl [lbr].  If you aren't familiar with her or her blog I HIGHLY recommend you check it out (you may want to wait until you have a few free hours).  Her outstanding writing skills, awesome DIY projects and precious little family will suck you in.

In her most recent post, The Grace Project, she relives some of her time spent in Africa and the sweet woman she met while she was there.  The way she spoke of Grace and her family was so similar to how Bobby speaks of his "family" in Peru and how his heart yearns to go back to visit that it quickly struck a chord in me. I knew I couldn't move on to the next blog on my reader list without posting about this great project, even if only one person reads it.

If you have the time, stroll on over to Twirl to read more about The Grace Project and how you can help support this beautiful family.

"For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have." 2 Corinthians 8:12

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