Thanksgiving Weekend 2014

On Thanksgiving-

I taught a special, holiday HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class on Thanksgiving morning while the gym was open.  Then I came home and helped my husband prepare the house and the food for the guests who would be arriving that afternoon.  We roasted a big turkey, made glazed carrots, baked brownies, and provided the drinks.  Some of our friends from church brought cornbread stuffing, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and desserts including homemade apple pie and pumpkin cheesecake.  I didn't take time to take any pictures of our delicious feast or our dear friends, so I have none to share.     


Black Friday-
My family has a tradition of watching all the Star Wars movies over Thanksgiving weekend. We don't watch it any other time of year, so the kids look forward to this weekend a lot.  I don't always watch every movie and my husband doesn't always watch Episode 1, because he thinks it's terrible.

So after breakfast on Friday, my husband and kids settled in for Episode 4.  That's always the first movie they watch.  Next, they watch 5, then we let the kids watch 1. Then we watch 2, 3 and lastly, Episode 6, if you are interested in the order. For avid Star Wars fans, there is debate about the correct viewing order. Here's an article about the order we use.  Warning: The article has some language.

While they watched the movie, I started a fire, read a little more from The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book in The Lord of the Rings series, and then I traced a map of the United States. My kids and I are learning U.S. Geography in Classical Conversations this year.  Tracing black line maps is a great way to learn geography. I got the idea from one or more of Leigh Bortins's books that I have read.  I think I may trace a map of Middle Earth next.  It's not a real place, of course, but I certainly think it will help me understand the book I am reading. 

After the movie, we collected all the fall decorations, rearranged and reorganized furniture to make room for the trees, and then pulled all our Christmas Tupperwares out of the attic.  The girls asked to set up the little Christmas tree this year, so I let them do that because they are old enough to do it themselves.  I bought this little tree over ten years ago for my 3rd and 4th grade classroom when I was a teacher.  I think I paid $15 dollars for it brand new, so it wasn't fancy then and it isn't looking any better after more than a decade, but the kids always enjoy having it up. They hang all their handmade ornaments on it, make paper chains for it, etc.

The girls also hung snowflakes on the front windows this year.  They had been working on these for a few weeks, piling them up for the day we would be decorating.


After lunch, we got all bundled up and braved Kohl's and Target to try and get some deals on things we needed including coats, socks, gloves, and most importantly, Christmas lights. 

When we got home, we finished decorating. I decided to keep all the glass bulbs off the tree this year.  Right now the tree looks very minimalistic.  But as we start adding ornaments every night of December for our Advent traditions, the tree will fill up more.

I also have a big collection of Christmas books that I usually keep under the tree, but this year, I just picked my three favorites and I am keeping the rest in storage for another year.  Less is more with a toddler on the loose in the house.   


After breakfast, while my kids and husband watched another Star Wars movie, I went to the gym to practice Bodycombat 61 for two + hours. The group fitness room has some punching bags, so after warming up, I focused a lot of time and energy on practicing my kicks- side, roundhouse, front, front step, front jump, and back kicks.

The rest of the day was spent doing routine chores, grocery shopping for the coming week, visiting, and relaxing.

My husband slow cooked an ox tail stew with cuts from our grass fed cow.  Both of us took one bite and decided to go out for diner, but not before my husband took the dutch oven to the woods behind our house and dumped all the stew out first.  It was just that bad. I know some people say ox tail can make a nice stew, but our stew was terrible.

Before the kids went to bed, our oldest daughter read the first chapter of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever out loud to us all.


I taught a Bodycombat class at my gym on Sunday morning and filmed it.  I did alright, but I plan to film again on Wednesday.  I think I will do better the second time filming since I probably won't be as nervous. In the photo above, we are reviewing the video at home.  Watching yourself on video is very humiliating, but it is definitely one of the quickest ways to improve as a group fitness instructor.

To earn a Les Mill certification, you have to go to and pass an initial training weekend, then go home and begin team teaching real classes with a mentor. Eventually, you work up to teaching the entire class on your own and then film yourself. You send in your best video and it gets assessed. If you do well enough, you can get your certification and start teaching classes somewhere if you can get hired. It can be a grueling process, but for people like me who really love teaching the classes, it is totally worth it. 

My video is due by the end of December, so I am filming this week and maybe next, depending on how well I do. I am hoping to submit a video in time to get my results back before Christmas.  Receiving a Bodycombat certification would be a nice Christmas gift, I think!


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