Category Archives: General

Pumpkin Protein Oat Bars

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If you know me, or have been following me for…well, any amount of time.  You know that I struggle with staying on a healthy/active lifestyle.  Eating healthy and exercising regularly just doesn’t come naturally for me.  It is a real fight in my head between good and evil.  And for the last few months, evil has one every time.  Even the days that I randomly got out for a jog, I couldn’t stick with the eating well part.

I’ve never been a “meal prep” kind of eater for two reasons.  A) I never know when I want to eat until right before I eat it.  And 2) I don’t feel like eating the same thing all of the time.  (yes…I know I did A and 2…it’s supposed to be funny.  No?  Ok, moving on).

Another reason I haven’t meal prepped is because I’m mostly a stay at home mom.  Why would I prep everything when I am here to prep it before I eat it.  Well, that’s not working for me…OBVIOUSLY!

So Friday evening, I sauteed green pepper and onion for our stromboli.  I purposefully didn’t use all the veggies in the stromboli so that I could make some egg muffins.  Not exactly the same as I made here.  You can kind of make them with whatever ingredients you want.  I did sauteed green pepper and onion, turkey bacon, cheddar cheese and eggs with Morton’s seasoning, ground red pepper, and garlic powder to taste).  (Store in the fridge, heat in microwave about 30 seconds and I add Cholula to the top of mine and YUMMMMM)!

Saturday, I decided to make these Pumpkin Protein Oat Bars that I’ve been wanting to make, like, FOREVER so that I would have a healthy snack/post-workout food.

I apologize for the not perfect pictures.  I was making these in a hurry while trying to figure out what my son was going to eat for dinner.  That’s how I roll, unplanned and rushing!  🙂  I didn’t have a chance to get the good camera out to take any professional type pics.

But my son is very much into helping me cook so he did an excellent job at helping me stir all these ingredients together.

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These are super easy, just mix all of the ingredients (except for the oats) together in a medium bowl.

Preheat oven to 375º

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup vanilla protein powder (we use this one)

(I did add a small pinch of salt)

Then add 1 1/2 cup of oats and mix together well.

Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and then spray paper with cooking spray.  Pour batter into prepared dish and smooth with a spatula.  Bake 35-38 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in dish for 10 minutes.  Remove from dish and cool on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes.  Once completely cool, cut into whatever size pieces you would like and place in a airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.  Or wrap individually and place in a zip top bag for the freezer for up to a month.

There are other ingredient variations in the link for where I got the recipe from.

 

I will be making these again and probably have them around all of the time.

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I put the recipe into My Fitness Pal and these are the nutritional facts I got from making 8 bars.  164 calories, 2g fat, 25g carbs, 3g fiber, 13g sugar, 11g protein.

For a healthy recipe using no flour, these are probably the best I’ve had!  Make them and let me know what you think.

How I organized my Pinterest

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Anyone else have way too many pins?

I know I cannot be the only person out there that has way more pins than I will ever utilize.

Pretty much anyone with a Pinterest account (most likely) has this “problem”.

 

Just like Pinterest, itself, I have evolved, in how I organize it.

I didn’t start using Pinterest right away when it first came out.  I didn’t know what it was.  I thought it was weird.  And then I got curious.  I caved.  I now…like many…have a Pinterest Problem.

Seeing as how I didn’t really know what I was doing when I first started, I just “liked” things that pinspired me.  Before I knew it, I had over 1000 “likes”.  Thus, making it nearly impossible to find anything later when I needed it.  So after a while longer,  many many many more “likes” later, and figuring out how pins actually worked, I started creating boards.  I went through my “likes” and actually pinned them to my boards.  I felt so accomplished.

But even this didn’t seem to be enough to keep me from scrolling…scrolling…scrolling through my board looking for a particular recipe.

For instance, I had a general “food” board.  I tried finding new breakfast recipes and they were getting lost in the “food” board so I created a “breakfasty food” board.  CLEVER!!!  Problem…I kept forgetting to use it and kept sticking stuff in the old “food” board.

While playing the scroll game to find a recipe for something I was making with a friend.  I said, “Pinterest needs to make sub-boards.”  A sub-folder idea.

Well, since the makers of Pinterest don’t consult me personally, I took matters into my own hands.  Well, just for my own account.

I thought I had a lot of boards before I did this last “project” but now I’ve created more.  And let me tell you…I LOVE IT!!!!!

