About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

you should try it

I added search capabilities to my blog.

You should check it out if you haven't already. It's pretty fancy-pants.

For instance, if you remembered me talking about shoes some time or other and you want to re-read that particular post you just type "shoes" in the search box and about twenty bazillion posts will pop up.

I talk about shoes a lot, apparently.

Or say you wanted to read any post where I mentioned food.

I don't recommend it. It would be quite a list.

Sometimes I use the search to link a past post to a current post. It's way easier than looking through my nearly 300 previous posts.

You should try it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Edge of Darkness

Darren and I went and saw Edge of Darkness last night.

I'd give it a B.

If you like predictable mysteries this is the one for you. Of course it was full of action, killing, and swearing. But the story line was okay.

Also, everyone speaks with annoying east coast accents and it's a little hard to understand what's happening. I'd say I missed about 10% of the movie.

Overall, it's a rental.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The First of Many

I get my first paycheck today!


After not earning a cent since August, this is really nice.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I've decided to take the CPA exam.

(Feel free to refresh your memory of the CPA exam here.)

I know, I know. I swore I would never do it.

But those OSA people, they're pushy.

Nice, but pushy. The CPA is highly recommended. And I've heard rumors they ask how far along employees are in the "process." I think that's a very apt term. It really is less like a test and more like a process. Everyone at OSA is taking it. And when I say everyone, I don't mean everyone, but I mean a lot. Clearly.

Plus, I really, really, really want to say, "Um, yeah, I'm a CPA."

Because wouldn't that be, like, so cool?

Also, and probably the most convincing factor, the section called Financial Accounting and Reporting is going International next year.

Which quadruples the amount of knowledge one would need to know to pass.

And I don't want to do that. So I'm thinking I'll be taking that one first, probably in April or May when the next testing section opens. Which means I probably should register in February. Ugh.

Wish me luck; I'm going to need it.

Also, if you don't hear from me for the next year, no worries. I'll either be sitting at home with my head in a book or dead from exhaustion.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why I Love...

My alarm clock.

Four years ago in my sophomore year of college I went up to Duluth to visit my good friend and former roommate Alli.

She was also in my wedding, for those of you who were there.

We had a lot of fun hanging out, eating, and watching movies.

I know you're wondering what this has to do with an alarm clock. Just hold your horses; I'll get there.

Alli and I love Target. Always have, always will. We once went to Target three times in one day. I'm almost sure it wasn't a day we had classes, but you can never be too certain.

Well that weekend, as was tradition, we went to Target. I saw this alarm clock and fell in love. It is the most amazing alarm clock in the entire world.

It doesn't buzz. It plays a melody. For real. And it has, get this, FOUR alarm settings. Two in its regular mode, and two in weekend mode. You can believe me I took advantage of that. As someone who is obsessive about things like being on time, I usually set my alarms five minutes apart in the morning, just to make sure I don't sleep in too long. Well, what a pain it was to change it for weekends all the time.

Anyway, so my clock was awesome and all that.

And I loved it and all that.

And I got married and all that.

And my husband stole my alarm clock.

He STOLE it.

So for the past year I've been using this rickety thing that just won't give up the ghost so I can get a new one.

It's way old school, with the red digital numbers and the annoying BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, WILL YOU SHUT UP ALREADY?!

You understand, I'm sure.

And then, last week, wonder of wonders, my husband bought me a new alarm clock. And not just any new alarm clock. He bought me the exact same one he stole from me.

Life is good again.

Update 5:27 p.m.

So this morning I didn't set two alarms; I only set one.

I bet you can see where this is going.

I set my alarm for 5:45 pm instead of am. Fortunately Darren had his set for 6:30 so I had enough time to actually put on clothes and makeup before I left for work. No shower though.

I just thought it was sort of ironic.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a new use

I discovered a new use for my Kindle today.

Okay, not really a new use. More like a new way to use it.

I use it at the gym.

It's so incredibly amazing you wouldn't believe it unless you experienced it yourself.

Let me tell you how it happened...

This week at OSA is Annual Staff Training, which is secret code for "sit-on-your-butt-all-day-long-and-listen-to-someone-talk-about-things-you-don't-understand." At least in my case. I am, however, meeting a lot of my coworkers and learning a little bit. Also, eating a lot.

Today as I was sitting there learning about A-133 (don't ask...I don't know the answer) and eating my M&Ms and popcorn I thought about how much I needed to go to the gym tonight.

