Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Celebrate the Holidays – NOT the Food

I was going to start this post by saying that the holidays are on their way, but let’s be real, they’re here. Thanksgiving is 3 days away, and Christmas is 30 or so days away – they’re definitely here!

This is a time of the year where people tend to let their bad habits come back into play and claim that they’ll start anew after the first of the year. I was typically one of those people, but I’m not this year. Nope! No way, no how! I thought since I’ve shared my journey with you, I’d take some time to explain how I plan on staying focused on my health this year.

I would say, nearly every year since I can remember has been spent telling myself that it’s okay to OVER indulge and gain a little weight, because the first of the year is right around the corner, and what better time to restart the weightloss journey than January one? Am I right?

Celebrate the Holidays - Not the Food - Baby Doodah!

This year, I decided to do something a little differently, technically A LOT differently for me. I plan on treating this time of the year the same way I do every other part of the year, when it comes to food. I’m not going to eat like it’s my last meal, or like I’ll never have the food again – I’m going to enjoy what I want, but in moderation.

Easier said than done, right?

Usually I would agree, but something is different for me, this time around. The other day, while celebrating early Thanksgiving with my family, I didn’t feel the normal pull of 2nd and 3rd helpings. And, I was even asked if I wanted more squash/potatoes/cranberry sauce/turkey, but I said no to all of it. I was full, I knew it, and my belly knew it. Instead, I spent the precious time with my family all together, laughing and not focusing on the food on the table or going in my mouth.

I imagine the experience was similar to how a naturally thin person would eat. I knew there was food in front of me, I knew I wanted to eat some of it, but I wasn’t concerned about the amount I’d eat. It was an amazing feeling!!

I can’t really pinpoint exactly what has caused this change in mindset, but what I can share are the many different things I am doing to better myself, and have a healthier relationship with food.

So far, in the last couple months I’ve…

  • Read a couple different self-help books
  • Started drinking Shakeology daily – I truly believe that this is a huge part of why my cravings are manageable.
  • Stopped hating on myself constantly – I used to be so mean to myself, now, about 80% (I’m working on the other 20) of the time, I am kind and loving and am more accepting of my flaws.
  • Started working out regularly – Any workout will really get you feeling better, but doing it regularly will change your entire mind.
  • Actually listening to the complements that my husband gives me – Probably seems like an easy one, but it was actually pretty difficult. I just never saw what he did, I shut that part of me up and now listen to Seamus.
  • Stopped worrying about whether I’ll ever have another Big Mac, slice of pizza, chicken fingers, etc., again – I tell myself that there will be another opportunity for these foods, but I have to really want them (except for the pizza, that I will splurge on, or make at home).

See… I’ve made a lot of changes! But, let me make one thing very clear, I am not 100% perfect with any of these areas. I still struggle with food, but since admitting and becoming more aware of my triggers, my bingeing and bad relationship with food has gotten much much better.

So yeah, I’m excited about this holiday season because it means lots of time with family, who I only see a few times a year. The food? Well, that’s just an added bonus!!

Curious to know more about my poor relationship with food? You can read all about my struggles with Binge Eating Disorder by clicking here.

Your turn!

Have you made any changes in regards to your eating or relationship with food? Or are you waiting until the new year to get started?

What’s your tried and true trick to help stave off the cravings? 

Please share in the comments below!


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I’m linking up with Fitness Cheerleader and Running Rachel – YOU should join me at the #MotivateMeMonday link-up!

Weekend Meal Planning

Howdy! It’s Sunday again and that means we’re meal planning here in the O’Keefe household. However, after shopping today, I’m really beginning to wonder why we torture ourselves on Sundays. It was SO busy!!

Weekend Meal Planning - Baby Doodah!

Before I get into my meal plan, I wanted to tell you about my weekend – It was GREAT! I’m really not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving with my side of the family. Thanksgiving day is always spent with Seamus’ parents and usually my mom will have her dinner the Saturday or Sunday afterward, but since I have some busy siblings, we had to adjust. This actually worked out, because now when we get back from CNY next week, we won’t need to travel to my parent’s the next day. Thanks busy siblings! 😛

Anyhoo – I got up early and headed to Panera to do some of my virtual assistant work, I always seem to think better there. After working for about 3 hrs, I came home to the cuddliest of boys. Emmett just wanted to be held, cuddled or nuzzled by me and who am I to say no. So, while daddy got ready to go we hung out on the couch wrapped in each others arms. I just love that little boy!!

