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Road Trip – Part 3

Day 3 of our little road trip began with me getting up at 7 for another trek on the treadmill.

I knew that I’d be spending some time in the car, so getting my legs moving, while I could, was paramount.

Once the Mr. woke up, we packed our things and prepared to load up the car.

I had to chuckle when I compared my pile . . .

With his . . .

To be fair, that red laundry bag should have sat between the stacks of bags since both of our clothes were in it.

As we headed out, sans kids (boo), the weather wasn’t looking that great.

I was reminded, once again, of God’s grace the day before when the weather had been spectacular for the game.

When we were planning this trip, we had decided not to go straight home.

Our next destination: Auburn!

Atlanta sits less than two hours east of the prettiest town known to man, so we couldn’t allow the opportunity to visit pass us by.

We made a pit stop at a Chick fil A to potty, and I was struck by this dispenser in the rest room:

Something to fight the chicken biscuit bad breath, I guess. I wouldn’t know since I’m a vegan.

Anyhoo, it didn’t seem long before we entered Auburn’s city limits, and things just felt so good.

We headed into town to grab some lunch.

One of the kids had told us about a place called Pieology, which has similar pizzas to Blaze. Coincidentally, there was one right across from Toomer Drugs. Here’s what we saw when we went in . . .

When I first saw the crust advertised, I was excited. Then, I asked the girl working behind the counter if it was vegan. She told me that it had dairy in it. Dang! Their gluten-free crust is also vegan, though, so I opted for that.

There was also this sign . . .

Y’all, the world is slowly becoming a vegan-friendly place, let me tell you!

For the record, I am a vegan who doesn’t necessarily miss the taste of meat. I’d never been a huge fan of ground beef, and sausage was okay, but hey, I was up for trying new things, so I ordered my pizza with half “meatball” and half “sausage.” They were out of the “chicken.”

See that cheese? That’s Daiya – one of my favorite vegan cheeses. The gal had been extremely helpful when preparing this. She had a lot of knowledge of the products I could eat since she has to watch her diet as well.

I must have been hungry because I ate the entire thing!

Fueled by the delicious food, we were read to shop!

Now, if you’ve never been in Auburn on game day, you wouldn’t be able to compare the shopping experience we had during our road trip with a game day foray. There were some people out and about, but we were actually able to maneuver inside the stores fairly easily. We found several things on sale, and I tried on a few items.

I also purchased a few things because, well, when you’re in Auburn, you must buy all the things.

It’s tradition.

The Mr. and I did discover, after a long, hot walk, that the University Bookstore (my personal favorite because of its size) wasn’t open. Dang! Classes don’t start for another month, so they had no need for such silliness quite yet.

The Mr. was not happy.

As I said, it was hot, and our walk had been a long one.

We made our way back across campus, and he reluctantly posed with me for a selfie in front of Samford Hall.

We headed back towards Toomer’s Corner because of this . . .

This place is known for the VERY best lemonade you will ever have.

In fact, ESPN Game Day once did a story about this very special corner of lemonade heaven. I kid you not!

Of course a photo was in order – just to prove that the above pictures aren’t Google images. Ha!

What you don’t see in the picture above are the bottles I bought for later.

They’re labeled as being good up to four days post-purchase. I’m here to tell you that they can last up to a week (I drank the one above yesterday).

Ahem.

We rode around town, enjoying the scenery, talking of how much things have changed since we lived there almost thirty years ago, and enjoying the foliage, which we don’t have much of anymore because of stupid Hurricane Michael.

Then, we hit the road – destination home.

This was the hardest part of our road trip – returning to what we knew would be a house with one member missing.

I immersed myself in my knitting as a distraction and reflected on the wonderful trip.

I was thankful for its timing.

No, it hadn’t been great for Gambit, bless his heart.

For us, though, it had been a welcome respite from the stress we’d been under caring for an ailing pupper. Oh, we had enjoyed taking care of him and would have done it for years just to keep him with us, but if you’ve ever cared for a sick person or animal, you know that it wears on you.

The time away with family – especially after pretty much staying local since last October – had been a blessing as well.

Except for our trip to see family during Christmas and a couple of shopping trips to Destin after Thanksgiving, we had not left town since the hurricane.

The change of scenery and routine had suited us well.

A huge thanks goes out to the Mr. and Rooster for planning this, our children who worked the trip into their schedules, and those who prayed for us while we were gone.

Weekend Miscellany

Miscellany – yes, that’s a word.  I looked it up just to be sure.

Let’s talk about random things from the weekend.

