Thursday, December 15, 2011

50 for 30 - Week #10

Who decides to lose weight just a couple of months before Christmas? It's not my smartest move, but there would have always been an excuse. I'm the queen of excuses.

It's been 10 weeks since I have started and I am at 19.5 pounds lost total. Originally, my goal was to lose 1.5 pounds a week, and I'm a little ahead of that.

This really is a marathon, and I'm thrilled with my progress. I'm so glad I got fed up 10 weeks ago. I'm hoping to cross the 20 pound mark next week. What a great Christmas gift to myself!

Thanks for your support and kind words. You have encouraged me so much in this journey.

Week #10 - .5 pounds lost (It's not much, but I'm happy with it!)

Total weight loss 19.5 pounds!

Blessing #97 - Christmas Spirit

Every family has that family member that loves Christmas a little too much, the Christmas Nut.

In my family, my dad has always been our Christmas nut. Every year at some point he finds his Christmas spirit. You never know when he will find his Christmas spirit, but you know when it has happened. Shortly after he find his Christmas spirit, he will come home from Quality Foods (the local grocery store) with Brazil nuts, coconut bon bons, and peppermint sticks.

One year, we were all watching tv quietly in the living room. My dad suddenly broke out singing the Chipmunks Christmas song. Only, he didn't start at the beginning. He must have been singing the song in his head, and he broke out into it at the words, "A hUlA HoOp!!!"

Another year, I knew he had caught the Christmas spirit when I woke up to find a line of two foot tall stuffed reindeer holding empty baskets waiting to be filled with Christmas goodies for all of our extended family (and we have a big family).
They looked like his own personal army of Christmas cheer.

Now that I'm an adult, my dad and I have started a tradition of calling each other when we each find our Christmas spirit. Shad and I will be in Walmart or some other place, and I will suddenly stop and say, "I have to call my dad." By this point in our marriage, Shad knows what I am doing.

This year, Shad started his own tradition. Two months ago, Shad marked in his phone the day that I would find my Christmas spirit. That's right! He bet on Christmas spirit. He didn't tell me the day, but I knew he had guessed one.

Recently though, with moving and sickness, I haven't been feeling so Christmasey. I have been going through the motions, waiting for my Christmas spirit to come.

Yesterday, I put on some Christmas music, and suddenly I knew. I had found my Christmas spirit. I called my dad to inform him of the good news (he hasn't found his yet). I then called Shad and asked what day had he picked. Shad answered, "December 12! And I would have been right if you hadn't gotten sick!"
Only two days off is pretty good though.

As crazy as we can get, I think every family needs a Christmas nut. Who else is going to make sure all the songs are sung, movies are watched, treats are baked, and traditions are kept?

Christmas Nuts make Christmas more Christmasey for everyone, and Christmas Nuts need their Christmas spirit. I'm so glad I've found mine (even if it was 2 days late).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blessing #96 - My {dream} pantry

For a while now, one of the items on my "dream house" list is a good pantry. When we moved into the new house, I was thrilled to find that it had a pantry. Sure, it doesn't have a dishwasher (I've mentioned that a bunch lately haven't I), but it has a pantry!

I was so excited, but the pantry looked like this...

Random hooks sticking out alongside of mysterious chords running to a non-functioning antenna and shelves with fruity/flowerdy shelf paper.

Not like the pantries on my pinterest boards.

These pictures were taken right after we moved in, and I had just thrown a box of pantry items on the shelves in no particular order. (Yes, that is the box of cream of wheat from 2006 that I found in a cabinet.)

Originally, I did not plan on working on this project until after Christmas, but then I started to clean out the pantry, and I thought, "I might as well clean it to paint it." The next thing I knew, I had ripped all the shelves out and was stripping off the shelf paper.

One week of naptimes later, and my pantry looks like this...

I loOoOoOoOoOve the chalkboard. I could have made it look pretty for the picture, but right now, it's helping me keep all of our appointments straight. Eventually, this may be a calendar center, or I might put empty frames up and draw pictures inside them. I haven't settled on that yet.

The walls are "pebble gray" and the shelves and trim are a bright white. I thought about stenciling a pattern on the walls, but I was too tired by the time I got there. I did put some wrapping paper up at the back of the shelves to give it some interest for now.

This weekend, I spray painted the old hooks that were in the closet, and used them to hang some buckets. 1 is for chalk, 2 is for chip clips, and 3...I have no idea why I didn't get 3 buckets. I'll have to go back and get another one. I used an old clip board we had, fancied it up, and put it in the pantry. The idea is to write down what we need as we run out. First item on that list...paper for the clipboard.

