Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 In Review (I'm trying to be like all the cool bloggers who are doing this)

As I was scrolling through all the new posts in Blogger, I noticed that "2009 in Review" was a pretty popular post topic. And since I am currently lacking large amounts of creativity, I decided to be a copykat. Ha ha - get it, copyKat (like my name)? (-:

So, really, this year brought a LOT of changes, for the good, and a lot of new aspects.

I started a new job in February working for my church and I LOVE it. And the funny thing is, when I started the job I was nervous that I wouldn't like it. When I interviewed at the church, I already had a great job as an underwriter for an insurance company, and I was very comfortable, loved my co-workers, and was really in a great place. So, when this new opportunity was presented to me, honestly, at first I didn't even think it was a realistic option. But, to appease those who approached me about the job, I went ahead and emailed the church for information. A few weeks of number crunching, wise counsel, prayer, and deep thinking later, I accepted the job and jumped in with both feet. Almost a year later, words can't even begin to describe how thankful I am for my new job and all the blessings it has brought.

The new job was obviously a big change, at least a 40 hour a week change, but a couple of months later another change took place that is a 24/7 change. Mark and I got married in July after over 4 years of dating. I love being married. It is so fun and I always have someone with which to hang out. I couldn't imagine not having Mark in my life and am so thankful for him. I feel like this paragraph should be longer than the one about the job, but then again, I've talked more about marriage and Mark on here in general, so I guess it evens out. If you want to see some wedding photos, see my previous blog posts here and here.

We went on a cruise with friends and family (photos here) in September, and that was so fun. I love cruises. And I love the ocean. And dressing up. And eating enormous quantities of calories. So it's a win-win.

Little Miguel had a rough year for a dog. He developed diabetes and a thyroid problem. He's doing okay, though, and will be turning 14 in a couple of weeks. Brinkley had fun just being a dog. No big developments with him, other than passing his obedience class FINALLY.

My brother got married two weeks after me, so my family had a busy couple of months! (-: They had a beautiful wedding and I have a wonderful new sister-in-law.

And of course, the coolest thing that happened was that I started this blog. Ha ha just kidding. Apparently I'm really cracking myself up today.

I guess that's all for now. Mark and I have been thinking and talking about our goals for 2009, so hopefully those will be coming soon, AND a new Cooking with Kat segment on some olive cheese bread that we will be making for the New Year tomorrow.

Peace out, homies!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And the Winner Is...

I can't figure out how to copy/paste the graphic, so it's a little ghetto, but this is what came up with:

True Random Number Generator
Min: 1

Max: 110



Powered by RANDOM.ORG

And who is number 28? Let's see...

Beth from Brand New Grown-Ups!

Here's her comment:

bd said...

"ADORABLE! are you sure you don't want to keep it for yourself? ;) btw congrats on marriage.. we tied the knot 08/01/09."

Congratulations, Beth! Email me your address and I put your prize in the mail. (-:

Thanks for entering, everyone! I plan on doing more giveaways, so try again!


PS - I'm going to Texas to visit family and will have stories from that soon!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The plan was to give this away before Christmas, but my life has been crazy enough this past month, so it's a Christmas/New Year's giveaway.

Ready to see what it is?

(suspense building)..............

It's a super cute cheese/serving tray with a cute little spreader!!!!! Pretty awesome, huh?

Here's another angle:

You want it, don't you? So, here are the rules:

1. If you want to enter in the drawing, leave a comment.
2. If you want to be entered twice, become a follower, and then you can leave a second comment.
3. If you link the giveaway to your blog, you can also leave another comment.

Okay the giveaway ends tomorrow at 5:00pm. So you better hurry and enter!!! I will use to pick the winner.

Ready, set, leave a comment!


Monday, December 28, 2009

Beneath the Wrapping Paper...

We had such a great, fun, relaxing Christmas. The snow made it magical. Since the presents have all been opened, I thought you might like a sneak peak into the things I got for Christmas this year. So, here are 5 (okay I have to make it 6, I thought of another) of my favorite gifts this year.

The first gift that I LOVE is one that we have really needed, but it's pricey enough that we haven't jut gone out and bought it. Apparently, according to my dental hygienist, I have the tendency to get a lot of tarter on my bottom teeth (thanks to good ole' genes - my dad has the same problem). So, even though I go to the dentist every 6 months AND yes, I DO brush my teeth, I always make sure my hygienist has to work hard for her paycheck. From Mark's mom and dad we got (drumroll, please) an electric toothbrush! A super awesome Oral-B one!!

If you want to be as cool as us, click on the link and get you one. I was very over zealous when I tried to use it after I had only charged it like 5 minutes. Apparently you have to wait longer than that for it to work more than like 10.3 seconds. But so far, I love it, and my teeth feel really clean!

