Always, Katie: June 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

Confessional Friday: Pet Peeves

I just found a cool new link-up that I'm going to participte it, at least until the end of the summer.  One of the reasons I love "Coffee and Conversation" is for the serious, deep, probing questions... this link-up is not like that!  The questions are intentionally kind of silly, light and fluffy... perfect for a fun little Friday post :-)  

I couldn't find a button for this specific link-up, but this goes to her homepage, so this'll do :-)  This week's prompt is...

Biggest pet peeves (come on, spill 'em!)

This is going to make me sound like a wholly unpleasant person, but I have SO many peeves!  It’s hard to pick a “pet.”  Among the contenders, in no particular order (since it varies moment-to-moment):
  • Lazy grammar. Grammatical mistakes don’t bother me, but you have to at least TRY, y’all! Sometimes English is complicated, but some rules are pretty easy. Seriously. “Me and her” is never correct. “I” is not the formal “me.” Neither is “myself.” There are specific times to use each of them.  

  • It is spelled D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y. de-FINITE-ly. Learn the word “finite” (it’s a good one!) and add “de” and “ly.” Also, “defiantly” IS a word (which is why autocorrect allows it), but it means something altogether different.  

Actual print you can buy.  Seriously considering it...
  • People who take their kids for granted. Don’t whine about them in front of me, because I would gladly take them off your hands. And I know it’s not all sunshine and unicorn poop, so the occasional vent or cry for encouragement is understandable… but “ugh, my kids are putting a crimp in my nightlife” will make me want to throw Petri dishes and negative HPTs at you, as will daily gripes about very normal things...  
  • Dogs not being allowed everywhere kids are allowed. (Just kidding.) (Sorta.) (Okay, not really kidding.)  
  • “You have diabetes? (My great-aunt died of that.”) (Try losing weight.”)
    (PUT DOWN THAT COOKIE!!”) (My cat is diabetic, too!”)

    Thanks to Type 1 Diabetes Memes
  • Hypocrisy.
  • Waiting. I don’t know if this counts as a peeve, but I hate it ;-)

  • People who smoke where I have no choice but to walk through it. If I wanted to inhale that garbage, I’d get my own cancer sticks.
  • Non-educators writing education policy.
  • Crappy 4G… or worse, E. But then, that might be related to the waiting thing. 
    Have a wonderful, peeve-free weekend!


    Monday, June 24, 2013

    Coffee and Conversation #14: Making a Difference

    Coffee & Conversation

    I'm linking up again with "Coffee and Conversation"!  This is this week's prompt:  
    "What does it mean to you to have made a difference in this world? What are you doing to achieve that change, and how has it been made possible?"

    If I make one person’s life better than it would have been otherwise, I will feel that I have made a difference in the world.  

    One way in which I hope I am planting seeds for a better world is guest-speaking in some of the special education and early methods classes in the education department where my husband teaches.  I talk about girls with ADHD, specifically the ways ADHD symptoms manifest differently in girls than in boys.  My own ADHD went undiagnosed until I was a couple of months away from my college graduation, so I never received the kinds of services that I should have in grade school.  

    The primary symptom of my ADHD was extreme disorganization that caused lots of trouble meeting deadlines, and I still struggle with both of these things to this day.  In school, I was – to put it mildly – an underachiever, and it was frustrating because I KNEW the materials and I WANTED to turn in my homework, but I just couldn’t seem to follow through on these things.  I had no idea what was wrong with me.  And because teachers and the general public didn’t understand much about how ADHD manifests in girls, my teachers and parents didn’t know what was wrong with me either.  It definitely impacted my self-esteem, and is probably at least partially responsible for the depression I have lived with since I was about ten.

    I enjoy getting to speak to classes of future teachers, presenting the research I have done in grad school about girls with ADHD (you can read a little bit more about the differences in this blog post or this article), and the students seem to enjoy hearing about my personal experiences as an undiagnosed, untreated girl with ADHD as a primary, secondary and college student.  My prayer is that one young teacher remembers the day I spoke to her college class and reconsiders why one of her female students may be struggling, with the possibility of ADHD in mind.  If this little girl is spared the mental health and academic struggles I had, I would feel I had made a difference in the world... and I would feel blessed and thankful for that opportunity!


    Friday, June 21, 2013

    The Hunt for Home: Buttercream

    Two weeks ago, I shared some of the must-have features of the home we are searching for, and today I’m going to talk about some of the features that we would prefer and some that would be the chocolate buttercream on the cake.  

    Pinterest, can't find original source

    • Formal dining room

    I want to be able to host bigger family and friend gatherings, and the more dining seating, the better.  If it doesn’t have a formal dining room, then the dining area needs to be nice and spacious… with room for a pretty sizable table and chairs that will seat six people at the VERY least.  


