Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No-Bake Cookies ("Haystacks")


I am having a not-so-awesome day today.

One of the most frustrating things about it is that it's one of those days where I keep dropping EVERYTHING. Nothing will stay in these hands of mine.

So you'd think I would avoid something like baking, right? So many things could go wrong there. So. Many. Things.

But no.

When I got home from school today after a pretty dismal 24 hours, I pulled out a recipe that reminds me of home and decided to get it done. You know how there are certain foods that your mom just makes better, no matter how exactly you follow the recipe? For me the standouts are chocolate chip cookies, French toast, and no-bake cookies. (For the record, my dad makes really awesome burgers and ribs.)

Since weigh-in Wednesday was this morning (I broke even this week, which is okay with me, considering how much I ate last weekend at C's) I now have my weekly points allowance back, and I decided I would blow some of it on no-bake cookies.

Can I just eat one now? Please?

These are by NO MEANS following ANY KIND of healthy recipe. I've seen recipes for healthy no-bakes. Whatever. Today I wanted the real thing

No-Bake Cookies (also known as "haystacks")
1/4 lb. (1 stick) margarine
1/2 cup milk (NOT skim!)
2 cups sugar 
3 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups oatmeal

* Make sure to follow these steps in order or they won't turn out right... I know this from experience *

- Combine margarine, milk, sugar, and cocoa in a pan.
- Boil hard for two minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter.
- Beat five minutes, add oatmeal
- Drop in Tbsp on tray (but I usually just go with wax paper)

....The hardest part is waiting for them to cool. I want to eat them NOW. 

Anyway, I think I'm going to kick back for a few minutes and read while I wait for them to cool. (Latest book: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." Very interesting!) We have our final walk-through for the new house tonight. Settlement is tomorrow. I am excited. I am anxious. I am stressed. Basically what I'm saying is making these cookies will NOT be in vain!

Take it easy, everyone, and if you make the cookies - enjoy : )

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Things that make me happy, take 1

Good afternoon everyone : )

I have been super stressed out lately, between the house and the wedding and all the in betweens, so I thought I'd take a second today to think about the little things that make me happy. "Count your blessings instead of sheep," yeah? So here's "Things that make me happy Tuesday." : )

* The new shoes I bought at Target on Saturday. First of all, they were $7.50. Secondly, I wore them all day at school for the first time today, and my feet were so comfy! I hate when you buy a new pair of shoes and then they murder your feet. Thirdly, they are so very cute.

* Back rubs from A.  They always relax me and feel oh so very good.

"Call Me Maybe." I know it was just a tad bit overplayed but this song makes me want to sing and dance like a crazy person. It's so. Darn. Catchy.

* Kindergarten hugs. No matter how crazy the day is, when I see my kindergarten group at the end of the day, they all want to hug me and tell me stories. I love it.

* When my mom sends me cell phone pictures of the dog. She (the dog) can be crazy but she is SO CUTE. In this picture mom put a santa hat with Goofy ears on her. Love it.

Why do you do these things to me?

* Playing the piano for fun. Lately I've been going over to my piano and pulling out my old classical lesson books, opening to a random song, and playing through a few songs. It's really relaxing and fun, and there's no pressure. I like finding songs that, after I start playing them, I recognize them as ones I enjoyed playing in grade school. : )

* Smash. A. and I watched the first-hour preview of the second season premier "On Demand" last night. It was SO GOOD. I'm so excited for this season.

* The fact that it was warm enough today that I didn't need my scarf and coat coming out of school. This is crazy given the fact that yesterday was a snow day, and Friday it's supposed to snow again. I'm just really not a fan of being cold. I like the sunshine and longer days that come with spring and summer.

* Fondue. A. and I love fondue. We found a website (here) that has Melting Pot fondue recipes on it, and we usually go to town and do both cheese and chocolate courses. I LOVE dipping apples into the cheese. It's so yummy. We haven't done cheese for a while - probably won't again until after we move - but we're setting up a chocolate pot for the Super Bowl party on Sunday. I am so excited!


* Good hair days. When your hair does what you want it to do... it just feels like success!

Have a good day : ) Peace out!

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Harry Potter Fix - Fashion 2.0

It's time for the latest Harry Potter Fix! HP Fashion continues.

UM, by the way, speaking of J.K. Rowling... I finished "The Casual Vacancy" last night. That book is NUTS. I cannot get over the ending. I am still kind of shocked.

Anyway... here goes! My inspiration this week was Fleur & Bill's wedding... I guess I have weddings on the brain. 

"Like her father, Luna was wearing bright yellow robes, which she had accessorized with a large sunflower in her hair. Once you got over the brightness of it all, the general effect was quite pleasant. At least there were no radishes dangling from her ears."

(I couldn't pick one Luna design... the shoes made it into both, though.)

"'Always the tone of surprise,' said Hermione, though she smiled. She was wearing a floaty, lilac-colored dress with matching high heels; her hair was sleek and shiny."

"Fleur was wearing a very simple white dress and seemed to be emitting a strong, silvery glow. While her radiance usually dimmed everyone else by comparison, today it beautified everybody it fell upon."

Enjoy! : )

Happy ice day!

Oh hey!

Nothing like capping off a crazy weekend with an "ice day" from school. We started off with a two hour delay and then, as I listened to the radio in my bathroom while I was getting ready, all of the schools around us announced their closings. Not to be outdone, we hopped on the bandwagon. So now we'll have an extra day tacked on to the end of the school year, because Hurricane (or Superstorm) Sandy used up all of our snow days. YAY.

Yesterday was a roller coaster of emotions... It started out good, since I was still with some of my BFFs, B. and C. Then I drove home and was immediately wracked with anxiety as I had some phone calls to make (the kind you dread, not even routine calls). I really hate confrontation so I kept putting off the calls and the more I put them off, the more anxious I got about them. So when my mom called with questions about the florist and my dad texted with questions about the house right in the middle of my anxiety I was unfortunately very cranky with both of them.

Sometimes, being a grown up with responsibilities really blows.

