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Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am definitely no Betty Crocker! 

I have tried for years to make delicious chocolate chip cookies and I always fail. I don't love store bought cookies and I've never loved the cookies that you just plop on the cookie sheet from the fridge (I'd rather just eat the dough!). Whenever I try to make the cookies out of the pre-mixed bag they always end up flat and burnt.

Thank goodness to Pinterest -- I finally found, seriously, the BEST EVER chocolate chip cookie recipe. Here is the original recipe and below I'll let you know how I changed it up a bit.


This is my picture of the cookies I made! DELICIOUS!



Ingredients: 
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter out of a tub)
3/4 c. brown sugar 
1/4 c. granulated sugar 
1 egg 
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 c. all purpose flour 
2 tsp. cornstarch 
1 tsp. baking soda 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips and they were perfect!)

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  In the bowl cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in. The original recipe said to use a stand mixer, but I actually just did it by hand it was fine. 

3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. I actually didn't measure my chocolate chips -- I just kept adding them  until it looked perfect. 

4.  Drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet. I used a small scoop I bought at Bed Bath and Beyond and I've also read about rolling the dough into small balls. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  Mine seemed to cook slower and I checked them at 10 minutes and then let them go a minute or two longer.

5.  Let cool, on the sheet for about five minutes. Then remove to a wire cooling rack and ENJOY!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

This isn't the most exciting outfit ever, but I think it says a lot about where I am right now. 


Clothes really do help determine how you look and feel about yourself. I have a whole new respect for the TLC show What Not to Wear. I could definitely use some new clothes via Clinton and Stacey right about now, but then again I don't want to spend a bunch of money on new clothes when I am no where near where I want to be. 

Anyway, my baggy clothes are at least comfortable for a cool winter day :)

My jeans are from Maurices. These ones used to be my tight jeans, but now they are all baggy, especially in the back area. 

The sweater is from Old Navy. 

The reddish shirt I have on underneath is from a mud run I did back in October or so. 

I'm also wearing my favorite bracelet from my Europe and I finally put my wedding ring back on because it actually fits my finger and isn't too tight!

It should be noted that my shoes are Doc Martins. I've always thought they looked like bowling shoes and they are at least a size too big for me, but I bought them back when having Doc's was cool and I didn't care that they didn't fit, they were just cool!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Friend Making Monday -- Getting to Know Each Other


Go check out All The Weigh and share your responses there :)



Getting To Know Each Other
1. What is your favorite color? Pink, Purple and black. Although I’m known to sport some Aggie blue and some SDSU red.

2. Share one or more of your talents.  People say I’m pretty good at scrapbooking. I absolutely LOVE to do it, but I don’t often have time.

3. If you were spending the day getting to know someone new, where would you want to go?  I would want to go somewhere quiet where we could talk, but also somewhere where I wasn’t completely alone that could help spur conversation. A coffee house maybe?

4. What is your favorite meal?  I’m not sure on a favorite meal. I love to eat Subway and I really, really LOVE Mexican food. YUM!

5.  Do you prefer to text or talk?  It depends. If I just want to say hi I think a text is great, but if it is more than just to see what’s up then I talk to talk – unless I don’t know them and then I’m good with texting. I hate doing cold calls.

6. Share something about yourself that might surprise someone that you’re getting to know.  I interview former Utah Jazz basketball player Jeff Hornacek for the team magazine when I was in 8th grade. It was such an incredibly cool experience.

7. Do you color your hair? Yes. I’ve done it professionally and then more recently I’ve done it at home because I can’t afford the salon anymore. I have to cover up all of these random grays that I have. I need to do it soon because I’m not loving the current color of reddish that I have in it.

8. Do you wear glasses or contacts?  Yes. I wear my contacts during the day and then my glasses in bed and first thing in the morning.

9. What is your favorite breakfast food?  I really like Cheerios, especially Honey Nut.

10. Would your friends say that you’re sarcastic?  No. I don’t think they would. I try to be, but I’m not really.

11. Do you prefer salty or sweet?  I like a mixture of both.

12. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?  It sounds weird, but I kind of look for that tall, dark and handsome look. Not that I’m looking – I’m very happily married, but when I see a guy I definitely notice if he is my type or not.
13. What is the last movie you watched?  At the theater the last movie I saw was Frankenweenie. At home the kids had on Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

14.  Are you religious?  I would like to think so, but I don’t have the opportunity to go to church as often as I would like.

15. Are you a neat freak, a slob, or somewhere in between? I’m somewhere in between. I’m definitely not as tidy as I would like to be, but I don’t consider myself a slob.

