Friday, January 29, 2010

So I Married a Nerd

In case you haven't picked up on it by now, Mark is the nerd in the "A Nerd and A Free Spirit". Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I just thought I'd share a little example of the nerdiness with which I live.

What do you, or your husbands/friends/boyfriends/etc. do when they are on the computer?

Things like Facebook, check out music, blog (woo!), play games, read about sports, email, etc, right?

Well, if you were to peek over Mark's shoulder, like I did last night, this is what you would see:

So it's a map of Africa - no big deal, right?

Well, notice how there aren't names of the individual countries on the continent. So, for daily entertainment, Mark sits down at the computer, on this website called "Sporcle" ( and plays games like this, where he has a certain amount of time to type in all the names of the countries correctly. It's a website full of trivia games.

There are games about geography, games about sports, games about music, actors, tv shows, and just about anything you can imagine. Some of them are cool. But, really? A map of Africa?

Mark was all-state in quiz bowl in high school. Trivia is his middle name.

In case you still don't get the depth of his commitment, he actually said this to me last night:

"I almost have all the countries in the world memorized!"

Cool, sweetie. That's so awesome. Isn't that everyone's dream?

So, in case there was a question over who the nerd is, I hope it's settled. (-:


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Extreme Bedroom Makeover

My bedroom just got an extreme makeover.

You see, I have lived in this apartment for almost 2.5 years. I love it, don't get me wrong, but the bedroom has never been how I would really like it. I had this monstrosity of a dresser/bookshelf that was a nice piece of furniture, but not my style, and didn't match my bed, so I really didn't like it. But it served its purpose, and it was FREE.

Then, when Mark and I got married and he moved in, he brought some more mis-matching furniture, including another bookshelf, that was put in the room. This brought the room to a point of not really being a happy place for me. Actually, when I looked at it, it kinda made me a little... I don't know.... anxious? It was totally crammed full of furniture.

So, why didn't I get something else? Well, I knew what I wanted, but right now, it's way too expensive to afford. Sure, I could save for it, but we are on the Dave Ramsey plan and trying to get out of debt, so my extra money is going toward student loans, house savings, etc., before it goes to furniture. So, instead of settling, I was determined to wait.

But recently I decided that if I could find a super inexpensive piece of furniture that would look decent and make the room more homey (and more enjoyable), I would go for it. We are planning to be here a couple more years, so we need to make the most of it and make it as enjoyable as possible.

Mark and I are both readers, so our amount of books is really ridiculous. We had a five shelf bookcase full, a three shelf bookcase full, had thrown some away, given some away, and still had two suitcases of books in our cars because we haven't had a place to store them. So the new bookshelf was really a high priority.

Thank goodness for Target. I found a beautiful bookcase there that matches my furniture that is really inexpensive (it's not like really nice furniture, but for the time being and for my sanity, I went for it!). And it's so cute! AND it was on sale!

My hairbrained idea for new bookshelves occured on a Sunday while I was working my part time job. I convinced Mark that it was a brilliant idea and that we REALLY needed the bookshelf that day. Waiting would be not good. After Mark accepted my free spiritedness, he slowly agreed to the task. So, he and my brother got the old monstrosity out, bought the new fabulous shelf, and had it almost all set up before I could even get home to take a "before" picture!

I loved the bookshelf so much that we went back the next day and got another. And we have already filled them both up with books! And, even though it's still crowded, it looks so much better and is such a happier place! (-:

Ready to see the photos? Here's one of the shelves:

And here you can see them both:

And I have this one, so I'll include it:

Yay!! What do you think?


P.S. Thank you guys all so much for the encouraging feedback on not looking my age. I've decided to embrace it, maybe adjust a couple minor things in the wardrobe, and be grateful for my youthful gene pool.  (-:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Should I Go On "What Not To Wear"?

Alright, everyone. I need some brutal honesty.

I have been plagued for the last year or so by an alarming amount of people telling me I look like I'm about 15 years old. Now, I will admit, people have always in the past guessed my age is younger than it is. I have a sister that is four years younger than me, and people are always asking "Which one is older?" (which is NOT cool when you're in high school).

Some, no, most of the time, I disregard the comments.

I have older ladies (70's+) say "Honey, you don't look a day older than 14." That doesn't bother me that much.

Then recently, a high school student thought I was 19 and was a fellow contestant in the pageant in which she was competing.