So I gained a couple pounds in Florida, btw. Don't ask how I went the whole month of Christmas without gaining a single pound but gained two in one week in Florida.

I don't know the answer to that, either.

I knew the gym was going to be boring. It always is now that I don't exercise with my friend Krista anymore. There's no one to talk to while I'm on the elliptical, although I suppose tonight I could have chatted with the two large African-American men on the ellipticals next to me. Although, come to think of it, they were pretty busy figuring out what they needed to pick up at Cub.

"How on earth am I going to get through an hour on the elliptical tonight?" I moaned to myself during a (not) heated discussion on compliance testing for major programs.

All of a sudden I was struck by a stroke of brilliance.

Struck by a stroke, I say.

"I can bring my Kindle to the gym!"

I must admit, I am partially inspired by the girl on the elliptical next to me last night. She had a book with a clothespin-type clip on one side and a weird band on the other. It seemed to work for her, but why should I use such a contraption when I already have the perfect solution?

It worked like a charm. For the most part. Granted, it was a little difficult to read the small words when I was bouncing up and down. I was a little afraid I would make myself sick. Also, my machine gave three annoying beeps every time I took my hand off the heart rate sensor to push the "next page" button, which was about every 45 seconds. It got old.

Note to self: use a different machine next time.

All in all, a good experience. So happy with my Kindle. That hour flew by and I almost didn't want to go home.

I said almost.

Monday, January 25, 2010

my favorite books

One of my favorite books since 1997.

Maybe 1998. I can't be sure when I first read this book. But believe me when I tell you it was a long time ago.

Yes, I realize I was only, like, ten years old. I started early.

Quick side note: A friend and I were once talking about the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It's a book about this prostitute and this man, and how he falls in love with her and marries her but she never believes she's good enough for him and keeps trying to return to her sinful ways. She liked it; I didn't. (I pretty much don't like any Francine Rivers, though. I also don't like books about prostitutes, and I'm not exactly sure why that is.) Anyway, we were talking about why I didn't like it and I said something along the lines of it had been a long time since I had read it and I might like it more if I read it again. She said something about how I was probably too young for it at the time. I got the impression she was thinking I was about fifteen or sixteen. I didn't dare tell her I was probably more twelve or thirteen. Twelve years old and reading books about prostitutes. It's a wonder I turned out okay.

But yes, I was about ten or eleven when I graduated from my Babysitter's Club Books and started reading Christian romance for adults. So believe me when I tell you I've been reading in this market for a while.

Anyway, Pretense was one of my first few books. I started out with some (very) tame Janette Oke (if you've ever read the Love Comes Softly series you know what I mean) and moved on to Lori Wick, who is still one of my favorite authors. Although her recent books aren't as interesting as her first, in my opinion.

At 708 pages Pretense is a whopper for a ten-year-old, but I loved it. I read that book so many times you wouldn't even believe it if I told you. I used to have my sister read a paragraph from the book, close it, hand it to me, and I would be able to find it within two minutes.

Perhaps I was slightly obsessed.

I lost my copy of Pretense a couple years ago. I miss my old beat up copy. At the time I had been lending books to several people, and I'm not sure what ever happened to it.

For those of you who borrow books from me now, I keep a list.

I'm weird like that.

Anyway, after about a year I bought another copy with the new cover. It's not the same.

From the back cover:

Meet the Bishop sisters--Two women at the crossroads of life.

On the outside, the Bishop girls appear as different as sisters can be. Mackenzie is a mahogany-haired beauty who inherited the determined nature of her Army-officer father. Her infectious sense of humor and rare gift of imagination are often hidden by a reserved manner.

Radiant, blond Delancey views the world through an artist's eyes, drawing what she sees with wide sweeps of emotions. Her charming and trusting personality easily wins friends and admirers, but also leaves her sensitive heart vulnerable to hurt.

As the girls grow, unexpected difficulties threaten their world. Will their life-changing experiences bring them together or tear them apart? Where will they find the love they seek?

Like I said, one of my all-time favorites. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Darren and I have been married one year today. I cannot believe how quickly it has gone by!

He surprised me with a present this morning. We said no gifts but he's sneaky like that.

I love Willow Tree figurines. This one is called "anniversary."

Here's to one wonderful year of marriage!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

working woman

Yesterday I was looking for a picture to put on my post about working four ten-hour days. I googled "time card" and "paycheck" and got nothing except a lot of pictures of Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman.

