• September 30, 2015

    Nerd Girls Guide to the Gym: Getting Started


    Now that you have all of your stuff and your gym bag is packed, what do you actually do with it all?  If you’re anything like me, the idea of using a machine you don’t understand in front of a bunch of people who are probably way better at this stuff than you are is super intimidating.  My first few times, I decided that I basically understood the treadmill and had used one before, so I hopped on and did my best.  But that gets really old really quick if you’re not a runner.

    Spoiler alert: I’m not a runner.

    So, what’s an out of shape nerd girl to do?  Finally I decided that it was in my best interest to sign up to meet with a personal trainer.  This was also super intimidating, but I figured that she could at least show me how to work more than just a treadmill.  Our first session, we talked about my goals and started a file with all of my weight, body fat measurements, etc.  It was our second session when we really got down to business and she provided me with a plan that I could work on in between our sessions without her help.  She showed me how to do each exercise and explained how it would help me reach my goals.

    Once I had a plan, it made showing up at the gym much easier and less intimidating.  Plus, having a variety of things to work on helped a lot to keep me interested and motivated.  Of course, personal trainers are stupid expensive, so I can’t meet with her very often.  But, every few months we plan to check in and she can give me some more things to work on.  It’s been a pretty good arrangement for me; however, if a personal trainer is not an option for you, many gyms offer some great classes as a part of the regular fees each month.   This means that you can get in on some fun work outs like yoga or Zumba and you can get some ideas for your own workouts from the other classes too.  These classes are great to help you with staying accountable too, if you get to know the teacher or some of the other class participants.

    No matter what you do, if you are a non-athlete like me, starting at a gym will be a little intimidating.  It’s a new environment filled with people of all skill levels – many of whom are really good.  But, many aren’t so good too.  And everyone started in basically the same place.  So, I make it my mission to keep my head down and do my own thing when I’m at the gym.  I’m not very strong or fast and I still have to take time to figure out the machines, but I’m there for me, nobody else.  When it’s tempting to compare myself to others and get down on myself for not being at the level I want to be, I force myself to stop and refocus on the work at hand.  I focus on my goals and put the blinders back up.  I remind myself that I don’t know each person’s story or struggles and again focus inward.

    Strength doesn’t come from what you can do.  It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.  – Ashley Greene 

  • September 23, 2015

    House Update


    Okay, ya’ll, it’s time for an update on the house; SO much has happened in the last month, I hardly know where to begin!

    Last time I checked in, the ground had been leveled and the first phase of cement was poured.  I was especially excited to see the second phase of cement because that meant I could finally see the real size of our new back yard.  I had been very worried that the yard would be too small, and I will admit that it did turn out smaller than I had hoped, but it should still work well for our needs.  The patio is beautiful and will be big enough for a table and chairs as well as our grill.  And we’ve already figured out where we want to plant a tree back there for shade and to beautify the space.  The only thing I’m not so sure about is where we will be able to have a garden space.  Because the space is limited and already existing trees block a lot of the sun, we may need to get very creative.  But, we’ll figure that out more once we’re in the house.


    After getting the cement poured, they started working on the frame and roof.  It was remarkable how quickly everything went up!  I watched them put up parts of the roof and it made me so dizzy – I don’t know how people can work so high up with wood and tools and people constantly moving all around them without falling or getting sick.  I even get dizzy just looking up at what they built!


    Once the framing was done, they were able to close it all in and started working on rough-ins for the fireplace and kitchen island.  My biggest requirement for this new house was to have a big kitchen.  Our old home had a nice sized kitchen and I really felt it was necessary to have a similarly sized (or bigger) space to store all my different equipment and gluten free flours as well as space to work and try new recipes.  Well, this kitchen should provide that and I can’t wait to try it out!  It’s maddening living with an apartment sized kitchen while knowing what I have to look forward to!


    Around the same time they were working on the rough-ins, they also put in the air ducts, wiring, and some of the water lines.  When we first saw the air ducts, we decided we had walked in to a haunted house and that was a giant spider made of trash bags on the ceiling.  Seems legit, right?  *grin*


    So, that is where they have left off at this point.  Soon there will be drywall inside and they’ll start working on the roof and siding outside.  Once that is all done, I am guessing they’ll be able to start finishing the inside and installing cabinets and carpets and all of those sorts of things.  The last estimate we had for completion was mid-November.  That time-frame may change, depending on weather and how everything continues to progress, but we’re hoping to be in the house before Thanksgiving!  I can’t wait to see how things go and to show you what we’ve been waiting for for so long!

