Hello 2012!

I can’t believe it is already 2012. Where did the last year go? I swear, 2011 must have been on a permanent fast forward because it just zipped by. Looking back, I must say that this past year was a pretty wonderful one. For starters, 2011 was my first full year out of school. I do miss being in the classroom and learning, and I do plan on going back to school to further my education sometime in the future, but I quit enjoyed not being committed to school. I was able to read for pleasure, one of the things I had to put on the back-burner when I was in college. I discovered the local library district and how awesome libraries are these days. I even convinced Drew to get a library card. 😉

Speaking of Drew, we are celebrating our one year anniversary this month. I am amazed that I’ve been able to stay in a relationship for this long, considering all my prior relationships have been less than five months in length. Perhaps this relationship is different because I have finally met a person who completes me and compliments me at the same time. It also helps that I am head over heels in love with this man. He has been by my side for so many ups and downs and I could not ask for a better partner. I am most excited to see where the new year takes us. We will be moving into a place of our own in May and we both are looking forward to that next chapter in our relationship.

Another significant change that happened last year was that I found a new job. Since moving to Colorado in the summer of 2010 (after college graduation) I bounced between several jobs. They weren’t all the greatest and they weren’t all steady, but they brought me to where I am now. I was hired as a financial specialist (or, more commonly known, a bank teller) at a local credit union in August. I really enjoy the people I work with and I have been learning a lot of new information and skills related to my position. I hope to move up from level one to level two this year, ideally before or during the summer season.

There are many things that happened in 2011, but this post would end up being a novel if I discussed them all. I feel good about the new year and hope that it will be just as great, if not better, than the previous year. I have several goals laid out for 2012 — some fun and some serious. I have my book and movie challenges, which are becoming a yearly thing. For my fitness goals I want to run a 5k this year and I also want to focus on strength training since I pretty much avoided it for most of 2011. I started doing the 90-day ChaLEAN Extreme fitness program yesterday and I am definitly feeling the pain results. For my financial goals I plan to increase my retirement savings via contributions to my IRA and 401(k) (once I qualify later this year), set aside money every month into my “house goal” (down payment for a house), stash some money into my emergency fund, and keep up with my good money habits. All these goals (and a few more I have) all seem pretty attainable for the most part. I’m sure things will shift financially when Drew and I move in together, but I will continue to do my best with what I’ve got.

Before I leave off, I must mention that I have a bunch of recipes to post for the Christmas gift tins I created and gave out to co-workers and friends this year. Drew spent almost a week in the hospital right before Christmas getting surgery, thus this blog, and other things, got pushed to the side while I spent time with him pre- and post-surgery. I am happy to report that Drew is recovering nicely and will be able to return to work this week. 🙂 With that, I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!

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01.02.2012 at 10:56 AM Leave a comment

Candy Cane Kiss Sugar Cookies

Around the holidays I tend to go a bit crazy with the candy. Even worse than Halloween, actually. The reason? Special, limited time only selections. Dark chocolate mint kisses. Candy cane kisses. Cherry cordial kisses. Mint M&Ms. Cinnamon M&Ms. Peppermint bark EVERYTHING. Can we say candy overload?

One thing to do with all of this holiday candy is to include it in recipes, especially baking recipes. Making cookies is one of the easiest to do – simply prepare the dough and then mix in the candy pieces. That is how candy cane kiss sugar cookies were born.

For the base of the cookies I used a recipe posted on Kim’s blog, Lovin’ From the Oven, for Soft Sugar Cookies. Before rolling the dough into balls for baking, I stirred in 1 bag of chopped Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses. Then I baked the cookies per the time listed in the recipe. These cookies turned out to be very soft and delicious, with the right amount of peppermint taste.

12.24.2011 at 10:51 AM Leave a comment

Peanut Butter Blossoms

I’m kicking off my new blog with one of my boyfriend’s favorite cookies — peanut butter blossoms. I decided to surprise him by baking these last week. I must confess, I have never made peanut butter blossoms before. Sure, I’ve made peanut butter cookies in the past (which is essentially a pb blossom minus the Hershey’s kiss), but I had never considered putting a delicious chocolate kiss in the center. Peanut butter + chocolate is by far one of the best combinations ever.

I could’ve made it easy on myself and used a packaged pb cookie mix, but I wanted to put that extra bit of love into these cookies. I used a recipe found on one of my favorite blogs, Lovin’ From the Oven. Don’t be surprised if you see me featuring several of the recipes from Kim’s blog. She definitely knows her stuff.

Check out the recipe over at Lovin’ From the Oven!

12.14.2011 at 9:18 PM Leave a comment

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