Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend Update - marching bands, junk food and the beach

Happy Monday all!! Is anyone else thinking it's crazy that tomorrow is already October? I remember back in elementary school that when the first week of October hit, we started our countdown to the holidays. We'd make the chains of construction paper for Christmas. My favorite time of year and I'm oh so ready! In the meantime, we had a very nice weekend. On Saturday my parents and I took a drive up to Maine, about two hours away. I have twin cousins, boy and girl, and they both are very involved in activities  The girl is apart of marching band for her high school. They do shows, go on trips, you name it and they do it. It's so nice to see her enjoy something this much! There was a performance Saturday night. 8 bands from 8 high schools, including hers. They were getting judged and would get recognition at the end of the night. I'm not really into watching school bands or anything but I have to say it was really neat and I really enjoyed it! Downsides were: sitting on the bleachers for over two hours, it was freezing and we had to get food from the concession stands. Cold hot dogs and not cooked burgers. That part wasnt exactly fun. 

We got to Maine about noon. Had lunch at my aunts and then drove down to the area where the performance was. It was right near the beach so my parents, aunt and I took an hour or so and walked around. The board walk was closed except for a store or two but it was still fun to walk around. They also have amusement rides that line the beach. We left around 8:30, and stopped for some burger king (can you say crappy food overload? I'm eating fruits for a week!). 

1) Beautiful night for a concert!
2) Never realized they take the seats off the Ferris wheel during fall/winter. 

1) Such a great beach and area!
2 and 3) Haven't been to the board walk in years. Course, it'd be so cool to go to one of the places that has the big board walks with food and rides. Where do they have those?
4) I'm sad it looks like this. It was taken from my iphone so it's actually a height-wise picture but I distorted it for this reason. 

1) The best fish chowda! 
2) Cake batter rise krispie treats with sprinkles mixed in and on top. Sweet but so tasty. I might even share the recipe!
3) Cant pass up the candy store on the board walk! 

1 and 2) My cousin is in the front. In the top picture she's right behind the guy standing with the jacket
3) On our way home. You couldnt see anything for a good few minutes.

Have any of you taken band or anything similar?!

Linking up with SamiLeeann and Sarah

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's beginning to look like Fall

Happy Friday!!! This week was kind of perfect. Fall is officially here and I cant be more excited. I always feel like a breath of fresh air around this time and always feel relaxed. We become really festive this week too! So, today I'm linking up for Five for Friday

1. It's not Fall until there's a wreath on your front door!

2. We switched the runner and flowers on the dining room table. Until we added another room back in 2006 we didnt have a dining room. I'm actually kind of glad we have it. so we can make it feel warm and home-like during the fall/Christmas months. 

3. Hands down my favorite Fall meal. Autumn pork roast. Fresh veggies and apples with the taste/warmness of the pork...way too good. If you are lucky I might share the recipe next week. I'm doing the before and after picture because the after cooking picture doesn't show the true colorfulness of it.

4. Benefit of living near the farm? Tons of pumpkins and other Fall activities!!!

The white pumpkins were so cool!

5. Although I didn't do barely any, I finally got out my overly organized wedding planner. I couldn't have found one better!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Find God's Grace in every mistake

When I first started this blog, my vision was to document and share about my disability, a visual impairment. I'm not married or have a child like many of you so what else was there? Seeing the world in a different way was a pretty interesting subject to me for this blog. After a little while of getting into this world and getting followers and starting to connect, I realized that maybe this vision I had wasn't realistic. So, that's when I decided to just write about life in general.

I promised myself at that time that I wouldn't really talk about the disability at all. Figuring that people would get turned off of the blog and because it's such an important part of my life, it would make me sad that no one cared. But today, I am going to talk about it. This wont be a sob story or anything. It's a true real experience type of story that I hope you can find some inspiration from.