Then I had a brilliant idea. I googled "working woman."

It turned out to be not-so-brilliant.

This is what came up:

I'm not sure how this fits under the category of "working woman" but hey, to each his own.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Why I Love...

Four tens.

That's slang for four ten-hour days.

Instead of working five eight-hour days at OSA I decided to work four ten-hour days, which means I have every Friday off.

It also means I get up at 5 a.m.

It's not even light out when I get to work. But I do get off work at 4:30 so that's really nice. It doesn't even feel like I work 10 hours since I still get off at a normal time. Unfortunately it's also when everyone else gets off work, so there's traffic. You should see how fast I get to work in the morning when there's no traffic. It's seriously half the time.

I'm so busy at work it doesn't even feel like I'm working ten hours. It actually goes by pretty quickly. Every morning when the alarm goes off it's really depressing, but by the time I get to work I'm over it.

I'm really liking it so far.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

dye job

I dye my hair.

I've dyed my hair ever since--on a whim--I had one of my roommates dye it freshman year.

I was wild and crazy, what can I say.

I used to be blonde. It didn't look so great.

Definitely look pretty washed out.

My sister...now my sister can pull off blonde. It looks good on her.

Anyway, so I dye my hair now. I just dyed it this week and it turned out okay.

I accidentally bought semi-permanent dye. I hate it when I do that. Two reasons:

One. It doesn't last as long. Duh.

Two. My hair has to be wet to apply it. If you've ever dyed your own hair you know how difficult it can be. Now imagine dying wet hair. Heaven only knows how many spots I missed because I couldn't tell what was dye and what was wet.

The plus side of semi-permanent is that it doesn't have the horrible stench of permanent. I've actually had to leave the room because my eyes have been watering from the fumes. It isn't pretty.

This picture is from Thanksgiving 2008. I'm pretty sure it's the best my hair has ever looked. I love that color. Too bad I can't remember what it was. So I keep on goin' on, if you know what I'm saying.

I just have a hard time justifying spending a ton of money to get my hair dyed professionally, especially since I do it about every two or three months. I don't devote much time or money to my hair, I'm afraid. That's probably why I don't like it, I suppose. I should invest more in it.

My sister has awesome hair. It's so thick. On Christmas she wanted me to play with it for a while and I was so jealous of her hair you wouldn't even believe it. My hair is so fine it just always looks flat and stringy. Plus it needs a trim: I'm going on five months now. I love getting my hair cut. Love it, love it, love it. I also used to like head lice checks in elementary school. There's just something about another person running their hands through my hair...

Was that too much information? Come on, you know you enjoyed lice checks, too.

But I always had some strange fear I would have lice.

What's up with that?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Book Review

Somehow I got confused.

I know that's difficult to believe. But it's true.

I'm not sure how it happened but I ended up reading the second book in a three-book series.

You're shocked, I can tell.

You might want to read my previous book review here.

Tracey Bateman has two other books in this series. The first is Catch a Rising Star and the third, That's (Not Exactly) Amore.

While the first and third books of the series were still pretty funny, I definitely enjoyed the second book the best. However, if you haven't read the second book yet and are wanting to you might want to start with the first in the series. Everything will still make sense, but the books do overlap a little.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why I Love...


I know, I know, it's sick and wrong. But I love them.

There's something about putting on a suit that just makes me feel so professional, so powerful, so polished.

I've had several suits in my lifetime. Three of them are too big for me now, I'm sad to report. However there are still four hanging in my closet.

I have a classic black suit. The pants are a little big but I can't find another pair in a smaller size to match the jacket. I'm dealing with it for now but once I lose my 8.5 pounds I'll probably have to buy another black one if I can't find matching pants. Everyone needs a black suit.

I have a summer brown suit. It's kind of a knit-looking thing. The jacket has short fitted sleeves and a skinny brown belt. I really like it.

I have a gray skirt suit. I couldn't find matching pants at the time and I still can't, so I guess that one will just have a skirt.

And then, my favorite: a gray suit with white pinstripes. I'm wearing it to work today. I tried to find a picture online to show you but I couldn't. Maybe I'll take one of myself wearing it so you can see. I love it.

My favorite work-clothing brand is Worthington. It's carried at JCPenney. The brand fits me really well. Plus I think it runs slightly big so I get to buy a smaller size pant. It's pretty awesome, I'm not going to lie.

