Thursday, August 29, 2013

Multipurpose Room -- Ugh Again?!

Way back in 2011,  I talked about our spare bedroom and the need for it to be a multipurpose room.   I'm happy to report it has not returned to the cluttered, chaotic state in one of the pictures of that post - but man, oh, man - my heart still doesn't swoon when I walk in.    I've decluttered and purged ALOT.    I don't want to share the current "before" pictures because I'm not sure when this project will unfold.    I've started an "inspiration" board here on Pinterest.   The room is still begging for direction and definition.  

Super-husband and I have agreed to keep the treadmill for 6 months & then re-evaluate.  Personally, I would rather be outdoors exercising (even if it is freezing cold) - he is the opposite & prefers the treadmill. 

The desk.  I have a love-hate relationship with it.  In the link to 2011, you'll see a corner desk.  I'm happy to report I disassembled that desk - it was not a "space saver" for us.  I'm currently evaluating the office closet idea.  I mentioned it as well in my first post & I really think that is the best option for the space.

Other than that,  I'd love to have a futon, bed, or seating area to accompany guest or for us to have a place to retreat.  The bottom line, I want it to be usable space for us & not a door that we keep closed.  This will likely be my Labor Day weekend project - my goals:  design on dime (not to spend much if any money)  & make the space fully functional. 

Please let me know if you have some suggestions!  :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to School

It's the first week of school here!  To me, it marks the unofficial end to summer - back to schedules and routines.  In general,  I like routine - but summer is just special - lazy evenings and life seems calmer.   Super-son started middle school this year - a new chapter in life.  I was incredibly anxious but after open house something inside just told me he was ready.    Even though I'm not the one back in class - I'm exhausted!   It's one thing to throw on clothes to go exercise at 530a but it's another to get up and start your morning routine (shower, dress, make breakfast, get son up, etc, etc) and out the door by 6:45a prepared to take on the day.  We are learning and adjusting. 

Do you like the lazy days of summer?   Or do you prefer the routine (and sometimes chaos) of the school year?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Recipe - Crispy Oven "Fried" Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Happy Tuesday!  

Do y'all love Pinterest as much as I do?   I know you get tired of hearing me talk about it.   :)    It's such a wonderful resource for ideas, recipes, decorating, organizing and the list goes on and on.   Last week, I found a recipe for "Oven Fried Buffalo Chicken Tenders".   It sounded like a real family pleaser.  Lucky for me,  chicken tenderloins were buy one, get one free this week - SCORE!    They are super easy to prepare and tasty!

Now, if you are one of those folks that likes exact measurements the link above for the recipe won't be for you.    I couldn't find measurements, baking time on it anywhere - so I do what I usually do anyway and just modified.   :)     I lined the countertop with a paper plate (all-purpose flour), bowl (buffalo wing sauce), and paper plate (panko crumbs).   I dipped each tenderloin into each of those in that ordered.  Then, I placed them on a wire rack on a cookie sheet - baked at 450 for 20 minutes.  The results -- moist & juicy on the inside and nice & crunchy on the outside.  Personally, I thought it could have used a little more kick from the buffalo wing sauce, but I was experimenting with a new brand.

Perfect recipe for the upcoming football season!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

For the most part, we followed last week's menus.  I made a couple of adjustments with things we had on hand for sake of time, but we didn't eat out and used what was here.  YAY!

Monday - Salmon Patties

Tuesday - Meatloaf

Wednesday - Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Thursday - Hamburgers

Friday - Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing

Saturday - Ham/Broccoli Braid

Sunday - ?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Keurig Party - Success!!

Remember my posts about House Party and the Keurig give-away?   Well, I am happy to report it was a great success!   

Ready to brew!  (Sorry it's blurry)

I hosted the party on Thursday evening - hoping to avoid some of the back-to-school weekend madness.  I had two folks who couldn't attend because it conflicted with the elementary school open house.  However, the ladies who did come had an awesome time. 

Everyone enjoying their brewed beverages!