Eventually we hit the road, and made it to grandma’s in plenty of time! We were a little worried because of all of the snow that had fallen between where we live and my parents (in case you haven’t heard or seen the images, here’s a good synopsis), but there was no need for worry. We got there quickly and easily!!

Emmett was so excited to see my mom, sister and brother. He’s not positive who everyone is yet (because he doesn’t see everyone all the time), but he sure does love being around people who shower him with attention. That’s pretty much all you need to do in order for him to like you. LOL There were 3 dogs there, which is weird for Emmett because he’s not used to any, but by the end of the night he was lightly petting and playing with the dogs. Yay!! Once we eventually move, I’m sure Seamus and I will want to get a dog, so I’m glad E adjusted easily.

Dinner was delicious, my brother made some amazing mashed potatoes (yes, seriously!) and then for the rest of the evening we just visited, joking and chatting with one another. It’s times like those that I treasure most! I really wish we all got together more frequently, when we do we have such a good time.

Today has been a bit of a whirlwind. I was up early, worked and then made us all a yummy breakfast, I’ve done some laundry, cleaned out the fridge (YUCK!!) and we’ve gone grocery shopping. Emmett is quietly napping now, Seamus is playing his video game and I am blogging away. THIS is what Sundays were meant for.

Our Meal Plan

It will be a pretty easy week because we have Thanksgiving on Thursday and then will be traveling home on Friday, so we’ll just grab something on the way. LOVE easy weeks!

Sunday: Homemade Pizza (carry over)

Monday: Rotisserie Chicken & Potatoes

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday (with Seamus famous guacamole)

Wednesday: Fettuccine Alfredo Spaghetti Squash

Thursday: Thanksgiving!!

Friday: On the road

Saturday: Scrounge

Quick and easy!! We don’t host Thanksgiving, maybe one day when we get a house, but for now I am lucky enough to enjoy the cooking of my mom and Seamus’ mom. Yummy in my tummy!!

I’m joining and linking up with Laura from Mommy, Run Fast! and Jill from jillconyers.com.

Your turn!

Do you host Thanksgiving, or do you just bring a dish to pass? 

Anything fun on your emal plan this week? Share in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!


Looking for a quick, easy and FREE way to get your news? Check-out theSkimm and sign-up for your daily email box delivery of the world’s news, plus if you share your birthday, you get it listed at the bottom of the newsletter on your day. It’s like celebrating with thousands of people!!!!

Traditions – What Makes Our Family Whole

Traditions are so very important to me, and this time of year is ripe with them.

traditions-3Wikipedia describes traditions as, “A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.” For me, traditions are an activity, or an event that happens year after year, with the ones you love.


Growing up, my mom and dad ensured our lives were enriched with lovely memories. Almost every year, when the holidays would roll around, I knew what to expect, Thanksgiving at my maternal grandmother’s (and eventually my Aunt’s) house, Christmas Eve was a huge Polish celebration of Wiglia meal (the “W” makes a “V” sound) celebrated at my paternal grandparent’s house, and then Christmas morning was at my own home.


Every year, we could count on these holidays being the same. I’d look forward to, and countdown the days, minutes and seconds until Santa would come to Christmas Eve dinner. I can remember sitting on the couch in my parent’s old home, singing songs on Christmas morning, trying to wake my parents up so we could open our gifts. Just sitting here writing this post, these memories are eliciting such a warm, fuzzy feeling deep inside. I want to give the same magnificent gift to Emmett, that my parents have given to me. It is because of this, that my holidays will be a bit different, this year. More on that in another post, let’s talk Thanksgiving.


I’m really fortunate because my mom now celebrates her Thanksgiving at her house on either the Friday or Saturday after the actual day. This allows us to make the trip to my in-laws in Syracuse, since this is their big holiday, without missing any celebrations with my family. Our celebration at my in-law’s is a very typical Thanksgiving meal. We spend time together as a family, catching up and filling each other in on what has been going on in our lives and theirs. It’s amazing the things that can change and occur with just a few miles distance between us. We Facetime pretty frequently, but there is nothing better then actual one on one time together.