Monday, January 18, 2010

For Sarah

I have this friend. We'll call her Sarah.

Because, well, that's her name.

She sent me coupons in the mail the other day. They were for SlimFast and Hamburger Helper.

She's totally awesome.

I've know her for...oh...six or seven years, is it?

It's a long time, that's for sure.

So Sarah, this one's for you.

Remember when...

...I was sixteen and you were twenty? Man, was that ever a long time ago. (Sorry to broadcast your age like that. I hope you'll forgive me.)

...your car had a flat and I drove you home after we both got off work? We went rollerblading and watched The Mask of Zorro. I had never seen it, but I still love it.

...you bought a new house and I borrowed you room fans while you painted?

...you bought a new house again and I borrowed you room fans again?

...I helped you tear up your kitchen.

...and ripped up old carpet? I was sore for days.

...you had your first baby?

...you had your second baby?

...you had your third baby? Man, was that ever a funny story.

...we had water-drinking contests?

...we made rubber-band balls at work?

...we made treasure hunts?

...we would go shopping at Target for "work clothes" and come out with makeup and gum? (Maybe that was just me.)

...we tried to push a cart of coin bags into the vault and they all fell on the floor? That was the best day ever.

...we had scrapbooking parties?

...we did TaeBo in your living room?

So many great memories. I've been so blessed to have you for a friend all these years!

Thanks for everything!

If you think this Sarah friend of mine sounds totally awesome you can follow her on her blog here. She is, after all, the one who inspired me to start blogging in the first place.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

my favorite books

I became inspired by the post I did the other day about a book I read and enjoyed. I love to read. It's probably my favorite thing to do. For real.

As I did that post I thought about all the other books I've enjoyed over the years, and some of them I wanted to share with you. Sometimes I hesitate to recommend books to people because I'm not sure of their taste in literature. For me, reading is fun. It is not supposed to be boring or educational or a chore. I read to be entertained, not to learn. Consequently, I read no nonfiction, relatively few self-help books, and almost exclusively chicklit.

Seriously. And you'd be surprised at the masses of chicklit. It's easy to find what you're looking for. With that said, most of the books I recommend will be in said genre, so if you prefer something else, take my words with a grain of salt.

As far as chicklit goes, this book is the cream of the crop.

From the back cover:

spin-ster: noun

1: an unmarried woman or a woman for whom marriage seems dubious
2: a woman who spins or weaves for a living

Her mother, sister, and friends fear spinsterhood may be the fate of thirty-year-old Whitney Blake. And while she doesn't believe she'll actually end up weaving her own tableclothes, Whitney does wonder whether Mr. Right will ever arrive, despite her mom's adoption of matchmaking as the prime project of her "postmenopausal zest."

Maybe Whitney needs to be more proactive. And so she starts a journal, stating her goals: "This month--Lose two pounds (sensibly), stand up straight with my stomach sucked in so I actually appear tall and thin, don't let my mother drive my crazy (a particularly difficult project). GET ORGANIZED. Start by cleaning closets. Have friends over for dinner. Pray more, obsess less."

It must be working--suddenly there's more than one man in Whitney's life. But are any of them marriage material, or is "fabulous, single, Christian man" an oxymoron?

I love this book. I hope you do, too!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

the best part about hawaii:part four

My crazy family.

I love them to pieces.

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Micah and Trent. Hawaiian Luau. The Big Island, November 2004.

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Amelia and Kent at our house. November 2005.

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Grandpa and Grandma at the Luau. November 2004.

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Jessica and the gecko. Kona Coffee Plantation. The Big Island, November 2007.

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Glen trying to fit his head through the hole in that inner tube. Our house, November 2007.

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Trenton and Amelia. The biggest inside joke in family history: Danette's Tour of the Big Island, November 2004.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cypress Pointe Resort II Grande Villas

Darren and I are on our way to Florida at this very moment!

(The day I discovered I could write posts early and have them automatically post at a certain day and time was probably about the sixth-best day of my life thus far.)

We took a 7:55 flight out of MSP, had an hour and a half layover at ORD in Chicago (and don't even get me started on ORD--see this) and hopped on our second United flight to Orlando. Also don't get me started on United. But what's a girl to do? At least we're flying NWA direct on the way home. Speaking of, didn't they merge with Delta? Like two years ago? Whatever.

