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(Editor's Note - This article was written prior to the holidays - we are late in publishing it. That being said - it is great advice for any time of year)

I live in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia which makes it really easy to travel to most of the Middle Eastern countries. When I get vacation time in Saudi Arabia, I love to head to the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi. In fact, I actually prefer Abu Dhabi over Dubai. That’s all about preference though and what you are really looking for in a vacation.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea...why did I even want to go? Did I just support an evil rogue regime with a horrendous human rights record? Or was I just trying to be “special” and put it on my list of places I’ve traveled to? No…Yes…perhaps…maybe…well, I honestly don’t know.

Running can be one of the most freeing and liberating sports of all. Running gives a person the ability to be in a group or on their own. Running gives a person the advantage to hide away from the world while feeding themselves the endorphins needed to keep away depression, stress, overeating, smoking and so many other issues.

The holiday season is a time to enjoy family, food and friends. We spend time driving to and from our grandparents, our aunts and uncles and other family and friends to help enjoy the US holiday of Thanksgiving. Each year people travel by train, plane and car to see their families and eat all the food. Compare the newspaper ads to find the best deals for Black Friday.

You, the ascetic, went all that way for a change of scene, perhaps to the desert, perhaps to the hinterlands covered in snow, perhaps amidst a people whose language seemed obscure, strange, but alluring. Enchanté? Oui.

At the top floor, there’s swank.
The next floor down is posh.
At basement level, there’s me.

Let’s be honest I love to cook – no seriously, this is not a joke, I love to cook! When I say I love to cook this includes everything from cheesecakes to lasagnas to salads to soups to anything and everything under the sun. I especially love cooking over the holidays – the cakes, the cookies, the pies, the candies, the side dishes, the breads...oh the breads!

My daughter recently turned three year old. Naturally, at this stage of linguistic development she’s a bit of a blabber mouth. She’s stringing together sentences, asking loads of “why” questions, singing her own made-up songs about butterflies or rainbows or daddy being her best friend.

Parenting is hard. Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle is hard. Parenting by oneself is hard. Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle and a 5 year old is hard. Can it be done? Yes. Should it be done? Yes. Does it take work? Yes. Can you do it? Yes. I do it…most of the time.

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