Happy Camper

Do you remember when you were a pre-teen? Raging hormones? Questionable things happening to your body? Your voice plummeting mid conversation? Ahhh yes. The glory days of awkward meets confusing.

Well one thing I forgot about those days is how much energy comes along with it. You see, I just spent all of last week with about 80+ girls ranging in age from 8-16. And it wasn’t until I was leaving camp did I realize how absolutely and positively exhausted I was from running around after all these girls all week.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a blast. In fact, I had a blast and a half. But this coming weekend, I will be catching up on missed Z’s and enjoying every blissful moment of it.

The entire week I was thrown into running all sorts of programs. And I really forgot how much I love working with the youth. Because it was a Catholic camp, I got to talk with the girls on a different level about their faith (or lack of for some girls). I’ll admit, sometimes when I am talking with my own peers about my faith or theology in general, I tend to freeze up. In my mind I’m thinking, “What could I possible have to say that this person doesn’t already know? How could I even be of any help?” But with the younger girls, some of them don’t even know the basics of our faith.

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Plus, little kids tend to not have a filter which I (almost always) love. They say whatever they are thinking, which isn’t always a good thing but when learning about their faith, it’s perfect! They were asking about the saints, the Eucharist, adoration, praying by your self, Bible stories, even the devil who some didn’t even know was real. I even got to lead several groups in learning how to start a prayer journal.

Some of my favorite parts about camp you ask?

Horse Back riding: I have never been an avid rider, going on the occasional trot when visiting Mackinac Island. But this week, I got to not only trot and canter, but gallop on a horse. Picture John Wayne in The Searchers … that was me. Flying through the wind, not a care in the world. Okay not as cliche as that but it was pretty exhilerating. And a bit scary too. But I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie, always jumping off bridges or cliffs into large bodies of water. But this was new for me. And I’m a fan!


Prayer Journaling: When I was leading the Prayer Journaling Sessions, I talked to the girls about keeping a prayer journal for your prayer life. I spoke about how it can be your personal relationship with God and a place for you to pretty much put whatever you want. I showed them my ratty old journal and all the little girls kept flipping through finding saint quotes they liked or doodles I had scribbled down. But the best part was answering their questions. They all wanted to find different stories in the bible or hear about different saints. I told them all about Maximillian Kolbe, Joan of Arc, Bernadette… but they really seemed to like the story about St. Lawrence and his cheeky remark on his deathbed “flip me over, I’m done on this side.” They LOVED those stories. And I loved telling them. Little kids are so innocent about their questions. One of the many lessons I learned at camp.


Cabin Time: Everday before lunch, we’d have “Cabin Time” where everyone would come back to the cabin and hang out after our morning programs. I loved this time because it’s when I really got to know my girls.They all had very different backgrounds, some had no father, some had 10 siblings, some were homeschooled, and some were nervous about starting new schools. Everyone had something to say, even the quieter girls. We would just hang out in the cabin, listen to some music and craft. Because girls, no matter the age I’m learning, love to decorate and make things beautiful. Even if it’s only the cabin they are staying in for a week.



^^That picture on the right… Water bottle malfunction. Not bladder Malfunction. Promise.

Baked Alaska: Being my first time at this camp, I quickly learned about all the traditions that have gone on at camp for years. One of the many being Baked Alaska. On the last night for the girls, everyone would come back to the Mess Hall later in the evening for a homemade dessert of Baked Alaska. Now I’d only heard of Baked Alaska in old movies (Desk Set anyone?!) and have always wanted to try it since. So I was only too willing to give it a try. What is it you ask? Picture a layer of cake, with a bunch of ice cream on top, another layer of cake, all covered in meringue that has been torched a little. Soooo an ice cream cake meets a meringue pie. Very delicious. A little weird but good once your taste buds get a hold of what you’re doing with the meringue… Oh and meringue is not easy to clean off I’ve learned… How did I learn? Apparently the Baked Alaska tradition was not complete with out smearing meringue all over a few people’s faces. Yes, I was one of the victims.