16. Share something from your bucket list that you hope to do someday.  I really want to go to Australia and New Zealand and swim with the dolphins and hold a koala bear. Seriously – I have wanted to do this as long as I can remember.

17. Are you a risk taker, or do you prefer to play it safe?  I definitely like to play it safe. I’m scared of change and I always worry about the consequences.

18. Have you ever worn braces?  Yep. I had them on when I was in junior high and my sophomore year of high school. They weren’t too bad. I have permanent retainers in my mouth right now. It’s a pain when I go to the dentist because they have to floss in between each tooth. It kind of hurts.

19. Would you rather spend an evening at a theater or at a club?  Like a movie theater or a performance theater? I wouldn’t like a club, but I think I could hang at a movie theater.

20. If you could have three wishes, what would one of them be?  I would wish to be happy and healthy with myself. I think I am getting there, but it is still a work in progress.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The 2013 Presidential Inauguration and Other Adventures

I'm crazy!

I know that, but I didn't really think about it before I took 11 middle school students to Washington D.C. by myself! We were with a tour group so I didn't really feel like I was by myself, but it did take a lot of organization, head counting and just plain ol' being responsible.

About a year ago I thought it would be neat to organize a trip to the inauguration. I had a few kids sign up and then I went to an orientation during the summer where I kind of when through what the trip would be like. I was super excited and I guess that showed when I got back because I was able to get a few more kids to register just months before the trip.

I can honestly say this is one of the best things I've ever done! It was a neat experience for me to be at, but it also made me feel good that I was helping students to experience something they may have thought wasn't possible.

I had the best time ever! Here are some photos and I hope to getting to scrapbook them this weekend.


Our first group shot of the trip. Little did the kids know I was going to take 100 more group shots throughout the next few days! They knew the drill by the last day! 


We flew out of Las Vegas pretty late on the Friday night. I was lucky enough to have a window seat (my only one of the trip) and I got this awesome photo of the strip. I definitely have to say that this is one of my favorite photos.


We flew from Las Vegas to Philadelphia. We had a couple of hour layover to then take a 20 minute flight to Baltimore. Kind of silly if you ask me. This was the plane that we boarded. It only help 50 passengers and when we landed in Maryland we actually walked onto the runway and then inside the airport. I was a little nervous at this point!


One of the first places we went once we got to D.C. was the Smithsonian Natural History museum. I wasn't too excited about this one, but I actually ended up having my favorite memories by holding the caterpillar (above) and the Hissing Madegascar Cockcraoch (below).


EWWWW!!!!


 I loved all of the koala stuff they had in the gift shop. If you know me you know that the koala is my favorite animal ever and all I long for is to someday hold one!


Next we headed over to the American History museum  (my favorite!). We actually went there again on Tuesday, our last day. This is a quick shot I got of Lincoln's hat. We were not suppose to take pictures, but I guess I broke the rules and that didn't stop me.


A beautiful view of the Washington Monument as the sun was setting.


This was the teacher that was in charge of the other group that we were with. She was super sweet and we had actually met during the orientation we were on during the summer so that was fun!


An almost full group shot in front of the White House. 


We did a walking tour at night where we went to the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean Memorial and the Vietnam Wall. These are definitely more powerful at night.


I think this is a cool picture. We were standing around the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his I Have  a Dream speech. Pretty cool because the inauguration actually happened on MLK's birthday.


 A group shot at Mt. Vernon. I really like this place and could definitely spend more time there. I hadn't been there before the summer. I can't wait to someday go with D.C.


Can you believe that George Washington, our country's first president, is buried right there?!


Another thing I wasn't suppose to take a picture of, but did anyway -- Washington's teeth. Despite popular belief, the teeth are not made out of wood, but hippo teeth and some other things. Gross!


Sitting on Washington's back porch.


This was beautiful to see and I guess we came at just the right now. The wreaths were up at Arlington National Cemetery from Christmas. It just added a little something extra that was really special.


We saw the changing of the guard and also a couple of wreath laying ceremonies  It was super packed and I didn't have a great view.


One of the girls on the trip was having a birthday. I saw these cupcakes and thought it would be fun to get a little treat for the group. They tasted OK. I think I was just tired of eating at this point!


We woke up at 5 a.m. to get down to Washington D.C. I couldn't believe how absolutely stunning the sunrise was. I couldn't get enough of it.


A picture looking backwards toward the Washington monument. We weren't super close, but we were definitely up closer than I anticipated. 


One of the highlights to me was seeing former president Jimmy Carter. Bill Clinton was also there so I was in the same vicinity as three presidents. Pretty cool!


After a lot of pomp and circumstance Vice President Joe Biden took the oath of office given by Justice Sotameyer.


