Tuesday, December 28, 2010

a new bike!

You are looking at the proud owner of a new bike. :)  My dear husband had this all ready for me when we came home from church on Christmas Eve.  (A red bow was even tied to the handlebars.)  I had been telling JJ I thought a bike would be a nice thing to save up for since we can use them year-around.  Apparently he thought so, too! :)

On Christmas Eve night, we went back to church at 10:30 p.m. for the Christmas Eve service and rode in style....on our bikes!  We're thinking as long as we're in Florida, we're making it a tradition.

We are now visiting family and enjoying the rest of our Christmas break!  I hope you are, too!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

christmas eve!

Happy Christmas, everyone!  I hope the last couple days have been filled with lots of joy and celebrated with those you love. :)

Christmas Eve was a different than usual.  This year, JJ and I celebrated just the two of us.  After a long day at church, we came home for some evening appetizers.  The day before, I picked up some delicious salami, pepperoni, monterey jack cheese, baby swiss cheese, red, yellow and orange peppers, green onions and pineapple. We also added some spinach & artichoke dip and ranch dressing.  We sipped on some red wine bought from Whole Foods a couple days before.  Everything was Mmm...Mmm...Mmm.  A perfect light meal before going back to the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service at our church.

My Christmas Eve "Sunny Spot" was spending it with my husband.  :)  We started a couple of traditions that we'd like to continue for years to come and celebrated the birth of Jesus at a really magical Christmas Eve service.  I'm so thankful for such a peacful silent night.  I hope your Christmas was wonderful.  :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

thank you, julia!

The other day, my friend and co-worker, Miss Julia, brought all of us a sweet treat:  (homemade) almond poppy seed bread.  There is only one word to describe what I tasted...scrumptious.  One bite was just not enough.  It was sweet, but not overbearingly sweet, moist and light.  This would be a delicious breakfast, snack, coffee desert, or full-on meal!  To find this recipe, you can visit:  http://www.ourbestbites.com/2008/12/almond-poppy-seed-bread.html

Thank you so much, Julia for taking the time to make this life-changing bread! :)

On another note, I've decided I would like to do a "Sunny Spot" every so often because my blog is about health, fitness and everyday things that make life so sunny. :)

My Sunny Spot for today would be homemade gifts.  You just can't beat them!  When I received Julia's homemade bread neatly tied in a festive red ribbon, my heart just jumped.  It meant so much that Julia would take the time and energy to make us each our own loaf.  Homemade gifts don't have to be extravagant or pricey...you just have to put a little heart into it. What homemade gift can you put together to make someone's day?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


This year will be our first Christmas with just JJ and I, our second Christmas as a married pair, and our third Christmas as a couple.  I am constantly brainstorming about what should be our tradition as our own family.  Something that we can carry on throughout the years that will be special for our family. :)  Any ideas would be much appreciated!

Because we'll be quite busy on Friday with my job at church, I plan on doing some yummy appetizers for the two of us.  First up, Giada's Pea Pesto Crostini.  That's it. I'm not sure what else to do, so yesterday, JJ and I headed over to Barnes and Noble to check out some magazines and cookbooks for some inspiration. :)

I'll have to let you know the whole menu when I get it all figured out. :)  Tonight, it's off to Whole Foods to get some ingredients for a Christmas to remember!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

happy birthday, megan and soo!

Tonight, our good friend Carrie made an absolutely fabulous birthday dinner for Megan and I.  It's Megan's actual birthday today and mine on the 27th, so we did a double birthday dinner. :)  Carrie used her slow cooker to make a shredded chicken tortilla soup.  It was a crowd-pleaser! If you want the recipe, let me know and I'll have Carrie guest post the deliciousness.  She also made a yummy yellow cake with chocolate frosting. The cake decorating is compliments to Dru.  Thanks, Dru and Carrie for a special night!

Although the boys joined in for the birthday fun, they're not pictured here.  However, shown here is:  Lauren, Steph, Megan, Carrie and me.