After I mustered up my Cowardly Lion-brand of courage and made my calls, I immediately felt better, but also guilty for projecting my anxiety onto my parents, so I called them and apologized for being so mean. I also had to apologize to A. because he was like "WELCOME HOME I MISSED YOU!" and I was like "RAWRRRRRRR."

After all that, we went to see A's sister & brother-in-law and our nephews. Little nephews make everything better.

Uncle A. playing with the boys in the castle we got them for Christmas : )

Okay. Now I have to back up and talk about my weekend!

On Saturday I finally went to see B. and C. The roads were just too bad on Friday night. We had a really good day and it was so nice to see them and catch up with them! (I basically blew my diet to shreds on Saturday, but I got back on track yesterday, so even though I am way over my extra points allotment for the week I am hoping I can get it under control by Weigh-in Wednesday.) Anyway, one of the things we did was go to Roey's Paint Box in Bethlehem, PA. (I want to go back to Bethlehem and walk around again when it's not 17* outside. It looks like so much fun!) We paid $40 each and brought our own wine, and Roey walked us through making a picture of what I *think* is supposed to be a magnolia on a black background. 

This is what it looked like toward the beginning...

And this is my finished project!

I really like to draw but I've never painted before, so this was a blast. Actually, it was clear that a lot of the people who were there don't consider themselves to be artistic, but everyone was having a lot of fun. Roey was very patient and did not expect everyone's paintings to look the same, she encouraged us to "make them our own." I definitely recommend checking it out if you're in the area... or if you have any kind of painting party place like this near you, give it a shot. Now I have this painting to hang somewhere in the new house. Sweet! Anyway, big thanks to C. for hosting us this weekend and finding some awesome things for us to do. 

I really need to research some fun things to do in this area, especially now that I know I'm sticking around here for a while. : )

And with that marathon post... I'm gonna go pack some stuff. I really don't have an excuse to not exercise today, so I should probably do that too. Also will do this week's Harry Potter Fix later today : )

Have "an-ice day!" (couldn't help it!)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Approved! Approved!



The loan is approved! I'm so excited. I was so sick with anxiety about it since A. came home from work yesterday after talking to the bank. I feel immensely relieved, now. Now I just have to worry about our final walk-through and settlement next week. People who have been through this process: Please, please tell me that I don't need to worry about this much? We were just at the house yesterday and they have fixed everything we put in the contract, just have to put a few finishing touches on the place.

I am also very relieved because I have been packing stuff for the last few weeks, a few boxes at a time, and it hasn't been for nothing. I don't have to unpack it in this house. Phew.

Sad, though, my bookshelf is so empty:

Of course, the Harry Potter books are the only things left on there. (And the Bible.) (And the chocolate frog that Kelley got me at Universal Studios : ) They go in their own box because they're way too heavy to put in a box with other things - I know from past moving experience! : ) The Page-to-Screen book doesn't even go in a box, because it weighs about 20 pounds on its own.

I've got to figure out what to do with all of my books in the new place, because it doesn't have the nifty built-ins that are in this house. I was thinking something like this:

...which I saw on Pinterest, because we have a split-level entry in our new place that has a half wall at the top, like this one. But I'm not sure. I'M REALLY BAD AT MAKING DECISIONS OKAY?! Also I don't know a thing about carpentry, which doesn't help.

Today we had an early dismissal at school because of "Winter Storm Khan." (Whoever started naming these winter storms a) picked very strange names and b) isn't busy enough, apparently.) The kids were excited; I, less so, because not only do I get two hours of cafeteria duty on early dismissal days, but also because I had plans to visit my college roomies/bridesmaids this weekend. I am still planning on driving up early tomorrow morning, but I would have preferred driving tonight so we could have all day together tomorrow.

Stupid snow.

If you're in the wake of Khan, and you have to travel tonight, please be careful!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

Oh, hey.

Today has been one of THOSE days.

With kids being wacky all day long, and no breaks- except the big break that happened when I dropped an egg on the floor while making meatballs for dinner. UGH. 

A. came home from work sick yesterday, with stomach issues and a fever, so we skipped dance lessons last night. Luckily he's feeling better today, but he has been sleeping for the last hour or so.

Also, it's FREEZING outside! (Literally!) Between the cold, dry weather and sanitizing/washing my hands six thousand times a day because of all the germs going around, my hands are completely dried out, cracked and red. I lathered them with Burt's Bees wax when I got out of the shower. It's sticky and smells funny, but it usually works. 

A. and I went to the house with the Realtor today so we could measure some things and take pictures, and consider some paint colors. I hope, hope, hope, hope, hope that everything goes well with the house. We are supposed to close a week from today. I am extremely anxious about it. Especially because our credit union dropped the ball on our loan- our original loan officer is "no longer employed there." No wonder we couldn't get a hold of him the last week or so. Luckily, our Realtor is super awesome and also pushy in a good way- not towards us, but to get everything done- and hopefully got the ball rolling again, in the nick of time. I just want it to work out. In the past few years, a few things have worked out in my favor - like finding the love of my life, which is a pretty big wonderful thing - but a lot of major things have not. 

I try to tell myself that there is a reason for everything, and keep my faith, and that a lot of people have much more difficult situations than me.

Some days it's just a little easier to do that than others.

Sorry for being such a Debbie Downer today... thanks for sticking with me anyhow. : )

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sitting, waiting, wishing


Some exciting news today! And some boring things. But mostly exciting!

Exciting: I just wrote what I hope is my last rent check for this house! YAY!

Boring: I know everyone keeps saying that when you're settling on a house, no news is good news, but I feel like we are just sitting around waiting to hear something from someone about the house. We have eight days until settlement. EIGHT. I'm freaking out a little.

Exciting: I had "weigh-in Wednesday" this morning and since last week... I lost 1.8 pounds! Going down, down, down! : ) This means I have lost about 5 pounds since the New Year.

The way I have been packing my lunch and planning my snacks has really contributed to my weight loss, I think. Here's a typical lunch for me. (Today I took leftover broccoli-cauliflower soup, which I posted the link to the other day - promise a review is coming soon!) The Fiber One bar and clementine are usually my mid-morning snack. Then for lunch I have the soup, peppers, carrots, apple (or a pear), and a bottle of water. I try to cram in as many fruits and veggies at lunch as possible so that I can try to get my 5 servings in for the day!

