This Little Piggie Went to the Market

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I love food. I really do. I love burgers and fries and ice cream and soda and potatoes of any kind and so much more. I want to eat fried food more often than is healthy for me and I have a weak spot for dessert. I can’t help it. It’s just so delicious!

But there are also some fruits and veggies that I love! So I thought that I, a proud “little piggie”, would share some of my favorite fresh fruits and vegetables and my favorite ways to eat them.

  1. Spinach I really love fresh spinach. I don’t like it when it’s cooked down but when it’s fresh, I could eat it every day. I prefer it instead of lettuce in many cases, including as that little crunch on sandwiches and in salads. In fact, spinach salads are one of my favorite snacks because they are very low-calorie, as long as you don’t load them up with bacon and cheese. My current favorite spinach salad is topped with bananas and raspberry-walnut vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is low-calorie and super sweet so combined with the bananas and spinach, you get a healthy and delicious snack! Also, we have a peanut sauce recipe (which I cannot find right now…sorry!) that is a good alternate topping with the bananas.
  2. Peaches A good peach in the middle of the summer is so refreshing. We like to get them from a local fresh market. Besides eating them plain and raw, I also like to cut them up into little pieces and put them on top of some plain Cheerios (and milk).
  3. Green Beans Not canned. I’m not a big fan of canned but fresh green beans are really good. My mom likes to bake them in the oven along with some cherry tomatoes so you get the sweet taste of the tomatoes with the green beans. We also have put the green beans in a pot with some home-made chicken broth and potatoes. It may not sound super healthy but as long as you pile on the green beans and take it easy with the potatoes, it’s not too bad for you. Plus it tastes really good.
  4. Apples For the record, an apple a day does not keep the doctor away. I eat an apple everyday for lunch and yet I still get sick a lot. But I do love apples. I prefer to just eat them plain. I don’t cut them up or anything. Just a whole, plain apple for lunch everyday. I’m sorry I don’t have any special ways to eat these.
  5. Cauliflower The unsung hero among vegetables. I recently discovered this wonderful vegetable. I enjoy it when we roast it and then throw it in the food processor. This makes a nice copy-cat mashed potato…thing. It’s really nice in the winter with some meatloaf and broccoli.
  6. Tomatoes I know that you guys are familiar with tomatoes but I’ll tell you some of my favorite ways to eat them. There’s the usual slicing it up and putting it on sandwiches, but I like to salt them then because it brings out the tomato flavor and just makes the whole sandwich better. Also, home-made salsa and bruschetta is pretty easy. Just slice up the tomatoes and add the seasonings. Look it up. They’re so easy to make.

A list with six things. That’s weird. Like, why couldn’t I just stop at five? Or go all the way to ten? It’s bothering me too. I really can’t think of any more fresh fruits and vegetables that are so wonderful that I must share with you. But I can’t think of any on the list already that I don’t want you to know about.

Also, now that I’ve gotten through that phase where I want to write a post every day, I will have a more even posting schedule. I’m thinking once a week, usually Saturdays or Sundays. One more thing for you to look forward to on the weekend. You’re welcome.

Kiss Me, I’m the Cook

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Don’t kiss me. Though you might want to after I share these 10 recipes from Pinterest that I’ve tried an determined delicious!

