Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Break Goal: Cooking

Well, Merry Christmas! So far this Christmas break, I have really enjoyed being able to cook for my family. In fact, cooking is one of the items on my list of things to do during this break. Let me share some of my victories with you...

  • I made "surprise" taco soup for my family! I use a taco soup recipe my grandma, mom, and I have perfected in the last couple of years. However, this last time I made the soup, I used ground turkey instead of ground beef and no one knew the difference! Organic turkey is so much better than beef, and I was really excited to try it out in an old favorite. My family's recipe to come soon.
  • Applesauce Muffins: the Apple Barn, a family-owned restaurant, store, and cider mill in Tennessee, makes wonderful apple-based foods all year round. The last time my grandmother took us to the Apple Barn, I bought some recipe cards, one of which featured applesauce muffins. These turned out great, since I made them completely from scratch with all natural applesauce!
  • Today, while trying to figure out what to eat among the miles of leftovers in our house, my mom and I whipped up a Holiday Leftover Pork Stir Fry. Google and the random stuff in our fridge helped make lunch much more tastier than dinner last night... Don't tell whoever catered our dinner. :)
More Updates to Come!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Check, check, check...

And with that, we can cross off number 5! Sorry, no pictures for this one (ahem), but I got an early Christmas present and I crossed off another item on my list!

P.S. If you're looking for a great place to get fitted, Dillard's has trained representatives - and they aren't trying to sell you things you don't need yet. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saving Lives and Taking Names

You may be wondering why in the world I was awake before noon on the first day of the Fall Break. This is why:

So, I've successfully completed number four on the list! Waking up early and not realizing there was a "secret" back entrance to the Red Cross in my area is worth it now that I am prepared in case an emergency happens. Find your local Red Cross here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

On the Day I Voted Absentee

When I left my apartment-dorm and walked down the stairs to the building where my first class is held today, I noticed that the clouds were misty over the mountains. Now, the skies are beautiful blue, the breeze is cool, and the sunshine is warm. I know it sounds more like Spring than Fall, but I promise, this is a lovely Autumn day in Northeast Georgia.

It is also the day I mailed in my absentee ballot. Oh yes, I'm a real adult now. This has been a pretty neat experience! I mean, who would have thought that there is an "straight party" voting option? I knew there are two main parties and usually a third candidate, but what's up with having six options? And, for those of you voting in my home state, the question about governors and lieutenant governors at the end has more dependent clauses than a bad high school English paper.
But all of that aside, I'm so glad I got to vote in this election. Because I have to vote absentee, I also get to cross off half of number 26. It is an exciting experience to have a say in what goes on in our country, and I am thankful for governmental system we have here, even if it is flawed.

Mailing in my ballot!

 And no, I won't tell you who I voted for. :)

 Happy "Firsts..."
-- First time making  my own bulletin board! Used the Ellison die-cute machine and everything.
-- First time watching football on tv because I wanted to. And I enjoyed it!
-- First time voting in the presidential election!
-- First time having a published author sign a book for me.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall in Pictures

Wondering what's been happening in Alex's world recently? You came to the right place! Here's late summer and early Fall, in pictures, of course. I have done a lot of things "for the first time" since I last posted, and I wanted to share some of those exciting moments!

Back to school Luau with some friends

Found international fruit at Ingles! Got myself a dragonfruit!

No. 14 - Own a family recipe book. 

My beautiful new room, lovely and organized

Heart-shaped muffins!
Coffee Underground for the first time!

Had some friends over to the terrace for dinner. 

Knitted half-fingered gloves for a new-old friend!

Learned how to make hot and cold Chai Lattes!
Started to feel like an English teacher for real!

Saw Tenth Avenue North in Concert!

I love ladybugs!
Got cool shots of some "wildlife"

First time on a real hammock today... in my life!!

No. 26 - Vote absentee.
Received my absentee ballot in the mail today!

I figured it was time to make note that I had completed number 14, which is "compile a family recipe book." Last semester, a lovely friend gave the recipe book in the picture above for my birthday. I thanked her profusely, but I wasn't going to call it my "family" recipe book until I had "family" recipes in it. Now, I have my mom's Ham Delights and broccoli salad, my grandma's Taco Soup, and even my great-great-aunt's macaroni pie from scratch.

The only thing I'm missing is my grandma's "lard biscuits," but since both mom and grandma are on a diet right now, I've hesitated to ask for the directions. There is no written recipe. My grandma made those biscuits for years and years, until my grandpa died six years ago. I'm hoping one day I'll be able to write down that recipe and save it for future generations.

Also worth noting is that I'm well on my way to completing number 26: vote both absentee and in person. I got my absentee ballot today, and I'm looking forward to (and somewhat nervous about) voting in my first election, and a presidential election at that! I hope to do some research concerning this process and share some of what I've learned.

Thanks for walking with me on this journey to thirty and the rest of my life! I've shared recently on my personal blog about what I'm learning about God; check it out!

