Mini Donuts and Big Changes

It’s been 5 months since I last posted. And holy crap has a lot changed in those 5 months.

Here’s the super-abridged, Cliff notes update on my life.

  1. New job in Mankato!
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I’m teaching K-5 general music – exactly what I wanted. I know what you’re thinking…”isn’t S’mores from Mankato?” Congratulations – you’re correct! Which leads me to…

2. Moved in with S’mores

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Yes. You read that right. After 6 months together. Again, call me crazy, but it felt so right. And so far, it is!

3. Chopped off 8 inches of hair

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Fresh start!

To be completely honest, the transition from living with my parents in the same community I’ve called home the past 25 years to living in a brand new town, in a brand new (to me) house, with a brand new job hasn’t been easy. But nothing good in life comes easily. And I know I’ve got a REALLY good thing going.

Know what else is really good? Mini donuts.

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I found these adorable mini donut pans on sale at Kohl’s.

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I knew I would find SOME way to use them. Who doesn’t love donuts?! I searched my trusty friend Pinterest for this recipe. Since they’re baked, they’re partially healthy…right?

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Super duper easy. They whip up in less than 10 minutes, bake in 5, and then you have glorious mini donuts. I decided to add some of my own flavors to the batter.

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I left part plain, added pumpkin spice to one, cocoa powder to one, and sprinkles to one for a funfetti mix!

I also got creative with the glaze. The base is powdered sugar and milk, then you can go CRAZY! I’ve tried mint extract, maple extract (with the pumpkin? Hello fall explosion in your mouth), peanut butter, and cocoa powder. All were successful!

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Who doesn’t love anything mini?!

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The final round-up:

  • Funfetti
  • Chocolate donuts with chocolate glaze and chocolate sprinkles
  • Chocolate donuts with peanut butter glaze and Reese’s on top
  • Chocolate donuts with mint glaze
  • Plain donuts with glaze and sprinkles
  • Pumpkin spice donuts with maple glaze
  • Plain donuts with cinnamon sugar

Woof. A little like my life as of late –  little spice, little stress, little chaotic, but plenty sweet and oh so delicious.

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S’mores

Just when I think I have my life figured out, my plans are disrupted.

I’m a planner. As much as I like spontaneity in my day-to-day life, I function best when I know there’s a long term plan in place. But I have found in my life, as much as I like having a plan, most of the time the plans don’t work out as I’d hoped. In fact, most things in my life so far haven’t gone according to plan. If you would have told me in high school that I would have gone to college in Iowa, lived in New York for 7 months, dropped 70 pounds to be a size 12, and still living with my parents when I’m 25, I would’ve thought you were crazy. But even though my plans haven’t exactly worked out like I thought they would, everything in my life has worked out in some way or another. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

This is exactly one of those times.

I had pretty much given up on dating for a while. Actually, I was quite content with being single. Over the holidays, I could do whatever I darn well pleased. No extra presents to buy, no worries about who was going where to which family gathering, no awkward encounters with strange extended family members (well, except my own of course). I’m registered for the UNI Overseas Recruiting Fair to possibly teach music overseas next year. At the same time, I’ve been applying for my Minnesota teaching license and jumping through hoops to finalize that process. I had decided to give all my time and energy into those endeavors and worry about dating after this school year when I knew for sure where I was going to be next year. I was single. And satisfied. I was pretty set I wasn’t going to date anyone (if at all) until June after school was out.

Then s’mores happened.

I got this message on my Plenty of Fish account

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Complete sentences. Correct grammar. Witty. Complementing my teaching (huge plus). Worth a profile click. I saw he was educated. Tall. Nice. Not drop dead gorgeous, but cute (which I like better anyways. Guys that are hot – and know that they’re hot – are nothing but trouble). His glasses were endearing and his description just seemed so genuine. He seemed normal. Then I saw where he was from – Mankato. 2 hours away.

Dang.

But I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and message him back.

Best decision I’ve made in a long time.

We instantly clicked. I can’t even really describe what it was, but we messaged back (and later texted) paragraph upon paragraph talking about our interests, education, upbringing, and lives thus far. We had so much in common it was scary. It was like I had known this guy for years. Conversation was never forced or awkward. He shared my sense of humor and sarcasm. So of course I wanted to meet him and see if the connection was real. I didn’t want it to be another strawberry cheesecake situation where there was no spark in real life.

