Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree

The tree is up.  Presents are wrapped.  Almost all the presents are bought.  I think we might almost be ready for Christmas.

And I was successful.  I didn't buy any new decorations this year.  I did have to buy new lights but that was because I bought a new tree at the end of the season last year.  And I only did that because I broke the old tree.  Ug, talk about a Christmas fail.  Anyway, a new white tree meant I wanted white corded lights, the green would've looked a little rough.  So I guess technically I spent about $7.50 on Christmas decorating supplies.  Not too shabby though.

So, on to what we all really care about.  The decorations.
 I wasn't sure how I would feel about the white tree.  I didn't know if it would feel Christmassy enough.  It does.  I love it.

 The Christmas presents do not match each other...  I had plans for wrapping.  And they did not turn out as I imagined.  I was going to use brown kraft paper, gold and silver ribbons, and metallic Sharpies to label my gifts.  The kraft paper did not cooperate.  So I ripped it off and went into the wrapping closet and came out with leftover gold paper and green paper with reindeer for the kids.  They look fine, I just like to have a wrapping color scheme and color coded by family.

My olive wood nativity from Israel.

Stockings, mini cone Christmas trees, and a little confetti on canvases.  Much simpler this year.

The Merry & Bright sign I made last year, the Santa & Frosty candles of my childhood (they truly belong on the back of the toilet), and another nativity.

 My lazy Christmas card hanging.  Silver glitter washi tape hung up on our door to the basement.  I'm kind of okay with it though.
And the Christmas tree all lit up in a dark room.  My favorite way to look at it.  One of these nights I'm planning on shoving all the presents out of the way and laying with my head under the tree.  It's the best.

How's your Christmas decorating going this year?  I feel like I did a lot less this year but I'm really happy with it.  I kind of liked simplifying.  I also feel like I didn't go as crazy buying presents this year.  I also feel good about that.  I love buying people things they will really like and not just buying to buy. 

Oh, btw, I'm linking up over at Thrifty Decor Chick's Christmas party.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Diet Bet #2

If you follow me on Instagram (hi Amy!), then you know what's going on.  You may remember back in...  August (I had to go look it up) that I did a Diet Bet.  It was hosted by Roo over at NeonFresh, she is the absolute sweetest.  If you're not reading her blog yet, well why not?  Start now!  Anyway, she hosted a Diet Bet.  You put $30 in the pot and try to lose 4% of your body weight in a month.  It's a pretty good motivator.  If you succeed you get a portion of the pot back, the amount depends on how successful your fellow diet betters were.  I did not succeed.  Big frowny face!  I was very close though!  Close enough that it kept me motivated.  And when Roo started an end of year push diet bet, I knew I was in! 

So, just for fun, let's see where I was when I started my first Diet Bet way back in August.
Let's just say it's hard to take a decent picture of yourself in the mirror...  Also, lighting in front of my full length mirror is not the best.

A month later (I had my husband take my picture this time and told him not to look at the scale)
About 8 pounds lighter

And yesterday.  Starting Diet Bet #2.   Almost 25 pounds less than where I started.

If When I complete this next 28 days, I'll be back down to almost what I weighed when we got married.  And there will be some serious dancing.  I mean hot dog!  So, I'm still refusing to call any of this a diet.  I'm choosing to eat healthier, and guess what, I even want to eat healthier now.  Junk just doesn't sound good anymore.  I'm working out, almost every day, and actually looking forward to it.  Also, I'm loving shopping my own closet, pulling out super cute clothes that haven't fit in ages.  Now I'm really glad I hung on to them.

I know, it's crazy to keep working to lose weight over the holidays.  I think it's the perfect time, makes it easier to say no to all those delicious/fattening treats.  I'm actually not making any treats this year.  Crazy!  Sorry family!  Anyway, if you want to join me (it'll be fun, I promise) go ahead and click here.  I get nothing from you joining other than another friendly supporting face.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Means Glitter

Snow days are the best.  I mean absolute best.  I didn't get the call that we were out of school until suuuper late, like I was about to get dressed.  So I was of course wide awake and couldn't go back to sleep.  That just meant I got more out of my snow day.  I caught up on all our laundry.  I mean all of it.  And it's even folded and put away.  And I did dishes and got the whole house picked up.  Oh, it was just perfect.

I did do a tiny bit of craftiness.  I decided to dress up a few plain candles.  They were just the basic jar candles.  They needed a little flair.  And I say they're not just for Christmas, glitter is good anytime, right?