I'm not one to talk about the disability in public. I try my best to be as normal as possible when around others because there'd be questions and looks. There are every so often, I wont deny it, but I want people to see me for me. One place where it's really hard to keep it under raps is at school. I was lucky to go through elementary school into high school with basically the same people. And in high school everyone that I had a class with in freshman year appeared in many of my classes through the four years. Because of these two things, everyone I was friends with or would say hello to in the hall knew of the disability. It was different because, I'll admit it, I was spoiled. I'd leave class for a half hour to go meet with my vision teacher or I'd have to go make things bigger on the copier. These people were OK with it. They even liked getting to leave class and go press buttons on the copy machine :) Although none of them were "true" friends, I was comfortable enough to be myself. They all even got to look through this thing that shows how I see so they could understand better.

Then I got to college. You'd think that I wouldnt have to try so hard..nope! I think it's because it's a more professional atmosphere and you'll have one class with these people and maybe never see them again. I meet with my teachers before classes start so they can feel OK with the situation. But we never tell my classmates. In fact, even if the teacher is actually doing something for my benefit, they will make it seem like they had planned it this way for the class. There have been a few classes though where it's been obvious to everyone else. They may not know the extent but know I'm different. They let me tell them if it's an appropriate situation but they never question and that's how I like it.
Last week though, something happened. Something I don't think I will ever forget and ever be comfortable thinking about. After class last Monday, one of the other students (a male who is at least 15 years older, he has an 18 year old child) approached me as we walked out of class. His words were mumbled: "not to sound forward but do you have turrets?" Umm...what? I was stunned. I do have something that goes along with the visual impairment. If my arms or head are still they tend to move or shake a little. Nothing to be alarmed about or curious about because, frankly, I don't even realize it's happening when it does. But again, I was shocked he asked this. He went on to say that his friend has turrets but doesn't take medication and that he figured it was either that or Parkinson's. What does medicine have to do with this? He had went overboard with the judgement. I can understand a simple question with my respond and then that's it. I had heard enough. I couldn't bolt though because I was the one that said he could ask. I thought he'd ask about the visual thing.

We had walked a good little distance during this conversation. I stopped so I could grab a snack and he stopped as it seemed he wanted me to continue walking with him but I didn't. I felt sick to my stomach. In the years of my life that I remember I have never had anyone ask about this. I've brought it up to very close friends but because it's so faint, it's never been a topic. I was nervous. Here's a guy alot older than me asking me this. It felt that he was looking down on me. We had actually talked about judging people on first impression in class that day. Honestly he's someone I wouldn't want to talk to in a public place. I had a million thoughts in my mind with one being the fact that in order to actually see this movement happening, he would of had to stare at me for a period of time, creepy! I'm not sure why but he's like obsessed with disabilites. Yesterday in class we were talking about people having different accents. I have a Boston accent, you have a southern one. He then asked the teacher if having an accent makes you have a disability. I had to bite my tongue. Accordig to him all of you bloggers with accents have a disability. Isnt that so nice to know? Anyway, moving on....

After our next class, I talked with my teacher about it. I needed clarity. I knew and still know it's something that probably shouldn't be a big deal but it's just that feeling. I felt vulnerable and upset and just blah. He sits behind me in class and like I told my teacher, I am uncomfortable around him. I prayed for him and for myself. I needed guidance. I wanted to cry. We chatted with her ending that it shouldn't of happened.

That afternoon, I was still disturbed. I was scrolling through Facebook and found this quote:

It couldn't have come at a better time.  I think I cried for 10 minutes. Finally, relief. I prayed and he answered. I wont deny it, I go days feeling upset that I have this disability. I get depressed about it even. During the summer, there are days I don't leave the house expect for a trip to the recycle bin down the street. I have to rely on my parents and Brian to drive me places. If they are working or busy, I don't go anywhere. During school, teachers don't get it sometimes so I get frustrated and want to give up. I spend three times the amount of hours on homework than all of you would. I get convinced I don't have friends because of it. Some days I just want to be normal and see the world like you do. People forget sometimes (even Brian) and will ask if I see this or that. Um, no. I don't get the same experiences. Although it may sound selfish because I am blessed, there are so many things people take for granted that I so desperately wish I could have or see. That beautiful butterfly?' I didn't see it. That country concert? I can only hear the music. The girlfriends you went to dinner with last night? I don't have girlfriends but even if I did I couldn't get there. Again, it's not a sob story. It's just real life. 

