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Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Craziness Is Upon Us!

Next week is Christmas Unwrapped, our church's gift to the city and our community. Picture a Disney World-type-theme-park with a Christmas theme throughout our huge warehouse of a building. It's so much fun and EVERYTHING is completely free! If you're local I hope you come- it's going to be so wonderful and amazing.

Because of that, work is obviously a bit nutso especially now that we're just one week out. It's all good stuff though, and so much fun!

The adoption update is that last Friday we found out we are officially approved and ready to go on the waiting list. The bummer is that we don't have our money together so we have asked to not be considered and are not yet on the actual waiting list. This has been a real struggle for me, I'm not going to lie.

How amazing would it be to be on the waiting list through Christmas?! What if we got the call on Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day that the newest family member was ready for us? AND while all of CC's out-of-town family was with us to experience it together? It's a wonderful dream, but unless God does something miraculous, we have another month or two to go until we have the funds together. We are praying the Lord provides and He IS and WILL provide, just of course not in MY timing. I'm trying to be fine with it, but it's a bit tricky.

I've been trying to focus on the good: we are so close to being on the waiting list, which is a huge praise in and of itself; and this is probably (hopefully) our last Christmas with it being just the two of us. That's a HUGE deal for us- it's been just the two of us for more than half of our lives (if you're including our dating years, which I am). I'm trying to savor the 'just-us' time this Christmas and it's been a pretty magical season already.

We got all of our shopping done very early, our Christmas cards have already been received, we've watched almost all of our Christmas movies already... we pretty much just need to wrap everything, ship two packages, and I need to bake to my little heart's content!

There's not much left to do for this Christmas except to just enjoy the season and enjoy being with my sweet hubby. That's kind of the best way to enjoy Christmas I think.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Lemon Chess Pie Goodness

Thanksgiving has now come and gone. My very favorite time of year.

Wednesday most of my family descended for dinner and ham, and Thursday our friends descended for (leftover ham and) turkey. Both were filled with yummy food and lots of fun!

Most of my family!
One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is the pie situation. This year a friend brought chocolate chip pecan pie (AMAZING!) so for Wednesday I made my fudge pecan pie. It didn't turn out so well since I accidentally used the wrong pie pan (Note to self: deep dish is NOT what you need for pecan pie). But, my friends, let me tell you about the Lemon Chess Pie we made for Thursday... (original recipe link here)

CC suggested it after finding the recipe on the Food Network website. He was all like, "It's a Gale Gand recipe!" Now if you don't know who she is, Gale Gand used to have her own show on the Food Network, but besides that, she's this incredibly amazing pastry/dessert chef. ANYTHING I've ever seen her make is amazing and looks incredible.

CC begged. Pleaded. Begged some more. I caved and we bought the ingredients.

I ended up making it Thursday morning during the Macy's parade (holla) and then had to WAIT to try it until after dinner that night.

Things I'm thankful for? This totally tops the list. This pie was incredibly easy to whip up and throw in the oven. I was nervous because I thought the top was burning, but apparently that's what chess pies do to get all crispy on top. SOOOOO delicious.

Go make this now and be thankful I told you about it.

Lemon Chess Pie up front

Linking up with Jessica's PinterTest Kitchen today...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Update Number Five Hundred Eighteen Thousand

Whew! Poor bloggie is forever in catch-up mode.

Heading into Thanksgiving we are having not one but TWO meals that we're cooking for. (Yes, we're a little nuts, apparently.) We are excited though and can't wait to eat serve all that yummy food and see friends and family.

Last week I was really stressed out about a particular situation. I couldn't sleep one night, the situation was CONSTANTLY on my mind, it was all I could talk complain about, yada yada yada. My sweet CC called me out over the weekend and reminded me that nothing had actually happened; that I was the crazy one (said super sweetly and lovingly and tactfully), projecting old crazy onto current people. I chewed on that for a couple days and then the sermon at church was about justice. Letting God handle situations and people that drive you batty, not just taking it upon yourself to put those people in their places. It kinda went hand in hand with what CC had told me so I had to listen once God weighed in.

Needless to say, this week is going much more smoothly and while I'm still a little bit worried, I'm trying to give it to the Lord each time I think about it. It's kind of nice that it's a crazy busy week with Thanksgiving and all, so that I'm not thinking about it all the time.

And now to switch gears on you, an adoption update:
We heard from our social worker Sunday that she's 'finishing up' our homestudy. Eeeeeeeee!!!! I'm so excited!

We still have more than half of our puzzle left 'for sale' so if you're interested, please see the details under the Adoption Fundraising tab at the top of this page. If you signed up for pieces but haven't paid yet, we would greatly appreciate your doing that. I know I've emailed everyone who signed up, but I think my emails are getting stuck in spam folders, so please check there and email me back!

As a reminder, our sweet friend is also donating 20% of her cookie business profits to our adoption fund. Click the badge on the right to find out more!