Saturday

I got in my walk and did #somuchgood

Here’s the photo without the Charity Miles info . . . because Gambit is so cute.

I received a package in the mail . . .

Megan showed hers off during our meeting last Thursday, and I think two or three of us ordered one on the spot.  I’ll let you know how it works!  I’m hopeful because being able to stand in proximity to some of my more spirited students, as opposed to standing in front of the board, will take my classroom management skills up a few notches!

I spent most of the day reading and finished this book . . .

It was excellent!  I gave it four stars on Goodreads.  The author has another book coming out in January.  I’ll probably pre-order it.

Sunday

I slept in, opting to skip church because of the loud music and my head. The dogs were not amused because they were waiting for breakfast.

After they ate, I went for a walk.  Then, I did some laminating.

For some reason, I was really tired, so I slept for an hour.  Unfortunately, I woke up to find a migraine brewing.

I also had a craving for a cherry slushy, so I loaded up the boys and took them along for the ride.

Aren’t their faces priceless?

Despite taking a pain pill, which I had been able to avoid the past few days, the headache lingered.

I decided to do some baking.  I used the same recipe as last week, but this time, I topped them with chocolate frosting, a suggestion from the recipe writer (she kindly responded to the question I asked on her Instagram post).

The frosting is amazing!  It tastes like the kind I’ve always bought at the store.

The Mr. had been at work all day, not his usual schedule but that’s how it goes.  When he got home, he saw that I wasn’t feeling well and kindly ate leftovers.  Bless him.

Meanwhile, I wound up a skein of yarn for a new project.

Weekends sure do fly by, even when you’re not doing a whole lot.

Weekending with Auburnchick

It’s Tuesday, and I’m only now getting around to posting about last weekend.

Yep, school prep is in high gear.

Sigh.

Let’s begin with Friday.  Gambit had an appointment for a bath, but I accidentally slept through it and had to reschedule.

Oops.

Although I didn’t have to go in to work, I was so overwhelmed with an already-growing to-do list, so I spent the day on that.

Lesson planning is extremely time consuming.  We don’t start school until the 15th, which means that we’ll only have a three-day week with the kids, but the planning is still intense even for that short amount of time.  There are so many routines and class norms, even at a high school level, that a teacher has to establish.

I’ve got two preps this year, which many teachers would trade their loads for but which is overwhelming for me.

I’ll be starting out by explaining to each group of students what their respective classes entail.

That’s my Smartboard file, which I create for each week as a visual for the kids and myself.

I worked all afternoon and was tired when I finished.  It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

Yeah, I think I stayed in my pajamas all day.  I really cannot remember.  That could have been the evening we went to Chili’s.  If we did, I changed clothes.  I promise.

On Saturday, I took Gambit to his appointment, which I’d smartly rescheduled for 11am – plenty of time for me to wake up.

He smelled amazing when I picked him up a couple of hours later.

How bad would it be to say that I don’t remember what I did the rest of the day?

Y’all, the struggle is REAL.  I know that I didn’t work because I forced myself not to.  I’m still recovering from my concussion, so I know that I can’t push myself too hard.

Oh, and how could I forget about the mail.  Look what I got . . .

I found the case on Amazon, but there was a card inside from fakemeats.com.  I think this was the actual seller.

And, wouldn’t you know it, but I found two or three recipes that include jackfruit in them in this cookbook, which I purchased around Christmas.

I’ll be sure to post the results of anything that I try.

Sunday, the Mr. had to go in to work.  I’d already elected to stay home from church because loud stuff still makes my head hurt.  He wound up needing to take my car since he couldn’t get into his work vehicle, which forced me to not run errands.

Darn.

I did get out and go for a walk, my first since June and really, my first workout of any kind since hitting my head.

I had signed up for the Half-Giant Half Marathon, a Hogwarts Running Club event.  Sunday’s walk was going to be the first leg of it since I knew I couldn’t make it the full distance.

It was a little later in the morning than I would have preferred, and it was hot as all get out.

I was careful, though.  Although I could hear my pace being announced through my ear buds every half mile, I tried not to let it stress me out.  Yes, I was going slow, but I knew that I needed to reacquaint myself to the whole move-your-body thing.

I had originally told the Mr. that I would only walk a mile.

He should have known that I wouldn’t stick to that.

Truth be told, I should have only gone two miles.  I wasn’t feeling very good when I got home – probably the result of the heat and my head hurting.

It felt good, though, to get out.

You can only put Baby in the corner for so long.

I spent the rest of the day, after I showered, in my pajamas while I binged on my new favorite Amazon Prime show, Bosch, and finished up a knitting project (pictures to be posted eventually).

