Christmas counts more [than calories]

I hope everybody had a lovely Christmas filled with family time, relaxation, presents and – obviously – food.

Christmas card

Spending most of the time from Sunday afternoon to yesterday evening unplugged reminded me on how important it is to focus on yourself [and your family, obviously]. Not comparing to how much other people exercised or ate on Christmas. That’s not to say I didn’t appreciate the blogging community for all of the great inspiration, motivation and support it has provided me with already. Still, I am somebody who tends to compare too much and get unhappy with myself. That’s why this break was helpful for me.

Christmas 2012 1

For some, exercising and watching what they eat is the right thing to do during on Christmas is the right thing to do. For me, though, it was important to learn and do the exact opposite. Letting go of old habits and daring to allow myself to eat what I wanted and rest. Take a deep breath and relax.

Relax

Resting in front of the chimney – if only my parents had one, too …

Regarding my Christmas bucket list I wish I could say I had done better but I’m trying to see the small accomplishments I did achieve.

No, I wasn’t able to truly let myself have everything I wanted. But I did enjoy a full-on Christmas Eve dinner with vegan roast, potatoes, a massive pile (times ten) of my Grandma’s red cabbage, vegan cream sauce and Brussels sprouts. It might not seem like a huge accomplishment to some but:

It was my first time having a dinner fully prepared by others including a homemade roast by my sister. Plus a sauce that – according to her, not me, as I didn’t watch the preparation (yay!) – had a huge amount of vegan butter even compared to her standards.  Not knowing about the ingredients before I let myself have plenty of it and was delighted in every bite.

Christmas dinner

Sorry for the blurry pictures and using flash but everybody was about to start eating so I had to be quick. Having dinner at around 7 PM doesn’t exactly provide the best natural lighting, either.

Christmas 2012_Dinner

Don’t worry: This was just my first plate. I had seconds (and thirds) of everything.

If you were wondering about the title: It indicates the – for me – biggest achievement. I didn’t measure any foods excluding my breakfast grain mix that I’d bagged at home for two days rather than the one I’d planned. Yes, there was a scale at my aunt’s but I had made the promise to myself so I stuck with it. Guess what? It was easier than I thought. After years and years of counting I obviously still had a rough estimate but was able to push the amount aside quickly each time it arose. While I definitely didn’t eat as normal as everybody else I moved forward after all. Not letting numbers dictate my choices was a freeing experience.

Admittedly, I went back to counting – but still rather roughly – when returing to my parents’ house yesterday. But at least now I know I can do without it and will try to regularly have a non-counting day and hopefully working up from there.

Sing, relax and enjoy.

Sing, relax and enjoy.

What I can say for now, though, is that Christmas really does count more. Being with my family counts more than going for a lonely run outside. Eating a dinner like everybody else counts more than filling up on piles of steamed vegetables. Christmas is meant as a time of thankfulness and spending time with the ones you love – and I am thankful for my family more than I could ever be for any present. Seeing all of my family surely was my favourite part of the holiday.

How was your Christmas?

What did you have for Christmas dinner?

Was there any part of the holiday you especially enjoyed (family tradition, food, a certain present, …)? For me, going to the Christmas church service with my aunt and uncle while everybody else prepared dinner was special. My family doesn’t usually go and it truly enhanced the Christmas spirit. Also, the pastor’s message made me reflect on the past year and get even more appreciative of all I’ve blessed with.

All I want for Christmas is accomplishment [of my Bucket list]

Only two more days – well, depending on where you are – until Christmas Eve! Aaaaaah!

Christmas challenge

I know I failed regarding Jenny’s Christmas Challenge but I still wanted to answer a few more questions. Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right (okay, not really for me here but let’s pretend it was).

13. Favourite Christmas Book

A family favourite that we’ve been reading ever since I was little:The Tomtes’ Christmas Porridgeby Sven Nordqvist. It’s a magical story about the Swedish tomtes helping the humans in the household throughout the year and being rewarded with a bowl of Christmas pudding. One year, though, things are different. The tomte mother senses the people are about to forget the porridge. She plots a plan to prevent the tomte father from getting angry and saving Christmas. If you don’t know this book you have to (!) read it. Trust me, you’ll love it. Suffice to say our age-old copy of this book looks a little, um, ragged. That’s how much we enjoy reading it.

14. Real or artificial tree?

Real or none! We never had an artificial tree in our house. Sure, regarding the environmental aspect it might be worth a consideration but … I can’t imagine Christmas without the scent of a fir needles in combinations with – obviously! – that of real candles.

15. The best gift you’ve given

One that was quite popular were homemade fairy lights I gave – in different layouts – to both of my grandma’s as well as one aunt. Seeing them my sister requested one, too. Not to mention they were fun to produce, too. Maybe I’ll find an old photo somewhere to show you.

