Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goals for 2015

Christmas is done and the new year is upon us. If you go out and party, please be responsible and do not drive after drinking. Please do not text while driving, I'd like you all to stay around a while longer.
I took this photo one morning when I was leaving to go to the college to finish up some paperwork. I like the top and wanted to see how much progress I've made. Weight loss is hard, life is hard and it has certainly been challenging for me this year. I am not where I wanted to be but I am not where I was, so I'll take the small victories and keep moving forward.

Do you make new years resolutions? I do not, because I have never been able to keep them. This year I made goals and I learned a few things by doing that. If I write something down and put it in a place where I will see it, I am more likely to stick with it.
My challenge to myself this coming year will be "in 2015 do 2015 push ups, crunches, squats and planks. That sounds like a lot but when you break it down it is only 5.5 a day. So...I am think I may amp that up a bit. But first I will see if I actually stick with the current challenge and if I do more, great. I also want to be sure that I do SOMETHING everyday, this will help. Even if all I do is this challenge on some days, it is better than nothing.
These photos were taken off of my Instagram, if you're not following me, I hope you will. I post not only photos of the food I'm eating, recipes that I've posted on my blog, my challenges for weight loss and exercise plus random photos of me and my furbabies.
To help me with my workouts, I wear my Taffy workout wear, it is comfortable, cute, sexy and fits so well. Being a plus size lady it's hard to find comfortable clothing. I truly do love my #taffy wear.
I made this little motivational photo one day and it received a lot more attention on FB than on my instagram and that's okay. It helps me and that's really what I was after.
I read a book this year by Michelle Bridges, she is one of the trainers for Australia's Biggest Loser show. In her book, (12 week body transformation) she has a ton of great information, exercises, goal setting help, recipes and more. One thing that struck me was the above:
She talks about setting "smart" goals and what that exactly means and how it looks. This helped me a lot. I had set some unrealistic goals for myself, thus setting myself up for failure. I also set huge goals that looked impossible because I did not break them down into bite size goals. THIS is a must. When I look at my long term goals, I need to see HOW to meet these goals, otherwise it is overwhelming and I just will not do it.

Set aside some time for yourself, write out your long term goals then break those down into short goals. Celebrate each victory no matter how small. Sometimes our victories are not in pounds lost but in confidence gained AND THAT is just as important.

This year has been full of surprises, disappointments and learning moments. I pray that each one of us thrives in 2015. That we meet and surpass our goals, that we encourage someone who is fighting that uphill battle and that we never ever give up on ourselves.

Happy New Year's Eve Eve and may 2015 be glorious!
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Monday, December 29, 2014

Double Cheesy Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta Bake

I hope your Christmas was fabulous and that you are gearing up for the New Year. Any resolutions? Will you stick with them?

I'm forgetting resolutions and setting goals. I learned this year that setting goals and actually writing them down helps. Realistic goals, big goals with the steps on reaching them. Marking them off and celebrating the small steps has kept me on track.

I didn't meet all my goals this year but I have done extremely well all things considered.

Now dishes like this one will NOT help me meet my goals for 2015 but this was a one shot deal.

My son loves anything with cheese and if you add bacon he loves it even more.
I found a dip mix at the store, a bacon ranch cheese dip and we had made it to enjoy on crackers.

It made a lot more than I realized and not wanting it to go bad I thought "now what can I do with this?". Well, how about adding it to some pasta, throw in some diced/shredded chicken, add more bacon, a little more cheese and BAM a new dish!
Cheesy gooey and yummy was the result!
1 cup shredded or diced chicken
1/2 cup broth
1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 cups dry small shell pasta (cook according to the package)
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 package bacon cheddar ranch dip mix
1 package ranch dip mix
fresh cracked pepper

I used the dip mix I had left over, around 3/4 cup. I boiled the pasta until almost done, al dente. I combined the dip mix, cheese, bacon, chicken, broth, pasta and stirred well. I poured this into a square 9x9 baking pan and at 350 degrees baked it for 20 minutes. The result? Fabulous.
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Friday, December 26, 2014

December Funny Friday

It's the day after Christmas and we've all survived. Now time to relax, enjoy the tree, the gifts, the "no more running around looking for the perfect gift" and get back to normal life. Right?