Also exciting: My dress pants for school are feeling so much looser! Even my jeans are starting to feel looser, but I trust my dress pants more because they don't stretch as much.

WAY exciting: I'm going to see some of my girls/bridesmaids this weekend! I'm so exciting. I dubbed it "wedding free weekend." I don't want to talk about it at ALL. It's fun to talk about it with people who are involved, and other people who are also planning weddings, but it also stresses me out and I just need a break from thinking about it for a while.

Also exciting: I finally finished this picture of Fred and Ginger that has been sitting on my art desk since at least October. Phew! Hoping I can unload it on someone because I don't see it decorating my house, and I hate to just let stuff I've drawn sit around. If I can get $20 for it I'll be happy.

And last but not least, I finally started reading "The Casual Vacancy" by JK Rowling (thank you, Christmas gift cards for my Kindle!). It is SO DIFFERENT from Harry Potter, which I expected... the writing is still excellent, of course. The story is still captivating. It is just definitely more adult content. ....Annnnnd now I'm going to get back to reading it, because I'm the kind of nerd that would gladly miss any kind of obligation to be able to read.  : ) Anyone out there reading something good right now?

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, January 21, 2013

My *first* Harry Potter Fix!

Hello again!

I'm jumping into the "Harry Potter Fix" during Fashion week... which meant I got to play around on Polyvore!... which was a little too much fun.

Since I missed week one of fashion, I decided to create an outfit for my House, which is Ravenclaw. Blue and bronze all the way! I liked the feather jewelry better than the literal "eagle" emblem.

Ravenclaw Night Out

While I was looking for jewelry, I found this necklace that inspired my next outfit, which was not at all what I expected to create... but I like it, a lot. That snakey thing is a ring! How cool!!!

Severus Snape

That was fun... excited for next week : ) Thanks for the invite Becky!

These are a few of my favorite things

Good morning!

After a day off from blogging it's going to be a DOUBLE BLOG DAY... dun dun dun! I'm joining the Harry Potter Fix link-up suggested to me by my friend Becky D. Actually, that post might happen today, or it might not. I have a crazy afternoon scheduled. So we shall see!

This morning (no school because of MLK day) I woke up after yet another wedding nightmare. In this one, the wedding was taking place in my junior high school auditorium; it was raining, the day of the wedding, and we had all overslept and missed our hair appointments; and my aunt was in my wedding dress. I DON'T KNOW. My psyche needs to accept the fact that I still have over five months to get everything done, and I'm not going to suddenly wake up the day of the wedding and be like, "Oh crap! Where did all the time go? I don't have any overlays for the reception tables!" Or something like that. People who have gotten married before me have assured me that these nightmares are common and will probably not stop until next year, even after the wedding is over. Sigh.

On Saturday, I went out with my friends to celebrate Kelley's birthday! (Happy birthday, Kelley!) It was fun to get out and socialize and eat good food. The problem was, I wound up eating more food than I counted on. It's a lot easier to say "I'm not going to eat any cake" than to turn it down when it's staring you in the face. So I wound up killing all of my weekly extra points on Saturday. My weigh-ins are on Wednesdays, so that means I have to make it to Wednesday staying "on point" (HA! pun) with no extra allotments. To help with this, I hung out on the Wii Fit for a little over half an hour this morning and got some activity points. Hopefully I will not need to spend them but... I WILL LOSE AGAIN THIS WEEK!

In the meantime, I decided to post about a few of my favorite diet-y things. Not all of them, obviously. But if you are also embarking on a weight-loss journey, maybe these will help supplement what is not always the most exciting regimen of foods. : )

This is how I start my day EVERY DAY, with skim milk on top. 
I love this kind of Special K. I used to rotate with the Vanilla Almond kind, but now... just this. It's so yummy.
If you measure out the serving size it's 3 points+ for just the cereal; if you're like me and you look at the serving size and laugh, and then add another half serving, it ends up at 4 points+.

They are so delicious. I've tried the other two flavors of bars and these are THE BEST.
It says right on the box, they are 3 points+, and WW brand, obviously.
I don't know what else to say. Even if you're not dieting you should try these. Because they are AMAZING. If they ever stop producing them, I will probably cry.

I'm not sure why I can't rotate this picture... but okay.
Until about September of last year, I was a devoted fan of milk chocolate.
Then one day I started craving dark chocolate, which was strange.
But I picked up a bag of these Kisses and never went back.
They are so good. If you have 9 kisses, it's 6 points+. However, I hardly ever eat 9 kisses in one sitting. Usually 3 or 4 is enough, and that takes me to 2 or 3 points+ depending on how many I eat.

Other foods/drinks that get me through dieting:
Baby carrots and bell peppers - put a baggie of each in my lunch every day
Diet Coke
Crystal Light - lemonade, peach tea
Fiber One bars and brownies (just be careful with these, because they're serious about the "fiber" part)
Special K fruit crisps (A. likes these too)
Campbell's microwavable soup bowls
Progresso Vegetable Classics soup
Eggo Low-Fat Whole-Wheat waffles (with Log Cabin lite syrup)

Tonight I'm going to try this broccoli-cauliflower and cheese soup recipe from "Living a Changed Life." She has all kinds of great low-fat and WW recipes. Definitely check them out. : )

This morning's goal is to clean and pack a little more, then kick back and watch either Hunger Games or HP:DH Part 2 until my crazy afternoon schedule starts. 
Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Step in time and spackling!

Happy Saturday!!!

My parents came for a spontaneous visit this morning. I love seeing them and spending time with them, so it was nice that they decided to come down for a little bit. My dad wanted to see the house - he hasn't seen it other than in pictures - so we went over and crept around, peeking through windows and doors. Our appliances were delivered this week, and there is plenty of equipment under the deck and in the garage.... though a few of the things we put in our contract haven't been taken care of yet. Which is fine since we still have two weeks to closing. I just can't wait to actually have a key and be able to go in and out!

