Sunday-Tuesday Recap

      So my Sunday, Monday and Tuesday get their own recap because I had a friend come to visit me!  Ashley L was home for the holidays from grad school in Pittsburgh.  After spending her first week with family in Ames, she decided to come visit me for a couple of days, score!  I got some much needed girl time and a little pre-planning done for my trip to Pittsburgh in February.
      She came on Christmas night, so after long days with family, we decided to just stay in and catch up.  We didn't stay up too crazy late, but we did make a trip to the only place open on Christmas night, Walgreens, to grab some snacks.  Oh it was just wonderful talking the night away with her. 
      Monday morning I snapped my one and only picture from my phone from the entire weekend/week, because Cali LOVES when Ashley comes to visit...someone to cuddle with on the couch!
I bet Ashley loves this pic
      We ditched Ashley for a little bit on Monday to go to our family Christmas.  And then on the way home, we randomly decided to swing by Target to see if the Playstation 3 bundle was still available.  
      Here was the deal: 320 GB Playstation 3 that came with one wireless controller, one move controller, the PS eye, and Everybody Dance (like Just Dance).  On top of that, when you purchased it, you received a $75 Target gift card.  So we get there, it doesn't take me long to see a Playstation locked up in an end cabinet with a bunch of Nintendo DS...odd place for a PS3 right?  So we ask the closest worker if the "doorbuster" deal is still going where we can get the $75 gift card with the purchase of the PS3 bundle. (There was no way we were spending $300 without getting some of it back!)  He said, "the deal lasts all week, but unfortunately, we're sold out of the systems" "Oh...isn't that one right there?" I asked.  His face was priceless, "Ohhhhh. My. Gosh. I forgot about that one...we've been telling people we sold out"  Well anyway, we saw it, we got it.  It was a sign, we were meant to own one!
      We came home, grabbed Ashley, and armed with gift cards, purchased a couple games.  May I just say, I. LOVE. LITTLE. BIG. PLANET. 2.  Then we grabbed some Mexicano at Los Agaves, and some margaritas as well.  I love my husband, he offered to bring us to the martini bar, drop us off and pick us up later.  Yuuuupppp (as Dave would say on Storage Wars...anyone? anyone?)
Super blurry picture from Ashley's phone
      Tuesday morning, I woke up with killer heart burn because I had run out of my prescription.  That put a damper on some of our plans, however, we did end up getting out to refill it and I felt just good enough to grab some sushi with Ash at Red Ginger before saying goodbye.  Of course, that Spicy Salmon came back to bite me later and I spent the rest of the day curled on the couch.  
      It was such a great time to just relax with Ashley and catch-up and now I am SOOOOO looking forward to my trip to Pittsburgh to visit over my birthday!  Whoop! 


The Best Gift Is Love

As you know, last weekend was Christmas, and it was a busy one!  Luckily, it was not nearly as crazy as last year.  We spent a lot of time with family, but did not have to travel too far to see everyone.  Even though we were busy with plans, it was pretty darn relaxing!  There won't be many personal photos in the post...as is the norm lately.  Why you ask? BECAUSE MY CAMERA IS BROKEN! :( Of course, I discovered this as I was heading to Christmas #1 of the year.  Waaahhhhh, I'm starting to have as much luck with cameras as my friend Ashley F (love you!).
So Christmas #1 was actually two weekends ago up in Dubuque with my Mom's side of the family.  I stole a couple of her pictures from Facebook.  It was day full of good food, good laughs, and great family memories!

Christmas #2 was Christmas Eve with my immediate family.  We spent the better part of the entire day with them.  It was nice to just chill, eat a great dinner (good job mom), open some lovely gifts, go to church, and come back to play video games. I think we were there until around 1am...I may or may not have been sleeping on the couch at that point.
Christmas #3 was actually on Christmas. We went to the in-laws' house for brunch where we were also met by his grandmother.  We had a fabulous and gigantic meal and then opened some presents.  It was so nice to just lounge around with nowhere else to go in the same day.  We probably spent about 6 hours there and were still able to mosey on back to our house around 4:30 and clean.  My friend Ashley L, who came to home to Ames from Pittsburgh for a couple weeks, was on her way to Davenport to visit me!  I have no pictures from this day :(
Christmas #4 was the day after Christmas.  Back to my parents house with my Dad's side of the family.  I'm pretty sure the picture says it all! =)
I had the most wonderful Christmas' and scored some great gifts.  This might sound cheesy and all, but the priest brought it up at service Saturday night.  The greatest gift anyone can receive is love, and my weekend was chock full of it!  From my extended family, to my husband, to my parents and siblings (that includes in-laws), and my friends, I feel so blessed and grateful to have them all in my life and of all of the things I got for Christmas, spending time with my loved ones was definitely all I could have ever truly wanted.


