The Dough

Thursday, December 2, 2021

It is time! The dough deserves its own post! I have been mentioning it often in my posts and I realized I just needed to dedicate a whole post to it.

A big thank you to Kim, my blog reader and friend, for sharing this with me when I started my journey! Also, a big thank you to Biz of My Bizzy Kitchen for developing this dough. Ever heard of the WW 2 ingredient dough? Well, Biz made it way better with a couple of additions. The reason why this dough is so amazing is that it is only 1 WW point per ounce. You can do other things with it, too. I have made breadsticks and bagels but I know you can do cinnamon rolls, buns, empanadas, and more!

It is really, really hard to eat regular pizza without blowing your daily points allowance. I love my pizza made with this dough so much that I really haven’t missed “real pizza”.

You need: 2 cups of self rising flour, a half of a cup of greek, non-fat yogurt, a teaspoon of yeast, and a half teaspoon of salt. You also need 1/2-3/4 cup of water. Start with 1/2 cup and then add a bit more if needed. I try to always keep these ingredients on hand.

Mix those 5 ingredients together and let rise in your bowl with a towel over it for a few hours. I then transfer it to the fridge and it really gets better the longer you wait to use it.

I roll mine out on a bit more flour and then add sauce and cheese and whatever vegetables I have ready. I bake mine at 450 for about 8 minutes but I am going to try it in my new air fryer on the pizza setting next time.

I have also made little breadsticks if I feel that I need some carbs to go with my meals.

And, the dough makes great bagels.

I am excited to experiment more with this dough. Honestly, one should maybe always have this dough on hand in the fridge.

Be sure to check out the My Bizzy Kitchen for more ideas; she has way more than just the dough.

Anyone else tried this?

Amy

WIWW

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

It is December! If I can muster the energy after school today I will start getting my Christmas decor out.

Here is a little snapshot of what I’ve been wearing along with a bit of fashion talk.

This is what I ended up wearing on Thanksgiving Day. It was rainy and I knew I would be hanging in my sister-in-law’s kitchen so I went with something not too hot. I would have never chosen jeans in the past I don’t think because I do like to dress up normally. But, the jeans felt good and served as a bit of accountability for me.

The next day I wore my new black jeans with another blouse and a vest. It got much colder out so I needed another layer.

I tailgated Saturday in my leggings and sweater – both from Amazon and influenced by my blog friend Jen! I bought both last year and Jen really does pick well from Amazon. I added an old Old Navy quilted vest and my Amazon purse with my Fucci strap (faux Gucci).

Sunday night I did a mediocre red paint job.

And, Monday for school I broke out my December plaid a bit early. I got a lot of comments that I looked Christmasey.

I have lots of vests that I have had for forever. They are great for teachers because of the pockets and because they add a little bit of warmth without adding too much warmth!

And, another teacher ‘fit. I have had this pink Burberry-esque cardigan from Amazon for several years. The pants are Matilda Jane.

I am going to try to wear a unique outfit for each of the remaining days until winter break because I am seeing what still fits my body and my style. I think I can do it and it will be fun!

Over the break, I was way too proud of myself for making my own raw hem on my too long jeans. I actually think it looks more modern to have this type of hem. I’m not really into the distressed jeans anymore, but I do like the raw hem. I picked up a new pair of black jeans last week and I am excited to have black jeans to wear again.

Also, I ordered two funnel necks that are sooooo soft inside. They are super warm so I don’t know if they will work for school. I ordered them from J.Crew Factory and I sized up one. I could have sized up two sizes I think and I’m hoping they don’t look too boxy. I will try to style them soon. I was influenced by Whitney who has great taste!

I may try to wear the tan and white one with white jeans. I’m not big on white jeans in the winter but I do have a pair that is brand new from J.Crew clearance that were too small.

At this point in the year I get tired of all the oranges, mustards, browns, and other fall colors in my closet so I switch to my plaids, velvets, and lots of red, black, green, burgundy and my winter palette.

My classroom is an oven so I have to be careful not to dress too warmly. Like, I cannot teach in a sweater but I can do a cardigan over a top. Add in the mask and the heat from my computer projector and I am not comfortable if I don’t dress correctly.