Obviously our ideal goal is to have enough money together once we go on the waiting list that we don't have to have the agency wait to show our profile book to a birthmother. (If we don't have the money together, we will ask them to wait, which means we won't be considered for a placement.)

Isn't it wonderful how God is so faithful?! We know He will provide, we're just waiting on the when.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What We've Been Up To

I'm going to TRY and write a post without talking about our adoption for those of you who might want a break. Before I do that though... do you see the badge over here to the right? >>>>>>>>

Guess what that's about? Our very dear, best, awesomest friends ever are donating a portion of their cookie business sales directly to our adoption fund! How incredible is that?! Her cookies taste amazing and look fantastic, so be sure you get your order in ASAP before she's all booked up! (You can read more about it here!)

Okay, now on to the actual official post!

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This week as I mentioned previously has been less chaotic than last week, which is wonderful. But then I went and did something dumb.

So this Focus T25 workout situation is no joke. We're in the midst of week three and I can already tell my body, while mad at me, is coming around. Slowly, but coming around. However I'm going to tell you right now that that Shaun T is a LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!

'25 minutes a day for only 5 days,' he says (LIE).

Truth #1: 25 minutes does NOT include the cooldown which trust me, you desperately need after he kicks you around for that long. So, THIRTY minutes.

Truth #2: It's not five days; it's six and a half days. Monday through Friday you do workouts, Saturday you weigh and measure yourself, and Sunday you are supposed to do a 'stretch' workout. That is SIX days of working out people.

Truth #3: On Fridays you're supposed to do TWO workouts back to back. 'Don't worry,' Shaun T says, 'If you can't do the second workout on Friday, just do it some other time over the weekend.' LIAR. That means you are supposed to be doing a total of SEVEN workouts each week. That is NOT five days a week, my friends.

Anyway back to my dumb behavior- Last Friday I did the two workouts back to back for the first time.... and proceeded to not do absolutely anything else the entire rest of the day because it wore me out so much (except read Allegiant, but I digress.).

So this week I decided I'd do my extra Friday workout earlier in the week to get it over with. Smart, right? Yeah, not so much. I also hadn't done the Stretch workout yet and thought I'd check that out. So yesterday CC got me up before the sun to work out, then after work, I came home and did not just a second workout, but also the stretch workout. I felt on top of the world! I'd worked out THREE times yesterday! Who's the woman?! Woohoo! I'm invincible!

And then... and then.... AND THEN! That dude got me up again this morning to work out again! It did not go as well as yesterday, let me tell you. Dumb.

The good news is my extra workout is done for this week. The bad news is I can't walk standing straight up. That's okay, right? Nobody minds if I am a hunchback this week, right?

Here's what else we've been up to, in case you're wondering...

This past Saturday we went Christmas shopping. Yep, we're almost done. (Yes, you can hate us now. Hey, we're just trying to be proactive in case we get a placement before Christmas. That would be amazing!)
This will be SO TRUE.
Christmas is taking shape at church/work. I love it!
The giant Christmas tree. Or rather, the bottom of an enormous tree.
About twice a year I act like a grown-up and eat a banana, which I absolutely hate. I wish chocolate cake helped with leg cramps, but unfortunately it doesn't.
Gross gross gross gross gross!
I'm sorry, REI, but I'm on to your game. Chili pepper and baked apple are the SAME color!
I'm not falling for it.
This diva-monster has decided crates are for puppies and she's old enough to not need one at night any more. Our little girl is growing up!
Dragon breath is right!
We almost had a chance for a flurry in November. It was a big deal. Never saw one. I'm praying daily for a white Christmas. DAILY.

In the meantime, Starbucks is coming through for me during slow sleepy afternoons. BOGO Christmas in a red cup? Yes, please!
Happy happy!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Whirlwind

Last week as you now know, was intense! So much going on, the whole week felt very adoption-centered. Which meant it was a fun but busy week!

You know about how our adoption meeting at church went, but the other event we went to this week was our agency's annual fundraising banquet.  CC wrote a fantastic recap about it so I'll just share what he wrote:

We got all dressed up and had a great time! 

Fancy grown-ups!
We were a bit nervous about going, not knowing what to expect and if we'd know anyone there, but God showed up BIG time!  We were all assigned tables and at our table was a couple that we met at our training who we really enjoy, a couple from our church!, and a couple that Susan had found out were coming through a mutual friend.  I have no idea how those seating arrangements came about other than God.  We had a really great time talking to the other three couples and were almost the last ones to leave because we were having so much fun talking!

We've also had a ton of fun with all the responses we've gotten to our puzzle fundraiser!  So far people have pledged 163 pieces!  Leave a comment or email us with your name and email if you're interested in "buying" any pieces.  We won't publish your information, it will only go to us.  Here's a picture with the remaining available pieces:


God is just repeatedly amazing us over and over again. The blessings that have been pouring in are fantastic things we wouldn't have imagined would happen. It's been a pretty fun ride so far and we just keep looking forward to the next part of our story! This week is a little less intense in that we don't have something every night this week. We're looking forward to continuing to work on our profile book and keep up with the puzzle.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Latest & Greatest

This week feels crazy because we have something going on every day. And the day(s?) we don't officially have anything going on, work's been a little abnormal.

