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Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's Crunch Time

**I just want to thank all of you for your kind words yesterday. I was overwhelmed by all of the sweet comments I received. It makes me so happy to know there are so many of you thinking about us and praying for us. I am so blessed to have such wonderful followers! :)

Everyone sets little goals for themselves. Every year, I try to do something bigger and better than last. This year, I've made it my goal to reach 200 Jazzercise classes by December 31, 2010.

As most of you are reading this, I've completed (or am in the process of completing) classes 197 and 198. Yes, that means only 2 more to go before midnight Friday. I can do this! Now, I don't get any sort of prize or recognition for reaching 200 classes, but I get the satisfaction of knowing I did it. And that's what counts.

Last year, I reached 177 classes and the year before that, I barely got over 100. It's the little goals I set for myself that keep me motivated.

It's not about losing weight, but it's about being healthier and because this is something I actually enjoy.

This week, I started with 190 classes and I am very tired and perhaps a little insane (I keep thinking that I'd spend 2 and 3 hours a day practicing when I was on the pom squad in high school, but I'm no 16 year-old whipper snapper). I guess I sort of feel like I'm on "The Biggest Loser" minus the yelling and strict dieting.

So, when you're thinking about making your New Year's Resolutions or setting goals for yourself, don't be afraid to challenge yourself. And if you're sick of the same routine, try something new. You just might surprise YOU!

“Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there.” - Bo Jackson

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What I'm Loving Wednesday


I'm loving my iPad! It's the best gadget ever! I can't stop playing with mine.
I'm loving this nail polish from OPI. It's called "Bring on the Bling" and is part of the Burlesque collection. It's perfect for New Year's Eve!
I'm loving these leopard pajama pants from Ann Taylor. They are so comfy.
I'm loving that the Memphis Blog Girls are meeting up again next week. Email me at carolinesmithwick@gmail.com if you're interested in joining us!

I'm loving that Fred and I actually have New Year's Eve plans this year. I can't wait to ring in 2011 with my hubby and great friends! (I just hope I can stay awake until midnight)
And I'm loving that I went to see a new doctor yesterday and she gave me hope for having a baby in 2011!! I'm starting Clomid this cycle and we shall see where it takes us. I cannot tell you the last time I actually felt hope. Stay tuned for our story...

What are you loving? Visit Jamie @ This Kind of Love and link up!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday: New Year's Resolutions


Top 2 Tuesday: New Year's Resolutions

1. To be a better person: this includes being a better wife, daughter and friend. I'd also like to improve myself mentally, physically, and spiritually. I know this isn't something that will be resolved within one year, but it's something that I can strive to do.

2. Cook at home more: I've certainly gotten better over the years, but I maybe only cook one or two nights a week. We're busy people and that's no excuse. I enjoy cooking and eating at home with Fred, but I just don't feel like I do it enough. I'll be looking for good recipes and sharing some of our favorites along the way.

So, what are your top 2 New Year's Resolutions? Visit Taylor at The Undomestic Momma and tell us!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Goodbye, Christmas

Well, I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas! We did. We were fortunate enough to spend it with both of our families. (I won't bore you with all of the details)

Here's a pic of us on Christmas Eve:
Santa was very good to us. I think I gained 10 lbs. We had a great time eating, drinking and just being merry!

Christmas night, I started taking down our decorations. I think I dread it so much that I just have to get it done. We took down the remaining decorations inside on Sunday, but we left the one's outside (it was too cold and snowing just a little).

Sunday afternoon, we went to see "Little Fockers" with my parents. You should definitely go and see it, but leave the kiddos at home. It was hilarious and I think that movie might be about my family. :) So, tell me about your Christmas...

I am off of work this week and really looking forward to getting some things done around the house, unless something else sparks my attention. :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Smithwick's

I wish I could send a card to all of you who read Simply Smithwick! But that would be TOO expensive for me and my hand might fall off. So instead, I am posting this year's card and wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas from our family to your's.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Guest Blog: Ashley @ A Hasty Life - Red Velvet Cheesecake

Hello Simply Smithwick Readers!

My name is Ashley, Caroline and I are switching blogs for the day, you can find her at my blog: A Hasty Life. I’m so happy to be posting here. Guest posting is such a wonderful way to meet new bloggers and share new ideas! I’m excited to see what new relationships blossom through this guest post (for both Caroline and myself!)

We are sharing our favorite recipes, today! Check out my Red Velvet Cheesecake below, then be sure to bop on over to my blog to read Caroline’s recipe!


Red Velvet Cheesecake


Ingredients:
1 lb. milk chocolate, chopped
½ cup butter
1 9-oz. pkg. chocolate wafer cookies (40 to 45 cookies)
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup slivered almonds
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted
4 8-oz. pkgs. Cream cheese, softened
1 8-oz. carton diary sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1-oz. bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
Powdered sugar

Directions:
In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and ½ cup butter over low heat; transfer to a bowl and cool completely.