 

Here’s the boring part…

My old list:

  • Arm/Back
  • Ayden’s 3rd birthday
  • Big Boy Room
  • Blogalicious
  • Breakfasty Food
  • Christmas
  • Cleaner eats
  • Core
  • Craft
  • DIY
  • Easter
  • Family Tree
  • Food
  • Food technique
  • Fun
  • Garage organization
  • Gardening
  • Gifts
  • Girly stuff
  • Good to know
  • Health
  • Home
  • Humor
  • I want (my very first board…still had no clue what I was doing)
  • June Workouts (during my 8 week challenge, set aside specific workouts to do during June)
  • Kids
  • Kid Food
  • Kid crafts/learning
  • Legs
  • Made2Order Memories (my home business)
  • Mom of the year
  • One day projects
  • Organizing
  • Party
  • Scrap (scrapbooking)
  • Style I wish I had
  • Tachnology
  • Tips & Tricks
  • The Veronica Blog
  • Washi

For a total of 40 boards.

My new list consists of 74 boards.

So, this is how it looks when I want to pin something.  Can you see how more organized it is???  I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!  All my food (with exception of “kid food”) are all together, but still separate.  Since they are all in one spot, I don’t forget about the subcategories.  I basically kept everything the same.

I still have most of my miscellaneous boards.  But I took three of my biggest boards (food, health, and home) and created the sub-folder idea.

What I did was I went through each and every pin in the boards I knew I needed to work on.

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To move a pin to another board, press and hold until the three circles appear, slide finger to the pencil clipart (the edit button).

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Choose the board by tapping on the second line and choosing the existing board you want.

 

Now, to easily create a new board from the pin itself, press and hold until the three circles appear, slide finger to pencil clipart.  Tap on   and then tap on the “+” symbol in the top right corner.  From here you can create the new board.  When you’re finished, it will create the new board and place that pin in that board all at once.

IMG_9396.PNGAlso, I also pinned the same pin to different boards.  That way if I am browsing, I am not missing anything.  For example, this chicken spaghetti recipe, I placed in: FOOD-chicken, FOOD-casseroles, and FOOD-pasta.

So, if you feel overwhelmed with some of your boards, maybe something like this will work for you.  Let me know how you’ve organized your Pinterest.  Or if you do this, let me know how you like it!

Have a fabulous Monday, everybody!

When all else fails…COOKIES!!!

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Oh my!  Could it be true?  Could my last post really be a month and a half ago???  I know I’m not the every-day-blogger, but that just seems like a long time.

A lot has happened in that month and a half, so I’m not surprised that the blog got left out.  I will spare you the details, and just pick up like where I left off.

I was “challenged” by a friend of mine to do a #write31days challenge.  Where I would publish a blog post every day for 31 days.  I accepted the challenge…over a week ago.  Who am I kidding?  There’s no way I would be able to post every day.  Even if I wrote a whole bunch in advance and just posted one per day.  There’s way too much housework, almost-three-year-old entertaining/teaching, and part-time job work for me to be able to keep up with that write-31-days thing.  Maybe one day.

Knowing that I needed and WANTED to post something, I just couldn’t decide what.  I do have a little notebook that I keep for my blog ideas.  I am sad that I missed some good posts (I’ll still do them, the timing just won’t be as good) because my MacBook was in California, getting more storage space!

Still trying to decide what to post about, it came to me…COOKIES!  Everyone likes cookies.  I had found a recipe for these apple oatmeal spice cookies at work (Publix) and thought they looked good.  Plus they looked like a healthier version of a regular oatmeal cookie.

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Especially my brother-in-law.

A few months ago, we invited my sister and her family over for dinner.  My BIL has been having some weird digestion (we think) issues and has been cutting out certain foods in the hope to find out what’s wrong.  Also, he’s been trying to not eat as many sweets.  So I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try these cookies.  Little did I know, that he would become obsessed with them!

And by obsessed, I mean he-won’t-let-anyone-else-eat-them obsessed.  Like he-makes-someone-make-another-batch-before-he-finishes-the-current-batch kind of obsessed.  So, I guess they were a hit!  Another bonus, my nieces like them too!  SCORE!

Ok, so here’s the scoop:

(see what I did there…scoop? like scoop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet! no? just me? ok… :/   )

Makes: about 3 dozen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I did halves with AP and whole wheat flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) light butter, softened

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or apple butter)

1 egg

2 tablespoons skim milk (or whatever milk you prefer)

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups uncooked oats (quick or old fashioned)

3/4 cup diced dried mixed fruit or raisins (I used mini chocolate chips… 🙂   )

 

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray (I use parchment paper…always parchment).

