June 11, 2019

Transformation Tuesday #4


I'm so happy to share the fourth post of Transformation Tuesday! I've said this each week, but I get so excited about these posts. I love seeing the transformations in my email and I can't wait to post them here :)

Please keep them coming! You can see how to send them at the bottom of this post. That said, I would like to do a "special edition" of Transformation Tuesday of rescue pets' before and after photos. I absolutely love seeing the difference in animals after they leave the shelters (or the streets) and find a forever home. So, if you have a rescue pet, please send the transformation pictures (just the same way as the others'). I may hold on to them for a bit until I have several of them to post.

Anyway, here are this week's amazing before and after photos...



Before and after getting ready in the morning! Bright-eyed and bushy tailed.

- Emily, Michigan, make-up enthusiast

(I added the "enthusiast" part because Emily loves make-up! She even sells Mary Kay. She is a good friend of mine that I actually met via my blog, and she told me that she is horrified at the thought of going in public without make-up. I think she looks fantastic! But I am proud of her for sharing this photo of her sans make-up.)

Emily before putting on make-up and styling her hair

Emily after putting on make-up and styling her hair



We updated our overgrown, 14 year-old shrubs with lovely flowering plants and bushes.

- Jeanna, Arkansas, colorful flower enthusiast

landscaping before removing shrubs and adding flowers

landscaping after removing shrubs and adding flowers



These are before and after photos of the stairs in my daughters house. A coat of paint always makes a HUGE difference!

- Anne, Maine





We had a landscaper come out and remove the overgrown/untended beds in our yard (I am not an outdoorsy gal).

- Caitlin, Minnesota, uninterested gardener





We had a pipe break last year that resulted in damaging our floor and lower kitchen cupboards which resulted in transforming the entire kitchen.

- Kim, Minnesota, Dog Lover and New Grandma





These photos never fail to bring a smile to my face. I'm inspired by the landscaping photos this week; our landscaping is HORRID and I have no idea what to do with it or how to do it. Seeing the photos gives me hope that maybe I can turn my weeds into pretty landscaping ;)

As I said, to continue the Transformation Tuesday series, I need you to share a transformation of any sort! Here's how:

1) Email one "before" photo and one "after" photo, of anything you'd like, to: transformations (at) runsforcookies (dot) com.

Please keep the photos separate rather than collaging them, and refrain from using filters or Photoshop on the photos (filters tend to invalidate the "wow" factor). If necessary, I may crop or resize the photos simply to fit uniformly into the post, but I will try to keep them as original as possible. Also, if there is someone in the photo, just make sure it's cool with them that I share it here.

2) You may include a link to your personal blog or social media page if you'd like (no business or promotional pages--this will be at my discretion). Please include the following:

-One sentence description of the transformation

-First Name; Location; A few words of who you are (i.e. "New DIY'er" or "Cat Lover", etc). If you want me to leave out name/location, just let me know.

3) I will post whenever I get enough submissions to do so--it could be one week or it could be several. I'll send you an email to let you know beforehand, though.

Thanks for sharing!

(Here are the previous Transformation Tuesday posts)


June 09, 2019

10 Summertime Mason Jar Oatmeal Recipes (ready to eat in 15 minutes!)



In the summertime, I love to sit on my front porch steps, sipping my coffee and eating my breakfast. But it's hot and sticky outside in the summer here in Michigan. Years ago, when I was losing weight and became obsessed with oatmeal, I started making cold oats for the summer. They are super easy to make and there are infinite variations.

I make these in a mason jar and put a lid on it--a typical mason jar is the perfect size, and you can put a lid on it in order to shake up the ingredients. Easy peasy!

There are tons of recipes out there for "overnight oats", where you soak the oatmeal overnight in the refrigerator; I'm too forgetful to do that the night before, so I choose to thicken it with chia seeds instead, and then you only need about 10-15 minutes to allow it to thicken.

The "base" is made with:
40 grams (a scant half-cup) of old fashioned oats
4 fluid ounces (1/2 cup) of milk (I like to use whole dairy milk)
13 grams (1 Tbsp) of chia seeds

Then you simply add whatever you'd like to that base! (See notes at bottom of post.) I am writing amounts for each ingredient, but feel free to eyeball it or to add more or less of what you'd like.

Here are a few of my favorite "Summertime Oatmeal" recipes...


Almond Joy Summertime Oatmeal (my very favorite!)



40 grams (a scant half-cup) old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk (I use whole fat dairy milk)
13 grams (1 Tbsp) chia seeds
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. shredded coconut
1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sliced almonds (optional)
A few drops of imitation coconut extract (roughly 1/8 teaspoon)
A few drops of pure or imitation almond extract (a little less than the coconut extract)

Combine everything in a mason jar and seal it with the lid. Then shake it up until it's well-combined and set it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes (you can even leave it in there overnight, if you'd like).