Pecan Energy Bars – Take 2

Do you remember when I posted about the Superfood Pecan Energy Bars I made a week ago?

I’d been a little disappointed at the texture.

They were too similar to Detoxinista’s Peanut Butter Larabars, which I like but didn’t want to duplicate.  The only crunch in the first batch came from the chia seeds, so the word “crunch” is really a stretch.  I guess you could say that they were more like fig bars.

Because the flavor had been really good, I wanted to give these another shot, so that’s what I did yesterday.

I’ll admit that I’m still a bit of a novice when it comes to using the new Vitamix I purchased in April or May.  I’m finding that I under-blend some things and over-blend others.  There’s definitely an art to it.

With that in mind, I pulsed the dates to prevent the mixture from becoming pasty.

I was also careful after I added the rest of the ingredients.  I wanted these to feel more like store-bought.

Here’s what they looked like before I put them in the oven.

I didn’t cook them any longer than the recipe stated and let them cool almost completely before giving in to my excitement to try them.  I wonder if cooking them for an extra five minutes would make them a little harder.  I may have to experiment.

As you can see, the texture is a lot chunkier than my first attempt.

Biting into my sample bar was more satisfying as well; the crunch I’d been aiming for was there!  Yay!

I’m extremely happy with these.  I think this recipe will be a staple in my house; the bars will be perfect for snacking on in the middle of a day of teaching and will do much to ward off feelings of “hanger.”  My students will be grateful.

Much like anything I do in my life, I’m learning that I’m going to have a lot of fails before I figure things out.

I may be a slow learner, but I NEVER give up.

Weekending With Auburnchick

Y’all, this head thing is putting a crimp in my style as far as weekend fun goes.

Because I’m still having headaches, I’m being forced to lay low, which means NO beach, NO pool, and NOTHING that’s too loud.  When you live fifteen minutes from the beach, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

True to form, I’m making the most of my downtime.

Friday, I found myself without a headache; however, the trade off was that I’d gotten NO sleep the night before.

Nada.

None.

Bet that you can’t tell from the selfie, below.  I’m a girl who pulls up her big girl pants and does life anyway.

Thursday night, I’d taken one of my new pain pills – the one with codeine (to help me sleep) – but it also had caffeine in it (to ward off the headache).  Guess which ingredient my body took to like a flea on a dog?

Yep.

I was super relaxed, though, so at least I wasn’t exactly suffering all night.

It was strange, though, because I wasn’t really tired when I got up.  I took the dogs for a ride to get them out since I can’t walk them right now.

At first, they were suspicious, but when I didn’t make the usual turn for Petsmart, they relaxed.

Gambit’s face though 😀

I was down for the count by 2pm, though, and slept a hefty two and a half hours – in bed.  The dogs were more than happy to oblige me.

I felt a little better when I got up, so I got busy in the kitchen, preparing a few things I’d been wanting to try.

First up was 5-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Pudding, a recipe by Minimalist Baker.

I had prepared the pudding the day before and had it chilling in the refrigerator for twenty four hours, as directed.  It was time to put the finishing touches on it.

First of all, I learned that waxed paper is the best way to go as opposed to using saran wrap when trying to prevent a film from forming on the top of puddings and custards.  I’ll remember that for next time.

I’d gone back and forth about the topping.  Although chocolate ganache strongly appealed to me, I wanted to try something new, so I pulled out the can of coconut cream I’d put in the refrigerator a few days before and got to work on a whipped topping (the recipe is linked in with the recipe above).

I’d purchased several cans of this at Trader Joe’s over Christmas break because we don’t have this store, and I had read that to successfully make whipped cream, you have to buy cans that don’t have guar gum, which is used as a stabilizer and prevents cream from being whipped up.

I’ve tried, in the past, to make this and never gotten it right.  I guess Friday was the day!

It was light and tasty.  Yum!

I added it to my pudding.

I showed restraint by putting it in the fridge because y’all, I hadn’t eaten dinner yet!

The next dish I prepared was really a “recipe.”  I’ll admit that I cheated a little.

I wanted to warm up the jackfruit I’d purchased earlier in the week.

I’ve been very intrigued by this newly-popular food item, and although I’ve found it sold in cans online, I haven’t been able to locate it in my local stores.

Prep was fairly easy, except for the pulling-apart thing (akin to pulling apart pork when making barbecue).

Although it’s a fruit, the texture is similar to pork.  I think it would be a great food for people who are making the transition to becoming vegetarians.

I added 1/8 of a cup to each slice of pizza I had leftover from the day before.