I bought nothing new for this project, all stuff I had just laying around.  Um, I even used a partially burned candle...
 So I grabbed my candles, some Frog tape, glitter, and Mod Podge.

 I taped off a straight line for my glitter.  There was no measuring involved, just eyeball it.  I painted on some Mod Podge.  Shook on some glitter.  And just let them dry upside down so they wouldn't stick to the newspaper.  Clever, right?

Once the Mod Podge was mostly dry, I peeled the tape off.  And now they're ready to go.  I probably could've sealed the glitter with another layer of Mod Podge but I personally like to leave little trails of sparkle wherever I go.

Also, I'm linking up over at Hi Sugarplum today with my holiday craft for Holiday Cheer in the Blogosphere.

Anybody else whipping up crafts with what they have on hand?  Man, I love free crafts!  Now I just need to send the candles back to their original spots in our house.  And it's time to start panicking about Christmas presents.  I'm not sure how it got this close to Christmas so quickly.  Eek!

Monday, November 25, 2013

5K Fun

I did my first 5K on Sunday.  My mom came up and we did it together.  She usually does the Turkey Trot close to our hometown with one of my sisters.  But that sister lives out of state now and won't make it back.  So I set out to find a 5K to do around Thanksgiving.

We did the Gobbler Grind in Overland Park.  My sister did it with us long distance.  We called her when we started and periodically throughout.  So that was pretty fun.  What was not fun though?  The weather.  The first time I checked the weather for Sunday it was supposed to be in the 30s with a chance of precipitation.  Like snow and rain.  I was out.  I will be cold but not wet and cold.  Well, then I checked it the next day and the weather said in the low 50s.  Perfect.  So we paid our $35 each and signed up.  The closer we got, the colder the forecast got.  When we left my house Sunday morning it was a brisk 13 degrees.  Um, that's too cold for anything.

But my mom and I are tough (or stupid??) so we persevered.  It started late so we headed back to the car for a few minutes to warm up.  Or at least not freeze our toes off.  We headed back to the starting line with about 2 minutes left before we started.  So there wasn't too much standing around.  As soon as we started I wished I had gone to the bathroom one more time.  Being cold made me need to pee.  But I made it.  And we finished.  Not fast, but we got it done.  And we walked, we are not runners (even though I'm tossing around the idea of running a half marathon with my sister...) especially not in the cold. 
That time is a little off because we started at the back of the pack.  So, I felt pretty good about it.  It was honestly the fastest I've ever done that distance.  And we weren't dead last so I felt good about that.

And my sister sent me a Starbucks gift card so we could go out for a post 5K hot beverage to thaw out our poor frozen selves.  Yum!

What did you guys do this weekend?  Whatever it was, I hope it involved staying warm and cozy!  I still am fighting the urge to put up my tree.  I picked up some new lights yesterday but am coming down with a cold so that was as far as I got.

Friday, November 22, 2013


This post is brought to you by the exercise bike, treadmill, and a jug of water.  And very little chocolate.

So, I stepped on the scale this morning and I have officially lost 20 pounds!!!!  I'd been stuck at 17 for the longest time.  And I was so frustrated.  I'd been eating super healthy and working out usually at least 6 days a week.  Well this week I didn't work out Monday or Tuesday because we were processing deer.  I got back on the treadmill on Wednesday and I had a serious break through.  And then I biked the fastest 10 miles I'd ever done yesterday.  I felt absolutely great.

Then weighing in this morning just topped it all off.  I shouldn't brag, but I am just so darn proud of myself.  I keep feeling like 20 pounds isn't that much, but when I think about it I know it is.  And I know I should be proud because I've worked really hard.  I still have a long way to go but I feel like I can do it.

I have on jeans today that were way too small this time last year and they're hanging off my butt.  I need to go shop my skinny closet again.  It's just a great feeling.  I have a laundry basket full of clothes to get rid of.  I mean it's just the best.

I have so much more energy.  I actually look forward to eating the healthy food I pack for lunch and breakfast.  I crave water.  I miss it when I don't go to the gym, I never thought I'd say it, but I really like working out.  Like a lot.

