Commit To Being Healthy|30 Days On Whole30

For some of you reader may remember my failed attempt at committing to being healthy back in 2017. Then tried it again at the first part of 2018 and fell off the wagon after a stressful month in college. I bet you rolled those eyes when you read the title of this post! Alas! I have completed my fourth Whole30 (30 days total) and rocked it.

So here I am again posting about being committed to being healthy as a goal for 2019 instead as a New Year’s resolution (why? b/c goals are easier to obtain mentally). Also being in my early thirties means I no longer can eat all the crap my brain still thinks I can! Still, after meeting Melissa Hartwig two times at book signings (own all four cookbooks now with signatures!) I should put all those books to use). After all, I needed to put my old college lab coat to use, why not as an apron?

With my lab coat, and the Whole30 Slow Cooker Cookbook in hand, I started my Whole30 on January second (January 1st is just too hard after being sleep deprived) and went all the way to thirty days January 31st. Here is the rundown of all happened in a month.

A Partial Fasting For One Week:

You can say Whole30 is a partial fast because, in partial fasting, you generally omit a specific meal or refraining from certain foods in your diet. If you want to go further, you can work the Whole30 plan into a regular spiritual or prayer fasting routine. For one week during the thirty days, I decided to try my hand at fasting from intake of food between 8pm to 6am (you can say intermitting fasting as well).

Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

How Was I Successful?

Success for the thirty days was due to a little phone app by Samsung. If it was not for Samsung Health tracking my food intake, how many steps I took, how much sleep, weight, heart rate and oxygen saturation, it probably would have made the process harder.

What Didn’t Go So Well?

Well… recipe wise, there was one recipe that was a major flop. The Shrimp Boil recipe (p. 228) for the Instant Pot in Slow Cooker Cookbook turned out to be a lesson in why they call them New England Shrimp Boils for a reason. Maybe the slow cooker would be better, but this PNW girl will leave shrimp boils to New Englanders or the local seafood restaurant. Also trying to recreate Old Bay seasoning may contribute to the problem as well (I have no idea what Old Bay seasoning taste like).

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I caught myself almost shoving pizza in my face about five times after work started ordering pizza to use up their pizza subscription service with the local pizza place. I resisted in the end! It has been hard trying to stay on track with food around the office at some point. Even the salad bar was not completely Whole30 approved!

What Can I do Differently?

Besides sniffing the pizza fumes, I could be more consistent in logging exercise. It has been hit and misses with logging in how much exercise I am doing a day. At work, it is hard to bring my phone into the lab to record all the steps I take for fear of having something nasty happen to the phone in my lab coat pocket. Next month I hope I will be more consistant in logging my excersise.

What Motivates Me?

The days getting longer as the days march closer to spring. Even in January there were days of sunshine here in Seattle! Getting out for a short walk during lunch at work motivated me to continue to on my journey of being committed to healthy habits.

How Do I Feel:

How I feel is a little better. I am starting to take back control of what I eat, and how it is effecting my overall health. I haven’t reached the “tiger blood” stage after thirty days, but it could be subtle compare to first time Whole30ers.

Progress Snap Shot:

I started the thirty days at 160lbs with a goal to get back down to 130lbs. By the end of the thirty days, I was down 5lbs. Now in the past Whole30s, I was averaging almost 7-8lbs. This time it was different. Thou 5lbs may not seem much from the past, it a whole lot more when the body composition showed inches lost around the waist.

I Give Myself  3/5 Stars

I’m still continuing onward on the journey of commit to being more healthy. I will continue to be doing another Whole30 (Whole60) in the coming month.

Tanzanian Adventures|On The Streets of Arusha W/ Convoy of Hope

Updated 12/2018

My first morning in Tanzania started with waking up to a dog fight outside the hotel window at five in the morning. I would soon find out this would be a common morning occurrence for the duration of my stay. The morning started off with me looking out the window at the street and seeing people walking along the street on their morning routine. School children in their uniforms walking to school, adults on their way to work, and stores opening up for the daily business giving this traveler a glimpse into the daily life of Arusha.