House Party made it so easy to host.  Literally, everything I needed to host the party came in a box from either Keurig or House Party.  The guests enjoyed hanging out with each other and most of all no pressure to buy anything.  They had a chance to sample a variety of K-Cups (hot and iced) and learn more about the Keurig brewers.  Even though there was only one Keurig to give-away, everyone walked a winner thanks to the awesome coupons and tumblers!

Thank you House Party & Keurig for choosing me to host this party!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lists - To Do? or Not To Do?

Are you a list-maker?   To some extent, I always have been.  Some days I wish I were more of a list-maker than I am -- some are well thought out & others are scribbled on a piece of paper.  

-Have you ever gone into the grocery store without a list?  I have & it's never been a successful trip.
-Have you ever ran errands without a list?   Forget something?  I have.
-Have you outlined goals for the year?   Only to forget two weeks later what they were.  I have.

My point is a list helps keep us focused. 

At work - I have an ongoing list of tasks & deadlines.  I'm constantly marking off completed items and adding more that needs to be done.

At home - I have several  :)  One in particular that I enjoy looking at is room by room of things I would like to do to update or change the space.  (Painting, moving furniture, decluttering, etc)  

During the school year,  I try to make a list each day before I leave work of things I need to get accomplished that evening.   Super-husband works evenings, so I have to make sure I maximize the time I do have -- ensuring super-son's schoolwork is complete coupled with dinner and other household duties.

What's your take on lists?  

See my fitness goals list here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

I opted for the easy way out and avoided the grocery store this week.  I placed an order online via Lowes Foods To Go & picked it up the next morning.  It sounds ridiculously lazy!  Typically, I spend less because I stick to my list and there are no impulsive purchases.  They will even take coupons and apply them toward your next order.

Sunday -- Fried Chicken (it was the deli e-offer special this week)

Monday -- Lasagna Roll-Ups

Tuesday -- Salmon Patties

Wednesday -- Pizza Casserole

Thursday -- Ham & Cheese Party Rolls

Friday -- Smoked Sausage & Sauerkraut

Saturday -- ?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rain, Rain, Rain....

Here in the South - our summers are typically hot and humid followed by hot and humid, but this year it's been unusually wet and alot like this.... 

It seems as though every five day forecast has called for a reasonable chance of rain.   It's cancelled several pool days and outdoor plans.   Generally, farmers are anxiously awaiting rainfall, but I think this year too much rain has hampered some of the crops.  Personally,  I can't remember a summer this wet in my lifetime. 

Yesterday was no exception.   We had hoped to tackle some yard work,  to mow,  and get a handle on the weeds.  We've either been out of town or it's rain - so the yard seems out of control.   On a positive note,  the grass is usually dry and brittle by this time of year; but this year, ours is plush and green.   We had a nice quiet, steady rain -  Sometimes, I wonder if it's God's way of getting us to slow down a little bit.  We spent a lazy day at home... a little laundry, a little cleaning (I really hoped to do more), and alot of lazy.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Customer Service

Happy Saturday!

Customer Service embodies so many qualities and characteristics, but I believe EXCELLENT customer service is integral to any successful business.   I worked retail for a few years during and after high school, and I will agree there are times it is close to impossible to keep the smile on your face and the pleasant tone in your voice.  Over the past several months,  we've tried to bring super-son's awareness to customer service when we are out and about.  We've had a few excellent experiences and it gives a chance to talk about what was right -- the attendant went above and beyond our expectations;  they corrected a wrong order; or they were just polite!   Unfortunately, we've had a couple of bad experiences too - but it's given us a chance to talk about what they could have done differently or could we have communicated differently.   It probably seems silly to most - but I think it's good for him to see and understand.

Remember my House Party post, if not run over and check it out!   The Keurig brewers arrived this week.   I'm still in awe of this awesome party pack.  House Party provided all the essential party supplies:  cups, K-cups for the brewer,  coupons, and a cookie tin.  Keurig sent two brewers - yes, you read that correctly TWO brewers!  One for me to keep and one for me to give to away to a lucky guest!  

The brewer boxes indicated there were a couple of bonus items included - but I was missing the bonus K-cups in each box.  I called the company last night & to be completely honest -- I would rate the phone call as a 5 (on  1-10 scale).   AND, to be completely honest - it felt weird calling when the brewer was free to begin with - but I wanted the guest who wins it to have whatever was supposed to be in the box. 