Happy "Firsts..."
-- First time at Coffee Underground
-- First time knitting gloves
-- First time making (learning to make) Chai Lattes
(First time falling in love with hot tea!)
-- First time seeing Tenth Avenue North in concert
-- First time on a real hammock
-- First time preparing to vote in the presidential election

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back from Asia!

The ladies of my team with our Lao friends.
I'm back, safe and sound, from an amazing trip to Asia. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and did the thing I thought I could not do. Believe me when I say that our God is a God of impossible things. I learned how to love on twenty Asian teenagers, plan and prepare three weeks of English camp, pray for the impossible, and trust God with each moment.

I was able to knock two countries off of goal number 6 and challenge myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. I rode the Hong Kong public transit system (MTR, minibuses, and double-decker buses) for the first time. I ate duck larp, fermented fish, tamarind, dragon fruit, longan, pomegrante, and duck for the first time. And I discovered how much I really love teaching!
My class!

My team at the beach on Lantau.
If you'd like to read more, click here to go to my LosingMyself blog.

Monday, June 25, 2012

How to Pack for Five Weeks in Asia

In case you haven't heard, I'm going to Asia for five weeks! I board my first plane in t minus 76 hours. Oh yes. Here are some random tips for packing for a five week trip!

You can find these tiny green towels at REI.com
1. Buy a towel that is literally shorter than your eight-year-old cousin and several inches too small to wrap all the way around you. But it absorbs eight times its weight!
2. Don't pack your iPod cord or phone charger 4 days early thinking that you're "ahead of the game." You will need them before you leave.

3. Bring interchangable clothes, especially bottoms. For the three weeks of English teaching I'll be doing, I have khaki capris, khaki shorts, black pants, and a black skirt. And a dress just for fun (not pictured).

4. Pack all that random stuff you brought too much of in plastic Zip-Loc or Hefty bags. For example, place small items in snack-size bags, then put a few of those into a quart bag, and a few of those into a gallon bag. Pack multiple items into a two gallon bag. Yes, they sell those in the store. I'm still wondering why we have those at my house.
Don't forget the stickers for your students!
Can you tell I'm bringing stuff for teaching about Valentine's Day?

5. Below Left. Roll your clothes. It's easy, keeps most of the wrinkles out, and you can see everything at one time. Try not to wad your clothes, because they will definitely end up that way after two or more flights.

6. Above Right. Limit the amount of shoes you bring. You'll need something to wear to teach in and something to play in. Yes, four shoes is "limiting it" for me. I can't believe I have so many shoes!

7. Knit your own travel accessories! The passport holder in shown in blue/brown and the pattern can be found here. The navy money wallet is my own "homemade" pattern. See it here.

8. Travel Sizes. Of Everything. "There are stores in Asia!"

9. Bring notes and momentos from friends who love you and are praying for you! Below.

10. Make sure you have something to do on the 15 hour airplane ride!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


...Okay, maybe not. I made it for me. But I made it! I wrote up my own pattern, which I submitted to a knit pattern database called Ravelry, and I even sewed on a zipper by myself. It's a mini clutch wallet, perfect for holding my foreign currency when I go to Asia this summer!

By the way, I can't believe I'm going to Asia in literally a week and a day. What?!? It is unbelievable, and it fulfills most of goal number 6. More information to come!

*The title is a reference to JulianSmith.tv, which I enjoy but cannot endorse on this blog. 
*The link above is to my newest blog, dedicated to creativity and crafts, called One Creative Outlet, scheduled to go live in August.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer in Pictures, Part One

These are pictures from the first portion of my Summer 2012 from May 12th - 29th. 

Remember that plant I was trying to grow last semester? My mom and I have successfully brought it back to life twice. I guess I need a bigger pot for it now.

This looks like an average morning for me about four days a week. This was Week One, Day Four of my Couch to 5k running plan.

Got a new ring that I bought on Etsy.com. God has used the butterfly to symbolize that he's got everything and that it's going to be okay for me.

Knitted a scarf for the Special Olympics! I just finished it and I started a Passport Holder.

Week Two, Day Two, I headed to the cemetery where I walked last summer to enjoy more beautiful scenery than the treadmills and sweaty old ladies the Y offers.
AND I WALKED A SUCCESSFUL 5K! 3.1 miles. Oh yes. 
Pedometer: $4.98
Walking outside under the sunshine: Priceless

I also headed to the Recreational Equipment Inc. in a nearby city to buy some things for my upcoming trip to Asia. That place was awesome. My guy friends were right!

Week three, Day One was yesterday. I completed it almost successfully. I slacked off a smidge on the last 10 minutes, because my legs and stomach were cramping. I did manage a nice 61 minutes, though, even if most of it was walking.

That little clump of fuzzy is a bird's nest with several babies in it! They're chilling out in my mom's ferns.

Lovely graduations of some dear friends.