17. Post a picture of an old Christmas card.

Christmas Card

Santa: “So, who are you?” – Children: “Your target group!”

Maybe not traditional but my mum has quite the sense of humor when it comes to cards :D.

(Translation: Santa: “So, who are you?” – Children: “Your target group!”)

18. When do you open Christmas gifts?

Traditionally, gifts are opened on Christmas Eve in Germany. We put them under the tree in the morning and open them more or less late in the evening. A family tradition is playing the dice to decide on who’s allowed to open a gift. Waiting to throw a “six” has never been more agonizing …

Candles II

19. Favourite stocking stuffer

We don’t have stockings in Germany so no stocking stuffers for me. It does seem like a fun tradition, though.

20. Favourite Christmas meal

Seeing as I’m a vegetarian I won’t have the traditional Christmas duck. I did buy a vegan “beef” roast but what I’m mostly looking forward to in anyway is my Grandma’s red cabbage. It’s a German specialty and hers is the very best :).

21. Do you travel on the holidays?

Yes! Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll jump on the train to my aunt’s house were we are celebrating this year. My family celebrates interchangeably either at my Grandparents’ place, our house or my aunt’s.

22. Eggnog or hot chocolate?

I’ve never had eggnog before and seeing as I don’t consume eggs anymore I’ll go with hot chocolate. You can never go wrong with hot chocolate.

 

23. Your plans for Christmas 2012

Grandma's cookies

 

Well, this one inspired this post’s title. “Thanks” to my ED I can’t remember the last carefree Christmas I had. It’s been afflicted with tears shed about food eaten or not eaten, regrets and anxiousness. My bucket list for this year includes:

–          Eating at least one of my Grandma’s awesome cookies that she puts a lot of work into. They’ve been my favourite and I finally want to enjoy one again. Or two.

–          Focus on family rather than food. That’s what Christmas should be all about.

–          Have one count-free day: Three days of celebration and I’m hoping to manage one not thinking about nutrition, fat grams and calories.

– Distract myself from not being able to exercise. My family isn’t into exercise on Christmas because they simply enjoy being together. This one’s going to be hard.

While I’ve been having similar goals in the last year I never accomplished them. But fellow ED fighters like Alexandra gave me the push to try again. This year I hope that blogging makes me more, well, accountable for my plans. So feel free to inquire on how well I did :D.

I most likely won’t be blogging again until after Christmas so:

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Tell me:

What’s your favourite Christmas book? Had you heard of “The Tomtes’ Christmas Porridge” before?

What’s your favourite Christmas meal?

Which are your plans for this year’s Christmas?

Any ideas on how I can stop worrying about not exercising yet eating a lot? I’m embarrassed to say how anxious this makes me and would appreciate any ideas.

 

Get to know me a little more [Liebster award]

Get yourself a snack and a nice cup of tea because today’s post is going to be a lengthy one. Thanks to the sweet Carli who nominated me for the Liebster award. I truly appreciate this award – and not only because the word “Liebster” is German but because it’s a great way of sharing some more information about me. I hope it will let you get to know me a little more.

 

liebsteraward1

Here are the award rules:

1. Write 11 random facts about yourself.

2. Answer the 11 questions posed by the person who nominated you.

3. Create 11 new questions.

4. Nominate 11 bloggers and mention them in the post.

5. Thank the blogger who nominated you and tell the bloggers you nominated

 

11     Random facts about me

1.I have two older siblings: one brother and one sister. Funnily, there always is a three-year age difference between us: my brother’s 27, my sister 24 and I’m 21.

2.When I was younger I couldn’t fall asleep in complete darkness. Thus, my room door had to be left semi-open and the light in the corridor needed to be turned on at night. My poor brother and sister who shared a room with me for several years :D.

Nowadays, though, it’s the completely different way round: I cannot fall asleep when there’s light turned on in my room, the corridor or a street latern’s light falling in through the windows.

3. Like most parents my mum has been having nicknames for me and my siblings which she used interchangeably. Nothing wrong with that at home. But one day when I was in 6th grade I forgot my Biology folder at home. Being the kind person she is my mum wanted to give it to me and knocked on the classroom door. When my teacher opened mum said “My little snail forgot her folder at home.” Eeeehm, yes … Let’s say the whole class couldn’t stop laughing and kept calling me “little snail” for the remainder of the day.

4. Tea is my favourite beverage ever and I’m very picky about it. No fruit-flavoured roibush for this girl – yuck!

Tea and cups

5. I’m afraid of spiders. One night I was getting up to go to the toilet and something told me there would be a spider sitting on top of light switch. Um, do I really need to tell you the end of the story? Aaaah!