It was delicious!  I wound up ordering a pack of six cans of jackfruit (from Amazon) so I can make stuff like this from scratch and eliminate some of the unhealthy ingredients that’s in prepackaged food.  Oh yeah, and don’t be judging me, because I know the pizza wasn’t healthy either.  It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me, so cut me some slack.  🙂

Because of my nap, I wasn’t tired that night.  Gambit was not impressed.

I slept in rather late on Saturday and quickly got dressed.  Chicky was on her way for a very brief stop enroute to see her guy.  She needed to drop a few things off.

I got to see her fur baby, Cali, who is always excited to visit us.  She’s never forgotten us after the summer that she and Chicky spent here when Chicky was still in college.

We put her in the backyard because we didn’t want to risk a less-than-friendly reception by our dogs.

Ahem.

We sent Chicky on her way with my rice cooker, a couple of homemade energy bars, and a bowl of peanut butter pudding (just so you know that I’m not a complete pig).

After she left, I made lunch for the Mr. – chicken fingers – his favorite.

Thank goodness for being a blogger who takes a lot of pictures because my memory is giving me tiny fits right now.  I blocked a project I’d finished in the wee hours of the morning.  I’ll have photos of that soon.

I didn’t go to bed too late, if you consider midnight acceptable.  It is still summer, after all.

I skipped church on Sunday because I was worried that the loud music would make my headache worse.  Although the headaches are less intense, they are constantly present, brewing beneath the surface.  I did get up, showered, dressed in street clothes, and adorned with makeup.

Go me.

Good thing too, because the Mr. called and asked if I wanted to go to Newk’s with some of our friends from church.  He picked me up, and we had a lovely time with two other couples.

Then, it was home again for the day where I rested, knit a LOT on a new project, listened to RHAP’s Big Brother updates (don’t be judging), and binged on Bosch, my latest Amazon Prime go-to show.

The Mr. and I watched the latest episode of Sharp Objects.  What a dark show; it’s so depressing!

While we watched, the Mr. tried, unsuccessfully, to ignore Pele as he ate a leftover hamburger patty.

Although I’m spending a lot of time at home these days, it’s been good for me and the dogs.

They love that they’re getting extra treats and lots of time in the yard.

We are getting so much quality time together, which is difficult during the school year.

Did you do anything exciting?  Can I live vicariously through you for a little while?  🙂

Cooking All the Things

My summertime running around has been curtailed a bit thanks to a headache that continues to simmer because of my recent run-in with a wall.

That hasn’t diminished my efforts in the kitchen, though.  I’ve been busy trying new recipes and experimenting a little.

Saturday, I found a very, very ripe banana on the kitchen counter.  Coincidentally, I had an email waiting for me.  In it was a recipe for Vegan Banana Pancakes, from LovingitVegan.

They didn’t require many ingredients and were really easy to mix up.  I’ve tried a few vegan pancake recipes in the past and have had issues with them getting fluffy.  This recipe worked well, though.

Later that day, I pulled out something I’d ordered a couple of weeks before . . .

That is the Snack Bar Maker Set, by Pampered Chef.  Someone in the Detoxinista Facebook group had posted a photo of hers, along with bars she’d made in them.  I knew I had to have this.

I love that it’s silicone and can be used in the oven.  I also really like the cover.  It came with a spatula too!

I’d had my eye on the Superfood Pecan Energy Bars that A Couple Cooks, which they had recently posted.

Mine don’t look like theirs, of course, but I think I know why.  I believe that I over-blended the mixture.  The next time I make these, I’ll use my Vitamix to blend up the dates and pecans before hand-mixing the rest of the ingredients.

They look a little like Larabars, don’t they?  The consistency isn’t crunchy, like I’d anticipated, but the taste is wonderful!  There is a tiny bit of a crunch because of the chia seeds, but I’m really looking for more of a granola bar type of crunch.  I found a recipe for No-Bake Granola Bars on the Pampered Chef website.  The Big Man’s World also has a lot of recipes for granola bars.

On Monday, I tried a new recipe, which I saw posted on Instagram.  Dang, that social media and the pressure it brings.

Speaking of social media . . .

Here’s the Healthy Flourless Cinnamon Bun Breakfast Cake – another recipe by The Big Man’s World, which he posted on Instagram (the recipe is on his website too).

I love this one!  The cake is a great texture, and it rose beautifully.  It’s also very moist!  The cinnamon flavor is subtle but still discernible.  Now the icing – well, it’s meh.  I tried his cream cheese option, but it didn’t turn out like I expected.

