I can't believe January is over. Every year the time goes by faster and faster. I really want to slow things down - to sit and relax in a chair on a beach like the one pictured above. To take life at a slower pace and not have every day be a rush from sunrise to sunset trying to get everything done.
Isn't this a gorgeous picture of a Hawaiian sunset? Hawaii is on my list of places to go someday - in fact, it's near the top of my travel wish list. I found Hawaii's Offical Tourism site to help with planning a trip when I finally make it there.
I definitely want to go to Hawaii's Volcano National Park. I've wanted to go here from the first time I saw pictures of this place - to see lava erupting in person. Amazing!
Another thing I plan to do is walk on the beach with Brad - either at sunrise or sunset or maybe both. Just the thought of this is so relaxing. Looking at this picture I can almost smell the ocean and feel the wet sand on my feet. One day I'll make it there.
Sugar Cookies, Mmmmm! I've seen this recipe floating around on Pintrest
for the last few months and decided to finally give it a try. I must
admit that I didn't think they could be as good as the regular cutout
sugar cookies but figured you can't go too wrong with sugar cookies and
I'm so happy to report that these are delicious - super delicious - and
so much easier than the traditional cut-out cookies. They were thick
and soft and yummy! I did use my own frosting recipe - the original recipe used cream cheese frosting but I prefer
buttercream frosting on sugar cookies. Try these, you'll love them. :)
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing
after each egg. Add vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl combine
flour, salt, baking soda and stir with a whisk to combine. Add to wet
mixture and mix just until combined.
Spread on a greased baking sheet
(use a 13 x 18 pan - I greased and then sprayed Pam Baking Spray with
Flour on top of the shortening and the cookies didn't stick at all).
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min, until light
golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean (they won't look done
so do the toothpick test). Cool completely and frost.
2 sticks butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
6-7 cups powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons heavy cream
butter and vanilla until creamy. Add salt. Add 2 cups powdered sugar
and beat until combined. Add heavy cream and beat until combined. Add
remaining powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each
until you reach desired consistency.
I'm a little slow getting my resolutions decided on this year - to be honest, I'm still trying to get all the Christmas decorations put away. Yes, I'm a little behind so far this year. The way I see it though, you can start a resolution any time of the year - not just the first of January. Once you decide to make a change, you should start on it right away - don't wait.
Also, there are so many things to choose from. I found the above picture on
Google and loved all the things listed - they're all things I want to either try or do
better at. Anyway, for this year, I'm going to still work on some of the goals I set last year so here's what I've decided on:
1. Continue trying to Make a positive impact on someone's life each day. I started this last year and felt the good effects in my own life as I tried to make a positive
impact on those around me. I'm still going to work at making my little corner of the world a better
place - I've learned it not only benefits others but also me.
2. Take a cooking class - I didn't get around to doing this last year so this year I'm going to do it!
3. Improve my Running time and distance. I set a goal to run a half marathon last year and I did it! This year I've already registered to run in two more half marathons and I want to improve my endurance and time - lots and lots of training ahead of me. : )
4. Take time each week to write down the highlights. This is another goal from last year and I was pretty hit and miss at doing it. I started out alright but as the weeks went by, I let the busyness of life use up my time. I'm going to make a conscious effort to manage my time better and write down life's highlights.
It's been so cold this weekend, I thought I'd post a good slow cooker recipe. This chicken dish is so tangy/yummy - it really hits the spot on a cold winter day. You can dish up the cooked chicken as is or shred it for sandwiches or spoon over rice. Any way you serve it, this chicken is delicious. It's a family favorite of ours and I've made it many times for family gatherings too - it's that good and so easy to make. Source: Allrecipes.com
Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.
Tips: For best results, use a good quality barbeque sauce - not a cheap one. I like to use Sweet Baby Rays or Famous Daves barbeque sauce. If you shred the chicken for sandwiches, either shred it in the slow cooker or put it back in the slow cooker after shredding to mix in the sauce. You can add more barbeque sauce if needed. Also, if you use low or no fat dressing, add 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil so the chicken won't dry out.
"Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find
fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire
to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your
bodies and your minds may be invigorated.” (D&C 88:124)
I thought it would be good to review and analyze how I did with last year's resolutions. Some of my goals were easy to remember and work on, some were not. Here's a recap of my 2011 resolutions:
1. Make a positive impact on someone's life each day.
2. Take a cooking class
3. Learn to better control my reactions and not allow the actions of others to dictate how I react and how I feel.
4. Be a more patient and considerate driver.
5. Run in a 10K and then a Half Marathon.
6. Take time each week to write down the highlights.
For #1 - making a positive impact each day - I had a good start, beginning each day with a prayer and conscious decision to do this but as the days passed, the demands of life gradually took the front seat and pushed this farther back in my thoughts. I definitely made progress in making a conscious choice to stay positive so I feel this goal was met (I wouldn't say finished because this goal will be a continual work in progress throughout my life.
For #2 - taking a cooking class - I completely missed this one. I'm going to do it this year though, really! I failed to make the time to find a local class to register for. Cooking/Baking is something I really enjoy (not a surprise to anyone who's browsed my blog) so this year I'll find a class and make the time to go.
For #3 - better control of my reactions - again this one will be a continual work in progress but having made the decision to not let the actions of others dictate how I react and feel made a BIG difference. Deciding ahead of time that I'm in control of how I feel and how I'll react helped me to pause in those difficult moments, think things through and decide how I wanted to respond. Definitely a success.
For #4 - being a more patient and considerate driver - I've made big gains in this area. All I have to do is imagine that a driver who makes me frustrated is a friend or family member or that they're in the middle of their own crisis and I instantly feel more patient with them. This works most of the time and has helped me be a more patient and considerate driver - success for this goal.
For #5 - run in a 10K and then a Half Marathon - well, I kind of skipped the 10K and went straight for the Half Marathon. Not only did I finish it, but I didn't do half bad and have already registered to run in two Half Marathons this year. I'm going to have a lot of fun runs this year.
For #6 - writing down the highlights of each week - I started out okay with this and then completely dropped the ball. This is one I wish I hadn't failed on and I'm recommitting to do better this year. I don't want to forget all the special moments that happen throughout the year and obviously the best way to remember them is to write them down. I think I'll post a reminder note on my mirror.
I'll be thinking about this years goals and posting them during the next week.
Wow, we're at the end of yet another year - my how they pass so quickly. Time really does fly by faster each year. I hear Winston complain about how long it's taking for him to grow up - he can hardly wait until he's old enough to have his own pocket knife and bb gun. I remember feeling this way as a child - that time was crawling by.
As a grownup, I'm so surprised by how quickly the weeks and months fly by. It seems that Winston was born just last year and not more than 5 years ago already. I worry about missing his growing up, which despite his complaints is happening at a rapid rate. There's a lot to be said for seizing the moment and stopping to smell the flowers - don't wait until you're less busy - time doesn't wait for you and you'll miss all those special moments.
I welcome this new year and look forward to all it will bring. I hope there will be more good kind of experiences than difficult ones, but will take all that is to come. I'll try my best to learn and grow and cherish each day. Happy New Year!
"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong because at some point in your life, you will have been all of these."
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson