Saturday, December 31, 2011

How are you ringing in the New Year?

The older I get, the faster the years roll out -- they told me it would be like this  :)    I know there are lots of plans for New Years... watching the ball drop;  pigging out for the last time in 2011;  and partying it up with friends.    I hate to say it - but I'm usually asleep before the ball drops.  In the past, we've had get-togethers with friends - enjoying food and playing games until the New Year rings in.   

Last year, we tried something different  - the Running of the Lights.   It's a local 5K (this year it's changed to 5.5K) combined with a 1.75 mile walk/fun run.  We had a blast despite the fact it was close to single digit temperatures by midnight.  Personally, I couldn't think of a better way to ring in the New Year this year.  I've tried really hard to embark on a healthy lifestyle over the past 12-15 months and this helps with that!    Super-husband and super-son will be doing the walk and I will be attempting the 5.5K run.  I'm hoping to push myself a little harder than the Thanksgiving Turkey Strut.

Try as I might - I could not convince our friends to join us this year!   However, my friend, Sally, will be doing the race with me via her treadmill.  What are your plans for the New Year?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Workout... Let's celebrate!

Merry Christmas!
As my brother & I said when we were little, it's Christmas Eve, Eve!  

With the holidays,  people are busy with out of town visitors, shopping, baking, cooking and cleaning up the chaos.  Sometimes, we allow the entire month of December to be an excuse to over indulge or break from our exercise routine.  I want to encourage you to stick with the program!    Our boot camp was cancelled for today & Monday (since our instructor has out of town guests) -- but she emailed us a workout to do on our own.   I looked at the workout and thought it would be difficult for me to watch the clock for intervals & pay attention to the workout!   I had settled into the comfort of my couch when a friend of mine posted she was heading out for a run.  *ding, ding, ding*  Just because I had chosen not to do the boot camp routine - did not mean today was a "free pass".   So I laced up the tennis shoes & grabbed my iPod. 

I can definitely tell boot camp is making me stronger.  I am definitely still slow, but I'm reminded of this quote I found on Pinterest.   "It doesn't matter how slow you are, you are still lapping the people on the couch."  (AMEN!)  My comfort zone tends to put into a brisk walker or an interval girl - but as I've posted before I really want to be a runner.  I decided I would run one mile and then walk one mile back home.  (By the way,  it's 60 degrees here today & I went in shorts!!!).   Did I want to stop short of the mile and switch to intervals or walking?  Yes - but I kept telling myself - push to the next street sign; the next stop sign; around the corner to the next street - before I knew it one mile was DONE!   It was slow - 12 minutes - but faster than the 14 minute mile I did Thanksgiving.  On the walk back home, I enjoyed looking at the neighborhood houses decorated for Christmas & patting myself on the back for a job well done.

So today I celebrate --
  • getting off the couch
  • pushing myself a little further
  • believing I'm stronger than I think I am
  • 12 minutes is faster than 14 minutes
Here's hoping for some more mileage on Christmas Eve! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Are you ready for Christmas?

Are stockings hung by the chimney with care?
Are the presents tucked neatly under your tree?
Are the cabinets stocked with food for your family & guests?

If the answer to any of those questions is "no", the good news is you have 3 more days until Christmas!  :)   I'm not sure why, but I tend to wrap my gifts on Christmas Eve, so our tree is bare underneath.   We've hosted my husband's family the past several years on Christmas Eve, but this year his parents are hosting again.  I'll probably take a dish or two, but I won't spend alot of time in the kitchen. 

Overall, I'm choosing to minimize the stress & simply enjoy the time with my family.   I haven't done any baking this year, and I'm ok with that.   Food can be a weakness for me, and so far I'm pleased with how I have handled the holiday gatherings.  

I realize I'm rambling but my point is to enjoy the PEOPLE over the holidays and focus less on the hustle & bustle, gift-giving or the ridiculous amount of food before us.  It's the people and relationships we should be celebrating!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Favorite Holiday Snacks...

My mom is one of the best cooks I know - she loves to try new recipes & read cookbooks.  However, baking is not her thing, so for Christmas our treats were often snack related and not cookies she had baked for us to ice.  :)  

Here are a few of my favorites...
  1. Sausage Balls - quick & easy... the trick -- letting all the ingredients come to room temperature before trying to make them into balls...
  2. Butterscotch Haystacks - again, quick & easy... some people like to add peanuts, but I prefer the noodle & butterscotch only version  (yes, I even omit the peanut butter & marshmallows)
  3. Chocolate Pretzels - am I repeating myself - another quick & easy recipe... this is a great one to let kids help with ... they can unwrap the hershey kisses or places the M&M's on the finished treat!
  4. Fudge - For as long as I can remember, our family has always used the recipe on the Kraft marshmallow creme jar.
  5. Spinach Artichoke Dip - my favorite appetizer & snack!
  6. Queso Dip - again, right off the back of the Rotel label
There are many other "treats" I love during the holiday season, but these are just a few of my favorites.  Do you have a favorite holiday treat?

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Christmas Wish List...

My 2011 Wish List
  1. Moving Comfort Sports Bra - It's possible I'm crazy for listing this as number one on my list, but I desperately need a new one!   This particular brand is rather pricey - but having had two in this brand for the past 3 years - I can honestly say hands-down they are the BEST.   They keep the "girls" in their place better than any other sports bra I've worn -- especially for running and high impact activities.
  2. Super Thick Yoga Mat - The end of October,  I switched from running M-W-F to Boot Camp.  I've been using the yoga mat that came with our Wii and let's just say I have battle wounds.  The boot camp is outside and we do lots of planks, push-ups, and other crazy ab work & I'd like to believe a super-thick yoga mat would help make it more bearable.  :)  
  3. Saucony Ride 4 - new shoes! - It's that time of year when I need some new tread.  The Ride4 has been my go-to shoe for the past three years.  If you've never been professionally fitted for shoes, I highly recommend it.  Since wearing the appropriate shoe for my foot, I have not experience any shin splints!
Those really are my top 3 items.  It seems crazy that I am asking for fitness stuff - but that's kinda where I am in life right now.  :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry CHRISTmas... nearly perfect Christmas card

Super-son (10 y/o old);  Wei-Zei (black) and Heidi (gray)
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!   This picture was snapped quickly last Sunday evening & it's nearly perfect of Superson and our 2 four-legged family members - EXCEPT the I could not edit the dog's flash-struck eyes! 

I finished classes for the semester on December 12th and I've been enjoying some relaxing evenings. However,  I do have plenty I should be doing!   We had a busy & lazy weekend - hosting some of super-husband's coworkers for lunch on Saturday and today (Sunday) we've been rather lazy.

I'm looking forward to Christmas and enjoying some time with family!   Are you ready for Christmas?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Another Holiday Tradition...Candle Tea

I love this picture of young & old working together on the Beeswax candles.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is attending the Candle Tea at Old Salem.  And as part of the tradition, we usually stand in a really long line outside with really cold temperatures.  We don't get alot of snow in our area, but the past two years it has snowed while we've been waiting in line.  The Candle Tea is sponsored by Home Moravian Church and held in the Single Brothers House at Old Salem.  The Candle Tea consist of hearing a little history of the Moravians and specifically the Single Brothers House;  singing Christmas carols;  the candle-making room (see pic above); going into the kitchen and enjoying Moravian coffee and sugar cake (my favorite!);  the Putz; and ending with the nativity & reading of the Christmas story.   Nothing changes about the candle tea each year - but we love going as family and remembering the simplicity of the season.

Do you have any holiday traditions?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Simple Christmas Decor

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is look at the ways people get creative and decorate for the holidays.   I'm a pretty simple gal with a pretty simple family, so I like to keep it simple.  I scored the Christmas Subway art ($14.99) from TJ Maxx the end of October.  Last year, I took all of my old garland to Goodwill - it was quite tattered and some of the electrical cords were questionable.  I found this prelit garland on sale at Target ($7.00) over the weekend.  I kept the the Willow Tree angels, family plaque, and digital frame -- I know they aren't seasonal - but it defines so much of "who" are family is.  The vase in the middle was one I had on hand and the ornaments inside came from the Dollar Tree.   I'm very happy with the look and the simplicity of it.   I'm linking up to the Mantel Party at Southern Hospitality.  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekly Menu

Thanksgiving is over, so I guess we are officially headed into the Christmas season.  Although, I think retailers had us headed there in August!   Overall, I'm pleased with the food choices I made over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I was under my calorie goal every day except Saturday.  By my guesstimate, I went over by 30 calories - still not bad.    Here is our weekly menu for this week...

Monday - Chicken Broccoli Bake with brown rice
Tuesday - 93/7 hamburgers and baked tater tots
Wednesday - late school night for me - sandwiches (or quiche and fruit)
Thursday - Salmon Patties, sweet peas, instant potatoes
Friday - work Christmas Party
Saturday - chili

As usual, the days may switch around depending on how our week unfolds  :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Traditions... Charlie

Holiday Traditions... they're special and full of memories that will last a lifetime.  One of the traditions, we started with our son is Elf on the Shelf.   The picture above is of our elf, Charlie.  Charlie arrived at our house about 5 years ago.   Even though super-son is 10 years old, he is still eagerly awaiting the elf's arrival this year and it warms my heart that he still "believes".   Charlie will arrive at our house shortly after Thanksgiving and watch over the household carefully each day.  At night, he flies home to the North Pole to report the day's activities to Santa.

Do you have a holiday tradition?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good Eats for Thanksgiving

It seems a bit strange to not be in the kitchen this evening beginning preparations for Thanksgiving Day, but I do appreciate my father-in-law offering to take everyone to dinner.  :)    Last year, we tried to enjoy the day without over indulging and modifying recipes on some of our favorites.   Here is one of my favorite recipes that replaces the congealed salad (gag!) or Watergate salad on our table.

Autumn Fruit Salad

2 granny smith apples (cored and diced)
1 small can mandarin oranges (drained)
red, seedless grapes  (I always eyeball these, so I don't know an exact measurement)
1 small container of vanilla yogurt
1/2 to 1 cup of miniature marshmallows
1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

Mix all the ingredients together & chill.

Super easy & yummy!   We enjoy the leftovers for breakfast!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Are you prepared?

Well, Thanksgiving week is upon us!  Are you prepared?   I think we should all enjoy the time with our family and friends & enjoy some delicious food in moderation.  The key to enjoying this time is planning ahead - not obessing over our choices.   For me, it will be relatively easy on Thursday,  the in-laws wanted to take everyone to Cracker Barrel.  While the portions will be controlled, I will have the option to make low-calorie dishes to off-set the higher ones.  SO,  I plan to eat light throughout the day and enjoy the evening with them.   Super-husband, super-son and I will be doing the Turkey Strut 5K as well which will earn me a cushion to counteract the calories.  (PS - If you have joined the Healthy Blogger 5K for Thanksgiving - click over the A Journey to Thin now!)    In addition to the 5K on Thursday,  I will have boot camp on Monday & Wednesday at 530a.  No boot camp on Friday - I was a little bummed.  If I can find another insane person, I might tackle a couple of stores on Black Friday - just because.  :)   Saturday evening,  we will have Thanksgiving with my parents, so I'll be sure to earn some more activity points that day as well!

What's your plan?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What A Weekend!

It's been a GORGEOUS fall weekend here!   My goal Saturday was to tackle laundry in the morning and work on school stuff in the afternoon.  I'd already decided we would wait and clean house on Wednesday night.   Well, I completed a couple of loads of laundry and then instead of hitting the books... I headed outdoors with super-husband and super-son.  They were making a massive sweep of the yard FULL of leaves.  All in all they spent three hours working on it.  I helped for a while and then we hauled some old logs that had been on the back of our property for awhile.  It was a nice little workout.   I ended the evening watching Hoarders and avoiding homework.  :)

Sunday was pretty typical for us.  We headed to church this AM and came home for lunch.   A local women's gym offers a free class on Sunday afternoons called "Fit Praise".   For the most part, it consist of low impact aerobics.  I went a few times last winter & decided to try it again last week.  I really enjoyed it last week - it was alot of toning and sculpting work (a lot of burn baby burn!).   This week,  it was Pilates.  I was really excited because I have always wanted to try Pilates, but never had the opportunity.   While it's not the cardio workout I'm accustomed to - it was a GREAT workout.  I was excited to hear it would be Pilates again next week, so I will have the opportunity to try it again.   For dinner, I tried a new recipe for roasted asparagus - I've made similar before - but I really like this recipe best.

What did you do this weekend?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving already?

Seriously, next week is Thanksgiving!   Every time, I think about it - I shake my head in disbelief.  :)  

We have a small family, so our plans are usually low-key.  Super-son is out of school Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - so I will be taking a half-day vacation on Wednesday.   Thursday, we are planning to do the local Turkey Strut 5K. Last year, super-husband and I rocked it out & had so much fun!   It seemed like the perfect way to start the holiday season.  If there is something similar in your area, I would highly recommend it.  Additionally,  hop on over to A Journey to Thin and enter her great give-away for the 2nd Annual Thankful Healthy Blogger 5K. 

We'll probably finish the morning cooking a nice breakfast & then we are having Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws at Cracker Barrel.   It will definitely be nice to have some activity to offset the dinner calories.  I will miss being in the kitchen and cooking healthy options, but I appreciate the break as well.   Saturday evening, we'll celebrate with my family.

Are you planning ahead for Thankgiving?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekly Menu

Last week, we ate out too much!  Even though I was able to make healthy choice - I consider it a waste of money.  Don't get me wrong - I do enjoy eating out, but it's so much more cost efficient to eat at home.