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2. In large bowl, beat sugars and light butter with electric mixer until well blended.

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3. Add applesauce, egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.

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4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg; mix well.

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5. Stir in oats and dried fruit (or mini morsels); mix well. (Dough will be moist).

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6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets, press lightly to flatten.

7. Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.

8. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack.  Cool completely.  Store tightly covered. (and hidden in a cupboard like my brother-in-law 😉   )

 

Ta-daaaaaaa.

Have you had any recipes that you’ve made that someone has gone gaga over?

 

 

Throwback Thursday 08/21/2014

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Today’s #tbt is Ayden’s very first RAYS game.  Well first, if you don’t count the Spring Training game we attended when I was pregnant (before I found out I was pregnant) and the regular season game after I found out.

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Three generations of Sturtevants.

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Father and son.

It was an afternoon game (the only kind that made sense to go to with a 9month old baby.

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We were able to take Grandpa with us (Berk’s dad, his mom had to work).

It was a very interesting trip for me as I had to pump in the back seat so that I didn’t have to take Ayden anywhere to nurse him during the game.

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I was a little embarrassed to have to pump right behind my FIL as he was driving, but I was glad for the noise of traveling on the highway that he didn’t even hear the pump…pump…pump.  Pumping mothers know what noise I’m talking about.  Well, I thought I was safe until shortly into my session, I noticed he was getting off the Interstate.  Why?  Why are we stopping???  He had to go to the bathroom.  Somehow I still managed to keep discrete and he didn’t even know.  (Not like he would have cared, I was just self-conscious).

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Ayden had a great time.  However, he was getting more mobile at this point (about a month or so before he started walking) and he didn’t want to just sit with us.

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We don’t usually purchase photos taken at theme parks, games, and such, but it was too good of a picture to pass up.  Considering the pic we tried to take, didn’t come out so well.

IMG_9782LOL  I just noticed the guy looking like he’s picking his nose.  GREAT!

IMG_3805I think he had a good time.

Where were you 10 years ago, today?

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TEN years!  It’s been 10 years???  I cannot believe that 10 years have gone by since Hurricane Charley opened my eyes to something I never took seriously.

I will try to keep this from being the most horrible run-on story.

A “simple” account of my day, TEN years ago…today!

August 13, 2004.  Was it a coincidence that it was a Friday the 13th?  I don’t so much believe in that whole Friday the 13th thing, but do find it a bit funny that a day that shook the town happened to fall on one of those “days”.

~~~ Where was I?  Combination of work (Publix #0266, Punta Gorda, FL) and home (Tobago St, Punta Gorda, FL (Deep Creek))

~~~ What was I doing? First, working (and panicking that I wouldn’t be able to get home because I had to cross bridges to get home) then at home watching,  waiting, panicking, crying, disbelieving.

On that morning, I had to open the office at work (scheduled in at 6AM).  I was so worried that they were going to decide to close the surrounding Publix’s too late and I wouldn’t be able to get home.  See, either route home required me to cross a bridge.  And I had learned that when winds reached 39 mph (sustained, I believe) that they closed bridges.  And since we were expecting Tropical Storm winds, that was very likely to happen.  At the time, Charley’s projected path had the Tampa Bay area as it’s target.

We opened the store before posted normal business hours for anyone who needed emergency items.  I remember vividly waiting for the phone call from the “Big Wig” to tell my Store Manager to close it up and go home.  7AM came…no phone call.  I answered all phone calls coming into the store so I would know if it was him or not, but not for  sure if it was to close the store or to stay open cuz the conditions weren’t going to be bad enough to close.  And with a chain as big as Publix, it takes a MAJOR even to close the store early.  8AM…no phone call.  I kept telling my managers that I couldn’t get home if they closed the bridges.  And neither could my Store and Assistant Store Managers.  I don’t really know what I thought I was accomplishing by obsessing over the bridges.  9AM…no phone call.  Then it happened, around 10:30AM, the phone rang.  He asked for the Store Manager.  The announcement was made!  Close it up and go home.  So my supervisor and I gathered all the money from the registers, headed to the cash office and closed up shop.  We followed the safety procedures for preparing for bad weather like what we expected (Tropical Storm) and I was finally heading home around 11:45AM.  I made it home around noon, where my parents, grandparents, and a friend of the family were already there checking weather reports.  We also had two cats of friends’ of ours who were out of town.  Berkley ended showing up shortly after me.  He was at his store in Port Charlotte and came as soon as they finished their closing procedures.  His parents were still in Connecticut on vacation.  (Berkley and I had only gotten back to town from CT three days before the storm hit).

