Monthly Archives: August, 2012

School has begun and my life has now been shifted.

I am running out the door to class, but I wanted to put one photo as a little preview of what my next post will be about. (which I hope to complete tonight!) ¬†So here it is and I hope you come back to read about the full story ūüôā

And no, this photo was not staged.  I was just very lucky with the shot.

until again, alc

Advertisements

New outfit!

I have continued to update my wardrobe, and I have been trying to wear nicer pieces each day. ¬†So far I have been pretty successful at this. ¬†Here is what I wore last night to work. ¬†I stepped out of my comfort zone and purchased a pair of jeans….¬†leopard¬†print jeans. ¬†I saw them at the store and they were on sale. ¬†Bonus. ¬†So here the beauts are:

I also purchased a new pair of black flats (seen in photo above). ¬†I wanted a cute pair that were comfortable and would support me through the many hours I will be spending in the classroom while student teaching. ¬†I have been looking all summer for a pair that are less than $50 and¬†fulfill¬†my needs. ¬†I finally found a pair. ¬†Regularly $60, but I got them for $29. ¬†Again, bonus. ¬†The only bad part is that I need to break them in. ¬†And I ended up getting a monster blister last night…..

Today I will go back to my flip flops.  And I am off to go with a friend to watch her boyfriend play a game of soccer.  It has been years since I watched a soccer game, and I am super excited to spend time with her and to watch the game.

Until again, alc

Ideas for Pumpkins!

Since the weather has begun to cool down a bit, more layers are added to our outfits, and the smell of pumpkin spice is filling my room…I thought I would do a post about one of the pumpkins I decorated last year. ¬†I have loved the fall for as long as I could remember. ¬†As I have gotten older I have wanted summer to end to see the leaves change, watch football games, and drink hot coffees outside. ¬†My mom is huge on noticing the small things in life. ¬†One statement I have heard hundreds of times in my life from her is

Take note.

I now say this to my friends and family members. ¬†This can be used for any¬†situation. ¬†At anytime. ¬†During the fall season is when Mama says it the most. ¬†“Allie, Take note of that tree on the right.” (the leaves have begun to change color) ¬†“Allie, Take note of those squirrel nests.” ¬†(my niece is the master at finding squirrel homes thanks to my mama’s teaching.) “Allie, Take note of that sunset.” ¬†The¬†possibilities¬†are endless.

So take note of the beautiful weather change, and an idea for pumpkins.  Carving pumpkins is a must.  I have never gone a year without carving a pumpkin for Halloween.  I love decorating for each holiday (take a look at my previous post https://aleecolton.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/fun-treats-from-the-past/ where I explain how to create some yummy 4th of July treats)

I love to give gifts. ¬†Especially during all the different holiday seasons. ¬†Not just Christmas presents, or birthday presents, but for all of the holidays. ¬†If you are going to give them a present, why not make it a holiday themed gift? ¬†Doc is a man that owns an auto repair shop. ¬†I have taken my 1994 Honda there many a times in the past, and now my family takes their cars there for repairs too. ¬†I love local mom and pop shops. ¬†At Docs you can sit down and have a cup of coffee and shoot the shit for hours with the regulars. ¬†Doc is like another dad in my life. ¬†He is also my landlord. ¬†I have been out to his home and had drinks with him and his wife. ¬†His son is my neighbor, and I get along well with his daughter. ¬†Overall I feel very comfortable at Doc’s auto shop, and I wanted to make him something that he could put out for the Halloween season. ¬†So here is it!

Painted Pumpkin:

I decided to paint a pumpkin because it will last a lot longer, and I love to paint.  Also by doing this you are able to make it very specific and unique.