Gaylord, MI: If you don’t know about my love for my state by now, then you should just leave. Just kidding. Do not leave. But in all honesty, I love up North Michigan. In Michigan, when people go on vacation, they stay in state. Apparently, to some of the non local counselors this was unheard of where they come from? But there is some serious beauty all over the state. And this week I got to experience Gaylord. I’ll be honest. There isn’t much happening there. They just built a Walmart a few years ago and their biggest attraction tends to be Norman’s, a massive wearhouse for camping and hunting enthusiasts to drop in as they continue their treck up north. But it has a charm all it’s own. Once we were set away at camp, you still get the up north feeling with the lakes and the trees but you’re still not that removed from life. And the stars at night?! Who needs a flashlight when you got those babies!


Color Run: I’ve always wanted to participate in a color run. And I finally got to. Although I was geting over a cold at the time, I was NOT going to miss out on this. So I volunteered to be the caboose of the run. Just to make sure no girls got lost and everyone was accounted for. The best part of being the caboose? When I finally got around to all the color stations, because I was the last one, they just dumped all the left over color-stuff all over me. By the time I finished, everyone was wondering how I had gotten so much color on me. Thank you, I’d love to be the caboose again next year!


Last Night: Every night, before we go to bed, everyone gathers in the chapel for Night Prayers. But on the last night we were to do Night Prayers in our cabin with our girls. So Katie (the other counselor in my cabin) and I brought the girls back and quieted everyone down. There is always a scripture reading with a testimony or talk slipped into night prayer but Katie and I had no idea what to talk to them about. They had heard bits of mine and Katie’s testimony’s throughout the week, and to be honest they weren’t exciting enough to be some epic story. Neither of us had any serious life changing things happen to us. There was nothing out of the ordinary except for maybe a reversion in college. So being that it was the last night, I pulled from the Transfiguration. I told them how although many of them may want to stay here and not leave (just as Peter had wanted to pitch tents and stay on the mountain), Jesus wanted us to go home, or down the mountain, and tell everyone what we’d learned and how we’d expereinced Jesus. He wanted us to spread His love to others who may not be aware of it. There was more to it, cause let’s be honest, when I start talking, it’s hard to get me to stop ;) Thank God the Holy Spirit was all up in that cabin otherwise I’d be at a loss for words. He’s good like that. — I then had to get the girls to bed after they’d had a fare share of Baked Alaska and bags upon bags of candy… God bless all you mothers out there. You must have some serious patience.


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All in all it was a successful week at camp. I’d never been to an actual camp before so I’d like to think that my first time, even if I was 24 years old, was a as good as it gets.


7QT: Nerd Talk

Lucky lucky Jen is busy at the Edel Gathering so I’ll be with Carolyn today for 7 Quick Takes over at Svellerella!

1. Well. We are FINALLY new car owners. Well, leasers. You may have heard a bit out our stressful car situation. No? Well to keep it short we leased a car, were given the wrong car, didn’t realize till we were on vacation. Had to wait a week to get a new one and then another several days to get papers signed. There were a few more pickles thrown into the mix but after two weeks, we are finally home with our new car.


No no, not that car. David only wishes…


There we go. A GREAT alternative if you ask me :)

2. Michaels is magnificent. Michaels as in the craft store, not some man that I think is magnificent… For my birthday, I got a giftcard there so after much planning and trying to figure out what exactly we needed, I went last night and actually did a good job of not veering from what I came for. I picked up some great silk flowers to finish off our floating shelf in our living room AND some others I found that I couldn’t pass up that fit perfect into this little blank spot in my living room that I had NO idea what to place there. Needless to say I did veer a little over to the framing department and picked up this great burlap pin board that I’m using for some Instagram photos I printed off. Pictures to come soon. Very very soon!

3. Do you have a Charming Charlie‘s near you? It’s one of my new favorite stores. Think jewlery. Lots and lots of jewlery. I came across it when I was grocery shopping one day and saw it right by my house. So when I ventured in, I didn’t venture back out for about 1.5 hours. It’s dangerous in there. For the most part, the prices are great. I think some of their bracelets are a bit overpriced compared to their necklaces but there is something for everyone in there. Here are a few pieces I was debating between to wear with a white dress in Mackinac Island. I got the far left one but it took me a good 15 minutes to decide PLUS a group text to my girlfriends for their advice.


4. Pope Francis is coming to Philly next year! Losing.My.Catholic girl’s.Mind. Apparently, the mayor of Philly gave Pope Francis a mini Liberty Bell back in March as an invitation. So……. do you think if OUR mayor gave Pope Francis a mini Ford F150, he’d come to Detroit? Just a thought.


