Weekly Wishes #2

Last week I went on a hike with my dad and saw this awesome fallen tree.

This Weekly Wishes post will be a place for me to share my goals for the week. Hopefully blogging about them will help them to actually happen!

So, last week's goals: 
Be sociable! I was more social and had more on my calendar this week than I have all summer. It got hard at times, but I managed to go out at night and have some fun! I even got to talk to some people I wouldn't have gotten to if I'd been at home in my pajamas.
Stay positive. This one was easier than I thought. I am slightly sad about not being back at school, because I like school. But I also have good things happening in my non-school life, so I haven't been focused at all on everybody else still in school. 
Eat a lot of cake. I have only one cake left! My dad also wanted cookies so I may have taken a cake break for those. 

This week, I want to:

Work on my Spanish. I might be moving somewhere where I would need to be fluent, so since I'm nowhere near that I really need to get to work. My friend has been encouraging me to use Duolingo, which he loves, so I've started with the app and I've also got some textbooks to go through. So it will almost be like back to school! 

Finish a book. I've been neglecting my reading! I'm in the middle of a few books and I want to finish at least one this week. 

Unpack. Okay, don't judge me, but I'm still not unpacked from college. And all my stuff is in an obnoxious pile in the basement that I'm sick of looking at. I hope to get some of that organized and dealt with. 

Wish me luck on my goals this week, and I hope you accomplish yours too! Don't forget to link up to Melyssa at The Nectar Collective to share with everyone else!

The Nectar Collective


Tiered Cake Tuesday!

As I mentioned yesterday, I made these really cute cakes on Sunday so I wanted to share! I don't really want to share the cakes themselves, but.. The way I did them!

Years ago I saw these cake tins online that would bake mini tiered (okay, mini wedding, and yeah, maybe it was on Pinterest) cakes and I immediately wanted them, but could never find them anywhere. I had mentioned this to the youth leader at my church and she always looked for them for me, but never found them either. When I graduated from college and came back home, she said she had a present for me - the cake tin! She had found it somewhere and she got it for me!

So all summer I've wanted to make them and all summer I've been lazy.. Sunday was the day!

Pretty much the most important part is the cute apron part. Mine is Vera Bradley and I want to wear it any chance I get. I looooovvvvve aprons. They are my guilty pleasure. I really don't have that many, I swear. Three tops. But I love them so much. Though I sometimes question the functionality of half aprons, they are still too cute to not buy.
I used a box.. Sue me. 
I think we all know how to make a cake from a box.. It's pretty simple. So just enjoy the pictures for a minute while I go get another piece of this cake to eat. Wait, don't want to ruin my dinner... Might be worth it, though.

Now we sit in our pretty apron and watch Veronica Mars on DVD while we wait for the cakes to be finished! (If you haven't watched Veronica Mars yet, you need to get to work on that. You know about the movie, right?!)

Another note: I got this Duncan Hines Frosting Creations to use for the frosting, and Mint Chocolate flavor to mix into the can. This Frosting Creations thing sounds like a really great idea to me. You get a flavor packet and mix it in so you have whatever flavor frosting you want! How great is that? I need to make more cakes now so I can try different flavors. Chocolate Marshmallow may have to be next (I'm also s'mores-obsessed).  

My only regret about this cake is assuming that marble would be a good idea. While tasty, the shape of the pans really didn't allow for much mixing of the chocolate, so pretty much all the "marble" is in the center of the cakes. Again, though, still tasty, so I consider it a success. 

You probably won't be surprised to know that Mint Chocolate frosting makes the cake go SO well with mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

And there you have it! So far I'm doing great with my Weekly Wish to eat this cake.. Day 2 and going strong, really.

I checked lots of blogs to try to find out the timing and temperature and everything for this pan, and I couldn't really find anything specific enough so if you're trying to make these cakes, feel free to ask me for more details before you put anything in the oven!


Weekly Wishes #1

After reading everyone else's Weekly Wishes through Melyssa at The Nectar Collective for the past two weeks, I decided it was about time to do one of my own. This Weekly Wishes post will be a place for me to share my goals for the week. Hopefully blogging about them will help them to actually happen! 

Be sociable! My best friend is visiting for the week, and I haven't seen her since she moved to Texas. When she lived here, I usually wanted to be lame and stay home rather than go out with her. Of course, now that she's gone and I'm back from school for good, I don't really have anyone to hang out with ever, so I'm going to hopefully have a lot of fun with her this week! 

Stay positive. Speaking of being back from school and graduated, this means I won't be moving back like the rest of my friends are doing as I type. I think it's going to be difficult to not get sad about not going back to the place I just spent the last four years, with the people I already miss. I'm already counting the days until Homecoming when I get to see everyone, but I don't want to focus on that this week! I can be happy for them without being sad for me, right???? I think so. 

