Delicata Squash–my new fries!

I am so excited for my 5k tomorrow.  I used my new Weight Watchers bag yesterday – not sure if its a lunch bag or not, but that’s what I am using it for.  

My original goal was to raise $100, and I am shocked that I am almost to $300!  Huge thank you to my Aunt Cele, my Mom, Carrie, Lynne, my MIL Bonnie, Debbie, Lisa and someone who donted in the memory of Diana – I only have $40 to go to raise $300 (I may have to hit up my bosses today!).   Here is my fundraising page link.

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I was just about to jump in the shower yesterday when I decided that I wanted a parfait for breakfast – only one tiny problem, I hadn’t made my fruit sauce yet – so quick and simple!  I took a cup of mixed berries out of the freezer, tossed them in a bowl and microwaved them for 1 minute to slightly defrost, then put then in a pan with 1/2 cup of water mixed with 1 teaspoon corn starch.  I cooked that over medium high heat while I was in the shower (literally 5 minutes) and when I came out, it was done.  And super hot!  I poured the sauce into a mason jar and had to wrap it in a dish towel to carry it to work.

Once at work I threw the sauce (still warm!) and the yogurt in the work freezer for 30 minutes.  Breakfast was 6 points.

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I wasn’t sure I was able to get away from my desk so I didn’t even try to get together with my sister.  I finally walked away and went to the farmers market in the Daley Center right across the street from my office.  I am definitely picking up a steak for dinner so I can use the crimini mushrooms I bought.  I actually always thought they were spelled cremini?!

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I almost pulled the trigger on this honey for the honeycomb alone – but $12?  But as I am looking at it now, I should have gotten it – buyers remorse!

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I loved all the colors of the peppers.  

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By the time I got back to the office, my blood sugar was 53 – so I ate super quick and didn’t really care what my picture looked like.

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Shocker, I worked late last night!  I told the HR manager that even if no one signs up for night secretary, that I would still have to stay late to get all my work done.  We’ll see how long I can do that, I am hoping after a couple more weeks of working for three partners and two paralegals, I’ll be able to get more of a work/life balance.  I do get paid overtime, so at least I have that going for me.  😀

I didn’t start making my dinner until 9:15 last night.  I had thoughts of making a leftover french fry frittata, but Hannah and Jacob ate their leftovers too – I am shocked as shit because they hardly ever eat leftovers.  I love, love, delicata squash.  I love that you can eat the skin.  It takes a while for my oven to get to temp, so I ate at 9:45, but these squash take only 15 minutes at 425 – simply slice in half, scoop out the seeds, slice into half moons, drizzle with a bit of salt and pepper, and I used everything but the bagel seasoning.  In the last 5 minutes I threw in my leftover burger.

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I have a busy weekend and am so happy about that!  My walk tomorrow morning, lunch with Nicole on Saturday then my Mom has a concert on Sunday and we’ll be trying out a new place in Oak Park called Altiro, which is a Latin fusion restaurant – I think tiny plates, which my Mom and I love so we can try all different kinds of things.  

I am also on the brink of starting my Metabolic Reset with Steve Weatherford – I’ll talk more about it as I get more information today on Monday’s post, but I am excited.  

I can’t believe Hannah and Jacob’s wedding was already a week ago – time is flying by.  

Happy Friday my friends – make it a great day!

Tacos, Beer and a Burger!

I get asked all the time if I am sick of taking the train to work because its so long.  Nope!  I write my blog on the way to work, listen to my music, and the hour train ride goes by really fast.  On the way home, I respond to emails, direct messages on Instagram, comments on the blog, and not gonna lie, usually spend at least twenty minutes of that train ride home to watch random shit on YouTube 😀

I also love the hustle and bustle of Chicago.  I love the contrast of where I live with no side walks or street lights, to all the noise and commotion of the city.

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Guess what?  I managed to eat my breakfast before 10 yesterday!  An egg white and broccoli slaw breakfast burrito (5 points for the tortilla, 1 for the egg whites, and 1 for the one ouce of Trader Joe’s lite mozzarella).  

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It was another gorgeous day in Chicago, but my sister sent me an email around 11 asking if we could go out to eat and just relax. She and I have both been so busy at our jobs, and I quickly said yes!  We went to Latinicity in Block 37 – I love that you can pick and choose anything you want from any food stall, then just pay at the end. 