  1. Copy-cat Chickfila chicken So, like a lot of copy-cat recipes, this doesn’t taste exactly like real Chickfila chicken, but it’s still pretty darn good. They do require frying, so it’s not super healthy. It also takes a long time so make sure you’ve got some good music or someone to talk to. You can either use the sauce recipe she includes or really make it like Chickfila and use some Chickfila sauce.
  2. Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers  These are really good. They are a nice appetizer and are different than your usual taco dip. They’re fairly low calorie but it’s hard to only eat one or two! If you don’t like spicy foods, scrape out all the seeds and membrane from the pepper. Leave some if you’re someone who enjoys a little more kick.
  3. Brownie in a mug I was amazed when this made a really good brownie. The only thing is that it’s a really rich and chocolaty brownie, which doesn’t sound bad at all. However, it’s REALLY rich! Make sure you have some good ice cream and a glass of cold milk to go along with this recipe.
  4. Spinach smoothie You’ve probably heard of these new green and healthy smoothies. Well, I’ve tried a couple of different smoothie recipes and this one is my favorite. You cannot taste the spinach over the peanut butter. You’ll have to get over the fact that you’re drinking a green smoothie. You can substitute plain skim or 2% milk for the almond milk. It still tastes good. And normal vanilla yogurt instead of vanilla Greek yogurt works too.
  5. Turtle cookies  These are so good and so easy. Just follow the instructions and get these new unique and delicious cookies! I made no adjustments and have no comments other than the fact that they are wonderful.
  6. Crockpot Chicken Stroganoff  While this recipe was pretty good, I’m not sure if we will make it very often. It was pretty salty but it’s very low in calories. It’s made of a lot of canned foods but that makes it super easy to throw together in the morning then leave cooking all day. To help counter the saltiness, cook some broccoli and mix it in right before you serve. It helps mask the broccoli and takes away some of the super salty taste.
  7. Oreo Balls I’ve taken these babies to several parties and gotten many compliments on them every time. They’ve even been added to the family Christmas Cookie List, which is pretty exclusive. My mother and I have experimented with these by using mint Oreos (also delicious), dipping them in white and milk chocolate, and drizzling them with different toppings. In order to get the pretty drizzle effect, take the leftover chocolate, scoop a little on a spoon, then swing the spoon over the whole batch. Another look is to crumble a few Oreos before you begin then scoop little piles onto white chocolate dipped Oreo balls: so pretty! This is by far the best Pinterest-found recipe yet.
  8. Apple Pie Fries These are a little messy. Make sure when you’re adding the apple pie filling, don’t make it too thick or it will squirt out the edges with you try to cut! These were a fun little variation on the apple pie and definitely worth trying.
  9. Bite Size Taco Appetizers These Taco Appetizers are so fun! When I made these, I didn’t follow the recipe except for inspiration. My family already had a taco meat recipe so I used that then created different flavor profiles by including various combinations of guacamole, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and black olives. A fun night for all!
  10. Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa  I love salmon. It’s so good. And this recipe is just another way to make this fantastic fish even better. It’s a south-western spin on the fish, combined with a fresh avocado salsa. This is sooooo good. I can’t think of any adjustments I made to the recipe so just follow it and you’ll have a wonderful dinner in no time!

I’m getting hungry just reading this post. I hope I gave you some inspiration for new recipes to try! Let me know about your results with these recipes and any other recipes you may love in the comments.

Old Folks at Home

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Hello all! Yesterday, one of my friends came over to my house and we had a crocheting party. Woot! Both of us made slouchy beanies, but we used different patterns. I used this pattern, which requires that you know How to Read Crochet Patterns. My friend used this pattern, which she preferred because it is a video.

For my hat, I used a 6.55 mm crochet hook. I think the pattern recommends a 4.5 mm hook but mine worked fine. Basically, don’t use a really big or really small hook. I don’t think the pattern tells you how much yarn is needed and I didn’t measure mine but I went to AC Moore and bought a bundle that was 426 yards for less than $3 and that was plenty. The brand is Bernat: Super Value and the color is True Grey. This project took me a little over 6 hours.

I found this pattern to be relatively easy. This is my second time making this hat and I was much more confident this time. The pattern I used does require a lot of counting so if you are watching TV, which is what I like to do, make sure it’s not something you need to be paying a lot of attention to. Also, the first time I made the hat, I was worried that I was making it too big even though I followed the pattern, so I started to decrease the rows back to a smaller size. I wish I hadn’t. The first hat still fits me but it’s tighter than I anticipated. The last 4 rows that the pattern includes helps make the hat stay on your head. Do not fear! Follow the pattern!

Saying that, I did make one small adjustment. She began each round by chaining 2. I liked to chain 3. I don’t really know why but I liked the feel of it better… It’s more of a personal thing and does not affect how the hat looks.

Here are some pictures of the outcomes of my crocheting adventure.

This is my hat
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And here’s a couple of pictures of my first attempt at this pattern.

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Here’s a picture of my first attempt next to this most recent attempt. The grey one is slightly longer but they look pretty much the same when I’m wearing them.

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Because this is my second time making this hat, I tried to weave in the ends so that the hat looks more neat and holds together better. I think it just adds something and makes the hat look less home-made.

If you liked the pattern that I used, make sure you go over an check out her wonderful blog, Little Things Blogged. It’s one of my new favorite blogs and has lots of inspiration and easy-to-follow crochet patterns.

Also, while my friend and I crocheted, we watched several movies. They were good chick-flicks perfect for a day in with a friend. We watched Ever After (an interpretation of Cinderella), Hairspray (the newer version), Clueless (I don’t really know how to describe this. It’s good though). All around, day well spent. Do you have any crochet projects that you are just dying to share? Comment!

