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Archive for December, 2009

24 hours of Christmas

Merry [belated] Christmas from my wonderful family to yours! πŸ™‚

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(Ignore my mom’s slipper feet – she hurt her foot 😦 )

We visited my grandma on Christmas Eve for dinner at her “apartment” complex with my aunt and 2 cousins.

(This picture cracks us up because my 9-year old sister looks pregnant!)

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Me and the bro.

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Then we hurried home for Christmas Eve mass – one of my favorite parts of the holiday. Our choir is amazing.

Christmas morning we “slept in” until 7:30! I remember the days when my siblings and I would be up at 6:00 am, and the parents would forbid us to go downstairs until they were up at 7:00. Now my little sister is the only one up and excited, so we get to sleep in a bit πŸ˜‰

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We sit in a circle, and take turns opening one present at a time.

Santa gift!

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Let’s play “I Spy” Taylor’s other exciting gift!

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Yay a new Canon powershot!!

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All my pictures have been taken with my Iphone since I dropped and broke my camera over a month ago. I’m so excited πŸ™‚ And my sister already named him Antonio.

Me: What should my camera’s name be?
Sister: Antonio!
Me: Well it is a girl since it’s pink.
Sister: Not if he’s gay!

So I have a new gay best friend πŸ˜‰

The rest of the morning was spent lounging around in our new PJ’s (we get new Christmas pajamas every Christmas Eve to wear that night).

I got matching slippers!! Super soft.

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I played with my camera all day πŸ˜€

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All our stockings are homemade by my mom. I’ve always loved the “girly” decorations and stitching on mine.

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And my stocking holder – polar bear of course πŸ˜‰

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I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this before, but I have a mild serious obsession with polar bears. I collect all things polar bear (especially Christmas ornaments!) and usually decorate my own mini-polar bear tree!

This was taken in a past year – I don’t usually go so crazy on the surrounding decorations. I now just decroate the actal tree with ornaments – and let me tell you. I think I need a bigger tree πŸ˜‰

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And then we finally got dressed and ready for a few guests to come over for dinner.

I ate so randomly and snackily throughout the day, I said “screw it” to food blogging. It was more of a family blogging type of day πŸ™‚

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I love my crazy grandma Sissie.

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I did try fruitcake for the first time (the brown mush with the orange blob on the left).

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No thank you.

Also served for dessert – our Gingerbread Village!

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And my oldest sister added her clock tower – with a little addition.

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We had extra gingerbead cookies sitting around, and I joked about including a giant Gingerbread man taking over the town. We decided that was a great idea – climbing the clock tower πŸ˜‰

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It was a wonderful day and I hope you all had the same!

Safe travels to anyone traveling today or in the next few days, as well!

What was the highlight of your holiday? Any exciting gifts you’d like you brag about? πŸ˜‰

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Gingie Time

I’m very sorry dear Bloggie for ditching you this past week. But you know how it gets around the holidays. Especially when vacationing at home – I’m so out of my normal routine, I seriously forget to take pictures! Okay, maybe you don’t know what it’s like since you are, in fact, just a blog. But Bloggie, do you forgive me? I loooooovvveeee you πŸ™‚ Thanks.

Now that my sappy love letter to my blog is done with, I’d like to apologize to you guys as well. I’m telling you – being home throws off my whole routine! Bad bad Tay.

Anyways, I know you all are probably sick of seeing gingerbread houses by now, but you know how big of a tradition it is in my family as I showed you before. But you have yet to see the 2009 creation πŸ˜‰

We got to work.

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I decided to make a non-traditional house this year, and celebrated my school spirit.

Cal Poly style!

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My school colors are yellow & green if you couldn’t tell πŸ˜‰

I decorated each wall with an aspect to my school.

Starbucks and the 6a bus (bus I take to school). Notice the chairs (made out of caramels) with the coffee mugs on the table.

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El Corral Bookstore with some sweatshirts and hats for sale in the window (sorry it’s not the best angle). And Bowling alley rooftop. Okay – I originally did not intend for my bowling alley to be on the roof. But I realized after I had decorated my pieces, that I accidentally decorated the roof piece instead of the wall piece as the bowling alley. Rather than scrape it all off and start over, I decided to make it a really cool bowling alley on the rooftop! Why not? πŸ˜‰

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(I didn’t realize until now that I didn’t have any great pictures of the bowling alley/bookstore side – sorry!)

