Wednesday, December 29, 2010


So I must confess, I don't really like oatmeal all that much. I can eat about half a bowl before I just can't handle the consistency any longer. But I've been feeling a little heavy lately foodwise. Like I need to detox a bit for a few days, up the fruit and veggie intake. The other night I had a smoothie for dinner because the thought of a meal made me ill.

For breakfast I was inspired by one of my favorite healthy bloggers, Heather Eats Almond Butter. She eats oat bran all the time. For breakfast, for lunch, for a late night snack. And she tops it with some of the most delicious looking combos.

I'm a total convert. Here is my morning bowl. I cooked it without sugar and just added a spoonful of nutella and bananas after it cooked.

p.s. I bought my oat bran at kroger, it's in a box where all the oatmeal is for $1.67.

p.p.s I was doing more reading after this post and found out oat bran has a better nutritional profile than oatmeal. Which is awesome, because I much prefer the bran's creaminess.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Vacation

I was such a lazy pig today.

cider with whipped cream, yum!

I slept in. Took a long bath. Went out for a newspaper and half off Christmas candy. Ate some candy. Stole the Wii for my room so I could have netflix on my tv. And then I proceeded to eat, watch movies, read, and eat some more.

Christmas vacation: success.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

My stack,

Jon's stack,

My stocking contents (Jon did them this year),

The KINDLE! Mama and me were happy campers with our matching gifts,

I've downloaded World War Z, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and The Hunger Games (to reread). But I'm taking suggestions.

What have you read lately?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Confessions

I try really hard to not get all caught up in the consumerism of Christmas. But I can't shake the nagging feeling as the hours tick by that I need to order just one more thing from amazon before the time to ship runs out. The problem: I really can't think of anything else to order.

I'm getting like 5 presents this year because I told my parents there wasn't much I wanted or, more importantly, needed. (And um, since I'm confessing things, because they are paying my car payment this month.) But because I know what the 5 items are I NEED THEM NOW. Worst waiter ever.

Every year I make grand plans to decorate cookies, this year was no different, and every year I remember that cookie decorating is just not my thing. Or so say the dozen gingerbread men I fed the dogs after they languished for a week.

I tread a really fine line between expectations for the season and realities. And it has nothing to do with family gatherings and everything to do with how many Christmas movies I should watch and all of the things I should bake. When the truth is, I don't have the time or the energy to accomplish all of the movie watching and baking I think I should.

That said, I did manage to make Oreo Truffles last night while watching Miracle on 34th Street (the remake which is my favorite):

You should all probably make them immediately.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Peppermint Mocha Goodness

First off: Holy grammar problems, Batman, regarding yesterday's post. I guess that's what I get for posting while exhausted. Oops!

I went out with my mother today to help her finish up her Christmas/Birthday shopping. Jonathan turns 16 on Thursday and in typical teen boy fashion has asked for his favorite meal (subs from our favorite shop but he wants TWO of them) and video games. He's also getting a wallet and an extra set of keys to my parents' truck. I refuse to believe this kid will be driving soon. Ugh.

I was feeling slightly bummed about my lack of funds for presents this year. So my mama cheered me up with a cupcake. Peppermint mocha. Yumness!

Tomorrow I'm going to attempt canning apple butter for gifts. There's a thousand ways I can screw this up, so let us pray.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

So there was this.

Goal: check.

(why do I look so awful here? ugh. not my best angle, that whole shooting upwards thing totally exposes my chins.)

I like symmetrical things. In high school I began my experience in a first period class with a teacher with whom I ended my senior year aiding during first period. It was a symmetry that I loved. When I walked into freshman orientation at UK at Memorial Coliseum I shook President Todd's hand. And when I walked on stage at Memorial Coliseum last night I shook it again. A symmetrical event that I again adored.

Even if the rest of the night/day was miserable. I think it a sleep deprivation thing since I've been up half the night studying for an 8am final. I also managed to literally bust my ice on some ice yesterday. Fun times.

But now it's officially over and everyone can stop hearing me talk about it. I'm pretty sick of it myself. But I do feel different today, like some terrible weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It feels pretty freakin' sweet. What's next in life? QUESTION OF THE WEEK. Stay tuned, I suppose.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day Whatever.

After 9am or so I will have successfully completed all of the requirements to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree.

I will then celebrate after commencement by hibernating, like a bear, through Christmas.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 29

I've walked this path for 6ish years. 2 years longer than I ever expected. 1 year more than I definitely really expected.