And there, we waited.  My dad on the phone to his brother in Tampa.  Asking him if he was prepared for what was about to happen.  My mother and grandmother in the kitchen, making a lasagna so we had a hot meal to eat when the power went out.  Because that’s what we were expecting, loss of power (only) and rain too.  Me, in my bedroom, folding towels and laundry so that everything was clean and put away so it would be easy for when we were fumbling around in the dark needing…well…towels and underwear.  HAHA

(Needless to say, that lasagna stayed in the oven until I think Monday, because no one thought about it)

I looked outside as it was getting darker and darker, the trees starting to show signs of significant wind increases.  I had always heard about the eye of a hurricane and how in the center of the eye, the wind stops, you can see blue sky, and it is calm and serene…until the other edge of the eye.  I thought to myself “wouldn’t it be cool to see the eye of the storm?”  WHOOPS!!!  An idea I now regret ever thinking.

It wasn’t long after that thought, that we got the word that Charley was taking a turn….for Charlotte Harbor.  We weren’t right on the harbor, but we weren’t far either.  Real quick, things got serious.  Winds picked up, windows rattled, sliding glass doors started to wobble.  A large portion of the main section of the house was sliding glass doors.  I also had a set in my bedroom and my parents’ had a set in their bedroom as well.

My dad had everyone go in to the laundry room.  Thank goodness we had a large laundry room.  In there we had 7 adults and 2 cats (in a cat carrier).  The volume of the winds were so loud.  It almost like standing on the jetway while planes’ engines are running.  I remember feeling the pressure in my ears as we just sat and waited.  We could hear one of the screen doors slamming, slamming, slamming on the lanai.  The interior door to the garage was rattling.  Until now, I had forgotten just how loud it was.

INTERIOR DOOR!!!!

After a little while, the noises seemed to slow down and it got a little lighter in the room.  We didn’t really know where the storm was as we had lost power by this point and had no weather radio or anything (if it would have even worked, I don’t know).  All of a sudden, my dad gets up and tells Berkley to come with him.  They were going to go assess the situation and see if it was over.  It wasn’t over, it was only half way done.  We were on the edge of the eye of the storm.  Not directly enough to see the clear skies before the other side.  But enough to realize what was happening and we were then herded (yes, like cattle, lol) to the other side of the house to my parents’ bedroom.  As we walked by the wall of sliding glass doors, I could see them almost rippling.  (I’m pretty sure the only thing that saved them is the winds were blowing parallel to them instead of perpendicular).  Up until now, we still had some cell service and I was keeping in touch with my sister who was in Port Charlotte.

Backyard Video

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Hurricane is over right? Yeah, guess not. video

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(the videos should open in a new window.  you might need to activate QuickTime Player)

There we all sat, in my parents’ bedroom as the winds picked up again, the sky darkened, and the slamming of the screen door started again.  Only this time, everything was going the other direction.  Still texting back and forth with my sister for a little bit.  The last message I got was “our roof just blew off.”  No more messages either way.  I really started to freak out now.  And here, we waited out the storm.  As things started to slow again, my father stood at the threshold of the door, looking into the kitchen, living room, dining room, etc. and just watched the water coming in…shaking his head in disbelief.  When he felt it was safe for everyone to leave the master bedroom, I walked into the kitchen.  I walked through about 1-1/5″ of water.  No windows broke, no doors busted loose.  Where was it coming from?

It was just coming through the roof.  We lost all shingles, tar, fascia, gutters, etc.  The water was just coming through.  It was in the fixtures and everything.  I headed to my bedroom and feared the worst as the first side of the winds were directly hitting my sliding glass door.  There was no damage.  Funny enough, before the storm hit, I moved my new computer from by the slider into my closet.  After, when I opened the closet door, there was a small leak…dripping directly onto the computer tower.