Chocolate Peanut Butter Summertime Oatmeal (in a peanut butter bowl)


For this one, I like to do something that I call a "peanut butter jar" to serve the oatmeal in. Before doing anything else, take about a tablespoon of peanut butter (I like to use Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, where the only ingredients are peanuts and salt), and then using the back of a spoon, spread the peanut butter into a thin layer along the bottom and all the way up the sides of the jar. You're basically lining the inside of the jar with a thin layer of peanut butter. Set the jar in the freezer while you combine the other ingredients in a separate bowl.


1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp. peanut butter (used as listed above)
40 grams (a scant half-cup) old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk (I use whole fat dairy milk)
13 grams (1 Tbsp) chia seeds
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients (except for the peanut butter, which should be waiting in the freezer) and then pour the ingredients into the peanut butter-lined mason jar (the short time in the freezer will have allowed the peanut butter to firm up a little). Place the lid on the jar and set it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes until thickened. To eat, scrape a little of the peanut butter off the side of the jar as you scoop out the oatmeal.



Cinnamon Raisin Cookie Summertime Oatmeal

40 grams (a scant half-cup) old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk (I use whole fat dairy milk)
13 grams (a scant Tbsp) chia seeds
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 Tbsp. raisins
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (depending on how much you like)

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake to combine. Set in refrigerator for 15 minutes until thickened.



Tart Cherry Chocolate Chip Summertime Oatmeal


40 grams (a scant half-cup) old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk (I use whole fat dairy milk)
13 grams (a scant Tbsp) chia seeds
2 teaspoons tart cherry juice concentrate (I use this kind)
1 teaspoon sugar
3-4 chopped unsweetened frozen cherries (I use the sweet variety)
2 teaspoons mini chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake to combine. Set in refrigerator for 15 minutes until thickened.



Pineapple Upside Down Cake Summertime Oatmeal


40 grams (a scant half-cup) old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk (I use whole fat dairy milk)
13 grams (a scant Tbsp) chia seeds
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pineapple
2-3 maraschino cherries, chopped very small
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake to combine. Set in refrigerator for 15 minutes until thickened.



Apple Crisp Summertime Oatmeal

40 grams (a scant half-cup) old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk (I use whole fat dairy milk)
13 grams (a scant Tbsp) chia seeds
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped apple (peeled)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tbsp. crunchy granola (optional - here is my recipe for homemade granola)

Combine all ingredients (except granola) in a mason jar with a lid and shake to combine. Set in refrigerator for 15 minutes until thickened. Top with granola just before serving.



Very Berry Summertime Oatmeal

40 grams (a scant half-cup) old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk (I use whole fat dairy milk)
13 grams (a scant Tbsp) chia seeds
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup mixed berries--blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries* (whatever you like)
A few drops of orange or lemon extract (optional)

*Use fresh or frozen; if using frozen, thaw and pat dry first, or reduce the amount of milk to keep it from being too liquidy.

Combine all ingredients (except berries) in a mason jar with a lid and shake to combine. Set in refrigerator for 15 minutes until thickened. Carefully stir in berries just before serving.



Fruit & Nut Summertime Oatmeal

40 grams (a scant half-cup) old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk (I use whole fat dairy milk)
13 grams (a scant Tbsp) chia seeds
2 teaspoons honey or pure maple syurp
1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, apricots, peaches, pineapple, etc.)
1/4 cup mixed nuts and/or seeds (walnuts, pecans, pistachios, almonds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, wheat germ
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Combine all but the nuts and seeds in a mason jar with a lid and shake to combine. Set in refrigerator for 15 minutes until thickened. Stir in the nuts and seeds before serving (to maintain crunchiness).



Banana Nut Summertime Oatmeal

40 grams (a scant half-cup) old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk (I use whole fat dairy milk)
13 grams (a scant Tbsp) chia seeds
1/4 of a banana, mashed
1 teaspoon honey
1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake to combine. Set in refrigerator for 15 minutes until thickened.



Peaches & Cream Summertime Oatmeal


40 grams (a scant half-cup) old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk (I use whole fat dairy milk)
13 grams (a scant Tbsp) chia seeds
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup peeled very ripe peaches, chopped small
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake to combine. Set in refrigerator for 15 minutes until thickened.



Notes:

*I like to use whole fat dairy milk, but you could use any sort of milk you'd like.

*I sweeten my oatmeal with different sweeteners, depending on the rest of the ingredients: usually pure maple syrup, brown sugar, white sugar, or honey.

*Feel free to change up the amount of each ingredient (or eliminate altogether) depending on your own tastes.

