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December is a special month. A month to celebrate holidays, to reconnect with friends and family, a month of eating rich foods (or maybe fast foods), a month of shopping, a month of wrapping, shipping, laughs, hugs, little sleep, stress, and maybe loneliness, too. It’s a busy, fun, and stressful month. I look forward to it every year, and yet every year, I still feel unprepared for it. Every year, I think I’m going to get it all done sooner, so I can slow down and enjoy it more.
I have done pretty good so far this year at getting things done earlier than usual: Christmas cards ordered, photo gifts ordered, some gifts purchased, advent calendar activities planned, pictures with Santa done, Christmas tree up and decorated, some Christmas cookies made, our first holiday crafts made, and stockings are hung. That’s a lot for me to have done already in the first week of December. I feel good about that, but I still have a lot to do. And it seems that the earlier I start, the more time I have to do more activities. It can be a vicious cycle.
So, where does this leave me today? Well, my lack of attention to diet has let foods like chips, soda and dairy creep in. The dairy really had me down over the weekend. I’m also getting to bed late trying to prepare for the next day’s events. That all leaves me feeling tired and a little cranky. I need to turn this trend around before it gets worse, so I can really enjoy this special time.
Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness inspired me to take control of the situation with her December Sanity Challenge event. She and three other bloggers are hosting the event to help themselves and others make reasonable goals for enjoying a happy, healthy, and sane holiday month. I may be getting a late start, but I’m in! Here are my goals for this month:
- Eat Healthy – I will continue to plan healthy meals every week. I will supplement them with healthy snacks and drinks – not soda and chips!
- More Exercise – I will try to get in a walk at least 3 times a week. If the weather is uninspiring, I’ll put in Just Dance 2 and dance away my stress.
- More Sleep – I often use my evening hours when the kids are in bed to get things done. Too often, I lose track of the time and end of going to bed too late. So, I’m setting an alarm clock to remind me to go to bed every night at 11.
- Ask for Help – I will recruit my kids to help me. They can stamp and seal envelopes on Christmas cards, water the Christmas tree, help put up decorations, help wrap presents, help make holiday goodies, etc. And if needed, I’ll get a babysitter to make use of weekend time.
- Make Time for Myself – I will slow down and relax by getting a massage or a pedicure, or both!
- Enjoy the Holidays – I will do some of the things I enjoy most during the holidays: attend the Nutcracker, listen to Christmas music, make crafts with the kids, bake holiday treats, etc.
- Hugs! – My all-time favorite stress-buster is getting hugs from my kids daily (or hourly if necessary). A good squeeze and smile from them can fix almost anything.
I’m printing out this list and posting it on my computer, my bathroom mirror, and my refrigerator. (I may need a few reminders.)
How is your December going? Need some inspiration or ideas for maintaining your own sanity? Join us!
- Dec. 1 at Gluten Free Goodness
- Dec. 8 at The Daily Dietribe
- Dec. 15 at City Life Eats
- Dec. 22 at Ginger Lemon Girl
- Several different varieties of pancakes were mentioned – apple, banana, blueberry, chocolate chip, peanut butter, pumpkin
- Cheese Balls – Sausage Cheese and Cheese Garlic varieties
- Chicken and Dumplings
- Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake
- Hearty Chicken Pot Pie
- Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie
- and so many more….
The winner of the Bisquick Pancake Prize Pack, who was chosen by Random.org, is Gretchen (comment #116). I love that Gretchen was thinking about making gluten-free Russian Tea Cakes for her mother-in-law. Bisquick Gluten-Free is a great product for people who want to bake gluten free for friends and family. But, as a precaution, please be careful to avoid any cross-contamination if you are baking in a kitchen that also uses any gluten-containing ingredients. I would recommend using parchment paper for lining baking sheets and pans. For mixing, I would also recommend using metal spoons and glass bowls that have been thoroughly scrubbed of any possible traces of gluten.
Other Giveaways. I wish I could send samples to everyone who entered, but of course I can’t. You can however, enter another contest. But enter quick as these two are expiring soon!
Go check it out now, so you can enter her giveaway, too! The giveaway includes Carol Fenster’s new cookbook Gluten-Free Quick & Easy, as well as GingerLemonGirl’s e-book and two 30-minute gluten-free cooking/baking coaching sessions.
And here are a few more quick and easy recipes from Celiac Family:
- Chicken Spaghetti – leftover chicken meal
- Parmesan Chicken Nuggets – a family favorite
- Broiled Parmesan Fish - great using tilapia or other white fish
- Easy Garlic Shrimp Pasta – rice noodles used to make this fast and gluten free!
Just a quick note to let everyone know that I have finally added a Recipe Index to my site (on the menu bar). Now you can quickly find gluten-free recipes on my site by category.
Last week, I was honored to be tagged as “One Lovely Blog” by Cheryl at GF Goodness. I have plans to compile a complete list of gluten-free blogs to share with readers, but I haven’t gotten very far with it, yet. So, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to share with you some of the blogs I enjoy reading. This is not an exhaustive list. There are a lot of great blogs out there that focus on the gluten-free diet. Here are some of my favorites:
Book of Yum – Sea creates wonderfully diverse vegetarian recipes. Her gluten-free recipes often include spices and flavors common in cooking in other parts of the world: Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, etc. She also organizes Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger, a blog carnival to encourage bloggers to try each other’s recipes.
Celiacs in the House – I always look forward to hearing about Wendy’s adventures, either in the kitchen, at the farmer’s market, or around town. She has some great gluten-free recipes and product reviews to share.
Flour Arrangements – Sophie has a lovely website with lots of big, beautiful pictures of her gluten-free creations. Makes me drool every time.
Gluten Free Taste of Home – Visit this blog if you’re looking for gluten-free comfort food. Cinde is re-creating all of her favorite vegetarian recipes to be gluten-free.
Gluten-Free Girl – A beautiful writer, Shauna, has been sharing her gluten-free recipes and stories with us for years. We’ve read about her diagnosis, her marriage, and now the birth of her daughter. Her stories often amuse, encourage, and celebrate her gluten-free life. And why not? It’s a healthy way to live.
I’m an Organizing Junkie – What more is there to say. Laura speaks to my inner desire to be organized. It all starts with Menu Plan Monday, a great way to get your week started off right! (This website does not focus on the gluten-free diet, however many people contribute gluten-free menus to Menu Plan Monday.)
Karina’s Kitchen – A lovely writer with beautiful pictures of her scrumptious foods. Karina creates gluten-free recipes that are frequently also free of other common food allergens (dairy, egg and soy). Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free/casein-free recipes.
Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free – Amy always has an uplifting message to share along with her wonderful sugar-free and gluten-free recipes. She is also starting a new blog carnival next week called Slightly Indulgent Mondays.
Sure Foods Living – Alison provides lots of useful information to help others live healthy, gluten-free and allergy-free lives.
The Gluten-Free Homemaker – Every week, Linda hosts a great weekly blog carnival for sharing gluten-free recipes: “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten-Free.” She shows us that making gluten-free meals doesn’t have to be difficult.
The Sensitive Pantry – Nancy has a beautiful blog where she shares her delicious recipes, which avoid gluten, dairy and egg.
The W.H.O.L.E. Gang - Through her Friday Foodie Fix blog carnival, Diane provides recipes and detailed information about the benefits and nutritional qualities of specific foods. She’s an inspiration for trying new foods.