Quickly, I moved anything I needed to and headed to check on Berkley’s parents house, just outside the historic district of Punta Gorda (aka…CHARLOTTE HARBOR).  They have an old two-story house (50ish years, at this point maybe?).  I was expecting the worst.  As we drove out of Deep Creek, I felt like I was in one of those TV commercials where you see everyone staring at the camera just after a disaster.  Neighbors were outside, looking at the damage.  The subdivision was flat.  Trees down, electrical wires down, everything…down.  It took us a few tries to get out of Deep Creek and into Punta Gorda.  We ran into down power poles, trees blocking roads, and a closed bridge.

As we approached Berk’s neighborhood, there was a house with the upper level ripped off.  The way it was positioned it looked like it was his house.  Thankfully it was not (yet very unfortunate for that family).  They had a few large trees in their yard that were broken and all over the driveway and yard.  We couldn’t even pull into the driveway.  We headed inside to see if there was any damage.  Amazingly enough, there seemed to be just very minor things.  You could see cracks tho where the house must have shifted.  I bed that thing was rocking something fierce.  Upstairs, in his bedroom, his rolling computer chair was in the center of the room (normally was at one side of his room).  So strange.

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We headed back to my house.  Every one was going to my brother’s house in North Port for the night.  He had power (hot water and AC).  That would be my home for the next 3.5 months.

I have never forgotten any details of that day.  Everyone is quick to tell their Charley story whenever it comes up.  However, I had forgotten the emotions.

Still can’t believe it’s been 10 years.

Wow.

I know that we were very fortunate but it still shook up my world a little bit.

Where were YOU, ten years ago, today?

Danish Kringlers

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As a kid, I have a very very fond memory of kringlers.  And as I learned more about them, my love for them grew.

Brief background (I’ll try to keep it brief)…I was born in Michigan.  We moved to Florida when I was about 4 1/2.  Unfortunately, we didn’t make it back to Michigan all that often.  Only for major events (weddings, family reunions, 100th birthdays, etc).  There was one special trip that we made at Christmas and I remember vividly the kringler tin.  To my recollection, the kringlers were always kept in a round cookie tin.  Most likely a tin that came with store bought cookies (like those little shortbread cookies) in it.  All packages like that were reused: butter dishes, cool whip containers, and so on.

Now, I’m not sure if kringlers are only made at Christmas or if I only got them at Christmas.

But to me, kringlers are synonymous with three things:

  • – my Great-grandmother (my father’s mother’s mother)
  • – Christmas
  • – something that ties me to my Danish-ness

 

Now, anytime I was every around kringlers, they were always already made.  I never was present for the making of them.  And over the years I often asked how to make them (grandmother, great-aunt, other aunts and such) and they would give me an expression and explanation that they were time consuming and a lot of work.  That they were “tricky” because you don’t just follow a recipe.  They are kind of like that thing that no one wants or knows how to make but everyone loves to eat.  To my knowledge, there are only about 4 or 5 people in our huge family that know how to make them.  And I’m pretty sure only 2 of us make them regularly (well, I’ve just begun, but I will be making them regularly).  I did see on Facebook that another one of the great-grandkids learned how to make them this year so I don’t know if she’s going to make them regularly or not.

And by “huge” family, I mean like Great-grandma had like 8 kids, two of those kids had 7 each, plus the others had kids too, and they’ve had kids, and we’ve had kids…yeah…huge.  I love it.

That didn’t stop me from wanting to know how.

I am an American girl but I still long for being able to have ties to the cultures of my ancestors.  I have always been this way.

Another brief history, my Grandma (Dorothy, my dad’s mom) and my Great-aunt (Lilly) are sisters.  That’s a given, right?  But just to clear things up, I don’t really think of my Great-aunt, Lilly as my Great-aunt.  She is another Grandma to me.  So I’m tired of speaking in technicals, and I’m just going to call her like I know her.

It’s kind of a long story, but Lilly is my sister’s Grandma.  Yup, you read that right.  Anyhoo, when I was a kid, Grandma (Wymer, as we call her) and Grandpa Wymer would spend their summers with us when they came from Michigan to visit.  I have fond memories of playing Uno on the couch for long periods of time with Grandpa and smelling delicious bread that Grandma would make.  What I wouldn’t give for just one more day of those memories in real life.

Ok, I’m back from memory lane and I had to get a tissue.

Alright, let’s get to the point here.  As a young adult, I had a few years of Grandma and Grandpa Wymer LIVING here that I could have had many opportunities to learn how to make kringlers.  Did I?  NO!  I would say, I’m kicking myself for it now.  But I’m kind of glad for the way it worked out.