  • Get a pumpkin. ¬†Make sure it has a good surface (not too many bumps or cracks, this will make it easier to paint)
  • Next draw out your design on paper, I did this and then cut the paper so I could put this on the pumpkin to make sure the design will fit. ¬†You don’t have to do this, but I¬†recommend¬†it.
  • Once you have the design made, (and made sure the image fits) use a pen/sharpie/marker to draw out the outlines for the design. ¬†This is will assist you while painting.
  • Use acrylic paint.
  • You can use water to make it more transparent or mix different colors to create a new color.
  • Start to paint! ¬†Use any brush you feel comfortable with.
  • Let it dry, (it won’t take long at all). ¬†If you are going to keep it inside you don’t need to put on a clear coat for protection. ¬†But if you are going to put it outside you need to let it dry and then then use the add a clear coat. ¬†I usually use a spray paint form of the clear enamel. ¬†But any kind you find will work. ¬†But the paint must be dry or it will smear and be ruined.
  • You can add any 3D pieces by attaching them with a glue gun. ¬†Or glitter with glue. ¬†Make it beautiful. ¬†Make it full. ¬†Keep it simple. ¬†Whatever you want!
  • Once it is finished, sit back and enjoy your piece.

Here is my example I made for Doc: 

I didn’t take a photo of just the outline drawn on the pumpkin, but you can see it in this photo. ¬†The blue is the start of the flames that went around the whole pumpkin.

Next step, white detailed outline around the blue flames.

Final product! ¬†Blue flames with white detailed outlines. Done. Red lettering of Doc’s with black ¬†detailed outlines. ¬†Done. ¬†It may have a few parts that I would have corrected or adjusted if I was going to make it again, but overall I loved the finished piece! ¬†Doc told me that he receive a lot of complements, and he would like another pumpkin for this year!

Start thinking about what designs you will use for your pumpkins this year.  We have time before October, so get your brains working!!

Until again, alc

The students are Back

Living in a college town means a few things.  Football season is crazy and fun.  People bleed our school colors.  Our summers are the best because most of the college students go back to their hometowns.  And my family (my parents, my grandma, and my sister and her family) all live here.  We are locals.  When I finish school for the spring I stay here.  This is my home.  And I love it most of the time, but one of the big downfalls is what happens during the first few weeks of August every year.

Starting at the end of the summer each and every year the stores begin to put out their ads newspapers,¬†magazines, and¬†commercials¬†on TV, ¬†highlighting all the¬†necessary¬†items a student would need when they are moving into their dorm room or new apartment. ¬†Yes, I have to admit that I usually take a peek at these ads, and sometimes I even begin to ponder if I need that cute container, or that bright colored foot stool. ¬†But then I stop for a second and remember that, “Hey! I’m not a freshmen student.. And I know better. ¬†So the ads are put away, and my checking account stays in tact.”

Next item is because I work downtown with the public, I see a lot of people during my shifts.  I also work in a parking garage, so this means I end up dealing with some very nice and happy customers all the way to the down right cranky and mean ones.  Those are the customers who have lost their tickets and end up having to pay for a whole day of parking.  Which they are not pleased about.  This week alone I have had about 20 lost tickets for these new families, and there is nothing I can do besides smile and explain to them that it is $18 without a ticket.  Then I hand them a receipt and a business card to talk to my supervisors if they have an issue with the situation.

It is crazy how some people will always blame their mistakes on someone else. I overreact about somethings. And I get stressed out. ¬†And sometimes it is hard for me to let the little things go. ¬†I like to try and take or have more control in almost everything I do. ¬†I am working on this. ¬†I know that I need to take a deep breath and relax, but this is easier said than done. ¬†When I help these customers that end up yelling at me over something that I had no part in creating it makes me realize how silly it is when I overreact. ¬†Isn’t it odd how when we watch someone else do something (that we do possibly do too) we then notice how dumb they look, and this is one of the first steps to wanting you to change your ways….

Being a full time student (at least 17 hours per¬†semester) and working part time (at least 25 or more hours per week) I am busy. ¬†And I have to get a lot of work done in one week, or even in one day. ¬†So when I am stressed out I have my own individual ways to cope and to relax. ¬†I would much rather smile and be happy than be upset, frustrated, mad, or stressed. ¬†And here are some of the things I do to help calm me down ūüôā

Baking!  These are some awesome cake pops.

Riding the Harley

Enjoying the rainy weather…also known as my favorite weather of all time.

