Friday, January 24, 2014

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Since I found out that I have high cholesterol and need to make some drastic changes in my diet and exercise, I have been doing some experimenting with recipes. This process also got me more excited about cooking in general (something I have always loved), so I decided to start with a whole wheat bread recipe. This proved to be more difficult than I thought.

Two of the things that I am absolutely not allowed to eat for the next while are eggs and shortening. Eggs and /or shortening are in lots of bread recipes. After trying a few recipes and making the necessary substitutions I wasn't happy, although my bread-loving husband was. This being the case, I was finally happy when I stumbled on this recipe, via Pintrest, and had to try it out. It worked and was delicious. I am not the kind of person to just sit around and eat a piece of bread for a snack, but I have been since last night.

I promise that my bread looks as beautiful as the original, but her photography is just so much better than mine, so I had to use her's. Go get her amazingly simple (although time consuming) recipe to make it yourself.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Superhero Party

Our little nephew turned one year old last week so naturally there was a party! And since he was just turning one, the party is really kinda for everyone else. Thank goodness it was superhero themed! That meant that I had plenty of shirt options. I decided to match Brett and go with Batman. Luke is such a cute kid and all the other kids were adorable too. Thanks Laurel for letting me steal some pictures after my camera was being weird. :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Little Sis is Talented!

Check out what one of my sisters sent me! How amazing is this. The second one is a copy of my parent's kitchen and its so good.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Christmas Books

Traveling and spending so much time in a house with so many people meant I looked for every opportunity I had to hide a way and read a book. My favorite spot in Brett's parent's house is the chair by the fireplace and so there I was. Here is the list of the books I got to read in just 14 short days!

The Crucible-Arthur Miller
I really liked this play. It was fairly short, but so interesting to me. Again my nerdy history-ness is coming out, but I loved reading it after taking both halves of US History on campus. The play about the Salem Witch Trials was really written as a poke at the Red Scare in more recent time, and I loved seeing the connections. The part about asking if the accusers are always holy? Beautiful. I loved every bit of it. Now I need to see the movie. If Daniel Day Lewis is anything like he was in Lincoln or Last of the Mohicans I know it will be great.

The Lost Symbol-Dan Brown
I had started to read this book once before but never finished so I read the whole thing again. Sadly, I understand why I never finished. I felt like it couldn't really keep my interest. Maybe I have just read too many Dan Brown books at the is point (Deception Point was my first introduction and still one of my favorites), but it just seemed so predictable. Also, the ending was a little anti-climatic for me. If you have read it and want to talk about it sometime, I am available. I might read the next one, I might not. If I do I'm not in much of a hurry.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince-J.K. Rowling
H.P and the Deathly Hallows (still finishing but got halfway before school)-J.K. Rowling
I am from the generation that grew up with Harry Potter. If that is the case than how in the world had I never read the last two books?! By the time I was able to get my hands on them, I was in my freshman year of college and really busy so I settled on listening to the audio version while I did other things, just so I could go to the movies and not feel guilty. Well when you listen to audio books for that long you start to tune out so I missed a bunch, but went to the movies anyway. So now here I am reading the last two so I don't feel like a poser. Its okay if you want to judge me. Anyway, I love them. They are everything I could possibly have ever wanted.

My next series goal: The Lord of the Rings.
Again, I did not discover this amazing story until college and have not had the time to invest in reading them all consecutively, meaning I feel like a poser. I want to marathon these books, so I am thinking maybe this summer. I can say that when we watch the movies, Brett and I always battle because I think the only versions worth watching are the extended, but he doesn't think its worth 12 hours of total time. We have been able to reach a compromise and settle on watching them once a year, 2 hours a day for 6 days in a row. Is it sad? Probably. But is it worth it? Definitely!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A New Semester and Some Frustrating News

The first week of the new semester is official under our belts, and man is it going to be a tough one! I am in 16 credits and Brett in 18. Put on top of that that we both work, and you understand why we aren't surprised to be so exhausted by the end of the week.

The silver lining is that I am really excited about my courses this year. I take a wonderful mix of history, education, and classics courses. I am finally at the point where prerequisites are done and I can choose my classes which is wonderful! Ancient Iraq? Yep. Greek and Roman Mythology? Double yep. Even more exciting is that I am finally going to learn to be a teacher! It's not student teaching yet, but my current introduction class has us go into classrooms and volunteer in a variety of ways. I am really looking forward to it and will probably have some thoughts in the future.

I also can't stop wearing this scarf that I got for Christmas. Leave it to my little sister to know exactly what I would love!

Small note on the frustrating news. I have always known that I have a strong family history of high cholesterol, so even though I am still quite young I decided to talk to my doctor and have it checked. This way I would have a good understanding of where I was and time to keep or change any habits. Well wouldn't you know, but it's already high. We have had to make a few changes, which has been complicated and difficult to understand sometimes. I already exercised fairly often and didn't exactly eat badly just apparently not well enough, so now I am having to learn all sorts of things about how to eat even better.