After we lost Grandpa Wymer in 2005 (?), Grandma moved back to Michigan.  OH NO!  How will I learn to make these stinkin’ cookies????   Oh yeah, that’s right.  Grandma came to visit for a few months with one of her daughters (and her husband), (Toni’s aunt and uncle).  And wouldn’t you know a few years of this would go by before I could actually get my act together to really plan a kringler lesson.

Nevertheless, I did it.  One day in early 2013,  I was visiting with my Grandma Davis (my mom’s mom, who lives here), Grandma Wymer was there visiting too.  I told her she wasn’t allowed to go back to Michigan without teaching me how to make kringlers.  So it was set, I called my sister to get her schedule and we made a date!

To start off the day, Grandma handed me this…20140809-123956.jpgAny of my recipes that go in my recipe binder get typed up so they are all the same.  Not this one.  I was so excited to get this from her, she probably thought I was a big looney.  It’s most likely no big thing for her.  But to have her handwriting on my favorite recipe is something I will never type up for any recipe book.

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I was way more excited about it than my sister, and way more into it too.  But I was glad she was there to spend the time and see how they are done.

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When we started, Grandma gave me an overview on what we were going to do.  Then she basically just dictated from there.  If I did anything wrong, she was quick to tell me.  She is a feisty old lady.  Quiet, but feisty nonetheless.  It is definitely one of the highlights of my life.  Tradition being passed down to a younger generation.  I don’t know how many times she’ll be able to make the trip from Michigan to Florida (it’s a long trip).  And I hate to say it, but I don’t know when the next time we will make it to Michigan will be.

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Left to right: Toni (my sister, Grandma Wymer (Toni’s Grandma, my Great-Aunt Lilly), Aunt Sue (Toni’s Aunt, Grandma’s oldest child), Me and Ayden. And that’s how the kringlers cool. No cooling rack, just sheets of wax paper on the counter.

It is a day I will never ever forget.

The true test came when it was time to make them by myself.  Keep in mind, it was only my 2nd time making them, ever.  I learned from Grandma in February and then didn’t make them again until Christmas Eve, 9 months later!  Needless to say, they went off without a hitch!  It was almost like I had made them a thousand times before.  (And yes, I did buy a round tin from Hobby Lobby…see top picture)

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From Christmas: Anyone who knows anything about our kringlers, it is very rare to get one whole. Usually you are just eating the pieces as they are fragile and break just being stacked. This was the last kringler in the tin and it was whole. Very rare!!!

There was also something else so magical about making them.  Not only were we going to have kringlers, but when I made them, my parents were here with me. As they are every Christmas.  We were ahead of schedule (for once) and not rushing around so they got to just sit and visit with me.  It felt so right to be in the kitchen, baking, and visiting with family.  I often say I was born in the wrong era.  I would love to have been in the time where all you had to do was bake.

Another first, my dad (who’s family this is from) got to have a kringler fresh from the oven, still warm.  He told me that in all of his years growing up around kringlers, he had never had one still warm from the oven.  And that warmed my heart.  I felt such a connection to my Grandmothers’ and my Great-grandmother that day yet we were hundreds of miles apart.

I must say, now that I know how to make them.  I understand why I was given the reaction from my aunts and grandmothers.  It isn’t just a recipe that you can say, here are the ingredients and measurements.  Mix, cut, shape, bake.  And it’s funny that in baking, exact measurements are necessary for the science part of it.  But with these, it really is a little more about the texture of the dough.  Add a little more wet if it’s too dry, and add a little more dry if it’s too wet.

Anyway, I’ll try to see if I can do a play by play when I make them this Christmas.

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Now I thought I had a picture of my Great-grandma. But the picture I am remembering must have been my mom’s However, I did find this picture from (as you can tell) a very long time ago. But that is her, in the front in all of her cuteness. I am so very glad I got to know her and even into my teenage years.

Do you have any family recipes that make you feel nostalgic?

Who do you think you are???

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Well, who do I think I am? I’m so excited that the 2nd season of Who Do You Think You Are? is on TLC.

If you haven’t heard about it, each episode is about a celebrity finding out their genealogy. I am fascinated by family history and would love to be able to trace mine past my grandparents.

One of my great-uncles on my mother’s mother’s side has kept track of her family and has published a book for the family called The Branches and Twigs. I also know that an aunt on my father’s side has kept track of some family tree information on his side.

