a new direction: gonna lose that weight!

Mmkay, so Mitt Romney cancelled his appearance last night due to the hurricane. I was quite disappointed, but I completely understand. It has been rescheduled for Friday evening, so maybe we’ll be able to go then. 🙂
As far as my workout progress goes…it pretty much wasn’t. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I did the following:

1. Sun salutations — 15 minutes.

2. Brisk 4.2 mile walk — 1 hour and 15 minutes.

3. Cardio/strength routine — 15 minutes
All that made me SUPER sore, of course. I should have done the cardio/strength routine for longer, but I’m so dismally out of shape that I was only able to complete it once. I will build strength, though, just like it indicates.

Today, my workout only consisted of yoga:

1. Sun salutations — 15 minutes.

2. Stretching routine for a slender waist — 30 minutes.
I was so sore that I felt like I couldn’t do anything, but then my hubby unintentionally put me on a guilt trip (he always means well, so it’s quite easy to forgive him!), so I got on my mat and once I was going I began to feel better. I guess stretching sore muscles really does help.

So that’s that. Plus, eating right. I’ve already talked about my journey towards healthy eating, and I am now beginning it in earnest.

Monday Madness

Here’s a list of things that I find awesome on this chilly Monday morning:

1. Cold, crisp, and still air.

2. Yoga sun salutations with my kittens running around underneath me.

3. Being able to eat breakfast with my hubby before he started work.

4. Getting up at 7 am. (Crazy, maybe, but I want to try not sleeping in so much.)

5. Good music.

6. Hot green tea.

7. The fact that Mitt Romney is going to be in Milwaukee tonight and we get to go see him!!!!

 

Yeah, I’m super stoked about that last one. I truly hope he wins this election.

Have a happy Monday, folks!

Wizarding Wednesdays: a bit o’ magic to get you through the week!

Hello and welcome to Wizarding Wednesdays, a new series on my blog! I just thought of this now, so bear with me. I don’t even know why, since I was just sitting here reading The Kissing Sailor (which is about that awesome photo from WWII; you should read it), and drinking black coffee. Neither of those has anything to do with the world of magic.

Anywho, I did just finish my umpteenth re-read of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone last week. Yes, I have a battered paperback copy of the British edition. When I visited England six years ago, I found a copy for 2 pounds in a resale book shop. It made me so happy, you have no idea. Honestly, I bought too many books on that trip, but that is entirely beside the point.

So, Wizarding Wednesdays. What is this about, you ask? Well, for the most part it will be to celebrate the world of Harry Potter. Though the books and movies are behind us, that doesn’t mean the magic won’t live on. I mean, come on, so many of us grew up with Harry and friends. I identified SO MUCH with Hermione Granger that it’s hardly even funny. And Emma Watson is such a gorgeous person, inside and out.

Since this is my introduction post, I don’t have much more to add. If anyone has ideas, please comment. Also, I have to point out that I know I won’t be posting on this series every single Wednesday, since I am not super consistent with posting, and I sometimes do Wordless Wednesday posts.

Without further ado, here is an amusing photo of everyone’s favorite hairy half-giant:

 

born into a specific season

As soon as the outdoor temperature drops below 50 degrees, I instantly start wishing for snow. I think about snow and cold winter days all summer long. Clearly, winter is my favorite season. People think I am crazy because I love the cold. But I have never enjoyed summer all that much. I would much rather be bundled up in layers of clothing than wearing next to nothing. I prefer steaming hot drinks to ice cold ones. And a gentle snowfall is one of the most beautiful sights in the entire world.

I also adore autumn, of course. The leaves changing color on all the trees is yet another of the most beautiful sights in the entire world. Growing up on the plains of central Illinois, I didn’t often see forests of trees turned golden, and I would drink in the sight when I could. We had some trees, of course, just not huge swathes of woods across the land. Here in eastern Wisconsin, it’s almost all trees. I could cry with the beauty of it. Nate and I often take leisure drives through the Kettle Moraine, and we’ve been driving around almost everyday in his dad’s 1976 Cutlass, looking at the leaves.

I could probably go on and talk about a few things I enjoy about spring and summer, too, but I wanted to make a point about something. I believe that the time of year a person is born into will have an impact on his or her life. No, not in an astrological way or anything. I just think that for a child, the season in which your birthday falls can have a profound effect on the way you feel, especially if you live in a part of the world where the seasons are so drastically different. I was born at the end of November. So many people say that November is a dull month, but as I’ve grown up, I’ve come to love it. Almost every year for as long as I can remember, we have had our first snow of the year on my birthday, November 29th. Being in Wisconsin now, it generally comes a bit earlier, but the point is that I feel I am somewhat programmed to adore snow and the cold. Of course, when one is born can have the opposite effect, as well. My sister was born five days before Christmas, and she always says that she much prefers summer and the warmer temps. Whereas she would gladly move to Hawaii, I would much rather move to Alaska, if it came down to a choice between the two. My husband was born on July 31st, and though I think he does like winter more, he also is quite able to appreciate everything about all four seasons, with the exception of early spring. That’s mainly because here in Wisconsin, most of spring is just MUD. He drives a truck for a living and he generally likes to keep it clean!