Side-note: If you guys haven’t noticed, I’ve been trying to come up with clever titles for the posts I’ve been….posting. There will come a day when I will no longer be able to think of clever titles, but it is not this day!!! (That’s a Lord of the Rings quote, because I’m cool like that.) Anyway, I wanted to explain my post title because it’s terribly clever. “Old Folk at Home” is an alternative title to the tune that you probably know as Swanee River. I’m also making fun of my friend and I, who stayed at my house all day and crocheted…like old ladies. Now that you are aware of how clever I am, you may go.

Tried and True Tips and Tricks

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I don’t know about you guys but I love Pinterest. I’m on there all the time. I love looking at the beauty tips and reading the DIY projects. I constantly look to the fashion boards for inspiration any time I get a new article of clothing and need some advice on the best ways to wear it. I love looking at hairstyles and makeup and nail designs. I love scrolling through the geek board where I can find fellow nerds and dorks who obsess about the same things I do. However, I’m always a little wary to try out the “LifeHacks” or whatever they’re called. What if they don’t work and I’m stuck looking like an idiot because I tried to do so and so? So here is a list of tips and tricks found on Pinterest that I have tested and whether or not they worked for me.

  1. Licking wet nail polish. You know when you paint your nails and 2 hours later you bump into something and they get a little dent? I hate that. Luckily, this trick works for me. Just lick the damaged nail several times and the smudge should be significantly less noticeable. The downfalls of this trick are that it tastes terrible. Like, really bad. Also, after I use this trick, my nail polish is much more susceptible to other dents and smudges. I haven’t tried coating the nail with another layer of clear nail polish but that might help…
  2. Using glue to remove blackheads. Basically, this tip says that you can use plain Elmer’s white glue to remove blackheads. Just put a good coating wherever you have blackheads and let dry completely. Then peel it off and the blackheads will go with it. Unfortunately, this tip did not work for me. It did remove a few blackheads but not enough to make the smell worth it. Not for me anyway. My friend has a routine that she uses that you can read about here. I’ve never tried this so I cannot personally verify it.
  3. Spray cooking oil on nails. This trick states that using cooking spray on wet nails can help prevent those annoying smudges you get when you think you’re nails are dry. It seems to instantly dry your nails. And it worked! If you decide to do it, the first step is paint your nails. Then spray cooking oil on them, preferably over a sink. Let it sit for a few seconds then wipe it off. When I first did this, I was hesitant about wiping off the spray, afraid that my wiping would ruin my nails. But it didn’t. I think this tip is genius and would use it more often but my family goes through spray cooking oil fast enough without me using it every time I paint my nails.
  4. Lotion or Vaseline around the nails. If you haven’t noticed, I love to paint my nails and love tricks that can make the process as easy as possible. This trick says that if you put Vaseline or lotion around your nails before you paint them, it will be easier to wipe off the nail polish that gets on your skin. I don’t actually have a definitive “yes this works” or “no this doesn’t” for this trick. I don’t find it worth it for the everyday painting of the nails. It makes it a little bit easier but not enough for me to take a minute and rub Vaseline on my fingers. However, I totally find it worth it in water marbling, where you can’t help but get covered in nail polish.
  5. Using watercolor paint over white crayon. Now I haven’t used this tip in an arts and crafts project but I am a watercolor painter so I know that this tip is true. It says that you can write or draw in white crayon and then paint over with watercolor paints and the paints will not stick to the crayon and you’ll have a quote or picture in white and the background in color. It has something to do with chemistry but I’m sure you don’t really care about that. Just know that it works.
  6. Bandanna bow. There’s this really cool way of folding a bandanna that you can find here where it makes the bandanna into a big hair bow. This technique did work for me but I had to practice several times in order to get it the way I wanted it. I also have a little trouble attaching the bow to my hair but a couple of good bobby pins usually get me there.   
  7. Painting bobby pins. I love this trick because it makes all these colorful pins for my hair! Just take some booby pins and paint them with nail polish any color you want. I put several pieces of paper or a thin piece of cardboard between my bobby pins while I paint so that I’m working on a steady surface and it also gives them a good place to dry. The only thing I’ve found is that I can’t overlap the bobby pins without the paint coming off of them.
  8. Hair chalking. I just tried this out a couple weeks ago and it worked for me. I watched this video to learn. DO NOT try to use ordinary sidewalk chalk. I thought that that was what she meant at first. It did not work. I have light brown hair and I have to wet my hair and the chalk in order for the color to stick. And when it comes to applying heat, I recommend using an old straightener or curling iron because some of the color will come off.
  9. The Brilliant Braid. This braid is certainly original and pretty easy. It involves you flipping and twisting your hair and in the end, it looks kinda like a fishtail braid. Or at least, that’s what was supposed to happen. I had trouble with this braid because my hair just kept falling out of the braid. I would recommend trying it to see if it works with your hair but it didn’t really work for mine. Find the instructions here.
  10. Dotting tools. I’ve read a lot about different things around the house that you can use that will create pretty good dots for nail designs. I can tell you that I’ve used bobby pins, the ones with the spheres on the ends, to make dots and they worked pretty well. I’ve also used toothpicks. The cool thing about the toothpicks is that you can either keep them super pointy to help create small dots or rub the points on a piece of paper to make slightly larger dots. The only downfall to these tools is they are very small and can be awkward to hold. Eventually, someone gave me a set of real dotting tools and they are much easier to work with and come in eight different sizes. If you really get interested in nail art, I suggest you get a set from Amazon. They were like…$3 or something crazy cheap like that.