This was Emmett’s second Thanksgiving, and he thoroughly seemed to enjoy himself. He got to bop around a new house, and explore all the that were technically “no nos.” He was all over the place, almost like he was showing off, but I feel like he’s too young to understand that yet (maybe not?).  Either way, he was adorable with his grandparents. Once he got used to them, he kept running up to both of them and saying “hi” or just checking-in on them. It was so sweet!


We had a delicious meal, turkey, sweet potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce, dressing and apple sauce. Everything was delicious (my mother-in-law is a fantastic cook)! Emmett enjoyed the homemade cranberry sauce and apple sauce best, but did try some of the squash and turkey too. For dessert, he got a couple spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream, he was particularly fond of the dessert.


Seamus’ cousin was there with his wife and daughter. The baby just had her first birthday on the 24th of November and she is as cute as could be. Emmett and her were kind of iffy of each other and then Emmett made it worse by throwing his water bottle at her. Oy! He’s totally a troublemaker, I literally sat there and watched him stare at her for a second, trying decide if he should throw the bottle or not. I didn’t think he’d actually do it, so I let him go and then BAM, he threw it. Poor girl! She was okay, though, just a few tears.


We had a wonderful time there, but we’re very lucky, that wasn’t our last Thanksgiving holiday of the year. We had my parents and family to celebrate with on Saturday. More great family time and more good food! We got there early so that Emmett could spend some time with some second cousins that hadn’t seen him since Christmas the previous year. He was in great spirits, getting into everything and playing with all of my moms toys, and of course taunting the dogs. My mom has a dog, and so does my sister, they had both closed into the sun porch, but Emmett kept going over to the windowed door and barking at them. It was adorable, but I really felt bad for the pups.


Dinner was delicious! My brother and his girlfriend also joined us, it was good to see them because we don’t see them often enough. We all updated each other on all that was going on in our lives and what we’d missed. Before we knew it, the meal was over and we were cleaning the table for dessert, which was pumpkin pie, apple crisp pie and peanut butter pie (slightly non-traditional). Yummy stuff!


As our second Thanksgiving came to a close, I continually amazed at what a wonderful family Emmett is surrounded by, on both sides. I’m so happy that I can give Emmett these traditions, things that as he grows, he’ll look forward to every year. Some of my best memories are of the times when I was excitedly waiting for one of our holiday celebrations to begin.


Your turn!

What are some of your favorite traditions?

What traditions to you hope to start, or have you started, with your family?


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our little turkey to yours!

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Hey ladies, wanna come over to my place for some turkey?


You can see Emmett’s bruise from his fall this weekend, really well in this picture. 🙁

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 Check out and compare, my big boy, this Thanksgiving to last Thanksgiving.

The Thankful Project – Day 5 – Talent

Today’s Thankful Project Prompt is Talent.


I am linking up with Chasing Happy and her Thankful Project. I’m really excited to be joining in on this link-up because I so often forget all of the things that I have to be thankful for, and there are tons.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Time for another installment of The Thankful Project! Since I am a bit behind, today’s post will include two days of thankfulness.

First up, is an “experience” that I am most thankful for. Wow! This is a good one because there have been so many times in my life that have been wonderful and the memories from those experiences are so filled with emotion and love and make me endlessly happy. But there is one day that stands out above all else, my wedding day. I had been dreaming of my wedding day since I was a little girl; ask my mom, she’ll tell you the same thing, so the actual day had big dreams to fill.

From the moment Seamus asked me to marry him, to the moment I walked down the aisle, there were so many memorable moments. Sure there were ups and downs with wedding planning and it wasn’t all fun and games, but I definitely wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. So much of life is about the experiences, our opinions and thoughts are shaped by these moments so when asked if I regretted anything, I always hesitate because there were times when things could have been easier but would I trade it in? No, I absolutely would not. My memories would not be complete without even those moments.

I felt like a princess from the very minute I woke up. I had my hair done professionally, I had to be assisted in getting dressed and then I got to spend the entire night with the love of my life and our beautiful families. We got to dance, sing and be in love. Every single moment, was living up to the dreams I’d had since I was 5 years old, I was so happy! It was an absolutely perfect day, one that I look back on very frequently.