Mom also wanted to stop by the shop where I got my dress and look for a dress for her to wear for the wedding. We found a couple good options, but she wants to keep looking. It was fun for us, probably not for A. and my dad, who just sat in the armchairs at the front of the store while we poked around. On a side note, some mother-of-the-bride dresses are SO UGLY. What are people thinking?! My mom wound up trying on longer bridesmaid gowns because the MOTB gowns left a lot to be desired. It was still nice to see her and spend a little time with her. I am lucky to have a great relationship with my parents, and I miss them a lot. 

Anyway, the past few days have been full of off-and-on packing, and I have taken most of our decorations and pictures down from the walls. I had to spackle a few holes, which was really easy! We got this kit from Home Depot: 

This particular spackle starts out pink and then as it dries, turns white - so you know when it's okay to sand and paint over it.
This particular hole came with the house... but since I was spackling the holes I made, I was having too much fun with the pink goop, and decided I might as well fix all the holes.

The house is starting to look naked and sad now without all of our personal effects... all the furniture is still here, obviously we haven't moved anything yet, but it's definitely becoming boring. I'm excited to move into our new house, but I am going to be sad to leave this house after all the memories we've had here. It's the longest I've lived in a place without moving since I started college. 

I just turned on the TV and Mary Poppins is on. I love Dick van Dyke. He is just so... lovable. And funny and talented and handsome. The "Step in Time" scene is the best. I love when they're dancing around the house and everyone gets caught up in the excitement, and Mr. Banks just stands there looking around him like "what the heck is going on?" I did this song with my kindergartners last spring and they LOVED it. Gave them plenty of chances to get their energy out. I miss doing that kind of thing. 

Well, time to pack a few more boxes. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

ESFJ or... how I'm basically Mrs. Weasley

Oh heyyyyyyyy.

All I want to do right now is eat a huge piece of chocolate. Or a pint of ice cream. Or a package of Oreos.

But I'm not.

Actually, a glass of wine wouldn't be bad right now either.

But... I'm not. (Mostly because I don't have any chilled right now. Also, points.)

ARGH. It's been that kind of day. Not one that I necessarily want to write about on here, but I still wanted to write out some of my energy.

Anyway. Last night I was reading E Tells Tales's latest blog entry, in which she took a personality test. So I took it too, and I thought it was very interesting. Apparently I am ESFJ, which means Extroverted Sensing Feeling Judging. That's right. I'm judging. :-P

E. broke down bits and pieces of her results, and I'm following her example here.

"Guardians of birthdays, holidays and celebrations, ESFJs are generous entertainers. They enjoy and joyfully observe traditions and are liberal in giving, especially where custom prescribes."
This is pretty accurate. A. and I frequently host gatherings at our house, and our last big "hurrah" in here before we move out is going to be our annual Super Bowl party. Last year I played with all the toddlers more than watching the actual Super Bowl. : ) Our nephew took A.'s soccer field markers and decided to give them to everyone as hats. 

He's so darn cute.

"All else being equal, ESFJs enjoy being in charge. They see problems clearly and delegate easily, work hard and play with zest."
I've gotten better at delegating over the past few years, but I can't deny that I like being the boss.

"ESFJs are easily wounded... They by nature 'wear their hearts on their sleeves'... Some ESFJs channel these vibrant emotions into moving dramatic performances on stage and screen."
Well, I can't deny that I'm dramatic either. I love musical theatre to my bones. And I think my post the other day about my honeymoon drama proves that I'm a little too sensitive sometimes.

"Strong, contradictory forces consume the ESFJ. Their sense of right and wrong wrestles with an overwhelming rescuing, 'mothering' drive. This sometimes results in swift, immediate action taken upon a transgressor, followed by stern reprimand; ultimately, however, the prodigal is wrested from the gallows of their folly, just as the noose tightens and all hope is lost, by the very executioner!"
As evidenced by the bold font, I found this paragraph the most interesting, and I thought about it all day. If you can wade through all the fancy language the author used up there, it basically means that I am strong in my convictions of right and wrong, but am essentially a big softie. Why did I think about this all day? Because one of my weakest teaching skills is discipline. As a young teacher, I know that's not out of the ordinary, but it's something I've really been struggling to improve over the past few years, and if this test is in any way accurate, this explains it, I guess.

Apparently ESFJs are excellent caretakers, and should consider careers like medical care and elementary education. (Well, there ya go.)

Famous ESFJs include:
Mary Tyler Moore
Bill Clinton
Sally Field
Rachel McAdams

Fictional ESFJs include:
Monica from "Friends"
Donald Duck

Damn straight, Mollywobbles.

You know what? I bet Molly would approve of me getting some chocolate or ice cream.

On that note, peace out and TGIF tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Getting into full swing

Hey world out there!

Today I have officially washed my hands more times than I can count on my fingers. Between one of my little ones telling me his brother is home with pinkeye, and one of my older ones telling me in detail how yesterday she was absent because she was puking all day... let's just say I'm not taking any chances! I woke up with a horrific migraine behind my left eye, which went away for a while after I took medicine, but is starting to creep back, this time a little lower in my face. It better not be a sinus infection, as those have been sprouting up lately among both family and people I work with.

We also had a two hour delay this morning - the phone rang at 5:45 and I was AWAKE. Any other day, if my alarm would have just gone off, I wouldn't have a problem falling back asleep. This morning? Nope. So I got up and was productive... packed some things, checked some things off my list, and called Disney to make our dining reservations for our honeymoon! YAY! The guy I talked to, Sawyer, was awesome. I'm glad I called this morning because I was able to book every restaurant we wanted to visit at the times we had tentatively planned. Sawyer even found me some neat upgrades I hadn't considered, and he ended up booking our reservations under "Prince A. and Princess K.'s Magical Honeymoon." Which I both loved and made me want to laugh hysterically at the same time.

I took this the last time I was at Disney. YAY!!!

Tonight is dance lesson #2, and I have significantly less energy today than I did last week when we went. Our plan going in is to tell the instructor that we have to leave by 8:30, so it doesn't wind up being an all-night event like it was last week. I have the video camera charging and we have a list of potential first dance songs for him to give a listen to. (I posted a fake list of songs on Facebook, including "The Hairbrush Song" from Veggie Tales, which apparently some people thought was a serious list. Oops!)