My Sister Is Engaged!

Yes, this in fact deserved it's own post, even for how short it is.  Brad and Emily have been dating for over 6 years and he caught us all by surprise by waiting until AFTER Christmas to propose to her!  The ring is beautiful and perfect for Emily.  They went up to Minneapolis yesterday for the night and that is when it happened, so they spent yesterday and today enjoying their getaway together!  No plans have been made yet, but I've got my pinterest board ready to go and anxiously awaiting more additions!

I CANNOT wait to help my sister plan her wedding!  I am simply ecstatic for the two of them and their future together. :D


Mini Kiss Pies

Many of my new dessert recipes come from my little friend, Pinterest.  And of course, these are no exception.  I saw the link to these cute little pies and had to give them a try!  As per usual, I added my own little twist and made half of them with Hershey Kisses as directed and the other half with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, because they are bomb (use of this word can be credited to Ashley F).
Alas, I must give credit where credit is due and Pinterest did not, of course, come up with this recipe.  It was actually discovered on this blog!  It's a cute blog with some fun recipes, you must check it out.  Even to get this recipe, because I don't want to type it out :)  I will, however, share my step-by-step photos AND mistakes!

See, they looked alright the second go around!  But here are some pictures of why you MUST pinch all the seams together.  Not doing so with caramel kisses resulted in caramel baked onto my pan, which we ended up throwing away.

They were still delicious.  I brought the presentable ones to my family Christmas and they were devoured quickly!  I definitely recommend giving these little cuties a shot, just be careful.


Weekend Recap December 9-11

I am becoming super lame because I never take pictures anymore.  What has happened to the Sarah that probably annoyed people with how many pictures she wanted to take?!  Well, she probably realized she was annoying people and backed off.  But now, I never take any!  Bummer. So here is the brief, verbal recap of my weekend:

Friday- Quad City Singers concert!  It was our first of two concerts this weekend and my first concert performing with the choir.  We had a lot of fun and a big crowd!  After the concert, I came home to get a good night's rest and hang out with the hubs.
Saturday- Morning workout followed by coffee with Stephanie!  It was so wonderful catching up and chatting about her new job.  In the middle of our coffee break, my friend Laura called.  I thought it was about something I had texted her earlier, but it turns out, SHE'S ENGAGED!  Excellent.  Later that afternoon, Ryan and I got some shopping done and then I had to get ready for my second Quad City Singers concert.  Again, I had so much fun and I knew a lot of people that were there Saturday night.  My parents, mother in law, grandmother in law, Ryan, Emily, Brad, my adopted grandparents-Phyllis and Jim, and my coworker who brought 5 of her friends!  Good times.  After the concert, we went to Old Chicago for a little bit with Brad and Emily.  Why can't you two live closer?
Sunday- Zip, zilch, nada...or so I thought.  Haha, I totally forgot that I was watching my brother that evening.  So I watched football during the day (poor Bears and Vikings) and then my dad called to ask when I was coming out there. "Haha, ummm, be there soon."  Alex and I made some mac and cheese and watched Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.  Woot!  It was a great weekend, and thankfully another one when we didn't have to travel!


Remember When...

Our Internet has been down for a couple of days...let me tell you, it's no fun.  What did we ever do before the Internet?  And of course, since we had no Internet, I just used my smart phone to access my email, facebook, pinterest, etc. What the heck did we do before smart phones?! Or even just cell phones?!

I laughed, because the other day, my Little walked by a closet in her house and noticed an old turn-dial phone and asked, "what is that?"  Oh my goodness, my children will not what it's like to have a land line (except MAYBE at work).  They won't know that, if they were kids when I was, to talk to a friend outside of school they would have to call their house and ask for them.  Or ride their bike down to their friend's house.  Oh my goodness, will they ride a bike?!  Or will they be so wrapped up in video games that they won't even play outside?