  • September 16, 2015

    How I met my Husband


    Monday was the 7th anniversary of Hubs and my wedding.  Seven years, ya’ll.  I don’t know how we got to this place… seven years feels like nothing.  Maybe that is how it’s supposed to be when you’re with the person you love more than anyone else in the world.  Maybe you aren’t supposed to even notice the days rolling by.

    This year, our anniversary has me reminiscing and remembering the years, but especially the origins of our relationship.  I am thinking now would be a lovely time to share that story with you as well!

    Hubs and I went to a religious university – he was a year ahead of me.  When you attend a religious school, there is a lot of joking about getting your MRS. degree and our school even had a name for getting engaged before the end of senior year: Ring by Spring.  As with most things, the jokes are funny because they are true.  So, let me preface this story by saying that Hubs and I were not looking for a marriage with our degrees… it just worked out that way.

    You see, when there is so much “joking” in a place about relationships, the place tends to cater to and ultimately promote those relationships.  There was this event that the school encouraged via tradition called a Twix.  The premise being that a wing of one of the dorms (wing = floor and side of building) would host and invite dates for each person who was going.  The trick with this, though, was that the person couldn’t ask a date for himself… the asking had to come from a roommate.

    Got it?

    Well, Hubs’ wing was hosting this event and he needed a date.  Apparently he’d seen me around, but we’d never met.  There was another girl he’d seen around too, so he had his friend call us alternately until someone picked up.

    Cut scene to my freshman dorm room – my roommate and I were just studying and hanging out when my phone rings.  I pick it up and this guy is inviting me to go on a date with his friend.  This is not something I would have ever agreed to do, except that my roommate was giggling the whole time and I assumed she had set it up.  Imagine my surprise when I hung up and she asked me who it was!  She didn’t know anything about it and was, apparently, just giggly that day.  Neither of us had any idea who I was going out with!

    When it came time for the event, I made her walk with me over to the dorm in case my date was really creepy and I needed an out.

    It’s so funny to think about that now – he’s such a sweet and respectful person – not creepy at all!  What can I say, though, I was terrified!  *grin*  But, that first encounter went about as well as it possibly could have.  We ate dinner and went bowling and all of his friends from his wing were nice to me.  I think I was the only freshman there, so it was definitely uncomfortable, but that was the start of our friendship and eventual relationship!

    It’s been almost 10 years since that date and I can’t help but smile and get a little giggly even now when I think about it.  So many things could have gone differently – what if his friend had reached the other girl first?  what if my roommate hadn’t acted like she knew what was happening?  what if I had chickened out and didn’t go?  I guess we’ll never know, and I am so grateful for that!


  • September 2, 2015

    Blueberry Buckle


    The following recipe was adapted from a recipe my Grandmother’s dear friend, Gwen, gave to her many years ago.  This recipe has been a family favorite since I can remember and definitely takes me back to sunny summer days with my aunt.  I always fancied myself an elegant pastry maker whenever I was in my aunt’s kitchen and I’m so glad to have those fun memories now.

    I hope this recipe brings you and those you share it with great happiness and that you might build your own fond memories with it.

    Blueberry Buckle Recipe

    By Erin Published: September 2, 2015

      The following recipe was adapted from a recipe my Grandmother's dear friend, Gwen, gave to her many years ago.  This recipe has been …



      1. IngredientsGather ingredients and set oven to 375 degrees.
      2. DoughMix first 4 ingredients completely. Stir in flour, salt, baking powder.
      3. Fold-in-BlueberriesFold in berries taking care not to smash them in the process.
      4. Ready-to-BakeSpread in a 9" pan.
      5. Topping-IngredientsCombine topping ingredients to create a crumbly topping.
      6. Crumble-ToppingTop cake mixture with crumble mixture and bake for 45 - 50 minutes.


      Pro-Tip: Try not to over blend your crumb topping.  Ultimately, what you really want is chunky bits of butter covered in sugar.  This is not a health food.  *grin*