The Library. And the ‘P Hill’.

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The hillside next to my school is decorated with a large letter ‘P’ (for Poly).

Real P:

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Gingerbred P!

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My sister made the most hilarious house ever – Costco!

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(The green things are Christmas trees for sale)

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Parking lot with shopping carts, and even flatbeds.

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Food court!

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She did a great job.

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Go Brookie!

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It was a fun day of picture taking

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Dancing (don’t ask)

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And candy eating πŸ˜‰ This was the extra candy!!

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Tip for easy clean-up: Lay down a thow-away table cloth before decorating. When you’re done, all you have to do it gather it all up and throw the whole thing away. Saves lots of scrubbing the table and wiping off excess trash/candy!

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Once all our houses were complete, we put them all together (including my other sister and my mom’s house) as a Gingerbread Village.

But you’ll have to wait until our Christmas Party to see the finalized village. It will be on display for dessert πŸ˜‰

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Happy Friday friends! I ended up driving home pretty late Wednesday night and have been taking it easy here at home for the past couple days. I’ll be honest. We went out Tuesday night (my college town’s “Pint Night”) and I was definitely not feeling too hot and up to driving on Wednesday. I’ll have to thank some guy friends for coming into town and supplying endless rounds of drinks for that one.

Surprisingly, the first breakfast I had at home was a cereal & yogurt bowl!

Gingerbread yogurt and my new Kashi cereal I’ve been dying to try!

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I’m so proud of my mommy for now buying natural peanut butter πŸ™‚

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I also snagged this delicious minty candy cane cookie at my sister’s girl scout meeting.

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Delicious! Apparently it was just sugar cookie dough “spiked” with peppermint extract. Sooooo good.

And leftover stir-fry with kabocha squash (obesessed!!).

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My mom and sister have also been busy making brownies for gifts, and I can’t begin to tell you how much brownie batter and brownies I’ve been eating!

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No more! As much as I want to enjoy the holiday season and treats, these brownies are nothing special. And I’m completely sick of brownies by now!

Now to continue Flashback to holiday traditions! Missed either of the last two flashbacks?

Now it’s time for past Christmas Eves!

It’s always a tradition to take a family picture in front of the tree before we head out to church. I think it’s funny to see the trend in clothing – I’m obviously a repeat offender! πŸ˜‰

2000 (8th grade)

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2001

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2002 (sophomore year of HS)

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Where’s our tree? I honestly don’t remember having this baby twig tree at all.

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Strange…

2003. This year, we went straight from my grandparent’s house to church. Guess my dad was the photographer!

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2004 (Senior year of HS). Obviously a bad camera year. They were all blurry.

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2006 (first year back from college). Note – new dress!! Β I was so proud πŸ˜‰

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2006. Oh but there I go repeating the outfit again πŸ˜‰

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2007.

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2008 (I swear, a different dress than above. But same sweater. Sue me)

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Post-church, we usually drive around looking at Christmas lights! There’s one amazing neighborhood that goes all out.

One house has cut-outs all over! He makes them himself and adds new ones each year.

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I ran out into the rain to take this one!

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Another house changes their garage scene each year.

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And this house goes all-out crazy!!!

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I swear, they add more each year.

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But unfortunately haven’t decorated the past couple years 😦 What a let down! Guess they’re trying to cut back on their electricity bill…

We also always put out milk and cookies for Santa!

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He gets hungry πŸ˜‰

Christmas Eve has never been a big deal or anything huge in my house. But we just love to take it easy and have a good family time πŸ™‚

What are your Christmas Eve traditions or usual plans?

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The weekend started off with Thursday night treats at a friends house.

(This + 3 more small cookies. They were teeny).

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And really, there’s nothing quite better than pizza for dinner:

Amy’s no-cheese = absolutely amazing.

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And cookie-baking for dessert:

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Gingerbread “cut-outs” (we had no cookie cutters and made rando shapes).

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I spy the “T”!

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Toffee Blondies:

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And brownies + moose tracks ice cream.