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View from the hotel room window (Old Moshi Rd)

This pink building hides the reality of poverty intermingling near fancy hotels in this part of town. A reminder of why I am here with Northwest University and meeting with Convoy of Hope on the same day. Breakfast was at the hotel’s restaurant most days which consists of fried potatoes, Tanzanian pilau rice, Kenyan sausages, banana pancakes, East African donuts called magwinya, fresh fruit and coffee made from beans in the Kilimanjaro region coffee plantations. After finishing, I grabbed a 1.5L bottle water and headed to the conference room to meet the team from Convoy of Hope.

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Eating our first breakfast in Tanzania (I’m in the purple). Credit: Ingrid Navarro

The day’s agenda was to hit the ground running with Convoy of Hope and start working with them on some of their projects they are doing in the local communities around the area.

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Headquarters of Convoy of Hope Tanzania. Credit: Natalie Douglass

The main focus for Convoy of Hope in Tanzania is sustainability for communities around the area. The work done by this team was mostly done in agricultural/ small garden training, women’s empowerment, child feeding programs for nutrition, clean water, and crises relief. I did not realize how small the organization Convoy of Hope is compared to other humanitarian organizations like Samaritan’s Purse. Convoy of Hope concentrate its focus on a few areas and this makes them effective in their work. Even without medical component to their work, I can see great things they do for the health of those in the Arusha area and all of Africa. We all asked questions to get a better idea of the problems faced in the work being done, and learning what would be an effective way of asking questions to help better understand the needs of the community to better help them with issues being faced. After two hours of discussion we were all invited to have some tea (a custom holdover from the colonial days when a British colony). The tea is nothing like any I have ever tasted before! Marsala tea is a new type of tea to me, and it packs a powerful punch too without the caffeine! It has a spicy ginger taste that hits the back of the throat from the cardamom and cinnamon mixed with the black tea leaves. I ended up finding some at a local supermarket to take back with me and later found some at a local Indian grocery store back home.

We all mingled around the demonstration gardens looking at all the cool ways of using planters to grow crops in. Found a banana tree with bananas growing on it, and meeting some of the women who are a part of the women’s empowerment program in a gathering.

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Bananas growing
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Demonstration garden
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Demonstration Garden
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Women gathering for microloan meeting

Lunch was at a local restaurant off the main road called Milestone Club in Arusha. The restaurant is one of few places we are able to eat at without getting sick and the manager is good friends with Convoy of Hope. The atmosphere was open to the elements, with a thatch roof overhead, and an interesting playlist of music ( on this day it was Celine Dion’s greatest hits playing). Here I tried Tanzania’s national dish ugali which is a cornmeal porridge served with grilled meat which was whole chicken (biriyani and mchicha) for me. Others had the beef, fish, beans as the main dish with their ugali. The fish one even had eyes still in the socket and a few daring people actually ate them whole which made for a disgusting sight to witness! BBQ goat was passed down the table for all of us to try. The BBQ goat had a cross between the taste of lamb and the texture of steak when you eat it. The goat tasted better than I expected, and I am surely going to try it again in the future.

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Pork is not seen much around Arusha, and the local butcher at any of the markets did not have pork product for sale. I wonder why? Is it an unclean animal in Tanzanian culture? Since water has been from the bottle source, I decided to try a new drink, Stoney’s. Stoney’s is a ginger beer drink produced by Coke Cola and is non-alcoholic. The ginger-ness is much more powerful than the ginger beers we have in the Seattle area. Sadly the drink is not sold in the US market.