We're staying at Cypress Pointe Resort II Grande Villas. Courtesy of my mother and all her time-share vacation weeks. Thanks, momma. I owe you one. Or about twenty. I love time-shares. So much fun. So cheap! We paid less than $300 for our accommodations our week on Grand Cayman. Talk about your good deal. And I'm sure Florida will be cheaper. One would hope.

I'm excited to stay there. It looks pretty nice, although it's only a Silver Crown (part of RCI's rating system). Still, better than a nothing.

It does look a little swanky, doesn't it?

It has a couple pools, and I believe I may have read somewhere about a volcano pool?? I'm not quite sure what that entails, but there you have it. Although, with the frigid temperatures I doubt we'll spend a lot of time in the pool.

We have a 3-bedroom lockoff room, so if you want to visit feel free to stop by. Some friends were going to come with us but it didn't work out, and then it was too late to switch rooms, so Darren and I will just be living in the lap of luxury with all that space. There are three bathrooms, three bedrooms, two living rooms, two kitchen areas, a couple of Jacuzzis, and two balconies. Oh, and a washer and dryer.

One of us is liable to get lost.

Also, may I please comment on that diagram? Why are the tables such a hideous red? So weird.

I didn't put up any pictures of the inside. It looks like a hotel; nothing special there. But you can go to the website if you want to see some.

As a side note, remember how I was talking about Discovery Cove the other day? Well, I found a coupon code! We saved $50, yay! That's like a meal at Red Lobster for us, so that was fun for me. It's much more reasonable now. It also includes a free ticket to SeaWorld. Plus, at Discovery Cove we get a free breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and FREE Anheuser-Busch products. Does that seem strange to you? It seems a little weird to me, especially because on the very same page it said something about Discovery Cove being a family affair so please wear respectable bathing suits, which means "no thong bathing suits." For real. Those were the words.

Anyway, I thought that was strange.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

my white pants

Since we're sharing fat stories and all, I thought I'd share with you the story of my white pants.

It's not exactly a fat story...well, it sort of is. But it's a sad story.

You'll see.

Did I ever share with you the reason I first started trying to lose weight? The very first time I exercised with that intent?


It was airplane sickness.

Yes, I said airplane sickness.

So my family had just gone on our first trip to Hawaii. I felt fat the whole time. On the way home I got sick on the flight from LAX to Dallas. Don't ask me why we had a layover in Dallas--I don't plan these things.

Anyway, so I threw up in an airplane sickness bag.


It wasn't pretty, but I didn't feel quite so bad because about five other members of my family were sick.

The flight attendants were overheard telling other passengers that there was a "family with the flu" on board.

You can't make this stuff up.

No, we didn't have the flu. It's just that we ate supper at about 5pm on Hawaii, caught a flight to LAX at 11pm later that night, and only had about 30 minutes to catch our connecting flight to Dallas. So we're talking no food for over 12 hours. It's not recommended. Now I always make sure I eat a little something before I fly. And you can bet I take my Dramamine like it's going out of style.

But this is about white pants.

When I got home after that disastrous day of flying I realized I had lost a couple pounds.

No, I did not decide to be bulimic. And no, I'm not anorexic, as I know some people believe. Think about it. It doesn't take anorexic people two years to lose forty pounds. Honestly, people. And if you know me at all you know there's no way on earth I could ever be anorexic. I love food way too much.

Anyway, that was the beginning. I thought, hey, I can lose weight! At that point I probably weighed about 20 pounds more than I do now. That was November of my senior year of high school.

By spring I had lost about ten pounds and had to buy some new clothes. I got some light material white pants. I loved them. I wore them all the time and I felt good in them.

In fact, the only time I ever, in the history of my life, was verbally hit on I was wearing those pants.

"You want some fries to go with that shake?"

You can't make this stuff up.

No, I don't know who it was. I didn't turn around to look.

So I had my white pants, and I loved my white pants, and I wore my white pants all the time that spring and summer.

Then I went to college. Forget about the freshman fifteen, I gained the freshman thirty. Well, more like the freshman ten and the sophomore twenty, but what's the difference?

My white pants didn't fit anymore. It was sad and depressing. At the end of my sophomore year I decided to do something about it. So I started losing weight.

It took forever.

One day late in the next summer, about thirty pounds into my forty-pound weight loss, I pulled out those white pants. And you wouldn't believe it, but they fit! I was so happy! I wore them a couple more times that summer and then it was time to put them away for the winter.