So that explains my lack of DIY and crafty projects.  I've been too busy going to the gym to get my craft on.  I'm hoping to whip up a drop cloth table cloth this weekend in preparation for Thanksgiving.  What are you guys up to?  Let me live vicariously through your holiday crafts!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Some Ideas

Oh boy.  It's just over a week until Thanksgiving and I have done nothing to get ready.  Okay, maybe that's not completely true.  I started pre-cleaning a couple weekends ago, but that barely counts.  So it's possible that I'm beginning to panic a bit.  

My husband is off this week because it's deer season in Missouri.  So, pretty much a holiday.  I had big plans of organizing and cleaning in the evening.  But, he shot a deer yesterday morning and now my fridge is absolutely full of deer meat waiting to be processed.  So it looks like we'll be spending at least the next couple of evenings doing that.  I'm not complaining, I'm definitely thankful for the meat.  But Saturday is going to involve much more cleaning than I had originally planned.
My hubby and his deer, an 11 point buck.

So, this is basically a brain dump of what has to get done by this weekend.  I know, Thanksgiving isn't until next week but my parents are coming up this weekend so my mom and I can do a 5K on Sunday so the house needs to be ready.

Um, here's the list.
  • Buy a turkey.  I know, I know.  I can't believe it either.  But I can't buy a turkey until there's space in the fridge.  So that means deer processing like maniacs.  We're planning to smoke the turkey.  Cross your fingers for us!
  • Figure out the table situation.  Our table only seats four...  I may run to Lowes or HD to get wood cut and make a leaf for the table.  Especially if my dad will be there on Sunday to fine tune the fitting of the leaf.
  • Buy a table cloth for whatever table we end up with.  And maybe cloth napkins.  How am I 30 years old and own zero cloth napkins?  I fail at being a grown up.
  • Drag out the china.  If I have china, I'm darn well going to use it.  And since it's in the cabinet above the fridge, this is definitely a job for when the hubby is at home to help.
  • Clean clean clean like a crazy woman.  The house isn't in bad shape, but I need to do some of those things that I don't do every week.  Like cobwebs.  Ug.
  • This is embarrassing... but I need to count my silverware and make sure I have enough place settings.  I started with 8 place settings but somehow I'm not sure I have enough...
  • And then there's the other cooking.  We're doing the turkey and I'm making sweet potatoes and rolls.  I'm also making maybe rolls or another side and a chocolate pie to take to my in-laws so that will all be next Wednesday.
What are you guys working on for Turkey Day?  Anybody else starting to panic just a tiny bit?  Or want to come over and help me  make a table leaf?

Friday, November 15, 2013

On Cutting Back

I love Pinterest.  I really really do.  But it's become a serious problem.  I've become obsessed.  I don't even want to tell you how many times a day I check Pinterest.  It's truly embarrassing.  Not only does it cost me to waste too much time, I always come up feeling inadequate. I end up feeling like what I have and what I do is never enough.  And I hate that feeling.

So I'm challenging myself.  I'm going to take a Pinterest break until the new year.  I know, I just heard all the air suck out of the room from shock.  But I feel like looking at Pinterest always causes me to spend money I don't need to spend and buy/make things I don't really need.  So this is going to be a holiday of simplifying.  I know, yesterday I had all these ornaments I wanted to buy.  But instead, I think I'm going to work with what I've got.

So, there's a new plan for Christmas.  I'm not going to buy any new decorations.  I'm going to use everything I already have.  With one exception.  I am going to buy some white lights with white cords for our tree.  I'm just sure that the green cords are going to look horrible on the white tree.  Other wise, it's all what's already in the house.  This isn't to say I won't make anything new, it's just to say I won't spend any money.  Anything I make has to come from existing supplies.

I just, I don't know.  I feel like it's all too much.  I've gotten so sucked into making my holidays Pinterest worthy that I've lost the holiday itself I think.  So this year I'm going to strive to not make myself crazy.  I'm going to decorate and have fun but I'm going to focus less on what I want and more on what I'm blessed to have.

So I'm going to walk away from Pinterest until the new year.  I'm going to read more books.  Be more purposeful.  Enjoy conversations.  And not worry so much about what I might be missing online but instead focus on what's in real life.

How bout you guys?  Anybody else feeling the Pinterest pressure?  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas Plans

Oh man, I am so ready to dig out my Christmas tree.  I'm extra excited this year because we have a brand spanking new white Christmas tree.  This will either be the very best or horribly worst tree purchase I've ever made. 

