Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Sometimes life moves so fast that it's hard to remember our accomplishments.  Days turn into weeks turn into months turn into years.  And yes, I'm old enough now, that years turn into decades.  Sheesh...

So I decided that before I forget all I/we really did accomplish in 2013, I would write it down.

I tried a bunch of new recipes, and I really feel like I've become a better cook because of trying new things.  I now know that I can turn tomato sauce into something tasty.  I can successfully bake desserts that people go through the line 2, 3, 4 times for.  And I am really trying to keep items on hand so that when I need to figure out dinner that I didn't plan for or specifically shop for, I can make something, and not just frozen pizza.

I made more photo albums, which I love to look back at.  Not only that, but I have a plan to get the slides scanned in, and I know that I have all of 2013 pictures in order so I can make that photo album soon!  I feel so stinking organized!

We bought a new scale.  Doesn't sound like much, but what's nice is that this scale is much more in line with the scale at the doctor's office, and gives consistent readings.  With the old scale you could step on it 3 times in a row and get 3 different weights...  But we didn't throw out the old scale, because I needed to do an end-of-year weigh in with it.  In 2013, I lost 14 pounds!  Not anywhere near what I need to lose, but it's a start!  I think one of the reasons I have lost some weight is because...

I've been a better grocery shopping planner.  Using Pinterest and my grocery list app (Out of Milk), I have been better able to plan and stick to my list, which has resulted in buying much less crap.  Less crap in the house = less crap in my face.  And believe me, that is an accomplishment.

I've also done quite a few crafts.  I always feel so accomplished when I finish something, but once I get them all blogged, that will be even better.  Keep an eye on the blog here for a bunch more soon!

We hosted a German exchange student!  Anna stayed with us for two and a half weeks in October, after Rhyanne had stayed with her for 2 weeks over the summer.  It got me a little out of my comfort zone since we had two parties to go to, but it was good for me.  I am aware that I'm entirely too fond of my four walls and familiarity.

While Rhyanne was in Germany, we COMPLETELY redid her room.  She now has the coolest room of any teenager I have ever known.  Period.  The process told me that while Jeff and I are still learning how to work together, I really enjoyed being productive with him.

We have also been working on paying off debt and increasing saving.  I had over 21% average rate of return on my 401k for the year!

While we didn't do much travelling (Rhyanne had enough travelling for the whole family!), we did go to Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota, and made some memories along the way.

So what's in store for 2014?

  • Scanning in the slides.
  • Scanning in photos.
  • Making photo albums.
  • Putting up shelves and decorations.
  • Monogram crafts!
  • Cooking more vegetables, cooking healthier, cooking more often.
  • Lose more weight.  How much?  I don't want to put a number on it because I know me, and if it gets to the point where I know I won't meet the goal, I'll stop trying, and the numbers on the scale will go the wrong way.
  • Get more physical activity.  Actually use the treadmill and resistance bands that are in the computer room.
  • Pay off the 401k Loan and increase my deferral percentage.

Wow, holy cow, that's one heck of a To Do list for 2014!  I guess no time like the present to get started...

How about you?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Christmas Stockings

I haven't gotten the Christmas stuff out yet, but wanted to hang stockings for the girls on the new silver Command hooks (I love them!), and when I was at Hobby Lobby I saw that Christmas stuff was 50% off, and one thing led to another...

There are sequins in the red fluffy fabric, and I grabbed the letters from the scrapbooking section.  They are just stickers, and so far (by that I mean for the last 5 minutes) they are sticking to the white fluffy stuff.  Which means for $7 (each) and minimal effort, I have new monogrammed Christmas stockings!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pinterest Review: Crispy Cheddar Chicken

I had a bad experience with some frozen chicken.  I made some baked chicken, but it was so hard to cut and chew that I just didn't.  It was bad.

But then, I bought some No Name Chicken.  It's frozen individually, and I used to buy it a lot when I was single because, you know, just one chicken boob.

So I used No Name Chicken to make

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

4 large chicken breasts 
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 C milk
3 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 t dried parsley
1. Cut each chicken breast into 3 large chunks. 
2. In a small food processor grind up the ritz crackers. 
3. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the 1/4 t salt and 1/8 t pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine.
4. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk, then the cheese. Press the cheese into the chicken with your fingers. Some of it will fall off when you add it to the cracker crumbs, don’t worry about it.
Press the cheesy chicken into the cracker crumbs and press it in. By the time you are coating the last piece of chicken, the dish you are using for the crumbs will be full of cheese. Don’t let it get you down. Once the cheese melts in the oven it will adhere nicely to the crumbs and the crackers.
5. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. 
6. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. 
7. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy. 

Of course, I didn't fully follow the recipe.  I used whatever crackers I had on hand, cut the chicken into strips, put the parsley in the crackers.

Verdict:  So yummy!  I love cheese anyway, so this yummy melty cheese on my chicken was very welcome.