Feeling Like a Princess

Feeling Like a Princess

Today’s prompt is for a “talent” I am thankful for. This is a tough one, probably the first one where I feel stumped. When I think of talents, I think of hidden talents, like a double jointed thumb or being able to swallow fire, and I don’t have any of those (to my knowledge). What I do have is a big heart; when I meet someone that I care about, I feel as though I would do anything for that person. I don’t trust easily but once I do, I will be loyal to you till the end of time.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because it feels great to have people in my life that I am close to and that I can share experiences with, but at the same time it’s a bad thing because you could get burnt. If you put yourself out there and trust in someone and they use you or use it against you, you’ll end up hurt or bitter. My advice is to really get to know a person before jumping in and trusting them 100%.

Alright, that’s it for tonight! I hope you all have a wonderful evening.

Your turn!

What are you thankful for?

What is a secret (or not so secret) talent of yours?

The Thankful Project – Day 2 – A Role I’ve Played

Today’s thankful prompt is “A Role I’ve Played.”

Yesterday I mentioned that I was linking up with Chasing Happy and her Thankful Project. I’m really excited to be joining in on this link-up because I so often forget all of the things that I have to be thankful for, and there are tons.


As I mentioned above, today’s prompt is “a role I’ve played” that I am most thankful for. What a fantastic prompt! How often do you think of the different roles you play in others lives, or how often are you grateful that you’ve been given the opportunity to have those roles? For me it’s hardly ever, I can’t remember the last time I looked at it from that perspective.

I’m so thankful, for so many roles; daughter, sister, aunt, friend, wife and of course, mother. How can I possibly choose between any of those? They are such incremental parts of my life! I am so happy that I have been a part of all.

I think the one that has changed me the most, and the one I am most thankful for is becoming a mother. I love Emmett, I love holding him, and I love teaching him. Every moment I get to spend with him is another moment that I am thankful to be his mother. He gives me so much, without even knowing that he does. The beginning months were rough, but that was all because of postpartum depression. Today I am a completely different person, I love my husband, child and the life we’ve made together.

It is the most amazing thing watching Emmett grow and change as he ages and as he learns new things from Seamus and I. He is picking up on everything and it is literally teaching me how to be a better person. I am becoming more conscious of the things I say and how I say them. I am becoming more patient because I know Emmett deserves that. All of these things are (ever so slowly) spilling into my regular life. A child gives you so many gifts and I am just touching the tip of the iceberg on what Emmett will give me simply by being born.


I am most thankful for the role I’ve played as mother.

Your turn!

What role in your life are you most thankful for?

Be sure to join in and link-up with Kenzie at Chasing Happy!

Dear Emmett,

4 months!

4 whole months have past since we were in the hospital awaiting your arrival and you know what? I can’t imagine a minute of my life without you.

We’ve pretty much adjusted to you being in day care and me going to work. I still miss you during the day, especially when I look at your adorable pictures but I remind myself that going to work and feeling productive are healthy for me and down the road will teach you that you can have the best of everything.

In the beginning, I wasn’t a huge fan of your day care teacher but that’s changed. I’ve gotten to know her and understand her tone better and now when I drop you off in the mornings, I enjoy seeing her and chatting for a few moments before I dash out the door to get to work. You seem to really enjoy it there with her too! I don’t see you during the day but when I drop you off and pick you up you are always happy and rarely fussy. Plus your teachers write in  your notebook that you are the happiest baby some days. This makes me ecstatic because I’d hate to hear that you’re unhappy the majority of the time, it would make working and being away from you that much harder.

Other than weekends, I think my favorite day of the week is Tuesday. Your Aunt Bridget watches you on that day and I love knowing you’re getting direct one on one attention. She sends me all sorts of pictures throughout the day and you can tell how well she cares for you. I know they do a good job at day care but you’re still one of four babies, with Aunt Bridget, you’re the only one.

Aunt Bridget and Emmett Reading

You rolled over from belly to back, for the first time this month! You had been working towards it for awhile, so we were anxious to see it. Your dad or I would lay you on your tummy and sit next to you, cheering you on, holding toys just out of your reach to encourage you to make that long awaited roll. Then one day, you were laying there and BOOM you were over. I’ll tell you a secret, I cried. I was so so proud of you, that I just couldn’t hold back the emotion. I realize that it might seem like the simplest thing but you worked really hard and I knew how proud you were of yourself too. I picked you up almost immediately and covered you in smooches and hugs. I’m sure you had no idea what was going on but who knows, maybe you did, and I wanted you to know that I was your biggest supporter!

