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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

My favorite and most loving sister tops the charts, obviously.

Where did this year go? I can’t believe my 3rd favorite holiday has already gone and passed. I love Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for my mom’s Whipped Maple Pecan Sweet Potato recipe, as well as the rest of our feastful:

I’m especially thankful for my family.

I’m also thankful for my friends…especially the ones with a new baby!

What a cutie patootie!

I’m also thankful for CHOCOLATE…thanks to the people at Adora! They gave me the chance to taste, review and let you all know what I think about this sinful, healthy, nutrient-full supplement.

Milk or Dark Chocolate. Yum.

As they say, rich, creamy, and indulgent. Adora holds true to its word. Providing 50% of your daily value of calcium per 30 calorie disk, as well vitamin D3 and magnesium for optimal absorption, this is seriously the best thing since sliced bread. With chocolate tasting this good, I won’t EVER forget to take my calcium supplement again, and that’s a promise. Is there such a thing as overdosing? I hope not. Thanks Adora for letting me try your fabulous product.

YOU can be thankful for Adora’s retail availability at CVS/pharmacy stores and Whole Foods nationwide. Go get some NOW!

I’m going to continue giving thanks and my body will thank me for the post-Thanksgiving workout I’m about to endure.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Yesterday was a pretty stellar day.

Who could ask for more when you get to spend 3 hours with your Grandma out to lunch at Good Earth, help her fill up her gas tank and chat for another hour back at her apartment afterward? I love this lady. She bring good luck too. True statement.

And isn’t she just precious. How couldn’t you love hanging out with her?!

In addition to hanging out with Gma McG, Tuesday also marked the release of my first published blog article “Finding My Healthy” at www.SheTaxi.com! This site is a private, subscription-only online vehicle for women to relate to different topics, be it Motherhood, being Solo, Daughterhood, Wellness, Sheness, etc. I definitely think it’s a great tool, but of course, I am a little biased. However, you should still check it out. Membership is free dura beta. πŸ˜‰

This would make me a writer, would it not? πŸ™‚

Now, I’m pretty sure good things happen in groups of three, too. Because, while out with Gma, I got a call from an Unknown number but refrained from answering at the restaurant.

That’s when I figured it was was a call regarding an interview last week. I told, maybe, 3 people about this interview, just in case it didn’t work out and especially because it was so intense, I was nervous about the outcome. Luckily, I had my lucky Grandma with me in this time of doubt. πŸ˜‰

While back at her apartment she said,

Well, I really hope you get the job Molly, because if you do, that means my apartment is lucky. You wanna know why? Both of your aunts received calls about selling their houses while they were here. So it must be lucky.

Don’t get me wrong, I was a little skeptical, but Grandma delivered!

I was offered the JOB!!!!!!!!!

I am now employed, and my Grandma is for sure a lucky charm, so if you have something in your life that needs a good vibe, just hang out with her. Or just stop by, because she’s pretty good company!

Coming up on A Minnesota Life…a product review, stop back soon, you won’t be disappointed!

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Happy November, Happy Election Day (yesterday), Happy Fall, Happy Hump Day,

Well for those of you who follow my blog, or did, I was an avid writer while in Japan. I had the time, the energy, the inspiration of being in a foreign country with endless topics, ideas, and events going on in my life that I could share with people. I was especially good as sharing my feelings and hardships about the language barrier, cultural differences, and lifestyle of an American girl living in rural Japan.

Things are different now, I will admit. It seems like I write every two weeks, or sadly, go even longer without posting. I wanted to maintain this blog as a healthy living site for what goes on in my life and what I’ve been up to on a day-to-day basis. I’d love to say my life is exhilarating, and full of excitement. I will say, I have been doing a LOT, however, when I want to blog about something or post my new recipes, etc., I find myself holding back and getting “sidetracked” because what I really should be doing is job hunting. Granted, I don’t job hunt 24/7, but I feel guilty even picking up a novel and having ‘me time’ when I know I should be pounding the pavement with this job search.