*I find that 15 minutes is a good amount of time for the chia seeds to thicken the oatmeal, but it may take a little longer than that. When most of the liquid is absorbed, the oatmeal is ready to eat.

*You can use quick-cooking oats instead of the old-fashioned oats, which will make it creamier; personally, I like the chewier old fashioned oats best.


If you come up with other combinations that you enjoy, please feel free to comment here so we can try them, too! :)


June 07, 2019

100 Funny Memes About Mental Illness


Just the title of this post alone sounds like it may be offensive, so let me start by saying that this post is in NO way meant to offend anyone! Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, I need ways to cope sometimes (here is a list of things I do to relieve my anxiety). And one thing that almost ALWAYS makes me feel better is to look at memes--funny ones--about mental illness. These ones are mainly about bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety.

I adore dark humor, so some of these will be fairly dark (I left the truly dark ones on my Pinterest board, though). But I hope that you all can take them for what they are--just harmless memes that are meant to get a laugh! I've been saving a huge collection of these on Pinterest ever since my bipolar diagnosis, and whenever I find myself feeling down for whatever reason, I can always get a pick-me-up from looking through them. I find them so relatable!

Remember, I'm sharing these with tongue in cheek and a smile on my face, so please do not take any of these personally if you find them offensive. I hope you find them as funny as I do!

(By the way, the owl in a lot of these is called "bipolar owl" and the cat is "anxiety cat"--just in case you decide to search for more.)



bipolar meme yolo

Britney Spears stress 2007

Sponge Bob anxiety meme

anxiety cat stealing

hypomania no sleep

loving bitchy person

mental health care impossible to get

bipolar owl medicine

anxiety cat stress over past

anxiety cat memes relate to you

anxiety cat meme skin cancer

meme about anxiety

introvert meme

bipolar cry over burnt toast

anxiety quote

June 06, 2019

Lots of Energy!


This photo is of Joey doing "smell the fart" acting ;)  If you were a fan of Friends, you may remember the episode where Joey explains what "smell the "fart" acting is:


After having what feels like an ocean's worth of rain dumped on us for the last couple of months, the weather is finally starting to look better! We've had a few mornings where it's cool and not humid, which is my very favorite.

This morning before taking the kids to school, I let Joey outside to pee, and it felt so nice that I went outside and sat on the porch while drinking my coffee. I could see Phoebe watching us from the door, and I felt bad for her--she LOVES going outside and sneaks out as often as she can (we try to keep her indoors, especially after that one time she was missing for four days).

When I went to the Purina True Nature of Cats event, they gave us leashes for cats. When you put a cat on a leash, you don't necessarily walk them around like a dog. You basically just let the cat explore while you follow around. So, I went inside, grabbed Phoebe and the leash, and hooked her up.

She wasn't out there three minutes before she managed to worm her way out of the leash and take off for the backyard. Sigh. For some reason, she ran right to the back door--that never happens!--so I didn't have to chase her around for 20 minutes. Next, I put Estelle on the leash, and she was much more curious.



I let her stay out there until she started eating the grass. If you have cats, then you probably know what grass puke looks like.

After taking the boys to school, it was still really nice and overcast. So, I mentioned the "walk" word to Joey and he flipped out with excitement, per usual. I sipped my coffee while we went for a nice two-mile walk, stopping halfway so he could play in the lake. It started to sprinkle on the way home, and it actually felt really good. I felt a slight pang inside of nostalgia for running.




I was full of energy when I got home and I wanted to work on something. Anything. We're trying to save money this month (Noah's emergency room bills are going to be expensive), so I won't be doing any major projects. Instead, I used what materials we have leftover from our renovation, and did a few things with those.

We didn't have much floor molding left, and I didn't think I'd have enough to do my closet; but by piecing together 4-5 shorter lengths of it, I was able to do the trim in the closet. I still have to paint it, but it definitely looks better. I was so excited to use my new Paslode finishing nailer!

Remember when I wrote that one of my wish list items was a Paslode nailer? They're crazy expensive ($367) so I was watching Facebook Marketplace several times a week. Literally the day after I posted about that, I found one--it was identical to my brother's (which I'd been borrowing), and included three batteries as well as about $100 worth of nails... all for $110! I asked if they would take $100 for it, and they said yes.

The only problem was that it was kind of far away. I had to drive nearly 2-1/2 hours into Ohio to get it! But it was a nice solo drive where I could listen to my podcasts and see a location that was completely in the middle of nowhere. They were also selling a nice router for $40, so I bought that as well. Some thrilling finds for me ;)

The drive back was horrendous and hysterical at the same time. Because it was SO far from civilization (I literally hadn't passed a gas station for 30 miles), there was no where for me to stop and pee. I was dying. My bladder was about to burst. Eventually, I saw a sign that said "rest area" ahead. I nearly sang with joy.