You may remember I broke my Christmas tree last year.  Yup, you read that right.  I broke it.  Not like it was a huge loss considering it cost $15 almost ten years ago.  And it was a 6 foot tree, so obviously very real looking and high quality.  I was pulling the garland (or tinsel as I like to call it) off my tree and yanked too hard and the whole dang tree came crashing down.  On top of me.  I broke the whole base.  Well, when you wait until New Years Day to take down your tree, there are not a lot of trees left to buy when you go to replace it on January 2.  Thus the white tree.  Still only 6 feet tall but lots fluffier and it was only $20.  I'm super cheap.  I want a tall tree, but I don't want to pay a tall tree price.  Cheap.

But I'm pretty excited to decorate with my new tree.  And I'm pretty sure I'm going to be making some new ornaments.  Like I literally cannot wait to go to the store and buy a huge package of the clear ball ornaments and just go crazy.  But I'm making myself wait.  I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year for my family and that will make me crazy enough without adding in Christmas crafts.

But, this is what I'm thinking.
-A few beach inspired ornaments like these.  Complete with sand and shells from our Florida vacation.
-Maybe some cute sparkly monogram ones like these.  Because you can just really never have enough glitter.
-And some filled with glitter like this or this.  Or even some glittered styrofoam balls reminiscent of my childhood.  I may have a glitter addiction.  My husband totally loves it...  Or maybe not.
-I also love these that are just filled with paint.  Obviously, not literally filled with paint.
-And I'm thinking some other randomly filled ornaments with tinsel or feathers would be super cute.

I'm also thinking any of these would be great to give as gifts.  Pretty sure the person I have for Secret Santa at working will be receiving a couple.

And just for fun, here's a quick flashback to Christmases of past.
Our mantle the first Christmas in our house.  I was super excited to have a mantle to decorate! 

Front door wreaths.  Unless I get super creative, these will be the same this year.

Looking at our tree up close, I'm reminded it was definitely time for a new tree.  But I love the pretty silver and gold.  It's also seeming not very decorated...  Strange.
The whole tree/mantle last year.  I loved how it looked.  But apparently precariously perching your tree on the hearth and a crate is not the best idea ever.  Lesson learned.

Anybody else dying to decorate for Christmas?  Or maybe you already have.  Like I said, I'm hosting Thanksgiving for the first time ever so get ready for some panic posts about Thanksgiving prep.  Any tips for first time holiday hosters?  I kinda feel like it's a lot of pressure for everything to be perfect. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Because You're Worth It

I love the blogging community.  I have come across so many talented, thoughtful people that have inspired me.  One of those is Roo over at NeonFresh.  She seems like just the sweetest girl and has some seriously adorable kiddos.  If you're not reading her blog, you should be.  Go there now.  I can wait.....

So, the other day she blogged about Regina George-ing yourself as a mom.  Well, I'm not a mom.  I have a dog but in my world that doesn't count.  So, at first I thought:  great post but it doesn't really apply to me.  Oh, but it does.

If you've been around even half a minute, you know I'm trying to lose weight.  Have been for years.  Ug.  And I totally say things to myself I would never say to a friend and a friend would never say to me.  I know it's my defense mechanism.  If I make the self-deprecating comment about my weight, if I beat them to the punch, people won't say anything about it.

Except when it backfires...  And then it sticks in your mind forever.  Once upon a time I was a camp counselor.  We were doing staff training and I was out at the climbing/rappelling tower doing some kind of training.  I was working with a guy I had been friends with for a while.  I made some off-handed comment about being the "fat kid" or something like that.  And he made a comment back about my weight.  That's when I punched him.  The only person I have ever hit.  Then I told him to, um, f* off.  And I stormed off.  It was halfway through the summer before I went back to talking to him or going out for beers after work with him.  I was mad.  I was hurt.  I could say those things but other people could not.
Thinking I am really fat...  Turns out I wasn't.  Also oddly edited to block out kids faces and the name of the camp...

So, if I was so mad that my friend had made that kind of comment to me, why do I feel okay doing it to myself?  I shouldn't.  As a school counselor I spend my days telling girls that they are good enough.  That they are fine just the way they are.  And yet, I myself am telling myself I'm fat and not good enough.

But how do I stop?  I guess I have to start believing what I tell these girls.  I am good enough.  So what if I'm not perfect.  I'm working really hard.  I've ended (hopefully) the days of sitting on my butt after work, watching TV and eating junk food.  I feel great about working out.  I feel great when I make healthy food choices.