I made his Paleo version for the Mr. and adapted it for the Mr.’s SCD diet.

I should have left well alone.  The cake looked and smelled delicious, but I worried that the Mr. would want frosting, so I did some experimenting and created my “own” recipe from a combination of a couple of others I found online.

I used dairy-free butter, honey, vanilla, peanut butter, and cinnamon.

It looked pretty, and while the Mr. liked the cake itself, he was not as keen on the frosting.  He said it didn’t have enough flavor.

I really need to stick with coloring inside the lines.

After I’d finished making the desserts, it was time to think about my dinner.  Before heading to the grocery store yesterday morning, I’d flipped through my Instant Pot recipe book and found a recipe for Lentil-Spinach Curry.

The list of ingredients was short (always a win), and I put it together very quickly.  It was ready in about 40 minutes when I factor in sauteeing the vegetables and the actual cook time.

The only thing I had to add after-the-fact was salt and pepper, which the recipe surprisingly didn’t require.

It was delicious, and I ate a bowl of leftover curry for lunch today.  Yum!

A Productive Monday

I can’t say that I’ve been super productive this summer.

I finally caved and turned off my alarm clock, except for World Cup game days and Sundays.

During the school year, I’ve already worked out, showered, and prepared my lunch by 7:15am.

This past weekend, I decided that I was going to have to regain some control.  After all, living like I’m retired is all fun and games until August rolls around.

So, I said that I’d get up at 7.

I lied.  To the universe, that is.

Ha!

But seriously, after rolling out of bed around 9:45 and making my peanut butter banana shake, I headed out.

My first stop was the school.  I wanted to make sure that the schedule I’ve been told was mine is, still in fact, the schedule I’m set with.  Lesson plans are begging to be written so that I won’t find myself scrambling a few days before we open the doors to the new school year.

Alas, all of the administrators were in a meeting.  Nobody could tell me when my building’s floors will be waxed, so putting my classroom back together is still on the back burner.

Monday wasn’t looking like it was going to be very productive.

I managed to run to the grocery store and pick up a few items for dinner.

After an hour long workout (Day 75 of 80 Day Obsession, y’all), I was ready to sit down.

Only I didn’t because I had decided to be productive.

I spent the next four or five hours in the kitchen, with a brief break to fix the noise in my car (see yesterday’s post).

First, I made a bunch of boiled eggs for the Mr.  I use my Instant Pot for these because they come out perfectly each time.  He eats two of these every day for breakfast.

There were dishes from Sunday that needed to be washed.  It wound up taking a little longer because dirty dishes are like rabbits; they multiply!

After peeling the eggs, I prepped the veggies for the Mr.’s dinner so I’d be ready to throw everything onto the stove when he got home.

Go me!

Then, I baked a batch of chocolate chip muffins for myself.

Don’t judge.  The Mr. still had some of his cake leftover.

I figured to strike while the oven was hot . . . kill two birds with one stone . . . and prepped a new-to-me dish.

A week or two ago, I’d seen a recipe posted by the Minimalist Baker on her Instagram account.  It intrigued me because I had most of the ingredients already, and it seemed pretty easy to prepare.

For the first time ever, I roasted a cauliflower, adding the sauce as directed in her step-by-step instructions.

Look how pretty it turned out.

My Instant Pot got a workout today!  I pulled it out for the second time and prepared quinoa.

Then, for the first time ever, I made the Chimichurri sauce that is mentioned in the cauliflower recipe.

Y’all, this stuff, which I’ve never eaten before, is AMAZING!  It really boosted the rest of my dinner, which was fabulous.

You know, after all of that work, I think I’m going to take it a little easy today.  I’m pretty sure I expended enough energy for a couple of days.

Comfort Food

Do you remember me posting about getting an Instant Pot for Christmas?  I’m sure that I’ve written about a few things I’ve made in it, but I can’t remember – that’s how sporadic my blogging has been.

Ok, so my Instant Pot – it’s an appliance that I grow to love more and more each time I use it.

On Monday, I made a new recipe in it, and it was simply magical.

I follow Megan Gilmore on Instagram and Facebook (she’s Detoxinista).  She’s coming out with an Instant Pot recipe book in October.  I’ve already pre-ordered it because her recipes are very easy and don’t require a lot of ingredients.

She posted the Instant Pot Vegan Mac n’ Cheese recipe on her blog, and after seeing her little video on Instagram, I knew I had to try it.

The only real prep for it was soaking the cashews, but that’s even something that can be done quickly with boiling water if time is an issue.  It wasn’t for me since I’m on summer break.