5. When it comes down to it, I’m a bit of a nerd. It’s like that secret side of me that’s actually not all that secret. I love superhero moveis, sci-fi books, hobbit-filled entertainment, and books galore. So whenever Marvel is coming out with a new movie or another of J. R. R. Tolkien’s books is being adapted to film, I’m right there following along. With that said, I can’t wait to see this movie.

6. Speaking of books. This has been the summer of reading. For me at least. And D. About 3 days a week, David and I drive together to work. We start around the same time but since I get out before him, I have about 1-2 hours to kill while I wait. With it being summer, it’s convenient because I can just sit out in the sun. But also, I have 2 blissful sunshine-y hours to read on my new Nexus. Because there isn’t much else I can do while I wait. I’ve read about 4 books this summer, which for me as a veryyyy slow reader, that is a tall order. My newest endeavor is a trilogy by Francine Rivers called The Mark of the Lion. The first book in the series, A Voice in the Wind, I finished in about a week (it’s 500+ pages…). I’ve just started the second, An Echo in the Darkness. If you’ve read her most popular book, Redeeming Love, then I highly recomend this. It takes place in ancient Rome, about 15-20 years after Jesus walked the Earth. I’m learning so much about that time period! Also a big PLUS. Francine’s Redeeming Love is being made into a move. *insert nerd fist pump here*


7. When I told you I was nerd I forgot to also explain that I crochet. And I made this the other day for my Nexus. It’s my Nexus-Sock. Just because I had yarn in the house. Go ahead. Call me Grandma. See if I care.


On that note, I hope everyone has a great weekend! Don’t forget to check out the other Quick Takes!


My Beef With the “Baby Question”

As some of you know, David was one of my best friends long before we started dating. I never looked at him as anything other than “David, my lunch buddy” or “David, my I-really-need-to-vent-about-life buddy”. But lo and behold, God had another plan for us and somewhere down the line, he paved a way for us to present day where we get to spend the rest of our earthly life together.

In the beginning of those “dating days”, I remember specifically one day when I was hanging out at D’s apartment and we filled each other in on our lives, the things we didn’t know about each other. One thing I remember him asking was “If you could be anything, what would you want to be when you grow up?”. It made me laugh because those questions always seem like a question you’re asked when you’re 4 instead of 20 (which I was at the time).

But I gave it some serious thought for a moment. I had always wanted to be an actress (don’t you dare laugh) but I didn’t know if I could do that forever. I had studied journalism but I knew that still wasn’t number 1. Then it hit me. The one thing I could see myself being happy doing for the rest of my life is being a mom. More specifically, a stay at home mom.

I remember being really impressed with his reaction because he thought it was the coolest answer I could have given. He was expecting I’d say a news anchor or an author. Never did he expect me to say the job I want forever does not pay monetarily and is probably one of the hardest jobs out there.

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Fast forward to present day, we have always kept this in mind. I was blessed with a husband who wants kids as much as I do but also had the same mentality. However, with the two of us coming into marriage with debt (damn you, student loans) and only having a small amount in savings, we had decided to wait on activley trying to have kids for 1.5 – 2 years. Being that we are as pro-life as it gets and Natural Family Planners (apparently it’s NFP awareness week?! yess) to the max, if God decided (or decides) to give us a baby before then, obvi we will be ecstatic and are 250% open to life. But we knew we wanted to try to get some things situated before that time comes, if at all possible.

With that said, it hasn’t always been easy being the baby-less couple. Often, I’ll have people (whether it be close friends or family) ask me, “So, you guys pregnant yet?” or “When are you two going to finally have a baby?”. Most of these questions come at me in jokingly posed questions. And I want to clear up by saying, I DON’T MIND people asking me this. That’s not the beef I have. I don’t mind people assuming we might have a baby on the way. I don’t mind people being curious and assuming this pro-life Catholic couple just may have a baby soon. It’s an obvious thing to think. I actually love when people ask me this because it gets me excited for when someday I WILL be a mom. Yes, many people look at it as a “none of your business” kind of topic, but I don’t care. That isn’t the way I look at it and I’d be curious too. Ask away!