The pastors have been gone on their annual beach retreat this week, which typically means I have tons and tons of time to get projects and other things done while they're gone that I usually have to put off during the busy times. This week all that down time has flown out the window, due to weird and bizarre circumstances. And now the pastors are back today and work life returns to normal. Or, returns to the crazy that is preparing for Christmas when you work at your church. It's fun, but BUSY!

Last night we went to our first adoption ministry meeting at church. The room was PACKED with tons of interested folks, which was really neat! The downside is it was an info meeting geared more to general info for those folks just starting the process. We left and CC and I both felt like we could've taught the class. (We sound snooty but really we just kept wanting to pipe in with our own two cents- but we didn't, so that's good. It's just that we're so far along in the process compared to everyone else, so we felt like we could share if asked.)

Tomorrow night we're attending our agency's fundraiser banquet (which just means we'll pretend to be fancy schmancy people so we can eat a wonderful meal and hear a really cool speaker). I'm pretty excited about it!

I know now that it's public knowledge, I'll be talking a lot about our adoption, and I hope you're okay with that. We're pretty ding dang excited about it and since that's the BIG thing in our lives right now, that's what's on my mind to share about.

To that end, you may have noticed the new section at the top of this here blog, called Adoption Fundraising. If you click that link, you'll be able to read all about our current fundraising opportunity should you feel the Lord leading you to support us in that way. No pressure, no obligation.

In the meantime amidst all that busyness, Hubby and I are on week two of Focus T25. And we huurrrtttt!!! But it's a good hurt, you know what I mean? I haven't lost any weight really but I can tell changes are happening which is exciting! I'm hoping to lose bunches of inches like all those testimonials say will happen. Or at least finally find out I have arm muscles! We'll see.

So that's what's new with me. How're you? I feel very out of the loop lately, for some reason. Fill me in, friends!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Consider Yourself Warned

So now that the cat's out of the bag, here's what else has been going on...

We had a massive yard sale with some friends this past weekend to raise money for our adoption fund... and we made almost $600! God is good.

Hubby is no longer managing at work, which is wonderful! He might be travelling still at some point, but we don't know when yet. Personally I'm hoping not until 2014. The best time of the year is here and I don't want him to miss out on all the Fally, pumpkiny goodness!

We have been going, going, going like gangbusters over here and this weekend we have no set plans and get to REST. Praise the Lord! Next week is CRAZY so we're going to enjoy this slow-moving weekend while we can.

I think I have a cold now. Boo! I hate colds. They wear a body out (or at least me) and then said body is not at all motivated or productive to get anything done.

And things have to get done, people!

Do you realize that since Thanksgiving is so late this year, there are literally LESS than four weeks between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day? That is a very short shopping season, friends.

You've been warned: Christmas photos and cards to be mailed and sent out, gifts to be bought and wrapped (after putting so much thought into each gift), cookies to be made, carols to be sung, and on and on... all in less than four weeks. You better get on it now! I mean, Kohl's is already completely decorated as though Christmas threw up in there. And today's only Halloween. Kohl's is on the ball, apparently (or crazy).

I'm just sayin'... be warned how much time will fly for the rest of 2013.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So.

So it's about to get real up in here. Finally. It may take some time, but bear with me and I'll fill you in. This is the real deal about what's going on that I haven't been able to share with you until now.

I've been told multiple times to write all this down before I forget. So I'm writing and finally sharing it. God's been doing some amazing things in our lives and I hope I can do Him justice by sharing this with you.

You know how God's brought us to a place of no debt. That in and of itself was a long story and He deserves all praise and glory for that. It's amazing how, now that we're out of debt, He just continues to pour out more and more blessings upon us. I couldn't even fathom all that God's done and given to us, but the crazy thing is it hasn't just stopped! He keeps giving and giving and giving!

Now let me stop right here and clarify. I am NOT tooting our own horns and saying 'oh look how awesome we are that God's been so good to us!' What I AM saying is this: 'despite our screw-ups and despite all the crap we pull, God still loves us enough to give us these amazing blessings that we can then turn around and share with others.'

So back to the goings-on...

We got out of debt at the very beginning of April (early!) and CC FINALLY after waiting for almost two years, got his promotion with raise (May). Amazing!

My hours were mutually agreed upon to cut back (May) because I was pretty burned out. I thought I'd have to quit but God found a different solution. I couldn't be happier with this and it's going really well. The goal is to eventually work my regular 32 hour office workweek, and a little bit on Wednesday nights for rehearsals, BUT only one Sunday per month. This is a BIG deal when most of my job revolves around planning and preparation for Sunday morning services.

In the meantime, God's been leading us for quite a while in a direction that wasn't quite clear to us. Little by little He's been giving us baby steps to follow. We obey one thing and then He shows us another thing to do. This sounds confusing because I don't know how else to say this. Here goes...