I followed the directions exactly.  I knew it was going to be tasty when I licked the spoon after pouring the “cheese” sauce into the pot.

Now, I’ll admit that I’ve made a few vegan mac and cheese recipes.  They’re usually pretty good.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I lifted the lid.

Here’s what I saw.

When I stirred it, I could hear the creaminess.  You know what I’m talking about.

I finished by adding the water at the end, which was very necessary to get the pasta off of the bottom of the pot and down from the sides.

Oh word, y’all, but when I tasted it, it reminded me of the comfort food I loved when I was a child.

It paired well, in my Minion bowl, with my Riesling.

I’m a fancy Redneck, y’all.  What can I say.

A Nostalgic Hodgepodge

I haven’t participated in the Hodgepodge for awhile, so I thought I’d give it a go this week.   If you’re new to my blog, welcome!  If you’ve been here before, hello again!  Thanks for stopping by, y’all!

1.  What’s something in your house you’d like to get rid of but can’t?

I want to get rid of a futon that’s taking up a LOT of space in a spare bedroom, but I can’t because nobody wants to pay what I’m asking.  It’s actually much better quality than what you’ll find in many stores, so I’m going to be stubborn and hold my ground.  I figure that it will sell eventually.

2.  When is the last time you experienced a sense of nostalgia? Elaborate.

When the Mr. and I go to our neighborhood’s pool, I’m frequently reminded of when my children were toddlers.   We lived in Miami when they were little, and I took them to the pool twice a day, just to wear them out.  This was where both of the kids learned to swim – Rooster caught on before he was two years old!  Whenever I see littles at the pool, my heart does a little lurch, and I’m swept back in time to those exhausting, yet fun, days.

3.  You’re only allowed three apps on your smart phone or tablet…which three do you keep?

The pressure of this question is giving me a touch of anxiety!!!!  What the heck, Jo?  Ha!

I guess I’d have to keep my email because seriously, though, how would I function without it.

I’d also keep a GPS app because I am the queen of getting lost.

The third app I’d keep would have to be Safari because I can browse all the things with a web page.

Ha!  How’s that for being smart?

4.  July 11th is National Blueberry Muffin Day. Who knew? Do you like blueberry muffins? If you were going to have a muffin would blueberry be your choice? What’s the last thing you baked?

Yeah, no blueberries for me, thank you very much.  If it’s a super food, I’m not having anything to do with it.

If I was going to eat muffins, I’d probably choose the Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe I cooked up a couple of weeks ago.

Y’all, I just discovered this gal, and so far, the recipes I’ve tried have been spot on!

The last thing I baked were her Soft and Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.

You’d never know that these don’t have eggs or any other dairy product in them!  I’ll be working those off later today – and every day.

5.  What’s the biggest way you’ve changed since you were a child? In what way are you still the same?

The biggest way I’ve changed is that I’ve grown more comfortable in my own skin.  Am I still self conscious?  Yes.  Do I mind that I’m a bit odd and march to the beat of my own drum?  Nope.

One way that I’m the same is that I am still extremely shy and introverted.  That surprises people who know me, but you guys, I don’t do crowds very well.  I’m not your party girl either.  Please don’t make me introduce myself to new people (except my students, where oddly enough I’m not shy).  I don’t know that I’ll ever outgrow these things about myself.

6.  My Random Thought

Ok, so I posted about this on Facebook yesterday, but I’m going to write about it here as well.

Why is it that when I go out looking my rattiest, I run into people I know?

Take Monday, for instance.

I had a hard time getting going.  My back was bothering me a lot and honestly, the longer that summer break goes on, the later I sleep in.  Don’t judge; I wake up at 4am during the school year, so I pay my dues on the front end.

I threw on some clothes to work out in.  I knew that there might be a possibility that I’d need to go to the store, but I pushed on.

I have a pair of twenty year old, khaki stretch shorts.  The drawstring has been AWOL for years now.

They are comfortable though, and I usually wear them when I’m doing yard work.

The Mr. loathes these shorts.  He has often told me to expect them to go missing one day . . . that they aren’t fit to be seen in.

I put on one of my favorite Hogwarts Running Clubs tech shirts from a race I did last year.  It’s pink, as you can see from the picture below.

Oh yeah, and my hair.  Can we discuss the fact that I was wearing it in the easiest way possible?  Messy buns and headbands are my thang, y’all.

It’s summer, after all.

So, after I finished sweating it up, I thought to myself, “Do I change, or do I leave these clothes on.”

Laziness won out.  I wasn’t going to be too long, after all.