After lunch, we all were split into groups to interact with the locals at the marketplace in Mianzini area of Arusha. The first encounter was a woman who just started her little shop in the middle of her neighborhood to sell staples of food items and necessities. She was very happy about how Convoy of Hope helped her start her shop and now she can afford to send her children to school by the income she generates through this little shop. I bought from her some chocolate cookies she had, and I pray her store will prosper into a sustainable business. The second encounter was a woman who has a shop along the main streets of the area who sold a variety of items. Her hard work, dedication to raising her son, never-ending faith in God’s provision, and hoping one day send her son to college is an inspiration for all of us to strive to better ourselves through hard work. At one point there was a fight in the street where a young man on his motorbike had a bloody face and other men were trying to force him off his bike. We did not stick around to know what happened, but there was a drunk man who did follow our group yelling at us in Swahili. Crazy moment!

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Market of Mainzini
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Streets of Mainzini area of Arusha
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Mainzini Market street
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Arusha, Tanzania
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Mainzini area of Arusha

As I walked through the streets of Mainzini it became apparent how different poverty looks from the pictures seen. Instead of shakes stacked on top of each other, the houses are spread out with small plots of land with crops growing. People are generally happy and kind to each other as they go about their daily business. The house might be made of whatever materials could be found, and the heat sources are wood gathered along the roads. Small shops everywhere sell everything possible, and someone always willing to help you find something. Chickens, cows, donkeys, goats and children run all over the place and everything needed to live is within walking distance of the front door. All mixed with pure determination, something most Americans do not see. All the people we visited did not want a free handout, and they are very thankful for the support they received from Convoy of Hope in helping the get out of poverty.

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Streets of Arusha
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Mainzini suburbs of Arusha

After a stop at the hotel for a quick refresh, we all headed downtown Arusha to eat street food at Khan’s BBQ. We all ate BBQ chicken, Nan bread and some beef kabob on a street corner in the middle of a bustling evening in the city.

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The chicken was not as spicy as I thought it would be, and the Nan bread was sooo yummy! I have not had any Nan bread as good in my life!

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Sitting in the evening light in good conversation with the sound of Muslim call to prayer echoing through the streets. Something is not heard in the US very often and it has an eerie sound to it. Street dogs begging close by for scraps of food, and having rocks thrown at them to keep them away. Eating street food in Africa without getting sick was a relief. It seemed normal sitting in the street lights in the middle of Arusha and having a sense of magic in the air that only happens once in a lifetime.

Previous Post: Beginning of An Adventure

Next Post: Love From The Maasai Children & Feeding Program

More Information:

Convoy of Hope

Milestone Club Arusha

Khan’s BBQ Arusha

National Dish of Tanzania-ugali

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Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

Art and Cheese-A Sunday In Seattle


To get me in an art museum is to bribe me. Really bribe me. So when it came to a Facebook event posting about a free three days at the Seattle Art Museum, I believed it was a bribe enough. This past Sunday I went on one of the free days with my Mom to see what the whole collection is about. While there I got to see the newest exhibit to got on displace Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series. Overall it was fascinating to see a series of paintings dispiriting the great migration of African-Americans moving from the South to the North and West parts of the country. Worth a look.

While touring the museum I realized I am not much of a fan for contemporary art. Some of those things look like a kindergartener painted them. The mouse versus man was interesting, but a bunch wooden stick wrapped in barbwire is something I just don’t get. The room full of china had a few pieces I am familiar with or seen in some of the great houses in England. A lot of art comes from old masters of European paintings. One such paintings are the Greek Orthodox Christian painting depicting Christ’s birth and crucifixion, along with statues of saints (some I have never heard about) on display.

After seeing all of Seattle Art Museum, we headed to Pikes Place Market for some lunch and to walk through the stalls. The weather as always was cloudy with a some sprinkles. We both decided to try out Beecher’s Mac n Cheese for the first time. An 8oz is the smallest they have, and boy is the mac n cheese very rich (yes it is not Whole30 compliant but it is worth the cheat!). There is reason this is world-famous, the cheese is real wholesome cheese.

