Saturday, December 24, 2011

Getting ready for Christmas!!

If you know me at all, or even just read my Facebook statuses you probably already know that I LOVE Christmas! I love decorating for Christmas, I love cooking special foods for Christmas, and I really love Christmas movies and music! This year was extra special for Michel and me because we got to decorate our new house! Though we didn't decorate as much as what I'd like, we used what we had! I'm hoping to go out on December 26th and buy some more decorations to fill our beautiful house for next year. I'm still happy with this year's decor, though :)

Michel really got into the spirit of decorating this year :)

The stocking were hung...
...over the kitchen countertop because we don't have a fireplace :)

 Our beautiful tree with our wrapped presents

My Christmas bear and presents that I bought from First Monday

Our nativity scene, gingerbread house, and gingerbread train (the Christmas sign should be hanging, but we haven't hung anything yet!)

Much more pictures to come once we get together with the families!!! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Our new house!!

Wow, I just looked at my blog, and I haven't updated it since the end of October??! Wow...I didn't realize that I had let that much time pass! I do have good reasoning, though! As most of you know, Michel and I were THRILLED to buy a gorgeous house earlier this fall! We submitted our original bid at the end of September, closed at the end of October, and moved in the weekend before Thanksgiving! So, from the end of October - Thanksgiving I was either at the new house painting, or at our apartment packing. Now that's it's over it was all totally worth it! Don't get me wrong...we still have a TON of work to do to get our house in shape! We have boxes in the garage that need unpacking, and need new furniture to make it a cohesive home...not just a mishmash of furniture (btw...if anyone is really good at decorating let me know! I would love to borrow your talents when we're ready to redo our living room and bedroom if anyone is willing!) But it's been so great being in a house that 3 times bigger than our apartment was. My favorite spaces have been our kitchen and master closet. The kitchen is so big, has an island, and a ton of counter top space for cooking and making my lunches for school! There are no words to describe my love for our master closet. It takes the words "walk-in closet" to the extreme. I can sort our laundry in the closet on the floor, and we still have PLENTY of room for Michel and me to be in there at the same time if need be. I just love being a homeowner! I really feel like a grown-up :)

I LOVE our entry way! We have really high, vaulted ceilings so it makes the entry way feel very grand and large! I also love the tile that the previous owners put in. It's just gorgeous :)

This is a view of the entry way from the living room       

Here are a few pictures of our kitchen, dining room, and walk-in-pantry...I love it all! (Have I mentioned that I love our house?? :)

The laundry room, 2 guest bedrooms, and guest bathroom

The master bedroom, "sitting area" of our master bedroom, and our master bathroom. Please ignore that our bed is unmade, the boxes in the floor, and our walls are blue but our bedding is green. I promise that I have already picked out bedding that will match the walls! It will look fabulous one day in the near future :)

And now...the MASTER CLOSET!!

Pictures really don't do this closet justice! It's SOOOO tall, and has a fabulous shelving unit that was put in by the previous owners!

It's been a busy, but very exciting month for us! Can't wait to add to this house little by little every month :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

I apologize for the lack of blogging on my part. I just don't feel like I have anything to blog about. Well...I guess I should have blogged when we bought our house, but I didn't think about it. I will blog about it after we close, and it really becomes ours! I  might even blog pictures of the "Before" and "After" if I can remember to do so. I'm not always good at taking pictures. Anyways, this post is about Meal Planning, and I've gotten off on a tangent. Michel and I are trying some yummy new recipes this week that I'm really excited about! Oh, and for anyone who has a sweet tooth you should make these delicious chocolate chip cookies! I'm so excited to now have a low fat chocolate chip cookie recipe and a yummy, low-fat brownie recipe! Both recipes use ingredients that we always keep on hand, so I'm not having to constantly run to the store to get ingredients when I want to make them. Here's this week's menu plan (finally!)

Baked chicken, brown rice, broccoli in a cheese sauce
Tuesday leftovers
Monday leftovers
Friday leftovers
Lunch: Last Sunday Lunch with ABF
Dinner: Sandwich, chips, carrot sticks

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weight Watchers Weigh In Wrap-Up

I've done a horrible job at keeping up with my blog, so I'm going to wrap up my last 3 weeks of weigh-ins very quickly. After my Sept. 24th weight gain, I lost 1.4 pounds the following week (Oct.1), then gained 1 pound on the Oct. 8th, and I weighed in today and I LOST 2.6 pounds! That's really good for me - especially knowing that this weekend we'll be eating out a lot and eating cake a lot in celebration of our 2 year wedding anniversary! I don't even care though...I'm planning on enjoying myself fully :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weight Watchers Weigh In Week 7

Sad news...I gained 1.2 pounds today. Kind of a disappointment after last week's almost-2-pound weight loss. Oh well...just means I need to try harder this week! I know I did a lot of school snacking, telling myself "I'll work out and work it off." Obviously that didn't work :) Hoping next week to lose all of what I gained this week + a half pound more. That's my personal goal: 1.7 (at least) pounds gone by next week!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Weight Watchers Weigh In Week 6

I LOST 1.8 pounds today!!! I really worked hard at tracking everything I ate, and I ate some good food this week! Last weekend Michel and I went to Texas Roadhouse for lunch where I ate 1 1/2 rolls, 6 oz. sirloin, a baked potato, and a salad; later that same day we went to Braum's for an ice cream treat! I had willpower though - I only ate half (that was a hard thing to do!) I love Weight Watchers :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

Breakfast: Turkey sausage links, cinnamon toast, coffee, banana
Lunch: Ham sandwich, apple, carrot sticks, pretzels
Dinner: Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, brownie

Lunch: Bologna sandwich, grapes, carrot sticks, pretzels 
Dinner: Tuna Helper, broccoli, Weight Watcher giant fudge bar

Breakfast: Granola, banana, coffee
Lunch: Egg salad sandwich, grapes, carrots, pretzels
Dinner: Leftover Tuna Helper, green beans, WW fudge bar

Breakfast: Cheerios, turkey sausage, banana, coffee
Lunch: 1/2 ham and cheese sandwich, apple, carrots, pretzels
Dinner: Spaghetti, salad, milk

Breakfast: Pick me up smoothie
Lunch: Bologna sandwich, pretzels, carrot sticks, apple

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, banana, coffee
Lunch: ??
Dinner: Pizza and Game Night at the Howards! (Dating Group

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: on my own - I'll figure it out later!

Weight Watchers Weigh In Week 5

This is the first week that I've actually gone up in weight, but considering what I ate over Labor Day I'm not too concerned about it. I only went up 0.2 lbs. Also, my pants were fitting better, so maybe some muscle gain?? Anything to make myself feel better :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

Breakfast: Peanut Butter Banana Mocha Latte
Lunch: Chicken Fried Rice, broccoli w/cheese sauce
Dinner: Meatloaf, salad

Breakfast: Granola, banana, coffee
Lunch: Ham sandwich, pretzels, apple, carrots
Dinner: Hamburger Helper, green beans, milk, brownie

Lunch: Bologna sandwich, pretzels, apple, carrots
Dinner: Hamburger Helper, broccoli
Breakfast: Cheerios, banana, coffee
Lunch: Bologna sandwich, pretzels, apple, carrots
Dinner: Lean Cuisine pizza, salad, milk, brownie
Breakfast: Yogurt, banana, Special K protein snack bar
Lunch: Egg salad sandwich, pretzels, applesauce
Dinner: Spaghetti w/meat sauce, garlic bread, salad

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, banana, coffee
Lunch: Out to eat
Dinner: every man for himself!

Weight Watchers Weigh In Week 4

Sorry for the quick update, but I've been out of town with my awesome family (which, of course is including my oh-so-sweet niece and nephew - pictures to come later!)