Also, I weighed in this morning - and by some miracle, after my cookie binge yesterday, I was still down 0.2 this week! That's not the ideal amount I want to lose in a week, clearly, but I wasn't expecting much after the cake tasting and the cookies and all of that. Next week should be better. : )

Now, back to packing... I have a pretty good start with it, but if we are supposed to start moving out in two weeks, we need to kinda get cracking, here.

Thanks for reading! : ) Stay healthy out there!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Well, hey there!

I did it.

I made cookies.

I know that doesn't sound like a very diet-y thing to do, but today was one of those days. Those days when I want to eat everything I see, especially if it is chocolate. Oh, chocolate....

BUT, luckily I had the stuff in my baking cupboard (yes, I dedicated a cupboard to my baking ingredients) to make these delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies:

(and there they are sitting on the nice new baking racks my brother got me for Christmas.)

I got this recipe from Weight Watchers at a meeting wayyyyyy back in 2008 (okay, five years ago, but it seems like forever sometimes) the first time I joined and was a real-life member, not just an online one. Back then, they were a fantastic 1-point each. Now they are 2 points+ according to the new system. But they are still delicious and give me a little kick of chocolate. (Now if only I didn't want to eat everything else in the kitchen.)

Here is the recipe - super easy!

1 Box Betty Crocker Spice Cake mix (obviously you can use whatever brand you want, but the points are calculated according to this mix if you are tracking points)
1 Can Libby's Pumpkin Puree
1 Cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*F.
Combine all of the ingredients. (Yeah, all three of them. LOL)
Spoon out onto baking trays using a regular teaspoon. (I didn't use a measuring teaspoon.) If you're aiming for 2 point+ cookies, you want to wind up with 36 cookies. 
Bake until a toothpick comes out of a cookie without a bunch of wet pumpkin gook on it - about 6 or 7 minutes, I think. 

That's it! That's all you have to do. See? I told you. Easy.

There were so many germs flying around at school today that as soon as I got home, I got a shower. (Also, my back is killing me today, so the hot water felt amazing.) I think I'm taking Lysol tomorrow because my little group table got coughed and sneezed on today, and one little guy decided to lay his face on the table and drag it the whole way back to the edge, drooling all the way. I had a chat with every group about coughing and sneezing into their elbows and sanitizing hands. It was very enlightening and made me glad for me own personal moisturizing sanitizer I keep behind my desk. Ugh.

I just realized it's January 15, and our closing date for the house is supposed to be the 31st. Hm. Guess it's time to get packing, for real. (And also patching the holes I've stuck in the walls over the past two and a half years. Oops.)

Go have some cookies and chocolate for me, please, you non-dieters! (DON'T send me pictures... just enjoy it in my honor, mk?)
Take it easy-

Monday, January 14, 2013

"If you can't say something nice..."

Oh hey!

I'm back after a very busy two days... and the rest of the week is going to keep right on going in that vein. I'm a little worried because when I looked at the portal for school today (since I had a day off) and checked the absentee list, it was seriously triple what it was any day last week. This flu stuff is serious business. I was already sick before/on Christmas, so I'm hoping I won't pick up whatever is going around now. Gonna be hitting the sanitizer hard tomorrow!

A. and I had a very busy day today, even though we were both off work. First thing this morning, we had cake for breakfast. Literally- we did our cake tasting this morning. It was AWESOME. If you are getting married, I highly recommend you pick a cake baker that offers a tasting for you. Some bakers I researched either charged for a tasting or didn't offer one at all. This cake baker is extremely personable and her cake was delicious, and she was also very affordable. I went into that meeting feeling a little stressed out about it and came out feeling awesome. Hooray for cake!

We also picked our menu with our reception hall this afternoon and the event coordinator walked us around since A. hadn't yet seen the place. (He "trusts my judgment" on everything : ) Luckily he really liked it, and the coordinator was good about walking us through everything. Now I have a whole new list of things we need to decide and people I need to call. Phew.

Also, we FINALLY went to AAA and started making official plans for our honeymoon!

Let me start off by saying this part of our planning process has NOT been a field of roses with butterflies and rainbows. First of all, since we decided to buy a house, our honeymoon budget was slashed pretty dramatically. Initially we REALLY wanted to go to Hawaii. (Mostly thanks to Modern Family and the appeal of not having to worry about passports, customs, etc.) Then we discovered how expensive it was to both a) stay there and b) travel there from the East Coast. (Also, it takes a really long time to get there from the East Coast.) So we decided we'd rather go somewhere in the Caribbean. A lot of our friends have gone there, we weren't really into the whole Mexico idea, it wouldn't take long to get there. So we went to AAA in November with the idea of our budget and dreams of clear water and white sand, and not a whole lot else.


I don't know if our agent was grumpy all the time or was just grumpy because she had to work the night before Thanksgiving (and in retrospect, that might not have been the best night to go), but it did NOT go well. Here are a few fantastic conversation snippets we have relived again and again since that fateful night:

Agent: "Where would you like to go?"
Me: "Well, we were thinking somewhere in the Caribbean."
Agent: "Well, that's not very specific. Haven't you gotten any ideas from looking through your bridal magazines?"
....Like it's my job to sit around and comb through magazines for honeymoon ideas? At the time I was wedding planning, house hunting, working two part time jobs, and trying to finish my last master's class. I thought the travel agent would help us with ideas within our budget... which leads me to this gem:

Agent: "What's your budget?"
Me & A: "(tell her our budget)"
Agent: "Well, that's not very much."
.....Well, would you like to pitch in some cash then?!

All in all, she was very judge-y and condescending, and as soon as we walked out the door we got in a huge fight that ended in me sitting silently in the passenger's seat with my arms crossed for much of the car ride home. It was not a pleasant evening.

Luckily, today's experience was much better. Our agent (a different one, obviously) was friendly, helpful, full of suggestions and information. And even though the budget comment from Agent #1 was not very nice, it did make us re-evaluate the realistic aspect of our budget, and after some discussion we decided that Disney World seemed like a good bet. After talking with our New Awesome Agent, we came up with a plan that was in our budget and still seems totally fun and exciting. We both love Disney and Pixar (my favorite movie is Tangled) and I know we will have a great time... hopefully I can get some groom mouse ears on A. (I know that is very unlikely, but a girl can dream!)

Here's the thing. I was so excited that I posted the same Instagram picture above onto Facebook, and some people have been liking it and commenting with fun tidbits. But someone- someone I don't even know very well- commented and said, "Are you seriously going to Disneyworld?" I know the internet leads to tone-of-voice being interpreted in different ways, but that comment really cut me deep, even though I'm trying make it go away. Yes, we are seriously going to Disney World for our honeymoon. And it is going to be EPIC. I realize it's not everyone's dream destination, and certainly not a dream destination for a honeymoon for a lot of people. But for some of us, it is. A. and I have talked about this a lot, and we decided we'd rather spend the money on a nice house that we would have for years, rather than blow it on a week-long extravagant trip. And it's fine that other people choose to do the latter. I think when it comes to your wedding, and your honeymoon, you should do whatever makes you happy that is within your means, and I will be happy for you because you are in love and happy and that's what matters. But I wish people wouldn't cut down our decision without knowing any of the careful thought or consideration (and also the big fight) that led up to it. If they have a problem with it, I would gladly accept any money they'd fork over to upgrade our vacation.

Until then, in the words of a famous Disney character- Thumper from Bambi - "If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all."

Please do me a favor, loyal reader who read through this whole blog post, and keep that in mind when you're interacting with people this week. : )

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Check, check, check...

Hello again!

Last night my friend Patti and I went to see Les Miserables - it was the second time for both of us. For the first half hour of the movie, the girl sitting next to me kept up a running commentary with her boyfriend. After giving her one dirty look, I decided if she kept it up I would just ask her for $10 at the end of the movie. Luckily, she stopped talking and decided to start watching the movie. (What a novel concept!) ANYWAY. Since it was the second time I saw it, I enjoyed it more - I wasn't worried about seeing what all was left out of the musical, and I already had low expectations for Russell Crowe. I would say it was even better the second time. Anne Hathaway... wow. She's just so good in that part.

On Thursday A. and I spent most of the afternoon and evening cleaning the entire house, because 1) it needed a good cleaning, which hadn't happened since before Christmas; and 2) there was a couple coming to look at it yesterday with a realtor, to potentially rent after we move out. Well, the couple showed up a half hour late, and when they got here they only spent 7 minutes looking through the house. When we give our friends the tour of our house, it usually takes at least 15 minutes... it's a big house, and there's a lot of architectural interest and craftsman features since it's so old. Also, fifteen minutes before they were supposed to show up it started absolutely pouring rain outside, and I was getting angry that my nicely cleaned floors were going to have junk trekked all over them.

Basically, I don't think they're going to be moving here.

On the bright side, I finally got all the necessary documents about my school loans to the bank and paid off my credit card bills, so hopefully we can really get the ball rolling on our house. Our closing date is supposed to be January 31, which is approaching pretty quickly. AHH!

A. and I are going to a bridal show tomorrow (he's thrilled) and then on Monday we have appointments for cake tasting and choosing our menu for the reception. Also, I'm hoping we can squeeze in some time at AAA to finally book our honeymoon. We're definitely behind the game on that one. I've been using The Knot's checklist, which sometimes confuses me and sometimes helps me. For instance, right now my checklist says I'm behind on planning the rehearsal dinner- but is that my job? I thought A.'s parents were responsible for the rehearsal dinner? Hmm....

Honestly, some of the things they had scheduled for way earlier and I just rescheduled them to fit when we have our appointments with each vendor. It's a useful tool, just a little over-detailed at times. 

And on that note, I'm gonna go. Have a great weekend, everyone! Thanks for reading, again : ) I'm excited by all the page views I've been getting. Leave me a comment and say hi!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You better bring it!

Hi there : )

Oh, Bring it On. I find it hysterical that this movie is on AMC. They just censored one of the lines so that they could say "I don't give a spit." Cheerocracy. Cheertator. Cheer sex. Spirit fingers. I vividly remember seeing this at the drive in with my friends in junior high. : ) And my massive crush on Jesse Bradford began. Oooooooooh yeah, baby. I'd have an extended tooth-brushing sequence next to him any day.

Last night's dance lesson ended up being quite... extensive. It started at seven and we didn't leave until 9:45. A. was less than psyched. Both of us were in a lot of pain today - his back, my shoulders. The entire lesson I kept thinking about Dirty Dancing.

The part about cha cha and frames and spaghetti arms, not so much the part where Patrick Swayze buries his face in Jennifer Grey's chest. LOL.

Anyway, it was fun, it just should have ended around 8:30, which is about when we both ran out of energy and brain power. I don't remember a whole lot of what I learned after that, actually. We're gonna dance real good at the weddin' ; )

Finished cleaning the whole house top to bottom for the showing tomorrow (and my own sanity). Floors are all clean. I feel like telling the people who are coming that if they want to live here, they better be prepared to dust. I am SO EXCITED to have fewer floors to clean. This house is great but it's ginormous and way too big for two people. Thankfully, A. pitched in and cleaned his "man cave" and bathroom, as well as took care of the dishes and the living room rug.

Meanwhile, my plan is to shower, put on my jammies, and watch my Smash DVDs for the rest of the evening. Phew!!!

Have a good one, all, and thanks for reading : )

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

You make me feel like dancing!

Oh hey!

I weighed in... and the results are... I lost 1.8 lbs this week! YES! I feel pretty good about that.

Tonight A. and I are going to dance lessons! My parents got them for us for Christmas. It's definitely going to be an adventure.

I've been running around like a madwoman ever since I got home from school, because our rental is being shown on Friday afternoon to a potential renter. I know since it's not me trying to sell a house I really don't have an obligation to make it look good, but I don't want people trekking through all of our business thinking we are dirty slobs. Also, the house needs a good scrub-down anyway. It's a good excuse to start cleaning and doing repairs that we'll have to do when we move out.... and I packed some stuff too. There are just some things I know I'm not going to use in the next month.