Which brings me to the point. The Lord has a plan for all of us. Many of us like to control what will happen tomorrow and like to plan things and feel organized. We need to remember though that this is the Lord's work and we need to surrender our plan to him. Things will happen in his timing. Although I get discouraged and wish I could be normal, I remember one thing. If it wasn't for me getting real sick with RSV and almost dying when I was two months old, they wouldn't have caught the visual problem. It happened for a reason. The Lord made me this way for a reason. If it wasn't for the disability I wouldn't have gotten to work with all the other students with disabilities in high school. I wouldn't have gotten to inspire people and help all my teachers see life differently. You may not all care because it's not a fashion post or something fun, but inspiring people is what I believe I am here for. I want to make a difference. I want to make someone's bad day better. I may not be able to do everything you all can but  feel I have my own special ways and that's what makes me me. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Post Exchange Program

Happy Wednesday Friends!! Today I'm so excited to briefly talk about a program I particpated in this past month.

When I first started blogging, I wont lie, a part of me was kind of excited to see the number on my follower's widget rise. Yes, this blog was mostly for me. A place to vent or share an experience. I love to write in general and am not good with expressing emotions verbally sometimes so what's better than being able to do what I love and also, hopefully, inspire others and make friendships at the same time. At first it was great to just be able to email other bloggers/woman and chat about things we had in common or give advice. But then I started to form a few great great relationships. Yes, this whole thing is online so you could feel a little nervous about connecting with others outside the blogging world or even just in general though here, social media or email. For me though, if you become a friend through blogging, you are a real life friend. I talk to one of you about everyday outside the blogging world and am so grateful for that. Now the next step. Because most of us cant have blates yet, second best would be mail, right? I know that I love getting cards or thoughtful boxes from friends. Put that together with a great blogging friend and I'm happy. Until this program, I actually have done swaps yet. Partly because no one knows about my blog so getting a giant box in the mail might seen weird (i'm working on it though, then feel free to send me all the goodies you want. I"m just kidding!)

Just within the last few months I came across Chelsee's blog. She is the sweetest and if you haven't already go check her out! She did a post about a program called


Basically you sign up at the end of the month, get to know your partner and send some snail mail or a nice little gift of encouragement. It sounded like such a nice idea so I signed up. Chelsee and I had exchanged a few emails due to comments left on posts. Little did we know we'd be paired up. 

I was so excited because I kind of already knew her a little and how sweet she was. I was also a little intimated. Here's a beautiful, smart, and awesome blogger who has over 700 followers. and here I was with under 100 at the time. Would she not like talking to me? Would she just say a word or two in her emails? She was/is so busy with personal stuff and blogging in general that she wouldn't be commenting on my blog posts. Needless to say, I was nervous. Not Chelsee though. Like I said, the sweetest! She even made m the offer to sponsor her blog and I cant wait to begin doing that! 

So, I'll let her take it away and introduce herself:

Hello Kristen's readers! My name is Chelsee and I blog over at Southern Beauty Guide! I am a Beauty/Lifestyle Blogger that is currently studying hard for the LSAT and working towards applying to Law School. I have a B.S. Degree in Political Science, and I am also a makeup artists. I love giving readers honest reviews and tips about Beauty Products. I also write about my everyday life, as well a pretty much everything else. I hope that if you get a change that you stop by and check out my blog! 

I"m sure most of you follower her but again, if not, I definitely recommend checking her out. And if you'd like to sign up for October swaps go visit Jacquelyn's blog!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Taste of Tuesday - Chocolate galore!