With that said. There is something I do have beef with. Latley I’ve been coming across several blog articles or people in conversations or something I’ll hear on the news about family. Most of them have been saying how once you have a baby your family can begin or my family started with my children. And maybe I took it too seriously. Maybe I read into the comments. I personally can’t wait to grow my family, but I would never think that David and I were any less of a family because we didn’t have kids.

When we got married, I became his family and he became mine. Together, just the two of us, we make up our little family. It made me feel as though my little family, or worse, the little families of couples who can’t have children were being belittled. Family has grown to be one of the most important things in both my life and in David’s so I hate when I see it made less than it is. And in today’s world, as most of you know, that’s all too common.

As a blogger, it can often be hard to find your voice amidst all the mommy-bloggers out there. And don’t get me wrong, I love me a good mommy-blog. I never want to be one of the women who join the mommy-wars or talk ill of another woman, although I’m sad to say I am guilty of it. I am human afterall. I’m not really sure what category my blog would fall under. And I suppose I like it that way. It’s this ever-changing documentary of my little families life, I guess.

As I said, when I “grow up” I want to be a mom. But since that is not in God’s plan for us right now, I’m LOVING this time with my little family. Just the two of us enjoying vacations as a little family or going out for dinner as a little family or hours spent in a bookstore as a little family or happy hour as a little family. And when God decides to bless us with numero tres, I’ll be beside myself with joy. And I know D will too. And I’ll be even happier when you ask me “So, you guys pregnant yet?” because I’ll finally get to tell you that I have my dream job!

Hazy, Crazy, Lazy Days of Summer: Pt. 2

So if you havn’t heard, these past few weekends have been packed full of summer weekend-cations. Which I just about love. I am the biggest fan of going on vacation, even if it’s only an hour away. The excitement starts building up months in advance as I plan what I’m bringing and what snacks I’ll make.

Months in advance? Really Annie? Yes. Yes it’s true. Vacay is what I look forward to.


This time around, I had two to look forward to. Mackinac Island and Sleeping Bear Dunes. Yes it’s true. I was northern bound once more. As many of you know, I pretty much grew up going to Mackinac Island every year. So it’s safe to say I wasn’t going to miss this year, my second year with David tagging along and first year as a married lady.

The trip started … well… not on a great note. You see, we are in the middle of leasing a new car. And we picked up said car on Thursday night. Fell in love with this Sunset Ford Escape. Friday morning we wake up and start packing the car and realize our bikes (the only way to get around on Mackinac Island) wouldn’t fit in the back. After about an hour of finangling and shoving, we gave up and realized it wasn’t going to happen. Thankfully my parents were coming up the next day so we were able to pawn one of the bikes off on them and just barley squeeze the other in. Cool. Ok. On the road now.

Well we were driving for about 2 hours when we stopped for a quick rest stop. Jumped out, did our bid’ness and before we leave, David starts checking out our new car. Because he’s a boy and I guess that’s what they do. Finally, he jumps in the car…pissed. Ford, bless their hearts, had given us the wrong car. We wanted a 4-wheel drive (in case of another winter-from-hell) and instead were given a front wheel drive. And it was signed for. And insured. And all that jazz.

So as we made our way up north, we spent most of the time on the phone with Ford trying to get it figured out. Unfortunatly they couldn’t really do anything until Monday, however. So we were gonna have this looming in the back of our minds the entire vacation. Ok. It’s okay. We just need to take a chill pill and try and relax and enjoy vacation.

We both sensed we needed some serious Jesus time so we made a pit stop at The Cross in the Woods, the largest crucifix in the world sitting amdist the peace and serenity of up north Michigan. We took our time and decided to make the best of everything. And once again, we were off.zw

^^David’s reaction when he saw it: “Thats’s the largets crucifix?! I thought it’d be bigger…” Mind you it’s the largest crucifix. There are plenty of larger crosses obviously. But once you get under His feet, you feel the immensity of it.

When we finally made it to Mackinaw City (the city at the very tippy-tip of Michigan’s mitten), we checked in to our hotel. And as soon as we checked in…we wanted to check out. The place was covered. AND I MEAN COVERED with squished bugs. All over the door. The walls. Later I found some ironed into the bed sheets. We were at the point that we couldn’t believe how this vacation was already turning out so we just started laughing! Naturally we laughed all the way down to the Dixie Saloon for some burgers and beer. Several beers. Normally I would have complained but we’d spent the first several hours of our vacay complaining (mostly to Ford or God) and we were only there for a night so I was in the “screw it” mentality at this point.