When I got there, I saw it was just a couple of picnic tables and a small building for a men's and women's bathroom. I was not going to be picky, just because it wasn't the sort of rest area I'm used to seeing.


When I opened the door (which wouldn't close all the way, by the way) I was horrified, to put it lightly. They weren't real toilets, but more like outhouses. The "stalls" weren't really stalls at all and they had no doors.


I had to pee so badly that I chose the stall furthest from the door--remember, the door was cracked open and would make me totally visible from outside if someone should open it. I sanitized the hell out of my hands when I got back in the car. It was quite the adventure!

Anyway, after installing the molding in my closet today, I decided to finally hang up a bifold door that we bought for our hallway closet. The door has been sitting in the garage for a few months, so I got started on that. I had to paint the door frame first and then hang the door. I still have to paint the door itself, but I like it much better than the previous one.

Speaking of doors, I also had to take Eli's door off the hinges and shave off 1/4 inch from the bottom (it was dragging on his carpet too much). That was easy, and now his door functions much better.

I have no idea if this is related or not, but with this burst of energy I've had for the last few days, I can't help but wonder if it's because I started taking vitamin B12. I've done some research on it, and I bought a liquid that you squeeze under your tongue and let it sit for 30 seconds before swallowing. Here is the kind that I bought (I got mine at Kroger, but here it is on Amazon). It tastes good, and I've read that the liquid absorbs better than pills.


That's literally the only thing I've done different lately, but I've found that I have a noticeable amount of more energy. I really hope it keeps up!


June 04, 2019

Transformation Tuesday #3

Transformation Tuesday: Before and After

Wow! I am SO glad to have gotten some more submissions for Transformation Tuesday. I can't stress enough how much I am loving this series. I get so excited to see the photos in my inbox. And even though some of you are nonchalant about the transformations you submit, you should know that I find them amazing! Every single one that I've seen has made me think "Wow! That's so awesome!"

So, please PLEASE keep them coming. I know a lot of you are enjoying this series as well, so I need you to submit transformations in order to keep it going. I'll post the usual "how to submit a transformation" info at the bottom of this post.

I'll get right to it! Here are some very stunning transformations on this Tuesday...



Transformation Tuesday


I revamped this 26 year old glider that was left at our house when we moved in! 

- Caren, Texas, Seeing Red in a Good Way

Glider "before"

Glider "after"



My friend owns a car washing service that comes to your house and these are before and after photos of a camper that he cleaned!

- Submitted by my sister, Jeanie, Illinois
(You can find the car washing service on Facebook: Simply Perfection Mobile Auto Spa

Trailer "before"

Trailer "after"



We renovated this house, from top to bottom, inside and out, over the course of six years!

- Kim, Florida, House Flipper

House "before"

House "after"



A new look for an outdated entertainment center--this was my first time using milk paint and I love how it turned out!

- Elaine, Idaho, Furniture Revamper

Entertainment Center "before"

Entertainment Center "after"



My husband and I transformed a 30-year old boat dock!

- Jennifer, North Carolina

Dock "before"

Dock "after"



After my daughter left for Navy bootcamp and my son moved into a new condo, I spent my free time redecorating my son's bedroom--removed the popcorn ceilings, replaced the ceiling fan and blinds, and painted it the prettiest shade of pink!

- Karen, Arizona, New Empty Nester

Bedroom "before"

Bedroom "after"



We rescued our pup, Snowy, last July when she was five months old. She has come a long way since she was in foster care, and we absolutely adore her!

- Sarah, England, Dog Lover

Rescue dog Snowy "before"

Rescue dog Snowy "after"



Thank you so much to all of you that shared your transformations. I am in awe :)

As I said, to continue the series, I need you to share a transformation of any sort! Here's how:

1) Email one "before" photo and one "after" photo, of anything you'd like, to: transformations (at) runsforcookies (dot) com.

Please keep the photos separate rather than collaging them, and refrain from using filters or Photoshop on the photos. I feel like everything is filtered these days, and filters tend to invalidate the "wow" factor. If necessary, I may crop or resize the photos simply to fit uniformly into the post, but I will try to keep them as original as possible. Also, if there is someone in the photo, just make sure it's cool with them that I share it here.

2) You may include a link to your personal blog or social media page if you'd like (no business or promotional pages--this will be at my discretion). Please include the following:

-One sentence description of the transformation

-First Name; Location; A few words of who you are (i.e. "New DIY'er" or "Cat Lover", etc). If you want me to leave out name/location, just let me know.

3) I will post whenever I get enough submissions to do so--it could be one week or it could be several. I'll send you an email to let you know beforehand, though.

Thanks for sharing!

(Here are the previous Transformation Tuesday posts)


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