I keep telling myself not to buy anything for winter. I really have enough and winter clothes are my least favorite to buy. It has been fun to see what now fits or fits better. I am having to send a few things on because they are too big but for the most part my winter stuff is accommodating to multiple sizes. Also, I am trying to re-discover my style. I don’t want a packed closet anymore. I want to have a more curated collection. I’m also trying to stop with so much Amazon, Old Navy and cheaper brands. Don’t worry, Target. I probably can’t ever quit you!

I have a few questions for you…

Favorite brands of clothing?

What have you been wearing?

Any favorite outfits of mine from the past week?

Happy Hump Day and Happy December 1st!

Amy

Another Round of Eating Lately

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Happy last day of November! Hard to believe, right?

I mentioned a few things yesterday in my Hello Monday post, but today I plan to go more in depth about what I’ve been eating since we last spoke about the topic.

I keep saying I hope I don’t talk too much about this topic, but you, my dear sweet readers, seem to comment the most about this topic and I get the feeling you want the deets? If you don’t, just click away and I won’t be offended!

I am doing WW Personal Points and I still haven’t figured it all out yet, to be honest. The plan just came out at the beginning of November. I did WW Purple before that and got 16 points per day with 42 extras that I used on the weekends. Now I get 22 points a day with 28 extras. You can now earn extras for drinking water and eating a cup of vegetables. You can also change your plan by taking the assessment and getting different zero point foods. Anyway, it’s a lot but I think I like it. I’m still eating pretty much like I did while doing the Purple plan – low carb, lots of vegetables, lean proteins, lots of water, and not much sugar. I am also trying not to rely on too many packaged foods or artificial sweeteners; this is a personal preference for me. The app is amazing and lets you record what you are eating and tracks your points for you.

My goal going in to the holiday was to enjoy myself but not go crazy. I had two Thanksgiving meals – one on Thursday and one on Friday.

Here were my strategies:

-I made a pot of vegetable soup to help me not go to the meals too hungry – or as something healthy to have in the evening after the meals.

-I ended up wearing jeans both days just because I wanted to and…maybe as a bit of accountability and to remind myself that I have gone down 3 jean sizes? I wasn’t uncomfortable at all in my jeans but I learned last year that leggings were not my friends.

-I only put foods that I love on my plate. I didn’t request any special foods or act fussy. I don’t want to be that person ever. I ate slowly and enjoyed every bite but I did not stuff myself.

-I ate a great healthy breakfast both days that happened to be zero points.

-I made WW buffalo chicken dip and celery as an app to take that doesn’t feel like diet food to me.

I plan to employ these same strategies again because I think they really helped!

Another thing that helped is that I didn’t have any tempting leftovers.

On Saturday morning, I needed to re-stock my normal, healthy foods…

It felt good to go inside the store (rather than do pick up) to kinda peruse the healthier choices after the decadent Thanksgiving foods. I went at 8:30 and had the place mostly to myself. I primarily shop at Kroger and we have a Kroger credit card that we use for gas and groceries. I had $100 in rewards coupons/checks and only paid $3 for this order! Woohoo! That is the only credit card I have, by the way. I do have a debit card and Tom has one other credit card.

This is the vegetable soup I made:

Most Sunday mornings I work on my meal prep for the week. I take my breakfast and lunch to school everyday. Well, I take 2-3 lunches a week and my meal prep partner, Erica, does the other. Erica has now lost almost 30 pounds! I recently hit the 46 pound mark on the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving! Erica started in July and I started in April.

I am trying to eat a cup of vegetables at breakfast and this is what my breakfast prep for the weekdays looks like. I made a mixture of yellow squash, green zucchini, mushrooms, and onions. I included two Jimmy Dean turkey sausages for protein, and then I add…

my low carb egg casserole on top. It has 6 eggs, a half cup of low fat cottage cheese, and a can of green chilies. The original recipe called for a bit of flour and lots of shredded cheese but I don’t find that I miss those and they would be more points. I am definitely an egg for breakfast type of person. And, I love breakfast.

I eat this around 8:00 a.m. at school during my planning period. I’m also still doing a half of Premier Protein with instant coffee in the mornings, too. Bananas are now 3 points for me so I don’t know what else to do for a morning snack around 10? I love vegetables way more than fruits so I recently changed my Personal Points to get more zero point foods and that made the fruits cost points now. It’s kinda confusing. I may change back to fruits being zero for me.