I was taking the last of my MTLE’s (Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations) in Eagan on a Saturday – conveniently half way between us. We planned on meeting up after the test and grabbing dinner or drinks or something. Well, he suggested (in the non-creepiest way possible, I swear) that if things were going well we could continue the date at his place that night with some wine and Netflix. I told him I couldn’t because of church choir in the morning. S’mores said he totally understood. But as we continued texting, he offered up the fact that his Friday night was open as well if I wanted to come down there before the test Saturday. And so begins the story of the stupidest but best decision I have probably ever made.

I drove 2 hours to Mankato to meet a complete stranger at his house.

And I lied to my parents about it. (In my defense, dating under your parents’ roof is terribly tricky. They know exactly when you are and are not home and if your mom is anything like my mom, they want to know exactly where you are. All the time)

So mom, if you’re reading this: I’m sorry.

I’m still alive to tell about it. He wasn’t a Craigslist killer or total creep! The connection we had was instant. Even better than when we were messaging and texting. We went to this gorgeous winery and then out for dinner. There was never a lull in conversation or awkward silences. It just clicked. He didn’t try any moves on me, never made me feel uncomfortable, and he was just a genuinely sweet guy.

Saturday I went to my test (and passed) that afternoon and we met again for dinner at Surly Brewing Company’s new brewery in Minneapolis. And it was awesome. He’s awesome. That was 2 weeks ago, and I’ve definitely had some more s’mores. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

As you can see, my plans don’t always seem to go as expected. But I’m definitely not complaining

Strawberry Cheesecake

Blank Space by Taylor Swift has been my jam lately

“Got a long list of ex-lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane”

Well, my list of ex-lovers is incredibly short, but list of ex-dates is long. And getting longer

(I hope they don’t think I’m insane)

A few weeks ago, I started talking with a guy from Tinder – Strawberry Cheesecake. The best word to describe him? Nice. He was just so nice. 

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One of my Tinder pictures is of me wearing my Superwoman Halloween costume, so bonus points for an original pickup line.

We had been talking casually for a few weeks. Super great guy! He actually likes his job (seems to be pretty rare I’m finding out), plays in a band, loves music, has a great sense of humor – what’s not to like? Finally our schedules aligned and we went on a date – dinner and a movie. He was as cute in person as his pictures (not as tall as I was hoping), maybe a little too soft-spoken for my tastes, but we had great conversation. Here was the problem:

I felt no spark.

Nothing.

I definitely thought he was attractive, but there was no attraction. Does that even make sense? But we had quite a bit in common and he was just so nice, I decided to give him another shot. We went out for dinner the next week.

Nothing

It was like I was having dinner with my brother. We talked for an hour and a half over margaritas and Mexican food but at the end of the night I was just feeling “eh” about the whole thing. After the date, I didn’t think about him hardly at all, I wasn’t excited about him texting me or even wanting to text him. After much deliberation, I decided to be upfront with him because I HATE it when guys just stop talking to you. At least give me some closure!

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He was SO NICE about the whole thing! I felt kind of bad. But like my dear friend Alison said “if you don’t want to touch his butt at the end of the night, he’s not the one”

I’ve got a blank space baby…

Interstellar movie…not a stellar date

Thursday night I got a really random Tinder message from someone henceforth known as gingerbread cookie.

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I was intrigued. We matched a month ago but have never had a conversation. Any time a guy actually puts forth some type of effort instead of just a “hey” or “what’s up” I’ll respond. Bonus points for putting some thought into it! So I messaged back. We chatted for a little bit, nothing too spectacular. Then he asked what I was doing this weekend (I didn’t have much planned), which turned into this…

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I figured, why the heck not? I hadn’t even heard of Interstellar (apparently it’s kind of a big deal? He was pretty shocked I hadn’t heard of it) but my Friday plans at that point consisted of sweatpants and Moose Tracks ice cream.