^^Bug-infested hotel. Never again.

Can you believe that was all in the first day? The rest of the vacation started better. We got to the island on Saturday morning and went off on a long bike ride. I took that time to really take everything in once again.

The water! The horses! The fresh fudge! The sail boats!



And then it all took another turn. Apparently, my aunt had made hotel reservations back in January for a specific room for all of us. But for some reason the hotel could not give us that room for the first night. So my aunt was… well… not too happy. She was driving up that day and spent most of her drive talking on the phone with the hotel and getting more and more upset. All the while my mom was in the car with her. So it’s safe to say there were some not-so-great moods when they arrived on the island. Once everyone else (my dad and brother) finally made it to the island that evening, we all had started to relax and unwind a bit. Thankfully.




We spent the rest of the trip riding our bikes around or shopping in main street or enjoying the freedom of taking a nap just because or reading a book on the beach with the biggest/fattest moon out over the lake. We even got to go to a fancy party on the porch of the Grand Hotel. My favorite part was riding to Arch Rock in the middle of the night with D, my brother Tim and my dad, climbing all the way to the top and drinking a beer as we looked out over the water.

Sometimes, there is nothing better than silence.


Despite the fact that we had our shares of laughs and fun moments, it was a different year. It wasn’t one that will go down as my favorite year in Mackinac. Everyone, at some point or another, had been in a furiously bad mood. Which happens. I just have never had a vacation like that before.

You see, I’ve been learning a lot about expectations. Not that I need to lower them, but I think I expected it to be like evey other year and for us to do the exact same things as every other year. But I’m realizing now what it means to have realistic expectaions. Now that I’m walking further and further into the “adult” world, I see more than ever that things are sometimes going to go wrong. We’re going to stress about stuff that we didn’t when we were 16. And sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about it right away. Sometimes, you just need to take a chill pill, shut up, and enjoy what short amount of time you have. These lessons are hard. It’s hard learning them because it’s something you don’t learn until after it’s happened. The stress has already come and it’s your choice, yours and yours only if your going to just learn to smile through it or be a lump on a log. We had had some lumps this weekend but we also had some smilers.

The good part in all of this, however, is that D and I came up with the idea and are seriously considering going back up to Mackinac during the winter. There are about 3 inns on the entire island open, it’s basically a ghost town except for skiiers and people who love winter (enter David), and it’s something that not many get to say they’ve done.

So a toast to yet another year in Mackinac! May they never be like this year again :)


Hazy, Crazy, Lazy Days of Summer: Pt. 1

Do you ever feel a little sad when you come back from vacation? I sure do. And it was no different coming back from my two back to back vacations. So I’m spending this week dreaming of blue skies, blue water and sand everywhere.


Times like this I’m pretty darn glad I married David because he is SO fun to travel with. Except for the occasional hangry moments. But car rides are a hoot and he’s good at relaxing. I, on the other hand, take a little more time to wind down. And since I’m sure you’re dying to read the recap of our week in northern Michigan, I’ll oblige and show you what we’ve been up to.

On July 4th, we woke up crazyyy early to get on the road to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes which is right on Lake Michigan. Naturally I was exhausted because I’d stayed up way too late making car snacks like granola bars, roasted chickpeas, pasta salad and tuna sandwhiches. But at least we’d eat well :)


Our drive up was a blast, as always. It generally involves a lot of red bull, jamming out to obnoxious 90’s beats, and people-watching as cars drove by. Once we got there, we checked into the cutest little motel I’ve ever seen. And then we were off!

People always talk about the sand dunes and say you have to do “The Climb”! So we get to the climb, and we see a big hill of sand and we think, “well that doesn’t look to bad. Lake Michigan must be right on the other side of that hill. Let’s bring food and our towels to go swimming.” When people saw us starting the climb, they must have laughed because we clearly had no idea what we were in for.