It’s a tough market people. I’m sure you’re all aware of that. Part of me wants to just get my foot in the door with a great company like Target, General Mills, or Health Partners, and not care about the position. The other part of me wants to find that perfect position and not care what the company or pay is, but just do what I love. What exactly do I love? Well, health is definitely at the forefront of my interests, as well as writing…so that leads to PR, I like promoting health, wellness, fitness…so there’s job potential there. I also like the idea of working with a company with healthy foods (hello Target, yes I will be a buyer for your Organic foods)…a girl can dream right? I just don’t know where to start. It’s overwhelming and slightly depressing sometimes, but I’ll keep at it and get my dream job one way or another!

In the meantime my other priorities include my internship at SheTaxi (the more practice and experience, the better), running, family, friends, and of course a little cooking, TV, and People magazine.

These past few weeks, since Grandma’s 90th, we’ve spent time with the family from out of state, going to the cabin,

Quality sister time,

And of course last weekend, getting all gussied up for the festivities, that is, my 2nd favorite holiday of the year: HALLOWEEN.

Hello Shakira and our lil Firefighter

Nerd & a TopGun girl (that would be my dad’s real Vietnam uniform there!)

Antone Dodson, and Jake the Bachelor

A Hot dog, taco and condiments

I will say though, that when planning a Halloween costume, being from Minnesota, taking the weather into consideration is a good idea. I did not, and paid the price. It was freezing!

So while I’m not gonna worry about where my priorities lie, I’m just gonna let the good times roll. Life too short to not to enjoy the small stuff.

I hope everyone got out and voted yesterday for somebody. Have a great rest of the week. Let’s set a personal goal (me) of writing again before weeks end.

 

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I really have no excuse for not blogging for ages. I really want to get back into it, pretty sure I lost all my blogger-reader-friends. Come Baaaaaaaaack πŸ™‚

Last year about this time, I was making a list of all my favorite fall things but all the way from Japan. Now, a year later, I am still grateful for all things fall, but I’ve got a few to add to my Midwest list for 2010.

1. Fall T.V.: I wish I was kidding. I wish my list was shorter (I don’t really). I wish Tivo wasn’t invented.

  • Ellen. Daily
  • Chelsea Lately
  • Tosh.O
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Private Practice
  • HIMYM
  • House
  • Biggest Loser
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • Modern Family
  • Glee
  • Law & Order SVU
  • The Office
  • Gossip Girl

Am I forgetting one? This list is embarrassing, so I hope not.

2. Going to see WICKED!

3. 100 years of Johnnie Football/Homecoming/Tommie-Johnnie all in one day.

4. Family visiting from out of state, especially the cousins who can’t make it every year!

5. Celebrating Birthdays

  • Mom
  • Auntie Maureen
  • GRANDMA’S 90th FREAKIN’ BIRTHDAY last weekend~

Grandma with the kids and grandkids + spouses. We are a good lookin’ bunch if I do say so myself!

WHAT.A.SUCCESS.

5. Last but not least, kitchen experiments.

Have you ever heard of Larabars? They’re pricy. I made my own. Today’s trial run was Reese’s Pecan impression of a Larabar:

  • 2 cups of pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup of pecans
  • 2 Tbs all natural Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • sprinkle of salt

Throw it all in the food processor + Glee in the background.

Walla (like a magician would say. Is that how you spell it?)

Don’t knock it till you try it, but YUMMY!

Well since we all know I have 18 hours of Tivo to catch up on, I gotta get back to that, plus ice my legs after a fall run around the lakes (that’s #6 on my list btw.)

Night!

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In the meantime

My day started at 4:10a.m.

More like my night ended at 2:30a.m. and I took a cat-nap until 4 when I heard Tomo come nearly crashing down our death stairs carrying her suitcase that most definitely weighs as much, if not more than her.

Today, Tomo left.

Mom, Dad and I drove her to the airport at 4:30a.m. I will say that, since I fell asleep in my clothes on the couch and didn’t even bother to remove my pants or put on p.j.s that I was looking pretty good for that early in the a.m. πŸ˜‰

In addition, I have lots of updates on our 8 day adventure around the Twin Cities, but while I whip that up, as well as some Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies, here is a dorky survey that I actually enjoyed doing, to tide you over.

I was tagged on Anne’s Blog @ Food Loving Polar Bear in her little survey/questionnaire. So here goes my answers to those questions.

