Always, Katie: February 2016


Thursday, February 25, 2016

E-Coupon Organizer (FREE Printable!)


Who else LOVES e-coupons?  I mean, coupons in general are awesome, but the kind you don't have to cut out and carry with you, worry about losing before you get to the register?  Brilliant!  

My problem with them, though, is that I have a hard time going back and forth between my grocery list on my phone, the store's ad on my phone, and the list of the coupons... also on my phone.  

I can't TELL you how many times I've missed using an e-coupon I'd loaded onto my loyalty card by buying TWO boxes of Hamburger Helpers instead of THREE ;-)  Blaaarrgh!

How much easier would it be to have an organized physical list of these e-coupons to reference while building your grocery list? I couldn't really find any online, so I whipped one up to use.  I thought I'd go ahead and share with all of you, in case you've had those aggravating experiences like I have :-) 

Go ahead and save the above jpg file, or click here to download a pdf version!

Have a wonderful day!  Happy couponing! :-) 


Monday, February 22, 2016

30 by 30: Stuff to Accomplish Before My Next "Big One"

I had the realization last week that I am now closer to my 30th birthday than I am to our embryo transfer. Since transfer feels like just yesterday, I can only assume that my birthday will be, like, tomorrow. :-)  I'm actually pretty excited for it.  I joke about this coming birthday being my "first 29th," but I've always looked forward to 30.  Kind of like Jenna Rink in 13 Going on 30. ;-)  It just sounds so much more grown up and I feel like people will take me more seriously ;-)  Although, it WILL make me a bit long in the tooth in a lot of the blogging communities I'm in... :-)

In the spirit of embracing this exciting 18 months (or so), I've decided to start a 30 by 30 list!  I've loved reading these from some of my friends, so hopefully you guys will enjoy following along while I try to live up the next year and a half!  I'm not approaching this as a list of things that, if I don't do them by 30, will never happen, as if turning 30 is some kind of ending.  It's not a list of things that I need to accomplish to feel fulfilled on my 30th birthday.  It's just some fun stuff I've been wanting to do or try, and why not use this occasion to try new things and have a blast?  

So, without further rambling... 

Katie Hodge's 30 Things to Do or Try Before I'm 30 Years Old!



Have you done some of these things?  Any advice for me on how to approach any of them?  What are some things you'd put on YOUR list?  :-)
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PS: I've made some progress!  Here's an update from about three months in :-)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Andes Mint Chocolate Popcorn

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, it will not cost you any extra, but I'll make a teeny bit of money from it.  Thanks!

This winter I ran into a grocery store for milk and came out with these little Andes mint chips.  I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but I HAD to have them :-)

Fast forward, like, 6 months ;-) and I've been rolling this one little idea around in my head for a while.  So last week, in an effort to push through a particularly bad bout of anxiety, I decided to try something new, and this yummy little snack was born :-)


First things first: you need some popcorn! Plainer is better... I popped mine in my Whirley-Pop (you have one of these, right? If you love popcorn, you need one!), using just a little bit of coconut oil.  

Put that popcorn in a nice, big bowl.  You're going to be doing some tossing and stirring, so make sure you have lots of room in there. 

While the popcorn cools, line a cookie sheet with wax paper and start making your mint chocolate drizzle.  Go ahead and toss the chocolate chips and 1/4C of the Andes chips together and microwave in bursts of 20 seconds, stirring between each zapping :-)  Once the drizzle is fully melted and smooth, drizzle it into the big bowl of popcorn one smallish spoonful at a time, tossing the popcorn after each drizzle.  After several spoonsful, the popcorn will start to stick together.  Use a spatula to keep turning it if tossing isn't working anymore, until all of the drizzle has been added.

Add the rest of the Andes chips to the chocolatey popcorn and give it all one last toss before turning it out onto the waiting cookie sheet.  Melt your candy melts - I like to do this in a ziplock baggie, standing up in a coffee mug so all of the melts collect in a corner - and drizzle it over the popcorn on the cookie sheet. :-)  Let everything cool and set, then break up into chunks and serve!  It'll be a smidge messy, but nobody's likely to complain :-)  


A corsage baggie full with a cute twist tie and tag would be a super-cute and tasty St. Patrick's Day treat for coworkers or the mailman!


