Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Fitness Pal (my favorite app, ever...)

Well, it's that time of year again, when we all make a few resolutions to do things better and healthier in the new year. This year is no different--I want to exercise more and be healthy. One of tools I plan on using to track it all and help me keep up with the calories is My Fitness Pal. About four years ago, my friend Lisa told me about this site. It's basically an online diary for recording the calories you eat and the calories you burn. It was really easy to use and I loved it. I used it religiously for about three years, but then I fell off the wagon and started winging it. Therefore, I may or may not fit into the bridesmaid dress I will be wearing at the end of next month...

If you are looking for a spot to "write it" all down, you should check out this app. It really made a difference for me, and I don't know anyone who has used it who hasn't had some success. 

Once you set up your profile and determine your goals, you're ready to start recording. There is also a My Fitness Pal blog called Hello Healthy. It covers all kinds of topics from eating to exercise to recipes.

The other great thing about MFP is all the other people using it. You can follow your friends and even see their food diaries, if they want you to. Ha. It's a great way to help each other.

One of the tools I use the most is the recipe calculator. You input all your ingredients and servings per recipe and it figures out the calories for you. The entire app is user-friendly, I promise. It just takes a little playing around with to figure out all the cool things it does. So, if you're interested in recording the calories you eat and the calories you burn in an on-line diary, give it a try.

I hope you have a wonderful 2016! 


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A fun idea for necklaces...

Good Tuesday to you! Hopefully you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed some time with family and friends. The weather almost kept my in laws (Nana and Papaw) away, but they eventually made it. So much rain in the south this week. I did see the sun for a total of eight minutes today! It feels more like the early days of summer instead of the middle of winter. Rumor has it, cooler temps and more sunshine are on the way.  :-)

Last week when my daughter and I were finishing up our shopping, we stepped into our local Aeropostale. Unfortunately, they are going out of business and selling everything in the store, including the fixtures. So, for her last gift from Santa, we grabbed this...

What a fun way to keep up with necklaces. I kept "Manni" in a corner in my bedroom until it was time for Santa to put him by the tree. I had the perfect empty spot for him. I'm missing him now that he's gone. Once my daughter gets him set up in his new corner at her place, I'll show you how he turns out. She has more than three necklaces, so I'm sure he'll look even better in his next appearance.

Did you get or give an odd or interesting gift at your house? Comment below and tell us about it...


Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Sunday thought on Thursday...

This season does really exist for a reason...

There is a reason the kids are out of school, the government goes home, and our pants feel a bit tight...

A reason our houses and our towns turn red and green...

A reason for moving the furniture around to make room for the tree and for shedding a tear when we hang those hand-made ornaments from preschool...

Luke 2:7-11 (NIV)

7 ...and she gave birth to her first-born, a son. 
She wrapped him in cloths and
 placed him in a manger,
 because there was no room available for them. 

8 And there were shepherds living 
out in the fields nearby,
 keeping watch over their flocks at night.

9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, 
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
 and they were terrified. 

10 But the angel said to them, 
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will
 cause great joy for all the people.

11 Today in the town of
 David a Savior has been born to you;
 he is the Messiah, the Lord. 

May the tidings of great Joy fill your lives this week...


Monday, December 21, 2015

Gift ideas for college girls...

In case you're like me and still shopping, and you have a college girl on your list, here are a few things she might like. This list came straight from the horse's mouth--a.k.a. my daughter.

A Patagonia vest...

Los Gatos Patagonia Vest

Converse shoes, high-top or low-top, and in any color...

White High-top Converse Shoes

The new Adele CD...

Adele 25

Anything Kendra Scott...

Anything Kendra Scott

May the force be with you as you finish up. :-) My goal is to be done by tomorrow. Are you all finished yet?


Thursday, December 17, 2015

A quick Christmas decorating idea...

Do you have any extra ornaments you ended up not using? Find a pretty bowl and display them. This will add a quick and easy dash of Christmas to any spot in any room.

My friend Glenis has a beautiful collection of pink milk glass. I must say, I coveted just a little when I saw it. I liked it so much I've been grabbing up some of my own in white. I've found three pieces so far. That's what I've used to hold my extra ornaments and add a final touch to my Christmas decorating. (Painting by my youngest son five years ago in elementary school.)

To my surprise, the ornaments look even prettier at night because if you display them close to lamps, they reflect the light and add a sparkle to your room. And who doesn't like a little sparkle...

Let's review... empty a cute bowl or look in the cabinets and pull out one you haven't used in a while. Add ornaments, turn on the lamps, and you've added Christmas sparkle. :-)

Two more days until the break, and believe it or not, I have all my papers graded--including the make-up work. Yay!

I hope you are having a good week...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

One of my fondest holiday memories is our neighbor Mary Barnes crossing our lawn on her way to our front door with a plate full of Christmas goodies. There were always two types of cookies on the plate: a white, fluffy and crispy cookie with nuts and chocolate chips and a chocolate cookie with oatmeal. I looked forward to that plate every year.