Then the Chief Justice John Roberts gave the oath of office to President Barrack Obama. I felt so patriotic at this point!


Another highlight to me was hearing Kelly Clarkson sing My Country 'tis of Thee. She was absolutely stunning and her vocals sounded amazing.


I really have nothing to say about Beyonce. I'm disappointed that she couldn't actually sing while standing there.


After the inauguration we made our way to the Air and Space Museum. I can't believe that I was standing in front of the Wright Brothers plane! I'm still baffled by it. At night we went to an EF ball that was fun. I posted a couple of photos from it yesterday.


Our last morning there we went to the Library of Congress and then did photo stops at the Supreme Court and the Capitol building. It was absolutely bitter cold this morning. So thankful it was warmer on inauguration day. 


After we parted ways from the other group (they had an earlier flight than we did) my group went back to the American History museum. They had an exhibit on the dresses of the First Ladies. I thought they were absolutely beautiful and I loved seeing Michelle Obama's dress from the previous inauguration.


I definitely had fun with the kids on the trip! It was great to head home though. I finally pulled up to my house about 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday. I've worked the last couple of days and it has seemed like the longest week ever! I can't wait to sleep in on Sunday (I'm going to run 10 miles tomorrow morning -- again, I'm crazy!)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What I Wore Inaugural Ball Edition

I will probably never attend an official Inaugural Ball, but the EF Smithsonian Student Travel ball I was able to attend with the students I took to Washington D.C. was pretty sweet. 

We had a buffet dinner, danced to popular music and we were able to take photos with some real famous people.


I wore a cute crocheted dress from Target I bought for when we went to San Diego for DC's grandma's funeral. I had black nylons and some cheap little flats on. You can't really see, but I am also wearing a cute little camera necklace I bought at the spy museum.

Here are a couple of photos of me and the other famous folks I took snapshots with.



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday



I'm really feeling more comfortable in my skin lately. I think it helps having a few new items that actually fit my body and don't just sag.

My shirt is our faculty shirt at school from last year. We were supposed to get new ones this year, but that didn't happen.

The jeans are "skinny" jeans from Old Navy.

The brown boots are from the Forever Young shoe store in our mall. I absolutely LOVE them! So excited that I finally have some cute boots.

The necklace is Marc Jacobs. It's a super cute little postcard that I got from my brother and sister in law for my birthday. It says Marc Jacobs on one side and then it says with love (a heart) on the other side. I try to wear it whenever I can! I tried finding a link for the necklace, but it looks like Marcjacobs.com doesn't have them anymore.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Another Lost Tooth

I can't believe that my 5 1/2 year old has lost another tooth! He is growing up way too fast. This one had been holding on for the last few weeks and he was doing a good job moving it with his tongue and the other day I could tell that it was just ready to come out. 

I worked really hard on the tooth and it started to bleed. This freaked LD out a little and he went to the mirror to go look at it. I guess he was feeling brave and he just yanked the tooth out. Way to go LD! He is such a big boy.


He was smart this time! He asked specifically for FIVE quarters and not $10. The tooth fairy was more than happy to comply with his request.


If you look real close you can see the adult tooth that has grown in crooked behind the space. I'm hoping we don't have to spend too much on orthodontics down the road!



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday -- New Clothes!

One thing that I have definitely noticed lately is that my pants are getting more saggy. It's like I bought my clothes a size too big and they are just falling off of me.

Definitely a good problem to have! 

I really wanted some of the knee-high boots that are so in style right now and then of course I would need the pants to go with them so. Thank goodness DC is so supportive and let me go pick out some new clothes. I feel so much more confident when I have clothes on that actually fit me.


Starting at the bottom -- the boots are from Forever Young shoes in our mall.
The pants (they are red with cream colored polka dots) were on clearance at Old Navy (only $8.49!)
The black shirt is from DownEast Outfitters and the cardigan is from Old Navy.
The mustache necklace is from Little Miss Momma.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Friend Making Monday -- Interesting Things


It's another Friend Making Monday! I absolutely love it and look forward to it every week. If you haven't done it before go check out Kenlie's blog at alltheweigh.com and play along. Here are my responses for this week.

1. What is the last movie you saw in a theater?  My mother-in-law and I took the kids to the cheap theater to see Frankenweenie. We were going to go see the final Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part II, but it wasn't playing at any times that would work for us. Oh well -- I'll see it eventually.
2. How old were you when you had your first kiss? Goodness -- is it sad to say that I'm not sure? Evidently it wasn't very memorable.
3. Share the coolest thing that you’ve done so far in 2013. 2013 has just been pretty chill around the house so far. The one super cool thing that I'm doing coming up is going to Washington D.C. this Friday with a group of 8th and 9th graders to see the presidential inauguration. That is something I'll be able to cross off my bucket list and remember for years to come. I hope to make it a tradition to take kids on the trip. 