Dinner is a variation of whatever I make for Tom. It’s probably easier for me right now because I’m only cooking for two and I am not hung up on us eating the same thing. Tom works out like a mad man but he is NOT on board with all of my healthy foods. It’s kinda weird, but whatever. He wants a meat at every meal with two vegetables or the classics like spaghetti, tacos, etc. He is very easy to please. He eats lunch out every single day at work and often has leftovers that he is happy to eat.

Some recent foods:

I am not great about sharing recipes in these posts; it’s more like giving ideas, I guess.

This was a variation of Alice Springs Chicken from Outback – grilled chicken, honey mustard, mushrooms with broccoli and potato wedges. Yes, I usually eat one potato a day!

This was a dinner of skinny pizza dough breadsticks, apple gouda sausage, brussel sprouts, potato wedges.

Salad with…

a chicken wrap on a low carb tortilla and a light twice baked potato.

I actually took a Chick Fil a breaded patty and took it off the bun and put it in the wrap. The flour tortillas I use are La Banderita brand and are one WW point.

A bagel sandwich with the skinny pizza dough in my air fryer…

A Boca burger wrap…

Erica’s lunch of copycat Olive Garden zuppa tuscano soup…

burrito bowls…

I am a big believer in putting your food on pretty plates. I would never eat a Lean Cuisine or a frozen meal in the container because I just think it tastes better on a plate! Another trick I do often is to cut things in more pieces so it seems like more. I’m weird.

This is what I use for creamer – no sweetener. You get used to it! Now I love my coffee this way!

I started adding this a couple of times a week. This may be TMI but we have a doctor friend that says everyone should be doing Metamucil everyday.

A great sweet treat for the cold evenings – one WW point.

This is what I buy for my breakfast – a great price at Costco and I put in the freezer.

This is my favorite bread at one WW point…

I often make avocado toast for an after school snack with this bread…

I love these!

Popcorn almost every day…

Ok – new to me… these are so good! I added some mayo and pickles and…

these buns for one WW point and it was like a faux CFA sandwich!

I plan to make 2 WW point egg rolls in the air fryer! I can use my egg roll in a bowl mixture inside and one of my readers reminded me about making buffalo chicken egg rolls.

As you can see I have been eating a lot of low carb tortillas and potatoes! And, I do repeat the same things quite a bit. Or, maybe it’s that I go in stages where I eat the same thing for a while before changing?

I am not really eating brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or other grains much now because it’s not zero for me anymore. I just need to learn this new plan a bit better and then I will add more variety I think.

Anyway, I love what I’m eating. It’s not perfect, but it’s a big improvement. I was eating way too much – mindless snacking, “tasting” while cooking, drinking too much alcohol and caloric coffees, eating way too much sugar… you get the idea.

If you have been on the fence about joining WW, I say do it! I feel so great heading into the new year for the first time ever. It feels so good to have already started working on my health goals pre-January 1, you know? There is no need to wait for a magical date on the calendar, and honestly, there is never a perfect time. Life is always gonna be crazy. While I have lost weight, I have gained so much. I am happier and more extroverted. I say YES more. I think I will have less Seasonal Affective Disorder this winter, maybe because I feel better? As far as vanity goes, everyone wants to be in shape and look good for the summer, but it is such a good feeling to look better in your winter clothes, too!

A word about the air fryer… I am using it so much! I think it’s especially great for people trying to eat healthier. It is also great for empty nesters who aren’t cooking for a large family.

If I can be of any help, let me know! This was a long post and I probably repeated what I have said in other posts but I always appreciate a followup, so…

Amy

P.S. – I would like to lose 4 more pounds before the end of 2021 to hit the 50 pound mark, but I am really just going to try to maintain through the busy holiday season.

Hello Monday

Monday, November 29, 2021

It’s back to the grind today for most of us, right? Today I am linking up with Heather, etc. here for Hello Monday.

I had a nice 5 days off. My hopes were time with family and friends, time to read and relax, time off from the computer, not to eat too horribly – lol, and that’s about it. I did not do Christmas decor and I didn’t do much shopping and that’s perfectly alright with me.