I recently started singing in a state-wide women's choir and have been asked if I am old enough to be in it. (As if high school kids would join a women's choir for fun.)

But this last week I got a comment that really made me question myself.

As you may know, I use the internet at the office of my apartment complex. The rule is that you have to be 18 in order to use the internet. Recently, my office got some new maintenance staff members, and I went over to the office just after 3:00pm to get on the internet. I was wearing a hoodie, jeans, some ugg type (but cheaper) boots, and a matching bow. Similar to this below (just ad the boots):

I walked into the office and headed toward the computer, like I always do, but the new maintenance man was sitting in front of the two computers, rather territorially. I figured he would move as I got closer to the computers (he wasn't using either, he was just sitting). But he just kept looking at me, like he was challenging me.

I made it known I was hoping to get on one of the computers, and then he said it.

He audaciously asked:

"Did you not just get off the school bus?"

Whoa - hold the phone.

THE SCHOOL BUS??!!! Like for kids who aren't old enough to drive??!!! REALLY???!!!! THE SCHOOL BUS??!!!!

I was borderline speechless, but I responded that no, I, in fact, did not just get off the school bus, and that I am 24 years old and married.

He of course apologized and let me on the computers.

But then I thought to myself, Really? Maybe I'm like one of those people that doesn't dress their age but no one tells them so they put them on that show for a makeover.

Here's another photo of how I might dress:

I mean, I like jeans and boots and sweatshirts. Is that really that bad? I can't wear dressy clothes and heels everyday! I would lose my sanity.

What is a girl to do?

What do you think? Do I need an extreme makeover?


Friday, January 22, 2010

The World's Weirdest Deodorant

Happy Friday, Folks! As you may well know, Mark and I have been trying to be more natural in the things we put in and on us. One of the things that I have been trying to change is deoderant. Why, you ask?

Well, in a nutshell, regular antiperspirants contain aluminum, which is linked to Alzheimer's (check out this article here) , and some people are linking the parabens found in some deodorants to breast cancer, as parabens act like estrogen (very interesting article here). So, what's a girl to do? I decided to look for a natural deodorant that is paraben and aluminum free.

After a couple that were no good, I asked my local Whole Body worker at Whole Foods what she would recommend. To my surprise, she pointed me to a crystal deodorant, and said she has been using it for years and had great luck.

What do I mean by crystal deodorant? Am I the only one who had never heard of this before? Anyone?

Like a rock. Seriously. It's like a crystal rock. It reminds me of a salt rock. It is the most bizarre thing I have ever seen. It was about $6.00 so I said, what the heck? I'll give it a try.

I took the deodorant home and I looked at it and I was like how in the world is this crystal supposed to be applied?

See that white rock? Yeah, that's it. And nothing rubs off of it. The directions said to wet the crystal and then apply it. So, I did what I was told. And I also proceeded to do a lot of research on the internet about it, and about how it works. It seems to work well for most people, but for some people it doesn't work. (You can't expect EVERY person to love it.) But also, I think their lack of luck might have to do with them not using it properly.

So I told Mark about it, and he was very skeptical and said he would try it after I did. Ha, thanks, Mark. (-:

The key with the crystal is that you have to apply it right after you get out of the shower while you are all fresh and clean. The crystal has mineral salts in it that prevent bacteria from forming and it is completely odorless. You also still sweat, since it's not an antiperspirant.

But I have to say, after my fourth day and some stressful moments in traffic, I'm a convert. Mark tried it and he likes it, too!

And every once in a while we talk about it and we're like, "Isn't it the weirdest thing you've ever seen?" And we get a befuddled look on our faces and then just continue on our merry way with our new, natural deodorant.

Oh and something else that's cool? It lasts about a year, but some people said their's has lasted three years or more. Yeah. One crystal lasts a really long time. So it's pretty darn cheap.

So, I thought I'd share it with you guys because it's so quirky and yet it works so well. If you try it, let me know. Here's their website in case you are interested:

Happy Weekend!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Thought Eating Breakfast Was Supposed to Help you LOSE Weight

I. Am. Starving.

See that face? I'm about to eat my fingers.

Why I am so hungry, you ask? Because I ate breakfast.

I'm one of those people that doesn't really eat breakfast. Not that I don't like breakfast, or breakfast foods, but I just don't have time. I would rather sleep more than wake up early enough to have breakfast. Kind of pathetic, I know.

So, I don't usually eat breakfast, and I go to work and I'm usually feeling pretty good until noon or one, and then I start feeling slightly hungry.

