Sunday, October 30, 2011

Christmas Lists, anyone?

I adore Christmas, and I love spreading the holiday out as far as I can, so I figured Halloween weekend is not too early to make a post about Christmas :) Plus, my friend Ashley over at Celebrating Life as an Army Wife made a post today about her Christmas list, so it got me thinking.

I have decided to share with you all my all-time favorite Christmas organizing technique. As a kid, I would write out lists for my mom/Santa, primarily based off of the cool commercials I saw for toys on tv. As I got older, I would write her a list based on what I had seen when I was being super cool and wandering the mall with my fellow 12 year old friends. Now, I have graduated to the next level of Christmas Lists.

The Amazon Wishlist. I can't remember how I discovered Amazon Wishlists. But I can tell you my life has never been the same.

I have been a big Amazon fan in the last year or so. My Amazon cart usually has 2-3 things in it at all times. I signed up for Amazon Prime when I could get it for free as a student, and C and I order so much from Amazon that we invested in paying for a membership, since you get free shipping, among other things.

I have used other wishlist websites in the past, but I love Amazon's the most because for the most part, you can get everything you need right there on Amazon's website. However, it also comes with a tool bar plug-in so that I can also add things from other websites, like etsy or a clothing store, to my wishlist, and keep it all in one place.

The other feature I love about Amazon wishlists is that you can make wishlists for other people. So, I can organize all of my Christmas shopping in one place. I currently have wishlists for C, my parents, my brother, Shannon, Dani, and probably numerous other people. They are private, so no one else can see them and find out what I am getting them for the holidays! Plus, if I think of a gift idea for my mom in May, but don't plan to buy it until November for Christmas, I can keep it stored on Amazon so I don't forget!

There is a permanent link for your wishlist (this is mine) so that you can send the link out to anyone who might buy you presents. Or, you can be like me and send it to your mom and boyfriend and tell them to direct people there if they ask what you want for Christmas. Kind of like a gift registry!

One of my favorite things about this is that I don't really look at my wishlist often. So I am constantly surprised when C gets me something. For example, for our anniversary, he bought off my wishlist and I got the first season of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. I had watched it about a year ago on Netflix live streaming, but it is not on live streaming anymore. I forgot I had asked for it, but have spent the last month watching Season 1, and then buying the following 3 seasons and watching them too. (Season 4 should be here on Tuesday, thanks to Amazon Prime's free 2 day shipping!). I was surprised to get it, but still got something I wanted!

So, hopefully I have inspired you all to run out and make an Amazon wishlist, and maybe Amazon will give me a cut of the profits.



Friday, October 28, 2011

5k success!


I've done it! I didn't completely bomb my 5k!

A couple weeks ago, when I planned my trip home, I asked Shannon if she wanted to run Race for the Cure with me on Sunday. My parents usually walk/run every year, and I have been doing it for the last several years as well. Last year was my first time running.

We decided to give it a go, and I've been training since. By training, I mean occasionally getting out to run when I felt like it. I was not optimistic about completing the 5k at a run.

However, Saturday rolled around and I hydrated like crazy all day, even forgoing lots of free booze at my high school reunion to make sure I stayed hydrated! Sunday morning came ridiculously early, but I was definitely hydrated and ready for the run.

The first 1/2 mile is always the longest for me, since I haven't reached any kind of stride. But I, along with 30,000 other people, took off from the starting line and didn't stop for 3.1 miles.

I won't even consider sharing my time, since it was so pathetic :) However, the main goal was to run for the entire race, and I did that! Even up a pretty steep hill, when everyone around me slowed to a walk, I kept jogging!

I am feeling really motivated by my success. After several unsuccessful 5ks, I was not sure I would have a successful one again! One of my goals is to run a 10k before C gets home. So I am planning on getting back in focus with my training plan and hitting that 6.2 mile goal before he gets back!



Sunday, October 23, 2011

I love delayed flights.

I am sitting in the airport in Baltimore, waiting to board my flight that is supposed to leave in 1 minute.

I just love airport delays.

I am headed back to Abilene, and I am a bit bummed about it, but such is life. I have to remember to be an adult sometimes :)

Fingers crossed that my connecting flight is not a problem! It is the last flight to Abilene for the night, I think, and I'm not sure I could convince my brother to drive 3 hours and pick me up :)

Talk to you all soon!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Homeee!


As of tomorrow, I will be Baltimore Bound for a glorious 4 days!

Four lovely days of fall colors, crisp cool air, family, and friends. I am beyond excited for this trip. And my camera is packed and ready to go, so hopefully I come back to Abilene with some great pictures for a blog post to summarize my trip.

Saturday night is my 5 year high school reunion, and I am looking forward to seeing some of the ladies of the Class of 2006. I am also planning on seeing my middle school friends (yes, we still hang out!), my 'bury loves, and my boys while I'm home. And of course, Shannon.

I think this trip is just what I need.......a little taste of home to rejuvenate me for the next few months of deployment. I will be headed home again in December for a best friend's wedding, and hopefully that'll give me the juice I need to get through the remainder of the deployment.

Mom and Dad aren't the same as C, but a hug from my mom goes a long way. In fact, when I went home in May for the first time since I moved to Abilene, I cried as I got off the airplane in Baltimore because I was so excited to hug my parents.

I think that living on your own, especially away from home, requires you to be a grown up. There is a huge and unintentional feeling of relief every time I am with my parents.....like something inside of me was wound up super tight, and when I am with them, I know I can count on someone else to be strong for me. I can always count on C for that (whether he is on American soil or not), but I also like to be strong for him. With my parents, I feel like it's their job to be in charge of me and just be my parents lol.

So, back to the point.....I am ABSURDLY excited to be Baltimore Bound tomorrow for a few days of home. I'll try to update from home with some interesting stuff!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fudge!

Pinterest strikes again!

I found a recipe for Pumpkin Fudge, and while I am not super crazy about pumpkin stuff, it is October, the time for all things pumpkin. So I decided to play around with making fudge.

I found two recipes on the internet......the aforementioned Pumpkin Fudge and a recipe for Amaretto Fudge, which is my absolute favorite.

I started with the pumpkin, using this recipe. I failed at taking pictures while I was making it, but it so super easy to do. Just don't start making fudge unless you have the time to dedicate to finishing it, since once you start, you can't stop! It needs constant stirring


I have to say Pumpkin Spice can make anything taste like Fall! My finished product looks exactly like the pieces above!

Then came the amaretto, which was much more involved.....more ingredients and more steps! I got the recipe here and I am really excited to check out more recipes on her blog!

Now of course.....when you are using 6 CUPS of sugar, this is clearly not a health food recipe :) However, my plan is to keep a few pieces for myself, send some over to C in the sandbox, and then take the rest up to the office for other people to gain weight eating :)

What I found, and what is mentioned in the amaretto recipe, is that the key to making fudge is to have all of your ingredients ready to go. It was hard enough to read the recipe on my computer screen and keep constantly stirring. The butter/sugar mixture is supposed to boil, but you don't want it to burn, so it really is constant stirring. If you then have to worry about measuring out your chocolate or vanilla extract while the  mixture is on heat, it will just get crazy.

When I made it, I lined my baking dishes so that they were ready to go, and I measured out all of the other ingredients so it was as easy as dumping in a bag of chocolate chips or a pre-measured tablespoon of vanilla extract.

Overall, fudge making was fun! I think it would make a great DIY Christmas gift for people, and hopefully it makes it to the desert without catastrophe!




Friday, October 14, 2011

TGIF

Thank Goodness It's Friday!

It has been a long week, and I have been staying up entirely too late.

And when I stay up late, I still have to get up at the same time.

Which, by the end of the week, makes for a very tired Abby.

So this weekend should be one filled with tv watching, sleeping, relaxing, and maybe a little shopping!

Next week should be a very exciting week......I go home! First visit to Baltimore in about 5 months, and I am more than ready for it :)

Talk to you soon friends!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When Corporate Comes Calling

I have been pretty consistent lately in my every 2 day posts, but things have been a bit crazy lately.

The corporate big wigs are coming to town.

Needless to say, things have been a bit busy around here, trying to fix up all those little things that we kept putting off until a more convenient time......hello, the time is here!

It doesn't help that the trip got pushed up a day at the last minute, so we thought we had all day tomorrow to finalize everything, but we now only have until about 2 pm.

ahhhhhhhhh.

Better posts to come (hopefully) after the big wigs leave town tomorrow evening!



Saturday, October 8, 2011

Feeling Crafty

It's a rainy day in Abilene, so my big plans to go running have been cancelled. So I decided to use the crafty tools I picked up at Michael's last week and actually do a project!

My hours spent pinning things on Pinterest resulted in finding this.....a blog post from The Crafting Chicks about using candlesticks and bowls to make pedestals. I decided I wanted to make these for my kitchen.