I love a slow morning. I took the time each day to light a candle and read blogs or my books.

I made a vegetable soup to have for lunch before the big Thanksgiving meal. This is zero points for me and I am also bringing this with some turkey sausage (2 points worth) for our lunch today. I am doing 3 lunches this week and Erica is doing 2. I am doing chicken enchiladas one day and either Greek bowls or egg roll in a bowl on the other day. I weighed Wednesday morning and achieved my lowest weight to date! I won’t weigh again until this Friday morning, December 4th.

Wednesday I had to try out my fall sangria. I used this Trader Joe’s spiced cider and I love the extra bite it gives.

It was pretty cold all 5 days here, but I did manage to sit outside a couple of times.

I had a cider mimosa the next morning, too!

I finished this cute Hallmarky book. The end – or really most of it – was super predictable but it was just what I needed.

I started this and I am liking it so far! I love to get in the mood for the season with my reading!

These are so fun and the perfect little sweet treat – 2 WW points each – lol. I made some to take to both of our celebrations.

On Thursday around 2:00 we went across town to Tom’s sister’s house. I made this caramel cake using a yellow box mix (add an extra egg for a true homemade taste) and homemade, real deal icing – lots of butter, brown sugar, powdered sugar and milk. You have to cook the icing, too, and it is amazing.

My sis-in-law requested that I made mashed sweet potatoes and OMG – I will be doing this again. I roasted the sweet potatoes in my oven at 400 for a long time – like 1.5 hours. You let cool, scoop out the innards, and then mash and add a touch of milk, butter, and brown sugar along with some spices. The roasted aspect makes them not require much.

My 22 year old niece Morgan and I. She was my first niece and I am so proud of her. She is a nurse now and works the night shift.

My second niece, Brooke, is almost a nurse, too! She just got a paid internship with a big hospital group.

Tom and Mason – awww

Jack and Tom’s mom – love that I caught her looking at him like that!

The feast – It was so nice after taking last year off. We had a great meal and a nice day.

On Friday it was time for round 2 with my family and again, this would be our first Thanksgiving since 2019. My mom lives an hour away so we headed there around 11.

I made mashed potatoes,

WW friendly buffalo chicken dip to snack on,

and roasted potatoes that my mom loves.

My sister Kate and I:

Nieces Nora and Samira playing Scrabble with Jack and Mason after our meal:

My nephew Silas was hard to get a photo of because he was busy!

We had a really nice day, but it was also a bummer because my other sister’s family was quarantined. My brother in law tested positive for Covid on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and then my sister Molly tested positive on Monday. They were both pretty sick and the whole family had to stay home, of course. Prayers that we can be together for Christmas if you don’t mind?

The sky on our drive home was beautiful!

Jack and Mason really just wanted to be at home, sleep in, lounge in pjs, and do a bit of homework. It was so nice to have them home. They only have a few more days of classes until Winter Break. It’s hard to believe they are almost halfway done with college. College really does go by faster than high school and that seemed so fast to me, too.

One of my besties, Heather and I cooked up a plan to do “Shop Small Business Saturday” but it really just turned into a boozy brunch and one store. I love one on one time because I feel like we can really talk, ya know? We ended up at Wild Eggs which is in a small shopping center with all locally owned places.

We had a pomegranate mimosa…OMG! This would be great for Christmas! You can’t tell at all that I love a mimosa, can you?

I stuck with my regular farmer’s market skillet!

I’m trying to get better at always asking to take photos!

Tom got invited by his brother-in-law to go to the big rivalry football game between University of Louisville and University of Kentucky. I tagged along to tailgate with my sister-in-law. The game didn’t start until 7:30 and both of us are not late night people. Plus, the tailgate is the best part, ya know?

Proof that we were there…

Jessica, my sister-in-law and I…

And, Sunday was a lazy day at home that also included meal prepping for the week.

I went to the store at 8:30 Saturday morning to stock back up on the healthy foods! Post coming tomorrow about what I’ve been eating/meal ideas. I do plan to buckle down for the next 3 weeks or so. I’m still learning the new WW Personal Points plan. I re-took the assessment and now I have 22 points a day. I was only getting 16 a day on WW Purple. I think I like the new program? I walked one day and did an exercise video indoors one day.