The next spring I pulled them out, all excited as can be to wear my white pants again.

I bet you can see this coming.

They didn't fit anymore. No, they weren't too small, they were too big. You see, I had lost about ten more pounds and my white pants were falling off my tush.

You would not even believe how sad I was. And every time I tell this story--without fail--the person I'm telling it to will say, "But you must have been happy you lost more weight!"

NO! Well, yes. But it was overshadowed by my extreme sadness over my white pants no longer fitting. I rediscovered them for so short a time, and then to have them taken away from me so suddenly! Heartbreaking.

It was probably shortly after I wrote this. Obviously this is something I've had a problem with for a while.

To this day I cannot get over those white pants. I loved them so much. I tried to buy a new pair last summer but they aren't the same. They don't fit right and my butt is too big for them and I'm afraid someday someone will see something they shouldn't. If you catch my meaning.

I'm always sad about my old clothes. I really don't have a lot of clothes left anymore. Not a single thing I own is older than two years. Except maybe a sweatshirt or two. And shoes, obviously. But nothing else still fits. Even some of my rings are too big for my fingers.

You can imagine, I hope, if you had to replace your whole wardrobe what a pain that would be. And I bet there would be a couple items you'd be very sad to leave. Like my white pants.

Maybe you have some white pant stories. I would enjoy hearing them.

Misery loves company, and all.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

the thing about resolutions

I have never kept a single New Year's resolution.


A friend told me the most common New Year's resolution is to lose weight, but by the end of the year only 3% of people will have stuck to it.

Sounds about right.

Thing thing about resolutions is they aren't specific. Everyone says, "I want to lose weight" or "I want to exercise more" or "I want to spend more time with family" but no one defines exactly what that means.

So I don't make those kind of resolutions anymore. Instead I make resolutions like "I will lose two pounds this month" or "I will exercise three times this week."

Finally, a concrete goal.

One I usually do not achieve. But still, progress is progress.

If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll remember last spring and summer I used to do posts I called "weight loss Wednesdays." Well, I still have not been successful in my goal to lose that last five...err...eight pounds. Unfortunately. Those three pounds I gained last year before Christmas are still hanging on. I am very proud to say I didn't gain any weight this year over Christmas, but I didn't lose any either. Not to say I tried all that hard.

So here it is, one of my many 2010 resolutions:

I will lose that last five (eight) pounds.

I've only been trying to reach my goal weight for, oh, about three years. It's ironic, is it not, that I could lose nearly forty pounds so (relatively) easily but just cannot for the life of me get rid of the last five?

Okay, okay, I know it's eight. I'll stop pretending it's five. Stinking Christmas 2008.

This is bound to be tough. When I lost the weight before I frequently exercised an hour--or more--a day. I don't have time for that anymore. Although if I put down the M&Ms occasionally I might not need to work out so hard.

Remember my post about foods I no longer eat?

I may have stretched the truth about those M&Ms. It sure seems that way lately. I was definitely telling the truth about the Cosmic Brownies, though. I had a Swiss Cake Roll about a week ago and man, oh man did it ever taste like heaven. I can't think "Little Debbie" without thinking Cosmic Brownie, so it brought back some fond memories.

Sometimes I wonder if people can tell I used to be fat by the things I say. Do normal people have this obsession with Cosmic Brownies? What can I say? I'm a fat girl at heart. Sometimes I think I should re-title my blog "confessions of an obsessive compulsive eater."

In fact, one time during a diet I told Darren to not let me eat any chocolate. I tried to sneak some and he caught me. Literally chased me around the house until I shoved the candy in my mouth--wrapper and all because I couldn't get it off fast enough--so he wouldn't take it from me.

If that doesn't sound like a fat girl, I don't know what does.

I'm a little embarrassed to have shared that with you.

In fact, perhaps I'm sharing too much, with all my confessions of Little Debbie fixations and forty-pound weight loss. Sometimes I can be that way. I'm shy at first but once I get to know you there isn't much of anything I won't share. Well, you don't have to read it if you don't want to. But as for me, I'm proud of how much weight I lost. It certainly wasn't fun or easy. Although compared to the eight (gasp!) pounds I can't lose now it sure seems like it was.