Watching sunsets with my family and friends. ¬†I love how the colors change within minutes…

Cooking! Here is Mexican Chicken Casserole (recipe to come soon!)

Playing with pups. (This is Kaiser my parents’ dog)¬†

Little Miss Evie my bearded dragon. 

My favorite flower in the world, the iris. 

More to come for my list.  What do you do to stay relaxed?

Until again, alc

Out in the Garden

Living in the Midwest has taught me many values. ¬†Respect each other. ¬†Love. ¬†Take care of each other. ¬† ¬†Be happy. ¬†Try to not stress out with the little things, but instead take a deep breath and relax. Keep your family and friends involved in your life. ¬†Try to live off the land. ¬†In the past year and a half I have become more connected in the city I live in. ¬†I have been here for years, but some people think it is nothing but a college town. ¬†I disagree. ¬†This city is my home. ¬†My parents are here. ¬†My sister and her family are here. ¬†My grandma is here. I know the side streets (maybe not all the names but I know the area ūüôā ) There is a chance that I will get a job here after I graduate in May. ¬†I could buy my home here. ¬†I could get married and raise my children here. ¬†That is a big idea to get my head wrapped around. What if I should leave for a few years and then come back? ¬†I love Midwest values. ¬†I love the life I have had thus far. ¬†I love the childhood I had. ¬†I want to be able to keep those values, and possibly this¬†environment.

Becoming more comfortable in this town has allowed me to meet more “locals” and this in return has keep me more grounded. ¬†My family has always been into gardening. ¬†I enjoy it, but I have never had a real garden of my own. ¬†I haven’t owned my own house yet, and I have lived in apartments since I moved out of my parents’ house. ¬†I am now in a rental house, and I have a fair amount of plants in pots, and I have fixed a few flower beds…and one tomato plant…but no garden. ¬†Yesterday I went out to a garden with my sister and her little ones. ¬† ¬†Her friends purchased about 40 acres of land a few years ago, and they have built their home and created a garden. ¬†They said that my sister and her family can pick as much as they would like from the garden, and in return they help keep the garden and can/freeze the produce.

While we were driving up the lane to get to the garden, we had to stop and back up…it was a little muddy and instead of getting the car stuck we decided to get out and get our feet muddy instead. ¬†While my sister was parking the car she told me to hop out and see if that was a turtle or frog out in the road. ¬†I was standing there searching for this animal, and I couldn’t see anything. ¬†I couldn’t find it. ¬†And then I did. ¬†How my sister spotted this tiny guy is amazing. ¬†It was an adorable baby snapping turtle. ¬†He just sat there and stared up at me. ¬†He didn’t run away immediately. ¬†Estelle was able ¬†to see him, and I took a few photos and a video. ¬†Then he ran over to the side and we went on our way up the hill to the garden.

Just a little cutie! Can you spot him?

We went out with a mission of picking tomatoes. ¬†Or “matoes” as the little ones call them. ¬† Hazel did really well helping me pick cherry tomatoes as T worked on the monster roma tomato plants. ¬†Gabe came over and showed me that he picked a green bean, so we picked those too! Estelle was eating a tomato like an apple. ¬†It was quiet and peaceful. ¬†The color green was everywhere. This is how a summer day should be spent. ¬† With your family. ¬†Doing something that doesn’t cost a ton of money. ¬†Something that will benefit you in the long run. ¬†(My sister has made jars and jars and jars of tomato sauce, tomato soup, pizza sauce, stewed tomatoes, and salsa is on the way.) I was able to bring home fresh tomatoes and basil, and tonight for dinner I am having the best salad ever. ¬†Here is the directions for one of my favorite Midwestern salads!

Tomato Mozz Salad:

  • Tomatoes (fresh from a garden is the best)
  • Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese
  • Balsamic¬†Vinaigrette¬†Dressing
  • Fresh Basil leaves (again from a garden is the best)

Directions:

  • Cut up the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese into small chunks
  • Slice the basil into small pieces
  • Put it all in a bowl and add in dressing (as much or as little as you would like)
  • Mix it up (or shake it) so all the¬†ingredients¬†are covered with the dressing
  • Let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes (I like it best cold, but room temperature is good too)
  • Enjoy!