We met at the theater and he had already bought tickets online. Movies aren’t exactly conducive for first date conversation, but we did make some small talk before the movie started. I wasn’t too impressed. Maybe I’m a little old fashioned or too conservative, but I think when you first meet someone swear words should be out of your vocabulary. Don’t get me wrong – I can have quite the potty mouth. But when it’s your first encounter, I don’t think dropping the f bomb makes the best first impression.

The movie was pretty good but so long! The start time was 7:40 (with a million previews beforehand) and we didn’t get out of there until 10:45!

When we got out of the theater, he realized he didn’t have his wallet. He panicked and quickly turned around heading back to the theater – leaving me behind. I had to literally start jogging to keep up with him (he was taller than me so he has longer legs). I understand that terrible panicky feeling when you’ve lost something, especially your wallet, but he totally forgot about me in the process! He started looking in the third row – I was pretty sure we sat in the second row (and I told him that too). I calmly got out my phone and turned on the flashlight. Sure enough, second row, on the floor – I found it. He said “I knew I should’ve listened to you. Women are always right.”

Best thing he said all night.

He asked if I wanted to grab a drink after. Honestly, I wasn’t really feeling it and I was so tired, but I didn’t want to be a jerk since we didn’t really talk that much. So we went to a bar next to the theater. We were there almost an hour. Bad conversation? No. But nothing stellar (pun intended). Gingerbread cookie was nice, funny, but seemed really immature. He recently graduated and is currently looking for a job, but he didn’t seem to serious about it. He talked about how great partying was in college. Eh…not for me.

As we parted ways at the end of the night, he said “we should do this again sometime!” I gave a noncommittal “Um, yeah! We’ll see” and left it at that. I’m really hoping he doesn’t ask me out again…

Cupcakes and Coffee Dates

Happy Halloween!! We get to dress up at school so I went as Supergirl! Here’s my costume

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The girls were a big fan of my tutu and shiny shoes. There was a lot of foot petting happening while I was reading story…

A couple weeks ago I was shopping with my mom at the dollar store and they had the most ADORABLE mini pumpkin cupcake liners. Of course I had to buy them and find an excuse to use them. I decided to make my chamber choir cupcakes and we had a mini Halloween party with our mini cupcakes. They turned out pretty good if I do say so myself

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spider webs!

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ghosts!

I cheated and used boxed chocolate cake mix (so much easier) and my grandma’s buttercream frosting recipe. The ghosts were piles of frosting with mini chocolate chips for eyes and regular chocolate chips for the mouth. For the spiders, I just melted chocolate chips, put it in a plastic baggie (super fancy), and piped it onto wax paper. After a few minutes in the freezer I could peel them off and put them on the cupcakes.

While those desserts were successful, my date dessert was not.

Pecan pie. A non internet date – a set up from a friend of mine. She has been telling for a while about him, but I’ve always been with other desserts. She didn’t know much about him – he lives alone, he’s taller than me (bonus!) and he’s super nice. I figured why not? Worth a shot right? So she gave him my number and we planned to meet for coffee this morning. I had suggested a coffee shop out of town near a state park so we could go for a walk if we wanted. He’s a big outdoorsman so he was game for that.

We got our coffee and started walking. Let’s just say I can tell he lives and works alone. Conversation didn’t exactly flow between the two of us – it was pretty awkward and choppy. He’s definitely more into nature than I am – at one point he said he would love to buy a piece of land and live off the grid. Um, no thanks. I like nature, but not that much. Nice guy? Most definitely. My type? Most definitely not.

I won’t be going for seconds of pecan pie.

Second helpings of peach cobbler

Peach cobbler and I had another date! On Friday, we went to the Fright Farm haunted house in Maplewood. It was actually pretty fun! But I must admit – it felt like we were in high school. We were surrounded by lots of giggly, shrieky, tweens and teens clinging to their awkwardly stoic boyfriends. We made friends with a gay couple behind us (they were hilarious! It was clear that the one of them had planned the date and the other one wasn’t too happy about it…) and chatted while we waited in line. When we got to the entrance, they asked us how many in our party so we asked the guys if they wanted to come with us – definitely a good decision. They were so funny! We had a great time. Then peach cobbler and I went to his cousin’s for a bonfire. All in all, it was a good date!