Ingredients: 
Procedure:
  1. Pop popcorn, set aside in large bowl to cool.
  2. Line cookie sheet with wax paper.
  3. Melt chocolate chips and 1/4 C of the Andes baking chips together in the microwave.
  4. Gradually add melted chocolate to popcorn, stirring or tossing frequently, until well-coated.
  5. Gently stir in remaining 3/4 C of Andes chips.
  6. Spread mixture on the prepared cookie sheet.
  7. Melt candy melts and drizzle randomly onto the chocolate-coated popcorn.
  8. Allow to set fully, then break into chunks and serve. 

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Motherhood Monday: Motherhood Mindset (with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety)

I was recently lucky enough to be welcomed into a group of fantastic mom bloggers on Facebook, and one of the benefits of this group is the chance to participate in a weekly motherhood-themed blog hop.  I'm getting in right in the middle of a 12-week run, and this week we're all writing about our motherhood mindsets.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

4 Facts Survey

My new friend Jackie, of My (Sort of) Adult Life, nominated me to answer a few "getting to know you" type questions in the Four Facts survey :-)  Reminds me of the old MySpace surveys (remember?), so yay for a throwback!


Four names people call me other than my real name: 
  • Kat - sometimes my sister, mostly me when I'm scolding myself.  As in, "Get it together, Kat."  No clue why I don't just call myself Katie!
  • Momma Bear -  Ethan and I have taken to calling each other Momma Bear and Papa Bear lately :-)
  • Sweetie - (also: honey, sometimes baby) 
  • Aunt Katie - literally the only other thing I can think of that people call me.  I've never really had nicknames!!  Anyone want to give me one? ;-)

Four jobs I've had:
  • Substitute teacher - from 6th grade through high school, for several districts.  Loved it!
  • Jewelry instructor - at a national craft store chain... loved teaching, was not a fan of the whole corporate thing... 
  • Security officer - at an all-but-dead mall in my hometown.  I usually worked the Saturday night-into-Sunday morning midnight shift.  Most people looked at 5'3" me in my uniform and tall trooper hat and laughed.  
  • Candy Striper - yeah, this was volunteer, but it was hands down the best "job" ever!  I did it for five years, and made sooo many great friends and a ton of great memories. 

Four movies I've watched more than once (I tend to rewatch a LOT of movies, so these are some of my most-watched):
  • Star Wars.  (The six oldest ones, anyway).  My dad got me hooked when I was little, and I watched the old trilogy enough to memorize them... then the prequels came out... memorized those, too.  Then I met Ethan, and finished a quote he started over a meal he'd made me... made him fall in love with me right then and there ;-)  Star Wars has been good to me ;-)
  • Legally Blonde - whoever said orange is the new pink, was SERIOUSLY disturbed.
  • Miss Congeniality - S.I.N.G!
  • Mamma Mia - This movie is seriously my insta-happy!  Like Wellbutrin in video form ;-) And Meryl Streep is the bomb! 

Four books (or authors) I'd recommend:
  • The Princess by Lori Wick - Just a sweet, feel-good Christian romance novel... not even super-unique, but it's one of my favorites :-) 
  • Just about anything by Philippa Gregory - I love historical fiction from the Tudor period :-)
  • The Witness Wore Red - Women who find the strength to escape toxic or dangerous situations are awesome.
  • Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland - ditto above ;-)

Four places I've lived: 
  • Middletown, OH - hometown.
  • Oxford, OH - college town (Love and Honor!)
  • Carlisle, OH - newlywed town
  • Anderson, SC - brief (1.5 year) adventure for Ethan's job before coming home!

Four places I've visited:
  • Gatlinburg/Sevierville/Pigeon Forge, TN - Ethan's side's favorite vacation spot
  • Mediterranean - Nice, Cannes, Rome, Vatican City, Florence, Pisa, Sorrento, Amalfi, Naples... on our honeymoon.
  • Paris, France - 3 day "layover" on our way home from our honeymoon.  (Included a day trip to Normandy and the D-Day beaches!)

