2016 Expectations

Whew! It’s been way too long since I’ve made a blog entry and I think 2016 is the perfect year to get some exciting things going and some regularly scheduled posts! A couple of goals from here on out are as follows:

Blog Goals:

  1. Post regularly. Interesting content, new recipes, Link Ups, etc.
  2. At the beginning of each week, I’m going to post my meal plan for duration of the weekdays so you can see how we’re eating at our house! Planning ahead for what I’ll have for breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner, keeps us from overspending and keeps me accountable for what I’m putting in my body.
  3. Once every month, I’m planning on creating a different themed bloody mary recipe. Since no one loves bloodies more than I, I thought it’d be a great experiment to make one  at home and add my own flare!
  4. One of our new years resolutions is to visit a new restaurant at least once a month. We do, after all, live 20 minutes away from downtown Seattle, yet we always stay cooped up and comfortable in our suburbia bubble. I love our regular spots but who wouldn’t want to go explore a beautiful city and try some new food?! We need to step outside the box and it’s also the perfect opportunity to write some new foodie reviews =].

Personal Goals:

  1. Attempt to be more positive and gripe less. Any time something irritates me or gets under my skin, I’m always quick to complain and judge. It’s a terrible habit. It’s also part of what makes me, me…because it is part of my humor…but I can still tone it down. It’s gotten so bad that I can feel it affecting me in every day life. Letting things go makes life SO much easier.
  2. Every night before bed, we watch a little TV while both of us scroll through any social media apps we have. Even after the TV and lights are turned off, I lay awake and look at my phone for at least another 30 minutes. That’s not only terrible for my eyes, but it’s beyond unnecessary. *tells self: JUST GO TO BED!*
  3. I admit it. I text and drive on the regular. By far one of the worst habits a person can have. I’m starting small by leaving my phone in my purse while I head to and from work (as well as any other quick trip here and there), and hopefully I can phase out the urge to text and drive ALL TOGETHER!
  4. I start my new job assistant teaching preschool in 1 week I’m as nervous/excited/scared/anxious as I could be. It’s scary to leave the job I accepted when I was a complete stranger to the state of Washington. My boss and office manager have been nothing but great to me but it’s time for me to move on to something that’s going to make me over-the-moon happy.
  5. Posting regularly. This is also a personal goal, as I love the small community of friends I’ve made from reading so many other blogs! I haven’t been reliable with my posts and that’s gotta stop. I know I get sad when I check some of my regular blogs and the author hasn’t updated recently! Boo. I don’t wanna lose readers just because I don’t post reliably! Hopefully that hasn’t happened, yet…

Meal Plan:

Breakfast, M-F: banana, strawberries n’ cream oatmeal, green tea

Morning Snack, M-F: chocolate chip granola bar

Lunch: M-Th: chicken salad & 6 Triscuits
These grilled chicken salad lettuce wraps are a healthy addition to your lunch. Nuts, grapes, apples and chicken are joined by a honey balsamic vinaigrette. | honeyandbirch.com
F: Free day/cheat day lunch

Afternoon Snack M-F: carrots & broccoli w/ tzatziki

Dinner:

M: Cajun salmon w/ roasted broccoli
Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that you can use to find ideas for all of your projects and interests.:

T: mustard/balsamic pork chops w/ roasted broccoli
Mustard Balsamic Pork Chops with Rosemary - 5 minute prep time! These pork chops couldn't get any easier, they're so delicious and tender, they simply melt in your mouth!

W: easy pepper steak bowls
Easy Pepper Steak Recipe | gimmesomeoven.com - Changes: Braggs aminos instead of soy sauce, a different vinegar, leeks instead of onions or garlic and no rice... Serve with potatoes.:

Th: GNO for Mexican!

F: Korean beef lettuce wraps w/ edamame Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps ~ Sweet and mildly spiced beef served in a lettuce leaf. ~ The Complete Savorist:

xoxo,
Staci

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Christmas Traditions and Preferences =]

I took this Christmas survey from my new, sweet friend Jessica, over at Little Bits of Joy!

Today is my last day of work until next Wednesday, Beck and I are exchanging gifts tonight, and then we head back home for a Kansas City Christmas, bright and early tomorrow morning!