I’m very much ready for winter. The cold winds may blow and rain may come for the next month and a half, but I hope and pray very fervently that come December, there will be snow on our first anniversary (December 3rd), and that we will be able to snowmobile all winter long. Unlike last year, which was a disappointing winter all around.

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Sunday Serenade

My husband and I share a love of music, especially instrumental/orchestral. Between the two of us we own an extensive collection of musical recordings on everything from vinyl to 8-tracks to my iPod. We also have quite a collection of musical instruments, including a piano, an electric organ, about 6 guitars, my violin, and his two trombones…yeah, you get the idea. There are more than that. Oh, we even have a gorgeous antique accordion that was his grandfather’s; upon doing some meagre research on the internet, we discovered that it is probably worth a LOT.

Anyway, music is a big part of our lives. We both play a number of instruments, and we both can sing rather well. Being Lutheran Christians, we also belong to a church where the hymns and liturgy are played on a gigantic pipe organ — none of that modern worship music for us. There isn’t much that can surpass a pipe organ, honestly.

All that being said, I have decided to begin a series on this blog that I will call “Sunday Serenade” where I will share one or two pieces of music that are favorites of ours, or just simply incredible pieces of music. Many times they will be religious, but not always.

Today I want to share with you a piece that has always been near and dear to my heart. It is a piece that my dad and I both love, and when I was younger, if it ever came on the radio (we had a classical station back home — I miss it so…), we turned up the volume quite high. (Side note: I credit my dad especially for bringing me up with such a sincere love of true music. My mom, too, but my dad especially!) This piece is called “The Moldau” in short. It was composed by Bedrich Smetana; it is a symphonic poem, and I think it could be considered a love poem of sorts to his homeland. It’s kind of long, but I think if you give it a listen, you may just fall in love with it like I did.

You’ll just have to find the video HERE because WordPress is being dumb. Sorry.

Comfort Food: Creamy Onion Soup

Over the past week, I’ve been ill with some strange virus that basically weakened me till I couldn’t do much other than read a book or watch television. Even watching a screen was hard, because my vision was all messed up. I think that today I am finally over the worst of it because I’ve spent the whole morning cleaning up the kitchen and catching up on laundry.

The other day, I was feeling well enough to get up and do a few things, so I decided to make one of my favorite foods ever. Onion soup is seriously one of my comfort foods. I make it a lot. The recipe I use comes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz, which, by the way, is a pretty darn awesome cookbook. The soup is absolutely delicious. It’s smooth, not too oniony oddly enough, and just one steaming bowl is enough to fill up my stomach.

Here is the recipe as it is written in the cookbook (I usually double it since Nate and I both love soup so much).

~Creamy Onion Soup~

1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) butter

2 large onions, cut lengthwise and then sliced 1/8-inch thick (HINT: just chop them up small…)

4 cups chicken broth or 4 cups water and 4 teaspoons chicken-flavored soup and seasoning mix (I make my own broth with chicken bouillon and that hasn’t failed me yet)

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt

2 cups whole milk, divided (I use 2% because that’s what we buy)

1/3 cup flour

1. Heat the butter in a 4-quart pot. Add the onions to the pot, and cook over low heat until the onions are golden, about 30 minutes.

2. Add the chicken broth or the water and soup mix, along with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the onions are very soft, about 30 minutes.

3. Combine 1/3 cup of the milk with the flour in a bowl and mix well, beating out the lumps with a whisk. Add this mixture slowly to the soup while stirring constantly. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens. Add the rest of the milk and just heat through; do not boil.

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Supposedly, this recipe serves six people, but I really don’t believe that. Maybe if you only have small bowls…but small bowls of soup are just not my thing. The cookbook also recommends you serve this soup with Irish soda bread, which is fantastic, but any bread will work fine. Saltine crackers do, too.

Seeing as I’m attempting to be vegetarian (and somewhat vegan), I will probably try to modify this recipe to fit the requirements….though that might not work all that well. I think soy milk would work, as well as maybe using a vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. As for the butter, I’m not sure. I suppose I’d just keep the butter.

This is a perfect recipe for a cold winter’s afternoon or evening. If you make it, let me know what you think!