And sometimes I think back to high school.  I know, why would I do that?  But, even back then I thought I was fat.  I was always trying to lose weight.  I remember buying my prom dress my junior year and thinking, if only I was 10 pounds lighter I would look so much better.
Prom my senior year.  I would love the be the size I was back then, back when I started thinking I was fat.  Also, my dates face is blurred out in case he grows up to be president one day.

I told myself I was fat for so long that it became almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I just kept gaining weight.  I would sort of aimlessly try to lose weight but never really have much success.  I'd lose a few pounds but then celebrate by going out for Chinese.  Counter-productive.  But then 30 hit.  And something clicked.  When my husband and I have kids I want to have the energy to play with them like crazy.  I want to go to the lake with my in-laws and not feel ashamed of how I look.  I want to feel good in my skin.
I used to like this dress until I saw this picture.  I think this was my wake up call.

The negative self-talk hasn't stopped.  But it's getting better.  Since my 30th birthday I've lost around 17 pounds.  It doesn't feel like a lot.  When people compliment me that I've lost weight and look good, it's still hard for me to believe them because I know I still have a long ways to go.  But every day that I hit the gym on my way home from work I feel so proud of myself and I know that I'm making progress.  And that maybe it's not about being skinny, that it's about being healthy and feeling good.  The other day I biked 15 miles, the longest I'd ever done.  And I felt so crazy proud of myself.  And I didn't feel like that fat girl who felt bad for herself, I felt like I had just kicked serious ass.

So I just keep telling myself what I remind my high school girls, "You are good enough.  You are worth it.  You are perfect just the way you are."  And then I remind myself to not tack on, you'd be better though if you lost more weight.  And it's going to take all the courage I have to throw all this out there.  But, I am good enough and I am worth being healthy for.  Healthy is what matters.  So, I'm just going to keep telling myself that I'm worth it and if I say it long enough, it's going to happen.  And I will quit being so hard on myself.  Because, I'm worth that too.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

30 Day Fitness Challenge

So here's the deal guys, regular Work it Wednesdays are gone I think.  They're boring.  I just tell you how many miles I've biked.  Who cares.  But I started a 30 Day Fitness Challenge on Monday and I thought I'd share it with you.  It starts out pretty easy and I think it's totally doable.  I shared it with my facebook friends on Monday and a few of them were in.  So I think it's going to be fun to keep each other accountable.

Side note, I'm also signed up to do a 5K with one of my friends right before Thanksgiving.  Eek!  We already agreed we're not really going to do much running.  She's usually a runner but has pretty bad shin splints and is out for a while.  So it will be walking and talking.  And then hopefully something warm and cozy to eat afterwards.  I've never done a 5K but I'm thinking it will be nice to have a goal to work toward.

Okay, so my 30 Day Fitness Challenge.  I found it on Pinterest a while back.  There's no link to anywhere really, but here's a link to the image.  If you know where it really came from, let me know!  I altered it a little because it didn't totally make sense to me.  And I set it up on a calendar so that it started on a Monday and was easier for me to track.  Since I started two days ago, I will totally be done before Thanksgiving so that's another good goal to have in the back of my mind.  And there are no jumping jacks.  I hate jumping jacks. 

Not too bad, right?  Well, the end looks rough but since it's working up to it, I think it's totally doable.  The great thing, the first couple of days have only taken a few minutes.  Like I turn on a show I've recorded and am done before the second commercial break.  Perfect!  That leaves time for folding laundry.  Which I desperately need to do...  Anybody have a laundry genie?  

So, who else is in?  I promise it will be fun.  Or at least we'll have something to show for our month.  And if you're like me, you're going to be watching TV anyway.  I just printed my calendar off on a small piece of paper and it's on my coffee table.  Except I'm traveling for work this weekend so I'll just tuck it in a book and do my challenge for the day from my hotel room.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Basement Organization

Well, I can't quite call it done yet, but it's so much closer.  And one whole area is done.  And it makes my heart happy.  I feel like it's been the slowest process.  A couple (???) of weeks ago I declared that I was tackling our basement storage room.  This is also the room that houses the furnace and the hot water heater.  And a lot of crap.  That situation is at least 1/4 better now.

I've been working hard on the work bench area.  We started with this disaster.
It just hurts your eyes, right?  The whole thing is filthy and disorganized.