Well, life for me will be changing again, in 14 days I start classes! YIKES yes I'm excited and nervous. I'm enrolled in the Medical Assistant program, it will take me 2 years to earn my degree but then I'll be marketable, start a career (at almost 50) and hopefully have a wonderful life.

On to the topic at hand, Funny Friday, this is my first time joining the group for this creative project. I love working with Karen at Baking In a Tornado and have had such a great time with the other projects I thought why not join this one as well.

Hope you enjoy it!
December Funny Friday

Today’s post is December’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they've come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Funny Friday  150 X 150.jpg

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Stacy Sews and Schools (

10 - Stacy Sews and Schools.jpg

1. You woke me for this WHY?

2. What do you mean it's Saturday? I woke up early for nothing?!

3. And you're taking my photo WHY?

4. I am so not a morning person, mom, go away

5. Look at his hair she said, isn't it cute she said, look he's awake she said...oh if only she knew what was in my head. Oh good thing she doesn't, I'd be grounded for life.

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

Cluttered Genius (
Stacy Sews and Schools (
The Bergham’s Life Chronicles (
Baking In A Tornado (
Someone Else’s Genius (
Confessions of a part-time working mom (
The Momisodes (
Sanity Waiting to Happen (
Spatulas on Parade  (

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Red Velvet Fudgy Pie - Happy 23rd

Today is my middle son's birthday. Jesse is 23 today and it is the 23rd. Once in a lifetime this happens, for us all. We are the age of the day we are born, just once. (it's funny it happened twice this year for my boys. Last month my youngest son was 21 on the 21st)

I won't embarrass you too much Jesse, but I love you and am proud of you. You are a hard working, dedicated, funny, talented young man.

This was taken the spring of 1992, he was less than a year old, he was laughing his head off but I can't remember why.

So since it only happens once I wanted to make him something extra special. I asked him several times what he wanted and all he could say was "I don't know". Well, I made a few suggestions and all I got was "sure".

You see, it has been a rough few months for us. Life has definitely not gone as planned and there has been a lot of upheaval in our lives.

This was taken last month, he hates taking photos and the wind was bitter cold that day.

This was all the more reason to make him something special.

I know he loves anything chocolate, yes he is MY son, and he loves sweets. His middle name should be sweet or dessert but that would be odd. LOL

So I went with something less traditional, not a birthday cake or even a pie, but a combo of the two.

A red velvet fudgy pie, at least that's what it's called.

A delightfully light red velvet cake inside of a flaky pie crust, topped with a fudgy topping. Oh yeah! Delicious
This is really simple to make and doesn't require a lot of ingredients.

Red Velvet Fudgy Pie
2 pie crust, I used frozen deep dish
1 red velvet cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
1 12 oz bag chocolate chips
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 stick butter

Allow your pie crust to thaw, prepare your cake mix according to the directions, mine called for the 3 eggs, oil and water. Pour half of the batter into each pie shell. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes. Do NOT over bake. 
In a sauce pan melt the chips, butter and stir in the sweetened condensed milk. Stir well and allow to cook on low for about 3-5 minutes. It will begin to thicken.
Pour the chocolate over the warm cake/pie and spread. Allow it to cool, slice, serve and ENJOY!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Fly On The Wall - Dec 2014

Welcome to the December 2014 issue of "Fly On The Wall" where you the reader have opportunity to peek into the lives of bloggers. See what happens in and around our homes, the silliness, the fun, the love, and sometimes the ugly.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

LMSP - Little Miss Sassy Pants is featured this month and I know you've missed her :)

On Thanksgiving Day my LMSP runs in the living room and looks at the TV,
"UGH GRAMMM MA WHY is there no football on?
Yes, my son is a proud man.