Here are some photos from the amazing adventure I had with my family.

The little ones and T working away

Estelle checking out the corn

Gabe eating a green bean.  Can not getting any healthier than that! Straight from the plant, straight to his tummy!

Myself with fresh peppers in hand

  I have amazing people in my life that influence me to make each day better than the past.  They know I have some bad habits that I need to change, and I am very lucky that they are supporting me in my changes.  What can you do to make your day better?

Until again, alc

Day 3….

I have started it! ¬†I have been counting the past 3 days, and reminding myself of what my sister said….

it takes three weeks to change a habit…think of food as fuel for your body- giving it fake ingrediants and expecting to run well doesn’t make sense. you can do this boo!

So I am working on my day 4 of no pop.  This means only 17 days left until my habit it broken.  I have notice that I have used pop as my crutch for many different things.  When I am bored I drink pop.  When I am hungry, I drink pop.  When I eat I drink pop.  When I am stressed out i drink pop.  When I am sleepy I drink pop.  I need to make sure that I look at all food and drink as in fuel.  It is so important that everything that goes into my body will be in there to give me energy and keep me healthy.  Mtn Dew is a drink that does NOT benefit my body any in form.

I know this is going to be hard. ¬†But I am going to do it. ¬†This is not the first time that I have tried to stop drinking pop, but I have never been able to do it. ¬†This time is different. ¬†I am only 25, but I am getting older as the days go by, and I need to make some changes to live a better life. ¬†So here goes to the start of day 4……

Any more words of advice?

until again, alc

Hamburger Cookies (make them for little ones or for big ones!)

I was lucky enough to make these in one of my summer classes this year, and I had a blast making them.  In my course we had to work with a partner and write a lesson plan and then teach it to our fellow classmates, as if they were actually the students in a grade between K-6.  Two of my fellow friends taught us (as 2nd graders) about assembly lines through making these cute and delicious treats. There was 7 of us in a row and each of us had a very important part to do in order to make the awesome finish product of the Hamburger Cookie.

Ingredients needed for Hamburger Cookies: 

  • Vanilla¬†wafer¬†cookies (these can be name brand, Nilla Wafers, or store brand)
  • White frosting (you can make your own homemade, or you can get it already made in¬†a can)
  • Food coloring (you will need red, yellow, and green)
  • Wax paper
  • Mint cookies (again, these can be name brand or store brand. Or another form of thin chocolate cookies would work)
  • Coconut flakes

Steps:

  • Color the frosting red for ketchup, yellow for mustard, and orange (made out of yellow and red) for the cheese
  • Color the coconut flakes green for the lettuce (you can do this easily by putting the green food coloring into a baggie with the coconut flakes and shake it until the flakes are dyed green.
  • Next take one of the vanilla wafer cookies and put on the red frosting on the cookie. ¬†(This will be the bottom bun)
  • Then place the thin mint chocolate cookie on top of the red frosting.
  • Add the yellow frosting on top of the cookie.
  • Place the green coconut flakes on the yellow frosting.
  • Take a new vanilla wafer cookie and put the orange frosting on one side of the cookie. ¬†Make sure you put the frosting on the flat side, because the rounded side will need to be on the very top for the round bun.
  • After you have put the orange frosting on the “top” bun attach it to the rest of the hamburger cookie.

The layers can be mixed around depending on how you would like to create the cookie, and if you would like to add more or use less of some of the materials that is perfect too!  The best part about these adorable cookies is that you can change them to fit you, or the people creating/eating them.  On the internet there are a lot of different recipes on how to create these.  For example when I made them we used green frosting as the lettuce, but when I make them again I will use green coconut flakes instead.

You can also make these yummy “french fries” to go along with the burgers. ¬†I have not made these yet, but here is how to make them. ¬†(I can’t wait to make these too!!)