Cue the white paint.  I just had it sitting around.  I didn't bother priming just threw on a couple coats of white cabinet paint.  And then I ran out of white paint....  I ended up using the light turquoise that I had leftover from painting the hall upstairs.  Nothing like working with what you've got.  I swept out dirt and cobwebs before wiping everything down with Clorox wipes.

So everything got shoved down to the white end that had been painted so I could finish up the other shelves.  And thanks to a Chiefs game on Sunday that my husband went to while I stayed home, I got the rest of the shelves painted.  And the color difference isn't super noticeable, right?  Once the paint was dry, it was finally time to load the shelves and organize everything.

Look at that!  It's a thing of beauty.  Everything is organized.  I can find things.   Everything is sorted into categories.  And labeled.  And in useful containers so you know where to find what you're looking for.  Yes, you are seeing shoe boxes covered with duct tape.  Um, it was that or zebra print contact paper.  In the basement, I thought duct tape was the way to go.

On that far left shelves, we have a crow bar and a bin of things to cut with.  You know, hack saws and the like.  On the shelf under neat are the staple gun and nail gun.

On the middle set of shelves...  The top shelf has nails, screws, caulk, and a stud finder.  The middle shelf has the drill, tiny drill, screw drivers, and wrenches.  The bottom shelf has my husband's tool set and some measuring stuff.

The far right set of shelves has paint and painting supplies.  And I even hammered in a few nails to hang our hammers on.

Now it's time to organize the rest of that room.  That means coming up with a better way to store duck decoys...  Um, anyone have any suggestions?  What are you guys up to?  Anybody else organizing the dirtiest space in their house?  I'll be back tomorrow with a 30 Day Challenge for you guys.  I'm super excited about it!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gold and Sand

I have a confession.  I am a piler.  I love to be organized.  I love for things to look pretty.  But I'm lazy.  We almost always have mail piled somewhere.  The table in the front hall.  The kitchen table.  The kitchen counter.  And it drives me batty.  I try to at least consolidate the piles down to one place, the front hall table.  Because obviously, nothing is more welcoming when you come home than a giant pile of mail.

Last summer I made a pretty tray to hold the mail.  That was ridiculous.  It just meant the pile spilled over the tray.  So, when we had people over the other day, it lit a fire under my bum, I had to do something.  My sweet husband told me I didn't need to clean, that nobody would care.  I gave him my best Monica Gellar look that said, "No, people I do not know cannot come over when our house looks like this."  Oh wait, I may have said that out loud.  You know, there are people that can come over when your house is in any state, other people you need to do the crazy fast panic clean.  And then act like your house is always that clean...

Okay, so I tackled that stupid table.  I sorted the mail.  Almost all of it got shredded.  Some of the junk mail just got tossed in the recycling and the rest of it got piled in the laundry room to be dealt with at a later time.  And I shut the laundry room door because that's the mess that I'm still in serious denial about.  It's bad guys.  Really bad.

So I made the table pretty.  If it's pretty I hopefully won't want to ruin the pretty with piles of mail.  Right?  Right?  Somebody please tell me this will work.

In case you're curious, this also doubles as our liquor cabinet.  Sneaky, right?  Oh that just looks so much better.

 A close up.  The vase is one I spray painted gold the other day.  It was leftover from our wedding.  The flowers in it are ones that lived on our mantle in the spring.  The bowl is part of a set we got as a wedding present and holds my keys.  And the square vase full of sand and shells has sand from Gulf Shores, AL courtesy of my parents.  Mainly because I was a dummy and didn't bring home any sand from our vacation.  And the shells are from the beach in Siesta Key, FL from our vacation.  The perfect pretty combination of things to see when I come home.

But where did all the mail I actually needed to keep (silly bills) go?  Not far, it just moved to the laundry room.  I hung up a wall organizer and threw in a couple of file folders.  One for mailing supplies like envelopes, address labels, and stamps.  One for bills to be paid.  And one for things to file.  Right underneath is a paper recycling bin and the shredder.
I also have a small cork board and a wipe off calendar board.

What do you think?  Is this going to be the end of my mail struggles?  I'm trying to make myself deal with the mail as soon as I walk in the door.  It doesn't get set down anywhere, it either goes in the bin or gets shredded/recycled. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Um, these pictures have been sitting on my camera almost a week....  It's been crazy around here.  For some people summer is the busy time.  For us, it's football season.  Saturday we had people over to watch the Mizzou game.  And Sunday we were at the Chiefs game.  And I speed cleaned my house between Friday night and Saturday morning since we were having people over for the game.  So the good news is my house (or at least the part people see) is clean.