Eat a lot of cake. I baked 3 mini cakes yesterday (post about that is coming!) so I've got some eating to do! This will be a fun goal to accomplish. 

Wish me luck on my goals this week, and I hope you accomplish yours too! Don't forget to link up to Melyssa at The Nectar Collective to share with everyone else!

The Nectar Collective


Training Camp

Can you guess where I went this week? It was the end of Redskins training camp, and while I'm not a fan of the team (or their offensive mascot), I am a football fan. Since this is the team that practices closest to where I live, I wanted to see what it would be like.

It was much like you would expect. Guys in jerseys running around, throwing and catching footballs. Everyone wearing matching jerseys.. It would be impossible to find anyone you lost! But they all seemed to be having fun, so that's good.

I did get to put on a helmet that I almost immediately regretted, since probably hundreds of people had worn it before me.

Possible highlight of the day was getting to see a sorority sister that I haven't seen since May! She was a real fan, taking a bunch of photos right on the frontlines, but we got to chat for a little bit (and of course, take a photo).

It was still a good day and fun to see all the excited fans. We talked to a family that was making a vacation out of it: staying at a hotel and visiting restaurants they'd seen on the Food Network. The little boys had their Sharpies ready for autographs. They told us about the many autographs they had gotten years before - RG3 had taken off his glove, signed it, and given it to one of them. Sounds cute! Though I'm not fully sure who RG3 is, or why he goes by RG3.

Now that I've been to one training camp, I really need to go to another! But next time, I hope it will be for my favorite team, so I can get crazy with jerseys and photos and autographs and all! Truly, truly.. I am a Cheesehead.

Go Pack Go!


A Day to Myself

Wednesday, the whole family took a trip up to Maryland: mom, dad, dog, sister.. Everyone except for me! And it was glorious.

I woke up earlier than I usually do because I didn't want to waste the day to myself! I had my iced coffee and Dunkin' Donuts while I relaxed with some music and read some good blogs. Okay, maybe I danced around the house in my pajamas, too.. That's an important part of having the house to yourself.

Then I wrote a letter to my grandma, and made some lunch, and kept relaxing..

Maybe did some more solo dancing.

Judge me! Just kidding, I know you all do it too.

After lunch I needed dessert, so I did some more work on my pint of Ben and Jerry's.. I don't know why it's so difficult for me to finish this Red Velvet! This was the third time I'd had some, and some flavors I can dominate. Red Velvet is proving to be more of a challenge, because I still haven't finished it. Although that could be a good thing, I suppose!

I also did some reading. I am a library fanatic and try to read some every day. Sometimes it ends up being at night before bed so I only get to read a few pages, but other times, like Wednesday, I have time to sit down and read a lot. Currently I'm reading Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler with art by Maira Kalman. I like the artwork in it so that's what's keeping me reading it right now; I want to get to the next section so I can see the next illustration. Although pairing it with the Ben and Jerry's does paint a sad picture, in truth I am enjoying it, not thinking of any breakups that aren't in the book.

All in all, it was a fantastic day that I got to spend in whatever way I wanted to.

I highly recommend having a "me day" once in a while to do what you want to do! Eat ice cream and dance around in your underwear (wait, did I say pajamas before?). Do a spa treatment or two! I didn't do this but I like to at times I know I won't be bothered. My favorite thing is a cucumber peel-off mask that you can get at CVS (though link is to Amazon). I think they have more scents/varieties like pomegranate and other fruits that I would also love to try. Spend some time reading or doing artwork or crafts, and maybe write a letter to someone you know would love to hear from you!

Let me know what you do on your "me day!" 


Every Day

Today I spent a few hours finishing Every Day by David Levithan. He has been one of my favorite authors ever since I read The Realm of Possibility when I was probably 15 or 16, so whenever I see a new book of his at the library, I check it out. This was the best of his I've ever read, and the first one has remained on my list of favorite books for years, so that's saying something.

It was about a person who wakes up in a different body every day. This has been happening for this person's entire life, so it's pretty familiar and routine, until as Justin, he meets Rhiannon and finds in her a person he wants to share his time and secret with. You can imagine how difficult that would be if you change bodies every day.

The way the character interacts with other people when in the different bodies is fascinating.. I mean, if you were someone else for a day, you could do anything you wanted to without any consequences for you. The person you were that day would have to deal with it. Some people would use that to their advantage, but the protagonist always thinks about the consequences for the other person - that is, until Rhiannon.

I seriously couldn't put this down; I read almost 200 pages today to finish it, even though I wasn't even halfway done when I woke up this morning. It was just so good.

I give it five stars and would recommend it to just about anyone.

The Great Manatee Search

Two days ago I was sitting on the couch, reading various blogs, and basically enjoying doing nothing. I read one that motivated me to search for my city on Twitter and found a tweet from a kid that said there was a manatee in the river here!