In WW news, I have lost another 0.2 pounds this week! For some of you reading, you might think that this isn't a lot, but I lost slowly when I did it the first time around in '04, and I don't have as much weight to lose, so any time that I lose ANY amount of weight is a celebration for me! 

Total lost to date: 3.4 pounds! Again, not a lot, but I'm happy with it :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

Breakfast: Cheerios, coffee, banana
Lunch: bologna sandwich, pretzel sticks, apple, carrots
Dinner: 1/2 chicken breast, 1/2 baked potato, salad

Lunch: Chicken salad
Dinner: 1/2 peanut butter sandwich, grapes, pretzels (Parent Orientation Night - then Boot Camp! I need a quick dinner that will keep me from getting hungry, but isn't too heavy)

Breakfast: Scrambled egg burrito, banana, coffee
Lunch: Bologna sandwich, grapes, pretzel sticks
Dinner: Chicken wrap

 Breakfast: 2 slices cinnamon toast, 2 scrambled egg whites
Lunch: Egg salad sandwich (apparently I love eggs!)
Dinner: Chicken Helper, green beans

Breakfast: Granola, banana, coffee
Lunch: Chicken Helper leftovers, apple
Dinner: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli and cheese

Saturday - Monday:
Kitchen closed! We'll be at my parents for most of the weekend with my sister and her family

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weight Watchers Weigh In Week 3

I went to Weight Watchers again today and lost 0.2 pounds! Some might take that to be disappointing; I, however, take it to be a success! When I first did Weight Watchers in 2004 this was how my weight loss journey was then - slow, and small increments. But I'm always OK as long as I'm not gaining anything back. I'm still loving being on the new Points+ Program, and am really happy with how the last three weeks has gone for me :)

Monday, August 22, 2011


A couple of months ago while at our Summer Ladies Bible Study my friend Katy told us about this awesome deal she came across to get an Erin Condren life planner for about 65% off retail cost! She showed us the youtube video and I thought it looked awesome! Unfortunately, the deal ended that night and I was too lazy to buy it at that time. However, now Katy  is doing a giveaway to where one lucky winner will win their very own Erin Condren planner, and I really hope that winner is me! Feel free to join her giveaway!

Meal Planning Monday

My challenge this week will be to NOT eat the treats that they give us at school - they especially feed these to us the first week back, and while my taste buds love the tasty treats, my waistline does not! However, I have found the most awesome snack that I'll be packing in my lunch daily: it's the Special K Snack bars - the chocolate peanut butter ones are delicious! It really tastes like I'm eating a candy bar, so I'll take that for my chocolate fix :)

Breakfast: Yoplait Light yogurt with granola, banana
Lunch: Southwest chicken wrap, pretzel sticks, apple, carrot sticks
Dinner: Baked Hawaiian chicken on a bed of brown rice, broccoli

Breakfast: Scrambled egg burrito, coffee, banana
Lunch: Tuna fish sandwich, grapes, Ruffles Light, carrot sticks
Dinner: Chicken fried rice, green beans, milk

Breakfast: Strawberry-Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast smoothie (this is a new recipe for me!)
Lunch: Southwest chicken wrap, pretzel sticks, apple, carrot sticks
Dinner: Last night's leftovers

Breakfast: Granola, coffee, banana
Lunch: Tuna fish (no sandwich), grapes, carrot sticks
Dinner: Chicken salad wrap, pretzel sticks

Breakfast: Scrambled egg breakfast burrito, coffee, banana
Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwich, pretzel sticks, apple, carrot sticks
Dinner: Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, salad

Breakfast: Yogurt with granola, banana
Lunch: Dating Group with the Hoopers and the Hanks
Dinner: Sandwiches and chips

Breakfast: Cheerios, coffee, banana
Lunch: Meatloaf and mashed potatoes I forgot this Sunday is last Sunday lunch with ABF
Dinner: Every man for himself!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Weight Watchers Weigh In Week 2