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Needless to say, last night was quite the sweet night as I helped myself to multiple portions of each.

Sunday breakfast was also quite delicious and uber filling.

Quaker oatmeal banana pancakes topped with pumpkin cream cheese, syrup & granola.

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Between the banana slices in my pancakes, and the extra banana nibbling along the way, I ended up eating 2 full bananas at breakfast. Not kidding when I say this meal held me over for a good 5-6 hours before dinner.

Since I haven’t posted at all this weekend, I’ll catch you up on what else has been goin’ down [to my stomach].

The usual yogurt mess:

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Made with Voskos blueberry yogurt!

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I’ve tried their non-fat plain, fig, honey, and now the blueberry. I love their flavored yogurts. They’re pre-stirred, and I find them to be less sweet and syrupy than other flavored Greek yogurts. I also mentioned in a previous post how their honey flavor is my favorite honey yogurt I’ve found. However, they seem to be a much thinner consistency than other yogurts, such as Chobani, Fage, and Oikos. I almost felt like I was eating normal yogurt. If I get the chance to buy their flavored yogurts again in the future, I’d love to. However, I think I’ll be stick to other plain brands – or strain my own.

The roommate and I also daringly ventured out into the crazy downpour to treat ourselves to delicious deli sandwiches.

Turkey, lettuce, (extra) onions, mustard, peppercinis, tomato & pickle on whole wheat:

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Sunshine veggie patty + egg scrambles have also been making the occasional appearance.

Dinner one night….

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Lunch/snack today…

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Dinner tonight was something that I have long been craving. Something known as the “Firestone Salad”.

Tomato, onion, bell peppers, pine nuts, feta cheese & chicken. With crazy amounts of the best BBQ sauce ever.

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With unpictured french fries on the side.

And I totally snagged extra plastic containers of BBQ sauce to bring home. I’m classy like that. And it seriously is the best stuff in the world.

Followed by another bowl of brownie and ice cream delight.

Yes Please πŸ™‚

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Now my tummy is saying no thank you 😦

Well I’m off to catch up on another Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 1 episode on hulu.com (Have I told you yet how much I love having no school, stress and studying to do?).

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Freeeezing Flashback

Well I’m done! πŸ˜€ About to go turn in my take-home final any minute. To recap yesterday quickly –

The chilly day started out with butternut squash oats. Topped with

  • TJ’s pumpkin granola
  • Sunbutter
  • Pumpkin cream cheese

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I overslept, and therefore only had time for a 15 minute strength/whittle my middle routine.

At work, I warmed up with some Tasty Bite lentil “chili” (it tastes exactly like chili). Topped with some sour cream.

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Some guacamole chips alongside for dipping.

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Yummmm I love guacamole chips πŸ™‚

I then snacked all afternoon on unpictured trail mix (almonds, peanuts, raisins, cashews, m&ms), See’s lollipop, and clementines.

Dinner was the last of my Fiber Gourmet mac & cheese with sauteed zucchinni, onions & extra parmesan cheese.

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In other news…

So I’m kind of PO’d at the weather gods right now. My friends and I had a weekend trip planned at the cabin for the past 4 months now. The past few weeks we’ve been worried about lack of snow, and then bam. Huge storm going on up there right now and this weekend. So big, in fact, that we decided to cancel the trip due to driving conditions 😦 Bummer.

To honor my non-cabin weekend, I decided to do a flashback of past winters up in Strawberry. Going to the cabin also happens to be another holiday tradition of my family’s. Missed my first 2 holiday traditions? Check them out!

3. Strawberry winter cabin trips!

Of course I’ve been going here for 10+ years, but I only have about 4 years worth of pictures on this computer 😦

You can’t beat the beautiful views. View from our house:

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The river view from the bridge:

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Such beauty and so peaceful.

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Check out that massive icicle!

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2003 with my sister:

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2005:

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After being buried in the snow:

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Our cabin is in the best location. Directly across from an awesome sledding hill!

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Along with faceplants πŸ˜‰

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We always would live for the mornings we woke up to it actually snowing!

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Blackout!

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We spend the nights cuddled up watching movies:

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Playing board games…

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Or being technical on our computers:

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Making snowmen is an obvious tradition (wow my brother’s hair is so long!)