Monday - Crispy Baked Pork;  Brown Rice; Sweet Peas

Tuesday - Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas;  Chips & Salsa

Wednesday - Spinach & Artichoke Bow Tie Pasta;  Fruit

Thursday - Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche; Fruit

Friday - Palmero Thin Crust Pizza - Chicken Caesar

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Boot Camp

GIMME 20 NOW!   LET'S GO!   Is having someone yell at you at the top of their lungs your idea of boot camp?  Or visions of Jillian & Bob?   Yeah, mine too.  Neither of which I find appealing  (don't get me wrong I love Biggest Loser, but I'm not a fan of the yelling during workouts).  

Over the past year,  I've been walking with one friend who then became two friends.  We started out with 2 miles / 2 days per week and then we went to 3 miles / 3 days per week.  It's been AWESOME to have the accountability otherwise it would be really easy to hit snooze at 5am.   Lately, I've felt like I needed more than 3 miles, because it's not as challenging any more.  I had hoped to move into intervals, but some days I'm motivated to run/walk and others I'm not.

For several months, I've noticed a boot camp near where we walk and it's going on at the same time we are walking.  On Monday, we stopped by and asked some questions & the instructor invited us to give it a try on Wednesday.   Wednesday brought rain - BOO!   On Friday, I was ready to go!   Unfortunately, neither of my exercise buddies made it, but I went and I was so glad I did.

It was hands-down one of the hardest workouts I've had in months (possibly years).  It challenged me not only physically but mentally as well.  There was no one yelling in my face trying to break me down, but someone encouraging me and telling me I can do this - keep pushing - you're doing awesome!   Even though I have been cardio - this pushed me so much further on many levels. I'm so glad I went and I can't wait to go back on Monday!

Are you in a rut with your current fitness routine?  If so, I would encourage you to try something out of your comfort zone?  You'll be glad you did.   :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Where have I been?

It's fall ... How's this picture for a flashback to 2001?   Super-son in his first Halloween costume.  Adorable?  Yes, I think so!

Well, y'all what can I say... school is back in session for me and super-son, so life is crazy busy.  It's a challenge to keep my head above water.  On a good note, after this semester I will have 2.66 (yes .66 classes) remaining which *cross my fingers* means I will graduate in the Spring.  Woohoo!

So what's new?
  • All house projects (painting, organizing) are on hold until the semester is over.  It's too much stress to have another ball in the air right now.
  • I had my yearly physical with my primary care physician this week.  All of my bloodwork is excellent & I had lost 14 lbs since last year's visit.  She gave me an A++.
  • I'm still exercising M-W-F at the crack of dawn 530am to be exact.  I'll try to post something on my new venture over the weekend.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

July's over... now on to August

Hope everyone is having a fabulous summer!  We are certainly enjoying it here - despite the tremendous heat & humidity.  I've made a little more progress on my summer to-do list.  This is our July to-do's that are now done  :)

- Made a day trip to Boone/Blowing Rock to visit Tweetsie Railroad 
- Cookout & fireworks with friends for the 4th of July
- Submitted my scholarship application for fall (fingers crossed)
- Registered for two CLEP exams which I will take this Saturday (prayers needed!)
- Took some clothes to the consignment shop

and August is already cooking up to be another busy month!  Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Whatcha doin' weekend?

Don't you love the cookie cake?  We picked it up a few weeks ago for a cookout with friends - ADORABLE!    Anyway,  it is super hot here - the car read 102 on the way home today.  The highs this weekend are supposed to be 98+!    Our weekend goal to stay COOL!   We will probably stay in and read or watch TV most of the weekend.  Lazy - maybe! :)   I'm hoping to convince hubby for dinner out on Saturday evening - this place has the BEST spinach salads & hot bacon dressing - YUM!   I need to clean out and declutter my closet.  And, I need to study for an upcoming CLEP exam.  Sounds like I have enough ways to stay cool.

What are you doing this weekend?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer, Sweet, Summer

                             Beat the Heat 5K - July 16, 2011

I seem to be talking alot about summer lately!   Despite the heat here in the South,  I LOVE summer.  Life (while busier) seems so much more relaxed.   No rushing to get home, fix dinner, do homework, get showers and get in the bed -- just a much slower pace.   However as a sit here, I'm suddenly thinking of all the things I must do before summer is over -- organizing/decluttering closets &  reading "ahead" for fall semester floated to the top of the list.  Quite frankly, I'm not sure if either of those will get done.  I'm enjoying this period of rest.  If you've ever taken a Metabolic Effect classes, you know they emphasize - "I wanna see you rest".   I think a season of rest is good for all of us -- to reflect, to refocus, and renewal.

Are you stopping to smell the roses?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Garden Fresh & Farmer's Markets

One of my fondest summer memories as a child is the summer garden. When I was younger, we lived relatively close to my great-grandparents. There was a plot of land in between our home and their home that was used for gardening. I remember my Pawpaw tilling the land; carefully making rows; and using the Farmer's Alamanac as his guide to planting. He would let my brother and I drop seeds into the rows. Then, the nightly ritually became watering and weeding. Weeding was likely my least favorite, but it had to be done. I never thought it about alot as child, but watching those seeds turn into plants which then bears a harvest is a pretty incredible thing. The joy of Pawpaw digging & my brother and I finding the potatoes buried in the ground; pulling corn from the tall stalks; picking green beans; following the cucumber & squash vines throughout the plot as they spread --- just thinking of these memories makes me want to go back in time.
Of course, the work wasn't over when we harvested -- it was cleaning & snapping green beans; shucking corn on the front porch; cleaning cucumbers to make pickles and the list goes on and on and on. Sometimes, it seems like gardening & canning is a lost art today. I wish I had paid more attention to growing up & embraced the concept more and whined about the chore less. One day... maybe I'll have my own small plot of land back in the country again.... a girl can dream right?

Enough reminiscing :) Here are some great links to recipes for your harvest or your treasures from the local farmer's market --

Tomato Sandwich - It's a southern thing, but I could eat a tomato sandwich EVERY DAY when they are vine fresh! Two pieces of white bread - spread with Duke's mayonnaise - topped with sliced tomatos & a dash of salt and pepper ---- that folks is pure HEAVEN!
Cucumber Salad - Cool & light. It makes a great side dish.
Squash Dressing - You can lighten up this recipe.
Tomato Pie - Didn't think I'd like it, but I loved it.
Refrigerator Pickles - I like to add cloves of garlic to ours!

What's your favorite farm fresh recipe?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Busy, busy...

Wow, y'all we are nearly half-way through the month of July! It's seems like I was just discussing my summer bucket list which I am happy to report I've made progress on! While we've been very busy, I've enjoyed making wonderful memories. I do think this is the best summer we've had in a long while.

Fitness - I'm active! M-W-F walking approximately 3 miles at 5:30am. On Thursdays, I've been jogging 1 miles and doing sprints. Sprints are supposed to help with your endurance. It seems I've been stuck at a steady 15 min/mile forever & the truth is I need to push myself out of this comfort zone. I realize doesn't really matter as long as I'm getting cardio in, but it does to me. I still want to run an ENTIRE 5K (not just intervals). I'm considering changing things up as I feel like I really need to strengthen my core. I'm considering doing boot camp on M-W at 5:15am and then cardio on T-Th (perhaps try the Couch-to-5K program). I did complete the Beat the Heat 5K this past weekend (my time 46:23) & I'm planning to do the Mission 5K in August.