Sitting around the table on Thanksgiving reminiscing about days gone by:
Tina my cousin says "well at least your Daddy didn't give YOU a terrible nick name"
Me: ugh yes he DID
Tina: WHAT?
Me: Worm
Tina: laughing like crazy "Oh yeah I forgot that"
great now I reminded her, epic fail

thank you for the photo but the stamp on it says so thanks to them as well
LMSP decides we are going to play a game.
She looks at me: okay, we are going to play "I Spy", you know this game?
Me: yes I do, do YOU know how to play?
LMSP: eye rolls (seriously she's 4) and says "ugh YEESSS who doesn't?"
Me; okay smartie, go
LMSP: go where
Me: NO, play the game
LMSP: okay, I spy, now what
This goes on for almost an hour, it's all I could take. I Spy with a 4 year old is interesting to say the least.
Helping clean out my aunt's spare room and we find a wok with a steam basket. I said "WHAT is she doing with this?" My mom says "I don't know what is it?" LOL
My family does NOT eat anything that is not Southern. Now I do, but they don't. I showed it to my aunt and said "did you know you have this?"
She looks at it and says "well, what is it?" I said "a wok"
I laughed. A wok.
My aunt says "well I didn't know I had it and don't know what the junk is"
OMG I love my family
Guess we know what I'll get for Christmas. :)

Last week I was at my mom's house and LMSP was there, she said "you wanna hear me sing a Christmas song?"
I said, Do you know any.
Well duh yeah (she's 4 for crying out loud, HOW do they get to be so growny?)
She starts singing "Rudolph the red nosed other reindeer, Jingle bell jingle bell rock jingle all the way, won't you sleigh tonight" and starts again with the Rudolph part again.
I couldn't help it I started laughing.
My mom starts singing Rudolph the correct way, LMSP jumps out of the chair, stomps across the room, picks up a piece of paper, growls and tears it in half. My mom said "well are you mad at something?"
LMSP says "Stop singing it hurts my langs!"
Now we are both laughing!
Langs? What are those, we just laughed and laughed.

A comment on a FB status, she replied : "  I would have been on that faster than a redneck on a deep-fried twinky at a county fair today."

I'm trying to make extra money, so I have an etsy store. Check it out: ThreeKittyDesigns on etsy

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Southern Special week 37

It's Tuesday and time for another week of The Southern Special.
Please take note, this will be the last one until January 6th, 2015. We are taking a Christmas/New Year's break and look forward to seeing you all then.

Please continue to stop by your host blog sites as we will still be posting, just taking a party break due to stress, obligations and

I want you all to know how much we appreciate your stopping by, commenting, linking up, pinning and so on. You give us such wonderful things to choose from each week, it is a challenge to pick a "few" favorites.

But here they are!
Buckets into Bells
Jingle Bell Wreath
Iraqi sweet and glossy linguine
Chocolate Cherry Dip
Reindeer Glitter Wall Art
Christmas Decor
Pineapple Upside Down Cake

 Be sure to follow your host!! Thanks so much AND link back to whichever blog you posted your link through.
Cate: Random Crafty GA Girl ~  Facebook ~ Twitter

Dawn:Spatulas On Parade  Facebook ~   Twitter ~  Pinterest ~  G+ ~ Instagram

 Sharon from Blue Willow House

Nancy from Neatly Packaged
 Blog ~  Twitter ~  G+

The Rules are simple:
 Share #recipes #crafts #DIY #beauty #fashion #fitness #homedecor #landscapes, #architecture #homemade items and more! 

Link 1-3 links from YOUR blog. Link back to one of your host on the post you shared OR on a party page. Visit others, share the party and ENJOY!!

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Cookie Clusters - no baking required

Happy Monday and Merry Christmas, well almost anyway. In 10 short days it will be Christmas Eve, the presents will be wrapped, the stockings will be hung, cards all sent out and the house will be smelling wonderful in anticipation for Christmas dinner.

Each year I make lots of candy, cookies and other goodies for my family and friends. Last year was the first time in, I have no idea how long, that I was not able to, I was traveling after having just moved.
 This year I have relocated yet again and didn't think I would have opportunity to prepare any goodies. Well, sometimes you have to cease the moment.
 I spent the weekend with my mom and she has always loved my cookie clusters. I didn't think I would make them since my original recipe calls for Spanish peanuts and I am now allergic. But I thought I'd change it up and see how it worked. Other nuts do not bother me, weird I know.

We went shopping, out to supper and then stopped at the store so I could grab the few items I needed to create these little goodies.
 Well, it worked GREAT! Instead of peanuts I used pecans and in place of the peanut butter I used my WOWbutter. They taste so good! I think even better than before. My mom, who loves these little nuggets of goodness, was happy with the new version as well.