Apparently Lake Michigan is NOT right over the hill. There are several more miles of very steep hills till you get to the water. A little 15 year old informed us we still had a long ways to go. We considered going back. But we’d already started, we were going to finish.  I’ve hiked difficult things before. I once did a 16 mile hike in Austria. But I still think this 3.5 mile hike to Lake Michigan was the hardest yet. Mostly because it was ALL incredibly steep hills in the sand. AND we were barefoot. I encourage anyone to do the hike, but come prepared. Not like us. Once we finally got to the beach after about 1.5 hours, we got to cool off for a bit, only to realize we still had the hike back to do. Yikes.


^^ This is so deceiving. The water is still another app. 2 miles out. Eventually we made it.


Nothing that a big ole’ burger can’t fix afterwards. Which is exactly what we did. The next day we were lucky enough to come across a beach that not many people knew about but was beautiful! For the better part of the morning we had it all to ourselves. Which meant swimming in the freezing water (I’m still bitter about our previous winter, as it’s made summer cooler), feeding seagulls (one of D’s favorite summer past times), laying out under the cloudless sky (one of my favorite summer past times), and eating all our snacks (both our favorite summer past times).





^^ Probably my favorite picture of summer.

After many hours of this picture-perfect summer day, we headed to one of the inland lakes (Glen Lake to be exact), and went Jet Skiing! I’d done this once years ago in Mexico, however I was a bit scarred after getting run over by it, slicing my arm nad rushing out of the ocean for fear of a shark smelling the blood and coming to get me. Have I ever mentioned my illogical fear of sharks?

Moving on.

David had never been jet skiing but it was right up his alley. We spent the rest of the afternoon speeding around the lake, jumping off and taking amazing photos thanks to David’d LifeProof iPhone case. Followed by another evening of delicious junk food and tending to our sunburns.



The next day we were heading out but not without stopping at one of the many Michigan winerys. We stopped at Douglas Valley Winery where we did a $5 dollar wine tasting where we could try all of their different wines and ciders.


We took home some Cherry Vanilla Cider and a spicy Blueberry Wine. All in all it was the perfect way to cap off our first weekend away. Now we only had three days of work and then it was off to our next vacation! My faorite: Mackinac Island :) Although this year had it’s… we’ll call them “stressful moments”. I’ll explain in a later post. Now I’m just going to enjoy looking at my vacation pictures while trying not to get depressed that this isn’t our view anymore…


Green is the New Black

When I was a kid, green foods creeped me out a bit. They smelled funny, tasted funny and mostly I turned a nose up at them because I knew in the back of my mind that they were good for me. This characteristic is one of the many that has adapted over the years and I’m proud to say I’m happy to eat anything (almost anything) that is green.


With that said, you can imagine how happy I was when I was asked to review this “new” tea fad; Matcha Green Tea (by Kiss Me Organics). New to me of course, apparently it’s been around for thousands of years. Who knew?

Now I must tell you I’m first and foremost a coffee drinker. I have never been the one to crave a mug of steaming hot tea for the most part. To me, it was always a drink for hipsters and people who were concerned with having coffee-stained-teeth (clearly I have not been concerned with this as my cavity driven mouth will tell you). I’ll drink some green tea here and there for the added health benefits, then it’s quickly back to coffee for me.

But the thing that caught me off guard was the difference between your average every day green tea and Matcha green tea powder. For instance, unlike regular green tea, Matcha contains the entire leaf of the green tea plant (the Camellia sinensis). Wow Annie, could you bore me anymore with tea talk? Hold on I’m getting to the good stuff!

Because the whole leaf is used, you get much more of the health perks and then some! For instance:

  • Energy/Focus Boost- I wouldn’t have believed this unless I had tried it. I read that Matcha acts as a stimulant and a relaxant. So one morning I told myself I would go coffee-free and stick with Matcha for the day. Needless to say I was very nervous about this. I had a cup and was filled with energy the entire day. The best part was that it was a different kind of energy. Less buzzy than I normally feel with coffee and more “awake”. I found myself flying through my work in the morning and in the afternoon, I didn’t even have the usual caffeine crash.
  • Metabolism- Matcha tea can increase your metabolism from 8-10% to around 35-43%! So it is ideal for a pre/post workout drink for anyone working on weight loss. Again, metabolism increases are normal in regular green tea, but the benefits are heightened in the Matcha. I find that if I start my day with a Matcha smoothie (the.best), I can go so much longer without feeling those annoying hunger pangs. Plus with the added energy, I was walking around more and taking less time to sit during my work day.
  • Antioxidants- 137x the antioxidants in regular brewed green tea. No big deal, just fighting wrinkles one day at a time.
  • Glowing Skin- Natral Matcha tea helps protect your skin from UV rays and improves your oxygen and blood flow. For the record, I’ve been outside  ALOT this summer, and have not been sun burned once. Chalk it up to the tea? Say what you will but I wouldn’t be surprised if that a hand in it.