Not pictured: the deer I saw in my backyard the second day of summer and the many exciting Skype adventures I've had with my best friends. Join me later in the summer for "Summer in Pictures" again.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Six Weeks!

Six Weeks! That's how long I have at home until I leave for China, and I am definitely going to make the most of those six weeks. Mom and my brother are still in school for the next two of those weeks, so I've been home alone, running errands, reading, knitting, and working out.

Speaking of which, I have good news and bad news. Bad news first: I went to give blood on April 26th, but something didn't quite work right. I ended up not be able to give an entire pint. Either my vein rolled or I was not hydrated enough. It was pretty disappointing, but I still got a T-shirt and some crackers. Hopefully I'll be able to try again, although it will have to be a while after China.

In good news, I completed another one of the goals on my semester list! Or rather, another goal was completed outside of my control. See, the last goal on my list was: "Witness and play a part in something huge that can only be attributed to God." The story behind it is phenomenal...
During the semester, my roommate's car broke down. When my roommate (affectionately nicknamed "L") and her parents realized she needed it fixed so she could come home for the semester, she called a mechanic shop. It was a Saturday and the shop was closed.
The next day (Sunday), L's mom had mentioned to people at her church about L's car and asked for prayer that her car would be fixed in time to go home and that she would have the finances to take care of it. One person she talked to has a nephew who is a mechanic in the town where L and I go to college. He called his nephew and let him know about L's situation. This is amazing because L's family lives in Ohio and we go to college in a tiny little town in Georgia!
L called the mechanic on Monday and he fixed her car by Friday, just in time for her to leave on Saturday after our friends' graduation. This fulfills my last goal because L doesn't have a working phone - she was using mine and I even talked with the mechanic. I got to see and be used in this miracle.

Finally, more good news is that I found a Couch to 5k program here that can be completed in six weeks. If I can follow this program before I leave for China, I will have walked and ran a 5k, and then I can enter an official 5k once I'm back from China or during the Fall semester, and that will have completed goal number 3! I accomplished day one today - it was harder than it looked and it took me an hour to do it all, but at least the YMCA in my hometown is remodeled and easy to use. I can do this!

Stay tuned for pictures and comments from the rest of this summer!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

End of April Update

Remember those not-so-green thumbs I told you about earlier? Well, I looked at my calendar today and remembered that beside the highlighted note "Paper Due!" and the reading required in my Shakespeare class, I had written "Plant Grows!" Hopefully, of course.

So, I bounded over to the window and  found this! Wow! Took it two weeks and a couple failed attempts at remembering to water it, but here's one little sprout. Turns out, if it lives, it will become a marigold.

In other news, this Thursday, there is a blood drive on campus. We have them about 4 times a semester and, while this is my fourth semester, I still have not given blood. Donating blood is number 25 on my list, so I'm planning to go donate this Thursday! Wish me luck - I have a hard time with my veins.

There are only three weeks left in the semester, so I have been checking things off my semester goals and year goals lists recently. Here are some things I've completed or done well on maintaining....

  • Watch Amazing Grace
  • Keep fruit in my room (Blueberries a couple weeks ago, bananas this week!)
  • Compile resources about Teacher Education (my major - had to do this for class)
  • Visit my Dad and Stepmom with my friend Anna
  • Visit mutual friends with my friend Sarah
  • Attend four concerts
  • Take my roommate Lula to a nearby town called "Lula"
  • Maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher
  • Plan and prepare a meal for my church
  • Wear skirts everyday for seven days
  • Have coffee or lunch dates with a list of friends
The things I don't complete I will be eighty-sixing or modifying to try to accomplish next year. I hope this inspires you to set a few goals for yourself!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Green Thumbs and a Box of Dirt

While I'm here at college in Northeast Georgia, my mom in Upstate South Carolina mailed me a package. I opened it to find several plastic bags from Lowe's with what appeared to be dirt inside. Yes, my mail mailed me a box of dirt.

Okay, not really! In fact, she mailed me these cute little ceramic eggs that are full of dirt and seeds. One ruptured during the shipping process, which is why I thought I had received a bunch of dirt.

When I got back to my dorm room after lunch, I cracked one of the eggs, watered it, and set it on my windowsill. Hopefully it will turn into a beautiful flower! If it sprouts, I will have completed another one of my goals for this semester.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

So I Waltzed Into My Twenties

...Nine days ago. It's still a bit exciting. Sometimes I legitimately feel really old like an adult, like when I ironed my clothes this morning. I have not ironed clothes since before college and, even then, only for special occasions. Other times, however, I'm just enjoying being a college kid and not having as many "adult" obligations. 

I am thankful for the many people who have supported and keep supporting this journey to adulthood. One shoutout goes to this lovely friend who gave me this really cute recipe book for task no. 14: Own a family recipe book. 

Stay posted for more news on my 30 before 30! In the mean time, you can check out my personal blog, LosingMyself.

Saturday, February 11, 2012