    • Laundry on the same level as bedrooms

    In our apartment and our Ohio house, the laundry rooms have been a few steps from our bedroom, and it is so.nice.  And when our laundry load doubles or more, I’m sure I will appreciate it even more.  It’s not a deal breaker, but… it sure would be preferable!


    • Walk-in closets.

    This is close to a must-have, but really, as long as the closets are roomy, it’ll be fine.  I really have a much easier time keeping my closets organized and wearing my clothes evenly when they have a little extra room to breathe, though.  


    • A pretty entry way

    Preferably with a pretty staircase – even more preferably with a cool upstairs hallway with a railing overlooking said staircase and entry way.  Yeah, this is totally a buttercream thing, but it would give me big warm-fuzzies and I have daydreams about seasonal decorations… sigh.


    • Gas Fireplace

    For hanging stockings over.  Yeah, Christmas traditions are THAT important to me! But our allergies won’t tolerate wood fires, so it’s gotta be gas.  If there’s not already one, we’ll have to add one.  :-) 


    • Hardwood floors

    Another thing that will be much better for our allergies.  Carpet holds all kinds of icky allergens!  The more area covered by hardwood, the better we’ll like the house!  

    Pinterest, can't find original source

    • Finished (or partially finished) basement

    We have to have some storage area, and neither one of us are keen on attic-climbing, so some of the basement will have to be storage.  But we do like the idea of a rec room/craft area/man cave/whatever area downstairs and out of the way of company and whatnot.  I can see that kind of area being useful in different ways for different life stages.

    I'm almost certain I'm leaving some things out, but this is an idea of what we're looking for... Essentially, a home that allows us to not only raise a family, but be hospitable to our extended family, friends, and friends of our kids.  We want our home to be a haven for us, but also one where everyone we love can feel comfortable and at home.  :-) 


    Monday, June 17, 2013

    Puppy Birthday Pictures and Some Yummy Doggy Snacks

    Our little emperor (he's named after Charlemagne) turned 4 on June 11th, and he spent a quiet and cozy day with most of his favorite people at his grandmom and grandpop's house.  :-) 

    His grandpop picked out a birthday gift for him, and I made him some special treats.  We all got a kick out of watching him "open" his gifts after supper.  While he obviously didn't understand WHY he was the center of attention, I'm pretty sure he thought all was finally right with the world when all eyes were on him!  And that makes my little fur-momma heart happy!

    I found this recipe for Sweet Potato Dog Chews on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and immediately decided that they would be a perfect birthday gift.  Charley is a really strong chewer, and LOVES rawhide.  But he ended up chewing them way too fast, and ingesting way too much for such a tiny system.  And it got kinda gross.  But I figured these might be easier for him to digest and hopefully he won't get all clogged and sick. I really hope this turns out to be a good thing for him to chew on without the side effects from rawhide.

    I made the recipe pretty much as the recipe is written.  I think the blog post is really good and easy-to-follow, and in the end, there is a lot of room for variation in these.  Also, I made two sweet potatoes worth of chews, which cost me a grand total of... $1.42.  Not too shabby!

    Now, on to the adorableness...

    Grandpop offering a gift bag to the birthday boy...
    He's kinda scared of tissue paper.
    Opening the package... since he has opposable thumbs and Charley doesn't.
    It's open and Charley cannot WAIT!
    AWFULLY excited about his new bone!
    He loves it... just look at that adoring gaze..
    Dehydrated Sweet Potato Chew
    He devoured it very soon after this :-)
    So, bottom lines: our dog is awesome and cute, and this recipe is easy and seems to be a hit with the canine people. :-) 


    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    Coffee and Conversation #13: Why "Always, Katie"?

    I am joining a link-up today called "Coffee and Conversation." All of the bloggers who want to join the conversation are given a prompt - a prompt that requires some thought and sometimes some soul-baring. I love that they're not all fluffy, but that we can actually learn some really cool things about our BlogLand neighbors. This week's prompt is:

    What's the meaning behind your blog title and why? Do you believe you have upheld the meaning's purpose?

    I mention the meaning of “Always, Katie” in the introduction section of my Etsy shop (which is closed for the summer due to travel), but I don’t believe I’ve ever really explained the name here.

    For several years, I have signed all of my written correspondence “Always, Katie,” “Love always, Katie” or simply “Always.” They started out as almost instinctive, but when I really thought about why that is my go-to sign-off, it seemed that to me, these phrases express the constancy I strive for in my close relationships… that I will always love, support, warmly regard, pray for, walk with, think of, and/or stand beside my friends, family and others in my circle. 