1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

I would want to fly or be invisible so I could walk through walls. Sounds like it’d be cool. Oh wait, I wanna breathe underwater too! Free SCUBA diving!

2. Who is your style icon?

Hahaha, if you know me at all, um I clearly don’t have an icon by the way I dress, but I do like simple and cute with some accessories and heels. Who’s that?

3. What is your favorite quote?

Wow, I love quotes, but I currently have this one on my email signature:

Progress involves risk. You can’t steal second base while keeping your foot on first. -Anonymous

Seems relevant to my life right now.

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

Tomo’s family told me that I am the nicest foreigner they’ve ever met and I’m really respectful and understanding of other cultures. πŸ˜€

5. What playlist/cd is in your CD player/iPod right now?

I’m a little behind on the times since I just got home, but I’m still obsessed with Love the Way you Lie by Rihanna/Eminem, and I really like the country tune: If I Die Young.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

I used to be a morning person, but evidently my social priorities have me staying up really late. That will all change again when I’m working 40+ hours a week!

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

Don’t hate me: NEITHER. I don’t mind them, but since I didn’t grow up with any, I could live without ever having one. Some people have really cool dogs though.

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

I am from Minnesota, and this is my life. (Travels, Friends, Family, my Faith, and the fun things I do…all while trying to find a healthy balance). Here is my About Page!

Tag some people:

Jamie @ Tearaveler

Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers

Molly @ Something.Beautiful

Janetha @ Meals and Moves

Have fun with the questions! :)

~~~

Enjoy and I’ll be back SOON!

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Why hello lovelies.

Yesterday was the big day!!! Someone celebrated a big, fabulous birthday, and what better way than for me to make a cake?!

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Now, I’m all about healthifying things and even though the original recipe would have been fine and dandy, we not only were out of some of the ingredients, but in some cases, our house only hosted the healthy alternative. So, when I finally decided to get my life together, well after 12p.m., and finally realized it was my mother’s birthday (that I had yet to prepare for)…

First up, I ran to Party City.

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour (I used a little less than that and Whole Wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I used one teaspoon + 1.5 teaspoons of Pumpkin Spice)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (didn’t have –Pumpkin Spice)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (used Pumpkin Spice)
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil (I substituted 1 1/4 cups of natural applesauce. Best decision ever. SO.MOIST)
4 large eggs (I used 1 cup Egg Beaters–that’s all we had)
3 cups grated peeled carrots
1 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

~~~

Maple Cream Cheese Topping

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat CC)
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (I omitted. Great choice. Didn’t even need it)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350Β°F

Line 24 cupcake molds with paper fillers.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger Pumpkin Spice in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and raisins, if using them. Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.

Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes (I did 17. Perfection), or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.

Icing:

In a hand mixer beat all the ingredients together. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly. (Again, taken from Smitten Kitchen). I didn’t follow the cooling instructions, and hence the final product looking like this:

I was pressed for time or I woulda put a little more effort into finding a way to cut some sugar, but what’s the fun in that. The nut’ stats are still dec. Take a looksie πŸ™‚

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 cupcake

Amount per Serving

Calories 152
Calories from Fat 31.0

% Daily Value

Total Fat 3.44g
Saturated Fat 2.19g
Cholesterol 108mg
Sodium 193.49mg
Total Carbohydrate 19.25g
Dietary Fiber 1.47g
Sugars 10.32g
Protein 3.11g
~~~
So after playing lil’ Rachel Ray, I sweat my butt off running to draw up a huge banner to stream across our garage, blow up balloons, write her card, wrap the gift, all before she was to arrive home around 4p.m.
Did I mention I started this all around 1p.m.? I’ve always been know for my punctuality.

~~~

Then the fun came, Mom arrived home and hugs, kisses, and gifts ensued.

After our mini celebration, the fam was off to pick up Tomo at the Airport. Let’s just say “Fashionably Late” should be our last name. This time it was unintentional, I swear.

We made it to MSP just in the knick of time. I assumed Tomo would be coming in through the International Gate. Makes sense, no? Did I forget to mention that she had a layover in Houston, making her flight to Minneapolis domestic. Oops. Well, needless to say my stiletto get up and Versace shades bookin’ it through the airport was far from classy. And my $15 shoes were not giving me legit support (clearly). A few minutes later after kindly interrogating the Continental Airline worker where the eff our passenger was, she said they had pick up their bags and cleared out already. Crap.