Another favorite gift of mine are actually socks from Mark's mom and dad. Now, before you think that's lame, let me explain. Here's the "before picture" of the socks chillin' on my couch:

And here's the after picture of them on my feet:

OMG. Can you believe it? Basically, you pull them over the tops of your boots and it makes it look like the boots have fur at the top. I had never seen anything like it and I LOVE them. And want some more! (-: I will have to find out where they got them. Why didn't I think of that? I could be rich!

Moving on... here's a gift that Mark especially liked, because, well, we actually got this gift when we got married, and then Mark washed it in the dishwasher and ruined it, so we got another one from my mom and step-dad for Christmas.

I love Wilton Armetale serveware. It's versatile, beautiful, and so functional. I like to make hummus and serve it in this bowl with pita bread. If you want this, click on the photo above and you can have one, too! (-:

One of the other gifts I love and am so glad I got is a book from Mark's parents that I have been wanting for a while.

It's called "Super Natural Home", and it's so good for a beginner, like myself, who is starting to switch things over in my home to being more natural. It's so practical because it goes from room to room in the house showing the things you can do to switch over to more natural things. It even tells which fruits/veggies are the most important to buy organic, and which ones aren't as important to get organic. It also gives the really healthy/natural brands of hygiene products. I haven't read it all the way through yet, but it's really great so far. One of the parts I am most looking forward to is the recommended reading list in the back. I like to learn and do a lot of research on something before I make a decision, so this gives me a plethora (big word points for me) of other resources I can use once I finish the book.

If you are interested at all in being more natural, give this book a try. Click on the photo above and you can order it from amazon. See how easy I make things for you people?

This next gift is one of my favorites because of the thoughtfulness involved. My boss got me a beautiful headband with a flower on it, a pair of earrings, and a Charleston's card for Mark and I. Here we are, at Charleston's, enjoying a wonderful meal, and me, sporting my new headband and earrings. And impressively enough, he picked them out himself. I think that gifts are always more meaningful when that much thought is put into them.

And finally, I got the Pioneer Woman cookbook. If you aren't familiar with the Pioneer Woman, you should check her out. She's from Oklahoma, has a cultic following, and from the looks of my new cookbook, her food can be nothing short of fabulous. I have already found SEVERAL recipes that I am so excited to try. Mark and I looked through the whole cookbook last night and have some things we are pretty pumped about. I'm sure I'll let you know when we try them.

Click on the photo above to give it a try. It will be worth it. I promise.

Whew! I guess that's all for now. I got other gifts that I love as well, but I can't show them all!  What did YOU get for Christmas?


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let it Snow!!!!

Here's a pic from my mom's house on Christmas Eve!! Yay for a White Christmas!!!!

Me and my sister, Bekah:


Did you get snow?


Merry Christmas!!!!

It's Christmas Eve! In this part of the country, a huge snowstorm is ever so slowly creeping into the area. I've spent the morning watching the news and catching all of the latest updates. The suspense is really starting to get to me. Our Christmas Eve Service at my church is tonight, so it would be nice if the snow would hold off a few more hours so we could have it. But, at the same time, I LOVE snow. Like I LOVE it A LOT. I have the ingredients ready for snow ice cream. This just might be God's "first Christmas" gift to me and Mark. (-;

I think the most meaningful part of Christmas is summed up in one of the last scenes in "A Charlie Brown Christmas", where Charlie Brown is trying to find the true meaning of Christmas, and trying not to let all the materialism get to him. It's so cool, because the show gets quiet, and Linus walks out on the stage with his little blanket, which he sets on the ground to give his speech. This is really interesting, because Linus always has his blanket, but apparently his monologue has enough importance and power that he doesn't need to cling to his blanket for comfort.

With the spotlight on him, he states:

'"And the angel said unto them, fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men". 

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.'

I hope in the midst of wrapping paper, family, and laughs that you, too, remember what Christmas is all about.

Merry Christmas!!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Blog!

My friend over at You Had Me At Hello gave me the Happy Blog award! Yay! Thanks, Nicole! I think I have had a couple of blog awards before, but I'm just now trying to figure out what I am supposed to do with them! So if you gave me one in the past, I'm forever grateful, and will try to be better in accepting them in the future.

So, according to this award, I'm supposed to post ten things that make me do the happy dance. In random order...

1. Sonic Happy Hour (Yay for Strawberry Limeades!)
2. Getting mail (like you have not idea - I LOVE getting mail - pink slips make me freak out). And actually, the movie, "You've Got Mail" is like top 5 for me. My dog is named after Tom Hanks' dog in that movie.
3. Christmas and all things that come with it. It is just so wonderful!
4. Being able to pick up internet from our apartment complex for free... this RARELY happens.
5. Cooking for others and myself. I love bringing food to people. Cookies brighten everyone's day!
6. Quality time is my love language, so time with friends and family makes me very happy.
7. "The Office" - literally, we do a dance when the theme song comes on. I heart Jim.
8. Whenever God does something really cool.
9. Snow!!!!!!!! Snow ice cream, snow flakes, snow angels. I love snow. It's so peaceful and beautiful.
10. Getting comments on my blog! Seriously.

