Friday, October 28, 2011

Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's my day off, so our agenda today consisted of yoga pants, movies, and warm chocolate chip cookies. Heavenly.

I've experimented with a couple gluten free cookie mixes, but never found anything awesome. I don't like how gluten free cookies end up looking like greasy flat blobs. This time I took my hunt to Google, who helped me discover "The Baking Beauties", and this delicious recipe...

1 cup margarine (softened)
2 cups brown sugar
 2 eggs
1 tsp GF vanilla
2.25 cups GF flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose baking flour.)
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinammon
2 cups GF oats (I used Bob's Red Mill GF Quick Oats.)
2 cups chocolate chips (I just poured one bag in.)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Cream margarine and brown sugar.
-Add eggs one-by-one.
-Stir in vanilla.
-Mix in xantham gum, baking powder, baking soda, and cinammon.
-Add flour.
-Add oats.
-Add chocolate chips.
-Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet*
-Bake for approximately 11 minutes.

*Note: For baking GF I cover the cookie-sheet with foil (to avoid cross-contamination) and a little baking spray. Works magically.

Delicious! I hope you try and enjoy these little babies. You should share your opinion/experience with me.

<3 Living the Dream,

REMEMBER: "Make-up can only make you look pretty on the outside but it doesn't help if you're ugly on the inside...unless you eat the make-up." -Audrey Hepburn

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ode to Joy

Rest in Peace- Grandpa James "Jim-bo" Kilburn

My Grandpa Jim passed away earlier this afternoon. I am so happy for him, as he has needed this for awhile, but I am very selfishly sad for me. 

I am so grateful that he was able to go painlessly during an afternoon nap. He had been happily enduring for quite awhile now, and it was his time.
I love him.

Growing up, it was this wonderful man who instilled in me an appreciation for "good-minton", croquet, 
tether-ball, newspapers, pickled vegetables, catching grasshoppers, and diving into floaties in a freezing cold wading pool. He was always overjoyed to spend time with his grand-kids, and never missed an opportunity to do so. His positive outlook on life was simply contagious. I will always picture him with a camera around his neck and a smile on his face. 

I am so grateful to be able to still hear  him exclaim, "Hi, honey!" as if seeing me was the most important thing he ever did, and will always remember grandpa replying to the question 'how are you?' with an enormous smile and a...
"Better than I deserve, as usual."

I have been so blessed to be in Rexburg near him. During this time he has been my reliable date for, afternoons, Bingo, even Valentines Day. I love him so much. He was always there with a listening ear, ready for all of my stories, and always able to offer words of encouragement and advice. He has seen me through the ups and downs of the past two years. Happiness was always shared whenever things went right, and hugs were always offered when I needed to escape from real life. No matter the time, day or night, he was there for me. 

He may have not remembered me for the past few years, but he was always friendly and inviting. I am so grateful to have been able to be going to college so close to him. I got to experience him as more than just a Grandpa, as a true friend as well.  It was like my home away from home. He always overflowed with glowing compliments, and never missed an opportunity to tell me I was beautiful or made his day. Such a great example of being happy despite everything. 

Since his rest-home days we have always had each other's backs, creating some pretty memorable experiences. Like the times I verbally assaulted the nurses and staff, or the time he gave the male CNA he thought was my boyfriend a talking to. I will be forever grateful for the laughs we shared. I will never forget all the frantic bathroom searches in order to find where he had gotten himself lost, or the female resident that always yelled at us for smiling too much during exercise time. It was all so great!

I have always felt a strong connection with my grandpa, because we have many similarities. Out of all my family members we are definitely the most alike. We both are extremely stubborn and independent, we'd rather save money and live little than spend what we've got, we laugh at our own jokes, have a great appreciation for the macarena, prefer to be outside, love the water, are overjoyed by pickles and apples, love to work, and definitely love to play. We both would be lost without my dad, happiness seems to come easier to us, and we are both Kilburn's.
Being a Kilburn is an awesome thing and I hope we can do it as proud as my grandpa has.

My grandpa Jim truly embodied the words of President Monson,

"Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows."

I love you, Grandpa. You will be greatly missed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Heels. Head. Standards.

A square peg in a round hole....

You all know the saying. I assume you are familiar with the feeling as well.
Why do we do this sometimes? 
(I say we, as if I am not the only one... humor me.) 

Like when you know something/someone isn't for you, yet you keep trying in hopes of that changing the inevitable? Interesting how that is.... we either apply more pressure on the peg in order to get it into the hole, or we compromise, lower our standards, and sand down the sides of our peg.
Oftentimes I realize when something isn't quite right or when I get the answer I wasn't exactly hoping for. Depending on my level on desire, I keep trying and pursuing that thing, as if asking God if He would like to change His mind about the item at hand. Silly. Stupid. Waste of time. God doesn't change His mind.

We mustn't forget:

Pinned Image
Heels: Confidence. Nobody deserves your love more than you do. High heels do wonders for your mood (and butt). They instantly make you feel 100% better about whatever outfit you are wearing. Heels promote strutting, showing people what you're made of, and tackling all of life's problems. As my girl Audrey Hepburn says, "Happiest girls are the prettiest girls." This applies to males as well, (even if they only wear heels in private).