Food - Quite honestly, I haven't been in the kitchen alot. It seems to be a trend for me in the summer. We eat lot of sandwiches (nothing wrong with that either!). I have tried 5 Dinners in 1 Hour and I love having everything done prior to getting home, but some of the meals weren't as healthy as we need. I'm secretly hoping to win one of her giveaway contests for a free subscription! This concept works really well for us particularly during the school year. I've also discovered e-mealz & I'm giving it a try for 3 months. I figure the worst case scenario is I will have lots of new recipes & Dave Ramsey endorses them as well. :)

Fun - I've already mentioned a couple of short vacations we've taken. Right after school was out, we went to the beach with my mom for a few days. We did a day trip to Boone/Blowing Rock, NC. The end of this month, we are headed to the beach with friends for a few days. In August, our annual trip to Pigeon Forge :) I'm really excited!

As you can see, it's been busy but full of great memories! What have you done this summer?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Back to planning...

I hope everyone is enjoying summer as much as I am! The picture is from our spontaneous trip last Sunday to Tweetsie Railroad in the Boone/Blowing Rock area. I really don't think it's changed much in 25 years, but it evokes so many wonderful childhood memories for me. Super-son is about to "age-out" but we've been several times over the past few years & it has been worth every penny each visit.

I've been a little slack in the meal-planning department since school got out in mid-June. I'm trying to get back in the swing of it this week. I've mentioned 5 Dinners in One Hour on the blog before & I do think it's a great resource. Preparing all your meals on the weekend is a HUGE time saver for the week. However, this week I'm giving e-mealz a try. They offer several different menu options & they have some free sample menus. Even, if you are looking for some new recipe ideas - I'd recommend at least looking at the sample menus. I decided to try the 3 month subscription for $15.00 (if you use code, samicone, you'll get $1.50 discount). You're allowed to change menu options once during your three months. I selected the "portion control" for us, but after reviewing the sample menus today I think I'm going to switch to "low fat".

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hello July!

I'm not sure what it is about July, but it screams SUMMER to me! Maybe it's the July 4th celebrations, vacation, hot temperatures, cook-outs, a full month with no school for super-son, grilling out, and accessorizing as much as possible with flip-flops. July is summer period. :)

Yesterday, I took a short road trip with a friend to the Christmas in July festival. It was north of where we live, but do not be fooled - the mountains are not cooler in July. I love festivals - drooling over the arts & crafts - wishing I had an ounce of their wonderful talent. Fall festivals are my favorite, but I'd been disappointed with "made in China items" showing up at some of the local festivals. I want TRUE hand-made and heart-felt pieces. The festival yesterday did not disappoint, and an added bonus Santa himself was strolling around. We had a great time!

What screams summer to you?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Slow down...

School has only been out for 2 weeks now, but it seems like summer is flying by already!! We've been busy, but making progress on our various to-do lists!


  • Finished two online summer school classes in session one! YEAH

  • Took a short trip to the beach with my mom & superson.

  • Had handy-dandy neighbor install ceiling fans/lights in our two spare bedrooms. Normally, this is something we would tackle ourselves but there was NO overhead lighting in either room. Funny the things you don't pay attention to when house-hunting.

Now, we are looking forward to a relaxing July & hopefully more items off the to-do list will be completed!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Missing in Action...

From the looks of my blog, it seems as though I have been MIA for a couple of weeks. It's been super busy at home & work. Super-son's last day of school was June 14th & there were lots of festivities beforehand -- field day; 3rd grade class picnic; etc. On June 15th, superson & I headed down to Atlantic Beach with my mom for a short get-away. It was lots of fun & very relaxing. This week, I'm finishing up the last week of summer session one which means two papers to write and a final exam to study. I'll be back soon!

Meanwhile, check out these blogs...
Muffin-Tin Mom - love the creativity in her "muffin meals"
Love of Home & Family - lots of great DIY ideas for decorating and gifts - I've linked my lastest favorite
She's Kinda Crafty - more great craft ideas, for the crafter wanna-be in me
I Heart Organizing - lots of organizing ideas - makes me realize how unorganized I really am :(

See you soon!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day weekend...

Happy Memorial Day! It's quite humbling to think of all the men & women who have served this great country to protect our freedoms. Thank you to all those who have served or are serving as well as their families. Hope everyone has a GREAT day honoring and remembering those who enlisted!

We did not take a trip to the beach, so we've been working on various things around the house. I wish I could tell you my "to-do" list is now DONE, but does that ever happen. :) Remember, this blog is about keepin' it real, so I show "real" pictures. Here is a before of the room...

I have made some progress on our spare bedroom. It looks MUCH better, but I still have alot of work. And an after pic... (Remember I still have work to do!)

Super-husband and I have brain-stormed about a couple of different options for that room. We really want to reclaim that space. Part of our problem, it's a multi-purpose room - office; exercise; and spare bed. The closet is small & currently - FULL - so one of the things we need to do is go through the closet and minimize what is in there to at least HALF of what currently resides! And, then - I love this idea - office closet anyone? I think this shows how much potential a closet can offer! This would completely eliminate our corner desk which is a current complete waste of space (in my opinion). Next, we would like to save some pennies & purchase a wall-mount TV for that room. Nothing super-duper fancy - but this would allow us to get-rid of the big TV (it's old, but works) that currently resides on super-son's old play table. We could then shift my hope chest underneath the TV. (In the pictures, this would be the wall to the left (it has the TV/table & closet). This would free up approximately one side of the room -- sorry, but the treadmill & bike are staying for now (we don't have a basement, so this is as good as it gets). I'd love to find a chair&a half with a pull-out bed -- this would make for a great lounge space & in the event someone needed to sleepover -- we'd have room! The other addition on the wish list (and probably the most likely to happen soon) is a ceiling fan. I like this one & one in white for super-son's room.

I know it's hard to visualize what I'm talking about without good pictures -- I really need to get better at posting pics! Anyone, that's my dreamin' for another room. One day, we'll actually be able to make progress on our projects. Just takes patience and money :)

What are you working on this weekend?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Weekend To-Do's...

The verdict is still out on what we will do this weekend, so I figured it was worth making a to-do list either way... hehe!


  1. Relax

  2. Soak up some rays.

  3. Read a good book.

  4. Grill Out

  5. Repeat starting at Step #1.


  1. Declutter spare bedroom.

  2. Pick out ceiling fans for super-son's bedroom & spare bedroom.

  3. Get paint sample for kitchen. Right now, I'm leaning toward Jekyll Grand Dining Sea Mist by Valspar.

  4. Dare I attempt to start scraping the popcorn ceiling in the kitchen/dining area??

  5. Invite some friends over for a cookout!

What are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Busy week...

Photo is a "sneak peak" from our session on Saturday night! LOVE it. She's an awesome photographer!!!