Now, for background to this story, you must know that I am obsessed with manatees. They are my favorite animal. I'm sure I've seen them before, at aquariums and maybe once when I was with friends in Florida (but that was long ago for my memory.. So I don't know if it's true or not.). So in my recent memory, I've never seen a manatee! But I want to. I don't especially like being in the water, because there are unknown things in there and also what if I drown. But I've been thinking it would be pretty ultimate to go swimming with manatees in Florida. This is a thing people can do.

Back to the story. I needed to go find this manatee. But neither car was at the house, so I had to wait for my dad to get home. He took us to the river in about three different places and we searched until it got dark, but found nothing.

I went from "my sister wants to video this excitement" excited to "where is my red velvet ice cream" sad.

We went searching again the next day but again didn't find the manatee.


One day I will see one. And we'll obviously become best friends.


August Snail Mail Collective

Those who know me well know how obsessed I am with mail. I regularly buy too much stationery (hey, I do get a discount at a card store) and I love getting letters in the mail. Really I love getting anything in the mail. My dog even gets excited when I take her out to go check the mailbox. So when I saw the words "Snail Mail Collective," I was obviously really excited. I happened upon The Nectar Collective.

I'm paired up with someone (Stephanie from Alabama - AKA the state I was born in but don't remember!) and for a few weeks we will get to know each other - by emailing, reading each other's blogs, basically becoming BFFs.. And then at the end of the month we'll send each other a gift! This month's theme is "Under the Sea." I don't know how that's going to work yet, but I'm sure I will think of something!

Stephanie emailed me today for the first time (we got our partners today) and now we each know a little something about each other. I think we will have a lot in common and I'm looking forward to learning more!

Reading Camp Wrap-Up

The kids (and chaperones!) waiting to go into the zoo
Today was the last day of Reading Camp!

For the past three years, my church has held a week-long Reading Camp for rising 3rd graders. These are kids that have trouble with reading, but not enough trouble that they get help at school. They are from the public school system in the city the church is in, which has one of the highest adult illiteracy rates in the state.

We've had varied group sizes, from 11 kids to 20-something.. This year we had 11. They are divided into groups (our theme for the three years has been "Come Safari With Us!") like Zebras, Toucans, Leopards, etc. In the mornings, they spend 30 minutes with their group at six different stations. The stations are things like Writing, Decoding, and Pleasure Reading. My mother and I are in charge of the Phonics station, and most of the stations involve fun games, so it's not as much like school but they are still learning. Then in the afternoons, we go on field trips! We take them swimming after some of them, and we go to places like the zoo, museums, a gem mine, nature center, and of course the library!

Xzavian digging for gems
Bryan showing off his gems!

Barry, after much coaxing, finally feeding the giraffe

The coolest thing about this week that was different from other weeks was the library. The city is building a new, huge library! We always take the kids to the main library branch in town, but this time we all got to put on our hard hats and take a tour of the new, unfinished library. We were probably the first people inside besides the people that are building it, which was really exciting! I don't think it was nearly as exciting for many of the kids as it was for me.. I'm ready to move in when the place opens! It's going to be a really great thing for the city, and it will have so many awesome features! I may never visit the library near me (that I can walk to!) again.
Looking at the blueprints with their hard hats on!

On the second floor of the new library
I think the kids learned a lot this week! Some started out with more skills than others, but I think everyone improved in some area. It's amazing how bright 8-year-olds are. They taught us some stuff too! It's always awesome to have a child explain a concept to you that you think you understand, but that they can word in such a different, cool way. We played a game with blocks of different colors - yellow blocks had beginnings of words, and green blocks had endings. So there are hundreds of word possibilities, and the kids would make whatever words they could find. We would ask them sometimes what the word meant. One little boy, Bryan, put together "f" and "og." I said, do you know what fog is? And he said, yes. It's when the air is all really close together on the ground and it's hard to see through. If someone had asked me that, I would have given a much more boring answer. I don't remember exactly what he said, but that was the general idea. It's like their minds work differently than adults' do, and it's awesome to hear what they think about stuff.

If I weren't so exhausted, I'd want to do another week!


On the Wall

The entire reason I haven't been writing a blog all summer is the fact that I couldn't think of anything to call it. I didn't have too many great ideas to choose from, or even too many average ones. It was just impossible for me to decide on anything. Then I thought I'd try to figure out something that had to do with not being able to make a decision, since that theme seems to run through my daily life.

I learned that "cat on the wall" is a seldom-used phrase to mean "someone who can't make a decision to save her life." Basically.

So I decided to decide on a title and start writing.

People that know me from college know that I literally was a Cat on a wall; at school there was a wall near a pond that I frequented, and I tend to go by Cat. The wall was a good place to sit, so this title is where the blog is going to sit.

What I'm not going to decide on is a theme or general direction for my posts. I know what I might want to use this for later on, but for now I'm just going to be writing whatever I feel like writing.

Hope it sounds as riveting as it feels.