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And baby snowmen…

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Last year was my very first time snowboarding with my brother (yes, I go to a cabin every year, but never ever snowboarded).

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I’m not going up with my family over New Year’s, so I’m sad that this weekend isn’t happening 😦 My first year without seeing the snow/cabin! And I was really looking forward to snowboarding for my second time!

All right, I’m off to catch the bus to schoo to turn in my take-home final and hit up the gym.

Have a wonderful Friday lovelies!!

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You know it’s finals week when I disappear from blog-world for days at a time.

Other than facebooking studying and working on my 32587395 milion hour long take-home final I’ve been…

Resorting back to the tried and true PB sunbutter & banana toast sandwich thins. But wait, where’s my banana that I put on the fridge the night before to ripen faster?

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Guess my roommate thought it was hers 😦 Luckily my other roommate graciously “loaned” me one. Toast just isn’t the same without banana slices! Β And I needed extra carbs for the gym πŸ˜‰

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Freezing afterwards (yes – I know you’re all complaining of huge snow storms and coldfronts. But 40’s for central coast California is freeeeezing!!!) I quickly heated up the only soup I had in my cupboard. French onion. It needed more substance, so I plopped a Sunshine Burger garden veggie patty in there. Yes I really did go there and eat this swamp water looking soup.

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The combo really wasn’t half bad. And once I added a slice of toasted bread it was quite delicious.

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I’ve also been eating lots and lots of yogurt messes.

Tuesday breakfast.

  • Yogurt + Chobani blueberry
  • Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise
  • TJ’s pumpkin granola
  • 1 banana
  • Sunbutter

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Wednesday breakkie. Pretty much the same as yesterday’s with:

  • Blackberries (delicious addition!)
  • Kashi Heart to Heart
  • Banana bomb muffin

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The muffin was probably unneeded, but it held me over quite nicely through both finals and a gym sesh.

I’m not gonna lie when I say that I was craving the exact same thing for lunch that I had for breakfast.

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Okay, not the exact same, but close enough. Along with some pumpkin butter, and you’ve got yourself a deal breaker.

All the above yogurt messes contained this granola, which I’ve been obsessed with lately.

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It’s from Trader Joe’s – it’s perfect and I love it. Β The perfect sweetness with a definite pumpkin spice taste. Β It doesn’t have that “traditional” granola taste to it (anyone else know what I’m talking about, or am I just crazy?). Β It kind of reminds me of Nature’s Path.

I’ve also found a new obsessoin. Kabocha squash! I roughly followed a recipe I found online, and seasoned my squash with:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Soy sauce
  • Cinammon
  • Brown sugar
  • Cumin

The combo was beyond delicious, and I am officially obsessed with this squash.

Don’t let this picture fool you. I for sure ate half the squash with my dinner, two nights in a row.

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Tonight, on the other hand, I tried acorn squash and wasn’t such a fan. Don’t get me wrong – it was good. Just not as good as the kabocha. Bit of advice: don’t eat an entire acorn squash (skin included) in one sitting. My stomach wasn’t happy with me the rest of the night.

Along with sauteed zucchini, onions, peas and fiber gourmet mac & cheese. Fiber overload!!

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But the mac & cheese was really quite delicious. It was no Kraft or Annie’s, but for a lower fat, higher fiber version – it wans’t bad tasting! I would, however, prefer if the pasta was whole wheat and not just added fiber to it.

And what’s finals week without a little hot cocoa (x 3 per day to keep warm!)

And delicious snacks? πŸ˜‰

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This would be Alternative Baking Company’s lemon poppyseed cookie. I’ve had these cookies in my cupboard for a while now, and finally decided to put them to the test. Wow. Delicous. I’m not a fan of lemon or poppyseed flavored baked goods, but warmed up the microwave, this was just heaven. My roommate agreed πŸ˜‰ Chocolate chip review coming tomorrow!

As far as gym seshies go…

Monday was a 4 mile TM run followed by 12 minutes of whittling my middle.