I think back to those first few years of this journey and laugh at how young I was. How naive I was. At all of the things I did wrong. The experiences I missed out on. How none of this really turned out how I expected it to.

But that's life. You can plan all you want but no where does it say you are guaranteed things will go how you want them to.

If I've learned anything in six years, besides lots of history and how to get a minor in English while rarely reading the assigned books, it's to stop planning and start living.

I have no earthly idea what I'll be doing a year from now. I only hope it's not living in a gutter somewhere. The uncertainty is giving me hives, but I'm also learning to embrace how exhilarating it can be.

Monday, December 13, 2010

On Graduating

Graduating from high school and graduating from college have turned out to be such vastly different occasions.

When I graduated from high school a cake was ordered a week in advance. I mailed invitations. My mom threw a party. My entire family came including both of my aunts and my cousins. People gave me money, lots and lots of money that I didn't need. And I blew every bit of it in just a few weeks time hanging out with my friends.

For college I've bought a dress. I don't think anyone in my extended family knows there is a ceremony on Friday, because it wouldn't matter and they wouldn't come. I don't have invites to send out, or a party next Saturday. My mom, my brother, my dad, my childhood best friend and Riley will be there. We might go out to eat somewhere semi nice afterward. Or we might stop somewhere cheap for burgers. There will be no money, which is the most hilarious part because I could actually use a few bucks for something of purpose this time around.

Undeniably this is a much bigger deal than graduating from high school. And yet it feels like just some mundane thing I'll do on Friday and go about the rest of my life the next morning.

Day 27 & 28

I feel like we've already had buckets and buckets of snow and it's not even Christmas yet.

I hate snow in January, February, and OH THE HORROR... March. But this before Christmas stuff means I've snuggled in every weekend with baking supplies and movies while the snow falls. It's been magical.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 25 & 26

Today I bought a dress, a short sweater to go over the dress, a pair of shoes and some nail polish in preparation for my graduation ceremony on Friday.

I also went inside of Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn for the first time in a while and uttered words like, "I'm going to stage a fake wedding just so I can register here."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 24

My levels of anxiety:

Level 1: mild discomfort, general uneasiness

Level 2: persistent butterflies in stomach, queasiness

Level 3: inability to fall into a deep sleep

Level 4: never-ending heartburn from fun things, LIKE WATER

Level 5: the fear of my father dying creeps back in, including the desire to go watch his chest rise and fall in the middle of the night

Level I'm currently operating at: ALL FIVE.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 23

Tomorrow I write my last paper as an undergrad.

And to celebrate, on Friday I've set aside time for decorating gingerbread men. I'm so hardcore, obviously.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 22

Merry Mod Christmas 5x7 folded card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

I finally ordered my Christmas cards. Thanks, Shutterfly!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 21

My aunt found her cousin, my great aunt Frances' son, recently and shared the news with me tonight.

Our new relative is in his 70s. He graduated from Columbia. He's a history professor (retired now) who lives in North Carolina and recently wrote a novel (Russian historical fiction). One of his sons teaches Arabic and English in Kuwait. Another lives in Long Island and works in finance.

*jaw open* what the hell?

I had a moment where I was all damn, where did my side of the family go wrong?

And then, obviously I come by this history nonsense honestly.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 20

I downloaded the app for my phone and I'm OBSESSED. I can't stop searching for homes.

I want to buy this immediately.

$129,000 - 1 acre - 1900 square feet - 4br, 3ba - built in 1940

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 19

Boy's* Best Friend

*I don't care that he's about to be 16, I still can't call him a man yet.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 17 & 18

Dammit! Forgot again. In all fairness I've had nothing but Italian on the brain this week. The good news: the oral exam is finito and I've only got 3 classes left!

Making Christmas goodies is the best part of the holidays. Also the best part of being my neighbor.

I'm working on Christmas candies this weekend for gifts for my neighbors. Muddy Buddies (Reindeer Crunch), Peppermint Pretzels, Fudge, and Red Velvet Cake Balls.

I ♥ this time of year!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 15 & 16

It was snowing when I left this morning, which might be nice if I'd been able to stay home in my pjs.

It snowed yesterday. I had class. Starbucks didn't give me a holiday cup. No wonder I forgot to post last night.

What the hell, Starbucks? I get you for the first time in forever and you're out of holiday cups? Grr.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day Fourteen

I liked McDonald's hot chocolate more when they weren't trying to all McCafe-y. When they were the sort of hot chocolates you get at gas stations. Now? Non mi piace, I do not like.