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Um, do you see breaded on that menu?!  Still delish though, but I was expected grilled shrimp.

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I also got a bowl of chicken tortilla soup – I wish I knew what gave this soup the amber color and depth of flavor – so delicious (although I didn’t think it was spicy enough!) 😀

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My sister got the Milanesa Torta – crispy chicken, black bean puree, pickled peppers, chipotle aioli and avocado – yum!  It was great to just catch up, relax and eat some delicious food!

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Even though no one signed up for night secretary, I stayed to get some stuff off my desk – just a bunch of little stuff that was driving me nuts that it was still there, ya know?!   Even though I clocked out at 6:45, my next train isn’t until 7:30, which doesn’t get me home until 8:45.  I took advantage and walked around outside, then walked in the French Market in the train station, which is decked out in Halloween decorations.  #love

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Hey Jacky, have you been to Little Cheval??  I think its an outdoor bar too?  We should hit that up on the way home before it gets too cold. 

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Tia, I couldn’t help but think of you with all these decorations!

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I love this witch 😀

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I love Halloween – just wish I got trick or treaters!

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On the train ride home, I got a text from my Momma letting me know that she thought my butternut squash bolognese was so good!  I sent her home with some after Hannah and Jacob’s wedding because I had so much.  You can check out that recipe on my lastest blog post at The Chopping Block.  Show of hands how many of you remember that Corel dish pattern?!

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About 15 minutes to go before my train got into my station, Hannah called me and asked if I was hungry.  Why yes, yes I was.  While I had ground beef defrosted to make something with that, if Hannah or Jacob asks me out to dinner, I always say yes.  Was I tired? Yep.  Was I ready to get into my pajamas?  Yep.  But at 9:00 p.m. I met them for dinner!

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I had a beer on a school night – if Stella is on tap, always say yes.

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Hannah and Jacob love French Onion soup – where did I go wrong with that child?  Her nails still look on fleek though!

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If you go to a place that is known for their burgers, always say yes.  This is the mushroom Swiss burger – cooked medium rare.  My beer was 5 points and I ate half my burger for 10 points.  I saved my fries and will be making a breakfast frittata for dinner (and breakfast tomorrow) with the leftover fries.  Stay tuned 😀

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So good – while dinner was 15 points, but I only went over 4 for the day.  I enjoyed hanging out with Hannah and Jacob without the distraction of the t.v. (they like to eat dinner while watching t.v. – me?  I eat at my dining room table, even if I am by myself!) 😀

Um, I’ve got some great news!  I am finally going to meet Nicole from Prevention RD!!  She’ll be in town for a work conference and we are going to meet up on Saturday.  We’ve only been talking about getting together for about 5 years now – I started following her before she was even married, and now she’s got two adorable girls!   Can’t wait to meet you in person finally!

We made it to Thursday!  Another gorgeous day in Chicago #love – make it a great day!

Creamy Pasta with Spinach and Sausage

It was my first full day working for three partners, but as luck would have it, one of them didn’t come in – whew!  I think I may need to rethink the idea of eating breakfast at work – it’s just that I am usually not hungry when I wake up and coffee holds me until I eat breakfast.  But I hit the ground running yesterday and didn’t put this breakfast together until nearly 10:30.  Two slices of my homemade bread (5), egg whites and spinach (1) and fresh fruit.  Oh, and hot sauce – duh. 😀

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It was such a gorgeous day in Chicago I didn’t care what was going on at work, I was going to get outside.  I met my sister and our friend Jenny and we went to the smaller farmers market which is on Adams and Monroe.  I bought an ear of corn, another potato squash (I am going to cook up all my squash I have tonight!) some fresh green beans and the best thing of all – bloody mary mix from River Valley Ranch Kitchens.  It’s so good!!

I am pretty sure purple sweet potatoes are only purple on the outside?  I had thoughts of buying one to zoodle, but remembered I already have two sweet potatoes I need to use at home – so pretty though!

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Again, not going to win any food photography awards with my lunch, but it was the last of my chicken tortilla soup, and it was so thick that I served it over 1/2 cup cooked pasta.  Lunch came in at 8 points.