You don’t roll from belly to back a lot. I think you realize that you don’t have a real purpose for this right now because you tend to be pretty content laying on your belly inching forward little by little. But the new big thing you’re working on is rolling from back to belly and man are you working even harder on this! Right now you get about half way over and then get stuck on your little shoulder. Believe it or not that cute little shoulder gets in the way more than you realize (in this case). I can’t wait to see you get all the way over, I’m sure I’ll be just as proud as I was when you went belly to back, don’t you worry!

You have become so incredibly vocal this month. You like to sit on my lap after nursing and chat. We have a pretty full conversation, neither of us know what the other is saying (yet) but we do talk back and forth. I like to envision the moment when you say your first real word and all this fun baby talk leads to its ultimate purpose.

Lately you also get so excited that you don’t bother talking, you screech or yell at the very top of your lungs. We’ll lay you down on your play mat or on your changing table and you’ll start gurgling and kicking your legs and then all of a sudden you’re beyond excited and screaming. It gets loud but it is so darn adorable and it makes me laugh. There have been a few times where you’ve screamed so loudly, that you made me laugh until I cried because it was just the silliest thing. I love seeing you so happy and excited!

Along the lines of you being noisy, when it’s time to eat you don’t really cry for it anymore (unless you’re RRRREALLY hungry) now you YELL! It’s like you’re demanding your breakfast/lunch/dinner be served to you immediately. It’s hilarious to witness but if I thought you were really trying to be bossy, we’d have a talk. 😉

We typically go grocery shopping on Wednesday nights and you aren’t always the most content guy while we do it. Not that I blame you, you’re sitting in your car seat for over an hour, I’m sure that’s not the most exciting. But one Wednesday night you were in a particularly silly mood and I was making silly noises and faces at you. After a couple of goofy faces and noises you gave your dad and I your first belly laugh. Baby laughs are awesome but your own son’s is a million times better. I made you laugh a couple more times and guess what? Yep, I cried again. What? I can’t help it!! I’m blown away by every little thing you do. You haven’t laughed like that since but maybe you have a tough sense of humor and we just haven’t figured out how to crack it yet.

Taking baths has become one of your favorite things to do. We set you in the bathtub and you’re perfectly content for entire time you’re in there. We used to get you in and out but now we get you in, wash your body and hair and then we play. You have two rubber duckies and you love reaching for either of them. Plus you like kicking your legs, I don’t think you understand that you’re splashing but you will eventually and then I’m in for it.

You’re still a pretty good sleeper. Most nights you go down between seven and eight and are asleep until five-thirty or six AM but there are some days when you still wake up in the middle of the night. I always get up to feed you and not once have I ever been upset about it, I love every moment I have with you, even if it means I lose some sleep. I can always catch up on sleep, you won’t always be a baby.

Your daddy and I bought you a new toy this month. It’s a Fisher-Price jumperoo/exer-saucer. You’re still getting use to it. What usually happens is when I put you in there for the first few minutes or so you kind of sit there and stare at the different items on it but then once you bump something accidentally and see that it moves or makes noise, you start going to town. Your legs don’t quite reach the floor on the lowest setting so we have a big book underneath and it’s so adorable seeing your little toes bopping around under there. Right now, you haven’t quite figured out how to make it bounce up in down but I can see that it’s coming, it won’t be long now!

Last but not least you had your very first Thanksgiving! We traveled out to your daddy’s parent’s house out in Central New York, it’s quite a drive for a little guy but you handled it pretty well. You slept most of the way out there and on the way home once you had me sitting in the back seat with you, you fell asleep.

You seem to be a sensitive baby, meaning that when you’re around a lot of people or loud noises you get overstimulated and get very upset, very quickly and that’s what happened at Thanksgiving. You got there and were in a pretty great mood but after being passed around and listening to all the loud shouting you got very sad and started to cry. We went into a quieter room and you settled down pretty quickly. For the remainder of the night, only mommy or daddy could hold you for the most part. Your grandma and grandpa got to hold you for a little bit but even that didn’t last long. But that’s perfectly alright, everyone got to look at you and meet you and as you get older, you’ll be able to interact with them more. I’m not going to push you to do something that you’re not completely comfortable doing.

You’ve had a big month little buddy!! We’re headed to your four month doctor’s appointment on Tuesday and I am very anxious to see what you weigh and how long you are because you seem ginormous for a fourth month old.

I can’t wait to see what this next month brings!

Love you always,


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