Happy birthday, dear Megan!  I am so thankful we were able to celebrate this special day with you!  24!!  What a happy day!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

snickerdoodles a la "How Sweet It Is"

Last night, I went to a fabulously fun cookie exchange and secret santa party.  I actually have never been to a cookie exchange, so it was shocking to see how many cookies there were to consume. :)  There were peanut butter blossoms, chocolate chip, peanut butter balls, pumpkin, peppermint, and my snickerdoodles.  I had found the recipe earlier that day from "How Sweet It Is," a fantastically well done blog I stumbled upon earlier this fall.  http://www.howsweeteats.com/2010/12/11/fat-fluffy-snickerdoodles/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+howsweeteats%2FsmSp+(How+Sweet+It+Is)

Now on to the cookies.  Here are the ingredients:

1. cream butter and sugar
2. add egg and vanila
3. stir in flour, baking powder, salt and 1.5 t. of cinnamon.
4 stick them in the fridge for 30 minutes
5. dip in cinnamon and sugar mixture
6. bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes
7. taste test!

I came home with three baggies full of cookies last night. :)  That's a lot of sugary deliciousness.  Sounds like a movie night with a side of cookies.:)

Monday, December 13, 2010

homemade chicken noodle soo-up :)

Like I said earlier, yesterday, I made some homemade chicken noodle soup.  I think it turned out quite delicious.  Onion, celery, carrot, chicken, chicken broth, vegetable broth, salt and pepper...all heated up. :)

To try the recipe for yourself, you can find it at:  http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/quick-and-easy-chicken-noodle-soup/Detail.aspx


o Christmas tree

This is our first Christmas tree.  I love the red bows I tied to its branches and I love the sparkling white lights that act as our living room night light. :)  I also love that it is artificial and will be up year after year and was half off at Hobby Lobby! :)

This weekend was low key and relaxing.  We enjoyed spending time with JJ's family and enjoyed spending time together.  It seems like everything picks up around the holiday season, so any down time is much appreciated. 

Last night, I made some delicious chicken noodle soup.  JJ still isn't feeling top notch, so I thought this might help.  It was super easy!  I will post the recipe later...along with a few pics. :)

I hope you're having a wonderful day!  12 days until Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas party fun

Tonight was my very first work Christmas party.  Unfortunately, JJ still wasn't feel top notch, so my co-worker and friend, Jessica, whose husband couldn't make it either, was my "date" for the evening.  :)  Before we left, we decided to do a Christmas Party photo shoot. :) 

  The meal was delicious, the company fantastic and the dessert...scrumptious.  If you haven't ever had a SWEET cupcake--they are the best.  I even brought a couple home for JJ...when he's feeling better. :)

Now, it's on to some FRIENDS watching with my sweetheart.

to the mall we went...

Yesterday, JJ, Carrie, Megan and I headed to the mall to do some Christmas shopping.  It was perfect timing because JJ was able to meet up with his parents who are visiting, while the girls and I hit up stores such as:  Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie, Gap, Urban Outfitters, J.Crew, and the such.  Surprisingly, the mall closed at 9 p.m.  I literally was crawling underneath a shop's gate to get out of the store!

We even ran into this little guy...

I still have a couple people left...but slowly by slowly the presents are piling up under our little Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

On a side note, when we got home from the mall, JJ wasn't feeling well.  Unfortunately, as I type this the next afternoon, he is in bed--sick. :(  Now, it's up to me to get him back on his feet and to keep myself well!   :)

This morning, I helped out in Carrie's classroom for their "Christmas Around the World" project.  What a fun, sugar-filled morning!  Then, I went for a quick run and ate a delicious tuna fish sandwich, apples and cheese.

Off to work I go! Have a wonderful morning!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

my day with sullie

Today was a good day.  I worked half a day and got to play with our nephew, Sullivan.  (a.k.a. Sullie)  After picking him up, we came to my house and he took a long nap.  We played with some fun toys, took a walk, had coffee with Megan and even did some grocery shopping.  Sullie was super excited when his Uncle JJ came home to play with him.  The aunt changes his diaper, gives him his dinner and cuddles him after a nap...but no matter what...he'll always want to go to his uncle.  You see, his uncle throws him in the air, chases him around the house and wrestles him on the ground. It's funny how that works out. :)

 Sullie ran around Barnie's courtyard while Megan and I sipped a vanilla latte!