It's been a busy week... Superson has EOG's (don't even get me started on that soapbox)... summer school session has started for me and I'm taking two classes (woohoo -positive thinking y'all) and it's just that crazy busy time of year for me at work. Thank the good Lord, super-husband is laid-back and doesn't demand much out of me! LOL But, hey - it's already Wednesday and we are cruising into a long weekend... lovin' the idea of that already.

I'm not sure what are weekend will entail... there have been mumblings of a beach trip which sounds like a fine idea to me... until I discover I do believe our dog is coming "in season"... sigh! I had considered boarding her (until THAT came up) and this really cool place that has opened in town. We've never taken her on a long road trip before (the beach is 5 hours for us)... so decisions, decisions! Not to mention, we have PLENTY of projects at home too!

Regardless of whether we stay or go -- I hope grilling out and a flag cake are on the menu! :) I found this awesome cake recipe earlier -- alot of work, but oh so cute! Personally, this Kraft one is still a favorite tho.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Recipe Party

I'm linked up to the Summer Recipe party at Rhoda's place... Grab a glass of sweet tea and venture over for some delicious looking treats! I posted my "light" Pimento cheese recipe -- I had to y'all -- it's a southern thang. If you've never tried it on grilled burger -- DO!

What are you cooking up this summer?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekly Menu...

If you haven't tried weekly menu planning, I highly recommend it. Our evenings go so much smoother on the weeks, everything is ready to go! Here's this week...

Saturday - We had family pictures made, so we grab a bite to eat afterwards at K&W. :)
Sunday - grilled hot dogs, chips and homemade brownie sundaes
Monday - salmon patties, mashed potatoes, sweet peas
Tuesday - Sour Cream Noodle Bake
Wednesday - Chicken Pie, green beans, corn on the cob
Thursday - slow cooker Asian Chicken and mixed veggies with brown rice
Friday - leftovers or sandwiches

What are you having this week?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Never say never...

It really is true... never say never because it is quite likely the never will unfold. :) I vividly remember telling my mom I would never go out with super-husband. Funny huh? Today we celebrate 18 years of marriage! The road of life has handed us lots of twists and turns we never expected, but I am so grateful he has been there to help navigate the way.

I don't have a lot of riches in the bank, but I'd much rather have the richness of love that I share with him!

Happy 18th Anniversary E! I love you forever!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Clutter and Chaos...

I love an organized home. However, I will be the first to admit our home is far from organized. I enjoy reading other blogs and seeing fabulous transformations. I Heart Organizing is one of my favorite blogs -- lots of good tips and information there! While surfing her blog this week, I stumbled across a reader's coat closet transformation. The best part about the coat closet redo... it cost her absolutely NOTHING! :)

My wheels start turning and thinking of our "problem areas"... spare bedroom, linen closet, coat closet, and "pantry". I was talking with a co-worker who LOVES to tackle projects. She offered to help me.... NO WAY! Yes, way -- I said, "you have no idea how bad it is"... haha! But, I promised her I would take pictures. I was mortified after taking the pictures, so I got busy de-cluttering. :) I ended up with a bag of trash & a bag for Goodwill.

I started with our pantry... keep it real ya'll... here is the before & after...

The good news, The storage containers with the blue lids are EMPTY! The dark brown baskets on the third shelf are empty and I may move them to the family room over the weekend. And, the basket on the bottom shelf is EMPTY too! We can see the floor again too! I tried to upload more before & after pics, but got really annoyed that blogger kept reformatting my post! :) Trust me, it's much better!

What are you decluttering this weekend?

Friday, May 20, 2011


I loved Crayons as a kid. I still love coloring in a coloring book. Childish? yes. Calming? yes. I dream of visiting the Crayola factory one day. :) Silly but true -- perhaps I am a real kid at heart.

Perhaps you are wondering why I am talking about Crayons. Yesterday, I received a very heartfelt email in response to my friend post. It was such a great email... very real and very genuine that it brought tears to my eyes. One of my favorite quotes is --

"We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names. All are different colors, but they all have to learn to live in the same box." -- Author Unknown

However, I like the way crayons were referred to in the email I received even better...

"The way I look at the people around me is the equivilent to a box of crayons... oooooooo...different colors, some I like, some not so much. Separate they may not make much impact, but together, they can create something beautiful, colorful, intricate, detailed, so much to look at, so much to enjoy. I may like one crayon more than another, it may be my favorite forever or just for a while, but the idea is to enjoy it while you have it!!" -- thank you SW ((Hugs))

What is your favorite color???

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Friends...what does that mean?

Merriam Webster defines friend as --
a : one attached to another by affection or esteem b : acquaintance
a : one that is not hostile b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group
: one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
: a favored companion

I'm facebooker... For someone whose fairly introverted it's a nice social outlet for me. I've contemplated deactivating my account several times, but for whatever reason I can't bring myself to do it. The one problem I have over and over again is the "friend" on Facebook. By Facebook numbers, I have 394 friends. Really? I don't think that could be further from the truth. Out of the 394 (excluding the ones that are family - and those are few) -- I don't think I could count 10 friends on one hand. Is that sad? Or is that just because I have a high definition and strong sense of what I consider a "friend"? I certainly hope it is that latter of the two.

Friendship is something I take seriously... I tend to give alot, but I expect the same investment in return. I don't like one-sided relationships. I like partnerships. Friendships of give and take -- where relationships complement each other's strengths & weaknesses. Friends that help, cry, laugh, and vent with you. Friends who could care less if your house is clean when they drop in.

I have some former co-workers in another department but in the same facility of which I now work. We were quite close friends before I left the department --- let's "keep in touch" they said... we'll "get-together for lunch" they mentioned. Can I tell you how many times they've dropped by my office? ZERO Can I tell you how many times they've called or met for lunch? ZERO I try to drop by their office once every 3-4 months or so. And, I hear the same thing everytime -- "we need to get-together". Perhaps, I'm sounding juvenile -- but it's gets OLD people. Maybe I'm not a good friend? Maybe I expect too much?

What does friend mean to you?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Parenting is TUFF...

Remember the Toughskin jeans of the 70's-80's, they were designed to intrigue mom's of rough-n-tough boys. Supposedly, you could not wear the jeans out -- they were that STRONG. :) I'm sure more than a few fellas put those jeans to the test.

Sometimes as a parent, I feel like I need a pair of those rough-n-tough jeans. Being a parent is hard yet so rewarding. I go through phases where I feel like I totally suck at being a mom, superhusband always reminds that I'm a wonderful mom. But there are some days I sure don't feel like it. You know the days were you repeat yourself over & over because you are pretty sure they didn't get the message the first time. Or, the days were they look like you like you have three heads instead of one -- c'mon folks, we parents know NOTHING. :) It seems to get harder the older they get as well. Superson recently turned 10, so we still have a long road ahead. However, I remember some of the things I cried over, stressed over in earlier years & they seem so silly now. I'm hoping the things I cry and stress over today will seem just as silly a few years from now.