Erica (my co-worker and meal prep partner) hates the cold but I am hoping we can walk at least 2 days a week until the break. I am also trying to start Epic Heat on YouTube, which is free. I don’t think I’m in good enough shape to do the whole thing, but maybe I can work up to it. Any other suggestions are welcome! I do believe it’s about 80% diet, 20% exercise or something like that. I am trying to drink more water and eat more lean protein, too. I tried hard to stay dedicated without being obsessive. I hope you don’t think I talk about it too much here, either.

How was your Thanksgiving Break? I hope you were happy and healthy!

Amy

WIWW

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

I couldn’t stay away. I thought I would go ahead and show some recent outfits so that I don’t have an overload next week.

I wore this to school one day – golden clogs, jeans, Target blouse, and a fuzzy vest. A student told me I looked “boujie”.

For a dinner out, I wore this outfit – Target boots, jeans, old black blouse, and an old poncho.

Saturday errands and shopping – Tieks, jeans, consignment sweater from Loft Lou & Grey line.

For school one day – newish boutique blouse, Matilda Jane pants, and Tieks.

Casual date night outfit – jeans, Target boots, fuzzy TJ Maxx sweater.

I tried a look – new Nordstrom Rack blouse, jeans, white booties. I will probably retire the booties until spring.

TJ Maxx blouse, jeans, old Jack Rogers booties.

Grey dress, long sweater, and boots – not very flattering…

These photos were days apart and look what a difference fitted clothes can make!

Do you ever shine your shoes? I bought some black and brown polish from CVS. It really makes your leather look like new!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I am so thankful for you!

Amy

Weekend Coffee Talk

Monday, November 22, 2021

How was your weekend? I thought I would pop in for a quick chat. I am not sure how much I will post this week.

My weekend was really chill and just what I needed.

I am now reading this and it’s cute but it’s one of those where maybe a third in the series is too much for me? Class Mom was really funny and You’ve Been Volunteered was too. Maybe it’s just that I am so far removed from the elementary years now?

So, I needed a little Hallmark in my life without resorting to the real Hallmark movies. This is shaping up to be super cute. I’m a sucker for anything about twins. #twinmom

My sweet student who gave me a facial last Friday uses The Ordinary products. I ordered all of this for $40! Ulta also sells this line. You start with the cleanser and use two serums and then end with the moisturizer.

I really have rarely committed to a regimen but it’s time. I’m so lazy about skin care that I primarily wash my face in the shower. I shower in the morning (very quickly and without getting my hair wet) and in the evening which is when I wash my hair pretty much every day. I think my skin has been looking better from not wearing makeup. I only do eye makeup and brows since I’m spending my days in a mask. I save my makeup for non-work outings. I am still loving my Seint makeup system and I am going to order more soon. Get ready, Jennie! Jennie is my friend and blog reader that hooked me up with this makeup.

I made a bagel in my air fryer with the skinny pizza dough. You can seriously do anything with this dough.

I had a leisurely Trader Joe’s Saturday morning trip. It was already crowded at 8:30 a.m.!

Any of these wooden products would make great gifts. Look at the gorgeous boards on the bottom shelf.

I could only find peppermint cleaner in the Mrs. Meyer line at my Target so I was happy to find the peppermint hand soap at Trader Joe’s. I am saving this for December as I continue to use Acorn Spice for the rest of November. These are some important decisions I’m making – ha!

Oh, and some bad news. The Ghost Vine wine was seasonal – waaaaaahhhhh! It would have been great for Thanksgiving! I can’t find it elsewhere so it might be a TJ’s exclusive.

I went to the mall. It was hopping! I really think people are frantically shopping so much earlier this year. Anthropologie overwhelms me because I love everything.

I went in Madewell and Old Navy, too. I didn’t buy a single thing.

I spent much of Saturday cleaning and taking down my Halloween and fall decor. I did my nails and read on the patio for a bit.

Tom and I went to Harry’s Bar and sat at the bar.

