4. Pamper Day the 5th and 12. What is the “melt your heart” Steph meal? Figure it out. Cook it for someone special.

Happy weekend and happy first official post of 2016! (I don’t count my recap, since that was about 2015. If you missed it, check it out here.) My 2016 has started off swimmingly- I hope yours has too! My only complaint is this stupid cold weather…which I should be used to, after 28 years of living in Iowa. Today we had a windchill of -21, so I’ve been holed up in my house for the entire day. It’s actually been pretty great- laundry and dishes done, grocery list written, I got a 30 minute workout in while watching “27 Dresses”…excellent day. Excellent.

So, I had originally been scheduled for Pamper Day in November, when I was right in the middle of “Charlotte’s Web.” Basically, there was nothing in the world that I would have found relaxing, even if JGL had shown up at my front door with a bottle of wine. (Wait…strike that. That would have been the best.) Anyway, Pamper Day was moved back to December aka the least relaxing month of all time, so by default, I pushed it to January. Thankfully, I already had pretty exciting plans for January- Ria was here! So, on January 3rd I drove to Indiana to my friend Aubree’s for a 2 1/2 day stay. I knew it would be fun. I knew I’d have a great time. I had no idea how relaxed I would feel after. It was the perfect pampering. 🙂

We didn’t do anything big. It was just 2 1/2 awesome days of talking, laughing, eating good food, watching good TV and movies, snuggling Aubree’s little girl, Ana, hugging each other, and just loving on each other as much as we could. It was the best. I love my friends.

So, in addition to checking off my Pamper Day, I also crossed off #12: “What is the “melt your heart” Steph meal? Figure it out. Cook it for someone special.” To be honest, I had no idea what the hell this meant when I saw it on my list. Actually, I had no idea what it meant up until 2 weeks ago. When I got to Aubree’s, she asked me if I’d be willing to cook dinner one night. I always get nervous when I’m cooking for people for the first time, so I was a little hesitant…especially when everyone started talking about how excited they were, which only increased once I said out loud that I was nervous- then everyone was REALLY excited and decided to let me know every chance they got. Anyway, upon Aubree’s request for something buffalo chicken, I decided to make Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Mac and Cheese. And guess what? It turned out great! But that wasn’t the best part. The best part was being in the kitchen, surrounded by four people I love dearly. Laughing, talking, stuffing our faces with cheese while we cooked. I can’t count the number of times I said how happy I was over those 2 1/2 days, but being in that kitchen, getting to cook for my friends, was one of the highlights. Once I was home, I started skimming my list, to see what I still needed to complete in the next 14 1/2 months, and my eyes landed on #12. That’s when I decided: the “melt your heart” part wasn’t about the food for me…it was about the happiness it brought. My someone specials- Ria, Dave, Aubree, and Christopher, if you happen to be reading this: thank you for letting me cook for you, love you, and be a part of your lives. I’m sure lucky to have you in mine. Now, in true Steph fashion, I didn’t take any pictures of the food, or that night. But, here’s a picture of the five of us with a moose!


I now have 9 things officially crossed off my list, not including the 5-6 I’ve been working on, but can’t be crossed off yet (Pamper Day, screaming, etc.) That leaves me with 15 things I need to complete before March 19, 2017. Eek. That’s a lot. Here’s to 14 months of adventures!

Until next time,



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