To make me feel a little better and to congratulate ourselves on making it though such a difficult week of school and news, we decided to try to turn this need for extreme health into some fun, finding a place that we could grab some food from that is good for me and within our budget for "fun extras." Lucky for me, I remembered that at a Mongolian grill I can control what my portions and ingredients are. So there we went! It will still be a struggle for a little bit. It is getting easier. On the bright side, I bought the wrong oranges the other day but got to try my first blood orange. It was so delicious.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Christmas Break and Wedding Recap

Our Christmas Break was nothing out of the ordinary for two college kids. We went to Brett's hometown again this year because his little brother got married and we didn't have enough time to go to both our family's homes for both events in the same week. Luckily it worked out and we were able to be there with so much family at the time when the last Lee got married.

Leading up to Christmas, we really just hung out with family. We went out for a Slurpee run, went out for lunch to celebrate my birthday, and saw the new Anchorman movie (I have to say its not as funny as the first).

I'd like to be able to say that the reason I have no pictures from most of the time was because I was focusing on enjoying the time and purposefully 'unplugged' but in all honesty I was just lazy. Good thing that my lovely husband made sure to snap a very unflattering picture of me on Christmas morning as he brought me a surprise breakfast! He sure knows what I love! A waffle, oranges and hot chocolate and I was in heaven!

Christmas festivities ensued. Everyone was joyful and happy. Brett got a garden gnome dressed like a Portland Trailblazer, I got a book about the context of documents in American History. Both of us were happy. We settled down on the couch to watch some football, while I read my book like a nerd, and loved it!

Once Christmas was over we began the prep for the wedding in full force. Then came the bad news. The day before the bride's father had a serious heart attack and was in the ICU of the hospital for the next several days. Luckily he is in recovery and everyone is so grateful for this. Medical conditions aside, the wedding continued and was lovely, if a little bit more subdued than normal.

This was my first experience being a bridesmaid, and to be totally honest I was really looking forward to it. I don't know why. Its super weird and I acknowledge that, but yet it was cool.

I do have to say that my favorite part of the whole break was the couple of days after we came back to Utah. Because of the New Year holiday we couldn't work like we thought, so we got to spend those 2 days with each other. We went shopping, read books, watched movies, slept, and in all ways relaxed. In my mind that is what a school break is about.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014 Goals

Again, I fully acknowledge that I am behind the times on the New Year, but only in regards to recording it.

Unlike last year, I decided to be more specific with my goals this time. I was really happy with the success that I was able to achieve with just a few small goals, and that has given me the confidence to be more specific. By doing so, I think it will work to make me more accountable and will be even more enjoyable to be able to easily see the progress.

To help I broke down my goals into five categories like I saw my friend Elisabeth do a year ago. This really helped to organize me and make sure that I was staying well rounded in what I wanted to accomplish. These are some of the larger ones, but there is a whole list in my notebook on a variety of topics.

  • Physical: 
    • Keep increasing my exercise and water intake! From using my year long chart (seen here and here), I discovered that I only exercised 70% of the days that I wanted to. That is a lot better than it was the year before, but something about tracking each day and seeing the final number really holds me accountable and pushes me to do better. Don't even ask about November though, something like a 52 page paper (on top tests and other papers) got in the way.
    • I also just found out that the family problem of high cholesterol is no discriminator of persons. Yep, got tested and I have to make some changes. So eating betting and running more has been part of our lives the past couple weeks and needs to continue to be. 
  • Spiritual: 
    • Make even more of an effort to read scriptures daily.
    • Write in my journal like I used to. I got my first journal when I was 8 and since then I think I have filled 5 or 6. The sad part is that I have been 3 years on this current one and it is not even halfway filled. Recording experiences and thoughts can be powerful, and I need to get back in the habit. 
  • Social:
    • Make an effort to make a friend this summer when I am living in a strange place. We don't know where we are going yet, but Brett will be working (hopefully me too) so I need to be proactive about being comfortable in our new place. 
    • Blog more than I did last year. Not saying that I am going to do this every day, but lets say get to 100 posts for the year? That's 30 more than last year. 
  • Financial: 
    • Continue working with my great husband tracking our expenses and sticking to our budget. Having amazing software that allows you to track each and every transaction in one place makes this much easier. 
  • Intellectual: 
    • Keep my energy level up with school. I have been working really hard to get really good grades, and one of my biggest fears is that I will get burnt out by the time I start student teaching a year from now.  I am so close to the end compared to where I came from, I just want to power through! 
    • As a small note, I also want to read at least 12 books for fun (not assigned) this year. Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, and I just need to make time for it. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hello Again for 2014!

I know, it has been 2014 for six whole days. And I am fine with that.

Brett and I take our Christmas Break very seriously (I know that might sound silly since you don't really get a Christmas Break from the real world. Don't worry, we still worked as much as we could and exercised). This being the case, I decided to take a break from as much as possible, just to get a change of routine. This meant that I didn't even think about blogging again until now.

But now here we are. We made it back from the holidays safely and are actually ready to get going on school again. Which just happened to start today.

We have loved relaxing between days with no worries. We have watched lots of movies, played lots of games and eaten exorbitant amounts of food. This is a no-judgement zone though, so that's okay!

Pictures and fun things to come, I promise!