(Sorry, I don't know why the picture is a weird color.)

The first step in my pantry makeover was cleaning and painting. Then I had to organize all the shelves. Organization does not come naturally for me. I have always been a more "creative" person than I am an "organized" person, but I am getting better.

I have learned that for me to keep stuff organized I need to containerize everything. I categorize like things and then throw them in a bin. The shelf stays organized and all I have to do is throw stuff in a bin.

All the water bottles are in the apple crate on the bottom shelf. It's not in this picture, but I use the space under these shelves to store Collin's high chair.

On the left side, I put breakfast on the top shelf, snacks on the second, canned goods and pasta on the third, and baking items on the bottom. (B can't reach the top two shelves that's why I put snacks and breakfast up there.)

One of the major problems with this pantry is the shelves are so deep tons of space is wasted. I decided to put all the pretty stuff in the front, and use the containers like cabinet doors to cover up the ugly stuff. Here is a shelf with a container pulled out.

I got all of those containers from the Dollar Tree! I spent $25 for all the blue cereal holders and the white crates in that pantry. It was soOoOoOoO well worth it. Shad is kind of neurotic about chips, cereal, and crackers staying fresh. He folds down the bag and then turns it on its side in the box. I never remembered to do that, and it always bugged him. Eight years into our marriage, $25 spent at the Dollar Tree, and we have finally settled that marital argument!

My vinyl cutter is currently out of commission (a very important piece got lost in the move), so I haven't made any labels for everything yet. While at JoAnne's, I picked up a pack of stickers to see what that would look like. I actually liked the kind of crazy look I got. I just ran out of stickers.

After my pantry makeover, I haven't closed the pantry door. I just leave it open, so I can enjoy my dream pantry.

Merry Christmas to me!

I'll be sharing this project with some of these wonderful sites.

Blessing #95 - Gifts when you need them

Last week was a terrible week. Actual to quote one of my favorite books, "It was a terrible, horrible, no good very bad week." (I'm moving to Australia.)

It all started last Sunday. I had to stay home from church when Collin was sick. I really love our church, and I was bummed about missing, but I felt a little better when Shad came home with presents...PrEsEnTs!

Let me take a moment to explain something. Have you ever heard of the five love languages? If you haven't you can read about it here.

Basically, your love language is how you best respond to love...your language of love. My love language is gifts. I know that makes me sound shallow, but I lOoOoOve presents. I notice every detail, and a gift really means alot to me.

Sunday when Shad came home from church, he brought me home...

Some Christmasy Bath and Body Works soap from one of my friends from church.

He also brought a pile of Paula Deen cookbooks from another church friend.

These are just a few of the cookbooks that were the same height that I put out with my Southern Plate cookbook.

Tuesday,I started feeling sick myself. I got in the car after my tutoring job, and Shad had a present for me...wrapped and everything!

MeAsUrInG CuPs!!!

I know what you are thinking, "Nothing says romance like measuring cups?" However, I had flipped out about these measuring cups just a few days before in a store. I even came home and pinned them to my kitchens board on pinterest. He snuck out to the mall while I was at work Tuesday, and picked them up for me.

Here's what I love about these measuring cups. When you put them all together, they form a milk bottle. LoVe iT!!!!

My little heart was feeling lots of love at the start of the week, and that was good because last week was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week (Have I mentioned that already?)

Every last one of us...every last stinkin' one of us got sick...really sick. It was a long, looooong tough week, but everytime I came in the kitchen to wash my hands, I would look down my kitchen counter. See all my gifts, and even through my fevered haze, I would have to smile.

P.S. My theory on why we all got sick is because I have to hand wash all our dishes, the virus wasn't killed. A dishwasher would have really sanitized every dish. (Yes, I'm still bitter about having to wash dishes.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

50 for 30 - Week #9

Remember, last week, when I may or may not have had a melt down over losing 1.8 pounds when I felt like all my work deserve more. If you don't just scroll down. It's the post below here.

This week I have been sick. Sick as a dog sick. After my last episode, I decided to go to the doctor as soon as I started getting sick. The doctor checked me over again, and said, "I think it's pneumonia." I just looked at her, and calmly said, "Again, you THINK it's pneumonia!"