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Beecher’s Mac n Cheese

After a filling lunch of mac n cheese, we both had to walk some of it off by ambling along in the Pike Market Stalls checking out all the flowers, produce, and even the fish stalls (no fish throwing at all). There was even tulips at one flower stall, and dried flowers for sale as well. Since the rain was holding off, we decided to go visit the park down the road to have a glimpse of Elliot Bay and the Seattle Wheel before the Viaduct come down for good.

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Seattle Wheel and Seattle Aquarium

 

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English Scones and Peonies Birthday Weekend

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday with those near and dear to me. Even the hot temperatures did not deter me from going outside and enjoy the sunny weather. Here is a few of the celebrations this past weekend.

All started with a wonderful dessert get together on the shores of Lake Washington. A wonderful friend of mine has a place by Lake Washington and for an evening she hosted a fun dessert party to celebrate another and I’s birthdays. Whole group enjoyed eating yummy desserts made with a wonderful view of Lake Washington and the sound of the waves splashing on the shore. All evening we played the game Taboo until all of us were stuffed with chocolate and ready to head home to digest it all.

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Following morning I headed to Edmonds to the farmer’s market to see what the vendors had. I ended up with bunch of peonies, raspberries and strawberries to take home. There were so many flower vendors with a whole bunch of peonies that really made it hard to pick which I wanted. I ended up with a pretty bunch in light pink with purple bell flowers to round out the bouquet. The market was hopping  along with the nearby restaurants full of brunch-er relaxing outside at sunny tables on the sidewalk.

Being a hot day and close to water, I decided to walk down to the waterfront to “cool off” by the gentle wind. As I walked along the boardwalk to Marina Park, I stopped for an ice cream cone at the Waterfront Cafe for a chocolate waffle cone. This place had been my favorite stop for ice cream since I was a kid at the beach here. Its real smooth creamy ice cream! As I was strolling along I cough sight of this strange but awesome boat docked in the harbor. Someone really went all out for the tropical theme for their boat.

Sunday after church Mom, Nana and I went out for a celebration of out birthdays. Being one of the hottest days so far in Seattle, we decided to do English style afternoon tea. You would think to only drink something cold when it is hot outside, but something warm or hot really does cool you down. There is a place we have gone in the past at Bothell Country Village called Village Eatery & Tea Co.  All three of us had the Cozy Tea for One which consisted of small garden salad, four tea sandwiches (mine was the tomato and pesto cream cheese) as a starter ( we gave each one sample sandwich to try), dessert plate with a large lemon grazed scone (with Norfolk Cream and strawberry jam), and assorted chocolate tea bites. All this with a mug of Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos tea. This tea is the best Rooibos tea I have had and I picked up four ounces of loose leaf tea of it before leaving to enjoy at home. After we headed home to cool off from the hot temperatures Seattle was feeling.

I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family to celebrate this weekend. I am so happy to had such beautiful weather. I hope all my readers had a wonderful weekend as well.

Sing Me A Song Of A Lass That Is Gone….

…..say could that lass be I? Merry of soul she sailed on a day, over the sea to Skye. Billow and breeze, islands and seas, mountains of rain and sun. All that was good, all that was fair, all that was me is gone.

~Robert Louis Stevenson‘s poem Sing Me a Song of a Lad That Is Gone. Modified Version From Outlander’s Theme song.

You may have noticed this is the opening theme song to the wildly popular Outlander Series by Dannia Gabaldon. It is true that I am a huge fan of the book series and the Starz TV series, and I believe the love story between the two main characters is better than the love story told by Fifty Shades of Gray. But this not a post about me being a huge fan of Outlander, more of a post about why this song is stuck in my head for the past twelve months. Am I the lass in this song? I could be.

 Being Walked Away From…..

I’m so sick of that same love old love, that sh*t it tears me up, I’m so sick of the same old love, my body had enough, that same old love. Feels like I’ve blown apart, I’m so sick of the same old love the kind that breaks your heart. That same old love. -Selena Gomez Same Old Love.