It only takes about 15 minutes to prepare these and they are worth every minute.
Cookie Clusters
1 1/2 cups rice krispie cereal
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups rough chopped pecans
2 TBSP WOWbutter (or you can use peanutbutter)
1 bag white morsels

In a non stick sauce pan melt the WOWbutter and white morsels together, stir until smooth. In a large bowl break up your pecans and add the other ingredients. Mix well. Pour the melted morsel mixture over the dry mix and stir well. Make sure to coat it all well, drop by tablespoon onto a silicon sheet, wax paper or foil and allow to set. Store in an air tight container. Keeps for several weeks but they won't last that long!

I used my silicon baking sheet that I received from BakeItFun no oil required and you just wipe it clean, roll it up and store it. I love it!
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas with Pearl and William - Use Your Words - Installment 11

Another month has flown by and the year is almost done. That means Christmas, New Years and tax time. Oh sorry, didn't mean to ruin your holiday spirit with the mention of that last one.

I am still staying with friends so there's not a lot of cooking going on. I found this recipe on the blog from some time ago. I thought it was perfect and something that Pearl would fix in a dutch oven or on the wood stove.

Yes I said Pearl, that means...another installment of Pearl and William AND another Use Your Words post!! Yes, that makes 11. I've been writing about these two for almost a year. I'm very glad that everyone is loving them as much as I am.

Country Meal In A Crock

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
Your words are: Red ~ beans ~ chocolate milk ~ vanilla ~ snow
They were submitted by:    

If you are new, then you'll want to go back and read the first 10 installments, they aren't long and you'll be so intrigued by one you'll just have to read right through them and catch up to where we are now.

Installment 1 :a love story

Life can change in the blink of an eye Pearl thought. Who would have thought that when she came to Ohio to help her cousin out that she'd find the love of her life, her soul mate, her wunderful gut husband William, would be married and living a life she had only dreamed of before.
At just that moment he walked in the door and gave her the look that sent shivers down her spine and made her face turn red. He came over to her and kissed her full on the mouth, the children giggled and she playfully pushed him away giving the children the side glance. He smiled and went to wash his hands.
Uncle William, do you think it will snow today? Asked Abe Jr the oldest of the children.
Could be he replied.
The children were sitting at the table drinking chocolate milk and eating vanilla sugar cookies. Hopefully it would not spoil their dinner and their mother Sarah would not be upset.
Ah Cousin Sarah, what a joy it was to have her home with her family. God had truly worked a miracle there. It was hard on Pearl not having the children all the time any more but she was oh so happy that they had both their parents back and the baby could not remember all that had gone on after that terrible storm.
Pearl instructed Mary Sue to stir the beans that were cooking and to check the bread in the oven.
After William had washed up and had his mid-morning snack, he announced that they would be going out to find their Christmas tree. This brought cheers and shouts by everyone, including Pearl.
After the noon time meal and early into the afternoon William returned to the Dawdi house that he now shared with his bride Pearl, after Cousin Sarah and Abe had worked out their marital issues they had remained in the main house with the children so Pearl and William had moved into the Dawdi house. They were both more than willing and were planning on building on to it come spring time, with the hopes of having their own wee ones soon.
Pearl got everyone bundled up and off they set into the woods. Almost as soon as they started it began to snow. The first snow of the season, the first snow of winter, the first snow of their wedded life together. They stood and took it all in smiling and gazing into the sky knowing that the stars would be even more lovely that night.
After some debate they found a tree they all agreed on and William chopped it down. They drug it home where Pearl promptly warmed up the chocolate milk and added marshmallows while they warmed themselves by the fire. The children sat drinking and staring at the red, orange and yellow flames as they flicked into the air.
Once everyone was warm they were hopping to decorate the tree. In anticipation for this moment all week the children had been helping Pearl make ornaments, string popcorn, dried beans and other fun things.
They had just begun when Cousin Sarah knocked on the door, the children moaned, something that was frowned upon. When she walked in she said "oh I didn't or I would have come and gathered the children earlier"
Pearl said "But why dear cousin?"
"So that you two could decorate your first tree alone" and she blushed red.
William spoke up and said, "if Abe is done with the evening chores, I could get him and we could ALL decorate it together, you are all family and are the reason we are together" he said as he stood and took Pearl's hand.
Cousin Sarah just smiled, lowered her head and nodded.
After William left to get Abe, Cousin Sarah hugged Pearl neither one speaking for no words were needed.
Looking out the window they saw their husbands walking toward the house lantern in hand and the snow gently falling to the ground.
Yes indeed it would be the Merriest of Christmases. 