Thanks, Megan for the coffee and grocery shopping! :)  We had so much fun with you!!
Now, I'm off to bed to recharge from an eventful day. :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

think before you drink

And I'm not talking about alcohol.  As I browsed the Today Show website this morning, I was intrigued by the following title:  "Holiday Drinks Can Pack Up to 700 Calories."   I had to check that one out. :)

The author of "Eat This Not That" was giving healthier options to our favorite holiday drinks.  http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/33491735/vp/40528260#40528260 It's amazing to see how many calories are packed into a cup of spiced up coffee.  It really makes you think about what you're ordering and consuming--on top of the doughnut, Christmas cookie, and sliver of pie.

The holiday's can be a tough environment with all the sugary delicacies being given out, but there is victory in moderation and education! Know what you're consuming and how much of it you're having...it will help a whole lot. :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

OUC half marathon

Today I ran a half-marathon and accomplished a personal best time for myself of 1:52.  It was beautiful run.  I was blessed with the perfect temp, an awesome #1 fan (thanks, JJ :), training that paid off, and a God given ability to use my legs to run. 

I woke up at 5:45 a.m. and made myself a piece of toast with peanut butter and honey and had half of a banana.  I had my shoes and clothes set out ready to go. :)  We were out the door by 6:20 a.m. with JJ's bike in tow. 

Thanks to my friend, Amanda, we had a nice close parking spot in her driveway.  A quick trip to the bathroom and a few pictures later I was at the start line. 

I chose to wear a t-shirt, long-sleeve and mittens.  It was perfect for the chilly start.   I figured if I got too warm, I could always throw my stuff to JJ, who was on his bike meeting me at different mile markers.

They had everyone line up according to their estimated mile time.  I decided to choose in between an 8 and 9 minute mile pace so I wouldn't have to wind around some many clumps of people, or have them winding around me. :)

Feeling good at mile 10, and meeting some friends along the way. :)

Finished!  Thank you, God! :)  An awesome day!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

a delicious pizza

JJ and I were busy bees last night so we had to have a quick dinner.  I opted to make a chicken, pesto, veggie pizza.  The dough was pre-made (Thanks, Publix Grocery) and I added lots of chopped veggies which included:  tomatoes, basil, garlic, green/yellow peppers, & red onion.  Because JJ can't have a ton of cheese, we sprinkled only a bit on top.  Also, I cooked the chicken before I added it to the top. 

Tonight I'm trying to decide what would be a good last meal before my big race tomorrow.  I found this helpful website which let me know what kinds of foods I should avoid or which ones I should consume before running...http://running.about.com/od/distancerunningtips/tp/daybeforemarathon.htm I haven't ran in two days to give my body a good rest before tomorrow.  I'm super excited to see how well my training paid off!  Wish me luck! :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

driving with jj

Last night, we were headed to a friend's house for dinner and I snapped this picture while driving.  It was a beautiful sunset. :)  Our friend made a delicious bbq pulled pork sandwich (out of her crock pot), corn, stuffing and salad. MMMMMM. We had a lovely evening all together.  :)

On a side note, Happy December!  This is our second winter in Florida, but I still cannot seem to get used to the idea of people worried about wind chills when it's 40 degrees outside.  To celebrate the Christmas season, I bought a tree from Hobby Lobby yesterday that was 50% off.  I love Hobby Lobby.  It is the place to go for all your craft essentials. :)  http://hobbylobby.com/  I wanted to surprise JJ with the tree, so I got home before he did and set it up.  However, the surprise wasn't so much a surprise when he could see the lights from outside!

I am excited to share all the joy of Christmas that comes with this season as we celebrate our Savior's birth!

Have a wonderful December!! :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

something free at the airport

When we flew home from Montana, I discovered something that made my flying experience much more comfortable, and better yet, it was free!  What was this magical little something?  It was free hot water!

Before we left JJ's parent's house, I grabbed a Passion Tazo Tea packet.  This is a delicious tea that is also served at Starbuck's.  I popped it in my purse and when I was at the airport remembered that I had it.  I then went to the Starbuck's counter, asked for my free hot water, and saved myself a couple bucks on a hot drink. :)  What a treat.