Ok so I had read all these “perks” but after just trying it one time, I was still a little skeptical. For the record don’t do what I did. READ the directions. Because the tea is so potent, all that’s needed is about 1/2 a teaspoon for a mug of hot tea. Well, I didn’t realize this and instead scooped a nice heaping TABLESPOON of Matcha into my mug. I poured the hot water, sipped, and cringed. It wasn’t terrible, but it was VERY potent. My thought process went like this: “Maybe if I chug it really fast it will taste better and be gone sooner”. Well I chugged it and gagged a little. TMI?

I know, I know you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this. It’s so you don’t make the same mistake I did. READ.THE.DIRECTIONS.

Moving on. Once I got passed the awful mug incident, I decided I wanted to try this stuff out in some recipes. So far, I have tried 2 different smoothie recipes, green tea cupcakes, and in a crockpot meal. My favorite BY far has been the smoothies. Here is the one I liked best (but I also tried a mango one that turned out really good also).


Berry Good Morning Smoothie:

  • 1/2 cup of cold orange juice
  • 1 tsp. of Matcha Green tea powder
  • 2 tsp. warm water
  • 1/3 cup of strawberries
  • 1/3 cup of blueberries
  • 1/2 banana

- Mix Matcha and warm wter until blended.

- Add all ingredients into blender and run until smooth.


I loved these because the Matcha wasn’t overbearing in the smoothie, but you could get a good hint of the tea flavor. It made it taste more fresh than usual. Plus I’ve started to make these in bulk and freeze them. I even brought some frozen ones on our vacation this past weekend and skipped the coffee. BOLD.MOVE. I know. I got to use the leftover strawberries from my picking trip (because no one has time to make pies like I originally wanted ;)

The tea came with a free recipe book as well so if you are interested in it, let me know here or below and I can get you a PDF copy for free!

I also made these Matcha green tea cupcakes as well as sprinkled a small amount into a few crockpot meals just for the added health perk. I’ll be posting the recipe to these cupcakes very soon!


I hope you end up liking the Matcha as much as I have. If you are looking for something to help with the weight loss or skimping on the coffee or are just a tea addict and like to try new things, I highly recommend trying it. Again, read the directions before using it (unlike me) but other than that you may have found your new culinary best friend.

**I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.**

Lessons from Jam

Have you heard that new Miranda Lambert song, Auotomatic? I find myself searching for it on Youtube at red lights in my car because it just finished playing on the radio and I just need to hear it again. It’s currently my jam. For many reasons.

First being that it’s Miranda Lambert and she is just wonderful. As if I need another reason…

Second, I can’t get over how much I love the message.

Hey, whatever happened to waitin’ your turn
Doing it all by hand,
‘Cause when everything is handed to you
It’s only worth as much as the time put in
It all just seemed so good the way we had it
Back before everything became automatic

I have to admit I’m often that person that just wants to get things done now and on my terms. But what a slippery slope to walk on! I’ve noticed the more I bustle through life or take the easy way out, the less I appreciate. Now-a-days we have our smart phones, tablets, head phones, etc. just keeping us distant from one another and doing everything the easy way.

A few days ago I got to appreciate one of those moments where you just put a little more elblow grease and time into something. My mom and I had been talking about going berry picking for a while now (several summers, in fact) and finally a Saturday came around where neither of us were running errands or getting caught up in…well..life. So we went to a local farm nearby and spent some time picking strawberries.


It was hot and sticky out and I forgot to bring a water bottle with me. But I couldn’t help but think about how much more accomplished I felt after that morning.