I’m sorry but I am so disappointed by restaurant Skinny Margaritas. Mine is soooooo much better and I just need to stop ordering them. I use a shot of Casamigos tequila (pricey but only 2 WW points), a half of a stick of Crystal Light lemonade powder, real lime juice, and fill to the top with ice and Fresca.

We ordered sushi and had some of their fabulous bread and butter.

I had kinda forgotten about these Target clearance boots from last season but decided to wear them for this casual date. They do not look like Target; I think they look really good.

I couldn’t keep my eyes open past 9:00 Saturday night.

Sunday morning I did a nice vegetable mix and egg for my breakfast. I sauteed mushrooms and onions and microwaved a very small potato before adding it to the skillet. I had lots of mushroom and onion to save for this week and will probably make breakfast burritos for the two days of work. I intentionally took a break from meal prep because of just a two day week.

This breakfast is zero points for me and it’s very filling!

Yes, this is exactly how I feel! Mason has a class that doesn’t let out until 5:45 on Tuesdays but then I think Jack and Mason should be home for dinner Tuesday night! I guess I have to cook. We usually get Mexican on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.

I am lucky that I only have to do desserts and mashed sweet potatoes for Tom’s side on Thursday and mashed and roasted potatoes for Friday.

Oh yeah, and I can’t wait to make my apple cider sangria! I usually start making it in September but it involves bourbon and Fireball and I didn’t think it would be great for me to start that because those will be lots of WW points. I always bring this on Thanksgiving.

I did a Kroger pick up Friday and have all of my ingredients already plus all of the boys’ favorite foods. I am sure I will have to run in for a couple of forgotten things at some point.

How was your weekend?

I’m sure I will pop in a couple of times this week!

Amy

Friday Favorites

Friday, November 19,2021

Oh Friday, I thought you would never get here! I am linking up today with Andrea, etc. right here.

I use Friday Favorites as a time to look through my camera roll from the week and see what made me smile. I hope you had lots this week, too!

The fall colors continue to amaze me and I know they won’t stick around much longer, sadly. I feel a sense of urgency to get outside as much as I can.

I even love the look of fallen leaves!

I am still learning how to use my new air fryer, but I think I really like it! I have hardly used my oven this week.

I will try to do a detailed review and recipes when I can. I am still so new!

We have had some yummy soups not made in the air fryer this week for lunch. I did white chicken chili one day…

and Erica did an Olive Garden zuppa tuscano copycat light version. They were both delicious and we both love soups.

I only bought one thing last weekend with my mom and sisters but I love what I bought…

these cool bar earrings.

One morning this week I was making my coffee and getting ready to sit in my chair and look who took my spot!

A favorite picture from last weekend…

It’s rare when we get photos of the three of us as adults and we have gotten some sweet comments on Facebook.

I really like having a dressier option in booties and I had worked hard to apply my self tanner in advance… ha!

The murals that are so popular everywhere are just so fun! My sister took this last weekend.

I am wanting a colorful sneaker that is more of a running shoe style. I like my flat ones but I think the lift will be more flattering. I have my eye on these…

I can’t wait for Ernie to start his advent calendar. This is what happens in the empty nest; your dog gets the attention the kids used to!

I plan to do a TJ’s run this weekend. I have a few necessities to get and I want to see the seasonal things like these – if they are out…

You learn quickly to get these items while you can!

I finished this and really recommend it!

I started this…

And these are on deck…

Love my new Swig cow cup and this would be a great gift.

Last winter we bought this UGG brand comforter at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and I love it. It is so cozy. We actually kept it on over the summer, too.

The highlight of my week was meeting up with a former student who is now 36! We went to a tapas restaurant and

It was so much fun. Allison also became my baby and dog sitter eventually; she was my student the year I got pregnant and remembers my pregnancy announcement. I cannot tell you the joy I get from keeping in touch with former students – it truly is one of the best parts of the job.

What were your favorites?

I am not sure how much I will post next week. I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving with your loved ones, just in case!

Amy

Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 18, 2021

I have always loved Thanksgiving! I love the food, the colors, the fall vibe, and really just everything about it.