Good news and bad news. The good news: I didn't gain any weight!! The bad news: I didn't lose any weight. However, I am TOTALLY OK with this because from last Saturday until today I've been out of town all last weekend eating very little food that was good for me (biscuit with jelly, pork sausage, chicken wrap, wedding cake, pizza, an all-you-can-eat buffet which consisted of chicken fried steak and fried chicken and dessert). Oh, and we bought some fudge from Buc-ees (to die for!!). Then it was back to school this week where we were fed sandwiches, pizza on two different days, chocolate chip cookies almost every day that we were really it's amazing that I didn't gain 50 pounds! I wasn't upset at all by the non-moving scale numbers, and am just looking forward to really getting my focus back this week :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

OK, scratch what I said last week about planning my meals Saturday - Friday, rather than Monday - Sunday. Weight Watchers' online e-tools tracks points values Monday - Sunday, so I will too so that it's in line with what I'm eating that week. Also, I have no idea what lunch will look like for me since this week is all about eating out. I'm planning on eating out with my friends and co-workers, just making as healthy a choice as possible :)

Breakfast: Pick-me-up smoothie (this turned out to be SOOO delicious when I tried it last week, and it really filled me up!)
Dinner: Homemade hamburgers and French fries (Michel said he would cook me ANYTHING I wanted in celebration of my first day back at work - sweet, huh?? :)

Breakfast: Coffee, banana, scrambled egg breakfast burrito TO GO forgot to buy tortillas! Going to McDonads for fruit and maple oatmeal and a non-fat vanilla iced coffee

Dinner: Tuna salad sandwich, chips

Breakfast: Granola, coffee, banana
Dinner: Hamburger Helper, green beans, applesauce

Breakfast: Healthy Aveena shake
Dinner: Hamburger Helper leftovers, salad

Breakfast: 1 c. Cheerios, coffee, banana
Dinner: Chick-Fil-A and shopping with former roommate :)

Saturday and Sunday are yet to come....maybe something with fish?? We have nineteen pounds of it in our freezer :-/ I don't even like fish that much.... 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weight Watchers Weigh In Week 1

My first week of doing Weight Watchers was a HUGE success! I'm down 3 full pounds! Btw...I had to weigh in today rather than my usual meeting, Saturday morning, because we'll be out of town all weekend. But back to WW...I love the new Points Plus program! I feel like I get to eat so much food whereas on the old Points program I felt like I ate next to nothing!

I know I posted my meal plan, but here's some of the food that I ate this week that was NOT on my meal plan. Last Sunday we went to Jason's Deli for lunch and I ate fairly healthy. I stuck to the salad bar (which I actually really like, so I didn't feel like I was missing out on the "good" food), then we went to Cracker Barrel for dinner where I had a biscuit with jelly (however, my 3-year-old niece was sitting next to me and kept asking me "May I have bite please?" which of course I said "yes" every time she asked!) and I had a steak with green beans, corn, and apple sauce, and a Dairy Queen blizzard for dessert. Does it sound like I deprived myself of food?? I love how Weight Watchers is a  non-restrictive diet...I ate foods that I loved this week (including some junk food) and still lost 3 whole pounds! This is very encouraging, and I can't wait for next week's meeting :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

CVS Savings!

I went to CVS today to take advantage of some great deals and I am pretty happy with what I got for the money that I spent! I bought 2 Herbal Essences conditioners and 2 Cover Girl mascaras, and a birthday card (not pictured):

I did my deal in 2 transactions. 

Transaction #1:
Herbal Essences 2/$4.97 = $1 ECB
- Used FREE Herbal Essence product coupon
- Used $1/1 Herbal Essences coupon
Birthday card = $3.49
Total after coupons = $4.99
- Used $5 ECB that I already had
Earned $1 ECB

Transaction #2:
Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara 2/$14  =$4 ECB
- Used 2 $1/1 CG product coupons
= $12
- Used $2 ECB that I already had
- Used $1 ECB from transaction #1

So for $9.74 I walked away with 2 Herbal Essences conditioners, 2 Cover Girl mascaras, and a birthday card. Without coupons or Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) I should have paid: $22.14! That's a savings of 56%!