I’ve gotten a few OkCupid messages, but nothing worth responding to (I know…that sounds mean. But true. I don’t want to lead them on!). My Tinder game has slowed down – I think I’m being optimistic about peach cobbler – but I will leave you with one of my favorite conversations I’ve had the last few weeks. I think you’ll be able to guess why we’re not talking anymore….

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“The List” – part 2

Don’t worry – there’s more! The list continues…

Monster Cookie – Tinder date. Super nice. Way too hick. End of story.

Brownie – He was a teacher as well, so it was nice to have that in common. He seemed very normal and nice in his Tinder messages. But in person? Incredibly awkward. He kind of stuttered – not sure if it was just nerves or what. We ate a painstakingly awkward dinner and parted ways.

French silk pie – He was a part of my 3 dates in 24 hours (yes. Dinner with Monster Cookie on Friday, dinner with Brownie on Saturday, and drinks with French silk pie after dinner). He actually initially invited me over to his place to watch a movie (uh, what? The first time we meet?!) but I suggested we meet up for drinks instead. We had some great conversation, but things just never took off.

Banana split – He and I were maybe in a relationship? I’m not sure. He was very passive. About everything. I pretty much made the first move for just about everything (gave him my number, suggested we meet up, went in for the first kiss…) We were very similar – he was also a teacher living with his parents. We really hit it off and continued to hang out about once a week into the summer. Unfortunately, he lived a little over an hour away and our schedules just didn’t really mesh. He didn’t seem to want to make time for me. And he wasn’t willing to work anything out so things just kind of fell apart. It sucked, but I realized I wasn’t going to make someone a priority in my life if I was only an option in theirs.

Pumpkin pie – He was actually a non-online date. He was a fellow teacher in a neighboring district that my co-workers thought would be a good match. We met at solo ensemble day, and I thought we hit it off pretty well. And apparently he did too – he added me on Facebook and started messaging me before our bus even got back to school. We met up a couple of times (he had me over to his place for dinner) but then out of nowhere he told me how much he appreciated our friendship…I think I was friend-zoned.

Ice cream sundae – This one was interesting. He messaged me first on Tinder and said something about me being beautiful, but not in a creepy coming on too strong way, it was actually kind of sweet. We talked for a week or two then he asked me for my number. We had texted back and forth for a bit, then I suggested meeting up. Radio silence. I had totally written him off but then he texted me like, 3 days later saying he was sick and now he’s feeling better. So we arranged to meet up at an ice cream place. Things went well and a few days later he invited me to the state fair with his roommate and roommate’s girlfriend. We planned to go on a Friday, but because it was rainy he asked to reschedule for Saturday. Saturday rolls around and then he tells me he’s going to a bar to watch the Ohio State football game then he would text me when they were going to the fair. After a while he texts me “my roommate just bought a round of Fireball…this never ends well.” RED FLAG! Long story short, we never made it to the state fair. And I haven’t heard from him since.

Apple pie – Another Tinder boy, but nothing too special. He was a little bit awkward. Wasn’t crazy about him, but he didn’t drive me nuts either. We kind of tried to meet up again, but I got really busy with school about to start and moving my little sister to Utah. We never connected again – and I’m ok with that.

Turtle cheesecake – this one was an interesting one (and most recent). He messaged me on POF on a Sunday night, and by Monday he had asked for my number and to get a drink after work. This was right after I had decided to give up for a while, but I figured why the heck not? We talked for over 2 hours over burgers and beers. He came on pretty strong – texting me really sweet things, always complimenting me. Of course, I bought into it all and fell pretty hard. By the next Monday I had received a “good morning sweetie” text from him and then it was silent. I was pretty confused – this guy went from being all cutesy-texting-flattery 3 or 4 times a day to barely responding to my messages. When I finally called him out on it, he had admitted that he tends to move things pretty quickly and was scared if I found out about the “skeletons in the closet” (his words, not mine) that I wouldn’t want to be friends either. And that was all he wanted right now – to be just friends. Needless to say, I was incredibly confused and felt like I got slapped in the face.

There you have it! In case you lost count, that’s 15 first dates – in less than a year. Yikes. But like my mom says, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince Charming. I guess for now, I’ll just keep kissing…