My friend Brooke forwarded me an email at work (and we usually don't do forwards) that explained how those of use born in the 80's were the last generation of kids who will remember playing before computers and texting.  It kind of worries me what kind of generation we are creating.  They'll be super smart, but they wont be brave enough to climb a tree...that or they'll be too lazy to.  Goodness it scares me!  Ryan and I will just have to be committed to showing our children the world outside of technology.  Play board games with them, go hiking, take road trips, catch lightning bugs, send them to camp, and read books (the real paper kind).

It's amazing that I'm old enough now to realize a new generation is behind me.  I'm no longer the "younger generation" and I was probably the last generation to remember what it was like when Dad brought a computer home....with a game on it!  Amazing how much has changed in 25 years.


I am thankful for...

I am getting a jump start on this post because I'll be busy cleaning tomorrow to get ready for our guests this weekend! 
Sometimes I complain, I feel concerned, I get stressed out, I have fights, I cry, I lack motivation, I look for help, or I want to be somewhere else.  I am human, and I make mistakes and don't always see the goodness in front of my eyes.  I try to not take things for granted, but let's be honest, it often unintentionally happens.  I love that at least once a year (and usually more), I am reminded to step back and look at my life and appreciate everything and everyone I have in it.  I pinned this to my Pinterest a couple weeks ago...I truly am thankful.
I bet all of you reading this have all of those blessings to.  Be thankful.


Three Day Weekend Recap

For some reason, short weeks at work always feel like the longest, so I was so ready when I got off work on Thursday!  What was going on on a Thursday night you ask? Why, Game of Thrones marathon of course.  Ashley came over to continue catching her up on the amazingness that is Peter Dinklage...and the rest of the cast, and show.  I think we only have two episodes left now and she'll be all caught up!
On Friday, I met Brooke for breakfast and we sat at Panera for almost three hours discussing her wedding! So much fun :)  Later that afternoon, Ryan and I went up to Cedar Rapids to visit my sister and Brad.  We had a great time snacking, playing boggle and eating Pad Thai.  Then we headed out to Dublin for a couple of drinks and played some shuffle board.  We didn't stay out super late because we wanted to get home and play some euchre!  We had a lot of fun Friday night before finally going to bed around 1:00 (yes, I made it that long!).

On Saturday, Emily made some delicious banana bread and then we went to Perkins later for brunch/lunch.  Ryan and I did head home after that and enjoyed an entire Saturday evening/night at home doing NOTHING! Oh it was wonderful :)
Sunday, I got up early and went to the gym! I love early mornings at the gym...not many people there at all.  Then I came home and made breakfast (see precious post) and got some stuff down around the house before going to choir practice.  Last night, we caught up on two of our favorite shows and then I finally went to bed.
Top Chef: Texas just started
It was a good weekend, and now it's already over :(  That's alright, it's a new week and I'm going to rock it!

Two EASY Recipes

These two recipes are so ridiculously easy that I figured I'd just share them in one post.  I made both of these yesterday and just had to share the ingeniousness of them.

I suppose I wouldn't so much call this first one a recipe as much as I would a fantastic idea! I got this idea from Pinterest, or course.
Step one: buy jumbo cinnamon rolls
Step two: heat up and grease waffle iron
Step three: place one roll on each divided side
Step four: cook until light goes off (or a little before) 
Step five: top with icing and enjoy!

They were so good and so easy.  When you want cinnamon rolls, but don't care about to gooeyness of baking them, these taste great and they're obviously quite fast to make!  It has been a couple of years since I've cinnamon rolls at home, and at a whopping 360 calories each, it will be a long time until I have them again....but I would make them this way again for sure!