While I may not be he biggest pinterest addict, scrolling through recipes is something I enjoy. Ever since I started linking up for Taste of Tuesday, I've been excited to get my cooking creativity going. Besides, it's not a secret that my mom cooks almost every meal. But I figure I should probably get myself going. Thats when all her recipes on pinterest come in play

Is it just me, though, or does Facebook seem to have ALOT more recipes floating around? I know many many things are shared everyday but I feel like I see a recipe every other minute. Today's recipe spoke to my heart the minute I saw it on Facebook. Or maybe it was just because it's chocolate. I couldnt find it for weeks but saw it again the other day and I'm so excited!!

It doesnt show on Facebook where the recipe originally came from

  • 1 package regular Oreo cookies (Not Double Stuff) – about 36 cookies
  • 6 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1- 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cold milk
  • 1- 12 ounce tub Cool Whip, divided
  • 2 – 3.9 ounce packages Chocolate Instant Pudding.
  • 3 1/4 cups cold milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips


1. Begin by crushing 36 Oreo cookies. You can use a food processor or put in a zip lock bag and use a rolling pin to crush. When the Oreos have turned into fine crumbs, you are done.
2. Transfer the Oreo crumbs to a large bowl. Stir in 6 tablespoons melted butter and use a fork to incorporate the butter into the cookie crumbs. When the butter is distributed, transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator while you work on the additional layers.
3. Mix the cream cheese with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add in 2 Tablespoons of milk, and sugar, and mix well. Stir in 1 and 1/4 cups Cool Whip. Spread this mixture over the crust.
4. In a bowl, combine chocolate instant pudding with 3 and 1/4 cups cold milk. Whisk for several minutes until the pudding starts to thicken. Use a spatula to spread the mixture over the previous cream cheese layer. Allow the dessert to rest for about 5 minutes so that the pudding can firm up further.
5. Spread the remaining Cool Whip over the top. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips evenly over the top. Place in the freezer for 1 hour, or the refrigerator for 4 hours before serving.
6. Enjoy!

Linking up with Ashley and Jessica

Friday, September 20, 2013

5 on Friday

Happy Friday Friends! I've been away for two days, which isnt a huge deal but was totally unexpected. I havent done much of a life lately post so lets use Five for Friday for that, shall we?

This was the highlight of the week. Tuesday morning I woke up nausea. Totally new for me since I never get sick. Figured I was hungry. Nope. Darn stomach bug. I went to school, went to the book store with my mom grandmother and Brian and then we went to dinner because my dad came home sick too and he didnt want us cooking in the house. Bad idea on all levels. This was about 5:30pm. Yes, I still have Winnie the Pool slippers. Reason is because I hate slippers in general and usually they are all too big for my feet. These fit perfect! 

We made some yummy fall treats. Peaches and apples baked with cinnamon, butter and brown sugar! Way too good. 

I had my first "hmmm" moment at school on Tuesday. I emailed my teacher asking for all the notes from the past two weeks that he had been writing on the board. Just so I had them plus we had a test yesterday. After class Tuesday he handed me this and said "here, go make it bigger". Um, yea no. Who can even read that? And the fact that you tried to read from one of these pages during class and blurted out "i cant even read my own writing" doesnt help your case. 

Last night Brian and I went to hang out with my cousin. We sat eating some froyo while talking about my cousins new girlfriend. To be, almost, 16 and "in love". It was so cute :) 

Got my book and I'm excited! I've mentioned my relatives have their own blog (see bottom left of the picture). This is their new book. 

