Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January Goals

We're half way through the month already, so I thought I would post my goals for January. 

1. Clean Closets/Bathroom Cabinets

Our closets aren't large, so this task won't take me a ton of time, but I would like to take everything out and wipe down all of our closets and bathroom cabinets. 
Our snow days sure have helped me check this off my list.

2. Register for Master's Classes

I need to register for my final master's classes. 
 I plan to use Advancement Courses, and I have a long list of interesting courses, so I need to narrow them down to 4!

3. Book Summer Vacations

We're in the process of deciding where we want to vacation this summer. 
I need to finalize our list and actually make our bookings, so that they're set and we can plan ahead.

So there you have it. 
Those are my goals for January. 
Lots of prepping and planning for the rest of year starting right now in the frigid, snowy month of January!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday Talk: Keeping/Organizing Receipts

Hey Ladies!
It's another edition of Tuesday Talk.
The third Tuesday of every month Ashley and Erika do a little Tuesday Talk. 

You can blog about whatever you're interested in talking about and then linkup. 

Today receipts are on my mind. Keeping and organizing receipts!

I'm not sure about you ladies, but I keep all of my receipts.
Every. single. one.

This drives my husband crazy.
He is the one who pitches things out the minute he's done with it.
This is why when one of our new plants died this summer we couldn't take it back because they said we needed the receipt and wouldn't you guess it Alex had bought that plant and the receipt was MIA.

So, I'm asking today, how do you keep your receipts.
Do you throw them in a drawer, in a basket, in the trash?
Do you organize them by month?
Do you tally them on a spreadsheet and then throw them away?
How long do you keep them?
1 year, 3 years, 5 years.

The older I get, the more receipts we get.
I have an accordion type folder that I keep them in throughout the year.

There is a little section for each month, but now I'm stumped.

Do I keep them in a bin until next year.
Do I throw them out?

Please please tell me how all of you supermoms do it!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Favorites: A Dinner Meal, Pair of Pants and Book

Happy Friday!
It's a Friday Favorites kind of day!

This has been a whirlwind of a week.
We had two snow days at the beginning of the week from freezing rain/ice/snow.
Then, it warmed up, all of the snow disappeared, and now it has started raining again, will turn to ice and then snow again!
It's the second week of January, and we only have one more free snow day left! Ahh!

As always, I'm linking up with ErikaNarci and Andrea
We're sharing our favorites from the week.
Grab their graphic and linkup with your favorites from the week, too.

Athleta Pants

I'm so excited that I found a super duper warm pair of running pants. 
In the winter sometimes I wear a base layer pair of leggings and a pair of pants, but I recently found a pair of fleece leggings. 
They are SO warm!

This winter I've been in the need for warm running gear. 
We've already had a week of temperatures starting in the negatives each day. 
I'm loving these Athleta leggings. 
I got them in black for Christmas and recently bought them in gray for only 96 cents!
It's so awesome to be rewarded with rewards money!

Instant Pot

On Monday I shared my first ever Instant Pot recipe!
I was hesitant to start, but it made a delicious meal, so now I'm hooked!

To see how to make taco chicken bowls in your Instant Pot, click here.

I'm hoping to make Instant Pot recipe #2 tonight!


If you know me, you know I love the Steelers!
I'm a loyal Steelers fan and can remember cheering for them way back when my dad and brother used to play games on the regular Nintendo. 
Troy Polamalu used to be my favorite Steelers player, but once he retired I grew an appreciation for James Harrison. 

Ironically enough Harrison is from Ohio and even went to Kent State. 
He is a go-getter!
100% all of the time is his kind of game. 
He hadn't gotten much playing time this season, and you could tell that it was wearing on him, but I was shocked when two days before Christmas my dad texted me to tell me the Steelers had released him!

Little did he know that I had purchased Deebo apparel for all of us, along with Steelers tickets for their last game against the Cleveland Browns. 
I was so proud of this gift!
I was hoping it would be my dad's favorite gift ever, but two days before the big day my present was shattered. 

I couldn't let on how upset I was at the time because then dad would know his gift. 
I anxiously waited, hoping the Steelers would resign him, but they didn't. 
To all of our dismay, he became a Patriot!!!

This was painful to see.

And this might be even more more black and gold. 

While I wish him the best and still admire his talent and workout dedication, I'm saddened that he left the city that made him great. 
I'm disappointed in the stories that have been released about him, and I'm hoping that some sort of positive notion will be taken away from this all. 

It was heartwarming to see this post of his on Instagram yesterday...

How We

This week Erika and Shay started a new linkup for 2018.