I forgot that I live in Podunk, USA, where you can’t even run to the gas station without seeing someone you know.

I walked in and sure enough, I ran into one of the store managers – a drop dead gorgeous girl and the wife of someone the Mr. works with.  I’d met her a month or so ago.  Oh, hello, please excuse my nastiness, I wanted to say.

Sigh.

Then, in the produce section, I spied a young lady from my church.  I think she’s Rooster’s age and, like the other gal I’d seen, gorgeous.

I kept my head down, but we ran into each other again, and I knew it would be rude to ignore her.  I covered my brow and mumbled an apologetic hello.  I actually told her that I was hoping that she wouldn’t notice me because I wasn’t exactly dressed for the public eye.

Sigh.

So when I got home, I posted my warning to all of my Facebook friends that one should never wear ratty clothes out in public.  Ever.

The Mr. got home, caught up on social media (including my post), and came out long enough to say, “Really?  You just had to wear those?”  Sigh.

So on Tuesday, I figured I’d be way smarter.

I dressed in my Nike workout shorts, Nike tank top, and matching socks with ASICs shoes.  Heck, even my headband had the Nike emblem.  I could have been a model, minus the magazine-cover-worthy face and great makeup and hair, for them.

I’m holding up one finger because I only had one repeat left in my cardio workout.

I worked out, sweating prettily of course (you know I’m being sarcastic, right?), and ran out to our health food store to pick up a few items.

Guess what.

I didn’t see a single person I knew.

Oh no, because at that earlier time (I’d actually gotten out of bed before 9), it was only the older people who were shopping.

Not one person, y’all.

I told the hubby about this when he came home for lunch.  His response?  “You should look nice every time you leave the house.”

Sigh.

Forget random thought – you got a random story.

Have a great day!

New Year’s Shenanigans

I managed to stay awake until midnight New Year’s Eve.

Go me..

Actually, what helped pass the time was that the Mr. and I rented the movie, American Assassin.  It had a lot of action!

I slept in a little New Year’s morning.  It was the best night’s sleep I’d had since prior to my surgery.  Of course, it was the first time I was back in my own bed since then as well.

We got going pretty quickly and headed to the mall.  We had recently upgraded to the iPhone X and had purchased screen protectors and cases from Cellairis, a place in the mall that my Sprint guy had recommended.

Y’all, we usually buy this stuff on Amazon and don’t pay much for it; however, we weren’t willing to risk dropping our brand new phones without them being protected, so we coughed up the extra dough.  I was impressed by the young guy’s quick service and the fact that he got the protectors on without any issues.  I always ruin the first one when I do it myself.

My protector started lifting while I was out of town with family, so I visited a Cellairis in the mall there.  It took me a few hours to realize that they’d: 1) put it on crooked and 2) given me a matte protector.

Not good.

I went nuts.  I went back to that mall the next day and asked them to fix it but was told that they were out of them and to go back in a week.  I couldn’t do that because we were going back home the next day, so I figured that I’d go to the one in my own mall.

That’s what the Mr. and I were doing there at 10:00am New Year’s morning, but y’all, when we drove up, look at what we saw . . .

There were lines of people waiting to go into Dillard’s.

What the heck?

The Mr. dropped me off so he could park, and I got in the queue.  It was freezing, but the doors had just opened, so I didn’t have to wait.

Oh my goodness!  The people were NUTS!  They were almost running across the store, while I was doing my best to not get trampled or tripped.

I saw people grabbing blankets off of tables that only had 20% off sales signs.  What the heck?

I went past the shoe department, and that’s where the wacko behavior really cranked up.  I don’t even know that people cared what the shoes looked like.  They grabbed them and then jumped into a line that was marked off with a rope.

I just wanted to get out of there and into the rest of the mall.

The guy at Cellairis did NOT give me a new protector.  He had to call his boss who wouldn’t allow it because the other place had put on the wrong one.

Talked about MAD.  I was extremely angry and told the kid that it wasn’t his fault, but that this was horrible customer service.  I asked when his boss would be in, and he said later that day, but since the Mr. and I had plans to watch football, I told him we’d be back today.  He did straighten the matte protector, but y’all, do you know that it started lifting in the corner a little later?  I was DOUBLE-MAD.

I even tweeted out to corporate.

Take that!

When the Mr. met up with me, he told me that the line in the shoe department of Dillard’s was wrapped all the way around the corner.  Fortunately, he had parked in a different lot, so we didn’t have to risk our lives getting out of there.

We ran a couple of other errands before we returned home.

That’s when I got busy.

I had gotten an Instant Pot for Christmas and was eager to make my first dish, Vegetarian Instant Pot Chili.