As the years passed I forgot about the cookies, but then something fantastic happened. My friend Stephanie and I were talking one day at work and some how the chocolate, no-bake cookies came up. She had the recipe! So, for many years now, I've been pulling out the recipe and making these cookies for my crew and sending them off to office parties and get togethers. I've made them for teachers' gifts, too. If you need to make something in a hurry for any of your holiday parties, this is a recipe to bookmark. :-)


1 stick of butter
2 cups of sugar 
3 tablespoons of cocoa
1/2 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of quick cook oats
1/2 cup of peanut butter

Pull out two large pieces of foil and set aside. Melt 1 stick of butter (I like Blue Bonnet) on low heat in a large sauce pan. Add cocoa, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Mix well. Turn heat up and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. I don't start timing until it is a significant boil. Stir the entire time to keep from scorching. 

After the 2 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter.

Next, stir in the oats. 

I stir the mixture about 2 minutes after it's combined to allow it to cool off just a little. That way it's not so runny when you spoon it out. Drop two-inch wide spoon fulls on wax paper or foil. I usually get somewhere between 38-44 cookies per recipe. 

I put the recipe into My Fitness Pal (one of my favorite apps) and if you get over 40 cookies, they are around 75 calories each. Not too bad...

Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie? Comment below. I'd love to hear from you!

Some of my other recipes you might like for your holiday events...


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Make a Christmas coffee station (you probably have the stuff)...

It's the week before semester exams in my world. Trying to wrap up the nine weeks and motivate 150 teenagers to start reviewing and finish strong two weeks before Christmas is a tricky business! But we are surviving. Feel free to utter a little prayer for me these next few weeks. :-)

It never fails. I'm out Christmas shopping and I come home with a little something for me. Anyone else have that problem?

Mr. Woodbank and I are always fussing over the one large coffee mug we have...

...given to me by my friend and colleague Shannon. So when I saw these mugs (they're big), I thought our fighting days would be over.

However, I was informed that these were too big and our coffee would get cold before we finished it. Boo! But then, the aforementioned husband said these magic words, "I thought you got them to decorate with." Ding, ding, ding!

Some months ago, Kris at Driven by Decor revealed her coffee station. I thought it was a great idea, and I've been wanting to put one together ever since.

Source: Driven by Decor
So, I cleared off an accent table in our breakfast area and went to work! I decided to do a Christmas theme for our station. I rounded up some items starting with this runner that Denise, one of my dearest friends in the world, gave me years ago.

Next, I dug out my old red tray from Kirklands to hold everything. If you don't have a tray, a basket would work. Kris used a basket in her station.

I was worried that the coffee pot cord wouldn't reach the outlet, but luckily it did. Then, I added a talking sign from last year.

I emptied the glass container holding my cotton balls and used it to hold the coffee. I found some left over ribbon in a drawer and tied it on.

Now, for the fixings. My mom gave me this small ceramic gift box moons ago, and I used a small gold box I've had for twenty years that also looks like a gift. Perfect for holding the sweetener.

That leaves the sugar and the creamer. (Hard to tell them apart. Gotta work on a cute label for them.)

A bowl of peppermint...

newly transformed lamp...

And, voila! A fun, new coffee station for the holidays.

I hope you're having a great week and not too stressed out from getting ready for the holidays.
Have you picked up anything for yourself while going down your Christmas list? Come on, make me feel better about those mugs. :-)


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Game day recipe round up...

Need something yummy to serve for the big game today ? I've got you covered!
My team, the University of Alabama, is playing for the SEC Championship in Atlanta and a chance to play for the National Championship. I thought I'd gather you up a few fun and easy recipes to enjoy during whatever game you're watching today...

Pampered Chef Taco Ring

Game Day Chili

Green Apple Dip

Hot Ham and Cheese Party Sandwiches

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Have a great Saturday...
Roll Tide!


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thrifted lamp before and after...

This year my school system had the entire week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, just enough time for a quick project. A few months ago I came across this large ceramic lamp on a thrifting outing. Y'all know thrift stores make me smile. You can see some of my other finds here and here.

I'd been looking online for a similar chunky style, but this one, with a $6 price tag, caught my eye. I knew all I needed was a can of spray paint, which Lowe's provided for another six dollars. :-)

You can't beat spray paint for changing up a spot in a room, a look, or a style. This apple green lamp, also mauve when I bought it, turned out just the way I hoped it would--my first attempt at spray painting a lamp. And, if I'm remembering correctly, it was $6 also. I love the pop of color it added to my red dining room.

To spray a lamp, start by taping off the cord. I went about half way down, just to be safe--I'm messy.

The paint I used is Valspar Premium Finish in Churchill Hotel Vanilla. It has the primer in the paint, so one step is eliminated. Be sure to spray the surface well, and go back over any spots that aren't completely covered. Let it dry for about an hour (maybe a little less).

From 90's mauve to 2015 neutral...

I moved the shade from the green lamp and added it to this one. My original plan was to put this lamp on my bedside table, but for now it's in the living room on a skirted table (that I hope to update with new fabric soon).

And so, my love affair with lamps, continues... Now this will work in any room in my house. In fact, you may see it somewhere else later on in the week. :-)