How goals/resolutions!
We went back to school on Wednesday, so I haven't had a chance to read everyone's posts, but I'm hoping to catch up this weekend.
I love a new year and new slate.
I can't wait to see all of the goals people are hoping to knock out!

Winter Solstice

I started my Monday by sitting in my reading chair, listening to the freezing rain outside and weeping a few tears as I finished this book. 

I don't think of myself as a crier, but I've cried at the end of my two last books.
Auggie and Me last month and now Winter Solstice.

It was probably the most predicted ending to the Winter Street trilogy, but I loved every page of it.
If you're looking for a good cozy read for January, pick up Winter Street, and then get Winter Stroll and next Winter Storms and end with Winter Solstice.
The books are such an easy read.
The pages basically turn themselves.

I love any book that makes me fall in love with their characters.
Kelley, Margaret, Mitzi, Patrick, Jennifer, Kevin, Isabella, Bart and especially Ava started to seem like real life friends.
I loved this series so much and can't wait to read more Elin Hilderbrand books.

Well, another crazy wintry week is through!
We cherished the warm 50 degree days and now are waiting for the snow and negative temperatures once again.
Stay warm, my friends!
Have a fabulously cozy weekend!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How We: Do Goals

Hey ladies!
It's a "How We" Wednesday with Erika and Shay

The second Wednesday of each month these ladies share a new "How We" topic. 
If you're interested in the topics so far this year or ones to comes, check out the graphic below.

This month we're sharing: 

How We do goals/resolutions/etc...

This year I didn't end up making any resolutions. 
I have thought and thought and there's not really anything serious that I need/want to quit/start. 
Now, my husband would tell you that I need to relax more and spend less time doing things, but that's not really in my nature, and I enjoy being a busy body, so for now I will stick with it!

I'm more of a goal person. 
Each year I have a vision for how I want it to go. 
I think of it in a big picture and kind have plot out what I want to happen before the year even starts. 

So onto the goals. 

Last week I shared my new goals for 2018, but before we get to that, let's recap last year.
Last year my goals were this...

They were simple and sweet, and I would say that I/we did them pretty much to the tee. 
If you're interested in reading more about how we met these goals, check out my full post here

It's crazy that it's 2018. 
10 years ago I graduated high school. 
10 years!
It seems like no time has passed at all, yet at the same time so many things have changed. 

Now, onto 2018!!

We have BIG goals in 2018!
Go big or go home, right?!

1. I followed my dreams and started my own little travel agency last year. 
I'm working on promoting it and getting people to realize that using a travel agency doesn't have to cost you more money because you don't have to pay a penny more with Konnections Travel Agency!
There are so many travel consortium's/agencies out there, and I felt the call that I had something to add to this business, so we shall see where it goes!

2. I currently have my master's degree plus 15 additional hours. 
My goal has always been to complete all requirements/courses before we have kids. 
I currently have 4 classes left to reach that, so that is on the list for this year. 

3. We have some big purchases in 2018. 
Alex and I have been saving and paying off debt. 
We can't wait to put our savings to use in some major purchases for our future life!

I am a goal oriented person. 
I plan things out and like to go step by step to reach my goal. 
Here's to hoping we all meet our 2018 goals!
I can't wait to see what everyone else has to share!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Instant Pot: Taco Chicken Bowls

This past weekend I used my Instant Pot for the first time!
I was a bit hesitant about it because it seemed a bit overwhelming, and the high heat scares me a bit, but I found a scrumptious recipe here and decided to give it a try!

Taco Chicken Bowls

Items Needed:
3-4 Cups of Broth or Water
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1-2 Packets Taco Seasoning
1-8 oz. Can Black Beans (Drained and Rinsed)
1-15 oz. Bag of Frozen Corn
Jar of Salsa
2-3 Cups Jasmine/Regular Rice
Extras: Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Tortilla Chips

1. Add 1 cup of broth or water (I used broth) to the bottom of the Instant Pot
Add chicken breasts

2. Sprinkle 1-2 packets of taco seasoning on top (I used one packet, but I would probably use a little more next time.)

3. Add black beans

4. Add corn

5. Add salsa

6. The recipe calls for jasmine rice, but I didn't have any, so I used regular brown rice. 
I would say the rice could have been more done, but Alex thought it was great. 
I only used about 2 cups-the original recipe calls for 3.

7. Add more broth/water
Since I only used about 2 cups of rice, I poured 2 cups of broth/water at the end. 
The original recipe calls for 3 cups, but suggests to cut back if you use less rice. 
I actually did one cup of broth and one cup of water.

8. Put the lid on and set at high pressure for 12 minutes.

9. Take the lid off and voila!

10. Put the corn, bean, rice, salsa mixture in a bowl

11. Shred the chicken, add it on top and put the extras on top!

A yummy taco chicken bowl!