First, I had the fun of using the new slicer that Chicky had given me to do some prep work.

You can find this at Walmart.

Look at that green, yellow, and red pepper deliciousness

I was so impressed with how quickly my veggies were chopped.

Next, it was time to get everything into the Instant Pot.  I was nervous; pressure cooking is something I haven’t done is probably twenty years, and it made me nervous back in the day.

Setup was actually pretty easy!  The manual that came with it had clear instructions.

Of course I chronicled my antics on Instagram (I saved the entire video story, posted below) . . .

The dish itself took thirty minutes to cook.

I am sooooooo glad that I asked for the model that has Bluetooth; watching its progress on my app was fascinating.

I was like a mama hen and refreshed my screen often . . .

Isn’t this cool???

The pot took a few minutes to heat up and then about ten minutes to vent.  I’d read a few things about manually venting it or allowing it to do it naturally.  I turned the valve to venting after ten minutes of letting it do its thing on its own.

The results were sooooo worth my foray into new cooking lands . . .

The recipe is flavorful.  I’d suggest adding chili powder for an extra kick.

It made quite a bit, so I’ll be eating it for lunch this week – no complaints here!

Cleanup was a piece of cake!  Everything was seriously done in one pot!  I didn’t know that you could saute in it (this recipe didn’t require it, but I read that you could saute in it on a blog) . . . something that will be handy when I want to whip something up after a tiring day of work.

I also did some baking.  The Mr. had requested the Peanut Butter Cake that he loves so much.

This thing usually sinks in the middle because he’s not allowed to have anything with baking powder, cream of tartar, or other leavening agents.  I decided to try adding a splash of lemon juice to the recipe with the hopes that it would interact with the baking soda and make the cake rise.

You can see that it worked!  I was shocked!

It looked like a real cake after I frosted it . . .

The Mr. said that the texture was spongy too.  Yay!

I wasn’t done in the kitchen, though.

Chicky had found a recipe for a Peanut Butter Lover’s Chocolate Tart, from Oh She Glows (I found the recipe online yesterday, so you’re welcome) in one of my books, but we had not had the time to prepare it, so I got busy.

Every component was homemade . . .

First I baked the crust, and then I made the filling . . .

While it was setting in the freezer, I made homemade caramel sauce and chopped peanuts for the garnish . . .

This was seriously fun to assemble!

Look how pretty it turned out!

I’m going to cut this into small slices and freeze them individually for a quick solution to a craving for something sweet.  This thing is DECADENT!

After all of that cooking, I finally sat down to watch football and knit.

I slept well again last night – past 9am – the Mr. thoughtfully got up early and fed the dogs.

We headed BACK to the mall.  Just look at the aftermath from yesterday’s sales . . .

I am so thankful that the Mr. was willing to take me out on errands.  This is the second time in just over a year that I’ve been unable to because of my ankle.

If only my makeup looked that good without the Snapchat filter!!

We first visited the Cellairis place, and this time the manager was there.  I went through the spiel again, and he had to call the owner.  I was just about ready to blow a gasket; however, I’d prayed before I’d gone into the mall, and God had answered.  The manager replaced the screen cover, even managing to apply it evenly.  Whew!

Then, the Mr. and I did a bit of shopping at American Eagle, where they were having a lot of sales.

Of course, the things that fit me perfectly weren’t on sale.  I got them anyway.  Ha!

Excuse the hair – it was clean and dry but not styled. #ChristmasBreakProblems

That outfit right there?  Yeah, it’s what I’m wearing for the first day back at school tomorrow, so if you see me, just know that I did not wear it home!

We also went by Books a Million; I had a gift card to spend!

It took two employees to locate the cookbook I wanted . . .

While looking for it, I found a lot of other books I wanted; however, I held myself to just one more . . .

Aquafaba is the liquid left over in a can of chickpeas, and it’s magical, especially if you’re a vegan and can’t use eggs for whipped stuff.  I am so excited about this cookbook!

I’m sad to see the end of the break quickly approaching.  I needed the rest that this break provided.  Although the first week of it was rough with my surgery and ensuing recovery, I still enjoyed not having to stress about writing up errant children, entering grades, or making lesson plans.

Please say a prayer for the Mr.  He’s got to get up to take me to school until the 22nd (boot removal day), and he is not an early-morning kind of guy, let me tell you.  He’s already refusing to take me to Starbucks for hot chocolate or by Panera for the free daily bagel deal that’s going on this month.

It should be an interesting series of mornings as our “together time” is put to the test.

Ha!

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