We then ran back to my mom’s house and started to make some homemade jam. Last time I helped do that I was probably about 7 years old and my job was to “stir without burning myself”. Well, let’s be honest. That was my job this time too. But I think I enjoyed myself more this time. Afterwards we had 12 jars of homemade strawberry jam plus some leftover strawberries to make some pies (or for David to just eat, because that’s what he ended up doing. no pies for you).



I’m the first one to admit that a lot of the time all I’d rather do is take the easy way out or in this case run to the grocery store to get some berries. But sometimes, as adults, I’m realizing we just need a time out. Time to sit and be slow and do things the hard way and rub some dirt in it and make something from scratch.

Hopefully you’ve already learned this lesson and didn’t need Miranda or a berry pickin’ day to come to your senses. But sometimes we just need a reminder, a little push. And the big perk? You get some really good jam at the end of it all (literally or symbolically). Enjoy your jam day!


Bread and Ze Buttah

I love carbs. Very much. I like carbs dipped in things, smotherd in things and slathered with things. Now I know first hand that too much of a good thing (i.e. carbs) can be a bad thing. Which is why I try to moderate my carb-intake. HOWEVER. You certainly can’t eliminate carbs from your diet, right? Cause they are good for you too! How do you think I have energy this morning? Carbs (ok, anddd protein but that’s another post).

So back to my carbs. I’ve been looking and looking for a good crock pot bread recipe since we don’t have a bread machine. And recently I came across this one at Life with 4 Boys! And by “recently” I mean back during Lent because I made this a lot for bread and water fasting.


The best part about homemade bread (besides the carbs which I so lovingly touched upon already) is putting something on it. It’s true. There are few (if any) breads that taste bad with something spread on top. Whether it’s some peanut butter or a grilled cheese sandwhich or toasted and dipped in tomato soup, let’s be honest… bread is just better with a mate.

In steps butter.

Along with the bread recipe, I had also come across a blackberry butter recipe. One glance and I was thinkin’, “MMMM…nope. Not gonna happen.” But once I read the recipe and saw how easy it was (this is no churn-it-yourself kind of recipe), I was convinced I had found my bread’s mate.

Both are easy and both are TASTY. Win-win in my book. The bread will make your house smell so homey and I love it toasted and warm with either a slab of the blackberry butter or even some peanut butter. Let me know what you think!

Let’s start with the bread. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp or 1 packet of Yeast
  • 2 tbsp of Sugar or Honey (I’ve tried it with both, I like honey a teensy bit more)
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 cup warm water (not hot!)


^^Do not judge me for having Christmas plates still out in March when I took this picture…

- Start by mixing together your flour, salt, Yeast and sugar (or honey) into a large bowl.

- Add your oil and water. Stir the mixture until it becomes dough like then switch to using your hands.

- Work the dough with your hands for a few minutes. Work it into a ball. If it gets too dry, add a dash of more water. If it stays too sticky, add a dash of flour.

- Continue to knead the dough for 5-6 minutes. If easier, put some flour on a surface and knead there. Your hands may become tired after a few minutes.

- Line the crockpot with parchment paper. Place the dough into the crockpot and close the lid. Cook on high for 1-1.5 hours. Lift the bread out with the parchment paper to make sure the bottom is browning. After it has the brown-ness (not a word I know) that you want, place it under the broiler for a few minutes (if that) to brown the top. Be careful because I burned my first loaf in the broiler. Me and the broiler are still getting to know one another…


And your done! NOW let’s move on to the Buttah! I found this recipe here at The Lazy Daisy Kitchen (such a cute blog name if you ask me). Keep in mind you can cut this recipe down as needed. It makes a pretty good amount of butter, which is nice if you’re looking for gifts to jar up. For D and I? It was a lot so make accordingly…

You’ll need:

  • 1 pound salted butter, softened
  • 1/8 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of black berries

- Whip together the butter and honey until fluffy.

- Add in berries and mix together allowing the berries to burst until the desired look is met. I left some  berries in tact.

- Add in any more honey or berries to taste.

- Store in a jar OR if you want a log of butter, scoop the butter onto some plastic wrap, wrap it up and mold to the shape you want, then wrap that in foil and refrigerate.


Martha Stewart who?!

Now grab a cup of tea, cut into that warm-fresh-out-of-the-crockpot bread and slather on a heap (yes a heap) of butter and enjoy! Enjoy those carbs. Enjoy them.