Being Sick and Baking Cookies

Summer colds suck. The upside is that I’ll be all better in time for my engagement party. It was one of the few times it knocked me down for days. But I made sure to take care of myself; staying home from work, drinking plenty of water, blowing my nose (instead of sniffling), and sleeping.

I get these strange craving for something sweet anytime I have a runny nose. So one of the times I was actually awake I baked some cookies.

Cookie Dough

The one thing that makes mine to soft and fluffy is drum-roll……….. Parchment paper.

Baked cookies

Here is the recipe that I use. It took me years of experimenting to figure out what I really loved.

 

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups (12 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon smallish-medium coarse sea salt (or regular salt)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients, then add the wet. I don’t really have any particular order for things after that. Just mix until you get a good consistency. Roll the dough into pin pong size balls then place on the parchment paper on the cooking sheet. Since I’ve never had a oven that worked the same as the last one I set a timer for 7 minutes.

The first cookie I ate

Yes that makes you close and not really able to go off to do something else. But having perfect cookies is more important. Besides you can spend some time doing one thing, your world will not end! You may want to leave them in for a minute or two longer. Let them cool on the sheet for a minute before sliding the parchment paper (with cookies) off.

 

Help for Staying Healthy

I’m pretty sure everyone can agree that being healthy and losing weight can be hard. We all can use some help. Sometimes people need personal help with a trainer or nutritionist. Others just support on Instagram. The point is to find what works for you.

I know I need to take classes. (Sadly could never do crossfit) A little peer pressure to push myself, but less chance of being guilt-ed. I know the basics of form and food, just need a little motivation.

The two things I use regularly are the Nike+ Fuel band and Lose It! on my phone.

My tracker

My tracker

I love my fuel band because it it tracks steps, calories, and fuel points. And you can set a goal for each day that it can remind you to get up. The technology has gotten better from the first one I got. It works best for cardio like walking, running, and dancing. It doesn’t do as great with biking and swimming. But I like that because I’d rather have it undercount a little so I feel like I need to do more.

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I like Lose It! most because it can sync to y Nike+ fuel band. I always had problems figuring out what exactly i did and how hard I worked. That’s one less thing to have to figure out.

Can be used on phone and computer

Can be used on phone and computer

I found this app easiest to work with. It gives better portions, what the calories of a whole meal at a restaurant is, and a scanner. The scanner is great because you can scan a product’s bar code and all the information pops up.

What are other strategies and products do you guys use? I love to hear other ideas.

Making Changes

I finally took the plunge and got my own domain name. Hope you like it. I am still trying to figure out what colors to use and the theme design. Let me know what you think. Any ideas?

I finally learned how to make my own header. I got the instructions from here. I got the picture from here. Recovered Autosaveby Jason Carpenter

I guess I want to explain a little about the name I chose. Strange story. My name was originally spelled a-n-o-n-g. Which in Laotian means gifted in the heart. But my mom, not being asian, refused to not be able to pronounce her own child’s name changed the o to a u. It wasn’t until I was about 13 that I finally Googled my name and found out it was an Ojibwe word meaning star.

The dream and create part is because I am a dreamer, but have never been great at creating those dreams. So it is reminder to myself to be constantly working towards the things I want. I also hope to help others to dream big and manifest those great things.

Freelance Work: Proofreading and Writing

At the end of last year I decided to take the plunge into freelance working. I wanted to explore a different way of working. And the extra money was helpful for paying bills.

So I started out with writing. Its what I want to do and there’s so much out there……Yeah, that’s the problem. There is so much out there. It is hard wading through all the scams, then you have to figure out what you “qualify” for.

Don’t get me wrong. I did put out there a few articles and a short story. But it all helped me narrow down what I really want to do. And what I am actually good at.

First ties into one of my passions, reading. And I mean passion. I almost opened a bookstore because there isn’t one for miles. (one and a half to two hour drive) So I started looking for work ad a proofreader and editor.

The two sites I use are Guru   and Elance . I personally have had more luck at Guru. But both have hundreds of job postings for writing, blogging, web design, virtual assistants, illustration, and a bunch more. Go check them out.