I don't have too much to say today and not really any relevant pictures.... So I'll leave you with this one : )

I've been working on this picture of Fred and Ginger for months... it's still not done... I've just been too busy!  But since dancing lessons are tonight it seems appropriate! : )

Have a good one-

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Go team!

Okay, world.

Weigh-in is tomorrow morning. I'm nervous. I'm kind of hoping that I'll have lost at least one pound this week. I've been making such an effort and I'm worried that if nothing happened, I will lose my motivation. Between this blog and facebook messaging with my friend Amy, I've been doing good with motivation so far because I feel accountable to someone. That's why Weight Watchers worked so well for me the first time- because I was going to meetings regularly with my BFF, so 1) I had to go because she was going, and 2) I had to go because the meeting leader expected me to be there and to succeed. Don't worry, I'll be sure to write about how it goes, good or bad... but hopefully good.

Tonight I had this for dinner:

I realize this picture might not look way appetizing (please realize that there is a very 70s-inspired brown and yellow flower pattern underneath, but hey, when I moved out on my own, my grandma gave me these dishes for free... so I'm not complaining!) but the meal is pretty tasty! It's Baked Salsa Chicken, from Living a Changed Life. Only 6 pts+, and with a quarter cup of white rice that adds another point. When I make it again I think I will use mild salsa - all we had was medium when I was cooking - but the chicken is so awesomely juicy, not dry at all : ) Yum!

The last couple days I've tried to switch to four small meals a day, instead of trying to save up my points for a big dinner and then failing miserably all afternoon and the remainder of the evening. I've been a lot more successful with this tactic. Will try to keep it up... lately I have been craving breakfast foods so bad. I'm trying not to cave. But I really want a big pile of french toast, or pancakes, or waffles, or a bagel - basically I want CARBS, and LOTS OF THEM!!!

However, I have to save my extra points this week because next Monday, A. and I are going to a cake tasting for our wedding, and then meeting at our reception venue to choose our menu. So excited!!! More and more things for the wedding are coming together. Interestingly, I also seem to be adding more to my "to-do" list even though I feel like the big stuff is getting done. I really need a weekend with my college girls (my "Maple West" girls) that is wedding-free, though. I feel like it's all anyone wants to ask me about right now, and it is exciting and fun to talk about, but it's also a little overwhelming and stressful. I need a break. (Side note: this is also one of the pieces of advice my wonderful cousin Ashley gave me after A. and I got engaged. She got married- to an awesome guy, btw- just a couple weeks before A. popped the question, so she has been such a valuable resource for advice and sanity. Love her.)

I know one of my last posts was a giant whine-fest about how tired I felt. Today I pretty much felt the same way all day. Then, I found myself bored of sitting in front of the TV after my last student left this evening. So I finally tried my new Zumba game for Wii- and I loved it! I played for around half an hour, and then took a shower and ate dinner. I feel so much better now, which is amazing to me because I really hate exercising. I do love Zumba, and going for really long walks when it's nice out. But, I hate the part of exercising where you get sweaty. Also the part where it hurts. If I could just avoid those two things, but still see results, that would be ideal. : )

If you read all of that - especially all of my diet rambling - thanks for taking the time out to read my Great American Novel. ; )
Tomorrow's gonna be a good day!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Brain = exploding.

Oh hey, world.

I would swear that it is a full moon right now. But when I just checked the calendar, I found out it's basically the opposite of a full moon. Why am I astonished by this? Because all of my children today - well, maybe 95% of them - were totally off the wall.... so much energy!!! Yikes. I feel completely exhausted right now. Like my brain is on the verge of just exploding.

On top of this, I'm still making a valiant effort for my diet. I have done the Wii two nights in a row now. (Though tonight is looking questionable...) AND A. JUST SAID "HERE, I MADE MOZZARELLA STICKS. HAVE SOME."

Now, he did not yell at as the caps might suggest. It just felt like that to my brain and stomach. As I looked at my tilapia and green beans (which were delicious, by the way).

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can! It will be worth it when I am looking totally awesome in my wedding dress and in all of the wedding pictures. (And then, the next week when we go on our honeymoon, all bets are off. I will be eating my way through Disney.)

Two nights ago I also made these delicious low-point muffins from Nomadic Nom Nom. They are not one point like the link suggests (although they might be if you did make them as mini-muffins), but they are still pretty good:

However, I also wound up with almost two dozen muffins. They are delicious, but eating all of them sort of defeats the purpose of them being low in points. So I took them to school today and put a label on them that said "Guilt-free chocolate muffins! Enjoy! - K." One of my co-workers (also one of the sweetest ladies I've ever met) was eating one and said how they weren't very sweet and would probably be better with icing... to which I replied, "Yes, but then they also wouldn't be guilt-free." : )

Anyway, that's it for me today, time to zone out for a little bit. Here's to hoping everyone is a little bit more calm for Tuesday!

Take it easy,

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Good morning, good morning

Well, hey there!

I'm having a "big girl" weekend. As in, being a grown up. It's weird. Remember when weekends were times for sleepovers, parties, movie dates, and working on group projects for school? (I miss everything except the group projects. Unless the group projects were with Sarah. Then we always had a good time.) Anyway, it's official, the "For Rent" sign is up in our front yard!... which means this deal with the new house better go through or we're gonna be up crap creek without a paddle.

As promised, I went on my Target roam yesterday. (I did drive past the new house on the way there... there are tire tracks on the snow in the driveway so I'm hoping that means that a) the contractors have been fixing the things we wanted fixed, and b) the appraiser was there. Hopefully.) First I had to run errands at the post office, the UPS store, the grocery store, and the gas station. (See, big girl stuff. Ugh.) Then I stopped at K-Mart because I wanted to look at their hampers and shower curtains. (More big girl stuff, but slightly more fun.) While I was waiting in the check out line, I noticed this gum in the queue where they try to make you impulsively buy more things last-minute:

Apple Pie? Hmmm....