Head: Resilience. Erase all negativity of thought. You are a child of God. At some point we all fall, fail, cry, and hurt... that is a given. How you handle misfortune is your choice. Don't let life get you down. Choose gratitude and happiness for every day you live. As the love of my life, Rocky Balboa says, "It ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward." 

Standards: Remember who you are and what that means. You deserve the very best, but nobody is going to hand it to you. Never compromise your standards for any thing or person, ever. You'd rather wait longer than settle for something less that eternal joy. Never settle. As Dr.Seuss says, "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Never forget that each moment you have the opportunity to be a good example.

I promise you that the Lord has a plan for each one of us. We don't always know what that plan entails, but if we press forward with faith, I know that everything will fall in to place. 

Embrace your peg!

<3 Living the Dream,

REMEMBER: Carry on.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

When Sleep doesn't come.

Currently I am extremely tired yet unable to sleep. While it is frustrating, I think it is self inflicted. My mind is going about 100 miles a minute...  my idea to solve this: write it out. Perhaps dishing all the thoughts can help bring the happy slumber.

You may want to skip this one. All it contains are the brutally honest thoughts on my mind.
AKA- Boring I'm sure.

1. General Conference. It is in the morning! I am so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a huge opportunity to listen to what the Lord would have us know and do via our living prophets. Conference starts in only 6 hours now... one of those silly things brought about by the Alaskan time difference. The first session starts at 8 am and the second at noon, an odd comparison to the 11 am and 3 pm times of Minnesota. There are quite a few things I would like to hear addressed this conference, and am so grateful to have in order to research things whenever I would like. I am also reminiscent of last session of conference....I was fortunate enough to watch it with someone I love and am missing quite a lot right now. I am grateful to be able to watch this session with more people I love, AKA my family. This time is a little different for me, because I can't exactly pinpoint what I need to take away from this conference, but am excited to find out. Conference is a blessed time. While I know we all have different things on our mind, I know our questions can all be answered if we sincerely and faithfully listen to the words spoken this weekend.

2. Heartbreak. Yes, I know, pathetic and girly of me, right? (I told you that you didn't want to read this.) Anyways....all I'm saying is that love is a good thing, whether or not it works out in the end. I guess it is a fortunate thing, heartbreak that is, because it reminds us of the privilege we had of having loved in the first place. I guess the feeling of letting someone down or the realization that you are walking away from so many potential things is one of the hardest parts for me. But, sometimes you gotta leave when you gotta leave. The hardest part is knowing that someone you love may not want to be a part of your life anymore....that's a tough pill to swallow. Maybe what they say is true, maybe true lovers can't remain friends. Hard. Like Charlie Brown says, "Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love." Once you reach a certain point there isn't much you can do, except have faith in the future. I am grateful to love, and hope to always continue to do so.

3. Mission. I really want to go on one!! I guess that's basically all I have to say on this topic. I had a dream the other night that I got my call to was so intense. *One should note that I hardly ever remember my dreams, so this was extra special. Anyways, I am grateful for the people I know that are serving and that will serve. There are so many people out there needing to hear that they are loved. Let's hope I can get my health in order and the money saved. I'm sure what's meant to be will be. Where there's a will there's a way!

4. Work. I have a great boss, some great coworkers, and I love payday! My theory on why we are paid every other week: to remind us that we love our jobs. It's like getting your batteries refreshed. Random, but I get a lot of money taken out of my checks here, so I'm thinking my tax return will be bomb, and probably an answer to  future prayers. :) Don't you love how life works out?

5. Victoria's Secret. There are NO Vicky's in the entire state of Alaska. In fact, the nearest one is over 1300 miles away. Yes, I am disgruntled about this, but even more so I am concerned. Does this mean Alaskans don't wear underwear? Such a sickening thought. I don't know where else one would buy bras and panties. I love me some underwear and am praying that The Secret will ship to Alaska...if not we are going to have some major issues.

6. Urban Outfitters and J.Crew. Add these babies to the list of stores nowhere near. I have resorted to browsing their sites, have become addicted to this online experience, and am fairly certain I will have to take Urban up on their free shipping policy to anywhere in the US (hoping AK counts). No, I'm sure ya'll can't tell today was payday. Anyways, this girl has got to get some more clothes! It's supposed to snow 3 days this week and I don't have a coat or boots yet. I am in massive need of more leggings, scarves, and sweaters. Quit rolling your eyes. I wear leggings as pants and I like it. All my former roommates can attest to my "unique" style. Whatev. I am Mandy and I like odd things.

7. DVR. I'm grateful to be able to record conference to watch and re-watch. This heathen has to work tomorrow, so I am grateful to be able to still listen to the 2nd half of tomorrow's block at a later time. 

8. Sleep. I want some. Going to pray and try again. Goodnight lovelies.

<3 Living the Dream,

REMEMBER: Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.