Okay so now I am nominating Leslie over at Walking in Memphis. She's a great writer and I just love her blog.

This was just a short little update from our Hotel in Branson.

We made our largest purchase of all time last night. WHOA! And had some good times at the outlet. We are getting ready to go back. Yay!

Speaking of amazon, if you haven't experienced it, you should. So, Buy From Amazon! Click on that link and make it happen. They have literally ANYTHING you could imagine, their customer service is great, and if you order by Monday with 2 day shipping, you can have it by Christmas! I just did, so you should, too. (-:

Have a great Saturday, everyone!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Don't Use Microwaves

****WARNING - This post might make me sound like a hippie (not that there's anything wrong with that). I am keeping it real and hoping you won't judge me!!! (-: ****

Are you shocked?

Perhaps you think I'm joking. Maybe you've seen me use a microwave. Or perhaps you don't understand how it is possible. Since we've been talking about being healthier (I don't know who this "we" is, I guess it's just "me"). So, anyway, microwaves.

It all started a year or so ago. I had a friend over at my apartment with her sister and we were having dinner. I had made a casserole the day before, and didn't have time to reheat it in the oven, so I put it in the microwave. Before I could even turn it on, my friend yelled, "Don't put it in the microwave! I don't use microwaves!"

I, of course, raised every eyebrow that I had and asked why in the world she didn't use microwaves. She began to tell me about some research that had been done on microwaves and how they aren't perhaps the best thing for people to be using for their health's sake.

So, she ate her food cold, I microwaved mine, and I began to question the quirkiness of her conviction. I consider myself to be very inquisitive. So, I spent a good amount of time reading about microwaves.

I won't go into all the research; if you are really interested, you can look into it for yourself. But, a few things that I did find is that apparently intaking foods that have been microwaved alters blood, including decreases in hemoglobin values and cholesterol values, and a short term decrease in lymphocytes. Again, I'll let you do your own research. (I just googled "microwaves health concerns" and several things popped up, and I weeded through trying to find reliable information.)

Now it's not that I NEVER use a microwave. I will eat food that someone else makes in a microwave, or   on a rare occasion that I'm in a bind, I might use one. But basically, I don't use one.

But you know what? To me, food tastes a lot better to me if it's warmed up in an oven. And the texture is usually a lot better. So, why not use an oven? Or a beloved toaster oven? Especially if it's healthier. As it was once phrased to me, "Why would you want to radiate your food and then eat it?" hmm....

So, the whole microwave research thing caused me to start looking at the things I put in my body, the things I put on my body, etc. I'm by NO means a picture of health, I mean, me and the gym are not best friends, but, I have a growing awareness of being healthy and it's really interesting.

These are the things that float in around in this goofy brain of mine. So do you love microwaves?


Monday, December 14, 2009


What a whirlwind of a week! This week was the Christmas program at the church where I work, so we were busy, busy, busy! But it was a good, fulfilling type of busy, so it's all good.

It went very well, and I am hoping to catch up on some sleep tonight. I'm pretty stinkin' tired. Actually, i almost just fell asleep on the floor at work. Shhh... don't tell. ha ha.

So here's something exciting. I was at my friend's house last week and I opened her refrigerator and GUESS WHAT I saw??!!!

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, that is a bottle of Clearly Canadian. Okay seriously, how many of you used to LOVE that stuff and then were totally devastated when it became pretty much impossible to find anywhere? Okay, maybe I'm the only one, but I LOVE this stuff. And I am perpetually bummed when I can't find it anywhere. Anytime I'm anywhere that has bottled beverages, I ALWAYS look for Clearly Canadian.

Apparently BigLots carries it sometimes. Who knew? My friend had the raspberry flavor. I was in heaven. I had it with my dinner and was so thankful. I'm going to have to go to BigLots soon and see what I can find!

Now I have to think about the big Holiday called Christmas. Wow... it's like next week. So I guess I should start my Christmas shopping, eh? Well, Mark and I are going to Branson this weekend. Woot! I just booked a hotel through Priceline, so hopefully it will be fun, and we can knock out our shopping at the outlet mall. WOOT! (-:

That's all for now, but I should be able to post more frequently since things are slowing down.

Yay Christmas!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Cooking With Kat: The Healthiest of Cookies

So sorry for the delay in posting, everyone! But don't you worry, I've got some good posts swimming around in my head that I will try to get into the computer in the near future. One of these such posts will talk about a new sort of leaf I am turning over, relating to being healthier. This post is a by-product of this new type of thinking.

