Thursday, December 22, 2011

Festive Wrapping

This week has turned out so differently than I expected.  The good thing is that because I pushed myself to get things done just in case my White House Tour did not get cancelled, I will end up having some free time, which is a nice thing.  Maybe I'll get out and treat myself to my once-a-year Skinny Peppermint Mocha at Starbucks!

My nail tech says that when it comes to me, old OPI colors never die, they just go to my house to retire.  My holiday color:  Ruby for Rudolph (which is a retired holiday color that I had at home).  So pretty!
I had completely decided not to bake at all this year - a combination of lack of time and the thought that we really did not need any junk in the house.  Mr. Helen acted so disappointed when I told him that I have to admit I felt a bit guilty.  To make matters worse, in years past he has been given boxes and boxes of cookies from people at the dojo and work - not this year.  The poor man is cookie deprived.  Ya'll have seen him, he can "afford" a cookie no problem.

Then Marisa wrote a post about all the cookie baking she did and asked "What is your favorite holiday cookie to bake?"  I told her it was our rolled sugar cookies that we frost and decorate.  After I answered I realized I enjoy making those cookies not for how they taste - although they are delicious - but rather for the memories associated with them.

For all of Little Helen's life, right up until she moved far away, I would make those cookies and have them cooled and ready to frost and decorate when she got home from school.  Then she and I would sit down and put on The Carpenter's Christmas Album and decorate and sing at the top of our lungs. We actually did that so many years that the "album" changed to a "cd."

Anyway, all of these things came together like a big ball of Karma and now I'm thinking that on Christmas Eve I will make Mr. Helen those cookies.  Little Helen will be home by then... maybe she'll want to help.

The 2010 Snowmen
This is the first week that I haven't been eating strictly Paleo since I started the Zero Excuses Challenge back in November.  I have tried to keep in mind that I should try to have those things after working out hard, so my first foray back into grain world was some of this on Wednesday morning after my run (which was my 3rd workout within 24 hours so I think that qualifies as hard enough!):

Oh my goodness, this blend  of whole grain oats, wheat, rye, barley, triticale and flaxseed is just delicious. With 120 calories and 5 grams of fiber per serving, it's nutritious as well.  I also think it would be spectacular as a substitute for oatmeal in an oatmeal cookie recipe, or for granola.  I ate it with a scrambled egg and it kept me full for hours.


You people are crazy.  I tell you I've been fussing about my haircut and almost every single person who commented asked for pictures!  Is this a misery loves company thing?  Seriously.  But I'm a good blogger friend and if my hair makes you feel better then I guess you should consider this your gift from me this year.  I had to go lock myself in the ladies room at work to attempt this so forgive the backgrounds  - and the blurriness because someone started knocking.  See the sacrifices I make for you guys?


Speaking of gifts, I hope everyone who celebrates is having a wonderful holiday season and realizes that the best gifts probably don't come wrapped in festive paper.  I'll be taking a blogging break for a few days to enjoy time with my family - and to bake those cookies.  Peace and blessings to you and yours.


  1. Lovely post, Helen! And I understand that old holiday traditions die hard. I'm doing some things again this year that I had said I wasn't going to do. I don't know if it's the guilt or my "tradition conscience" raising it's head in protest. BTW, your hair cut is great! Merry Christmas to the "Helen" family!

  2. You're gorgeous and have a stunning smile.. Can I have some cookies? :)

  3. Your hair looks amazing! Love, love, LOVE it!

    I'm glad you're making the sugar cookies - some traditions need to continue, diet or not.

    Enjoy the Starbucks drink. :) And enjoy the next few days with the family - Merry Christmas, my friend!

  4. Good grief - you are beuatiful! The hair looks mahvelous, dear. It's all working and sounds like you're firing on all cylinders! Have awesome holidays!

  5. Merry Christmas to you and yours! Love your smile! You radiate!

  6. Your hair is gorgeous Helen! And glad that you'll be making at least some cookies - I agree its the process I like more than the end results when baking cookies and sweets!

    You are correct the best gifts aren't what are wrapped in glitty paper - Tony and I can't afford gifts to each other this year, but we both realize we are each others best gift of all!

    Merry Christmas Helen to you and yours! Hugs, Biz

  7. I like your hair. It is so styled and put together! I was actually thinking it would be much shorter :D

    Glad serendipity is working for you this Christmas with keeping the cookie tradition going.

    Have a Merry Christmas, Helen! Thanks for blogging.

  8. I LOVE your hair!!!

    And yummmmm. Sugar cookies....

    And pretty nails.

    You are ready for Christmas!

  9. Your hair is gorgeous. I totally love it! You're so darn pretty and you look so young. Must be the weight loss...and the hair! :)

    Merry Christmas Helen!

  10. I really love your hair and you have a nice smile too! Before I forget congrats on your weight loss, I may not comment often but I've been reading and you inspire me in my own quest Keep up the great work.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  11. Oh, shush, your hair looks GREAT! What don't you like about it?

    I bet Little Helen and Mr. Helen will very much enjoy making and eating those cookies with you.

    Merry Christmas, Helen! Have a lovely time with your family.

  12. I absolutely love your hair, it looks so stylish. Great choice.

    I haven't baked in months but will tomorrow, making an apple pie and cupcakes for Christmas.

    Helen I wish you, Mr. Helen and Little Helen a merry Christmas.


  13. I LOVE the hair, Helen! You look beautious!

    Enjoy making those cookies!! :)
    Merry Christmas!

  14. OMG Helen, your hair is HOT!!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the style on you!!!!! Have a fun time making the snowmen (so cute) and enjoy your holiday. Warm wishes to Mr. Helen and Little Helen too. Take care. Hugs

  15. Merry Christmas Helen! YOu look so radiant and happy. Havea great holiday with your hubby.