Their holiday pies are interesting. I don't want to say I liked it. But I definitely didn't hate it. The inside tastes sort of like cake batter. It's different.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Special Promotion

A few years ago when I bought a new camera (before the dslr) I ended up swayed by one that offered a free deal with the package. It was a wonderful offer: 50 free prints, a full size calendar, a small photo book, and note cards. I took the camera with me on my first vacation to the northwest Florida panhandle, the kind of stunning place you just itch to photograph, and then redeemed my Shutterfly gifts upon return. Their calendars are gorgeous. And mine was the sort of calendar that even though two years have passed I still want it hanging on my wall. Which is why when I heard of a promotion Shutterfly was doing this year for Christmas cards I had to jump on it. After all, my plan this season is to photograph the dogs for the Christmas card and I have a feeling one of these cards would do just the trick. While I was over there checking out the Christmas selection their graduation announcements caught my eye. After all, just a couple of weeks until I get my hands on that diploma and, um, most of my family has no clue.

*in exchange for this blog post, Shutterfly is giving me 50 free holiday cards. You can get in on the deal as well if you have a blog by clicking HERE.

Day Thirteen

Monday's suck. Monday's after holidays suck even worse.

It's hard not to be in full on holiday mode with Christmas coming. Despite the little stresses of the next two months of my life I'm ready to soak up every last bit of yule tidings and joy.

I want to curl up in my bed, wearing my new Old Navy thermal leggings, and watch Love Actually multiple times. And drool over Prime Minister Hugh Grant. (I am, admittedly, still obsessed with the Brits.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day Twelve

And so my much needed vacation ends... with Taco Soup!


1 package of taco seasoning
1/2 package of ranch dressing mix
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
1 can of tomato sauce
1 can of rotel tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 cup of water
1 pound (or more if you like) of ground beef

Brown your beef. Dump the tomatoes, sauce, corn and beans into a pot along with half a cup of water (do not drain the corn or the beans), add the packet of taco seasoning and half of the ranch mix along the browned beef. Stir together, mixing well. Cover and cook to a simmer for around an hour.

Garnish and serve!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day Eleven

I replaced the Christmas tree lights with LED lights this year.

This can be a pricey thing to do, but Home Depot has 50 count LED light sets for $1.98 per box. These are equivalent in length and brightness to 100 count sets of regular lights, so the price was phenomenal.

The money savings:

Regular lights cost 9 cents to run an hour and the LED Christmas lights only cost 1.5 cents to run an hour. Assume we have 6 strands of lights and we run those lights 5 hours a day for about 30 days in December. The result:

LED Christmas Lights: $.00152 x 6 strands x 5 hours x 30 days = $1.37

Regular Christmas Lights: $.00912 x 6 strands x 5 hours x 30 days = $8.21

We have more than 6 strands going so I think we'll notice a difference this month on energy costs. Other benefits include them staying cool to the touch (no worries about hot bulbs and animals or babies), the ability to run them longer each day, and that you can connect up to 87 sets without blowing a fuse. Outside we can get about 5 of the regular sets connected before we have a Clark Griswold style catastrophe.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Umm, Day Nine & Ten

I had a post ready last night and in some sort of triptophan induced haze I forgot to post it.

My Florida cousin was complaining about the heat yesterday on Facebook. Something about it not feeling like the holiday season. I don't get it.

I could rock that whole Christmas Island vibe.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day Eight

Sort of cheating since it isn't a photo and it's not from me, but it's appropriate.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day Seven

Last night I made Chex Mix with corn chex, cheerios, pecans and pretzel sticks. And then I ate like half of it. I wasn't going to make it until Thanksgiving but none of us could wait. This stuff is crack.

Tonight I'm fulfilling an order for peanut butter balls (buckeyes if you call them that, but I coat mine completely in chocolate). I started making them for my mom to take to work and people started asking what I'd charge to make them to order. I came up with a price and now every few weeks I've had an order. Tonight's is for 4 dozen of them. I've been considering branching out into a tiny little operation and making various other candies as well. But we'll see.

Tomorrow I finally get to bust out the WHOLE milk and cream that's been taunting me in the fridge. I'll start prep for Thursday by making homemade puddings for chocolate pie and banana pudding.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day Six

And there it hangs.