She believes because of my recent breathing/asthma issues a small cold blows up into something big. Now, I am going to a pulmonary doctor over the next two weeks to find out for sure and for certain if it's asthma and how to control it.

While at my doctor's visit, I did my weekly weigh in. Last week, I was shocked at how little I lost. This week I lost 2.8 pounds...ReAlLy?!? I ate poorly and didn't track my points on Weight Watchers because I felt so bad. 2.8! I couldn't believe it. I guess being sick must burn the calories, but honestly, I don't need to lose weight that bad. I'll just stick to eating right and exercising.

Week 8 - 2.8 pounds lost

Total weight loss 19 pounds! woohoo!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

50 for 30- Week #8

Well, it's been a few weeks since I posted on my 50 before 30, but never fear I have still been losing.

In Week 5, I lost 1.4 pounds for a total of 12.6 pounds lost.

In Week 6, I lost 1.8 pounds for a total of 14.4 pounds lost.

In Week 7, I didn't weigh in because it was Thanksgiving.

For the past two weeks, I have been packing, lifting boxes, unpacking, and cleaning. I wish I could tell you I had a wonderfully pleasant attitude throughout the whole process, but I didn't. I hate moving with every fiber of my being. However, I took great consolation in the fact that with all the extra work, I must ReAlLy be losing weight. In fact, I told Shad on several occasions, when I was particularly cranky, "I better be losing weight because I'm working my butt off." (Pardon my strong language.)

Yesterday, when I went to weigh in, I was excited. Finally, after two weeks of hard work, I was going to see a pay off. I was expecting 5 pounds, I did work my butt off after all.

I stood on the scale and awaited my prize...1.8 pounds lost. ArE YoU KiDdInG Me!!! I worked my butt off, and 1.8 pounds is barely a pinky toe! I sulked out of the doctor's office, and pouted the whole way home.

I know it's my own fault for setting my expectations too high, but c'mon that's all I got for all the work I've done!?! I didn't even go nuts on Thanksgiving. As I write this, it's all still a little raw. Can you tell? I guess I went a little overboard with the exclamation points. Well, there's always next week. (Did that sound sincere?)

Week 8 - (a measly) 1.8 pounds

Total Weight Loss 16.2 pounds

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blessing #94 - Open Shelving

We are 85% moved into the new place. (Yes, that's right. I said 85% and I meant it.) We are now sleeping in the other house. There are so many things I love about this new house that I'll share on another blessing, but for now I'll just say...the kitchen is struggling!

It has paneling, and I can touch the ceiling...fLaT fOoTeD!

Here is a before shot that I took before I started unpacking and cleaning, dark cabinets with some white plastic as a backsplash.

As I was cleaning out the cabinets, I found this box of cream of wheat in one of them. I thought, "Oh, the last renters must have left this box of cream of wheat," as I pulled it out. Then the entire shelf in the cabinet fell down. Look at the expiration date...2006. It's been holding up that shelf for a while now.

Anyway, I decided to lose a couple of the dark cabinet doors by taking them off. I took the doors off at the hinge where they connect to the cabinet and left the hinge connected to the doors. I made sure I saved the screws in a safe place. Here's how it looks after an intense cleaning and taking off the doors.

Here is a close up on the cabinets.

This one shows off all my pyrex. I love my pyrex! I've found my whole collection at yard sales and junk shops. I've paid about $15 for all those pieces.

Here are my dishes that I put on display. I still need to take off the old shelf paper. You may be asking yourself, "Why does she only have two bowls of one type and three bowls of another type?" The answer is simple...butterfingers.

I also lined all the drawers yesterday.

I used wrapping paper in a pattern I liked, and just used painters tape to secure it in the corners. I have no idea how this is going to hold up, but I know it makes me smile every time I open a drawer now. It took one roll at $3.99 to line all my drawers.

Sometimes in life, you just have to make the best of what you have. Open shelving really helped my struggling little kitchen.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blessing #93 - My view

We are currently in the process of moving. I would tell you how much I hate moving, but this is a blessing post so I won't.

We are moving a whopping two minutes away, and it's a lot of work packing every item you own into boxes, loading it all onto a truck, driving two minutes down the road, unloading all the boxes into another house, unpacking the boxes you just packed, and reorganizing everything in the new house. (pardon my run on sentence, but I'm stressed)

There are many things I am going to miss about our current house...

The big bay window

The sycamore trees

The wide planked kitchen floors

The dishwasher...(no, there's not a dishwasher in the new house)

But the thing I will miss the most about this house is the view and what it means to me.