Depsite the frustrations and unknowns of parenting, the times they make it worth it are priceless. The time you see him "live out" a lesson you've been trying so hard to teach; the "thanks mom" -- that is genuine; the "I love you"from out of nowhere. The reality is as much as I want to teach him lessons about life -- he is teaching me so much more.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekly Menu

Last week's menu did not go quite as planned... crazy huh? I didn't feel like cooking last Sunday (Mother's Day)... so our meals consisted of cereal, sandwiches and McD's on Wednesday night. This evening I assembled our meals, so we are ready to go this week!

Saturday - We ate out after a busy day of errands and chores!
Sunday - Grilled burgers/hot dogs, baked beans, chips
Monday - Baked chicken tenders (5 dinners recipe); leftover baked beans, fruit
Tuesday - Spaghetti with meat sauce
Wednesday - Broccoli & Chicken Bake (5 dinners recipe) and brown rice
Thursday - TexMex Rolls (5 dinners recipe) and chips & salsa
Friday - leftovers or sandwiches

Want more ideas and inspiration -- follow my link up to Org Junkie menus. What are you eating this week?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

Friday evening started out quite lazy... I had intended get a few things done around the house, but ended up on the couch reading blogs and watching TV. Sadly, it was nice to veg out after a busy week. Spring semester ended on Tuesday, so I have no required papers, readings, etc until summer session starts. :)

The weekend forecast was predicted as lots of rain, so I wasn't quite sure what Saturday would entail. I had registered for a the local Rockin' Ronald McDonald 10K/5K and my brother & sister-in-law joined me. It was their first 5K and they did AWESOME. The picture to the left is us AFTER the race! :) I finished in time to catch most of superson's soccer game in the rain. Afterwards, we grabbed a quick lunch and headed home. We tackled family chores inside and it was only mid-afternoon (woo!). I knew if I sat down I was likely to fall asleep, so I ventured out to the local consignment shop & Home Depot with my neighbor.

As you may recall from my Friday post, my kitchen is on my mind. :) I had originally wanted to go with a similar color for the walls, but my neighbor convinced me to work with the countertops. I think we've decided to not try the countertop transformation I mentioned in the other post. We'll keep what we have until we can afford to have the replaced professionally. SO, I'm leaning toward a color in the green family -- I picked up the 3 Valspar samples in the picture to the right. Right now, I'm leaning toward one of the bottom 6. We had a busy Saturday and got alot accomplished. For dinner, we went to a local burger place totally overdid it there - but enjoyed it!

Sunday, we enjoyed a great morning of worship & small group. We stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things & $100 later... well, you know how that goes. :) Superhusband grilled some burgers & hotdogs -- they were delicious! After lunch, I took a nap (hope I can still sleep tonight). After supper, I finished up our meals for the week!

How was your weekend?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Next mission... the kitchen and entryway...

For now, my front porch project is as complete as it's going to get (at least for awhile)... I do plan to get a few plants to spruce up the areas around the front door - but these will be freebies off of mom & friends who are dividing & sharing! :) Next stop... entryway & kitchen....

The KITCHEN!! It is the room I fell in love with when we looked at the house 9 years ago! I love how large it was and that it was eat-in. I don't know about you, but I know very few people who use their formal dining room on a regular basis. Personally, I'd rather have comfortable, livable space that I use regularly.

The previous owner was a school teacher & used the blackboard for tutoring students. We use for grocery list, important phone numbers, etc! The only change we made was the flooring -- I loved the white/green tiles (vinyl flooring), but they were yellowed. We replaced with something similar and within 6 months had the same problem. Apparently, it had to do with the type glue that is used and the fact we are on a concrete slab. Fortunately, the folks at Lowes Hardware were very accommodating and let us pick out another floor (light brown/pebble look) and we only had to pay a small amount to have it replaced. The other change was the dishwasher -- NO, we didn't replace it - but it was black on the front and stuck out like a sore thumb. On the panels of the dishwasher were different "inserts" -- we chose to go with the white one instead. The backsplash is white tile with various fruit tiles mixed in.

Here are some pictures, I took today...

My thoughts:

  1. Remove the popcorn ceiling! It looks terrible mainly because it is cracking and in a couple areas I've tried to see how easily it would come down, so there's a patch missing here and there. :) I would like the ceiling painted flat (no more popcorn!).

  2. Since we do have an eat-in kitchen, I would like to have the dining area "set apart". My thoughts.... place beadboard below the chair rail and paint it white. Hang curtains over the outer two windows -- this would help block the heat in the summer as well.

  3. As mentioned in another post, get a smaller table. A table with a leaf that will allow us to seat 4 the majority of the time - but have the option to add the leaf for additional seating for family get-togethers. Preferably in an oak tone. :)

  4. Paint -- walls, cabinets and trim. It's very likely I will go with a color very close to what the walls are now -- it's a beige/khaki/light brown. I don't know the exact color because it was already painted when we moved here. Cabinets would remain white as well.

  5. Replace cabinet hardware. When we moved in 9 years ago, the cabinets got a fresh coat of paint. The hardware is brass (knobs, hinges) and the drawer pulls are white/brass. At that time, we attempted to clean them with brass cleaner -- could not tell a significant different though. I'd love suggestions on what you would choose :) Brushed nickel, black, rubbed bronze?

  6. Lighting. I actually like the fixture above the table. It has a wrought iron look to it. Remember Vern Yip -- he used a very similar fixture on his room makeovers. :) We have a problem with a couple of the lights. Our handy-dandy electrician neighbor has looked at it a couple of times, but it may need to be replaced. If so, I will go with something similar. OR, would you move the ceiling fan to the dining area? Again, I'd go with something similar (I like the wrought iron mixed in). If I stick to a similar light fixture, I'd like to have the little lampshades for the bulbs too. Walmart doesn't carry anymore and I forget to look at Michael's. The other lighting in the kitchen is just a fluorescent over the sink -- would you opt for a pendant light or keep as is? Additionally, I had considered a pot rack with lights to replace the ceiling fan with a small butcher block underneath. However, the more I think about it -- I lean toward replacing the ceiling fan with one with a light kit. The kitchen can get really hot in the summer from the sun coming in the front. Or, would you ditch the fan and go with some track lighting?

  7. Counterops. I'd love to have Corian or something along those lines, but that's not going to happen anytime soon. It's really hard to describe the color -- it's like a hunter green, but sometimes it looks a little blueish too. It's weird. Has anyone ever tried this -- Countertop Transformations? At -- they have three "how-to" videos... It's a thought.

Now what are your thoughts? :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Craigslist... oh how I...

Do you Craigslist? I love to surf Craiglist, but honestly it is a love/hate relationship. Love finding adorable items, but hate having no where for them to go. :) We scored our living room furniture (sofa, chair and half, & ottoman) from there last year. Strangely, the seller turned out to be a girl I went to high school with - talk about blast from the past! Prior to that, we had purchased a small chest freezer, stove, and over-the-stove microwave. An older couple was remodeling their kitchen & we took the appliances off their hands! We did not have an over-the-stove microwave previously, but our handy dandy electrician neighbor installed it for us and I LOVE the room that was freed up on the countertop!