 It seems like ages ago when I last saw or talked to him. I believe it was never meant to be, and other priorities took the place of him after he walked out of my life forever. I had other plans with my life, and things I needed to accomplished for me without him being around to hinder the progress. Yet him being selfish was truly the best thing for me in the end. Looking back I realized I was not really putting myself first enough times in the relationship and he never full there for me. He was just passing through my life, and never really meant to stay long. Another lesson on the path to finding the person I meant to be with. Making the choice to not be friends after the breakup is and always be the best decision I have made after the breakup. I wanted to move on without him hanging in the background. As I said in a post, I wish him the best of luck in his life and that he find happiness along the way.

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 Finished A 5k Run…..

The best feeling as if you are invincible and breaking all the limitations you put on yourself come right off after crossing the finish line. Seeing the numbers of how well I did for a beginner still amazes  me. I did that? WOW! After this, there was no stopping me from enjoying running and participate in fun runs and other races throughout the year. Running has tough me a whole lot about myself and how to deal with life’s disappointments. I am thankful for a friend in telling me of this fun run. Made all the difference in healing. I am hoping to run my first half marathon soon. Will have to see!

Must Be Something In The Water….

In front of family, friends and a whole congregation, I gave my life to Jesus. After three years attending church I decided to be baptized and I thank a dear friend of mine who helped me see I was ready to do this. I will not lie it did change parts of my life for the better and paved the way for a very wonderful thing to happen later on in the year (scroll down to see what it was). A new life has begun.

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 Beautiful Smile Is Born Again…..

I have had braces in the past, and over the years my teeth have decided to move on their own accord. Now as I write this my pearly whites are now straight! Adult braces are not nearly as bad as I thought they would be. I believe it is starting to become more common for adults to have braces, and having them on even gives you better confidence then when a teenager. Not to mention the fact that I had to go through countless job interviews smiling with them. Thank goodness for advancement in braces since I had them as a teenager. Instead of two years of metal in my mouth, I had them for only eight months! Time to flash those beautiful teeth!

 Accomplished Whole30 and Began Paleo….

I think I fell off the wagon two times before the third time stuck with me (you can thank having braces for getting me to finish!). Just getting a hold of the book It Starts With Food from the local library and The Whole30 Cook Book spelled out more about how to be successful then just reading pins off of Pinterest. Just seeing other people’s results was just amazing to drop all that bloating weight on Instagram. In the end I managed to stay on the diet for thirty days on the diet and lost a lot of health problems I had after completing the program. Was not easy to do, but I am glad I stuck through with it for as long as I did.

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 One Career Door Closed, Another Will Open…..

There are times where you can no longer ride the roller coaster any longer. At the beginning of this year that was as true as ever. For the past three and half years I had been riding the ups and downs at a company that was struggling. One day it sold to another larger company. Walking into a job every day and not knowing what will become of you is the most stressful situation you could possibly be in. In the end I was laid off and in itself was a blessing for being let go, I was moving on was for the best. As heart breaking to leave people who became like family to you for three and half years, and knowing the team built through those times will never be the same. I will never forget what each and everyone taught me while working with them.

  Went Back To Finish My Bachelors Degree….

If you had asked where I would have been twelve months ago I would never had said I went back to school. After being laid off from Dendreon and going through a string of disappointing interviews,  I decide on a whim to apply to Northwest University’s biology program. To the surprise of me I was accepted to the University two weeks before classes began. In this a new journey began, and a new beginning was starting to take shape. I’m still amazed at what has transpired over four months studying, and learning what it means to realize a long-lost dream was about to be accomplished. Three years are going to go by fast, and judging by how fast time flew when at Dendreon, it means this too will past quick. Maybe this time I will continue to reach higher in my career with the completion of my dream.

Sophmore At Northwest University Fall 2015
Sophomore At Northwest University Fall 2015

Life takes us to unexpected places we never thought we would go. Plans we thought we had go to the wayside, while other plans are made. Dreams happen, old goals are reignited and most of all, things we thought would last forever or awhile come to an end. In one year everything in life changes and you are never the same again.