Meal Scheduling Saturday

Now that I'm back at Weight Watchers, I plan my meals to be Saturday - Friday (because the meeting that I most frequently attend is on Saturdays) rather than Monday - Sunday. Therefore, I can't use the title "Meal Planning Monday" as my weekly meal planning, but I'm not sure I'm sold on the name "Meal Scheduling Saturday." I like the semi-alliteration of Meal Planning Monday, and tried re-creating that using Saturday as the day of the week, but I can't decide if I love it or not, so if anyone has any great ideas I'm definitely open to them!

Also...I'm trying a TON of new recipes! I'll let you know if they turned out good or not :)

Breakfast: NutriGrain cereal bar, banana, chocolate milk
Lunch: Whole bologna sandwich, apple, carrot sticks
Snack: Skinny Cow candy (it's really good btw!)
Dinner: Tuna Helper, broccoli w/cheese, yogurt, Weight Watchers giant fudge bar

Breakfast: Cheerios, coffee w/milk and creamer, banana
Lunch: Jason's Deli with the in-laws! 1/2 Club Lite Sandwich w/strawberries; frozen yogurt
Dinner: Cracker Barrel to celebrate my sister's 30th birthday!

Breakfast: Pick-Me-Up Smoothie
Lunch: Pizza w/Julie Gober
Dinner: Tuna Helper leftovers, salad

Breakfast: Nutri Grain waffle w/peanut butter and lite syrup, coffee, banana
Mid-Morning snack: Yogurt
Lunch: Leftover Jason's Deli Club Lite Sandwich
Dinner: Pineapple Shrimp fried rice and salad

Breakfast: Chocoalte peanut butter banana smoothie
Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwich, grapes, carrot sticks
Dinner: Grilled Chicken and avacado sandwich, baked chips

Breakfast: Cheerios, coffee, banana
Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwich, grapes, carrot sticks
Dinner: Leftover Shrimp fried rice

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs w/ham and cheese, coffee, banana
Lunch: Sandwich and apple


We'll be traveling to Madisonville on Friday afternoon (near College Station) for my cousin's wedding!! We're not coming back until Sunday afternoon! Our last vacation before the start of school :(

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weight Watchers!!

I am so excited to start Weight Watchers again today! I will be attending 10:30 meetings every Saturday morning, and am so ready for it! I watched my weight go up 10 lbs this year. While that's not a lot, it's uncomfortable in my clothes. I tried losing weight on my own, and though I know the original Points Program from when I joined it in 2004, I felt like I really needed the accountability of going, weighing in, and the benefits of going to the meetings. I can't wait to share my progress! My goal is to lose about 12-14 pounds :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

No-Bake Cookies!


I LOVE chocolate! And I LOVE desserts! I like cookies, cake (sometimes), brownies, but I really LOVE ice cream! I can easily pass up cookies, cake, or brownies for a bowl of ice cream...

....unless that cookie happens to be the no-bake cookies pictured above. These are my all-time, most favorite cookie in the whole world! They're like a drug to me! I find it hard to stop at just 1...or 2....or even 5! Yeah, they're that amazing! 

For the last 3 days, Michel and I took a mini-vacation to Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma. We rented a cabin so that we could make our own food, and just enjoy some time away without breaking the bank. We took hamburgers and hot dogs for our meals, and I knew that we needed something sweet to eat, so I whipped up a batch of these decadent cookies the day before we left. 