The recipe says it feeds 6, and that couldn't be more true!
There was so much left. 
We ate it for dinner, again the next day for lunch and still have a works week of lunches left!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday Favorites: Let's get 2018 Started!

Happy Friday!
It's a Friday Favorites kind of day!

As always, I'm linking up with ErikaNarci and Andrea
We're sharing our favorites from the week.
Grab their graphic and linkup with your favorites from the week, too.

Christmas at Easton

I've always wanted to head to the mall and shop a bit and see some lights right before Christmas. 
We headed out the Friday before Christmas. 
I was expecting a huge crowd and a long wait for dinner, but our table was ready in under 5 minutes, the weather was warm (warm compared to the deep freeze that we're currently experiencing!) and there was barely anyone around!


Christmas comes and goes so fast. 
I grabbed a pretty picture and enjoyed some quiet time before Alex woke. 

After this it was run, run, run. 
To Alex's parents. Back home. To my parents. Back home. 
Prepare for Christmas dinner!

We hosted Christmas dinner once again, and I thought this year was a bit more relaxed as we didn't have as many items on our menu, but it was still too much. 
I really just think people aren't interested in eating too much on Christmas. 
It's been a busy day, and meal schedules are off already, so my people are good with just a bite of this and that. 
I think next year I will cut back again on the menu. 
Only about a year left to plan it all out! :)

This year we had a Gift Card Exchange that was so fun!

I made 4 homemade lasagnas, and we didn't even use one!!

Our menu consisted of:
Trail bologna, Cheese, Crackers
Jalapeno Chicken Dip
Cinnamon and Ranch Coated Pretzels
Hot Cocoa Dip
Taco Dip
Macaroni and Cheese
Lima Beans
Raspberry Salad
To top it off the Steelers were playing, and they won!

Poke a Tree

My cousin and I are notorious for making prank/fun gifts for each other. 
I had thought and thought about his gift and wasn't coming up with anything until I saw the Poke a Tree!

A week in advance I started sending my cousin little clue pictures of what his fun gift would be...

The final assembly looked like this...
 I printed off fake play money since I couldn't find my old play money at my parents. 

Each cup got a play bill. 
Then, I covered it with tissue paper and a rubber-band.

In the end I glued them all on a piece of cardboard. 

 I added the title and trunk and was ready for Christmas Day!

My inspiration came from here.
It's based off of Punch a Bunch on The Price is Right.
I don't think this is what my cousin was expecting, and I had a fun time preparing and presenting the game.
I've already planned out a new fun game for next year!

Escape Room

On New Years Eve we headed to Dave and Busters to watch the Steelers vs. Browns game, eat lunch and have some fun. 

Afterwards we grabbed ice cream and then went to an escape room. 
None of us had ever been to an escape room, so we weren't sure what to expect. 
We ended up in the hardest room (17% escape rate) and we didn't make it out!
We had SO much fun!
Interestingly enough, the room ended up having another secret entrance to another room, which we didn't know about until we unlocked one of the locks about half way through. 
They didn't tell us how many steps we had left, but they told us we were super close!
If only we had 15 more minutes!
I'm definitely ready to go to another escape room. 
As much as I'd love to know the final steps to the one we went to, I'm ready to try on a new one!

The Deep Freeze

I'm not sure where you all are living, but this is what the past week has been like here. 
It has been cold!

This is what my car registered at when I got to school on Wednesday. 
This was at 8 am with a 2hr delay. 
It was still -9 degrees not factoring wind chill!!!

It was funny to get in my car after school and my meeting. 
By that time the temperature had taken a huge jump...clear up to 16 degrees. 
My car slowly counted backwards from -9 to 16. 

It was back to 12 and -3 Real Feel on Thursday, so I had to opt for the dreadmill instead of running outside. 

Typically, I can change up my workouts enough that if the weather is so bad that I will do workout videos in the basement for a few days. 
This time around that hasn't worked out so well. 
It literally has been in the negatives with wind chill for the past week. 
I seriously can't remember the last time I ran outside. 
I've done tons of workout videos, but today I needed to run, so I hopped on the treadmill, watched some Fixer Upper and got my run in!

Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and warm!
This weather has been frigid!
We are under a wind chill warning until Saturday afternoon. 
I don't think the high for the next two days will get in the double digits. 
For now, I have school, but everyone else in the surrounding counties are closed. 
Either way I will be grateful. 
Grateful for a job with wild and rambunctious children or grateful for a warm day at home cozied up reading and preparing for the next nine-weeks. 

Enjoy your weekend!
Hope you a had a great start to an awesome new year!