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Usually the first 30 minutes of my train ride home I check up on social media.  I had to laugh that Pinterest found boards regarding Relationship goals and beef stew – huh.  Pretty sure I’ve only pinned food! 😀

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I am getting down to the last few months of my lease on my Nissan Juke.  It is way more care than I ever would need – too much technology in that car – do I really need my car to read my Facebook comments to me?!  But I do like that when I listen to my blue tooth, it shows “My Bizzy Kitchen.”  I had to label my phone so that I can use my hot spot on the train, and there are about 50 people that just left “iPhone” (like me!) and it was impossible to locate my wifi.

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I thawed some turkey sausage for dinner and wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with it, but with it being National Pasta Day, that’s what I made.  I told Hannah and Jacob that I was going to be using whipped cream cheese in my sauce, and they both gave that idea a thumbs down, so Hannah got to work on their sauce, that began with just a few onions.  #ew

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While my dish came in at 14 smart points, totally worth it.  I need to make another batch of my zero point marinara sauce, because 1/2 a cup of most jarred sauces are 3 points each.

I cooked 2 ounces of penne pasta, and while that cooked, sliced the turkey sausage into rounds and Pam fried them in a smaller skillet.  Once the pasta was ready to be drained, (save 1/2 cup of the pasta water) I added 1.5 cups of baby spinach to the sausage, 1/2 cup jarred sauce, a tablespoon of Weight Watchers reduced fat cream cheese and stirred that until the spinach started to wilt and the cream cheese melted.  I added 1 cup of the cooked pasta, stirred until combined and then topped it with Trader Joe’s light mozzarella.  Literally ready in 15 minutes.

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Inquiring minds may want to know where we stand on Dog #3 – below is where the poll stood as of 7:30 –  53 yes, and 20 no.  I am leaning more to the no now – which I can do when I don’t see that cute dogs face!   The kadults didn’t mention it yesterday, so that makes me think they changed their mind – we’ll see!  I could come home today and meet Roanoke – yes, if they got the dog, that would be its name. 

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With my walk at lunch and walking to and from the train and busy at work (thanks to one boss being up one floor – lots of stairs!) I had 14,500 steps yesterday.  But I really need to get back to the gym – its been too long, and I’ve gotten into the habit of watching t.v. at night again, something I usually saved for the weekend.  Not sure if its because its dark out when I get home, I just want to get into my jammies and relax on my couch.  

I am excited for this weekend though, I’ll be walking with Weight Watchers and the American Cancer Society for Project L.I.F.T. and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.   My initial goal was to raise $100, but now I am up to $130, so I’d like to hit $200 by Saturday.  You can check out my donation page here.  Also excited to meet a local WW Ambassador Liz, who just ran her second marathon and beat her time by 45 minutes from her first one!  Ahem, I’ll be walking this 5k though 😀

Happy hump day – make it a great day!

Steak Crostini

Thanks again for all your well wishes for Hannah and Jacob!  I’ll give you a break from wedding pics today – mainly because her friend is still editing them and Hannah hasn’t looked through all of them yet.  I crack myself up because I’ll yell from the living room “Hannah, can you ask your husband to take the garbage out?!”  I can’t believe my roommates are married!

Saturday was my favorite type of day.  Cold, rainy and stormy.  It’s almost impossible for me not to make bread.  I first made this bread recipe back in April of 2012.   I decided to make just two loaves of bread out of this recipe just to get bigger slices of bread.  There is literally only about 12 minutes of hands on time making this bread, and ten of that is kneading the bread.  You could even have your stand mixer mix it and then you could really just set it and forget it!

After it cooled a bit, a sliced it, smeared some softened butter and a drizzle of local honey – perfection.

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On Sunday night I made this steak crostini for dinner with my homemade bread.  I got several DM’s on Instagram after I posted this asking for the recipe.  There isn’t really one, but here goes!  

Cook 4 ounces of steak for 1.5 minutes per side, set aside.  Toast the bread.  I used Weight Watchers whipped cream cheese on the bread (about a tablespoon) and then topped that with baby spinach.  I sliced the steak, placed that on the bread, drizzled balsamic glaze and a bit of dried parsley and dinner was done.  Nothing better some nights than a 5 minute dinner!

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Our weather has been amazing for sleeping – I love sleeping in a cold room in a comfy bed.  If Tony were alive we would have already had the heat on for a month. 😀  I was so looking forward to getting back into my walking routine with my sister, but we were both swamped.  She just ran a couple errands and ate lunch at her desk.  I didn’t eat my breakfast until 10:30 and my lunch until 3!