Sadly, they're all gone. But I know I'll whip them up again - usually around Christmas. I love them so much that I can't keep them around very much or I would devour them every couple days. But I wanted to share the recipe. Many people make these, and have their own variations of the recipe, but this is my all-time favorite (what's sad is I have this recipe MEMORIZED!!):

In a medium-sized sauce pan on the stove, put in: 
2 c. sugar
4 T. cocoa powder
1-1/8 stick butter/margarine
1/2 c. milk

In a large mixing bowl, have ready to go: 
3 c. quick oats
2/3 c. peanut butter (you can do this as all crunchy or creamy, but I like doing 1/3 crunchy and 1/3 creamy)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Turn heat on under saucepan to medium/medium-high, stirring constantly! Bring ingredients to a FULL, ROLLING BOIL!

Pour ingredients from saucepan into mixing bowl and mix everything together. Drop by spoonful onto wax paper, or aluminum foil. Let cookies stand for approx. 1-2 hours to harden before transferring them to refrigerator. Let cookies refrigerate approximately 2 hours, or overnight before eating for best results! 

Take little bites to fully enjoy the deliciousness of these oh-so-amazing cookies!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday, Karys!

I don't know where the time has gone, but this weekend Michel and I traveled to Longview to celebrate our niece's 3rd birthday! Before my sister had kids, I never knew how much fun it could be to be an aunt until I became one. I am so blessed to have a niece and nephew that are so much fun and seem to love being around me as well! It makes me excited to have kids of my own (but that's still awhile away!) Every year, I comment and say "It seems like just yesterday we were driving to Longview to meet her for the first time" and now she's 3! As you can tell, I'm a very proud aunt! I've always been grateful that Michel and I were already dating when she was born, and we were engaged when she was 7 months old, so she's been around him all her life, and we've started referring to him around her as Uncle Michel ever since he and I got engaged, so she's always grown up knowing him, and with him in her life! 

After our family "staycation" to Chuck E. Cheese, my sister decided to do her party there. As soon as she walked in the door, she said "want ride horse" because that was her favorite ride when we were at the one in Rockwall. Luckily, Longview had the same horse for her to ride! 

Her party was from 10:00 a.m. - noonish, so that we would beat the majority of the crowd, and it worked perfectly! When we first got there it was pretty empty. And since there were so many of Karys's family there, the adults got to take turns walking around Chuck E. Cheese with her, and playing games ourselves! 

One of the preferred adult games was Deal or No Deal.

When others began wanting to play it as well, Janette and I got competitive in a game of Guitar Hero! I discovered that I'm not all that great...

I attempted to walk around and take pictures of all the party guests, but apparently I got more interested in playing games than taking pictures because I only got pictures of my immediate family - I didn't even take pictures of Zane! Oh well...hopefully he won't be too scarred by that :)

My mom and sister  - is it just me or do they really look alike in this picture?

Proud aunt and uncle!

Since the beginning of July, Janette has asked Karys what kind of birthday party she wanted. Janette listed all of her favorite shows to help her decide: Elmo, Toy Story, Wonder Pets. But, like a true 3-year-old, Karys chose the show that's not super-popular among other kids, making it hard to find themed party decor: Bubbleguppies. Luckily, Janette found a Bubbleguppies cake-topper, so that she could have a Bubbleguppies party!

Getting ready to blow out her candles!
Happy Birthday sweet girl! Uncle Michel and Aunt Julie love you so much!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy 27th Birthday, Michel!

For Michel's 27th birthday, he chose to go to:

Before we headed out, I took the mandatory picture that I take when we dress up nicer than usual :)

And then one of just the birthday boy....pondering the meaning of life at this new age??

Anyways, back to our dinner. It was SOOO delicious! This is the first time for either of us to go and we will definitely go back (only on special occasions as it is pretty expensive). We both ordered soft drinks, and never again will I do that (this is the only negative thing I have to say about our experience). They came in a 12-ounce bottle and it cost $5.50!! For 12-oz of coke!!! We didn't know the price or the quantity that we would be getting when we ordered. Next time, water will be just fine :) Michel is on their birthday e-mail list so he had a coupon to get his dinner free, so I really shouldn't complain too much! 