The other part I learned is that I do not do well with articles. I just don’t have the right writing for it. But I do do good as a blogger and short story writer. Granted I don’t make money on my blogging (someday I hope I will). But writing short stories is easy for me.

Sadly nothing published yet, but I am working on three avenues:

1. Writing contests. I subscribe to a few newsletters that give heads up on upcoming contests, many of them free to enter. I get a lot from Writer’s Digest and Poets and Writers. They both even publish a special magazine issue just on writing contests and short stories.

This as actually this May/June issue

This as actually this May/June issue

2. Magazines. Now I may not be good at articles but there are a few magazines that still publish short stories. This article here has some great advice on how and where.

3. Self-Publish. Yes I am going this route, at least for my short stories. I like the idea that I can reach more people and get stories out there quicker. Also you can put each story out individually, then compile a bunch into one book. I am almost done with my first story so I’ll let you know how it goes.

I am still slowly working on my book, which I want to go the traditional route with. But things are slow going with so many balls in the air.

I hope this way helpful. If you have any questions please ask.

 

Giving Thanks and Feeling Humbled

Wow, today is the first day I actually looked at the number of subscribers I have. 68. Woot woot, hands in the air.

Now I know for some this is not big. But to me its huge. I am so grateful that people have found what I wrote and posted to be fun and/or helpful. I am trying. Its a small step to what I want to build. I am thankful this small beginning has been working.

So thank you all who have read any of my posts. I hope it has in some way made you smile, think, or just brighten your day.

This guy always brightens my day

This guy always brightens my day

The humbling part is that I still have a lot to learn. Now that I know I have an audience I am reminded that I have a standard to uphold. (Though I’m still figuring what the lines are) I need to stay consistent and engaging.

Though I wish I could get some comments, but that’s on me. I need to learn to create better posts.

Also, hopefully in a month or two I will be moving to my very own website. Something with my own name and full reins. I hope I can keep everyone here and that you will all twitch over with me.

Here’s to continuing .

Saving Money: Grocery Price List

I thought I would give a tip I use that helps us save money. We all can use a little help here and there.

I know a lot of people tout the greatness of couponing. Yes you can save hundreds of dollars, maybe even free things. But that’s only if you can find them, remember the coupons, and have places that will stack coupons. Which are all things can’t do or seem to have.

Don’t get me wrong. It is great. Just not for me.

My binder with all my house hold information in it

My binder with all my house hold information in it

But one way that I’ve found to help (and be easier for me) is having a grocery price list. It is a place (on paper or digital) of where you put items you shop for and their prices from different stores. These need to be done at least a couple times a month so you can see the change in prices.

The best part about this is that after a while you will see when certain items go on sale at which store. Now for me Hyvee has pasta on sale for a dollar each in the beginning of the month. Way cheaper then Walmart. And you can stock up on them without breaking the bank.

You can either print out a list page to write things on or what I do is write on the back of my grocery list (another must to save money). This may make you shopping trip a little longer, but well worth it.

The one site I’ve found that explains it the best and has the best printouts is A Cultivated Nest.

My personal list from one of her printouts

My personal list from one of her printouts

For other Saving tips and way to organize you can check out my Pinterest page.

Happy Savings

 

Wedding Flowers

I recently visited the florist at Bachman’s to figure out our wedding flowers. I loved it that I got to choose exactly what I wanted. The Fiance didn’t care as long as it wasn’t all pink. I did show him a picture of a giant pink center piece and lied that it was one of my choices.

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We decided to go with Bachmans because they were; 1 at the Twin Cities Bridal Show I went to a few months ago, 2 had the best displays and variety, 3 actually took the time to talk to us, and 4 gave us a $100 off coupon.

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Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of what we are getting, but the ones on here are what I brought for inspiration.

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Of course we went a little over budget. But i gave a little leeway because I had no idea what things cost. Also it seems litle you can never stay in the budget when your ideas for it are not completely concrete. And yes, I know you don’t “need” real flowers or any at all. But I am a traditionalist in this sense and really wanted them.