The main color in my kitchen is a sort of lime green color. At my old apartment, the other color was pink, but I decided here I wanted to accent with royal blue.

This is what I ended up with!


I haven't decided yet what I want to put on top of them. Mine definitely don't look as nice as they do on The Crafting Chicks, but I am pretty happy with them! It took 2 coats of paint and a little touching up, since I didn't prime my candlesticks first. I painted them with regular acrylic paint and a paintbrush.

I am still in the process of looking for something to do put on top of them. I would like to use them as both display pieces and useful pieces, so I am thinking bowls/plates like they did.

I have this plate that I might use for one of them. (Excuse the crookedness). I am considering using this as a cookie platter, and putting bowls on the other two that can display things (like this) or display themed candy based on the season, or fun things like that.


I'm still feeling crafty, so who knows what other fun projects the day will bring!



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another day, Another run.

I have been excessively lazy, but I am full of good intentions.

In less than 3 weeks, I am running a 5k in Baltimore, and I had a moment of panic on Sunday when I could barely get to 1.25 miles. At this point in my training plan, I should have been running 2.5 miles.

Last night, I went out for my 2.5 mile run. Since C left, I haven't gone running at night at all very often. There is a well traveled path at the college, and I have been out between 6 pm and midnight and there are always a lot of people out. But normally, C is also somewhere on that path, so I feel safer. I have just had an aversion to running at night. Plus, in Abilene, it's hot as hell, so we got in the habit of running at night because the sun had gone down and it was marginally cooler. Over the summer, we waited til 10 pm just to let it cool off a bit. Now, I can start my run at 8 because it is getting cooler and darker earlier! Which gives me a much nicer evening to work with. Even with nice weather though, after my run on Sunday, I was doubting myself a lot when I headed out last night.

But I went out, and I mixed up my path a little bit, running in the opposite direction than I usually run. It is only a 1.83 mile track around the school, so I have to get creative to hold my interest. I have a few spots around the campus where I weave in and out to add on extra distance, usually in parking lots. I would rather weave in and out as I run around the trail than run past my car/starting point to finish my distance.

When I started the run, I felt like I was running on someone else's legs. I just wasn't hitting any kind of stride or rhythm. However, around .5 miles I hit my stride, and that's when I was positive that I would be able to finish the full 2.5 mile run.

Now don't get me wrong.....it's not all sunshine and daisies. I am quite possibly the slowest "runner" known to man. Those 2.5 miles took me 34 minutes, which is as fast as my dad ran his first 5k (which is 3.1 miles). But, I never claimed to be fast, and slow but steady gets me to my distance goal, so I'll take it.

I'll keep you updated on the rest of my runs this week! I need to get in another 2.5 this week, and then next week bump it up to 2.75. Ideally, since I head home in 2 weeks, I need to be comfortably up to 3 miles in 2 weeks. So that might mean 4 runs a week instead of 3.....that thought just makes me warm and fuzzy inside.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10 Day You Challenge:: Day 6


Day 6 :: 5 Foods


  1. Meatloaf - I made meatloaf last night and it was delicious!! My friend Jamie recommended this recipe and it is definitely one of my favorites!
  2. Pasta - I am not a pasta nut, but really, everything tastes good over pasta. I especially love cheese ravioli.....
  3. .....which leads me to string cheese. One of the great loves of my life. Any cheese, really. It doesn't need to be of the string variety. Cheddar, America, Mozzarella, Gouda, Port Wine, you name it I love it.
  4. Tacos - I could happily eat tacos every other day of the week. A well made beef taco on a crunchy shell, not too spicy, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream.......nom.
  5. Cupcakes - one of my favorite desserts. I often feel loyalty to ice cream, or fudgsicles, or Oreos, or candy. But I will always happily eat a cupcake.



Sunday, October 2, 2011

Will Fall ever get here??

As all my fellow bloggers and my Facebook friends are posting about the lovely fall temperatures, I am sitting here in Abilene wondering if Fall will ever make it to Texas.

We were teased a bit in early September, with a few days starting off at 60 degrees and staying in the 70s throughout the day. But it was just that.....a tease. It is still occasionally cool in the morning when I walk out of my apartment, but by mid day it is at least back to the high 80s or 90s.

So I ask Texas......will fall ever come? I miss the changing of the leaves, the cooler temperatures, apple cider, wearing sweatshirts......everything that says fall in the Mid Atlantic.

I'm just crossing my fingers that Fall comes sometime soon, and that our next duty station has less hot weather.