This week I've found...

It's a beautiful oak dining table with 6 chairs -- totally my style. We currently have a table but the top of it is in rough condition -- we've tried numerous techniques with no luck. I suppose we can't expect too much - we got for $40 at an auction -- it has beautiful harp style legs. ANYWAY, back to the picture -- I've been eyeing this week for a couple of days. I like that it has a leaf -- so we can have a "smaller table" the majority of the time and then use the leaf for family get-togethers. Not sure if we will look at this one or not.

I had two other items to show, BUT I saved the link but not the pictures & now they are sold! One was a Pottery Barn style coffee table for $45 dollars and the other was a colonial style dining room set for $125. Both were ADORABLE, so I'm not surprised they are gone! :)

What are you best finds on Craigslist?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Porch Progress Pictures -- What do you think?

As noted in Wednesday's post, I didn't get to post a picture with my update because it was raining, but I was able to snap a couple this afternoon. Ignore the bag of potting soil in one of the pics :) You can read about my thoughts & before pictures before I started here, and, my thoughts about the progress here.

Front Porch Makeover - Update

Feel free to refer back to my original post.

1. The flower pots by the front porch have been spray-painted black. LOVE THEM! The design/texture on the pot still shows through for added dimension. My sweet nana came and updated the pots with flowers -- the best part she used cuttings and plants from her own garden (LOVE IT!).
2. The white chair is gone. The chair with the pots was just too much for the tiny space. A hanging fern has been added for height. The pots are positioned well underneath the fern to get any run-off water. I've added a multi-color welcome mat in bright colors -- I found a Target giftcard that still had some $$ on it, so it was my deal at $1.98 out of pocket. :)
3. The single pot approaching the door on the left -- I wasn't going to put anything there, but Nana brought a HUGE geranium that she has kept indoors for there. I can't wait for it to bloom - it's RED!
4. Move your attention toward the rockers -- they have a fresh coat of red paint. The small table I thought I had thrown away - I found :) It was not completely destroyed by the incident with superson and I managed to get it back together. It is home to a HUGE impatient with varigated leaves & sweet potato vine that I got for Mother's Day.

Still to do:
- find a welcome sign to go by the front door -- probably something seasonal
- get some flowers for the double-shepherd's hook on the other end of the house
- focus on the flower beds behind the rockers & on the left as your approach the door

So far, I've spent -
$7.50 - fern
$16.00 - paint for pots & rockers
$1.98 - welcome mat

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Movie anyone?

If you are looking for inexpensive family night, check out your local library! We've found some oldie, but goodie movies to check-out there. Of course, Redbox is very reasonable too. However, our favorite new thing about family night is "homemade" popcorn. We've been using the microwave bags forever. They are really easy for superson to make himself -- throw a bag in the microwave and hit the "popcorn" button. But, this weekend we tried the a recipe found here, and I pleased to report it works! :) We loved it so much - we had popcorn for a snack on Saturday night too!

Who needs Orville and think of all the money you'll save!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Summer Bucket List

  1. Complete at least one 5K in June, July or August.

  2. Read at least 5 books for pleasure.

  3. Succesfully complete summer school!!

  4. Take and pass 3 CLEP exams.

  5. Have a game night or get-together with friends once a month.

  6. Complete one task on my house wish list -- organize spare bedroom; repaint kitchen; declutter pantry... etc, etc! Trust me the list is long!

  7. Enjoy short get-aways with my family.

  8. Take more pictures of life happenings.

  9. Stay active -- continue to walk 3 miles on Mon, Wed, Fri. Aim to go to Zumba on Monday nights at least once a month.

  10. RELAX

Weekly Menu

It's weekly menu time...

Saturday - dinner with my family to celebrate Mother's Day and my brother & sister-in-law's birthdays - salad, baked spaghetti, and homemade bread by Nana!

Sunday - Subway (momma ain't cookin' & I am perfectly HAPPY with Subway!)

Monday - salad & baked potatoes

Tuesday - baked chicken tenders; corn on the cob and fruit (we didn't have this last week)

Wednesday - Tex-Mex Roll-Ups (5 Dinners)

Thursday - Chicken & Broccoli Bake (5 Dinners)

Friday - leftovers or homemade pizza

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful ladies out there! I am incredibly blessed with a wonderful mother who has shown God's unconditional love to me throughout my life. I can only hope and pray that I will be same Godly influence on super-son. She's certainly given me big shoes to fill.

Motherhood did not come easy for me. It took three years of trying and waiting, but finally our bundle of joy was on the way. April 4, 2001 is a day I will never forget -- each detail of the day etched in my mind forever. I don't think anyone could have ever prepared me for the wealth of emotions that came with motherhood. I truly understand what it means to wear your heart outside of your body. Mine walks around as a brown-eyed; brown-headed young boy. :)

The hardest part of being a mom -- life lessons. On Friday, super-son learned one of many life lessons. Without question, I do believe this is the hardest lesson he's learned so far (for all of us actually). I was mad and then upset and then mad. He has consequences associated with this lesson. He's been grounded from all electronics until Wednesday. (if you don't have a 10 year old, it's pretty big stuff to go without your tv, video games, computer, and tunes). Super-husband and I are pretty sure he has learned a valuable lesson; however, it's been extremely difficult for me NOT to bring up the situation (again and again). We told him once it was a discussed as a family on Friday night - we would not talk about it again. I've had to bite my tongue a couple of time as a I started to say... "are you sure you understand?"

Anyway, this morning I was reminded --- Jesus forgives us as soon as we ask... He doesn't bring the situation up over and over and over... If we want to talk to Him about our problems, He will listen - but He's not going to beat us over the head... So, I'm going to be more like Jesus... Show super-son unconditional love and let the consequences speak for themselves...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up!

It was a gorgeous weekend here! The sun was shining - the birds were chirping - wonderful spring goodness!

On Friday afternoon, I attended the scholarship luncheon at college. I was fortunate enough to receive the Elberson scholarship for spring semester (every little bit helps!) It was great to see Mrs. P, a fellow recipent. She and I met during summer school last year. She and I were both going through a difficult time (health issues with family members), and I have no doubt God placed us in those classes to minister to each other! Friday evening, I decided to dive head first into my history research paper. I worked on it for four hours and was able to get 4 pages done -- added to the 2 pages already done -- I was a little over half-way done! Woo!

Saturday - We slept late & super-son had a soccer game at 1230p - they won! I had multiple errands to run, but failed to make a list. Unfortunately, it was one of those days - ran some errands - come home remember something else I was supposed to do & head out again! After dinner, I decided to finish up my paper, so we could enjoy Sunday! *Sigh* I could not find the file anywhere on my computer. I was so upset. Super-husband worked for at least an hour to recover the file with no luck. I did have the original two pages still on-hand, so it wasn't a complete loss. I was upset... I cried... I don't know what happened, and pretty sure I don't want it to happen again. I let my tears fall into a yummy Banana Pudding Milkshake from Chick-fil-A... did I mention it's 9pm at this point??? Anyway, the milkshake upset my tummy. :( I spent the remainder of the evening trying to rewrite my paper and running to the bathroom. UGH! Shortly after midnight with little progress - I threw in the towel and headed to bed.