4. What kind of cell phone do you use? Do you love it? I have a Samsung Galaxy S III. I do love it, but I hate T-Mobile where I live. We don't have 3G or 4G so I pay for the data and the fancy phone, but it doesn't work to all of its capabilities here. 
5. How many times do you plan to workout this week? I already did 20 minutes this morning on the exercise bike. I plan to try to squeeze something in every day this week. I would like to drop one pound this week at Weight Watchers so I can say that I've lost 15 pounds total since I've been going.
6. What is your favorite movie from the 80′s? I LOVE LOVE LOVE Dirty Dancing! I had to double check that it was 80s (1987 to be exact!), but there is just something about that movie that I could watch it a million times and never get sick of it. My favorite movie about the 80s is the Wedding Singer. Same thing -- I could watch it on and on and on.

7. If you could choose one character from a TV show or a movie to fall head over heels for you, who would it be? I'm not really sure. I really like Will from The Good Wife. I don't know that I would want him to fall head over heals for me, but there is something intriguing about him.

8. If you could eat one food everyday for the rest of your life without gaining any weight as a result, what would you choose? I get kind of sick of foods when I have them too often and I'm trying to be good so I don't want to have negative food messing with my mind. I can't think of a single food, but I would love to go to SoupPlantation/Sweet Tomatoes every day for the rest of my life. I would absolutely love that!
9. What is your favorite flower? I've always like carnations. Especially when you can put some food coloring in the water and the edges change color -- so pretty!

10. Did you watch the Golden Globes last night?  Yes, but not the whole thing. We had the last couple of hours on and I saw the end. I was telling DC that in the TV category they should have different awards for network and cable shows. It just doesn't seem fair that some of the shows are up against each other. Oh well! Life isn't really fair.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Biggest Loser Episode 2 (thoughts and spoilers)

I actually finished this episode a couple of days ago, but I forgot to do a post on it.

All I can say is POOR WHITE TEAM!

Jillian must be so frustrated with the fact that her team has twice won the challenge, but lost the weigh in. I know I would be!

The challenge started with the teams getting to meet Antonio Gates from the San Diego Chargers. He seems like a great guy and inspirational for the contestants to meet.

I have to say that I LOVED Allison's Chargers jersey. I want it so bad!

The contestants had to run through various football drills and the team with the fastest scores won. The prize was pretty cool -- the child that is on their team would win a bunch of money for their school for new equipment and then an NFL player of their choice would come and speak to their school. That would be a dream come true!

Like I said, the white team won.

The weigh in again featured a red line. It was almost like you could see it coming. Nathan had kind of had a breakthrough with Jillian and himself, yet he was sent packing because he had the lowest amount of weight loss. This was especially sad for Jeff, a member of the blue team, who probably felt super guilty since he didn't lose any weight and got to stay on the ranch whereas Nathan had to go home and he had lost a decent amount.

I do have to say Nathan looked great after he went home. He had lost like 40 pounds and was much more active. He even proposed to his girlfriend.

I can't wait for another episode and hopefully I can have a more timely recap!

Thursday Night Hoops

This time of year on a Tuesday or Thursday night you will often times find me sitting outside the middle school gym taking money for the girls and boys freshman basketball games.I love doing this. It's easy money, I can have my kids with me and they are seeing people be active and not just sitting in front of the TV. 


This is my view. It wasn't too busy last night because it was raining and really windy.


I absolutely LOVE this picture of EM. I took a picture before this and her eyes were closed. I told her to make sure her eyes stay open and she does just the opposite with the biggest grin ever! She is a little stinker and she knows it!


This is a great picture of LD! He loves coming to the games with me. Last night he was running around with the kids of another teacher and having a great time. He likes to interact with other kids and isn't afraid to try to make new friends. When it's a boys game he is especially excited because his teacher comes to the games. Her son is on the school team and LD just gets a kick out of seeing her outside of the classroom.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

Nothing too exciting here today! 


My shoes are from Roxy, my undershirt is from Downeast Outfitters and my jacket is one I had custom made at the local print shop. It has our school logo on the back. 

My favorite part of this outfit is my new jeans! I know you can't get too close of a look at them, but they are brand spankin' new and a size smaller! No more size 20 and 18 for this girl -- these new jeans are size 16! They are Amethyst brand from deb in the mall. They aren't too expensive and super comfy! Plus they have cute butt pockets -- gold sequins.