But, in an effort to be healthy and try something new, on my most recent grocery store trip I got some new cereal. It's this healthy organic flax cereal that has raspberries and strawberries in it. It's not incredible low calorie, either. And let me say, that stuff is de-lish. So, this morning, I had some cereal and skim milk and it was really good. I ate probably around 8:20am or so. Fast forward to 9:00am.

I am hungry. Like, stomach talking, hunger pangs hungry. How is this possible? I'm never hungry, and then the one time I decide to eat breakfast, I'm majorly hungry within an hour.

A friend was telling me it has something to do with your body thinking more food is coming - must be that metabolism thing kicking in. But here's what I don't understand: how is eating breakfast supposed to help you lose weight if you
1. intake more calories at breakfast, and
2. intake more calories at lunch because you're starving?

This math just doesn't add up for me.

Organic Omega Flax Berry Cereal... why are you so good? I can't resist you, yet you make me so hungry. If I get fat, you will never be consumed by me again.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cooking with Kat: Chicken Spaghetti of Pioneer Woman Fame

It's about time I cooked on this blog! For Christmas I got the Pioneer Woman cookbook and I have already made two recipes from it. So far, they are great!

We had some dear friends of ours over for dinner, and I told Mark he could pick what we were having. I guess it might have been nice if I let my guests pick... oops. Maybe next time. (-: I gave Mark a few choices based on the meals I had planned for and had ingredients, and he picked chicken spaghetti.

I also know I shouldn't have tried a new recipe with guests, but I figured they would still be my friends if it didn't out well, and there's always Papa John's, right?

So, I got most of the ingredients all rounded up at my local Whole Foods. I have been trying to switch things over to organic when I can, and so for this recipe, several items were organic. So, here's the recipe:

  • 2 cups Cooked Chicken
  • 1 lb (3 cups) Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
  • 2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • ¼ cups Finely Diced Green Pepper
  • ¼ cups Finely Diced Onion
  • 1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
  • 2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • ⅛ teaspoons (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

And the photo:

 So, to fill you in on the organic ingredients, I got organic cream of mushroom soup, veggies, 1/2 of the pasta was organic and the cheese is from cows that were not given antibiotics/hormones I think. I will say the soup was very different than regular Campbell's. It was more "soupy". You know how Campbells is kind of thick the gel like? This was darker in color and more liquidy. I thought that was interesting. 

So, to start of this recipe, I took a big fat short cut. Instead of cooking my own chicken, I bought a rotisserie chicken, because that's how I roll. And also because they taste SOOO good. AND bonus, I found them at Whole Foods, so next time I will get one from there. Here's my bird:

 While I snuck pieces of the chicken, I started boiling the water, and broke the pasta up into 2 inch pieces and tossed them into the pot. Then things got a little difficult.

I have a Pampered Chef cheese grater. Well, either I'm a terrible cheese grater, or I need to grow some muscles or something, because grating that cheese was wearing me out!

Yeah. That's what I looked like. Clearly not happy. So, I said FORGET IT! And I got out my handy food procesor with my cheese grater thing and all I had to do was throw the cheese in a press a button, and voila! OMG, if you don't have one of these, you've GOT to get one.

 See? Look how happy I am. And look at the beautifully grated cheese. Victory is mine.

I chopped up the veggies, and then I realized something. When I went grocery shopping I bought a lot of  ingredients for a lot of things. One of them was for olive cheese bread, and I mistook the Chicken-spaghetti pimientos for the olive cheese bread, and left it in Ft. Worth over New Year's. Oops. So, no pimientos in this spaghetti!

 Ha - look at that cheese. I think I must have the grater set too fine, so it made it more difficult. Anyway, so, once the pasta was done, I combined all the ingredients except 1/2 cup cheese.

Yay for the little kick that the cayenne pepper adds. (-: You can add the seasonings, and then taste, and add more if you need to.

So, then I poured it into a casserole dish, put the remaining cheese on top, and popped it into the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until bubbly.

Looks pretty yummy huh? So, while that was cooking, I ran around like a crazy person picking up the apartment. (-:

And then the guests arrived and we started serving it:

We had some organic spring mix with parmesan with it and some sweet tea, because there's no other way to drink it, in my book. (-:

So, how was it? It was pretty darn good! Mark said it was good enough to do again. So I think we will. Maybe I'll add the pimientos next time, maybe not. I had several taste testers, so here's what they had to say:

They look pretty genuinely happy, but who can ever tell? (-:

Until next time, Bon Appetit! 