As for recipe number two, you will need to go to the store to purchase the ingredients...all two of them that is!
Pumpkin Spice Cake
Step one: Buy one box of spice cake mix and one 15 oz can of pumpkin
Step two: Stir together in a bowl until mix is moist, then spread into a greased cake pan
*Note that because this batter is not runny, you will have to spread the batter out as evenly as possible.  This step worried me two, I could have sworn I was going to get a super dry cake.
Step three: Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (for me this ended up being 22 min) and remove to cool
*Again, I could still see the texture quite defined so was worried it was just one big, dry cake thing...but when I pressed a finger on it, it was bouncy! I was excited!
Step four: Cut of a piece and top with light cool-whip and enjoy
Oh my goodness, this cake is just to die for.  If you make the 9x13 cake and cut into 15 pieces, it is 137 calories per slice.  Two tablespoons or light cool whip is 20 calories per slice.  So for just over 150 calories, you get a delicious snack to satisfy that sweet tooth.  Also, if you make this into 24 mini cupcakes, each one would be 86 calories.

Happy Monday and happy eating!


Just have to remember...

I am sort of plateauing when it comes to my weight.  I feel stuck in a rut...but I'm determined to push through.  I am getting to the gym 4-5 times per week, and I am continuing to make smart food choices.  I know it will eventually catch up with me and the weight will finally budge again.  I think the biggest thing I've been learning during my weight-loss journey is that is actually about way more than losing weight.  I guess I have always known it's important to focus on the bigger picture, but I never wanted to accept anything other than the number on the scale.  I am SO over that...in fact, my scale is hidden right now!  I can do this, without the positive (or negative) reinforcement from the scale.  
Healthiness isn't a size and happiness isn't a weight.


Happy Halloween (and Engagement!)

Halloween weekend is always a magical weekend.  It's always full of fun, and friends...and sometimes even love...and running?! :)

This weekend, we had some out-of-town visitors come stay with us and we had a great time.  It was so wonderful having friends that were able to come celebrate this fun holiday and partake in the weekend's events!
Friday started with some last minute errands and cleaning and then dinner at Old Chicago with my mom, dad, and Emily.  We had a great dinner, wonderful conversations, and lots of laughs.  I always forget to take pictures in those moments, but it was fun.  Around 10:30, Laura and Jason showed up!  The boys went to the bar, but Laura and I stayed in because of the race in the morning.  She introduced me to the show New Girl, it was so cute and funny! I'm glad I'm jumping on the bandwagon early, I'm already all caught up :)
How I wasn't watching this show when it first started, I'm not sure, because I absolutely love Zooey Deschanel!  Shortly after midnight, we went to bed.  Early morning ahead of us!
Saturday came and with a 7:00 wake-up call, the whirlwind of events began.  Laura and I got our running clothes on, ate some breakfast, and joined Emily R (I really did type "D" first, it's hard remembering you're an "R" now!) over to Moline for the Cocoa Beano 5K.  We met up with my friend Jess, my mom and her friend Becky, my sister (the other Emily), and Stephanie and her mother.

This race was so much fun, we all agreed we'd love to do it again next year and maybe be joined by some others?  I'm looking at you Brooke and Ashley F!  We were handed chocolates at the end, followed by a banana to enjoy, some water, and the best hot chocolate any of us had ever had.  I beat my last 5K time and wasn't far behind my friends, winning.
We cleaned up, had lunch at the BierStube, went our separate ways for the afternoon to get some rest and what not and got ready for our Halloween Party!
People started arriving a little after 6:00, bringing snacks to munch on and drinks to enjoy!  We all got into costume and had some laughs and took some pictures.  We spent the first part of the evening at our house partying, eating, and drinking, and then we went to the bar, where Brooke was able to meet up with us.  It was a great evening, despite having thought I lost my phone, which I found in the morning...silly me.
Toga, Sailor, Pirate, Daria, Clay Matthews
Clay tickling Elmo!
Brooke as a cute clown!!

Yes, my husband is Bob Ross
Jay Leno, haha
End of the night!
On Sunday morning, I woke up, cleaned up, and made some Pumpkin Pancakes, yum!  We said goodbye to Laura and Jason and The Reed's and I went back to bed for a nap/movie watching.  In that time, I received a picture message followed by a phone call!
Oh my goodness, Brooke got engaged!!!  I could not express my excitement enough for this highly anticipated event!  What a wonderful way to start my Sunday and end my weekend. I can't wait to celebrate with her and Ryan, I am just so happy for them.
Happy Halloween everyone, enjoying your tricking and treating today! :D