So I pointed to it and said to the lady waiting behind me: "That's interesting. Apple pie gum." The cashier, who was waiting like the rest of us for the woman in front of me to figure out how she was paying for everything, said "Actually, it's pretty good." So, I did what the gods of commercialism planned, and impulsively bought the gum. It's good and it does taste like apple pie. However, it also loses its flavor completely after about five minutes. Which is great, I guess, if you just have a craving for something sweet but you don't actually want to consume calories. 

ANYWAY. Sorry, enough about the gum.

Once I finally hit Target for my wandering session, I found some pretty awesome stuff. The most important thing being a 4.5' pre-lit Christmas tree that was 90% off. Which means I got it for $8!!! I was so proud of that bargain that I texted my mom. Next year I want my own tree for my army of Barbie holiday ornaments, so this is perfect. (Also perfect because I hate, hate, hate putting the lights on the tree. Least favorite part of holiday decorating.)

Hooray! We get our own tree!

I also bought an organizer for all of my crafty stuff and started packing that all away, and then I spent the rest of the day organizing and packing things. (Things that I know I won't be using in the next month or so, although hopefully a month from now we will be moving some things into the new place. Which is surreal.)

A. is still sick so sleeping last night was still an adventure. Finally at 7 I threw in the towel and just got out of bed. We're trying out a new church this morning... so I'm hoping it goes well. It's the same church where A.'s cousins go, which I think has him feeling a little more comfortable because he'll at least know some people there. I'm a little more leery because I have no idea what denomination it is, and I'm a confirmed Methodist, which obviously means I like methods and routines. We shall see.

Until tomorrow---

Friday, January 4, 2013


Oh hey,

It's Friday, Friday... (yes, I'm jamming to good old Rebecca Black in my head, don't judge me.) I only had a two-day workweek this week and I am totally exhausted. Not gonna lie, I was expecting to feel more energized with the start of the diet, because I'm eating healthier and drinking more water, but I am also recovering from a cold. Unfortunately it seems I passed the cold to A. and he woke me up three times last night between coughing and cold-snoring. I didn't tell him that because he would just feel bad about it, and it's not something he can help, but there it is. Tired.

I am in the mood for a Target roam, so I think I'm heading there tomorrow morning and wandering around for a while. (Maybe if I wander long enough it will count as "exercise"?...) I know. My weekend plans are extremely exciting. But between the cleaning I need to get done and the lack of money in my pocket right now... I literally can't afford to go very far out of the box right now. LOL. I turned in my time sheet today and my next paycheck will be for a whopping 11.5 hours due to the holiday vacation. I loved my vacation, every second. I will not be loving my bank account in a few weeks.

Speaking of which, we are waiting to hear back from the appraiser on our house. I think as soon as they do that we really get the ball rolling with the money and paperwork. AHHHHH. I am enjoying these weeks of calm while I can, although I am also excited about the new house.

I think I have been driving my Pinterest people nuts with everything I have been pinning for the house lately, but things like paint colors are much more exciting to me now. This is life. At Christmas I unwrapped a tablecloth that my grandma bought for us off our registry and I was legitimately excited about it. My 17-year-old cousin (whom I love) looked at me like I had three heads and each was sprouting horns. Most of my Christmas presents this year consisted of things for the kitchen, the bathroom, my music room, and the wedding. 17-year-old me would probably be confused, too.

(Kind of like how excited I was when I saw my brother got my mom a new oven mitt.
Obviously, she really needed one.)

It is about to turn 9:00 so I don't feel bad about going up to bed now, since I am so tired. (9:00 on a Friday night... sorry, 17-year-old me. Go do something fun for me.)

Adios amigos...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A cockeyed optimist


I'm watching the Carnegie Hall performance of "South Pacific" with Reba McIntyre and Brian Stokes Mitchell (and Alec Baldwin). It's pretty awesome. I'm a nerd because I get this stuff on Netflix. (My goal, by the way, is to be done with Netflix by the time we move. I'm down to about 14 movies on my queue. I think I can do this!) I'm usually not a big South Pacific fan, but I really enjoy BSM and Reba is doing a good job with the part. I think my biggest peeve with this musical is Liat. Not the prejudice part of her storyline, because I understand why it's there and why it was groundbreaking at the time and I appreciate that. I just think she is a totally undervalued character.


Today I have been doing well with my Weight Watchers points, but I am SO HUNGRY right now. A. is sick so I could probably make dinner now with no argument, but it seems so early.

When we got home from the store last night, I used my favorite thing - snack bags - and prepared portioned snacks for both my lunches and for around the house. This is something WW recommends and I never really gave much thought to until this past fall. It does make packing lunch easier... and prevents me from eating a whole bag of pretzels or chips. 24 pretzels a serving seems like a lot until you actually look at 24 pretzels.

Baby carrots and sliced peppers all bagged up and ready to go in my lunch!

This was an impulse buy at the store... better than impulse buying ice cream. 

Caramel drizzle rice cakes all bagged up...

And pretzels... You can see my new awesome food scale in the background : )

Tonight I'm going to try salsa chicken... a recipe I got from Living a Changed Life. And I think I'm going to start it now!

Peace out,

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcome, 2013!

Hello, world!

2013 is promising some big things in my life. Namely: getting married (!), buying a house, a graduation, and hopefully getting a full-time job again! So, I figured... what better time to kick-start a blog to keep track of everything?! Right?! Right. Okay, not everyone's gut reaction is to add one more thing when they already have a million other things going on. But people who already know me know that I'm pretty crazy.

Since we're turning over to 2013, I'm also using today to kick off my bridal diet regimen... dun dun dunnnnn. My goal: lose 20 pounds in the next six months. Since I once lost 20 pounds in three months, I think this is not such an insane goal. I am committing to it, right here and right now. I am finding weight-loss buddies to help keep me on track. I'MA DO THIS, OKAY!

But not before I do this:

Oh yeah. That just happened. And it was delicious. (But it didn't last nearly long enough. : (

Last night I started a before-bed mini-workout, and I'm going to continue tonight. Last night was 50 reps on the "Leg Magic." Tonight will be 50 crunches. Eventually I will up the ante with these numbers, I swear. 

Oh, the plans I have for this blog... hopefully I will follow through with them. : )

Take care of each other!