A healthy cookie.

Like REALLY healthy.

And, it actually tastes good. I'm for real. Now, it's not like a sugar filled choc chip, but it's good, and good for you! (-:

I found this recipe in my new favorite magazine. And let me say, I had buyer's remorse on this magazine until it actually arrived. A magazine salesperson came to my apartment and I totally caved and bought a TWO YEAR subscription, and spent way too much money. BUT, after it arrived, I've decided it was totally worth it.

So, what magazine is it you ask? I'm so glad you did...

Natural Health. It. Is. Fabulous.

They even have Blue Buffalo advertising in it, and I LOVE Blue Buffalo! (

Anyway, I digress. So, I was looking through this wonderful magazine, and found some Christmas cookie recipes.


The one I decided to try is the oatmeal chocolate chip recipe. And apparently the photo is fuzzy so I don't think you could read it. Sigh. So, here are the ingredients:

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup organic evaporated cane juice crystals (easily found at Whole Foods)
1 egg
1 teas vanilla
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour, sifted (I actually missed the whole sifting part)
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
1/2 ts salt
1 Tbs cinnamon
1/2 cup dark choc chips, semi-sweet

So, here's whatcha do!

Mix the applesauce and the cane juice crystals in your handy dandy mixer. Once those are mixed, add the egg, vanilla, honey, and olive oil and mix well.

Then, in a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder and baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Mix those and then slowly combine with the wet ingredients and mix until combined.

Oh, here's what Mark was doing while I was making the cookies. The Texas/Nebraska game was on TV, and he was hooked. Here he is, making a goofy face.

Anyway, back to the kitchen. So, you mix the ingredients together and then mix in the chocolate chips. I used dark chocolate chips, I don't know if they were semi-sweet, but they are yummy!

Then, you take small spoons and put it on parchment paper on a baking sheet. I used the batch to get about 30 cookies. In the magazine, the cookies looked flat, so I think I needed to flatten the cookies before baking them. So, you might want to flatten them - I think I will next time.

Then you bake them at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are crisp.

You guys, these cookies are GOOD and GOOD FOR YOU!!!

If you make 30 cookies, each cookie will have 66 calories, 2 grams fat, 2 grams protein, and 2 grams fiber, and 12 grams carbs. WOO!!!!!

So, here's our taste tester:

He even liked them, too! They are filling, don't give you a sugar rush, and have things like cinnamon which are really healthy. WOO!!!!

What do you think?


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It Helps To Know a Rock Star

A few weeks ago I got to do one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

At my church, I sing on a praise team that leads worship with a talented group of instrumentalists. One of those guys is not only a fantastic electric guitar player, but he also works at some recording studios in the area and is super nice.

I was at work one Friday afternoon and I got an email from him, asking if I would be interested in helping out his studio by doing the vocals for a demo that they needed ASAP. I said I’d listen to the song and see what I thought, wondering what type of song it would be. I heard the song for the first time a little before 5:00, and thought that I actually might possibly be able to pull it off.

Since I had never done anything like that, I didn’t want to claim that it would be something I could handle if I wasn’t good enough. So, I sang a sample of the song to Mark, and made him promise to tell me honestly if I would be embarrassing myself by saying it was something I could sing. Mark sweetly listened and told me he legitimately thought I could do it. So, I responded to the inquiry by saying I would give it a shot, but was still hesitant about being able to do it well. We agreed that I would go to the studio at 8:00 and audition the song.

So, I went home, and started learning the song. I had a little over two hours to get it down pretty solidly. Mark was the kindest of audiences and was so encouraging. Finally, it was time to go, and we headed to the studio.

Our friend was super welcoming, and had me sing along with the recording first to see if he thought I would be suited for the demo. After singing along for a few minutes, he told me to get comfortable, and started getting the recording studio ready!

So, I got to go into a real live studio, like you see on TV, with the big microphone with the pop screen in front of it, with the headphones, and the glass part where you can look through and see people working on the digital recording and mixing stuff. It was SO COOL. I sang through the song several times and worked through a few rough patches, and then they had enough to piece together a decent sounding demo.

I went home and learned the harmony parts, and came back the next day and recorded those as well.

If you click on the link that's at the bottom of this post and open it in a new window if possible, hopefully you should be able to hear the song. I had a nightmare time trying to embed it, and I never figured it out, so I had to revert to a file hosting site. (Sorry - tips on how to do that are being accepted.)

This is not actually mixed yet, so it’s a rough cut, but you get the idea and can hear me singing. Oh, and to top it all off, I got paid to sing the demo! How cool is THAT?!! It was a really great experience, super fun, and now my mom has a song of me singing that she can play continuously. (-: Thanks, Pat, for letting me do something so cool!

I hope you like it!

Blog Design by Sweet Simplicity