A few other things:

1) What's this about the IOS 7? I just jumped into the iphone world in July and while I know it's an update I dont know if I should bother with it. Whats special about it?
2) Castle comes back Monday night and I'm way too excited
3) I saw my second Christmas commercial this week. Bring it on :) 
4) I mentioned it last week but if you want to do a buttons swap let me know!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Taste of Tuesday - Apple Crisp Pizza

There's no doubt Fall is my favorite season. Halloween, sweaters, boots, blankets, cozy fires, outdoor Fall activities. The list could go on and on. If there's one thing that's high on the list though, it's the food. Ok, yea, I can eat food every day all year long but with Fall, the food is just so much better. Apples and pumpkin are two things we love to use alot during this season, so good! due to the not-so-fun inspiration of the 30 degree weather we had this morning, I sat here thinking about one of my favorite Fall recipes. My mom got the recipe from Pinterest.

  • Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 4 medium apples (like Gala, Fiji, Braeburn, Empire) peeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces

Topping of Pizza:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, softened (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping

  1. Note: I like to use salted butter because it cuts the sweetness of the pizza. If you don't use salted butter sprinkle some salt on top of the crisp. Trust me. It brings out the flavors.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Roll pastry to fit a 12 inch pizza pan; fold under edges to give the pizza a bit of a raised crust. Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add peeled, diced apples and toss. Arrange the apples in a single layer over the pie crust to completely cover it. I didn't use all of my apples because I had really big apples.
  4. For the topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and butter in a bowl. Mix well. I like to use my clean hands to get in there and mush it together until it's the texture of wet sand. Sprinkle topping evenly over the apples.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle with caramel topping. Cut into pizza slices and serve warm with ice cream. Makes 12 servings.
  6. Enjoy!
Linking up with Ashley and Jessica

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekend Shenanigans - Birthday edition!

Oh hey Monday! You're back. I'm almost sure my first thought waking up was "is it really Monday?" That hasn't happened in years! It doesn't help that it's so rainy and cold after the beautiful weekend we had

Speaking of weekend, wow! Were we busy. Last night was the first time since Friday night I was able to relax. It's ok though. I figure that a busy weekend is a happier weekend :) 

On Saturday Brian and I helped my aunt, uncle and cousins. They have decided to move about 10 minutes from their current house. The new owners really wanted to get in today although the contract said this Friday, which meant we had to clean every singe thing out. And they still have SO much stuff. I truly hope that I have to move once, or twice max. My feet were numb from standing all day. 9am to about 5pm. 

This wasn't even 1/4 of their basement. 

Yesterday was the big day. I mentioned in a post last week that we were having a birthday party. Every year we have a party for my grandmother but this year we were adding three other birthdays to the mix. My aunt turned 60 and my twin cousins turn 16 next month. It was a grand celebration! We had a great time. Lots of laughs, pictures, food and memories. 

They take an annual family picture!

That's Logan. He'll be 1 next month :)

4 Birthdays!

The birthday girl wanted a picture of her family. It was a big deal!

The boys had fun  being silly and got a laugh that Mimi was dressed like that!

We sang happy birthday twice because the boys wanted to throw confetti! 

Such a special little girl!

Hello sugar!

Someone almost added a walking celebration to the day!

My best friend! 

It was such a great weekend! And I'm so glad to be able to share it with you all. :)

Have a wonderful Monday!

Linking up with Sami

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Music Playlist

As I look back on these months of blogging, I realize that there's one thing that I haven't really talked about. Music. I put a few songs up in one post but that was it. I love music. I always have and always will. I've always been a fan of "sappy" songs, love songs and songs that tell a "story"/. Needless to say I've never been into rap, or rock or anything of the sort. Until I become older, I never realized how much songs can tell the story of something you've been through. I've sat listening to a song and can replay a moment down to the last second. When I'm having a bad day I put on a song and all my worry or sadness goes away. It's like the words are speaking to me. As I've mentioned I'm not an open person. I hate having "serious" conversations with people. I hide my emotions because expressing them makes me too nervous. Which isn't good because having a conversation or telling someone something serious needs full focus. That's why I love this blog. I"m able to express things that I don't express to people around me. It's the same with music. For example, when I was in high school I had many songs that meant things. For good reasons. I never told anyone that's why I listened to them all the time. My mom knew. She'd know that if I put the song on, I was sad or happy. music is something that can change you yet you don't even know it.