Last year was such a departure for us from our “normal”. First of all, our kids were coming home from college for the first time and staying home until January. I hated that it was that way due to Covid, but I was giddy! Both of my kids were very scared of the virus and of course, there was no vaccine. We decided to just be the four of us and it really worked for us for that very different year. We had lots of Solo Stove fires, watched tv and movies together at home (the movie theater was still closed, I think), and my kids just really enjoyed time together. They had hardly seen each other during August – November because of the strict Covid rules. For identical twins, I can only imagine that was super hard. They continued with classes online for a couple of weeks from home and then did finals from home. I continued teaching virtually and Tom continued as one of the only ones going in to his office. It was just weird times, you know?

This year, Jack and Mason only have 5 days off just like their mom. Tom also has the time off which is nice.

On Thursday we go to my sister-in-law’s house here in town and we celebrate with Tom’s side of the family. We have the traditional meal around 4:00. This year I am in charge of the sweet potatoes and the desserts.

On Friday we will go to my mom’s house with my side of the family. It is about an hour away. We usually do the traditional meal again and we also go to some of the local businesses for some Black Friday shopping – small town style. It is weird without my Dad. He loved Thanksgiving. I am very excited to see all of my nieces and nephews. We have so many teenagers now!

I like to really wear my Thanksgiving colors because after this, I am over the fall colors and I move into Christmas colors and all.the.plaids! And, I start wearing my beloved velvet. I like to dress up and I might wear a dress one or both days.

These are some options to consider:

Thoughts? What do you wear?

Healthy Strategies:

I plan to eat what I want during the Thanksgiving meals. I will try to walk both mornings and eat a healthy zero point breakfast. Then, I will just enjoy and live life

I plan to do a grocery pick up for Monday after school for the ingredients for the dishes I am making and I am going to add stuff for a few lighter meals for the days before and after. I think it will help me to have the healthier stuff on hand. I plan to make a vegetable soup.

It also helps that I will not have the leftovers at my house.

Maybe I will think about halving some recipes so I don’t have a ton leftover.

I would love to hear your plans! We are only a week away! It is so crazy how this fall has flown!

Thankful for you,

Amy

WIWW

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Welcome to another edition of What I Wore Wednesday! Why do I post this? Well, I like fashion. Also, I like to see bloggers’ outfits and I can often put together similar items in my own closet.

Last Thursday’s “drippy fit” is below. If you want your teens to either have mad respect for your lingo OR get really annoyed at you, use this term. Apparently “drippy” is a good thing. And “fit” is just short for “outfit”. Since I teach Spanish, I like to compliment my students and tell them they look “muy drippy”.

I have on Target Universal Thread jeans and cardigan, a TJ Maxx very fall-ish blouse, and my Madewell sneakers.

Friday for the teacher work day it was cold. I wore my Costco Felina leggings, my Lucky booties, Target long sleeve, and Target poncho. Meh…I was comfy.

Saturday for my Girls’ Day with my mom and sisters, I wore another pair of Target Universal Thread jeans, a Target long sleeve, really comfy booties by Sanita, and a new long cardigan. I got this cardigan at Apricot Lane. I realiz now looking at the photo that the leopard purse strap that came with my brown Amazon is not really long enough.

For dinner, I changed into my new Amazon leopard skirt and my new and smaller size Amazon Essentials sweater; I have linked them. The sweater runs large and the skirt runs small. I have on a Kendra Scott necklace from a few years ago and some old suede pointy toe dressier booties.

And, for school this week I wore this Matilda Jane dress with the Matilda Jane vest. My mom gave me several Matilda Jane pieces that she bought from a former sales rep. The booties are very old but I have kept them because the color seems to work with several things I own.

And, as a bonus you get to see my sister Kate in her Sunday morning brunch ‘fit. She always looks cute and put together and her style is very “her”.

Do you have a favorite? I loved wearing the new leopard skirt outfit! I would say the first jeans outfit is the most flattering, though?

What have you been wearing lately?

Amy

Gifting

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

This is not your typical gift guide. In fact, I may not even do any links, k? Let’s roll with my amateur blogging style.

We simplified gift giving several years ago. I only buy for Tom, Jack, Mason, grandparents and two nieces. It has made things so much easier. Most years Tom and I do stocking gifts only; we usually say we are giving each other a house project. Some years we break the rules and buy each other more than stocking gifts.

