Posts made in December, 2010

fnpn : week in review

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Posted on Dec 31, 2010 in Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Pizza of the week:

Homemade pizza with green peppers, onions and a touch of Italian sausage.

And a salad. Made with Tofu Caesar dressing and a giant pile of spinach. It is so nice to be back in my kitchen.

Best thing I ate or drank this week:

One of the three green monsters I had while we were in Canada.

Our blender has been broken for months. But I got to use this ole beauty at my in-laws’ that worked perfectly.

Close second :  one of the billion bacon-wrapped cocktail sausages I had on Christmas Eve.

Best workout of the week:

Rushing through the Detroit airport to make our connection. I swear I’m going back to the gym this week.

Best deal of the week:

Not really a good deal, but more of a good deal realization. Yellowtail wine costs $16 a bottle in Canada! Today, I bought a bottle for $5.99. Cost of living is SO high in Canada.

Best of the Internet for the week:

This crazy video of an iPhone translator. So cool. Shown to me by my brother-in-law.

Favorite purchase of the week:

Not my purchase, by a purchase by my in-laws, my Canada mittens!

Favorite photo of the week:

Pretty much sums up Canada in a photo.

Saddest moment of the week:

Having a cold. For two weeks straight. Seriously?

Happiest moment of the week:

Spending Christmas morning with my Canadian family for the first time ever in the 5 years I’ve known them.

Triumph of the week:

Getting my 2011 new year’s goals written and posted!

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Warm and fuzzy moment of the week:

Watching awesome old movies from my mother-in-law’s family on Christmas Eve.

new year’s goals 2011

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Posted on Dec 29, 2010 in Motivation, Uncategorized

Now that Christmas is over, it is time to turn our attention to the new year. A lot of people scoff at the idea of new year’s resolutions. They say, if you want to make a change, do it now. Don’t wait for a new week or a new month or a new year. For the most part, I agree. Everyday is a chance to change your world.

But, I can’t deny the appeal of a freshly minted calendar year. All the sins of the past year are mentally erased and I truly believe everyone is in the right mentality to make a change.

Sure, a lot of resolutions fail, but that’s okay. Just trying to better yourself is a step in the right direction. One of my favorite running quotes is, “Dead last finish is better than did not finish which trumps did not start.” The simple act of attempting to change yourself is changing yourself.

This all being said, I’m ready to share with you my goals for 2011. I have 11 of them, mostly because I like the symmetry. I’m not naive enough to believe I’ll have a 100% completion on all of these–that is a lot to tackle at the start of a new year. But I do believe I’ll at least attempt to tackle them all. And trying is half the battle.

1. Have over $10,000 in savings.


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Starting with a big one here. We live very comfortably within our means. While that means no debt, that also means not a lot of savings. There are a lot of simple things we can cut out of our day-to-day life that will add up to big gains in our savings account. By the end of the year, I’d like to have a savings account that is somewhere in the (early) five figures.

2. Make the 2011 holidays less stressful.


I’m going to start planning early to make Christmas 2011 easier on us. A few action steps: (1) buy most Christmas gifts instead of making them all (2) work on Swagbucks to save up enough Amazon gift cards to help pay for Christmas gifts (3) plan to take off more than just two weeks if we head to Canada.

3. Run at least five races.


This one is pretty straight forward. I ran in four 5K races last year and just want to better that by one. And do more longer distances. Starting off with my mini marathon in May.

4. Try more recipes from my cookbooks.


I am terribly guilty of neglecting my awesome collection of cookbooks. I get most of my recipes from blogs and Googling. I’d like to go back to looking through the glossy pages of cookbooks and settling on a recipe that sounds delicious. I’d like to try at least one recipe a week from one of my cookbooks. Maybe even more!

5. Hit my goal weight.


I struggled a lot with how to write this. Originally, I had a specific number in mind, but truthfully, I have no idea what my goal weight is. I’m operating under the “I’ll know it when I see it” philosophy. I do now that I want to be done actively losing weight by the end of 2011.

6. Read 25 books.


I love reading, but I always seem to forget about it. TV or movies or the Internet take precedence. I want to get back into reading and my goal of 25 is a great place to start. That gives me roughly 2 weeks per book, which should be plenty of time.

7. Get 200,000 views on my blog in 2011.


Back to Her Roots has had an awesome start! Since my first post in August, I’ve received over 50,000 views. If I can do that in 5 months, I can surely do 200,000 in a year. I’ll need to work a little more on promotion, now I do exactly none, but hopefully I can easily tackle this goal.

8. Reduce our environmental impact.


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Gosh, this seems to be a frequently repeating resolution. You can always be greener can’t you? One big aspect of this is to reduce the amount of trash we produce. I want to start composting and try to start recycling. Recycling is less than convenient where we live, so I want to start small. I also want to reduce the amount of plastic and paper we use.

9. Eat more locally.


We are really great about this in the summer. And really terrible about it the rest of the year. I want to change that. Part of that will be us preserving our own food for use in the less bountiful months. Part of it will be devoting the money to purchasing local even when it isn’t the most economical (which contradicts #1, I know).

10. Limit the amount of TV we watch on weeknights.


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We are super guilty of coming home, turning on the TV and vegging out until bedtime. A DVR means we don’t have to do that! Except for sports, I’d like to limit our TV time a night to about 2 hours. I love TV, but I also love doing other things (see #6).