When Helen posted about her one time link up, I was all in. Sharing songs that mean something to us. I've had many many experiences and it's amazing how many songs I can relate to. I wanted to participate in this link up to once again, express times in my life. Times of sadness, happiness and everything in between. I feel that music can also tell a story. So, here are some songs that I've kept in my heart through the years

Helene in Between

Last week I wrote about a time in my life where I thought I lost myself. You can find that here. Honestly, you have to read that to really get this song. For the few months this guy and I were together, I was staying with my grandmother after school on Tuesday's and Friday's when my mom worked. My dad would pick me up and we'd drive the 10 minutes home. I can only remember these moments being sunny and beautiful out. He'd have a CD on that he downloaded songs to. At a certain point in that short drive it always seemed that this song came on. When the guy and I broke up, forget it. This song expressed my feelings toward the situation perfectly. The second song is another that makes me think of the situation. It was September when we started dating. 

Ok so I'll be honest, my mom has the radio on and this song came on. I hadn't even thought about using it but since I'm listening to it why not! While it's a pretty small moment, I"ll never forget it. Brian and I took my three cousins out to dinner at Chili's one night. We went almost every week because it was a tradition we had started. And every week we'd find something to laugh about. This night we had a male waiter. Well, he was cute! Like real cute and funny and cute. So we ate and he'd come over and we'd have a laugh and it was just fun. We even made the manager come over and raved about how great the waiter was! He probably thought we were crazy. My cousin. A girl, who was 16 at the time was loving it. At the end of the meal my another cousin. A boy who was 14 and doesn't mind speaking up said, to the waiter, how we'd have to come back and get him again. Well, the waiter gave us his card. Needless to say, my cousins were pretty excited. And the 16 started singing this song and was beside herself. What have I taught her?...

This song is special to my whole family. My grandmother was a wonderful singer. She'd sing for others and it was just a passion. This song was her "hit". This is one of the biggest ways we remember her. Her and my grandfather died a year apart. It was hard. I was only 10 when she died. But we know they are watching over us. Whenever any of us see a rainbow we stop and just reflect. It's both of them saying hello. 

I won't go into detail with why this song is meaningful but we'll just say that if it wasn't for the situation that's related to the song, I probably wouldn't have started dating Brian

this song goes wayyy back. As I've mentioned my two best friends since kindergarten and I loved putting on shows. We'd build a list of songs and one afternoon would perform in my back yard and my mom would tape us. We did maybe 10 shows. Every show had this song as the opener. We thought we were awesome and we loved pretending this was a real concert. We did this song first because we were basically saying thank you to everyone for coming and supporting us (it was only my parents and grandmother watching!). We were weird

This was our graduation song. And words to honestly live by. 

I just love Philip Philips! I haven't talked about the situation that relates to this song yet but it's a powerful one. Cant help but smile when hearing this song

How can you not love Blake Shelton?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Believe....

I"m pretty sure I could come up with a thousand ideas on what to write for this little blog here. Some would be legitimate and some, well, would just be plain silly. So what better way than to, somehow, include these silly ideas in today's list? I got this idea from the lovely Ashley, who got the idea from Nikki

I Believe...

  • in country music
  • in eating chocolate at least once a day
  • in having my first daughters middle name be Faith
  • in celebrating half birthdays
  • in laughter
  • in blog best friends
  • in coupons
  • in holding hands
  • babies smiles can change your mood instantly
  • watching every episode of One Tree Hill and Gilmore Girls will never get old
  • in having cousins be brothers and sisters
  • in Bath and Body Works Candles
  • in wearing pjs all day
  • being on the water is the best calming therapy
  • in lip gloss
  • in a big family
  • in traditions
  • having your sunroof open
  • everything happens for a reason
  • Fall makes everyone happier

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