The Lord has very clearly given us the heart for adoption and we are working our way through the process to bring home a baby!


I know, five hundred gazillion trillion questions probably just popped into your head, so I will try to answer them to the best of my ability. Feel free to ask more along the way.

The gist is this... all along this journey we've been praying He would lead the way clearly and close doors He doesn't want us to walk through. We've also especially been praying that He would keep Hubby and me in one accord, on the same page.

The most amazing thing to me so far actually is that God's answered these prayers and Hubby and I are very much and have been and continue to be always on the same page. By this I mean for example, that we went to an info meeting in April to learn more about the local county's foster-to-adopt program. We went in very excited about the possibility and BOTH came out feeling very much that that was not the path God has for us to start expanding our family.

We immediately started looking into other options and I only ever had one private adoption agency on my mind. The people there are fantastic and they come highly recommended. In fact, my dear friends helped found the agency back in the day!

I can't tell you how interesting it's been as we've journeyed along to slowly realize that we are literally surrounded by adoption: friends who were adopted, friends who have or are or did adopt, my 'virtual' blog friends who almost all seem to have a HUGE heart for adoption, friends with all kinds of parental issues, and on and on. CC calls it the 'new car syndrome:' You get a new car that you think isn't so popular and suddenly all you see on the road is the very car you bought. Not sure if that makes sense, but he explains it way better than I can.

Anyway, so all along He's been preparing us for this process (I mean really, who else do you know besides me that absolutely loves filling out forms? Yeah, I don't know anyone else either.)- financially (debt-free and saving), physically (we're in the best shape of our adult lives so far!), emotionally and mentally (giving us back capacity to be present at home- lighter workloads), and spiritually (He's leading the way and we're staying close to best hear Him).

So we've been following along as I've been saying and tentatively taking steps through open doors. Adoption is REALLY expensive and of course we don't have that much money just lying around. But we have this much money to fill out this application, and this much other money to do a home study, etcetera. Each of those qualifies as an open door, you see?

Feeling like SUCH grown-ups, what I haven't mentioned is yet another blessing God's done... CC's new(ish) job is going very well! That's right- an offer too good to pass up. Less stress, great pay, back to no management, in the field that he's greatly passionate about, doing what he loves. Seriously, an awesome opportunity.

All this to say, it's been an incredible ride and we're just getting started! I can't wait to share more of what all God's doing and this is just the beginning!

In the meantime, please join us in praying for all involved, especially the birthmother we do not know who will be making such a sacrifice. Pray she feels His love and comfort and peace through all of this. Pray that the Lord will continue to prepare us to be best equipped to raise this little person He'll be entrusting to us. And most of all, please pray that HE alone will be glorified through our journey.

Monday, October 14, 2013

This Week

If we can just make it through this week, I think we'll be alright.

After three years of being home, CC's finally back to travelling for work.

Now before we go on, I know we've got it way better than other couples with work travel stuff. I'm not knocking that, but this girl gets massively cranky over any trip longer than two nights away. Poor CC! When he comes home I'm so excited and happy he's home, but cranky that he had to be gone in the first place. Since I remember that I was like this before, I'm hoping I can nip it in the bud and not be cranky this go-round.

I've got work and a few other things planned to fill the time and Scout to keep me company, and vacation (staycation) starts this weekend, so there's lots to look forward to. The fair is next week, plus a Tomlin concert I've been dying to go to, and some other fun things. I'm hoping and praying this week flies by and it'll be Friday before I know it.

But in the meantime, if we can just make it through this week...

Friday, October 11, 2013

You're Welcome.

I'm not cool enough to be ahead of the times, but I'm really good at being behind the times. I heard about this video today (which has apparently been viral for at least the last month) and found it hilarious.


What's hysterical to me is how SERIOUS they are about really, really, REALLY needing to know what a fox sounds like. I hope you enjoy it, especially because the song will be stuck in your head for about the next six years.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Let's Look At The Good, Shall We?

This week the weather here is finally cool for Fall, which is awesome, but has led to crazy weather-related migraines. Nothing, praise the Lord, like a couple weeks ago, but no fun regardless of their severity.

Except for that though, it's been a pretty good week. Let's review, shall we?

Today I got a free coffee delivery at work during a migraine. There's nothing better except being home in the dark in jammies so that rocked big-time.

I'm terrified to say I've discovered the T25 workout DVDs. I really want them, but since they're so expensive, I'm sitting on it for now. Hopefully in the near future I can get them. I really need people I don't know telling me how possible it is for me to lose inches and gain strength. Ha!

I got to see Cindy a second time, which was equally as incredibly fun as the first time. I'm sad she had to go home but I like that we said see ya next time and not a final goodbye.

Ran across these old gems this week...

We miss these guys tons.
Had some fantastic meetings I was nervous about go very well, so that's always good.

Pumpkin-Pecan Bread. Pumpkin-Brown Butter Cupcakes. Pintertesting. All is right with the world.