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1. Wrapping Paper or gift bags?
It depends on the present. I do love the perfection and patience it takes to wrap a perfectly shaped gift/box…but I also love packing a gift bag full and stuffing it with tissue paper!
2. Hardest person to buy for?
My grandmas. When you say someone has EVERYTHING…they truly have EVERYTHING. Things that no one in their right mind needs to own. But that’s what makes them so fun. They have the most ridiculous gadgets for any and every situation. QVC should send them a personal check at the end of every year. I know they always appreciate gift cards to their favorite restaurants, though!
3. Easiest person to buy for?
I don’t know if there’s an “easiest person” to buy for. I think everyone is a little difficult in their own way! I, however, want #allthestuff so I’m pretty easy to please. A candle and a bottle of wine? I’m satisfied.
4. BEST GIFT you EVER received?
Such a tough one. So many material things to choose from like my car for high school senior year or my MacBook for college or the little pink, motorized Barbie convertible my sister and I got in elementary school. All of those are lame, though, compared to the people I have in my life. So many people love me and I love them with all I have. The best gift I’ve ever received is my family AND my friends. Cheesy or not, it’s true.
5. When do you start your Christmas shopping?
Usually early November sometime. I start to think way ahead of time if I need to get anything ordered as soon as possible. Otherwise I’m shopping up until Christmas Eve. I always feel like I never give enough “stuff”!
6. When do you open Christmas gifts?
My family always opens gifts on Christmas morning. In years past, we’ve brought up opening them on Christmas Eve, but I still find it thrilling to wake up (like a kid) on Christmas morning and have some gifts to open!
7. Real tree or fake?
Confession. My family has never had a real tree. We’ve never gone to a Christmas tree farm to pick out the perfect one or counted the rings to see how old it is. We’ve always had a fake one and every year that I can remember, my mom has complained about having to haul the branches, ornaments, and decorations upstairs from the basement storage because no one would ever help her……even though I helped her every year. Lol ughhhhhh.
8. When do you put up the tree?
When I was little, we always put it up at the beginning of December. Now that I’m older and we put up our own tree, we set it all up on Thanksgiving night. I loved it! 2 years ago, I set it up the weekend after Thanksgiving. The tree takes so much work and is so beautiful, I hate to only have it around for a month! I want it up as long as possible =].
9. When do you take down the tree?
The first week of the new year. Always so sad! But always so exciting that warm weather is on its way!
10. Star or angel on top of your tree?
When I was little, I always drew a star on a piece of computer paper, colored it with a yellow Crayola marker, and taped it to the top of the tree. As you can imagine, it always curled or fell off and was never a good idea for a tree topper. I don’t have a tree topped this year but I’d love to get one in years to come! I’d put either a star or angel on top.
11. White or colored Christmas lights?
Ughhhh I love white lights on a Christmas tree with silver and gold ornaments. However, my mom has always put colored lights on our tree and I was always excited to have my own tree so I could but white lights on it. But, last year, we bought our Christmas tree after Christmas on clearance and when we just put it up this Thanksgiving, I realized it was pre-lit and lit with colored lights. Mehhhh. BUT I still love our first tree!
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12. Favorite ornament on your tree?
The one I gave to Beck for his 27th birthday and our 2nd Christmas together (1st tree, though). Can’t wait to collect more personalized and special ones once we have kids!
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13. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes-ish. Nanny (my grandma), sent me this precious set she found in Estes Park, CO. I aDORE it.
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14. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Always mail. Always always always. I mail greeting cards for every occasion. Valentine’s day, birthdays, Independence Day, anniversaries, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all in between. It’s a signature move of mine. I love sending cards and I love receiving them. As my aunt Kathy always says, “It’s so nice to get something in the mail besides bills and junk.” This picture was last year’s Christmas card =].
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15. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
None come to mind. I’m usually always appreciative of any and all silly things!

16. Favorite Christmas movie? song?
Favorite Christmas movie: Too many to choose from! A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, The Holiday, Jingle All the Way, Just Friends, etc.
Favorite Christmas song: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan
17. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The traffic. It’s so atrocious.

18. Favorite Christmas food? candy?
We have lasagna on Christmas Eve and even though it’s not only a Christmas Eve dish, I look forward to it and the tradition every year!

19. Gingerbread or sugar cookies?20. Do you like fruitcake? eggnog?
Neither. Gingerbread is like eating cardboard and sugar cookies couldn’t be more boring. WHO eats fruitcake?! Better yet, who gifts fruitcakes? Ridic. Every year, I also look forward to drinking some eggnog topped with a little nutmeg and every year I have some and wonder why I was looking forward to it. One of those things!

21. Does your family have a special holiday recipe you help make?
Every Christmas morning, my mom has made a breakfast casserole that we ONLY have on that morning. A slice of the cheesy, hashbrowny, sausagey casserole piled on top of a buttery piece of toasted Beefsteak rye bread and a tall glass of milk. Omg 36 until I get some!!!
22.  What was Christmas morning like as a child for you? Did you believe in Santa?
Treasured memories. I want Christmas to stay the way it was for me, as a kid, forever. My sister and I would wake up early and get my mom and dad up. My dad would always go down to start the coffee and my mom, to put the casserole in the oven. We couldn’t come down until my dad was ready with that humongous RCA camera on his shoulder. Amber and I would wait at the top of our front hallway stairs and then dad would record us while saying, “Come on down!” We’d sprint down the stairs together and turn the corner into our living room to see all the presents from “Santa”. I wish I could remember when I found out Santa wasn’t real, but yes, I believed in him and it was wonderful to have that kind of innocence. Another favorite memory, is how my dad opens his gifts. It takes him 10 minutes to unfold one corner of paper bc he’s so busy oo-ing and aw-ing at the wrapping job or nervous about not expecting anything and having to open something. OPEN THE PRESENT!!! It’s insanely annoying but my mom and I get such a kick out of it. He’s ridiculous!
23. Do you travel for Christmas or stay home?
We moved to the house that my parents still live in, in 1990. I’ve spent every Christmas night there since that year. I lived in Kansas City for 25 years (5 of those years was living in Lawrence, KS, for college at KU) and was always lucky enough to be right at home. Now that we live 2,000 miles away in Seattle, I’m determined to make it home for any and every Christmas. We head there tomorrow! Beck and I opened presents tonight, though!
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24. Have you ever spent a Christmas away from home?
Never. and I never will if I can help it! Home is KC and Christmas is always at home.

25. How will you spend Christmas day this year?
Beck and I head back to KC tomorrow morning! He’ll spend the evening with his mom and dad and I’ll spend it with my family. On Christmas morning, Beck will come to my sister’s house (where we’re having it this year with my new nephew!!! Just 2 miles from my parents’ house) on Christmas morning, I’ll go home to my parents’ house for the afternoon, and then I’ll go to Beck’s parents’ on Christmas Day evening. Whew!
I hope everyone has a beautiful and safe Christmas!!!
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