Then I got a call. Here I was holding the gift bag in hand, and poor Tomo was wandering aimlessly, surviving on little English and some stranger’s cell phone. Thank God for Minnesota nice, eh?! πŸ˜€

We were finally reunited. At.Last. And then it was time for a birthday dinner/Welcome to MN partay.

Lucky’s was the place to be!

Popcorn, entrees, and some birthday cake to go around. ‘Twas perfection. I’ve got a lot in store for Ms. Tomo as she spends her first American experience here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. I’ll keep you all posted for that matter. It’ll be the most action I’ve had in my life all summer! πŸ™‚

Now back to that Twins game, which should have wrapped up 5 innings ago…

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Good afternoon πŸ™‚

Before moving Cady back to St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN on Saturday, we hit up my dad’s neighborhood block party from when he was growing up. Let me say, coolest idea ever. As we walked up, all these grown men and old ladies were like: “Oh Billy…so good to see you, is this your family…” My dad just turned 60 in May, and some of these people he hadn’t seen since high school. Pretty cool. Mom, sissy, and I tagged along for the ride & reunion.

I just love that sequence. Yes, my parents are that goofy. πŸ™‚

It was really fun to meet all the kids adults my dad grew up with. Sadly we could only stay a little while before trekking down to school to drop off the sister.

So in other news, I’m being a major slacker on the whole India recaps, but life is still flying by the seat of my own pants, so I have to keep you all updated on that, even if it means updates from the comfort of my own home, where I religiously watch Ellen, go for morning runs with my dad, and of course job hunting for the perfect Health Communication job. πŸ™‚

In the meantime, I’ve also been preparing for a pretty sweet arrival of a pretty sweet person. Ms. Tomoyo from my little nook in Japan is COMING TO MINNESOTA! TOMORROW! Eeeek. This also means MAJOR cleaning to ensue. Not really my orders, but more of my dear mother wanting a presentable home. I completely understand. And being that it’s my friend and sissy is officially brought off to college as of last Saturday, that leaves me, the non-working daughter to fend for myself and get to work! I promise I did deliver, too.

Not only did I clean my rank room (note* = I moved home on Aug. 3 and purposefully avoided that hell hole, excuse my language, for a good 3.5 weeks. The piles got deeper, and I got less and less motivated.) I was not kidding either:

Embarrassing. But now, I can sleep in my own bed and find everything I own, neatly in its place. πŸ™‚

Ahhh, finally. But my domestic duties did.not.end.there. After my morning run in the sun, I found myself in the cleaning mood too, so I proceeded to dust, vacuum, and wash the kitchen floors. Oooh, my momma’s gonna looooooove me πŸ™‚

Done and done.

~~~

And since I was feeling extra crafty and had a butternut squash to deal with (please don’t judge the fact that I had forgotten what I even bought and had to Google: tan squash, in order to find out its name and more so, a recipe to prepare with it). Embarrassing, again. But like I said, foodie-in-training.

Adapted from this recipe

Whipped Butternuttin’ Better Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (about 2-1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, optional, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I used 1)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (didn’t have any, so I sub’d Cinnamon)
  • I added a dollop of plain yogurt
  • I also added a small driz of honey…not sure why, but it was a good choice.

Directions

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, bring squash, water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt if desired to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. (It was about 25 minutes that I did).


  • Drain; transfer to a bowl. Add butter, brown sugar, nutmeg Cinnamon, yog, honey and remaining salt if desired; beat until smooth. Yield: 6 servings.

I will say: This was so good and sinful. Mom backed me up on that. πŸ˜€ I cut up an apple and it made the perfect dipper!

So I may have only spent an hour job hunting, but lil’ Rachel Ray here was making magic happen in the kitchen. I think the sacrifice was well worth it.

Now off to grocery shop for some of Tomo’s meals while she’s here. Look forward to full recaps on our adventures together in the next week, starting with the celebration of MOM’S –th BIRTHDAY TOMORROW! It’s a big one!

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