    A fairly good-sized sample of people I love!
    I decided to name my jewelry business after my favorite sign-off, because my favorite part of the business is all of the different kinds of communication that are involved.

    • I communicate with my friends, family, customers, and potential customers through this blog.
    • I communicate with my customers to create custom pieces or help them pick out ready-made-pieces.
    • Art is a form of communication in itself. While I usually involve my customer in the creative process, the finished piece still communicates something of me as the artist.
    • Often, my customers gift the jewelry they buy from me to someone they love – which is another form of communication. They are communicating their thanks, love, well-wishes, or other feelings.
    • Whoever is the final owner of jewelry I make uses it to communicate with the world. They may communicate their love of certain colors, their pride in their family, their stylishness, or even their devotion or connection to certain causes, sports or teams.
    Domestic Violence Awareness
      And much like the written communication I have with my friends and family, I want to convey to my customers and potential customers that I care about them as more than customers, and that I am available to them for jewelry and non-jewelry related needs. I like building relationships with my customers, and have made real and lasting friends because of my jewelry and my blog. 

      Made for a repeat-customer-turned-friend's wedding!
      It’s no great secret to my long-time followers that my blogging in this space has been sporadic and gone through some evolutions. But I feel that I have still upheld the purpose of the meaning and goals of this blog, as the changes reflect my own changes and struggles. It’s a little bit cringe-inducing to look back on my early days of blogging, and I have considered deleting all posts before some (still undetermined) point, but the learning curve and growing pains are part of my blogging and business story and are reflective of my personal story. So for now, the awkward beginning posts can stay ;-) 

      Made for a friend to give her sister (another friend)!
      I am currently trying to reach out and make connections and friends in the blogging community, as my needs right now are more for a sense of belonging than for jewelry customers. (Not that I wouldn’t take custom work, of course, haha!) I hope that when I am ready to reopen and rededicate myself to my shop, I will have some traffic. But even if “Always, Katie” the brand is never very successful, I hope that I will have developed a group of friends in BlogLand with whom I can laugh, mourn, celebrate, strive, pray, and encourage each other. Always.


      Tuesday, June 11, 2013

      Blog Lovin'

      Just a real quick pop-in post to let anyone following this blog know that they can follow me on Blog Lovin'... I guess GFC is going away or changing or something?  Anyway, I'm really loving following the blogs I follow over there... it's a neat set-up! 


      PS: Tonight, we celebrated the birthday of the cutest puppy ever.  Be looking for pictures of adorableness (and see what I made for him) in the next week or so!

      Monday, June 10, 2013

      Recipe Review: Peanut Butter Honey Cookies {from Hungry Brownie}

      I have found several yummy recipes on Pinterest, but recently I found THE YUMMIEST.  If you like peanut butter and cookies and amazingness, you need to make these cookies.  There really aren’t many ingredients, and if your peanut butter jar is fairly new, you probably have everything you need in the kitchen right now.  When I made them the first time, I only had enough honey for a half-batch, but the recipe halves very easily and I still made about 15 good-sized cookies.  I also only had creamy peanut butter the first time and they still turned out delicious. 

      The flavor is rich and peanut buttery, but in a deeper, less sugary kind of way.  And the texture, ohmygoodness, guys… the texture.  This cannot be oversold.  They are soft, but not falling-apart soft, slightly chewy but not tough.  They are seriously the cookies dreams are made of.  

      The second time I made them, I used crunchy peanut butter like the recipe calls for, and they seemed like entirely different - but equally delish - cookies. They are a little puffier and crumbly this way, and obviously they have crunchy nuts in them.  Either way, this recipe is a winner! 

      Here is the recipe, straight from Elaine at Hungry Brownie:


      2 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter, at room temperature
      1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
      1/2 cup honey
      1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      2 large eggs
      2 teaspoon vanilla extract


      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

      On a low speed, beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda, and honey. Blend for a minute until mixed, then slowly add the flour and mix well.

      Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix on low speed until just blended, about 25 seconds.

      Scoop the dough (about 2 tablespoons) onto the baking sheets with 1 to 2 inches apart. Do not press down on the dough.

      Bake one cookie sheet at a time for about 13-15 minutes or until slightly brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer for a cooling rack to completely cool.

      Enjoy the cookies!"
      Elaine takes beautiful pictures of her beautiful recipes, so I’m borrowing hers.  The above picture of the peanut butter cookies is mine… the rest are hers.

      She suggested that if I liked these cookies, I should check out her Cinnamon Honey Banana Bread.  I’ve peeked at the recipe, and it does look fantastic.  It’s on my to-do list for sure! 

      Now… go follow her blog, then head to the kitchen or grocery store.  You need these peanut butter cookies, like, now.  ;-)



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