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Coconut Pecan Pie and A Guest Post at Neatly Packaged

Good morning! Are you looking for my post? Well, today I'm over at Neatly-Packaged. You see, Nancy is getting married and asked a few of us to help her out. heehee Now she owes us! Nah, we are all happy to help her out and so excited for her.
I can hardly wait to see her photos! But I'll have to wait for now.

If the name sounds familiar, she is one of our host for The Southern Special, our weekly link party hosted by myself, Nancy, Sharon, Trish and Cate. That is held every Tuesday morning starting at 7 a.m. EST and ends on Thursday evenings at midnight.
Show her some love and visit her page, see my recipe and look around at the other guest post.
Thanks so much!

This lovely pie recipe is what you will find when you stop over at Nancy's blog today. This was a lovely addition to the Thanksgiving feast but will also fit perfectly with your Christmas dinner, potluck at work or even a small gathering of friends.
Thanks and see ya there!
pecan coconut pie top view #SpatulasOnParade.jpg
EDIT: I am editing the post with the recipe as she revamped her blog and some of the older previous post were deleted. 4-9-2019
Pecan Coconut Pie
1 pie crust (homemade or store bought, prepare according to the package)
3 eggs, best at room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 TBSP maple syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup butter, unsalted and softened (leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup coconut flakes

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

In a bowl combine your butter and sugar beat until you have a creamy mixture.
Next add your eggs and beat well.
Then we add our syrup, vanilla and sweetened condensed milk.
Once this is all combined, stir in your coconut and pecans.
Pour this into your prepared pie shell and bake for 50 minutes at 325 degrees. The time may vary due to your oven or altitude. So keep an eye on the pie.

Allow the pie to cool completely on a rack, slice and serve with whipped topping or plain.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Southern Special week 36

We are inching closer and closer to Christmas and I'm no more ready than I was last week this time. Why you ask. Because once again my life is going through major changes, changes that are upsetting and heart breaking but God is in control and He is not surprised by any of it. So for now I pray and believe and put feet on my prayers doing all I can to move forward.

At this time of year we get really busy, shopping, buying, cooking, baking, decorating and traveling. We tend to lose sight of what is really important. Ourselves and our families. This holiday season, take a few minutes out for yourself, breath, stop and admire the decorations, see the smiles and wonders on the faces of young children, see the loneliness on the faces of the elderly. When you say Merry Christmas and ask "how are you" stop and really listen to their heart, not just their words. Many of us are going through rough times and need a hug, an encouraging word, a smile, a little of your time. Be willing to give not just a gift but yourself, it will be more meaningful to the person receiving and you, trust me on this.

Okay, that's my soapbox for today. I guess you really want to see who was chosen for this week's host favorites don't you? 

Be sure to follow your host!! Thanks so much AND link back to whichever blog you posted your link through.
Cate: Random Crafty GA Girl ~  Facebook ~ Twitter

Dawn:Spatulas On Parade  Facebook ~   Twitter ~  Pinterest ~  G+ ~ Instagram

 Sharon from Blue Willow House

Nancy from Neatly Packaged
 Blog ~  Twitter ~  G+

The Rules are simple:
 Share #recipes #crafts #DIY #beauty #fashion #fitness #homedecor #landscapes, #architecture #homemade items and more! 

Link 1-3 links from YOUR blog. Link back to one of your host on the post you shared OR on a party page. Visit others, share the party and ENJOY!!
AND here are our favorites!
Mexican Corn Casserole
Christmas in the Sunroom
Bell Angel Garland
Warmed Cheesy Onion Dip
Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Wire Angel Pendant Tutorial
No Bake Coconut Snowballs
Coastal Christmas Wreath
Parsley Pesto Steak

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