We know the cutest little girls!
The farmers' market is happening tomorrow which means homemade applesauce will happen soon.

I love this chick.
I've mostly mastered my new hairstyle and am pretty decent at recreating the salon experience, I think. The color's awesome and even though it's fading more quickly than I'd like, I am REALLY digging the bright red highlights!

Not too shabby, I'd say. I'm ignoring the fact that CC's travelling for work next week by trying to make this the most fun weekend ever in the history of weekends. Which basically means that overnight french toast might have to happen again. (It was GOOD, y'all!)

Monday, October 07, 2013

A Cali Visit!


I love when 'fake friends' become REAL friends! You know, blog/social media friends you've never officially met in person (in real life).

Isn't she gorgeous?
I got to meet Cindy Saturday for coffee and breakfast, and I am ridiculously still so excited about it. Did you know she's a real person?! Not just a picture on Instagram or on a blog, but a real, live person that I now know!

Breakfast of Champions

I loved hanging out with Cindy, as I'm told most people do. I loved that she was nervous about meeting me like I was about her. I loved that she was up-front about not wanting me to force-feed her grits. I loved that we both decided awkward silences would be okay and then there were none. I loved that we had some extra things in common we didn't know about. I love that she stalked my blog before we met just like I stalked hers.

I love that she mentioned getting coffee later this week if it works out. I love when Cali friends venture into the unknown territory of the South and come out enjoying it. I love that Cindy liked our local coffee shop as much as I do. I loved getting to meet her friend, Kimberly, who was super sweet and kind.

I love that Cindy prayed over our food so I got to hear even more of her heart for Jesus. I love that she ordered us pumpkin donuts to share. I love that she was interested in seeing our main campus building since Hope (her church) is praying for a building of their very own. I love that she was excited I brought her pumpkin cupcakes and that she even liked them. Haha!

Basically I just had a blast and enjoyed very much getting to meet and know Cindy better. It's still amazing to me that I have such great friends I might have otherwise (without technology) never have even known existed! To meet in person is just icing on the proverbial cake! (This was especially a super cool blessing for me because CC and I tried to visit California over the summer and it didn't work out. To have a friend from there come all the way to where I am was just such a neat God thing!)

Still excited!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

What Day Is It, Exactly?

So today when I woke up I thought it was Friday. Which meant I was beyond disappointed when I realized it was Wednesday. My long workday. And when I got out of bed, my feet were KILLING me.

Apparently spending last night cooking and prepping meals for five hours to freeze was rough physically. I feel for the chefs who do this all the time. BUT... we have lots to show for it!
Five meals right there!
Ina's Mexican Chicken Soup on the left (my fave), Spicy Spaghetti there in the back with more soup (my other fave), Jamaican Pork Stirfry in one of those bags, and two chicken dishes I can't really remember right now. Lots of dinners and lunch portions already prepped and ready- that should help me jump back in to healthy eating much more easily!

Anyway, I was especially sad it's not Friday because guess what I'm doing on Saturday, only one day after Friday?! I am SOOOOOO excited I can't stand myself!

You guys. I get to meet another blog friend in REAL life! Woohoo! Cindy's coming to town to visit a friend who lives here and I get to benefit! Yippee!

I hope my South does her justice; she's not really ever been and I hope we make a great impression. Have I mentioned how excited I am?!

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Different Kind Of PinterTest!

In case you don't know, I get bored very easily. Especially with my hair and clothes. Clothes cost more money to turn over so I can deal with boredom there. My hair though is easier to mess with.

Growing up I was never allowed to do anything to my hair. It was long, curly, and very thick and my mother loved my hair. I always wanted to cut it (the tangles were horrible and atrocious, especially once frizz entered the picture), but I was never allowed to.

I remember in 7th grade my grandmother took me to the mall and let me get my bum-length hair cut to my shoulders. She said my mom would be fine with it, but if not, it was my grandmother's fault and that I wouldn't be in trouble for it. Let's just say my mother was furious and blamed us both. After that, I had to wait until my senior year when she let me finally cut it again for my 17th birthday.

All that to say, when I want to do something with my hair now, I typically just go for it. I can always change it back if I hate it. Or grow it back out.

As you may or may not recall, I've been dying to rock some bright red highlights (it's on my bucket list), and when I found this pin, I had to do it! I love EVERYTHING about this photo, down to her hipster-wearing glasses.

My dear friend is also my hairstylist and she said because I'm so Casper-pasty-white, I can't do that color of red, but I could do a darker bright red (or something like that). I didn't want all over red- just highlights, so we worked off three different pins: one for the cut (above), one for the pattern of the highlights, and one for the color. Let's just say it got kinda confusing!

Last Friday we went for it! I have to say these pictures don't really do it justice- I've been flipping out the bottom a little more than this, and the red is even more vibrant in person. I want to straighten it so it's more punk than the photos below show.

