Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Recipe: Eggless Cookie Dough

Yes, I am posting another recipe. The first time I tried this, I instantly fell in love with it. It is SOOOOO GOOD!!!!

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix everything together, and enjoy!

So easy, so simple, yet so very good. If you try it out, let me know how you like it!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What is Operation Christmas Child?

A few years ago, I happened to pass by a local church that had a sign up, saying that they were a collection site for Operation Christmas Child. I went online to see what that was all about, and absolutely loved the idea of what they do.

So, what is Operaion Christmas Child?

Basically, it is a Christian organization, where people can pack shoeboxes with items for children, who may not otherwise get anything, for Christmas.

Items like school supplies, toys, clothes, and more.

I was able to pack and send two boxes (one for a boy, and one for a girl) a couple years ago, but haven't been able to do it since, because I had limited money. Now that I have a job, I hope to be able to pack and send many more in the future.

You can pack and send boxes at any time during the year, but there is an annual collection week in November every year, and you can check online to see where the nearest collection spot is.

This is a great organization, and an amazing thing you can do for those in need. If you are able, and would like to do something for those who aren't as fortunate as you, please try and pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. You will feel great about helping others in need, and many times, those who receive a box go on to become successful, and they in turn help others.

Do good for others, and good will come to you!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Recipe: Top Ramen Salad

This is one of my absolute favorite recipes!!! The first time I tried it was probably about 7 or 8 years ago, when my sister made it for a birthday celebration she was having for one of her children.

For the salad:
2 (3 oz) packages chicken flavored ramen noodles, broken into pieces, seasoning packets reserved
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 (16 oz.) package coleslaw mix
3 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread ramen noodles, sunflower seeds, and almonds onto a baking sheet.
  2. Bake noodles, sunflower seeds, and almonds in the preheated oven until fragrant and toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine coleslaw mix and green onions in a large bowl. Pour cooled noodle mixture over the top.
  4. Whisk olive oil, reserved ramen seasoning packets, vinegar, sugar, and black pepper together in a bowl until dressing is smooth. Pour dressing over coleslaw and toss to coat.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Joni and Friends Family Retreats

A few years ago, I heard about Joni and Friends Retreats (you can find more information HERE, if you are interested to learn about the organization) through a friend, and, when I learned about what it is, have been wanting to volunteer at a retreat ever since.

These retreats give those with disabilities five days of fun, faith, and friends, and can help them escape from the stresses of life for a while.

Giving them a space to have fun, to be themselves, to forget their troubles for a while, to make new friends...sounds like something I would love to be a part of

I have been wanting to go very much, but I couldn't go because of money issues. Hopefully next year I will be able to go on a retreat. They sound like soooo much fun!!!

The closest one to much, which I would love to go to, is in Michigan. But, these retreats are kind of expensive ($300 plus, on up to over $1,000 for some of them), so I have to wait to go (which stinks; I so want to go on one!!!). But, I think with what these retreats offer, it is worth the money, and the wait.

I am a very shy person, and I would love to be more outgoing, so something like these retreats would definitely help me with that, while I get to be a part of something much greater than me.

That is what makes life worth living. Helping people out. People who will in turn help others, and so on.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

My To Be Read List

I absolutely love to read, although I haven't done much reading lately, with work, school, and volunteering.

Here is my list of books I would like to read:

  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle PaigeOr
  • The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige
  • Yellow Brick War by Daniell Paige
  • The End of Oz by Danielle Paige
  • Voice of Gods by Eleanor Herman
  • Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
  • Empire of Dust by Eleanor Herman
  • Queen of Ashes by Eleanor Herman
  • Reign of Serpents by Eleanor Herman
  • Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
  • Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
  • Firstlife by Gena Showalter
  • Lifeblood by Gena Showalter
  • Shibumi by Travanian
  • I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
  • The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain
  • Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
  • I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
  • Lamb by Christopher Moore
  • The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello
  • Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
  • Second Life by S.J. Watson
  • See Jane Run by Joy Fielding
  • Broken Harbor by Tana French
  • You by Caroline Kepnes
  • Dying to Be Me: My Journey From Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  • Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
  • Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
  • Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcsen
  • The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
  • After You by Jojo Moyes
  • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
  • The Shack by William P. Young
  • Boosypants by Tina Fey
  • Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • Christine by Stephen King
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
  • The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  • The Second Sex by Simone Beauvoir
  • A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
  • Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
  • The World According to Garp by John Irving
  • A Visit from the Good Squad
  • Look at Me by Jennifer Egan
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  • Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
  • Paper Towns by John Green
  • Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill
  • What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges
  • #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
  • The Irresistible Introvert: Harness the Power of Quiet Charisma in a Loud World by Michaela Chung
  • Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out
  • Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
  • It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken by Greg Behrendt, Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt
  • Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
  • Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • It's Not Like a Secret by Miss Sugiura
  • Speak of Me As I Am by Sonia Belasco
  • A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl
  • The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lillian Rivera
  • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  • The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
  • After the Fall by Kate Hart
  • Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
  • The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
  • Love Yourself: A 10 Step Guide to Becoming the Best Version of Yourself by Alyse from Raw Alignment 
  • Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
  • We Can Be Mended by Veronica Roth
  • Black Moon by Romina Russell
  • Zodiac by Romina Russell
  • Lost in London by The City Works
  • Creative Cat by David Sinden
  • Pies, Fries, and Ice Cream
  • The Gender Game by Bella Forrest
  • The Gender Secret by Bella Forrest
  • It's Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort
  • Who Says You Can't? You Do by Daniel Chidiac
  • Dare to Be Kind by Lizzie Velazquez 
  • Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
  • Inhuman by Kat Falls
  • The Rose Diaries: The Weaving of The Fates by Natalia La Fey
There are more books I'm sure I would like to read, but this is a long enough list for this post!! I don't want it to go on for ages.