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Keepin' It Real

 If you read my post yesterday, you know that one of my resolutions for 2010 is to be more organized.

Being highly motivated at the start of January, last night I tackled one of my most disorganized areas at home: my kitchen cabinets.

Now, if you were to come over to my place and casually look at my kitchen, you might think, “Her kitchen is very tidy”. See?

Look at these pretty cabinet doors – wow… I must be SUCH a good housekeeper, right?

But the ugly truth is, my cabinets are totally out of control. We’re talkin’, you need a hard hat on when you open them. I think that book, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”, was written about my cabinets.

Don’t believe me? Take a peek at this:

Yes. That is really what it looks like. I’m keepin’ it really real, folks.
And to make it even worse, I’ll remove that box of Grape Nuts and flour that is helping keep up the charade of organization:

I mean seriously. Like, I was too lazy to even put the instant coffee right side up? How did I let it go that far?!

And due to this total disaster area, obviously, it would be near impossible for me to have a realistic idea of my inventory, which would explain things like this:

So, here we have two brand new bottles of honey and one that has crystallized…. Hmmm

Or this:

Really? Is Italian food the only thing I make? And a life-time supply of nutmeg? Ugh…. Or… check this out:

I guess those massive bread crumb containers, none of which were empty, can be paired with the Italian seasoning.

This is just embarrassing.

So, I worked and I worked. I read expiration dates. Apparently I hadn’t done that in a couple years.

Yeah, that’s December of 2007.

I sweated. I braved the falling canned goods. I even balanced this tea box on my foot:

(Before you think I dress like that all the time, let me explain. I wore a dress and tights to work, and when I came home I wanted to be more comfy but I was too cold to change clothes - does that ever happen to anyone else? So I put on sweatpants and kept the dress until I was warmer.)

Anyway, I am very happy to announce: I came out victorious. Here is the before pic:

And here is the after:

Are you impressed? Well, there’s more. Here’s the other before:

And after:

Those are cabinets that a normal person could actually consider functional. Those cabinets are organized. Those cabinets have room for… gasp… more food. I think this allows me to qualify this regular Monday night as “highly productive”.

After my hard work and diligence, I let myself sit back and enjoy a hot cup of tea. And I can promise you that those closed cabinets hold nothing of which you should be afraid. I can open them with confidence, and I can open them without getting a black eye.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Goals for 2010 and New Year's Update

Well, Mark and I have been thinking and brainstorming, and have come up with some goals for 2010, and we have them broken into categories. Are you ready for this?

House-Keeping: We have a list on the fridge of things we can each do to keep the apartment clean. Living in a small space makes clutter almost always an issue, so we are working on being better at making sure everything has a place, and keeping it there if it's not in use.

Financial: We have some pretty large goals this year, including paying off one of my student loans, paying off mark's car, saving enough to pay cash for a new used car, and then spending the rest of the year starting a savings for a HOUSE! YAY!!!

Physical: We are going to try to work out together twice a week - even treadmill walking. Ugh. This is the one I am actually not excited about, but I know I really need to. I'm what you would consider a "skinny fat person" right now. I'm at a healthy weight, but my muscles are becoming non-existent. But, I still have some pretty awesome biceps. ha ha

Spiritual: We are going to work together toward Scripture memory.

Relational: Our goal is to be quicker to listen, slower to speak, and slow to become angry. We are also going to start having a date night every two weeks.

Health-wise: We are slowly switching everything over in our home to being more natural. Hopefully by the end of this year we will have a total switch. It's tough because there are a lot of areas to cover (food, cosmetics, hygiene products, cleaning items, water, etc). We are both going to be learning more about having a more natural home. You can check out the book I am using a guideline here: 

Super Natural Home: Improve Your Health, Home, and Planet--One Room at a Time

So, those are our goals. One of my personal goals is to be more organized. I'm just so much happier when things are organized, so I'm working on that at home and work.

In other news, we went to Ft. Worth this weekend and had a GREAT time with my wonderful grandparents. They are just fabulous. One of the things we did was watch "Food, Inc", after searching for it a LOOONG time. It was really ridiculous, actually. We chronicled our journey, and have a little video where you can see the part where we actually found the movie. This video has me and my brother and sister-in-law in it. Check it out.

Happy Monday!


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