The first photo is taken right after outside of the salon. The second photo was me trying to recreate the exact photo in the pin, which didn't go so well. The third photo is a better shot of all the red that Hubby took at the coffee shop Friday night. (I'd warned him that he'd have to take my hair out on a date that night since it would be all fixed up!)

Right after

Trying to recreate the exact photo from the pin
Red! Red! Red! Red! Red!
I will say I expected more highlights on the left side of my head and some in the back, so I'm hoping Melissa can do more the next time I see her. She ended up bleaching the highlights to a light caramel color first so the color would take. I'm hoping the red lasts! The last time a few years ago we tried to do color, it always kept fading to ugly colors we didn't intend after a couple days. So far, this is lasting pretty well and I'm beyond thrilled with it! CC seems to like it too, which makes it extra fun!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Pin All The Things!

Lately I've been pinning all the things (as usual) but I've also gotten tired of my disorganization with the boards and so I've been trying to clean things up. Which means lots of PinterTesting. 

 Last weekend, we had a few friends over to play cards and have dinner together. This is one of my favorite things that we do ever. It's such a good time, especially with good food and good friends thrown in the mix.

We had tacos for dinner but I wanted something fast, easy, and Fall-y for dessert. And hopefully not completely sinful since I was trying to be sort of good, eating wise. I found this dip that I'd pinned on Pinterest and decided to test it out (original link here).

Pumpkin Pie Dip with Cinnamon Pita Chips? Sign me up! I cut my time in half by buying Stacy's pre-made cinnamon sugar pita chips, which are amazing, in case you're wondering. The dip itself you just whipped up and let it chill until you're ready to eat it. AND... it's made with greek yogurt so it's not really that bad for you. Yay!

Unfortunately, it was a hit-and-miss type recipe. Since I took the vats of leftovers to work on Monday, I had several people give feedback. Tons of folks loved it, but some thought it was strange and tasted like apple (which made no sense, since there's nothing appley to it). You might have to try it for yourself and see what you think.
 
The dip that looks like hummus but isn't even close.
Sunday I ended up not needing to work so Saturday I wanted to make something special for Sunday breakfast since we'd have time to enjoy the morning before heading off to church. I came up with this french toast recipe (original recipe here). You have to understand how snobby we are about our french toast- we do NOT like mushy french toast! Since you assemble this the night before and let it sit, we were concerned it'd be pretty mushy. It wasn't mushy at all! It was super easy to throw together Saturday night, and then you just bake it off in the morning!

Soooo good!
This is the kind of breakfast you make for Christmas morning while presents are being opened. For birthday mornings. For special occasions, like the weekend. Make this ASAP. In fact, this might be the best thing I've ever found on Pinterest. For real.

Tuesday we had other friends over for dinner and to catch up. That's always a blast but I wanted to test more recipe pins. I made Mexican Chicken Casserole  (original recipe here) for dinner and Snickerdoodle Blondies for dessert.

I don't apparently have a photo of dinner but I really liked it overall. It was sort of like a mexican lasagna with the layering and cheese, but it came together pretty quickly. It was an automatic pin when I first saw it since it didn't call for rice (higher calories there) or beans (CC won't eat them). I think I'd like to try to make it again and jazz it up with more spice and maybe something else. It was good but I felt like it was missing something. CC hated it since he thought the flour tortillas were 'mushy' and it was 'too cheesy.' I will say it calls for a 2 quart dish but the photo shows a 3 quart dish, which is what I used. I might've gone with the 2 quart and just had it piled up higher. That part was pretty confusing. And it didn't call for salt or pepper so I did add that at one point.

Dessert however was a MUCH different story. It was a hit so big that this might be Hubby's new birthday request. Especially after he came up with the idea to heat up some caramel sauce and drizzle that bad boy all over. OH MY. Considering I baked something that wasn't blueberry-lemon or chocolate-pecan (my two fave combos), this was pretty incredible.

Original recipe here
Amazingness right there!

So yeah. I've been a PinterTesting fool this week. And it's not over yet! I'm working on a PinterTest surprise for you friends, and hopefully I can pull it off and share the big reveal later this weekend! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall is here.

My very favoritist, most beloved time of the year is upon us. Fall is full of awesomeness and I am happiest at this point in time each year. I begin celebrating after my August birthday September 1st and get so much flack for it, but now that it's official, I can celebrate to my little heart's content. Even CC can't complain!

The trees changed color right on time with the 22nd this year!
Julie posted a link to a hilarious open letter that you might find amusing, especially if you're not feeling Fall-y yet. Here in the usually hot South, I could relate to some of it, though this year's been mostly mild, praise the Lord! I will say that as much as I adore Autumn, the one thing that is so well-loved that I absolutely can't stand is the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. I tried it for the first time last year and was pretty grossed out. I figure I don't like liquid pumpkin products, since I love pumpkin anything food-related.

I don't know what we do that keeps us so busy, but life is rushing by still. I can't believe it's almost October, let alone the year 2013! Crazy!