Ingredients needed for French Fries:

  • 1 (10 ounce) package peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • Frosting dyed red
  • Paper muffin cup liners

Steps:

  • Melt peanut butter chips with milk in the microwave, stir until smooth.
  • Then pour the mixture into a foil lined and greased 9 inch baking pan.
  • Let this cool completely at¬†room¬†temperature.
  • Lift out of pan and invert on a cutting board.
  • Remove the foil, and the cut the cooled mixture into about 3 inch by 3/4 inch strips.
  • Fold the cup liners in half (pressing out the creases) and then in half again. ¬†Point under, and then use this as the holder for the fries.
  • Add on some red frosting on top (or on the side) for some ketchup.

Here I am enjoying my burger! Yummy!

 

I didn’t make these fries, but I wanted to make sure to include a photo of them completed for a reference.

 

Enjoy making these, and post a photo if you do! I would love to see how you used this recipe as a starting point, and then what you did to make some changes.

 

Until again, alc

No More Soda Pop!

I love pop. ¬†Better yet, I love Mtn Dew. ¬†Yes I understand how bad it is for me, and how many calories there are in one can. ¬†Or how much sugar. ¬†Or how many artificial materials that join together and create this odd yellowish green radioactive color that I have been drinking for years and years. ¬†I have tried many times in the past to stop drinking pop, or just stop drinking Mtn Dew. ¬†I have tried to switch over to diet soda. ¬†Or¬†caffeine¬†free soda….but no dice. But I ¬†always come back to it.

I know that I want to make changes in my lifestyle, but in order to do this I have to do this one baby step at a time.  If I try to make all my changes at once there will be no way  that I am going to come close to accomplishing my goals.  I am starting with pop.  I know that if I completely cut out all my caffeine drinks my body will go through with horrible withdraws, so here is my set goal plan:

  • Stop drinking all soda (My last day I had a Mnt Dew was on 8/10/12)
  • Still allowing myself one coffee a day until my body is able to handle almost caffeine
  • If needed I will then move to half decaf/half¬†caffeinated¬†coffee then to full¬†decaffeinated¬†coffee
  • Slowly switch to tea
  • Goal completed! No more pop and decaffeinated coffee or tea ūüôā ūüôā¬†

It is crazy how much my body has become¬†addicted¬†to Mnt Dew over the years. ¬†Some of my closest friends or family members never drink pop. ¬†I have always wondered how they do this. ¬†I hope that after I stop drinking it then my body will not like how pop will affect my body. ¬†I am hoping to lose some weight, to save some money, and to not crash from my sugar/caffeine highs. ¬†My body cleanse will happen, but it will take time. ¬†I have to make sure to remind myself that in order to make these changes in my life I have to think about them everyday and work towards them slowly. ¬†It will be really hard to do. ¬†But pop is just something that I enjoy because that is all I have known for years. ¬†I can do this. ¬†Even though I am on my first day….I have to start somewhere and it will get better.

What words of encouragement do you have?  Have you gone through this same process of cutting out soda in your life?  How did you do it?  Any hints or advice?

My last Mtn Dew…

Until again, alc

Amazes me…

I can not believe that one person can cause so much of an effect in my life.  One incident happens and I am completely taken over with emotions.  Tears fall.  My feelings are hurt.  Trying to move forward from it and trying to learn something from it.  Sometimes it is too hard, and all you do is go to bed with tired and burning eyes.

until again, alc

Walking with the Pups

I love the summer, but this hot summer is a little too much to handle. ¬†I wish that the Midwest would just cool it down a few degrees! ¬†Before work I took the boys on a walk,¬†unfortunately we couldn’t go for a long one, but the short one was just as fun. ¬†I am working on keeping my¬†wardrobe a bit more¬†presentable. ¬†It is so easy to throw on a tank and yoga pants with some flip flops and run out the door. ¬†But instead, I am going to try to do an¬†upgrade¬†with my clothes ūüôā So here is day one: a cute summer dress that was once my sister’s. ¬†She actually wore it in a wedding! ¬†Now I have been wearing it a little more casual with a brown belt and my Sperry Topsiders. ¬†With the pups in hand… we were ready to go!

Day  1 outfit:

Get outside and enjoy the day!!

Until again, alc