6. I can’t name the colour of my hair. When I was younger people used to say it was dark blonde but my mum called it “street dog blonde” while I’d have never associated it with blonde in any way. Let’s just go with a light brown.

7.  I can’t go without chocolate for a single day. This one doesn’t need an explanation, right ;)?

8. Touching frosted glass gives me the heebie-jeebies.

9. I’ve never watched Titanic. Anybody else? Please tell me I’m not the only one!

10. My parents insisted all of their children learn at least one instrument. So I played the flute and then the alto recorder for several years while being jealous of my sister getting piano lessons. Practicing for my lessons sometimes happened just an hour before they started … woops.

11. Growing up my sister and I were huge Spice Girls fans listening to their CDs all of the time. Who’s with me?

 1.   What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?

This one’s hard to answer. What I can say, though, is that my parents have given me lots of great advice for life.

2. What is your favorite dessert?

Hands down: Ice cream. I could eat it every day. Sorry, Froyo lovers.

Ice cream

3. In your opinion, what’s the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

Spending quality time with my family. Talking to my mum about everything on my mind on a long walk through nature. I used to laugh at the idea of Sunday being “family day” but nowadays it seems like a great one.

4. Name one quality you admire in other people.

Self-confidence. I admire people who probably don’t have the “perfect” lives either yet seem to be at peace with themselves and their environment.

5. What’s your biggest fear?

Losing somebody I love. I can’t imagine living without the people dearest to my heart and am afraid whenever they travel far away, have to go to the hospital or something like that.

My grandpa experienced serious health troubles several years ago that are still ever-present and since then I’ve been even more worried about him. It has shown me how fragile life is and reminded me to spend more time with the ones I love.

6. Do you have any hidden talents? I have a hard time seeing my own talents.Something other people tell me I’m good at – without even trying – are languages and grammar. I genuinely enjoy writing, checking other people’s papers/presentations/you name it for spelling or grammar mistakes. I can hardly read a text without spotting mistakes. As this can be a serious problem when writing own texts I try not to re-read them after publishing. So I’m sorry if there are any mistakes in my posts!

Letter

7. What is your favorite vacation spot?

I haven’t traveled a lot in my life yet. What I can say, though, is that I’m not a beach person. Not that I wouldn’t like lovely sunny places – I just don’t enjoy lying around in the heat doing nothing all day long. I’d rather go hiking, cycling or spend time in nature in another way.

8. Would you rather live in the calm countryside or a hustling bustling city?

Having grown up in the countryside and moved to the city after graduation from school I’ve experienced the benefits and disadvantages of both. While living in a city is offering a lot to do when you’re younger I’d love to move back to the countryside if founding my own family. Nature is my happy place.

At the lake

9. What is your favorite way to destress?

Calling my mum or a friend. Bake. Drink tea and eat chocolate.

10. What was your first job (if you’ve had one)?

Does raking the leaves or mowing the lawn count – even though those were unpaid my mum still called them my “jobs” ;).  But really, babysitting was my first ever paid job and I liked it a lot. Who doesn’t like to get paid for playing Barbie with cute little girls or beating 8-year-old  boys in board games? Being allowed to eat everything I please from the closets didn’t hurt, either.

11. What is one lesson you learned the hard way?

At the risk of sounding boring and dumb: That being thin doesn’t make life any easier. Slipping into my ED during my teenage years I hoped losing weight would be my ticket to the world of happiness, popularity and success. But the truth is that dropping pounds doesn’t change the person you really are underneath. And my true friends are those that liked me before I even started losing and went with me through everything.

My 11 questions

What did you want to become as a child?

Who’s your role model in life?

If you had/have a stuffed animal: What was/is its name?

What would you like to be remembered for by others?

Which foreign culture would you like to learn more about?

What’s your motto in life?

What are three of your favourite books of all time?

If you could switch places right now where would you go?

What is one of your quirky habits?

 Which nicknames do you have?

What is your favourite way to treat yourself?

 

Edited to add: Sorry my original list was that short. I should really stop writing posts at night when my brain is elsewhere :D. So here you go …

My nominees

Irina @ Chocolatea Time

Michelle @ Peachy Palate

Heather @ Kiss my Broccoli

Kat @ a dash of fairydust

Lauren @ The homeostatic Mindset

Aimée @ An Aussie in England

Shreya @ rush of endorphins

Antonia @ Health inspirations

Emma @ Sweettoothrunner

Laura @ Laura Virginia

… and how could I forgot about Jen @ Peas and Crayons?!

 

Even if I didn’t nominate you please feel free to answer some or all of the questions above. I’d really like to get to know more about YOU!

I hope you enjoyed reading these random facts about me. Have a great day!