Sunday - We slept in and skipped church :( About 9am, I got up and started on the paper again. By noon, I had it almost ready. Super-son had a birthday party to attend from 2-4pm, so I finished it up after dinner. I gave the wooden rockers a fresh coat of paint & spray-painted 2 of my 3 flower pots by the front door black (one to go!). We still had some daylight, so we played a game of "Around the World" in basketball.

The paper has proven to make the weekend mentally exhausting. In the big scheme of life, I realize this is NOTHING. There are people suffering from hunger, heartache, and without hope. I'm fortunate I had the opportunity to rewrite those four pages. I've decided to take a day off work tomorrow. I have an appointment at 9am and plan to play catch up around the house afterwards.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Weekly Menu

Another successful week of meal-planning! Now, if I could decrease my weekly spending on groceries, I'd consider this a true success! :) I clipped coupons last Sunday and today I can't find them - go figure. Yes, there are areas of my life in need of some organization - but I've got a 10 pg history research paper; 7 pg education paper; and statistics exam to finish over the next few days!

Saturday - steak kabobs; tossed salad; and sauteed mushrooms
Sunday - low fat turkey burgers (we splurge on this every now & again from Fresh Market); pasta salad; and corn on the cob
Monday - baked chicken tenders; Asian cabbage salad; and fruit
Tuesday - mini-honey mustard loaves (5 dinners); mashed potatoes; and corn
Wednesday - Slow Cooker Asian Chicken & vegetables (5 dinners)
Thursday - Turkey & Swiss sandwiches, chips, and fruit
Friday - leftovers

What are you having this week?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Front Porch Makeover -- Curb Appeal Part I (BEFORE)

It's that time of year when I find myself with a list of to-do's a mile long. Who am I kidding? I always have a list of to-do's a mile long! Anyway, it's seems spring gets me itching with things I want to do around the house. Where I think I will find time to do these projects is another story? Have I mentioned I work full-time, go to school full-time, and have a family? :)

Anyway, the weather here has been GORGEOUS the past couple of days which has ideas twirling about the outdoors. I don't mind digging in the dirt in sprucing up the outside. There is the WISH LIST of "to-do's" and the reality list of "to-do's" as well. :)

Here is a pic of our house... it's a simple ranch style home and it works for us. Nothing fancy :) I've never been able to get the entry way just right. This is usually what I start out with each and every spring --- I plan to add a hanging fern by the front door & the flower pots by the front door will be filled with lots of color (usually impatients, geraniums, & a sweet potato vine). I LOVE to infuse color by using flowers. Needless to say, that will make a BIG difference, but it never seems like enough -- it doesn't say cozy & welcome as much as I would like.

Things I'm pondering...

1. I found the rocking chairs at Goodwill last summer. They were well-weathered and a steal at $15.00 a piece! I brought them home and spray-painted them. Not convinced I love the red, which now has a weathered look.... what do you think?

2. When we moved here several years ago, we added the concrete pad in front of the sidewalk. In the past, we have used it for a parking spot - but now we do the car switcharoo. Should I attempt to make that more of an outdoor living space? If so, what would you do?

3. The area to the left of the front door seems blah & bare. In the fall, I have a lovely sign that is hand-painted with a pumpkin and fall colors that says "The S****'s". I love the sign and had hoped to get some additional seasonal ones, but the seller no longer exist on eBay. I have yet to find anything I like or similar on etsy or eBay.

4. Additionally, in the space to the left of the door -- the white chair seems to small for the space, but hey it was FREE! :) I've considered moving the large flower pots to the corner of the concrete pad -- trying to find a small bench for the door area OR another type chair and maybe something like a sofa table (obviously for the outdoors) to go on that wall that I can add some decor too.

5. I would like to paint the front door a classic black -- the rest of the house is a light grey with white trim -- on my wish list, I would paint the whole house. :) Does the front door need a wreath?

6. I think I need to invest in a welcome mat more inviting... LOL! The one we have is super cheap -- the black with "welcome" just doesn't say cozy to me. :) And, I'd love to add a light by the front door (currently it is overhead).

What are your suggestions?

My main goal is make it feel more cozy and welcoming & as always design on a dime (the cheaper the better!).

PS - I love my seasonal flags (I don't care if they are "yestersday" -- I love them), so don't tell me to ditch them. *smile* And, we usually freshen up the flowers beds with fresh pine needles as well. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Do you coupon?

Have you tried couponing? Are you a seasoned pro? I have tried before (10+ years ago) and failed miserably. Frankly, I think I had no clue what I was doing! I've been reading alot on blogs recently about huge savings from couponing. I would love to get our weekly budget for groceries down to $50 per week. In order to make this a reality, I know I need to invest some time and energy into couponing. I do have a few criteria...

  1. I will not buy something just because I have a coupon for it - IF it is not something I normally use, I won't but it.

  2. I will continue to prepare healthy meals for my family. In other words, I'm not stocking up on Totino's pizza because they are on sale and I can get them free.

  3. I will try to make couponing a game vs. a chore. How much can I save this week?

Here are a couple of websites I have enjoyed browsing...

Homemaking Mom -- One of the reasons , I like this website is because she doesn't stock up on "junk". You can tell she trys to buy healthy!
Total Kitchen Makeover -- Again, she shops reasonably & offers great tips for produce, etc.
Southern Savers -- This is the "big daddy" of them all -- helpful hints, gettings started and a coupon database

Do you have any tips or advice to share?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Are you easily distracted? Once upon a time, I was a very focused young lady. I had my list of "to-do's" and focused on getting my list accomplished it. I tend to do well with list - whether they are for cleaning, errands, schoolwork - I enjoy checking the box off to see the task completed. Once I became a mom, it has become harder for me to stay focused on my list. It seems that I am more easily distracted now. Not necessarily because of my son (perhaps I could use this excuse when he was a newborn, but he's TEN now!) -- there are lots of things I "should" have done this weekend -- a take-home history exam due Tuesday; a 10 pg research paper due May 3rd; a 7 pg research paper due May 10th; more cleaning... but instead I was distracted. I've put the take-home exam off which I may regret *ugh*.

As I sit in church on Sunday, it's hard not to notice some of the distractions. I try very hard to stay focused on our Pastor who has a specific purpose -- to deliver the Message that God has laid on his heart for us to receive. However, some Sundays it is harder than others -- paper rattling; people in front of you whispering; children crying; people looking around and you can "feel" they are looking in your direction; candy wrappers being opened; people yawning (or some snoring!).... you get the picture I think! There are SO MANY things that can distract us away from the Message. However, I think we need to try as hard as we can to put blinders on (as the picture above) and really focus our mind & heart on what we need to hear.