Anyway, I was told my request would be sent to the "department that handles that type thing".   Shortly afterwards,  I received an email with a coupon code for free K-cups.   I was confused, so I emailed them to inquire if this was in response to my phone call or was it because I registered the brewer.   They sent another email with a discount code this AM because it was in response to my phone call but they didn't realize neither brewer had the bonus K-Cups.  So that my friends is EXCELLENT customer service in my book!!!

Have you had an EXCELLENT customer service experience recently?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Family Staycation

Typically, we spend a week enjoying the sand & surf at one of the Carolina beaches.  This year, our family vacation was very different for us. We chose to stay home!  We spent the week cleaning closets & enjoying a few things off the beaten path.  

Super-husband & super-son are big Dr Who fans.  They heard about a dad who had built a TARDIS for his son.  It turns out it was only about 30-40 minutes from us, so we set out to find it.  And we did!

It was literally on the side of the road & had we not been looking we would have missed it. 

 On the way home, we discovered an Amish market with big supply of spices, fresh bread & deli meat. 
We will definite be visiting them again!

Have you ever done a staycation?  Dud you like it?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Bears and Yellow Jackets Oh My!

A couple of weeks ago, we were going to do some yard work.  I headed out a few minutes before super-husband to throw some limbs in the backyard over the fence.   One of them was rather large so I opened the back gate to throw it further into the woods.   As I tugged on the branch,  I felt something scratch my leg - assuming it was the branch - I readjusted and tugged some more.  I threw the branch into the woods and still felt the stinging on my leg.  I looked down and saw a yellow jacket & quickly swatted it off.  Suddenly, I felt more stinging and realized I had aggravated a yellow jacket's nest.  They were on my lower leg, my arm, and then I felt stings up my pant leg.  I panicked and started - yelping, crying, and swatting - all the while running toward the back door.  As I'm making my way to the back door, I realize until I get them beat off of me I can't go in because they will go in with me!   (By the way, this is all happening while super-husband is still inside getting his shoes on!)   I do what any crazy person would do -- start pulling clothes off as I go through the yard.  I run inside and go straight to the bathroom while my husband looks at me like I've lost my mind.  I'm crying and sobbing & can hardly get out the words to tell him what happened.  I was fortunate only to get bitten eight times and even more fortunate that I am NOT allergic to them.  In hindsight, the whole scenario was humorous!  

Yesterday, my neighbor walked over as soon as I pulled in the driveway to point out this...
Yes, it's a hornets, wasp, or stinging insect nest of some sort!   This is in our front yard.  Yes, we've called the professionals for this one folks.  Hoping they can take care of it for us.  :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

House Party!

I'm not a party animal, but I do love to have people in my home!   Over the holidays, we were invited to a House Party -- sounds like college event huh?   I promise you this is like nothing you experienced in college.  House Party is a company that puts products into the hands of consumers for feedback.  I suppose you could say it is a modern day focus group.  The party we were invited to over the holidays was a family-focused New Year's Eve event.  The host had been given Hasbro games for guests to play.  Guests got to try the games and the host was able to keep all the goodies & provide feedback on the games to the company.

What a cool concept right?  Have people over and get some cool products - win, win!  I joined House Party and applied for a couple of different products of interest.  I'd never been chosen until last week.  We will be hosting a Keurig "Brew What You Love" party later this month & I couldn't be more excited!   The prize pack is pretty amazing!!  As a host - we will receive a Keurig maker and K-cups for guests to try.  Additionally, we will get another Keurig maker to give away to one of the guests as well as coupons for everyone! 

Cruise on over to House Party and sign up -- what do you have to lose?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Random List of Things I'd Like to Learn

Do you have moments when you wish you knew how to do something -- a skill, a talent, etc.... I thought I'd make a list of things I'd like to learn...

1.  Sewing - I've tried before and failed miserably - something about the sewing machine intimidates me.  I need a super basic sewing class.  I asked for a gift certificate for a local sewing place several years ago - I signed up to learn to make a pillow -- seemed basic enough, but even that was over my head!