Cheers to something free! :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

day three of thanksgiving vacation

On Friday, the "kids" of the Peterson family did some Black Friday shopping.  Target had some amazing deals and we all stocked up on some Christmas presents and a treat or two for ourselves. :)

Brooke, Pam and I also enjoyed a trip to TJ Maxx. 
We all were pleasantly surprised by the early arrival of JJ's cousin Eric from Florida and went to Old Chicago for dinner after a long day of running around.
When we got home, Pam plugged in her Christmas lights for the first time this holiday season.  :)  They looked great!
It was an awesome ending to a great Thanksgiving vacation. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

day two of thanksgiving vacation

Happy Thanksgiving!  What a gorgeous sunny day it was here in Montana.  The skies were blue, the sun was shining and it hit double digits temperature wise. 

This morning, I helped JJ's mom mix up some dough to make homemade rolls.  Pam found the recipe from an old church cookbook.  Those are usually the best.  Good old fashioned meals that come with essential ingredients and real butter. :)

After preparing some Thanksgiving treats, I went for a cold  yet wonderful run.  10 miles! :)  This is the last weekend of training before the half marathon I'm doing.  It started out as a bitter cold run with loads of sunshine.  But after I got into a groove, it was amazing.  Being in this winter wonderland makes me miss the northern winters!  (At least for awhile...:)

Sorry to say I didn't capture many photos today...I was too busy living in the moment. :) 

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

day one of thanksgiving vacation

Today was a good day.  We enjoyed time with family, ran some Thanksgiving errands, and had a delicious salmon salad dinner.  I've never bought salmon before, but seeing how easy it is to bake in the oven, I'm going to start. :)  Below you can see our salad, salmon and delicious dinner rolls.

We also enjoyed a colorful fruit salad.  JJ cut up the kiwi.  Awesome.

Earlier today, JJ's Mom and I picked up the turkey at the Meat Palace.  What do they sell?? :)  Meat of course.  What a neat Mom and Pop shop with friendly service and friendly customers.  As you can tell from the picture...it is cold.  It was -4 degrees Fahrenheit this morning and by the end of the day....a whopping 10 degrees Fahrenheit.  Don't be jealous you Floridians. :)
I hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving week.  Don't forget to tune in to the Macy's Thanksgiving parade tomorrow! :)

Thanksgiving blessings to you all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

flying north for Thanksgiving

JJ and I are headed north for Thanksgiving.  We're excited to celebrate with JJ's family, see the snow, cut a Christmas tree down, play with our nephew, Sullie, eat some really good food, exercise to compensate for the food, and count our many blessings. :)

We're packing warm clothes and carrying on all our luggage.  This can seem like a daunting task when you need sweaters, scarves, boots, running shoes, lounge clothes, dressy clothes...ahh!  However, I've found that when you roll everything up, pick things that you can mix and match and re-wear your jeans...you're set. :)  Here's a link to a blog I stumbled upon on how this blogger packs.  :)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt1fdbXD4xo&feature=player_embedded#!

We leave tonight around dinner time, so we're bringing along our own so we don't have to pay for overpriced airport food.  What will we be having?  Sandwiches, Sun Chips and fruit snacks for dessert. :)  Delicious.

More to come from Big Sky Country. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

peanut butter granola bars

Lately, JJ has been asking if we could get new breakfast foods in the house because a lot of what we have is dairy.  Good for me...bad for JJ.  Within the last couple years, we've realized he is lactose-intolerant (a.k.a. dairy makes him sick.)

So, today when I was watching Giada at Home on the Food Network, she showed her viewers how to make super easy Peanut Butter Granola Bars.  I ran to the store and whipped them up in less than 30 minutes.

What do I need?
*1 stick of melted butter  (unsalted)
*1 egg white (use a whisk to break it up)
*1/3 C brown sugar
*1/2 C peanut butter
*1/4 C honey
*2 C oats

(You can modify the amounts and kind of the bottom two ingredients...you could use almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds--anything that you'd like for your granola)
*1/3 C mini chocolate chips
*1/3 C Craisins

--While your butter is melting, stir together your egg white, brown sugar, peanut butter, honey and oats.  Add your melted butter to the mix and stir.  Finally, add your chocolate chips, raisins and/or nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and let it rest for one hour. 

I put my granola in muffin tins with cooking spray and parchment paper to make it easy to get the granola out after it's baked.  However, you could use a loaf pan or baking sheet depending on the thickness of what you'd like your granola to be.

All finished!  I'm looking forward to this breakfast tomorrow morning! :)