Today I planned to get a treadmill run in as well, but my knee has been extra sore lately. Extremely. I can’t think of anything I did to irritate, but I think it’s been a little extra tender since my hike almost a month ago. And recently they’ve both been really bothering me. Probably on a scale of 6 (with 10 being the worst they’ve ever been), but enough for me to notice while I’m sitting or lying in bed. I could really feel the sore/stiffness while running today, so I kept the run short to 2.7 miles. Better than nothing πŸ™‚

Now I’m home free (from studying that is) and just working on my take-home final.

How has everyone else’s week been (finals or not!).

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Unforunately, I have yet to get the gingerbread house pictures from the other night, so you’ll have to wait and see the final product. Let’s just say, it ended up a bit of a disaster πŸ˜‰

I’ve been living on a sugar high these past few days. In addition to this candy filled night, I’ve also been picking at pieces of our house throughout the weekend (aka lots of candy & frosting), and enjoyed this breakfast Saturday morning.

Vans whole wheat waffles topped with sunbutter, cream cheese, syrup & granola (love crunch on my waffles). Scrambled egg whites + 1 egg & ketchup (necessity).

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But wait – my roommate & her boyfriend came home with donuts to share! I never have donuts (just don’t ever get the opportunity!), so I cut a few small bites of the cinnamon roll, glazed one, and bear claw – but honestly they were extremely dry and blah.

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But this cinnamon roll they made was quite the opposite! Helped myself to half of one πŸ™‚

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Fueld my gym trip quite nicely where I completed

  • 4 mile dreadmill run ranging from 6 – 7.5 mph. Not so much intervals, just decided to take it realitvely easy and watch Fool’s Gold on TV
  • 25 minutes upper body weights

After this, I felt a bit too lazy for whittling my middle. Whoops!

Unpictured eats throughout the day, then chowed down my salad for dinner in 5 minutes pre-work.

Rando mix of:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • 2 buffalo chicken meatballs
  • Zucchini
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Spinach hommus
  • Salsa
  • Annie’s raspberry dressing
  • Spinach

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But it worked!

Work included trail mix (with M&M’s of course).

Today I knew I needed to finally get down to some studying.

First up – breakkie.

  • A bit of Voskos plain yogurt (review coming soon)
  • Blueberry Oikos (almost a full container)
  • Kashi Heart to Heart
  • Nature’s Path mesa sunrise
  • TJ’s pumpkin granola
  • Banana slices
  • Sunbutter & pumpkin butter

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Yumma! That TJ’s pumpkin granola is sooooo good guys. I’m picky with my granolas, but this stuff is the perfect granola taste to me πŸ™‚ Just have to take it easy, since it’s pretty sweet and I know granola’s pretty high in sugar!

Next up – gym. Yeah, so the gym didn’t happen. As I tweeted about, there was no motivation whatsoever. Even though I should take advantage of free parking on campus (weekend!) and maybe take a weekday off of the gym. Didn’t happen.

I’m pretty sure my butt is imprinted into this couch permanently. I tried to study, I really did! But this take home final is going to take me 4x as long as a normal final…and I just gave up! Resorted to watching Falalala Lifetime instead πŸ˜‰

Mid-afternoon, I did get a bit cold hungry and decided on hot butternut squash oatmeal.

Topped with:

  • A different mix of cereals
  • Frosting covered graham crackers (from our house!)
  • Pumpkin cream cheese
  • Sunbutter

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Warmed me right up!

I eventually gave up with my take home final, and turned to ice cream. Which kind of defeats the purpose of hot oats. But it’s great distraction, let me tell you.

I’ll admit it – I went ice cream crazy. Ice cream is my biggest weakness. Some people have no control over certain foods, and for me it’s ice cream. So times this bowl by 2 4. In all fairness, it’s a baby bowl. And it ended up being part of my dinner.

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Due to late oats, and the ice cream extravaganza, I never really got hungry, but I knew I needed something more satisfying around 8:30. A light egg & veggie scramble dinner did the trick.

  • Zucchini
  • Onion
  • Mushroom
  • Spinach
  • 1 egg + 3 egg whites
  • Nutritional yeast

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Wait…

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Oh, better πŸ™‚

An unpictured cookie sneaked in there tonight as well. Picture/review tomorrow.

Until tomorrow friends.

Sugar coma….zzzzzz….

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