The more I reflect on what has all transpired over the last twelve months, there has been a lot of changes and a lot of new beginnings happening all at once. I never thought I would be where I am today as I am right now.  “For every new beginning comes from another beginning’s end” The Closure. I guess that is what being in your twenties is all about and learning to be the lass that is gone. Gone to become something more then she has ever been before, and new adventures to go on.

Thanks(Friends)giving Week Adventures

What?! No cookbooks this year?! This is what my dear mother said at Costco on Black Friday when she realized there were no cookbooks to be passed out this year. Honestly Costco you could have announced it to all your members before Thanksgiving. So another Thanksgiving tradition has come to an end after a few years. RIP Costco Holiday Cookbook, RIP. And that is just be beginning of the Thanksgiving week of disappointments. Yep after only having a laptop for three months before the dark screen of death happened,and the laptop gave out. Now into the final two weeks of classes, what a suck this is. Then again you get what you paid for, if it is a $200 Chrome book, then yes it is going to be a piece of crap! So I bought myself a proper laptop this Black Friday, and it is a Christmas gift to myself (also can write it off for taxes since it is a school expense). The third thing as the cherry on top of the above happenings, the FDA has stopped all shipments of English fruit cake from Australia. WHY?! It was the only fruit cake worth eating! Not the American disgusting, radio active cherries on top and what the heck filling type cake! Seriously why? No go on the only fruit cake worth eating during the holiday season. Such a disappointing realization.

But the weekend was not all gloomy and depressing…..

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Beautiful Thanksgiving Day!

I don’t know what compelled me to do this, but I blame it on Pinterest and reading a post off of Anderson Ever After. I decided to propose the idea of Friends-giving for our church’s young adult group get together. This meant rounding up people to bring stuff for the dinner and to make sure we had a feast at the end. It was. We ended up with sweet potato casserole, turkey, cranberry sauce, rolls, apple pie, pumpkin pie, mash potatoes, stuffing, and all the other fixings. By the end the night we all where stuffed and ready to go home happy-full. Next year there will be another Friends-giving, and it will be epic (do they still use this word?).

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the whole group

Thanksgiving was a small affair since my Nana came up from Oregon to visit. Thanksgiving was at my parent’s house which meant we all chipped in to help with the small feast. Ham, turkey breast, cheese scalloped potatoes, cranberry sauce, salad, rolls, and sparkling cranberry juice for a feast. But…. we celebrate Thanksgiving with English Christmas crackers! Yep during desert we open or more like pop, crackers full of paper crowns, cheesey jokes and some surprise gift inside. I love wackiness of wearing a brightly colored paper crown and eating chocolate! Not the typical American Thanksgiving at all.

I have posted before I do not do the Black Friday thing at all. After spending three Christmas seasons in retail, I no longer partake in this crazy tradition. Black Friday is spent going to Costco for their free cookbook (which as you can tell didn’t happen this year), hunting for the famous European fruit cake (another disappointment) and relaxing. I did shop for a new laptop in the comfort of home, and will be getting a Surface 4 Pro tablet for Christmas.

Saturday morning I rounded up the gang and went to decorate the Church for the Christmas season. Like the two years before, our group was assigned front lobby tree decorating duty. This time we out do ourselves again with the trees.

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Church Lobby Trees

After tree decorating, I decided to make a huge batch of Butter Shortbread Cookies from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Oh my goodness the best homemade shortbread I have made and tasted! I will be using this recipe from now on.

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Homemade Shortbread Cookies

Later in the evening we all hopped into the car to stand in the cold to Edmonds Tree Lighting Ceremony to see the tree in the town square light up. I froze my butt off standing there waiting, and wishing I had stopped at the Starbucks on my way to the event. Oh well next time I will stop. Nice clear crisp day and evening made for a beautiful display for the lighting of the Christmas tree.

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone! Now on to Christmas and seeing what the end of the year brings. Two weeks until finals, and three and half weeks until Christmas!! Time has flown by!