I will probably do another post later about recipes that have worked for me along with any adjustments I made or should have made. Also, just because a tip or trick did or did not work for me doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results. However, for the ones that did not work, I did try them several times to make sure I hadn’t just messed up once (yes, I put glue on my nose more than one time). Let me know if you have any other tips and tricks that have or haven’t worked for you!

Kids Say the Darndest Things

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This week (Monday-Friday), I’ve been volunteering as a youth assistant at my church’s Vacation Bible School. I’ve volunteered there for the past 5 years. I usually request working with the 4-5 year old kids and this year I had rising kindergarten, which is 4-5 (or 5 1/2 as some of the kids liked to brag). I find this age group to be my favorite because they are old enough that most of the time I can carry a conversation with them and pretty much know what’s going on. But they’re also young enough that if I get lost, I can smile and nod and say “wow” and they won’t even notice that “wow” was an irrelevant comment. I love Vacation Bible School (hereafter referred to as VBS) because it gets me volunteer hours for school but I also love doing it. And, I usually get some great stories out of it. This year, the kids seemed extra adorable so I have more stories. That means I get to share them with you!

  • Two girls in my class like to pretend they are kittens. That’s really cute to watch because they just crawl around and make adorable kitten noises. Then they demanded that I be the mom. I had no idea what to do! So I pretended I was the mom and just continued to watch them. They corrected me anytime I was doing something wrong. Also, they thought it was fun to be two little trouble-makers and just make a mess of all the toys in the room. It wasn’t fun.
  • One little girl got upset because I was paying attention to someone else. So when I went to ask her what was wrong, she told me it wasn’t fair that I wasn’t paying her as much attention because she loved me! That made me feel great about my skills with little kids.
  • There was one boy in my class who isn’t the most enthusiastic so during the activities he either likes to sit on the ground and make this really annoying moaning sound or he continues to work until after it’s time to go and then complains when he hasn’t finished because he spent the first part of the class moaning!
  • There was another youth volunteer in my class and he somehow attracted the attention of one of the younger dudes. Said younger dude was so excited to meet a new and older friend so he went home that night and made friendship bracelets for him and the youth volunteer. How adorable is that??
  • One girl was trying to be funny by being mean (I don’t understand why some little kids think it’s funny to be mean) and she called me ugly. Then a boy who heard her quickly assured me that I was in fact very pretty.
  • The same girl also told me that I have boy hair (I have a long pixie) and try as I might, I could not explain that it was not boy hair.
  • Then in music class, one girl wasn’t dancing so I told her that I didn’t think she could dance. She obviously had to prove me wrong! And man, did she! That girl was so excited to prove to me that she could dance AND that she could dance better than everyone else.
  • All of the kids in the class got into their little heads that tickling me is the best thing in the entire world. But they’re all kinda short so I have to pretend to laugh while they poke my legs. I actually laugh when they stretch their arms all the way up so that they can reach my belly and arms (I’m extremely ticklish).
  • One girl decided that the best way to walk was to grab my right hand in her left hand and my left hand in her right hand. Then she walked in zig-zags. So I’m crouched over, with my arms crossed in front on her, walking in zig-zags, and trying not to step on any little feet.
  • I pushed a girl on the swing one time and the rest of the week she decided that no one could do it as well as I could. So she would run to the swings after she finished her snack and then scream my name across the playground until I came to push her. I got a huge shoulder workout this week.
  • One girl called me a boom-butt. I don’t really know what this is but I think she was, once again, trying to be funny by being mean. I told her that that wasn’t a nice thing to call somebody. A few minutes later, a different girl came up to me with some flowers she had picked from a bush and gave them to me. She was very sorry that the other girl had called me a boom-butt.
  • A little girl came in on Friday and was showing off her new stingray necklace. So obviously I complemented her on it. She told me I could pet it if, and only if, I used one finger: my pinky finger.
  • One girl was on the playground and dropped her name tag while she was swinging and got really worried that we would all forget her name while she was on the swing. So every few minutes she would remind everyone.
  • The way the program is scheduled, each class is assigned a color. Each class also walks around with another class that is a similar age. So even though I was a youth assistant for the red class, I was pretty familiar with the purple class, who traveled with us. But on the second day, a purple kid just came and sat in my lap. I didn’t know who he was and he didn’t know who I was but I had an open lap and that was exactly what he was looking for.