My mother's parents

My mother’s parents (I know there is German and Dutch there)

 

Father's parents (it was their 61st wedding anniversary on that day).  German and Danish

Father’s parents (it was their 61st wedding anniversary on that day). German and Danish

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My parents

(Why the almost 7-year-old wedding pictures?  Well, they were the nicest and most recent of all my family with me).

What I want to do is to be able to travel to the locations of my ancestors’ records. That’s what they do on the show.  They start on ancestry.com and search the family member they want to research.  Once they get some information (like a census or something) then they usually will go to the location of the census or whatever document/information they found.  It’s kind of hard to explain, but it is a really good show and I would definitely suggest checking it out.

Over the past five years or so, I’ve signed up for a three free trials for ancestry.com.   I’m not trying to use them, I just can’t justify adding the monthly fee to our expenses since I can’t seem to get too terribly far (maybe I could, if I had more than a month, haha).  But in my last endeavor, I could get as far back as my father’s father’s parents.  They both have “leaf hints” but I can’t get any more information since I am not in a membership.  {sad face}

Sometimes I sit and daydream about what it would be like to go back in time.  To go back and see what it was like way back when.  When there were no computers, no phones, no TVs.  When life was in black and white.

Who are my ancestors?

What did they do?

What did their neighborhoods look like?

What hobbies did they like to do?

What personalities did they have?

What goals and wishes did they have?

What struggles did they face?

What did they overcome?

What were their names?

What were their favorite foods?

What color were their eyes?

Hair?

What did they look like?

What languages did they speak?

Did they have any pets?

What were their names?

What were their cultures like?

I know most of these questions will never be answered, but this breaks the surface of what I would like to find out.

What I do know…

I have some German, some Danish, and some Dutch blood running through these veins.  But, I want to know more!

Another reason this is all so interesting to me is I am fascinated by nationalities and the cultures/traditions that go along with them.  Ask any of my ethnic friends and they will tell you.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Greek, Italian, Hispanic…I get sucked in.

This is why it was exciting for me to learn how to make the Danish Kringlers like my Great-grandmother (Dad’s side) used to make.  Brief explanation here.  I thought I had made a blog post about the day I learned how to make them, guess not.  But I will be soon!

Four generation with my son, my mother, and her parents.  I knew this was important to do at the time, but it didn't hit me just how important, until I lost my grandfather only about a year and a half after this picture was taken.

Four generation with my son, my mother, and her parents. I knew this was important to do at the time, but it didn’t hit me just how important, until I lost my grandfather only about a year and a half after this picture was taken.

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Thinking about all of this, I am going to need to start getting things together for Ayden.  In case one day he wants to know anything.  It might take me that long to get it all together, but I’m sure I’ll be glad I did.

How about you, do you know much about your family tree?  Who…do you think YOU are?

New and Improved Budget Binder

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The old one…..

IMG_0164 I put this binder together in early 2013 after I took over paying the bills.  I needed something a little more than just putting bills in a bucket and risking not getting something paid on time.  It made my brain crazy to do it that way.  So I set off to print each month from iCalendar.  I created dividers out of scrapbook cardstock, packing tape, and “labels” that I just printed and cut out.  This helped tremendously to help me know when to pay what.  Also, I kept the bills for the year in case I needed go back and look at a previous bill for anything.

Now, with finances getting a little tighter, I need to better keep track of everything.  So I created some budget planning sheets.  I searched the internet looking for budget planners and none of them seemed to suit our needs.  We get paid weekly, but Berkley receives bonuses at different times of the year and it was just easier to create my own since not all our weeks or months are the same as the rest.

Now, this is what will work for us (hopefully).  I’ve been keeping track  for a couple months now in just a regular notebook so I could make sure of how I wanted to design it.  If you think they will work for you, give them a try.  You should be able to save the image to print it.  If you like them but want them all blank, send me an email (veronica@theveronicablog.com) and I’ll customize them and email them back.

I also switched the binder (and dividers) to one I had used for a different project.  No sense using a boring ol’ black notebook when I have this pretty one not being used.  Also, since the “new” one doesn’t have pockets in the inside covers (the dividers have pockets) I used a binder clip to hold the checkbook in the front cover.  The only thing that could be better is if the “new” binder was 1.5″ instead of just 1″.  But I am not complaining, I did this all without spending money!  See, you can organize without for FREE!