But, down to business.  Soup.  It's been cool lately.  Saturday was downright cold when I got up.  So, colder weather means cozy foods.  Like soup.  Well, my husband isn't a big soup fan so I just make soup that I want to eat.  This one is a little time intensive, but definitely not hard.  And you could probably throw the start of it in the crockpot and finish it when you got home from work.

Chop a whole head of cauliflower.  Yes, the whole thing.  It doesn't have to be pretty.  Just smaller pieces so it doesn't take a thousand years to cook.  Dump it in a big pot.

 Add 2 32oz containers of broth.  I used veggie and chicken both.  If you're a vegetarian, obviously use all veggie.

Throw some garlic, um just however much you like.  I used two heaping forkfuls.

Chop half an onion and throw that in the skillet with a tablespoon of butter (real butter people, this is pretty much the only unhealthy thing you're going to do).  Saute that yumminess up.

Roast some broccoli and cauliflower.  I usually do this in the oven but ours is broken so the toaster had to do.  Drizzle some olive oil over it and add salt, pepper and garlic.

Once your cauliflower is cooked, you're going to blend it up with some broth mixed in.  If you have a real blender this should only take about two batches, a Magic Bullet it takes about 4.  You'll use about 4 cups of the broth total.  Also, throw your sauteed garlic and onion in with the cauliflower to puree.

Pour your pureed cauliflower back in the pot.

Add about two cups of skim milk.  Stir to combine.  Dump in your roasted veggies.  And throw in a handful (a cup or so) of shredded cheddar.

And enjoy this crazy healthy delicious soup.  *And wish you'd poured your soup in a colored bowl to take a picture, white-ish soup+white bowl=boring picture

Creamy Cauliflower Soup
1 head cauliflower
2 32oz containers of veggie/chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
chopped cauliflower and broccoli
olive oil
2 cups skim milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Chop cauliflower and cook in broth until fork tender.  Saute chopped onion and garlic in butter.  Puree onion, garlic and cauliflower with 4 cups of broth*.  Roast chopped broccoli and cauliflower in a 425 degree oven for approx. 20 minutes.  Combine pureed cauliflower mixture with roasted veggies, skim milk, and cheese.   Stir until cheese is melted.

*More broth may be added to achieve desired soup consistency.

Guys, this is seriously so delicious!  It has kind of the feel of creamy baked potato soup.  You could probably even throw in a little bacon if you wanted to live dangerously (or deliciously...)  It's crazy easy.  And healthy.  Yum!

What's your go to cozy food?  Anybody else just wanting to climb into a giant vat of soup since it's gotten cold outside?  No?  Just me?  Okay.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Basement Sneak Peak

It's a tiny sneak peak.  The tiniest of sneak peaks...  And not even an accurate one.  I did some serious work last night.  My husband got off work early yesterday so we celebrated by grabbing Chipotle for dinner and doing some work on the basement.

So, I mentioned that I was going to paint the workbench area.  It was dark and disorganized and pretty much a giant mess where we couldn't find anything.
And somehow it looked even worse in person.  Just super dirty.  And dark.  Probably the darkest corner of the basement.  We had stuck up one of those weird fake battery powered light bulb things.  Well, I ran down to the basement last night and it had fallen completely off the ceiling.  Good thing I had already bought a new light.

So last night we worked on painting part of the shelves.  And installing my new light.  I had initially thought we could just use regular screws to mount it to the beam directly above the workbench.  Um, turns out that beam is metal.  So we got creative.  It's super rigged, but my light is up and the corner is so much brighter!  I just picked up one of those fluorescent lights that you plug in, like people often use in the kitchen under the upper cabinets.  Of course there's no outlet at the workbench so the cord runs across the ceiling to an outlet on the other side of the room.  It gets the job done though.

And a third of my shelves are painted.  This picture is just my start from the other night.  The top two shelves are painted now as well.  I'm working in sections so that I don't have to dump everything off into the floor.  I'm hoping to get the whole workbench finished this week/weekend so that I can tackle other parts of the room.  

Then there is going to be sweeping.  A whole lot of sweeping.  I had to sweep the shelves off before I could even wipe them down.  I'm pretty sure they had never been cleaned.  So gross!  And then I'm going to sweep the crap out of that floor.  I can't even think about how gross it is.

What have you guys been up to?  Anybody else tackling any kind of gross projects?