11. Donate my time to more volunteer organizations.


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I would like to spend some of the time freed up from #10 volunteering. I have a lot of ideas for causes that I’d like to get involved with and will keep you posted!

hyvää joulua and happy boxing day!

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Posted on Dec 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

I hope you all had the merriest of merry Christmases. And if you didn’t celebrate, I hope your Chinese food was awesome!

We had a really fantastic Christmas celebration, starting off with a Christmas Eve gathering with my husband’s extended family.  The food was awesome.

We had meatballs, spinach dip, shrimp, scallops and bacon-wrapped sausages (which I ate about a billion of). Plus suolakala sandwiches (the first of many Finn foods you’ll see in this post). Salted salmon on rye bread.

Later on we gathered around the TV and watched some old 8mm home movies of my mother-in-law’s family.

It was very cool and the entire time I had the attic scene from Christmas Vacation going through my head.

A whole lot of wine was drank and a whole lot of cousins were introduced, but then we made it to bed. For Santa was on his way!

There was a bit of last-minute wrapping on Christmas morning.

And a whole lot of unwrapping.

I enjoyed my Vancouver Olympics mittens.

Seriously enjoyed them. As in, wore them all day.

After presents, it was time for Christmas breakfast.

Standards : orange, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee bread.
Not-so-standard : piirakka.

Rye crust filled with a rice pudding. Served with maple syrup. Although I heard talks of people eating these with egg salad and lots of other things on top. They aren’t very sweet and are used as a base for both savory and sweet foods.

The rest of Christmas day was spent in our jammies playing with our toys. Lots of Wii was played and there was lots more wine. We also tuned into the 24 hour Scrooged marathon on AMC. Oh, and Clancey, the world’s largest chocolate lab, and I became close friends.

There was a whole lot of Donkey Kong Country Returns played into the wee hours of the morning by my husband and his brothers. I was a lightweight and went to rest my cold-ridden head early on in the evening.

Happy Boxing Day! Not a holiday ever celebrated in the U.S., but Boxing Day means one thing in Canada—shopping. Apparently the Boxing Day sales rival the American Black Friday sales. Not our cuppa tea though. For us, Boxing Day just means more food and another day to relax with family.

Boxing Day breakfast was another Finn specialty, pannukakku.

I have a recipe on my blog for thin Finnish pancakes. Pannukakku is also called “Finnish pancakes” but is totally different from the recipe I posted. Pannukakku is a baked pancake made of milk, eggs and flour. It is thick, the crust is fluffy and the middle has a custardy texture and flavor.

It can be served with fruit or jam, but we went simple and had it with butter and maple syrup (and apples, obviously).

There is a big Boxing Day family dinner this afternoon that I might actually take a shower and put on some real clothes for. Although I am certainly not going outside.

My Canadian family has stopped saying it is “mild” and now are saying it is “pretty cold”. I’m gonna go put my maple leaf mittens back on.

merry christmas!

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Posted on Dec 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

canada, oh canada. it’s great!

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Posted on Dec 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Greetings from the Great White North!

There is a whole lot of snow and a whole lot of cold in Northwestern Ontario right now. Although all my Canadian family members keep asking me why I am bundling up so much. Saying it is “so mild” right now. Riiiiggghtt.. That’s why I’m wearing two pairs of gloves. :P

Yesterday morning started off with a totally abandoned Indianapolis airport. Two days before Christmas, I figured it’d be swamped.

Thanks to a super dooper fun time circling the Detroit airport, we spent our lunchtime dashing through the terminal to catch our connection. But thanks to well-packed carry-ons, we didn’t have to go hungry.

Turkey sandwiches, carrot sticks, sweet potato chips, and clementines. And a special appearance by frozen grapes acting in the role of ice pack. Can’t take ice packs on planes, but you can take frozen grapes! Thanks to my sister for the tip.

And of course, chocolate. Never leave home without it.

We landed in snow-covered Duluth, Minnesota about an hour late and had a 4 hour drive to in-laws’ house across the Canadian border. I spent at least the first hour of that drive in complete awe at the amount of snow on the ground. Holy cow.

The drive was a perfect winter wonderland. We saw a ton of deer and a bald eagle! We were on look-out for a moose, but no such luck. Interesting fact: I had never seen a bald eagle in 23 years of living in the U.S. I go to visit Canada and see my first one there.

Hunger snapped me out of my snow-hypnotism. Dug into the snack stash!

Word-of-warning, those tropical zinc lozenges are terrible. Gross. Yuck. Avoid! I only choked them down because the zinc is so good for beating the common cold.

We finally made it to the Canadian homestead and I was greeted with a glass of wine and a delicious dinner of lasagna and salad, which I was entirely too hungry to photograph. It tasted amazing.

Today started off as most Canadian mornings do, with a run to Tim Hortons.

First I had to convince the Babyface that there was no way I was getting out of the warm car and the drive thru was the only real option. He begrudgingly agreed (anyone else have a spouse that HATES drives thrus?)

“Large decaf double double and 20 assorted Timbits, please.” I’m fluent in Canadian.

The chocolate Timbits are my favorite.

Then it was home to wrap presents. We shipped all of our gifts to the border and had a ton of wrapping to do.

But not without egg nog. Tip from my other sister, amaretto + egg nog = amazing. Seriously, go try it. YUM.

Happy, happy, happy Christmas Eve, my friends!