Wednesday, August 4, 2010

No Boys Allowed!

(Some of my best friends from college - Brittany, Julie, Jamie and Megan)
Goal #100 - Take a “Girls Trip” with girl friends

When I wrote this goal I had a glamorous vision of a week-long cruise or a trip to California soakin’ in the sites and sun with my college girl friends. But when I started thinking about the reality of taking such a trip, I had to admit that it was unlikely and unwise for most all of us involved. Between our group of friends finances are strapped – we’ve got one girl with a baby on the way, two husbands out of work, one husband in med school full time, very limited paid vacation time for most of us and one crazy gal (::ahem::) doing some six-months-of-radical-frugality project. Going on even a mildly extravagant trip would have caused more financial stress than fun for us. That’s when I came to the conclusion that I would be just as happy taking a (nearly) no-cost trip over my birthday weekend and spending some simplistic, quality time with my ladies.

Sooo... We borrow a van and headed a couple hours north for a wonderful, relaxing weekend in a cabin in the woods of Christopher Creek. Our gracious host was the incredible and sweet Mimi (my best friend Megan’s grandmother-in-law), who loves having “her girls” come up for a visit. We probably go up to Mimi’s about once a year and always wonder why we don’t visit more often. Mimi is so welcoming and at ninety-years-old (and four-foot-five-inches) she is very independent and has a wit as sharp as a tack.

(Mimi & Megan)
Mimi’s cabin backs up to a creek and I spent the early morning of my birthday sitting alone by the water thoroughly enjoying the peacefulness and basking in the beauty of God’s handiwork. What a glorious way to start my twenty-seventh year!

Coming from the sweltering Phoenix temperatures of 110 degrees, my friends and I relished the beautiful, pine-laden scenery and cooler temperatures. We took “nature walks” and played lots of games on rainy afternoons. On my birthday we went berry picking and found delicious pea-sized strawberries that we each had about... oohhh... four of? Not quite worth the effort, but a fun memory nevertheless. We were originally hunting for blackberries, but became engulfed in fog and decided against going any further up the mountain in search of berries that we weren’t even sure were in season (we found out later they were not). The fog was quite eerie and some of us (them) were a little scared.

I was also very impressed with my girls’ cooking abilities. We all chipped in with bringing and cooking meals and ate some seriously scrumptious food. Including homemade chocolate chip banana pancakes and some fudge-like brownies that were less than 100 calories and 1 gram of fat each! (I’ll share that recipe at the bottom of this post – you will not believe what goes into these and how amazingly good they are.)

Cost of this trip – about $20 per person (once we factored in the food we each brought). Thanks Julie, Jamie, Brittany, Megan and Mimi for a wonderful birthday weekend! I love you girlies.

Brownie-like Fudge Bars 
(or Fudge-like Brownie Bars if you prefer)

One box fudge brownie mix
2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 tbs room temp peanut butter
Preheat oven for 350
Combined Brownie mix and pumpkin. Batter will be very thick
Prepare 9"x13" pan with non stick spray and pour in batter.
Swirl peanut butter on top.
Bake for 30-35 mins. They will appear undone. Let cool then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Each Brownie (about 2"x2") has less than 100 cals and about 1 gram of fat! Enjoy!


  1. Sounds like a fun trip, but on to more important stuff....what is pure pumpkin? Am I supposed to go buy a pumpkin and scoop out its innards? Or is this something I can buy in a can?

  2. @John and Sarah - Yes, it should be canned pumpkin PUREE. I typed it wrong. It’s not the pie filling but just the pumpkin innards in a can. It may be harder to find off season (when its not Thanksgiving or Christmas), but should in in the canned veggie area?

  3. I love you Jen.


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