Perception Makes A Difference…


As the year comes to a close I watch my Facebook feed fill with people mostly saying good riddance to 2013 and that they can’t wait until 2014 starts. Let me be the first to break the bubble for you in that one day passing and the calendar flipping over isn’t going to solve your problems. :) But if it makes you feel better to think that then we will go with it.

2013 for me just like all years has what we call traditional good and bad times. Perception of course is the difference. We will take my macaroon debacle for example. Sure it would have been great if they turned out lovely. People would have swooned and they would have turned out adorable and gone viral on Pinterest. BUT that of course didn’t happen….yet I was more happy with the disaster because it was a good little hit to the ego as a reminder that we always have room to grow and it gave me a much better story. So in a way it was both good and bad.

One of my favorite people lost their job recently which of course is bad. But they also couldn’t stand that job. So it was mostly likely the universe giving them the very unpleasant and uncomfortable push to get out of that job. Which I am hoping they will find something even better and that they will actually like their job and they can then turn the bad into good.

We are a group of dwellers as a whole. We meet at Happy Hour after work to gather and collectively complain about others or the work you do….I know we did this as teachers. Rarely were their stories of what a great teaching moment you had or the compliment a parent or fellow educator gave you. No, you sat around and talked about how ridiculous the new guidelines for x,y, and z from district office (though they usually were :D ) or how you were this close to testing your ninja throwing skills with a compass on little Joey that day because he would not cooperate. But now I really wonder if we had spent that time gathering around (still drinking of course :P ) and discussing what was working for us if we would have been happier at our job? Maybe not. But maybe so.

So let’s not dwell on the crap that went down in 2013. Let’s focus on the awesome things that happen in 2013. I want you to write down 3 things that went really well for you in 2013. Even better if you can do 5, 10, 15…etc. The more you can find the better!

If you can’t think of anything then go through your year on FB…clearly there is something. If you can’t find anything I highly suggest you buy yourself a gratitude journal such as Journal of Awesome or Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude for next year. I am one of those people who likes to document everything….so much so that often people joke that I document life as much as I live it. :)I even convinced MDP to keep a daily journal documenting kid stuff. While some days there is nothing in there others there is tons. It’s fun to look back to when he started it in July 2011 and see how far they have come and changed in such a short time. I like to go back at the end of the year and see how and what I was feeling at certain times. On nights when I have extreme insomnia I like to go back and read through years. On a somber note going through my journals one time I realized pretty much when my marriage was over…and yet I did not see it at the time. So I encourage you to keep a journal for all aspects of your life but definitely keep a gratitude journal for keeping you in the positive.

One thing I am grateful for is that most of my concoctions that I decide in my head do tend to turn out. I love me a 7 Layer Cookie Bar (or Magic Bars) but they’ve been done. I have even done a Monster and Pumpkin version of them. This was a bit of a pantry clean out kind of bar….which we all have random half-filled chocolate chips, toffee, nuts, etc bags in our pantry. I love toffee and oatmeal together so I decided that would be a better base than graham crackers. Of course when I threw it all together it worked! Feel free to throw in what you want.

Enjoy the last weekend of 2013!!!

Oatmeal-Toffee 7 Layer Bar


  • 2 cups oatmeal cookie mix (like Betty Crocker)
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup chopped Double Stuff Golden Oreos
  • 1 cup milk chocolate toffee pieces
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut


  1. Preheat oven 350°F.
  2. Spray 13 x 9-inch baking pan with no-stick baking spray.
  3. Combine oatmeal cookie mix and butter; mix well.
  4. Press cookie mixture firmly into bottom of prepared pan.
  5. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture.
  6. Layer evenly with Double Stuffed Golden Oreos.
  7. Then the butterscotch chips.
  8. Then the coconut.
  9. Then the toffee pieces.
  10. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  11. Loosen from sides of pan while still warm; cool on wire rack.
  12. Cut into bars. I like to cut these smaller as they are rich.


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  1. We were gone for the holidays and our freezer got unplugged. Coming home to an unplugged-for-a-week full freezer is NOT fun. A day later it still smells horrible as does the house. I am choosing to look at it as yay! I get to start fresh and refill the freezer for the coming new year! I know this is not really what you meant, but I kind of feel like I am taking a pretty sucky thing and turning it into something good that happened this year…

    And the cookies look great!

  2. Actually @Amy I think that is a great example. And yes that is a pain…but a great way to look at it.

  3. Maybe those people who are so glad 2013 will be over had really awful New Year’s resolutions for 2013. :) I’m focusing on one thing, just about the only thing I’m super proud of myself for this year: it’s the first year I’ve ever kept a New Year’s resolution the whole year, and I did it with not one but two resolutions! It’s inspired me to make – deep breaths, self – THREE whole resolutions for 2014. One of them being to clean up the post-it graveyard on my desk and keep it clean. :P

    My best friend gave me a journal for Christmas. I used to try to write in journals but I stopped for a long time because I never finished one, but this one I’m determined to keep up and fill cover to cover, because it was from her and I feel closer to her the more I write in it (she lives a state away). That makes me want to be able to fill it with good feelings even when I have to remember bad things, because I’m filling it with something she gave me, and it also makes me want to make the most of every day. The better the day, the more fun to write about it, right? And since I can’t always have “better” days, I can try to give myself a better outlook on the days that aren’t. I never realized that keeping a journal could be a self-improvement process until I actually just wrote this comment. Another thing I’d never have thought of without your blog!

    The idea of using oatmeal cookie mix as the base for magic cookie bars is honestly magic. I feel major need for this. :)

  4. KB- Yes it’s amazing what writing things down can help you realize!
    And we are certainly going to have crap days. I have had the ones where I think I should have just stayed in bed :) But as my dad always says “you have to have the bad days in order to be able to recognize that good ones”.

  5. See, I keep seeing those messages on FB too (friends walls) and I keep thinking why would you think that? There is always good and bad days in a year and 2014 will be no different. I choose to focus on the good days at this time of the year and count my many many blessings. But yet be prepared for those bad days and to pick myself up. So glad you are having a great end of the year :)

  6. 2013 was a great year for me and I look foward to what 2014 brings. Halfway through the Live More Weigh Less challenge I found out I was finally pregnant (after trying for 7 1/2 years). Two weeks later we found out we were doubly blessed and are expecting twins. Right before Thanksgiving I was in a pretty bad wreck but the babies were fine and I had no broken bones – only scrapes and bruises. Although it was likely the scariest day of my life, the silver lining is that my car was worth more than the loan balance and we were in a good financial position to buy a brand new minivan. We would not have traded the suv but I think the minivan will be much easier for two car seats. The wreck also helped heal a rift between me & my father-in-law. He said some hurtful things about me months ago but told me he loved me (first time ever) when he visited me in the hospital.

    To your point, Peabody, there’s always some positives hidden among the negatives. Sometimes we just need to change our perspective.

  7. I would love to start a gratitude journal! I like to think I am a pretty positive person, but I am sure I could use the help! This bar looks heavenly, I adore toffee :)

  8. Journaling has made a huge difference in my life – even if it’s just a quote here and there it makes a difference to go back and reflect on life, where you’ve been, what patterns are you living etc.

    7 layer bars are a huge staple in out house – oats as the bottom are my favorite.

  9. Agree with you on perspective! Every year has ups and downs. My 2013 was a year of intensive learning ;) Life decided it was time I became a student again :-). As they say, there is always a silver lining if you look for it. Well, nonetheless, there is always food and perhaps one of the best mediums to learn about one self!

    Toasting to cherishing every moment of life whether it is the end of a year or the beginning of a new one or anywhere in between! Cheers!

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