So, in front of God and everyone with internet access, I'm making a resolution. I am going to do my best to lose those last eight pounds. (I can't say I am going to lose them. What if I get in a car accident and spend months in the hospital and--heaven forbid--gain twenty pounds?!) I'm going to be more diligent about what I eat and do my best to exercise more often. And, ugh, start doing more strength training. Heaven help me, I hate lifting weights. Give me cardio any day of the week.

For accountability's sake I'll be posting my weight-loss on here. Gulp. Not weekly like I did before. That got to be too much. And too depressing for me. But every so often you can expect to see something along those lines. And if you don't like it, maybe you'll just have to skip reading my post on those days.

Deal with it.

My best friend in this ever-present battle: 1 Corinthians 10:13.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

As of this very moment I am 8.5 pounds away from my goal weight. And yes, it probably will take me a year to lose it. I'm like that, unfortunately. Wish me luck.

I'll keep you posted.

Book Review

I read this book today.

Yes, today. Yes, I realize it's only 1:40. I'm a fast reader. And it was easy reading.

And it was hilarious.

I love books that make me laugh out loud.

You Had Me at Good-Bye had everything I look for in a fun and easy read. A little romance, a little pretense, and a whole lot of craziness.

Fluff books are better with a little craziness thrown in.

If you like Christian romance I highly recommend this book. I'd borrow it to you, but it's on my Kindle so I can't. It makes me a little sad.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Grandma's Homemade Ice Cream

I love homemade ice cream. It's so delicious. And so easy. And so delicious. And not very expensive at all. And so delicious.

Have I mentioned it's delicious?

Well, it is.

First, you need an ice cream maker. I got my for Christmas last year from my mother. It's different from hers but works just fine and dandy.

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Second, you need a mixer. And some eggs, apparently. I chilled my bowl and beater in the fridge first. Don't ask me why; I just did.

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Start yourself off with four eggs. Beat them up real nice.

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Gradually beat in 2 1/2 cups sugar. Hey, no one said anything about fat-free 'round here.

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It should look like this when you're done.

Mix in four cups of cream. That'd be two pints. (Yes, I looked it up.)

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Now for the best part: add two tablespoons vanilla. If you use imitation vanilla, add three tablespoons. Turn off your mixer, stick your face over the bowl, and inhale. Ahhh, yummy.

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Turn your mixer back on and add 1/2 tsp salt. Or maybe 1/4 tsp. I can't remember, I just tossed some in, like so.

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Finally add four cups milk. Two percent would probably be the most delicious but we only buy skim in this household. It still works.

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Then pour the whole thing into your freezing canister. If it looks like you'll still have room you can toss another cup or two of milk in there. I did.

Ice cream is not an exact science.

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Just make sure you have some room left because it will expand when it freezes.

Now go outside and grab a couple of buckets of snow. Expect to make several such trips. Also grab a container of salt. Plan on using the whole thing.

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Put in some snow.

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Add some salt. And don't be stingy about it, neither. :)

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Continue layering snow and salt until you fill 'er up. I also poured some water in so it got nice and compacted. Use a spoon to shove the snow down as it melts.

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You'll have to keep adding snow and salt for a while. It takes about 40 minutes. Or longer. Sometimes when it takes longer I just stop it anyway. I don't wait for it to stop itself. I don't think it matters.

When it stops, or when you get tired of waiting for it, remove the canister and wipe the salt and snow off. You don't want any of that getting into your ice cream! Pour it into a container (I use old ice cream buckets because they're for...well...ice cream) and stick it in the freezer. I love mine nice and soft so I usually eat (or drink!) some of it before I put it in the freezer. So delicious.

Here it is all together:

4 eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 cups cream
2 tbs vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
4-6 cups milk

Beat eggs. Gradually add sugar. Add remaining ingredients. Freeze. Voila!

Here's To The Heroes

Darren and I are going to Florida on Monday.

I'm so freaking excited.

I'd be more excited if it weren't freezing down there. But still.

However, to add to my excitement, Darren discovered free tickets for military members and their immediate family. Yay!

Anheuser-Busch has a promotion called "Here's to the Heroes" that allows a current military member and up to three dependents to get into SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, or Sesame Place parks for FREE. Parks included are SeaWorld Orlando, San Diego, or San Antonio; Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Williamsburg; Sesame Place; Water Country USA; and Adventure Island.

For more information go here.

We will probably end up doing Busch Gardens for free. We're doing Discovery Cove at SeaWorld Orlando and with that comes free admission to the park, so we're already covered there.