I will say that among the craziness has been lots of working out and PinterTesting in the last week or so- it's all about the balancing act, you know. I will share as I am able, but I'm finding some GOOD stuff on Pinterest lately! Yay! And the working out is about three months overdue so now I have accountability in the form of daily texts. I'm so grateful for good friends who will be honest and hold my feet to the fire.

Speaking of working out, I thought you might enjoy this photo of CC and Scout on our walk. We're the only people we know with a dog that doesn't like to walk. Go figure.
No shame.
My Katygirl wall is officially up and I'm in love. This is actually my view from the couch every. single. day, and I'm never tired of seeing this. I call it that because Katy designed and sells each print. (The frames are from Michael's.) Isn't she amazing?

love.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Cupcake Run!

The Cupcake Run was last Saturday, and we were anxious about it all the way up until about five minutes before we did it. You see, in case you aren't aware (or following me on MFP), we've kinda been slacking in the health department for the last few months. Exercise has gone mostly by the wayside, and eating almost whatever we want especially on the weekends (and especially involving macarons!) has taken priority.

Well I am not happy about that any longer! I'm putting my foot down and saying no more! Fall is finally here so last weekend we were cold and stiff before the run. We just hoped to finish and not die or pass out before we got our cupcakes.

Cute little logo!
Doesn't it sound like the most amazing run on the planet? You run a little, you get a cute shirt and a cupcake. I was picturing tutus, rainbows and lots of purple, sparkles and glitter, and maybe a unicorn or two. The reality is that it's an actual 5k. Over three miles. And wouldn't you know it, the course was super hilly?!

Turns out we ended up running most of it just to survive! Yay us! There was a decent (not cheesy) warm-up for the group before the race, which helped loosen me up and get me ready to go. We did so well compared to how we thought we'd do, we were exuberant and really pumped to get healthy again by the end of the race!

Secretly I was pretty concerned they'd run out of cupcakes before we were done but they didn't. I got a chocolate cupcake and CC got a vanilla cupcake (because he's weird and doesn't like chocolate). Considering how expensive this 5k was, I was expecting a bigger cupcake- more like Gigi's size, but these were small, normal sized cupcakes. They were AMAZING though!


I'm hoping we do this run again next year and we'll be more fit to run it faster! In the meantime, I'm already scouting out our next 5k possibility so we can keep motivated.

CUPCAKES!!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Can I Get Some Extra Credit?

I tested another Pinterest pin last week and I'd like to go on record now and ask Jessica for extra credit in next month's PinterTest Kitchen! (It's a slight miracle that I've tested two pins recently AND blogged about them!)

These chicken and bacon bites were so yummy! I was looking for something VERY quick and easy to throw together for dinner, but something I thought CC might go nuts over.

We like chicken. We LOVE times a million bacon. I like mustard, CC doesn't. I figured two out of three weren't bad and went for it. On the plus side, he seems to be getting over his aversion to mustard and I give all credit to this recipe. We have growth, people!

I bought chicken tenders already cut that way (half of the dang recipe is cutting chicken breasts down to size- I deal with raw meat as little as possible, so I said forget that!) and wrapped each one with a piece of bacon.

I didn't even measure the sauce ingredients, just eyeballed it. A little too much since I ended up with a TON. You throw in some coarse mustard, some honey, a little fresh lemon juice, and some salt. That's it. Whisk that goodness together and slap it on one side of the bacon-wrapped chicken. Bake for about 13 minutes, pull them out and flip 'em over, baste the other side with the same goodness, and bake for another 10 or so minutes. Wa-la!

Fortunately I thought ahead to separate out some dipping sauce (again, since I made a vat of the stuff), so we got to have extra on our chicken. I was concerned the bacon wouldn't be done enough for me since I like really burnt crispy bacon, but it was pretty good!

Another bonus for you healthy folks is it's pretty low-cal! Hubby's been asking for this a lot since I made it the first time. Hopefully soon I can indulge him.

Original recipe here

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Back To It

We've kind of slacked off with our exercise this summer. While definitely nowhere near a typical summer, it's still been SUPER humid and warm, which makes this hate-to-sweat girl not want to be outside. With all the craziness of Hubby switching jobs and everything, we've enforced a 'no judgement' rule in our home regarding eating extra calories and being couch potatoes a little bit.

Well it's time to get back to it. I've gained about 12 extra pounds I refuse to become attached to again, and I really want to get to my goal before Christmas, if possible. To that end, we signed up about a month ago for the Cupcake Run this Saturday.

How is that going to help, you say? Are you at this very moment picturing lots of sparkles, purple, unicorns, and lots of sugar? Yeah, me too. Apparently it's a real 5k and there is a cupcake waiting for you at the end as your reward. MY. KIND. OF. EXERCISE.

I'm really looking forward to it, although we'll probably just walk it and not try to go full-on with the running. Eeeeease back into it, I say. I can't wait though. I'm ready to have this 5k jump-start kicking my booty back into shape! I refuse to give up on my health!

What're you doing to stay healthy? I need suggestions, friends. Help me gain back some momentum and motivation!