Place wafer cookies, chocolate pieces, almonds and brown sugar in a large food processor. Cover and process until finely ground. Add the ½ cup melted butter; cover and process until well combined. Transfer crumbs to a 10x30inch springform pan with a removable bottom. Press crumbs onto bottom and up the sides of the pan, leaving a ½-inch space at the top of the pan. Set aside. (Note: too much butter will cause the crust to be hard, even though it makes it easier to mold to the pan)



For filling: In a very large mixing bowl, beat the cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, buttermilk and red food coloring with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Add 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks all at once. Beat on low speed just until combined.

Pour filling into crumb-crust lined springform pan. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan on the over rack. (We used a cookie sheet.) Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour, or until 2 inches of outside edge appear set when shaken gently. (Note: it still looks completely uncooked!)


Remove springform pan from baking pan. Cool cheesecake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use a small metal spatula to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Cool 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan. Cool for 1 hour; cover and chill at least 4 hours.


To serve, use a paper doily to decoratively sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder on the top.


Enjoy!!

Thanks everyone! I hope you enjoyed this recipe and are able to use it for one of your holiday gatherings! It is a real crowd pleaser!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I'm Loving Wednesday!


I'm loving this video posted about the "real" meaning behind Christmas. What a great way to tell the story of the birth of Christ using modern technology!



I'm loving the Excellence Playa Mujeres. Many of you have asked where we stayed and we stayed at the Excellence Playa Mujeres. You fly into Cancun and travel about 30 miles north. Our resort was amazing. The food and the people we wonderful. I highly recommend staying there - we've stayed there twice.
I'm loving that one of my favorite singers, Edwin McCain, is coming to Memphis in January. I bought our tickets and I can't wait to see him. "I'll Be" was our wedding song.
I'm loving OPI's Green-wich Village (it's definitely fun for Christmas!)
I'm loving that Christmas is here. I am so thankful to have a loving husband and a great family to share this holiday with each year. I am so blessed!
So, what are you loving???

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday: Favorite Christmas Memories

Top 2 Favorite Christmas Memories

1. I loved tracking Santa. On Christmas Eve, our local NBC news station tracks Santa in the 10pm news broadcast. I always loved seeing how close he was and then it was time to go to bed.

Now, you can track Santa from your computer using NORAD. It's great to see where Santa's been and where he's headed next. Check it out here.

2. Opening my stocking at my Grandma and Pappy's house
In my family, we open the majority of our presents on Christmas Eve and then Santa comes Christmas morning. But, after those presents had been opened, we'd head to my grandparents' house for dinner and Santa always left me a stocking to open. There was some really great stuff in there. I miss this tradition.

What are your Top 2 Christmas Memories? Visit Taylor @ The Undomestic Momma and tell us!

Beach Reads

One good thing about vacation is that I tend to get a LOT of reading done. I read four books in seven days. Yes, you read that right. Now, three of them were girly books that don't really require a lot of thinking, but the other one really made me think.

I started with Lauren Conrad's "L.A. Candy" series. I rather enjoyed the first two books and the third arrived yesterday. I love trying to figure out what is actually based on her experience with "The Hills" on MTV. They were so easy to read and definitely "chick lit". If you like "The Hills", you'd like these books.

I then found Sophie Kinsella's "The Undomestic Goddess" in the hotel library. I've never read any of her books, but I'd heard great things about them. I really enjoyed this light read. It was perfect for sitting by the pool. And now I am interested in reading more by her.

Lastly, I read "The Prodigal God" by Timothy Keller. Fred studied this book in his small group. I don't tend to read books like this, but I think everyone could benefit from this book. It really made you think about your thoughts and words and about living the Christian life. It was easy to read and only about 120 pages.

I am looking forward to read the 3rd book ("Sugar and Spice") in the L.A. Candy series today. I hope I can find some time over the next few weeks to read it.

Have you read any of these books?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm Baaaaaaack

Hola, amigas!!! We are back from sunny, warm Cancun (can I go back, now?).

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. You all are so sweet! I had a wonderful birthday and trip. Twenty-eight is turning out to be one great year already!

We had a wonderful time hanging out and relaxing for seven days. Life couldn't get much better than putting your "toes in the water and ass in the sand" in December with the people you love.

Here are just a few of our pictures:

Bienvienedos a Cancun!

Our room decorated for my birthday - there was supposed to be a cake, but it never showed - or Fred ate it

Birthday Dinner

I loved all of the Christmas decorations

Reenacting our smooch from last year

Fred was picked to go on stage and shake his booty
I did something I swore I'd never do again...I sang karaoke - Britney Spears' "Oops...I Did It Again"

On the dance floor
Gotta love the beds by the pool
Michael Jackson and his "Thriller" crew were there
Fred made an uh-oh at BINGO and had to be punished with Tequila
Our last night
My wonderful parents who accompanied us on this trip
Excellence Playa Mujeres - I love you!
I had a great vacation with my family. Thank you!!! I love you so much!

I hope all of you are doing well. Thank you to my fabulous guest bloggers for holding down the fort while I was away. So, tell me, what did I miss?