When we first moved to Maryland,the house we were going to rent fell through just a few days after we made the move up here. I still remember it clearly. We found out on Sunday after church. As soon as Shad told me, I felt the tears starting. He then went on to say,

"You can't panic until Thursday. If we don't have a house on Thursday, then you can panic, but not until Thursday."

Surprisingly, his tactic worked, but I was already planning my apocalyptic meltdown for that Thursday.

Monday, we searched all day for a rental in our price range. Every rental we looked at was cramped housing in a rough neighborhood, and my spirits were sinking with every one we saw.

Monday night, Shad's mom mentioned a house that looked empty and might be for rent.

Tuesday morning, I walked into the house, and looked around. As soon as I saw the view out back, I began to cry. In that moment, I was overwhelmed by God's goodness to me.

Somehow, in the midst of the heartache of leaving Georgia and the move, God gave me something I had always wanted, a house in the country.

Every time I look at my view, I am reminded of God's love for me.

I am convinced that my view is a gift God made just for me to help me heal during a difficult time. Sure, other people get to enjoy it, but I know the truth. He made it just for me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blessing #92 - Sheena's Shower

A few months ago, my friend Rachel asked if I'd like to help with a baby shower for our friend Sheena.

Quick. Say this five time fast: A shower for Sheena's son, Santino

Back to the point.

I love baby showers and chances to be creative. The mom-to-be Sheena is one of my favorite people ever so I could not resist.

After an intense planning session at Chickfila, Rachel and I settled on a fall theme.

For the tables, we used white plastic table cloths and brown craft paper wrapping paper from the Dollar Tree as the table runners. The only pop of color we had on the table was the fabric remnants Rachel already had that we used as placemats/chargers.

For the decorations around the party, Rachel and I brought anything from our houses that we thought we could use. The panels behind the food table were from Rachel's house. They were the exact width of the ceiling tiles which made them super easy to hang.

We spent $18 at the Dollar Tree for table clothes, candles, the wrapping paper for the tables, and other odds and ends. We spent $17 at Target for plates, napkins, and silverware. Because we used our stuff from home, our total spent for decorating was only $35.

We stayed true to our fall theme by serving soup at the shower, and other "fallish" foods.

I had the best time working on this shower. Rachel and I worked really well together. Oh! I forgot to tell you the kicker. At the time of the shower, Rachel was just two weeks away from having her fourth child. Yes! She is superwoman.

I also loved working on this shower because of who it was celebrating. Shortly after I moved to MD, the Lord placed Sheena in my life. We have a mutual love of all things nerdy (she's an engineer), google, and purses. She is very supportive of this blog, and always encourages me to keep writing.

Earlier in the year, Sheena had a miscarriage. As her friend, I was heartbroken to see her in so much pain. However, on this day, the day we celebrated Santino, I'm so glad I got to be there to see her joy.

Sheena, I'm so thankful God is bringing your story full circle, and I can't wait to meet 'Tino.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Curse #33- Moments of Cluelessness

Sometimes, I have my moments of genius. Like when I decided to paint the doors of my armoire with chalkboard paint...genius. Or when I fixed the speedometer on our car by googling it...genius. When I decided to teach mixed number subtraction with regrouping by making it a story about the whole number land and fraction number land, and the perils of #1 as he moves between the two lands...wordy, but still genius.

Those are the moments when I feel like a genius. The moments when I know if I took an IQ test, Mensa would welcome me into its prestigious club with open arms.

As wonderful as my moments of genius are, a more common occurrence for me is a moment of cluelessness. Saturday, I had a moment of cluelessness in Walmart. For some reason, many of my moments of cluelessness happen in Walmart. I am convinced that my IQ drops 20 points as soon as I walk in the door, and I am incapable of completing a thought.

Saturday, I found myself in Walmart looking for cake mix for Collin's birthday cupcakes. Unable to think clearly, I just stood in front of all the choices stunned. The woman who explained limits and calculus to a student on Thursday, was the same woman baffled between devil's food, german chocolate, or funfetti.

Finally, I settled on one of my all time favorites, red velvet cake. As soon as I got home, I started making Collin's cupcakes. Everything was going great until I gave Collin the cupcakes.

Do you see it? Thanks to the RED velvet cupcakes and his brilliant mom, Collin's first birthday pictures look like a scene from the new Twilight movie. Why didn't I think that one through? Thanks a lot Walmart for giving me yet another moment of cluelessness.