Four things I'd rather be doing right now: (Honestly... nothing... I'm playing around online, blogging, watching a movie, hanging out with my wonderful husband, and eating.  I'm fairly content at the moment! So... four of my other favorite things to do...)
  • Driving back roads with the windows down and Reba or Garth turned up!
  • Baking
  • Getting a massage
  • Sleeping

Four things I prefer not to eat:
  • Pickles - I may be the only mother in the world who made through an entire pregnancy without eating or wanting a single pickle. 
  • Mustard
  • Onions
  • Peppers

Four of my FAVORITE foods: 
  • Bacon cheeseburger 
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sour/fruity candy

Four TV shows I watch:
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Brooklyn-99
  • You, Me, and the Apocalypse
  • Jane the Virgin 

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:
  • Abbie's and Sam's first birthday!  And all the exciting planning that goes along with it!
  • My first 29th birthday ;-)   
  • Hopefully meeting my bloggy bestie in person and getting a biggggg hug!
  • My other bestie hopefully visiting this summer?

Four things I'm always saying:
  • "People are crazy."  - Am I right?
  • "Ow." - I'm a hopeless klutz ;-)
  • "Dude." - Because sometimes, that's all you CAN say.
  • "They're so YUMMY!" - My kids are delicious. 
Four bloggers I tag to do this:
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

3 More Voices on Relationships and Social Media (Continuing the Conversation)


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote this post about social media and hypersensitivity... today, I wanted to follow up on that a bit and share some posts by other bloggers who are also thinking about some of the things I talked about in my original post :-)

Lindsay at It's Simply Lindsay wrote about how to respond to negativity with kindness.  I was challenged by it...  I try to be a kind person, but it sure isn't easy sometimes!  She reminds us of all the reasons why this is such an important and valuable skill to learn.

Annie at The Free and Wild Blog shared this, about the generation who put down their phones.  I feel like maybe some of her points are a little bit overstated (although not necessarily untrue), but it's compelling and an interesting read. :-) Check it out and see what you think :-)

Emma at The Happy Journal wrote a very heartfelt post about considering what you post and being positive on social media.  I'd be interested to read your thoughts on this... personally, I have shared a lot of struggles and "darker" feelings around my depression, infertility, etc, and I've done so out of a desire to relate, connect, and hopefully encourage.  I don't regret it, and I have no plans to do what she did, although I greatly respect her actions and the epiphany that led to them :-)  

I love that there's room for all kinds of very different approaches to the way we handle and utilize social media, and that not one of these approaches is a one-size-fits-all solution or template for everybody. 
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Monday, February 1, 2016

Illustrated Faith: First Few Pages (Matthew, Exodus, 1 Samuel)

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on it and make a purchase, it will not cost you any extra, but I'll make a teeny bit of money from it.  Thanks!

I have been following the Illustrated Faith movement with great interest for a few months, and I got my first journaling Bible for Christmas! I've done a few pages, and while I am nowhere near as artistically inclined as lots of the other people who do this, that's not really what it's about :-) 

Here are a few of my favorites... I'm doing favorite memory verses and also hoping to start journaling passages used in our pastor's sermons.

My first pages <3  A story I can relate to, a cry I remember well... and a happy ending I'm thankful I can also claim <3

Fun fact: the music is roughly Amazing Grace.  Very roughly, because I didn't feel like messing with all the lines ;-) Another fun fact: I haven't touched watercolors since elementary school... haha!
Maybe my favorite... this speaks to my tired new mom, anxious, PPD, etc heart. Such a powerful promise!
I really feel like this is revolutionizing my quiet time!  It makes so much sense to me to journal and study this way... as a visual, creative person, outlines and detailed notes don't come naturally to me, and don't stick with me.  But rolling a passage around in my head for a while, praying about what I'm supposed to take away from it, then trying to express that visually has helped both the words and the message stay in my head and heart much better :-) 

Who else has tried this?  Would you please share any of your favorite inspiration, or your own posts?  If you haven't tried this and you're a visual creative like I am, I encourage you to give it a whirl!
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