If you plan on hitting Orlando this year you should look into this. I saw this last fall and got all excited about free tickets, but since it started on January 1st of this year we didn't have time to do it. If you donate a day of service to a participating organization Disney will give you a ticket to Disneyland or Disney World. Unfortunately it seems somewhat time-consuming. You have to preregister, actually serve your volunteer hours, and then wait for everything to be approved. So, like I said, we didn't have enough time for all of that in the 10 days between the start of the program and when we leave.

Darren and I have both been to Orlando with our families when we were younger, but we're both really looking forward to this trip together. I just hope it warms up!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Why I Love...

My Kindle.

I got a Kindle for Christmas from my mom and step-dad. I was so excited.

Do you know what a Kindle is?? Maybe you don't. I opened it up and said, "OH! A KINDLE!" And everyone besides my mom looked at me like I was crazy. The only reason she knew what it was is because she purchased it for me.

I think only book freaks like me know what a Kindle is. So, allow me to enlighten you.

A Kindle is a magical device that holds hundreds of books. Actually, more like 1,500 according to Amazon. The Kindle was created by and is owned by Amazon and all book purchases consequently go through Amazon. It's probably a pretty good money-maker for them. I myself never purchased books through Amazon before this. Well, occasionally. But usually I bought my books through Christian Book Distributors.

But that is neither here nor there.

My Kindle weights 10.2 ounces and is thinner than a magazine. Well, with the case on it's actually slightly heavier and about the thickness of O magazine.

No, I'm not a huge fan of O. I get it for free. Some deal I found somewhere...

When I first got my Kindle I was worried only the most popular books would be available. Not so. I can find many of the Christian authors I enjoy for the same price as CBD. Sometimes even less. I can also download books from anywhere. I don't need to be connected to the internet; Kindle runs off 3G wireless. So basically anywhere I have cell phone service I can download books. In less than sixty seconds. I was skeptical about that, but so far of my 8 downloads it appears to be true. Buying a book is quick and easy with One-Click charged to my credit card.

Kindle has text-to-speech which means it can read out loud to me. The battery life is amazing. And there is no back light. What I mean by that is that it isn't like looking at a computer screen. It's like looking at paper. I can't read it in the dark because it doesn't glow, but that also means I won't get eye strain or headaches like I do staring at a computer for hours on end. Consequently, it doesn't reflect sunlight so I can read it outside on my tropical vacations.

Although I sit in the shade anyway.

Kindle comes with the New Oxford American Dictionary so I can look up definitions of words without leaving the book I'm in. It supports PDF files. I can subscribe to newspapers to be delivered directly to my Kindle first thing in the morning. If I were in to that sort of thing.

I get my daily dose of news from MSN.

Kindle has a full keyboard which allows me to make notes in any books, papers, or articles I read. Probably will never take advantage of that, but you never know.

My absolute favorite thing about my Kindle is its size. It's so small. So light. So easy. When I go on vacation for a week I usually bring about five books. (I'm a fast reader.) You can just image how much room five books will take up in a suitcase. And how much they weigh. It's ridiculous. Especially now that I have to pay to bring my clothes on vacation with me. So lame.

In any case, my Kindle is saving me time, money, and back strain. And that's why I love it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I can't believe my two-plus weeks of vacation are over already.

Tomorrow I start my job.

Goodness gracious.

But I'm not thinking about that yet. Not until 10:27 pm when I'll be tossing and turning in bed.

I had so much fun up north. The past two weeks have been a blur. I fully intended to keep posting but just never got around to it. I cannot believe how busy I was. I do have lots of pictures, however, and eventually they will make their way to here.

Some of my favorite moments of the past two and a half weeks:

-GRADUATING. Obviously.

-Painting my mom's bedroom with her all day long as a surprise for my step-father. Good times.

-Hanging out with my family watching movies of when we were children. My mom put the old tapes on DVDs for us kids, and they are just freaking hilarious.

-"I really wanna win Bingo" with the fam Christmas Eve.

-Christmas Day. I love family.

-Monopoly Deal. You should play it. It will make you laugh, but also make you want to rip your hair out.

-New Year's Eve with Chris and Courtney.

-Going to a waterpark with Krista and Courtney.

It was a fun vacation. I'm sad it's over but excited (mostly) to start work. Plus Darren and I are going to Florida on Monday. Woo-hoo! :)