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Weekly Recap: Slasher Horror Edition

I'm not much for blood or gore. Or horror movies, or medical stories. Or really anything remotely, distantly-related to gross. Unless it's happened to me, personally, and then I can talk about it ad nauseum. Oh, be warned, if you're eating right now, you may want to stop.

Tuesday, CC called during lunch to ask if I could get our new insurance information because he needed it. (WHAT?!)

After I calmed down, I heard the tale of woe. Apparently, he was cutting an apple (being all HEALTHY!) for lunch and the knife slipped (cue dangerous warning music). He ended up gashing his left thumb pretty deeply and ended up with three stitches but a wound cut down to the muscle. (I hope you aren't eating at the moment.)

Poor Hubby!

He went to an urgent care near work (where he was at the time) and got all patched up. Unfortunately, this means he's still in quite a bit of pain and can't do a lot at home right now.

(We have Fall decorations to put out, people! I told him he didn't have to be so dramatic about getting out of putting up our decorations- he could've just said something, but nooooo.... CC had to be dramatic, with fanfare! Medical bills, stitches, and gauze- oh my!)

All patched up
This means our week of crazy has turned into survival mode with as much couch-potatoing as we can possibly cram in. Even Scout's on board with this plan.

The invalid
In other news, I realized when I saw today's date that today would've been my grandmother's birthday if she were still alive. I miss her like crazy still, so it's kind of a weird day.

The good thing though is that today's a great lead-in to a fun weekend, if Hubby's up for it. The weather this weekend's supposed to be pretty close to Fall and sunny, so I'm beyond excited! My 2014 Erin Condren planner has arrived and I can't wait to get it prepped and ready to go (yes, I realize it's September and my calendar doesn't start until January, but who cares!)! Sipping Starbucks and wearing sweatshirts and jeans- oh me oh my, I can't wait!!!!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Lazy PinterTest Edition

Lately, I've been extra crazed about pinning all the things I can on Pinterest. The actual Pintertesting of such pins? Not so much. So you can imagine how excited I was to discover in the bathroom one day that I'd already pintertested a pin and hadn't even realized it. A win-win, I'd say.

Except not so much. This in no way gives me Julie's fabulous beachy-looking hair. In fact it really doesn't do anything for my hair except to make it smell AMAZING. It smells like coconutty-goodness which I love, so of course I keep using it. The reality though is there's really no point except for about two seconds each morning I can pretend I'm sipping a mai tai somewhere in Hawaii (yeah right!).

So would you call that a failure or a success? I think it's a failure just for me, other people seem to swear by the stuff, so you may just have to try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Linking up with Jessica here...

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Mug Swap Recap: 2013 Edition!

This year as you know, I participated in Kim's third annual Mug Swap. It was fantastic as usual, but this year was a little bit different for me in that I got assigned TWO people to send to! I was a little nervous about that, wanting to devote focus and attention to making each awesome lady feel special. It was extra fun that one was a tea-lover and one was a coffee-lover, so I got to buy different things for each of them!

Here's what I got no-blog Heather, my tea-lover who loves the color green:

Tea goodies!
For Heather's mug I went a little out of the box and got this tea-strainer carafe travel thingy. I was nervous she might not like it since it wasn't an official mug, but she says she likes it, so I was relieved!

Here's what I got Esther, my coffee-lover from Costa Rica who lives in Jersey:

Coffee goodness!
I had a little trouble with finding just the right mug for Esther because she only had one mug from a long time ago, so stakes were high to find the perfect mug. I ended up finding two and couldn't decide so I just sent them both to her. Fortunately neither one broke so now she's got a lot of cheery happy up in her cabinet!

It's been neat getting to know both Heather and Esther- I'm glad we connected and I'm looking forward to more openly stalking their Insta-feeds now, instead of trying to be all covert! I kept wanting to comment or like their photos on Instagram and I had to be careful not to. So glad that's over! Haha!

And here's what it all looked like pre-post office trip:

Muggy Goodness is right!
On to my own muggy goodness! So what's really cool about Kim's highly-advanced, scientific method of pairing people together is that I have gotten some really cool people each and every swap! This year I was beyond excited to receive a mug from Kelli!

Happy mail, indeed!
I haven't come right out and stalked her before, but we have a lot of mutual friends on Instagram, and I am forever about to post a comment only to see she beat me to it to say the exact thing I was going to say! Which of course makes me think we'd be kindred spirits and share similar brain thoughts and stuff. Or so I don't sound creepy, that we'd be good friends if we could connect. But I haven't wanted her to think I'm nuts so I didn't friend her. Until NOW! Woohoo! She's really cool y'all! And look what she sent me!

Isn't that mug the cutest?!
(Why does our counter always look gross and ruin the lighting? At least the card is cute!)
I also decided to send Kim a little birthday/muggy goodness for her own, and I found the purr-fect card to go with it.
Kim loves cats, you see.
Happiness!
Happy close to another successful swappy year! I already can't wait for 2014! Remember if you participated to link up with Kim here!