Under the [Christmas] weather

Happy Second Advent! Only 15 more days until Christmas!

I might not have an Advent wreath but this candleholder does a good job :).

2nd Advent

Seeing as I’ve been feeling under the weather the past days this post’s going to be short and sweet again. Don’t worry, I’ve still been enjoying the Christmas spirit by listening to various Christmas compilations, awing at the first real snow we got and baking cookies.

Vegan Coconut Macaroons

Let’s hop right onto Jenny’s Christmas Challenge!

Christmas challenge

9. Easiest person to buy for

Funnily enough, up until this year it used to be the completely different way ‘round: My dad. He usually is the hardest person ever to buy for because he doesn’t like “funny” gifts or anything he can’t make any real use of. Therefore, I always asked him what to get and ended up buying a book he requested but would hardly find the time for reading due to his busy work-life.

Well, this year I was excited to have stumbled upon a book recommendation that seemed to fit his interest. Asking him just to make sure he’d actually be interested in a book, he was happy I’d found something but said he had another request. Guess what? A box of Lindt pralines! Seriously?! Here I am coming up with a gift idea myself and he asks for chocolate :D. At least I know whom I’ve gotten my Lindt preference from.

Lindt

Okay, so I might not have posted this as yesterday’s prompt but …Many bloggers have been posting their Christmas decorations and some even have their own Christmas trees! While I don’t have a tree there are a few little things I’ve put up to make my room more Christmas-y. Like this little guy.

Little Santa

 

How was your weekend? Did you do anything Christmas-related?

Do you have an Advent wreath?

Who’s the easiest person to buy for in your family?

With rooty toot toots

Christmas challenge

Ah, I didn’t start out this challenge too well so far, right? I had the best of intentions to stick with Jenny’s fabulous Christmas Challenge and at least post the answer to the question of the day every day. But you know it: Life – read: the boy and university assignments – gets in the way all of the time :D.

Enough of that, though, let’s get playing the challenge. While it’s the fourth already, I still want to share yesterday’s answer with you, too.

3. When/how did you learn Santa wasn’t real?

Oh my, this must be one of the most traumatic experiences of a childhood, right ;)? Kidding.

The first time I got suspicious was when my mum disappeared “to the toilet” shortly before Santa’s arrival and didn’t return until after he’d left. When I asked my dad why Santa had mum’s voice he laughed it off. My last doubts where cleared when my older brother who’d found out earlier showed me Santa’s red coat in my grandparents’ boiler room. I wonder when my parents would have told me if it hadn’t been for my brother …

4. Favourite Christmas Song

Oooh, this one’s hard because there are too many to chose from. Can I just go with about every song on Michael Bublé’s Christmas album? Not just because he has a great voice – and it doesn’t hurt he’s cute, too – but because I think it’s a perfect selection of songs. Really, though, my favourite might change every year.  Also, I have no shame in admitting that, yes, I do still enjoy listening to “Last Christmas” by Wham every so often during Christmas time.

My family’s favourite Christmas song to sing is a naughty version of the German classic “Kling, Glöckchen, klingeling” ;). Actually, we don’t even know the proper text anymore …

When did you learn the truth about Santa?

Have you been listening to Christmas music and singing along loudly – regardless of what the neighbours might think – already?

Let’s get into the holiday spirit …

… by watching Christmas movies again.

Today’s going to be a short post because I’m tired after a two-day seminar in university – not exactly the best way of getting me into the Christmas spirit ;). But I wanted to join Jenny’s Christmas Challenge so there you go!

Christmas challenge

Your favourite Christmas movie.

 

Oooh, that’s a good one already – and an easy one as well. Though I can’t say I had seen too many Christmas movies so far I already have a favourite: Love, actually. Come on, how could you not like a movie starring all of the great British actors from Hugh Grant and Keira Knightley to Alan Hickman,  Emma Thompson, Colin Firth and Rowan Atkinson? And let’s not forget about the stories showing all aspects of love from funny, sad, playful to – obviously – romantic. “Love, actually” displays love in all stages of life: a shy little boy trying to impress his first crush, the secret love of a man to his newly-wed best friend’s wife, intercultural love and the love between a prime minister and the girl who serves his tea.

I’m generally a huge fan of movies starting out in several different stories that merge into one in the end. There were a few of the single stories I liked better than others but it all evens out. It’s hard to keep the content of the stories to myself but I don’t want to give too much away in case you haven’t seen it. If you haven’t: Watch it! You can thank me later :D. Oh, also: It’s best watched with friends while eating chocolate fondue – trust me, I know from experience.

Have you seen “Love, actually” before? Did you like it?

What’s your favourite Christmas movie? I’m open to suggestions!