So I think those are all my stories. Hopefully you enjoyed reading them. I had a smile on my face writing this post. VBS is really fun and if your church does it, I highly recommend signing up to help out next summer. VBS has definitely become one of the highlights of my summers.

A Night at the Theatre

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I actually went to see a movie this afternoon but I like the sound of “Night at the Theatre” more than “Afternoon at the Theatre.” Anyway, today I went to go see Guardians of the Galaxy. This was literally opening day and I don’t usually go see movies on opening day but this movie looked freakin’ awesome. Plus, I know and love Chris Pratt from Parks and Recreation (which is a show I recommend) and I wanted to see him in a different role. So I guess this post is kinda a movie review. Warning: I’m terrible at reviewing movies because I just really love movies. Also, I will triple-check this post to make sure there are no spoilers! I hate spoilers.

First of all, if you’ve never heard of this movie, it’s about a bunch of misfits who come together in order to save the universe from a super evil, power-hungry, (should that be hyphenated? or is it a dash?) alien dude. And that sounds sorta cheesy but it’s the most recent Marvel movie so it’s gotta be awesome right? Right. And it has Chris Pratt in it who is probably most known for his role in Park and Rec where he is goofy and hilarious and as the voice of Emmet in the Lego Movie so you know the movie is gonna have humor. Right again.

I loved this movie. It had really good action sequences as well as a good plot. I hate it when I go see an action movie and they just have fights just for the sake of having a fight. It drives me insane. But this movie didn’t do that, so it was good. It was also hilarious. I don’t really know how to describe the humor but it’s funny. These people are aliens so they don’t understand common Earth sayings and take them literally. So that’s pretty funny.

So to sum up my thoughts on this movie: it was awesome, it had really good action sequences, it was funny. I would say that makes a great movie. Did you go see it? What did you think?

And I know that I spell theatre like “theatre” instead of “theater” and I looked it up. Apparently, it is not wrong to use them interchangeably however the most common distinction is that theatre is used for live performances and theater is used for like movie theaters. But I don’t care because I like spelling it weirdly.

Beginner’s Luck

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In preparation for starting my blog, I’ve spent the afternoon reading my best friend’s blog. It took a long time and I’m nowhere near done. It was an interesting afternoon. I tend to spend my afternoons watching TV and this was a nice change of pace. Plus,  I realized a few things about her.

1. She’s Weird. Like really weird. She’s a dork and a nerd. That being said…

2. We’re exactly the same. Yeah it’s true. And totally embarrassing.

3. We’re totally different. I know what you’re thinking: “Didn’t you just say that you’re exactly the same?” I did. And we are. But we’re also completely and absolutely different. I don’t understand how it works either.

4. I don’t talk to her enough. I realized that I miss her and I no longer know every detail about her life. It’s upsetting. I guess I’ll just have to continue creeping on her on her blog in order to know everything about her daily life.

5. We are living the same life. Everything she’s written about, I’ve pretty much experienced. We experimented with the same DIY projects and seen the same things on Pinterest. We hate and love the same classes and feel the same way about our relatives and friends. We’ve read the same books and pretty much have similar opinions about them. It’s creepy, reading about my life from someone else’s POV.

6. She’s so cliche. I think it’s funny. She has some super sappy and cliche posts and it makes me laugh. And I love that she totally knows it.

I realize that this list isn’t very long list but I already knew a lot about her. Plus it’s my first post so give me a break. Also, you can read her awesome blog here!