I don’t think we should put so much focus on gifts, but not everyone in my family agrees. I love giving gifts, but not at the expense of my family being stressed out and in debt, you know? Also, after everything we have gone through with the pandemic, it just seems weird to get so materialistic. Others use the holidays as a time to show love and appreciation and I get that, too.

Try not to stress. Try to enjoy the process if you can and once you decide, do not overthink. Use the Lazy Genius principle of “decide once”. I also love the idea of going with a theme each year like “cozy”, “pjs”, “fun in the kitchen”. I love a good theme, you know!

Step One: Make a list of all the people you buy for with potential ideas. I do keep a list of ideas in my phone throughout the year.

Step Two: Make a budget.

Step Three: The hard part begins. Start online shopping or shopping in stores. As you buy things, check off on your list. Do not overthink it and stick to your list. Also, do not overbuy.

There is nothing wrong with sticking to just a couple of stores for all of your gifts.

Use Amazon’s search bar and type in “gifts for 8 year old boys” if you need inspiration. Then, if you can find that item locally, do so.

Try to shop locally when you can and think outside the box. A gift certificate to a locally owned restaurant or a locally owned hardware store, boating supplies store, exercise studio, cookware store, wine shop, etc. all make great and thoughtful gifts. If you are local, what about a gift card to Paul’s Fruit Market, Lotsa Pasta, Fresh Market, or a locally owned restaurant. These are treats that some people may not normally have in their budget.

Really listen to the people you are buying gifts for. Do they mention wanting to learn to cook? Do they talk about a game they loved as a child?

Here are things I love to give:

-Bourbon Barrel Foods – bourbon smoked pepper, bourbon seasonings for grilling or cooking, bourbon caramel sauce for ice cream, etc. Krogers in my area have a local section where you can find many of these items.

-personalized notepads – I did this for both grandmas last year.

-monogrammed items. I love giving necklaces, sweatshirts, etc.

-photo gifts – mugs, mousepads, calendars – I have done all of these. Costco or Walgreen’s are where I have ordered from.

-experiences – tickets to a concert, play, etc.

-magazine or newspaper subscriptions

-streaming service subscriptions (maybe they would like Acorn TV for the British shows)

-StoryWorth

-go in with other family to get a bigger gift like Airpods or a Solo stove.

I love to shop at Costco for gifts. They have some really great products – books, clothing, gloves, socks, knives, cooking stuff, and so much more. One year I think I bought almost all of my gifts there.

I love Aerie for the teen and college age girls and for me! Their stuff is great quality and won’t break the bank.

Uncommon James – really cool jewelry at a decent price

Kendra Scott

Target.con is so user friendly. Did you know the website has more than the store?

Nordstrom.com – you might be surprised at how reasonable their prices are. They have excellent customer service and quick shipping.

I love to get little kids rain gear – they get really excited over their very own umbrella, new rain boots, and a rain jacket. I will often get them something to play with immediately, too.

I would love to get any of these luxury beauty items:

I love the idea of these because I think a gift should be something someone might not buy for themselves but that they would love to have.

Bum bum cream – I did say I didn’t think it was that great, but I have changed my mind. It smells really good!

Ibis perfume or lotion. We discovered it in Michigan and it smells amazing.

Tan luxe the butter – the newer formula is even better.

Olive and June – manicure sets. They are supposed to be really good for those that enjoy an at home mani.

Olaplex – there are some amazing sets right now

Donna Karan deodorant – a cult favorite that I haven’t tried yet.

Fragrance Discovery set – these are really cool. You get to try out a bunch of scents to see what you like.

Gift sets – all kinds of sets are out in TJ Maxx, Target, and more.

I asked Tom for some suggestions. He is very particular and really likes these brands:

Free Fly

On shoes

Rapha biking clothes

Icebreaker

Bayleaf work out clothes

If you are local, he likes Quest Outdoors.

If you have a teen that is hard to buy for, they really just want…

Cash – maybe you could wrap it with their favorite candy?

Also, they love fast food gift cards, gas gift cards if they have to buy their own gas, Spotify gift cards or subscriptions, streaming service subscriptions, concert tickets, etc.

Happy Shopping! Do you have any recommendations for me? Leave them in the comments!

Amy