Anyways, for anyone who doesn't know, Texas de Brazil is a Brazilian steakhouse. It is one fixed price and you get an all-you-can-eat salad bar, and all you can eat steak of all cuts and varieties. You get a card with a red side and a green side. Red means you don't want any meat and green means that you do. Several waiters walk around the restaurant and they each have different meats that they'll cut you a slice of if you want it. Tonight, I had filet mignon wrapped in bacon, some type of sirloin, sausage, and many other types of meat that were delicious but I have no clue what they were.

We had a wonderful time experiencing the greatness that is Texas de Brazil and celebrating Michel's 27th birthday. I feel so blessed to be his wife :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

German Chocolate Cake Fiasco

Last year for Michel's birthday, he asked me to make him his all-time favorite cake for his birthday, German chocolate cake. For my birthday last year, I asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and he made the entire thing from scratch - and it was DELICIOUS!! So, I decided since he went to all that trouble for me then I would go to the same amount of trouble and make his cake from scratch. I found Trisha Yearwood's recipe. Not only did it sound good, it sounded very doable. So I made it for him last year and he loved it and asked for it again this year! 

The recipe is supposed to be a triple layer chocolate cake and it calls for frozen GRATED coconut. I have never found this either year I've baked it (I've also only looked at Wal-Mart and Kroger), but I use the bagged shredded coconut and only make a two-layer cake. That worked well for me last year. However, THIS year I have no idea what happened! The cake turned out great, but the frosting made me want to throw stuff across the room! It stuck to everything but the cake!! I don't remember that happening last year, and I don't know what I did! 

Poor Michel heard me yelling (yelling at cake frosting...does that make me crazy??) and going a bit crazy on this thing, and assured me that it would still taste delicious, but I swore I was going to make that thing look as good as it was going to taste. 

The end result: 

Most of it turned out looking really good!

And then there were still some stubborn parts that looked not-so-pretty because the frosting refused to adhere to the cake!

Luckily, it did still taste delicious, and I'm not that much of a cake person - especially German chocolate cake, but I think this is delicious! The cake itself is VERY moist!

All that mattered to me was that Michel liked it. He approved of my funny-looking cake :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Do I want to....?

For some weird and unknown reason, I have really been in the mood to start running again! I have taken a major break from it since I finished the White Rock half marathon on December 4, 2010.

Michel and I were first-timers in the event and it was really fun getting to do the whole thing with him! Don't get me wrong...we didn't run together because he finished about 35 minutes quicker than I did, but just the fact that we had gone through all the training and everything was a lot of fun, and definitely a motivator! This year, he's not sure he wants to do it, and I'm kind of wanting to again. However, I know myself and I'm not sure if I would stick to the running schedule and training without his encouragement. Do I want to get back to getting up before 5:00 in the morning to go run, OR do my runs after I get home from work? Do I want that horrendously LONG run hanging over my head and occupying my precious Saturday mornings?? I have that mindset right now when I should be thinking more "Don't I want that gratifying feeling of knowing that I accomplished a HALF marathon??" 

Hmmmm....I can't decide what I want to do!! Is anybody else running it this year??

Monday, July 18, 2011

CVS Savings!

I went shopping at CVS today to take advantage of a few deals that I saw. On a side note...CVS seems to be the only place that I really score a lot of great deals. When I go grocery shopping (as in food shopping) I rarely use a coupon. Lately, I've just been shopping at Wal-Mart because Kroger and Target haven't been offering good deals on food, and Wal-Mart's prices are usually the lowest out of the major grocery stores. Does anybody else (who coupons a lot) find this to be true as well - that coupons are used more at drug stores rather than the grocery stores? It really makes me wonder how the Extreme Couponing couponers go to a grocery store and have such huge savings because that's not the case with me! 

Anyways...on to what this post is really about: CVS Shopping/Savings!

I bought: 2 boxes Cheerios (the BIG boxes, 2 boxes Fiber One, 2 bottles Pantene Pro-V, travel size Gillette shave gel, Crest toothpaste, 2 Oral-B Indicator toothbrushes
Everything pictured above should have cost me: $24.44

I only paid: $13.33

That's a savings of 45%!!