Yesterday was supposed to be the first day that I work for my new attorney.  I was so busy though, that I never stopped by his office (he’s on a different floor) and went with the premise that if he needed anything he knew my extension.  #klassy  But around 3:30 in the afternoon, I thought I really should go up and see if he needed anything, and turns out he was out of the office yesterday – whoop!  That was a good think because I wouldn’t have had time to do anything for him anyway.

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I didn’t do a full grocery shop/meal plan this week, because after cleaning out my pantry/freezer and fridge on Sunday realized I had plenty of food.  Yesterday is one of my favorites – a picky plate breakfast with the other half of the steak leftover from my crostini above.  Cook once, eat twice!  

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I am going to talk about the recipe below later this week, but this is a Korean Beef bowl.  I cooked the beef in the crock pot on Sunday, then had it with sauted mushrooms, broccoli, rice, and cucumbers and red cabbage that I marinated in rice wine vinegar and sriracha.  So good!

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I also made a batch of chicken tortilla stew – I am calling it a stew because I used canned cream of chicken soup instead of chicken broth, then added a paste of corn meal during the add during the last 30 minutes of cooking, so it’s nice and thick and has a hint of corn flavor.  Hannah was my stylist last night – thanks Hannah!  And truth be told, I probably ate an equal amount of those chips with salsa while the soup was heating up. 😛

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Hannah and Jacob were contacted by the same breeder they got Roman from – she has a little grey Boston Terrier that is the last of a litter that hasn’t been bought – exactly what happened with Roman, and how cute is he?!   I put a poll on my Instagram Story asking if Hannah and Jacob should get this dog and as of this morning, its 48 votes yes, 10 votes no.  If they decide to get it, guess what the name would be?? Roanoke!  Rummy, Roman and Roanoke – I can’t even.

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Your thoughts?  Do you think its crazy that they would have three dogs?  Jacob always wanted to get a big dog since his dog Red who passed away two years ago was a big dog – Hannah convinced him that three tiny dogs = one big one.  

Alright, time to catch up on my blog reading on the rest of my train ride in.  I AM WALKING TODAY!  I just shouted that out, so it’s bound to happen. 😀

The Perfect Day

It was the perfect day.  The weather was gorgeous.  Hannah and I did a Panera run in the morning and picked up the girl who was doing her makeup.  We were able to sit outside, sip on coffee and scones and I watched my daughter getting her makeup done on her wedding day.

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Jacob and his Mom spent the morning together running errands – yes, you read that correctly, because Jacob waited until the day of his wedding to buy a shirt and tie.  #love

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The morning was so leisurely, that all of a sudden it was like “it’s time to go!”  My Mom with her oldest grandchild on her wedding day!

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I love this picture below – love, love, love.  I can’t believe I took that with my iPhone!

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Remember how I told you that I barely took any pictures at the shower?  Hannah hired a girl from their coffee shop who is into photography to be our photographer for the day.  Did I mention that she’s 17 years old and had to ditch school?  Her parents didn’t seem to mind!  As her pictures start to trickle in, I’ll post a few a day – you’ll probably get sick of seeing wedding pictures after a week of this – #sorrynotsorry 😀

The man behind Jacob?  That’s their best friend Luis who flew in from Texas to be the ring bearer.  

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I wore a dress!  First time (well, I wore the same dress to the shower, and will probably wear it to my nieces wedding next month!) in a long time I’ve worn one.  I love that it was so nice out I didn’t even need a sweater.  On the far right are Jacob’s parents, and in the middle are his grandparents – his grandma’s liver cancer is back and she’s been through a couple weeks of radiation.  She’ll find out this Friday if it seems to be working or not.  So happy she was able to see her grandson get married!

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The something borrowed?  That pearl necklace – Tony gave it to my on my first birthday after we were married in March of 2001.  The same florist that did our centerpieces did Hannah’s bouquet – so gorgeous!

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I’ll be posting what the Judge said and the kids vows later this week.  I loved how even though they were getting married in a courthouse, the Judge made it super personable and poignant.  They had time before our dinner reservations to go to a preserve near our house and take more pictures – their photographer took over 1000!  I took this one below with my iPhone.  #love

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It literally could not have been a more great day.  After our dinner we had people over to our house, then we went to a bar for an hour.  We came home and ate wedding cake.  It was the perfect day.

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“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey.  At other times it is allowing another to take yours.  Nothing in this world compares to the comfort and security of having someone just hold your hand.”