Why is it that we are never satisfied?

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Well, I guess I shouldn’t include EVERYONE in that statement.  But I think to a certain extent, deep down, all people are wishing for just one thing more, even if it’s small.

If I lost 5 more pounds…

If we had more money…

I wish I had some coffee…

Why doesn’t my kid eat better…

I wish I wrote like her…

Why can’t I keep my house clean…

I wish I was more creative…

I’m hungry…

Ok, so these are some of mine and I’m sure you have some of your own.

 

I have found myself thinking this way for a long time.  Not necessarily these exact same things, but many more.  I tell myself that I am more than blessed with what I have.  And if it’s meant to be, I will continue to be blessed.

{However sometimes, the constant want for something more pushes me to be better.}

So I don’t think that thinking this way is entirely bad.  It’s when it starts to consume me, make me put myself down, or even envy others.

Don’t get me wrong, I count my many blessings each and every day and oftentimes more than once per day.  I am living my dream life!  But as in any situation, we get what we want, then we start to want more.  Why is it that we are never satisfied?

I find myself seeing others able to have things that I want and I wonder why I can’t have that too.  Then I hear my ten year old self saying, “it’s not fair!” Then my almost 32 year old self pipes in and barks back, “life isn’t fair!”

{Does anyone else talk to themselves, or is it just me???}

Why am I writing this and sharing it with the world?  I guess I just needed to vent and maybe someone else thinks like this and I’m not the only one.

Maybe it’s to say that it’s okay to want more, but to use it for motivation instead of self-pity.

I got so much recognition for my weightloss journey that I started in June for our trip to The Keys (that’s this coming week!!!).  But it’s been over 2 weeks and I haven’t been eating well or exercising.  I lost my momentum.  I’ve been wondering why I can’t find the motivation to get up and get my sweat on.  I’ve been down in the dumps and this is kind of why.  I’ve had all this on my mind because there are certain things that I just wish I had but I guess that they’re not meant to be so I should just let it go.

It hasn’t been completely bad though, I’ve been finding joy in the chaos of my simple life.  And in taking more of a Type B personality approach to life has actually helped me to accomplish more than when I’m Type A-ing it.

{Is it possible for one to be both Type A and B???  Because I truly think I am both.}

 

 

 

So I guess, if I could bestow any advice it would be to enjoy life to the fullest.  Be happy in what you have.  Be happy for others.

 

My First…First Aid Kit

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I’m actually not sure if this is a “first aid kit” or just a way to organize my mess of first aid components.

IMG_0143I didn’t take a picture of all of this mess under my bathroom sink because, well, ain’t nobody wanna see that!  Just know that it was both in and around the designated drawer for first aid things.  I also found that I had a full big box of band-aids that I didn’t know I had.  So there was more than one reason for creating this First Aid Kit.

  1. To Organize my first aid stuff.
  2. To have something quick to grab if we go on a trip or something.

Ok, so I guess there were just two reasons.  BUT they are both very good reasons.  I do love a good organization project.  And we are going down to The Keys this weekend and I figured I can just grab this kit and take it with us, instead of grabbing a few band-aids and the Neosporin.  Not like I plan on someone getting hurt, but better safe than sorry.

So as you can see from the picture up top, I had a mess.  I also went through the safety kits that I had gotten for Ayden when he was a baby and merged the items with this first aid kit.  I separated the items into piles and then got out small zip top baggies (from the craft store) and put the items in the bags.

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Maybe one of my favorite parts was to use white mailing labels that I had on hand and a red Sharpie pen and I got to labeling.

Finished product looked like this.

IMG_0159IMG_0160Now I WAS planning on using the diaper wipe container.  Because it was white and I WAS going to put a red cross on the top with Washi tape.  BUT the stuff didn’t come close to fitting.  I could have make a “mini” kit in the wipe container.  But that would have defeated the purpose of having everything in one container.

Also, I really wanted to use a fishing tackle box like this…

sarahontheblog.blogspot.com

Or…

ididthisandyoucantoo.blogspot.com

 

BUT, I needed to find something that didn’t cause me to spend any money.  So I found the basket in my scrapbook room and shoved everything into it.  Maybe in the future I can update it to a tackle box.  I get way too excited about the separate compartments to NOT have one…one day.  Plus the fact that my husband is a fishes and it would just make sense!  I will be keeping my eye out for something cheap…err..uh…inexpensive!

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