Cookie Monster

So remember this post about lent and the Feel Great in Eight Challenge?

Yeah, so I actually did it! And yesterday was the last day!

So this is what my Monday looks like-

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^^^Yes, cookie bars that happen to be eaten in the shape of Utah. A complete coincidence, by the way. (The shape of the cookies, not the cookies. The cookies were deliberate and much needed.) Guess I am just so excited to come out to Utah in a week and a half (because Stacy is getting MURRIEEED!) that my subconscious is doing all sorts of weird things!

So yeah, as you can see in all the absent cookies, I learned some great habits from the Feel Great in Eight.

Ha, but in all seriousness I did learn some good habits. I am giving myself a “free week” to eat crazy, and then I am going to try to be good again.

Anyway, I really did enjoy the program. My goal was to maintain my weight and put on some muscle, but I did end up losing a little bit anyway. I lost 3.55% of my total weight, so not a ton. What I was really surprised about was when I did the before/after measuring. She had us measure our waist, hips, thighs, chest, and arms. I was pleasantly surprised to see a difference! I had noticed that my clothes were a bit bigger, but I attributed that to the jump from winter to summer clothes that I made during the program.

Want to see my before/after picture?

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^^^Haha not really. Ken got this app that makes you put on weight by distorting the picture. (The one on the left is distorted, Stacy. I can totally see you making a joke about the pic on the right. ;)

Oh yeah! And I never mentioned that I did end up winning one of the weekly drawings! Total luck, but I got $30. So that was nice. :)

And the final results haven’t been posted yet, but I don’t think I won any money or anything. That’s okay, though. I was forced to do some good healthy habits, and hopefully I will be able to keep some of them. :)

Lent 4.0

So I am a couple of days early starting my lent goal for this year, but my sister-in-law Suzanne introduced me to a program that starts today, and it was too good to pass up!

I am doing a “Feel Great in Eight” challenge that focuses on helping you become healthier physically, mentally, and spiritually for 8 weeks. I really like this program compared to lot of other “diets” out there. This challenge is really well-rounded. Everything is point-based, so you get points for “healthy” choices. Like most “diets” you get points for eating well, but for this program you are also rewarded for things like writing in your journal, reading your scriptures, exercising, doing service, etc.

I am really exciting about this! Today is the first day, and it is going okay. This is the first time I have ever tracked my calories before (thank you MyFitnessPal!), so it is kind of eye-opening for me. (Pasta has how many calories? Gah.)

So I may or may not keep you updated on the blog with how this is going. It depends on how good/bad. (If it is just average and boring, I probably won’t get enough motivation to actually write about it on here.)

Oh, and bonus! There’s prize money. So . . . if I win some of the weekly drawings, I may do a little jig and post it on here.

Which sort of related, but Kenny’s dancing cracks me up.He puts one hand in the air and bobs up and down like he is about to drop it. Pretty funny. Especially when he does it during the church hymns.

Here’s the best clip I’ve been able to get of it (there is music playing, but you just can’t hear it)-

Anyway, wish me luck! Oh, and Ken is doing it too, so I guess you can wish him luck, too. ;)

New Favoritest

Ken always jokes with me that I call too many things the “best thing ever” and “my favorite”. He says that I have too many favorite meals, desserts, movies, places to hang out, etc. In his mind favorite means one, used sparingly. I use it more liberally for whatever I deem to be especially delicious, fun, or exciting at the moment.

Well yesterday we found our new favorite restaurant. Ever ever ever.

Remember this post? Well we didn’t go the next day (closed on New Year’s blah), but it was worth the wait! Even Ken agrees with me that it was delicious and a new favorite.

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^^^Here’s the appetizer we got. It was crab dip. Delicious!

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^^^And we both got salmon. It was salmon with a cranberry walnut chutney, squash, and broccoli. Yum!

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^^^And then we both got dessert and shared. Ken got a milky way cake, and I got heath cheesecake. I can’t even explain how good this was. Gah, dying just thinking about it.

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Look at these two cute guys! Always fun to go out with these two, especially in the middle of the work week! It’s a nice way to break up the week and have some fun.

Hello 2014!

Time to ring in the new year!

We didn’t have a ton of plans for New Year’s Eve because Ken had to work, but we went out to dinner with some friends in the evening. We went here-

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Yep, Mellow Mushroom. It’s a favorite of the locals, and it is exactly like the name sounds. Vegan entrees, hipster decorations, and edgy lighting/colors. We totally fit in because we are soooooo hipster, ya know?

Ha, no not at all. But they really do have good pizza! Ken and I shared a pesto pizza. As we all know, you can put pesto on any food and it makes it ten times more delicious, so of course this pizza didn’t stand a chance of making it home for leftovers.

After dinner we went home and put Kenny down and tried to find the perfect movie to ring in the new year. After several failed attempts (movies not available, free rentals not working, google chrome not working) and our confidence in our ability with technology a bit shaken, we decided to settle with the movie Clue. Ken had seen it before, but I hadn’t. Overall, I thought it was pretty funny.

We then did the whole martinelli toast at midnight and called it a night.