A Letter to My Daughter on Her Wedding Day

Dear Hannah:

It seems like just yesterday that you were 2 1/2 and waking me up at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday to watch a movie.  We must have had twenty movies to choose from (thanks to Poppy!) yet for nearly two years all you wanted to watch was The Little Mermaid.


I blinked my eyes and it was time for you to go to first grade.  I remember having to catch my train to work and even though you’d been in day care since you your born, you creid and begged me not to leave.One of the hardest things I had to do that day was walk away when you were in tears yelling “Mom don’t leave me!”  I was thrilled when weeks later I got a note from your teacher in your backpack letting me know that you stopped crying by the time you hung up your coat.


I blinked again and I was sitting in a full auditorium for the school talent show.  I watched you walk out onto the empty stage all by yourself in your jeans overalls to sing a Mariah Carey song.  You were amazing!

And then I met Tony and our lives took a different path.  I’ve always regretted that your biological father decided your life would be better without him in it – only to start a family a few years later and end up being a principal of a Catholic high school!  (and in case anyone was wondering – his wife and children don’t know that Hannah exists.  Could you imagine being married for twenty years and your spouse not telling you he had a child?! – another side note – Hannah follows his 18 year old daughter on Instagram – but that’s for another post!).


I know you and Tony had a rocky relationship and he probably didn’t measure up to the father you wished he would have been for, but you put up with it because you knew I loved him.  I will forever be grateful to you for that considering our time together was so short.


Was seemed like a minute later you walked in the door with your learners permit and were adamant about logging all of your 50 required hours.  I loved our road trip to Milwaukee so you could get in lots of highway driving.  To this day I think its hilarious that you insist on driving everywhere, even if it’s to Walmart or driving across country to Virginia!

And then you moved in with Jacob to Chicago.  While you were only 90 minutes away, I missed seeing your face everyday, but I was happy that Tony and I could enjoy an “empty nest” the last few years of his life.

Two weeks after Tony died I remember you called me to tell me that you and Jacob were engaged!  I was so happy for you, but I have to be honest, I was in the lowest possible place in my life, I had just lost not only my husband but my best friend too.  So much was changing so fast – it was like a was on a perpetual loop of a roller coaster and I wanted to get off but no one was paying attention to me.  This I do know – having you, Jacob and the dogs move in with me literally saved my life.  If I didn’t want to get up and live for me, I knew I could get up and make you guys pancakes and that helped me find purpose after losing my title of wife and caretaker.


I wouldn’t trade these last almost three years of having you as my roommates.  Not only do I know that you are marrying your best friend, but I know how much he loves you and respects you and I could ask nothing more from my son-in-law.  So while your “happy ever after” may not look like it does in the movies, it does exist.  In the highs and lows of any marriage, as long as you continue to love each other, show gratitude, encourage one another, be patient, and Jacob – agree to at least one Walmart and/or Target shop per week!

So while I go between wanting you to be my baby forever, I am so excited about all the amazing things you’ll do in this life.  You are an amazingly independent woman, smart, funny and beautiful.  

I love you to the moon and back – Happy Wedding Day Hannah!

Love, Mom

Happy Wedding Eve!

I am having technical difficulty on the train this morning so this will be a quick post. And I am tired and will nap for 30 minutes after I hit publish.

Yesterday was bagel Wednesday – I always think of my blog friend Lori when I have bagel Wednesday 🤗

I can’t remember the brand of bagels I bought, but they are 6 points, making my breakfast 9 points and super filling.

Again work was non-stop. I have so many things on my desk that it’s a bit overwhelming, but I left for a 30 minute walk to keep my sanity.  A Target 🎯 run is always a good idea!

But quickly saw ALL the Halloween candy and got the hell out of that area stat.  I did buy this sauce though – so good and only 1 point for a tablespoon which was plenty.

My lunch was so good! 1/2 a twice baked potato that Hannah made (6) the last of the shrimp cocktail from the kadults shower (1) green beans with a drizzle of that sauce.

I got some interesting news at work yesterday.  I am being assigned a third attorney.  I can barely keep up with the two I have so not sure 🤔 how that’s going to work.  I worked until 8:15 last night and still have so much to do today. 

I will not work the morning of my daughters wedding so I am just going to power through as best I can and leave it at that.

I can’t believe tomorrow my baby is getting married tomorrow!! Be sure to follow my Instagram story tomorrow.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a nap. Make it a great day!