There was a time in the midst of my deepest struggles with school, when I hated where I lived and felt oh so lonely all the time that I fantasized about giving it all up. Just quitting. My mom assured me that quit was not in my vocabulary. I knew it wasn't, but I wanted to try it on for a spin.

So what I'm saying is there was a time when I never thought I'd realize my dream of graduating from the University of Kentucky.

In the end I couldn't quit. And I refused to transfer because Kentucky WAS my dream. But it's been hard, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. At a certain point I doubted whether I'd ever wear this.

In 24 days I will.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day Five

One thing that impresses me about my brother is his work ethic. Despite having a fever last night he was determined to help our mom get a majority of her Christmas lights put up today. If that were me, at 15, I'd have whined and probably stayed in bed all day instead.

This sign lights up. My mom and brother are serious about this decorating stuff.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day Four

And then there were lights.

My brother is working on Christmas lights while I sit indoors doing various important things like: blogging, searching for something to watch on television tonight, and yelling at the dogs.

And working on a Thanksgiving menu. So far I've got:

Turkey & Dressing
a small ham
Rolls & Cranberry Sauce
Broccoli Casserole
Corn Pudding
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
*Sweet Potato Casserole (with sage butter & pecans)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with bacon

a relish tray
hot sausage velveeta dip
homemade chex mix

hashbrown casserole
slices from the ham

*Cranberry Spritzers (with champagne or sprite depending on the person)

*Chocolate Pudding Pie
Peanut Butter Balls
*Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding
Pumpkin Pie

*denotes actual links to recipes but I don't think they show up well with this theme.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day Three

We're watching Prince Charles' Harmony on NBC, a film about climate change and global environmental crisis. I'm ashamed I didn't know he was Al Gore before Al Gore. But I'm thoroughly impressed.

1) It's appropriate that I'm watching this during a week that has been highlighted by royal fever on my part. I am obsessed with the Prince William/Kate Middleton wedding. Obsessed.

2) My desire to have chickens is only being increased by this special.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Picture a Day: Day One

I saw this on another blog and I thought I'd do it here: post one picture every day until the end of the year. Call it conditioning for that item on my life list that says I want to complete a 365 project one year.

The lights were being strung on the Christmas tree in downtown Lexington this morning. I immediately wanted my bed, a pair of Christmas jammies, hot chocolate, and a Hallmark movie.

Friday, November 12, 2010


To me the end of life is just as important as the beginning. When a baby is born we flock to hospitals eager to hold little ones and welcome them into the world. And when we die people panic. But I can't think of a better time to offer a shoulder. Or to hold a hand.

Family. Everybody's got one...

*just venting to myself*

I have to write about this stuff here because I worry I'm annoying everyone else on the internet if I talk too much about it elsewhere. On a good day three people read this, so deal with it.

My dad was supposed to go see his mother today. He's totally BAILED on me. Claims he's having chest discomfort. Which I don't doubt, but I'm thinking put on your big girl panties, face it, and that panicked feeling might go away.

His father didn't go see his own mother when she was dying. Granted, she was in New York. But he could have made the trip. He couldn't face it though. It was easier to pretend his extended family didn't exist. I worry my dad's doing the same thing. And it bothers me. A lot.

He hasn't seen her since August.

Meanwhile my Aunt who is her healthcare surrogate is living in a land called Denial in regards to stopping the fluids. My 83 year old dying grandmother had a picc line put in yesterday for the fluids she'll be receiving to try and prolong her life. Pardon my language, but what the actual fuck?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And now we say goodbye

Tomorrow I take my dad and my aunt to see their mom for what might be the last time.

While I have been preparing myself for this for a long time I'm not sure the same can be said for my dad and aunt. This is going to be hard. This event is going to rock this family.


I feel like I understand that dying is a part of life and I'm well prepared for the realities of losing my last grandmother. But it doesn't stop it from being sad and somewhat devastating.

To say I'll miss her doesn't really even scratch the surface of how much this will hurt.

P.S. to top it off my cat is having seizures so I have to carve out time to drop her off at the vet tomorrow as well. c'est la vie.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

True Life

Two things arrived in the mail this morning:
  • my first student loan notice
  • my car insurance bill
Dude. Not. Cool.

The mail gods clearly find this hilarious.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Odio Italiana

ludens 001

I spent last night with bags of funsize candy and Italian worksheets prepping for a midterm this morning. Can I say right now, with authority, that it was THE WORST MIDTERM OF MY LIFE? It was. No convincing me otherwise.

Sometimes I feel like I really should pursue grad school. And then I laugh.