What is on your To Be Read (TBR) list?

Friday, April 21, 2017

10 Steps to Self-Esteem

I saw this on B You Magazine's Instagram account and loved it. I don't have very much self-esteem, so this helps (yes, I know the magazine is geared towards girls quite a bit younger than me, but this is a really good magazine, and can be for pretty much anyone!).

The ten steps are:
  1. Know yourself.
  2. Understand what makes you feel great.
  3. Recognize things that get you down.
  4. Set goals to achieve what you want.
  5. Develop trusting friendships that make you feel good.
  6. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
  7. Stand up for your beliefs & values.
  8. Help someone else.
  9. Take responsibility for your own actions.
  10. Take good care of yourself.
These are really good steps, and I would be very willing to work on these. I never really had all that much self-esteem growing up, and I really want to work on that.

I want to be the vest version of myself, that I can be, so any help/tips are always welcome.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Favorite Songs

I have always loved music, so I figured I would share my favorite songs.
  • You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban
  • The Prayer
  • Because We Believe by Andrea Bocelli
  • Go Where Love Goes by Andrea Bocelli
  • When a Child is Born by Andrea Bocelli
  • Standing Outside the Fire by Garth Brooks
  • Everything by Michael Buble
  • Mary, Did You Know
  • Hundred More Years by Francesca Battistelli
  • Free to Be Me by Francesca Battistelli
  • Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle
  • When You Believe (from the movie The Prince of Egypt) by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston
  • Through Heaven's Eyes (from The Prince of Egypt) by Brian Stokes Mitchell
  • Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield
  • Single by Natasha Bedingfield
  • God Bless Us Everyone by Andrea Bocelli
  • I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons
  • Ho Hey by The Lumineers
As you can see, the songs are from several different musical artists and genres.

These are my favorite so far, but once I hear more songs, I will definitely add more to this list.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My Monthly Goals

For a while now, I have been thinking about what I want my monthly goals to be.

Here is what I came up with so far:
  • Save most of money from my paychecks (this one is going well so far!!)
  • Exercise 4-5 days a week (yoga, walking, cardio, bike riding, etc.)
  • Try incorporating healthier meals each day
  • Put things away when I am not using them
  • Contact my friends one to two times a week (call, text, email, etc.)
  • Donate/get rid of 5 things I don't need/want anymore
  • Drink more/enough water each day
  • Spend one hour a day, at most, online
  • Spend 1 hour, at least, outside
  • Spend, at most, 1 hour by myself to recharge, a day
  • Read three chapters of a book a day
What are your monthly goals? How are they going so far?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Learning How to Play the Ukulele

I recently got a ukulele, and am now teaching myself how to play it.

I have always loved string instruments, and I actually played the violin for a couple years in elementary school, as well as taking a beginning guitar class in high school (I still have the violin and guitar, though the violin is too small for me now, and I haven't touched the guitar since I took the class).

For a little while now, I had been interested in learning to play the ukulele, but since I didn't have the money for an instrument or lessons, I couldn't really do anything about it. Now that I have both (I got a job in February), I can now learn to play on my own time.

My ukulele, and the accessories it came with.
My work (a library) has a couple ukuleles for people to check out, and they can learn how to play. That is what got me interested in getting my own ukulele, and learning to play.
I am really looking forward to getting good at playing, and getting comfortable playing in front of others. It was one of my favorite ways to relax and unwind, and it is fun to do!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Health Goals

Now that I have my fitness goals down, here are my health goals.
  • Stay well hydrated every day
  • Start, and keep up, a regular essential oils routine
  • Eat half as much junk/unhealthy foods
  • Eat twice as much healthy(ier) foods
  • Learn how to cook, and try out, one new recipe a week
  • Get down to a healthy weight, and maintain it
  • Get clear, healthy skin, and keep up a skincare routine that works for me
  • Find out a haircare routine that works for me, that will get my hair in a better condition
  • Go to bed between 11 pm and midnight each night
  • Wake up (and get up) by 9 am each morning (7 am on Fridays)
  • Meditate on a regular basis
  • Do yoga each night to help me fall asleep
  • Clean my bedroom up for a healthier sleeping environment
  • Spend 30 minutes to 1 hour alone each day, to recharge
  • Spend 30 minutes to 1 hour in a park
  • Read 30 minutes a day
  • Journal at least twice a week 
  • Try drinking tea for 30 days 
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter 
I will most likely add more to this list at some point, but this is what I have now. What are your health goals?