The next day we had a lot of time to reflect on the year. 2013 was a really good year for our small family. Kenny was born, we graduated college, we moved across the country, and Ken started his first job. We feel so blessed and appreciative of our many opportunities and this fun adventure we are having here in South Carolina. Some days it is hard to not have any family nearby (ugh like when I was sick a few weeks ago), but overall we are really enjoying ourselves. We have learned a lot living here in the South. Even though I grew up in a big city, I have never lived this close to poverty before. It is really humbling to see people struggle to get the basics- food, a home, heat, clothing, safety, etc. We’ve had many eye-opening experiences, and I think it has been good for us to see these struggle and to try to learn to be more grateful and humble.

Most of all, I feel like in 2013 I have learned the most about myself. Becoming a mother has really helped me learn who I am, and the important role I have raising this little one with Ken. Motherhood has made me confront some of my weaknesses and helped me learn to just try my best everyday. It has helped me realize again and again that no one is perfect (especially me) and that’s okay. I have learned to take one day at a time and to enjoy the here and the now. I know that little Kenny thinks the world of me, and it doesn’t really matter if the dishes don’t get done for the day. Or the vacuuming. Or the laundry. Or if we are eating pancakes for dinner for the third time this week.

God has entrusted Ken and I with this little spirit and raising him truly is the most important thing. The joy Kenny has brought us this year truly is immeasurable. I am grateful for 2013 and the happiness it has brought my family and I.

I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for us! I can tell it’s going to be a good year. :)

Anniversary 3.0

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We had a great anniversary! Our dinner date was crashed by this little cutie, but we didn’t mind.

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And I don’t think the people behind us did either. He kept on turning around and playing with them.

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And yes we are those parents that let our kid stick his hands in our drinking glasses. Kid loves water.

But yeah, we had a good anniversary! It seems like every year our restaurant plans fall through. (And by every year I mean this year and last year. Ken says that I always exaggerate things, but if you think about it, that’s 66% of our anniversaries! Ya see what I mean? :) Last year it was snow, and this year was . . . poor planning. Oops. The restaurant we wanted to go to didn’t open until 5:00 on Saturday, and we wanted to go out to lunch because hello the food is like twice as much when you order it for dinner. We didn’t find out that it opened at 5:00 until a couple of hours before we were planning on going.

We decided to go to a generic chain restaurant instead. I am not going to name names because I am going to tell you the truth, and I don’t want to rag on it. You ready for it? We were both pretty disappointed in the food. We aren’t restaurant connoisseurs by any means, but it was a bit lacking. I ordered a steak and it was so gristly that I didn’t even want to eat it. Yes, I know. I, Rachel Arleane Alford, did not want to eat a steak. And Ken wasn’t thrilled about his chicken either.

In hindsight, I probably should have said something about the steak, but no biggy. I am over it. (Especially since Ken promised me that we can go to that other restaurant that we were planning on going to another time! Like tomorrow I think!)

So here’s to three years and a try at another steak! :)

Gingerbread House Fail

In my opinion, Ken and I are pretty frugal. We try to save money where we can. We usually try to buy generic brand food/items to save money. However, we have come to realize that sometimes buying the name brand item is worth the extra dollar or two. Like floss. Ken and I don’t skimp on floss. We really like the mint-tinted name brand floss. Same with cotton swabs. Name brand all the way or the cotton just gets stuck in your ears and becomes a mess. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

We figured out yesterday that we will only buy name brand molasses from now on.

Every year we make a gingerbread house. It was what Ken’s family did every year growing up, so we decided to carry on the tradition. We bought all the ingredients last week, cooked the gingerbread several days ago, and tried to assemble it last night. When we were cooking the gingerbread, we commented that the molasses looked a bit unusual. It wasn’t as thick as typical molasses. We continued on our merry way, though.

As we started assembling the house, we noticed that the roof started getting flatter and flatter. It was beginning to sag!

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^^^As you can see in the bottom right picture, the two pieces that made up the roof were almost completely flat because it was sagging so much.^^^

We realized that the roof was going to cave in, so we started decorating as fast as we could so that we could try to get one good picture of it. But, alas, we were not fast enough, but I got a sweet video (*pun intended*) of the gingerbread earthquake of 2013.

We still wanted to decorate something since we had so much candy, so we decided to make a gingerbread mound. Then we iced the mound with the rest of the frosting and thus the gingerbread igloo was born!

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We love our gingerbread igloo!

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So moral of the story, don’t buy the cheap molasses and try to make gingerbread. The bread will be too soft and won’t be able to hold up all the candy.

Pizza!

For FHE on Monday, Ken picked up a pizza from Papa Johns (best chain pizza there is), and we had a picnic outside. Baby Kenny wanted to join in on the fun too, so we broke up some little pieces that he could eat. That was not good enough for him, though. He wanted his own big piece.

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He basically just ate the cheese and sauce off. A little bit of the crust was eaten, but what was left of the pizza was mostly just a slimy wad of dough. Appetizing.

Watching a baby trying to eat a full slice of pizza is quite amusing. It makes for some great entertainment, plus I got to watch with some really great company. :)

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Love these two.