2. Basic Plumbing & Electrical Skills - I just wanna know how to do stuff!  Although, I must admit with Google and YouTube - you can almost figure out anything.  We had a steady drip from our shower head for longer than I care to admit.  We kept avoiding addressing the issue b/c well, I don't know why!  Anyway, I recently fixed it with help of Google, YouTube, and my friend Sally. It was such a simple fix - the washer behind the knob needed to be tightened!

3. Automotive Stuff - I say stuff because I'm really not sure what I want to know - I don't want to be intimidated at the garage when I need a car repair.

4.  Music/Singing - This is definitely a talent I was  not born with - I'm tone deaf and can't carry a tune, but boy, I can make a joyful noise.  I'd love to learn to read music, play the piano, and use my voice.

I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones that come to mind most often... What do you want to learn?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

This is the plan - but it doesn't always go according to plan - thanks to leftovers, etc!

Monday - Oven Baked Tacos

Tuesday - Chicken Spaghetti

Wednesday -  Leftovers (back-up tomato sandwiches)

Thursday - Broccoli Cheddar Braid

Friday - Dinner at a friend's house for Pinterest night  ;)

Saturday - Dinner at my parent's house

Sunday - Out of Town

Sunday, August 4, 2013

2013 Fitness Goals

This post would have been more appropriately posted in January, but better late than never!    Toward the end of last year, I hit a slump with exercising and eating.   I had done fairly well keeping the proverbial train on the tracks from 2009 through most of last year.  Not exactly sure what happened last winter, but I lost the drive and enthusiasm I had for exercising.   In late January, I was watching the first episode of Biggest Loser and realized I needed to get my act together before everything came falling apart.  I decided the most logical step would be to write down my fitness goals for 2013.  Here they are --

I had thought about many of these goals before but actually writing them out on paper suddenly made me more accountable & honestly has helped get me back on track.   I'm still working on my endurance and speed at the top of the list - but many of the others are ongoing - strengthening my core has happened as a result of new activities (Metabolic Effect classes) - I've been averaging around 4 workouts per week (my goal is no less than 3)... 10K was completed on June 22nd... The main thing is I'm focused again and I have been since I made the list...

My words of advice -- make a list  :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Old news but worth posting - 10K

10K -- no not ten thousand dollars - I wish!   10K = 10 kilometers - 6.2 miles    

In late April/early May, I shared my 2013 fitness goals with a co-worker.  I keep promising to share them here and I will (I promise).   Anyway, one of my goals for this year was to complete a 10K race.  I've done several 5K races over the past three years.  I'm not super fast by any means as of matter of fact at most races I feel like a turtle in quick sand.  This year, I wanted to push myself a little harder because another goal was to increase my pace and endurance. 

The race was held in late June which unfortunately here in the South typically is hot and humid.  To prep for the race, we met 2-3 mornings three to four weeks before the race to run one loop of the course.  My goal was to finish strong and not be last.  This was the first annual race for Industries for the Blind which meant it was a relatively small race (around 170 registered runners - yikes!).   At the sound of the horn, the majority of the pack jetted ahead.  One mistake I've made in the past was starting out too fast - so this time I was determined to pace myself.   It was quite clear from the start I was going to be at the back.  The course was challenging - some gradual inclines, some flat areas, and a nice steep hill leading to the finish line.  My only negative is that it was a two loop course meaning we ran the same 3.2 mile loop twice --- this played with my mind.    At the beginning of the race, I played cat and mouse with one runner for the most of the first loop.  Around mile 4, I managed to pass her and two others.  I desperately tried to pass an older gentleman in front of me - but I just couldn't do it!

Climbing the hill to the finish line,  I heard Kelly Clarkson's "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger" playing and I dug deep and plowed up the hill.  The good news - I wasn't LAST (three people finished after me) and it was one of my best races pace wise.  AGAIN,  I know I'm not fast - but I was pleased as punch with my 13:31 mile pace (just 10 seconds shy of my best 5K pace). 

I couldn't have done it with out my Super-Friend and so happy she helped me trained and stayed right by my side throughout the race!