OK, now I realize it's not THAT fabulous, but at the last minute I realized that the GM cereal was on sale 2/$5 and added it in without a great plan, but considering the Cheerios are the big family size boxes and they were still included in the sale, I'm pretty happy! I looked at the price of Cheerios at Wal-Mart, and the big box was $4.29! It's almost like I got one box for free! Anyways, here's a break-down of what I did. 

Transaction #1:
Pantene products 2/$6.97 = $2 ECB
- Bought 2 Pantene products
- Used $1.50 ECB I already had
- Used $2/2 Pantene CVS coupon
- Used $1/1 mfr coupon
Paid: $2.67 (not too shabby for shampoo AND conditioner!)
Earned $2 ECB

Transaction #2:
Gillette Shave Gel = $2 ECB
- 1 Gillette shave gel $1.50
- Crest toothpaste - $1.99
- Used $2 ECB from Transaction #1
- Used $0.75/1 Crest coupon
Paid: $0.99
Earned $2 ECB

Transaction #3:
All GM Cereals 2/$5
Oral B Indicator toothbrushes $1.99 =   $1 ECB
- Bought 4 GM Cereals = $10
- Used 2 $0.50/1 Cheerios coupons
Used $1/2 any GM cereal
2 Oral B toothbrushes = $3.98
- Used $1/2 Oral B Indictor coupon
Paid: $9.67
Still have $2 ECB remaining for next time :)


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Staycation Summer 2011

Earlier this year my family had decided that it would be fun to do a very inexpensive vacation all together. My parents vacationed with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece last summer to Myrtle beach last summer while Michel and I went on our Caribbean cruise, and they had so much fun we decided to do it all again. After months of looking into places, talking about what we could do that would also be kid-friendly we were still at a dead end. The turning point was my sister and brother-in-law are saving their money to buy a house, and my parents are trying not to go spend-crazy ever since one of those massive storms that we had in April/May actually turned into a tornado in their area and completely blew down their fence and they've had to pay for the repairs that the insurance didn't cover. Anyways, long story short (or is it too late for that?) we decided that a staycation would be better for us all. My sister and her family were at my parents for an entire week, and I was able to go down the first day that they were here, then I came back for a couple days and stayed from Tuesday - Saturday. Michel came and went as his work schedule allowed him to. We had a blast! 

I'll link up each post that I've written about the different days of our staycation, or you can scroll from bottom to top to read them in order :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Staycation Destination: Chuck E. Cheese

Our last true day of our staycation was our most relaxed day. We all slept in, lounged around in our p.j.'s and ate a leisurely breakfast. When I woke up my parents were awake, and Zane was too. Zane was in one of his usual very happy moods so we took advantage of some awesome photo ops. 

I love this face so much! He's such a sweet boy!

Precious! Love this boy!

Later, when we all woke up and showered and dressed, we headed to Chuck E. Cheese. It was definitely a big hit with Karys. We were there for almost three hours! 
She started out on a little carousel. I think we can tell by the look on her face that she really liked it!

Then she climbed into some tunnels because she wanted to go down the slide. Actually, she couldn't quite get all the way up the steps by herself so I climbed up to help her. 

While climbing around in the tunnels she got lost and couldn't figure out how to get to the slide, nor could she figure out how to get out. She was kind of starting to cry and said "want get out" so I went back up there to help her, and by the time I got up there she just said "Hi, Aunt Julie" and had a big smile and was heading to the slide, so she figured it out on her own :)

She loved seeing Chuck E. Cheese!

Her very favorite ride, though, was this horse that moved up and down to simulate a real horse running and jumping. She was on it for about 20 minutes straight before another kid wanted to ride and she had to get off.

I'm sad to see our family staycation coming to an end. We've had so much fun! I've been so blessed with an awesome family!