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?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Clean in 2013 Revisited

Back in May I declared this the year of getting my house under control.  Well, it's been a very slow process.  I keep getting distracted by life.  No excuses though.  I only have three and a half months of 2013 left so now it's time to get on it.
So we're doing it.  I have this giant mental list.  And there are some serious problem areas that are absolutely embarassing.

First, the spare bedroom.  Also known as where I dump clean laundry and all of my clothes.  The main problem is that when I get home from work/the gym I just dump my stuff in there and never put it away.  So I have an idea.  As soon as I get home from the gym I'm going to put away/put clothes in the laundry.  No more just dumping them.  Then I'm going to re-pack my gym bag.  And I'm going to put up a hook to hang my outfit for the next day.  That way I'm not scrambling around every morning.

Absolute disaster zone.  Yes, that suitcase has been there for... at least two weeks, since we got back from our anniversary trip.  And that is half a pair of legwarmers...

Also, I'm going back to my 4 Cleaning Tips I found and was in love with before.  No love lost, just lazy.  So, we're getting back to those tips.  Because they were amazing.

I'm also going to deal with the mail.  I'm going to try to only touch it once.  When I come in the door mail is going to either get recycled, shredded, or paid.  Which means I have to deal with the giant pile of junk mail first.  I'm seriously dreading this.  I have an embarrassing amount.  So embarrassing that I'm not sure I can show you the proof.  Just trust me, it's bad.  Like mail hoarder bad.

Then the big project.  I'm going to tackle our basement storage room.  I have plans.  Big plans.  This room has two bare bulbs, no actual light fixtures.  So the dream is to install some directional track lighting.  Super hot, right?  But, I'm thinking at least 3x the light bulbs.  And I'm going to install one of those utility lights over the workbench, one that I can plug in.  Why haven't I thought of this before?  And I'm going to paint.  I'm going to paint every single surface.  This room is not finished and all the raw wood and concrete are eating what tiny bit of light there is.  So I'm thinking if I paint all the shelving and the walls it will help brighten the place up.  I'm also planning to paint the floor joists above for some light reflecting up at the ceiling.  And figure out some storage for my husband's hunting decoys.  They are heavy and take up tons of space.

Clockwise from top left:  super dark corner with the workbench, duck decoys, um a tire,
and a metal shelf with creepy spray paint on the wall.  We had never noticed the spray paint until I took this picture.  So creepy!

This is apparently where shoe racks go to die.  And there's an extra sink...

Extra doors...  cabinet doors... duck decoys.... basically a disaster

So, what are your secret horrifying areas?  Anybody else want to tackle your scary rooms with me?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Finally finished fall fireplace

Yes, I went there. I needed an alliteration.  But, I finally finished that dang fireplace. It took way longer than I care to admit. But it's done and I used those fake carveable pumpkins from the dollar store, now I won't have to buy new pumpkins for next year.

So I grabbed 5 of the foam pumpkins and 5 of the ceramic ones. They each got a quick coat of spray paint - silver, gold, ORB, or pewter. So I just ended up with a nice variety. I was going to bust out glitter on some of them but I honestly just gave up. I figured the paint was good enough.

And I pulled out my small wooden crate from last year and some larger candle holders to put inside the fireplace since we don't use it for fires.  I also threw a blanket and a pillow in my rocking chair to cozy it up.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Work it Wednesday, er Thursday

Sometimes it's really hard to be a counselor.  Yes, sometimes the job is taxing.  But that's not what I mean.  I totally get inside my head and analyze myself and I can't get out.  And it's hard.  Let me explain.

Tuesday I had a meeting after work so I was late getting to the gym.  But I still went.  I only biked 5 miles, but they were seriously the fastest five miles of my life.  I did it in 19 minutes.  Yup, I'm pretty bad ass.  I stopped after my 5 miles.  I told myself I would do more when I got home.  I did not.  Instead I ate two pieces of leftover pizza.  They weren't that good.  And then I ate two honey butter biscuits.  Also, not that good.  And then I felt terrible about it the rest of the night.  And the next morning.

I feel great and I make some progress and then I do something like that and just feel like it's a huge set back.  I tried to start reading some weightloss blogs because I thought it might be some good motivation.  It wasn't.  I just ended up feeling worse about myself.  And my lack of progress.  So, I've decided something.  Work it Wednesdays are not going to be about weight loss but about being healthy and active.  And they may disappear all together.  I just feel stuck.  Maybe it's because I seem to be stuck at one number and it's hard to see progress.  I know I've gotten healthier.  The majority of the time I eat well and feel really good.  My energy is so much better.  And I am absolutely loving going to the gym.  I never thought I would say that.  But I do.  I look forward to it.  So I know I just have to keep pushing through and I'll get past this, just for right now, it's hard.

And all this craziness inside my head is not something I would usually talk about but I had to get it out somewhere.  So, sorry about that.  Now, back to your regularly scheduled (pushed back a day...) Work it Wednesday.

Bike  61 miles
Walk 1/2 mile

Pretty much all I've been doing is biking.  I need to switch it up and add some other things in.  I just love the bike so much.  The goal is to add some a home workout each day.  I'd like to say I'm going to do it in the morning but getting up at 5am is so hard.  But I bet if I could get in the habit it would be just like going to the gym in the afternoon.  And I need to do the treadmill also.  It just doesn't burn as many calories so it seems like a waste to me.  I know it's not, but it feels that way.

And that amount of walking is hilarious.  Absolutely hilarious.  I'm going to have a better relationship with the treadmill though.  I'm still determined to knock out a 5k.

How do you guys stay motivated with eating healthy and exercising?  Sometimes I totally bribe myself.  And I use myFitnessPal.  I do wish it would cheer or something when you hit your 64 oz of water, even though I generally hit a gallon.  I still feel like cheering when I finish that last glass.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Six Years Later

I mentioned the other day that this week was my (and my husband's) anniversary.  We got married three years ago today.  Let's back up a bit though.

We went on our first date six years ago, almost to the day.  Actually October 5 to be exact.  It was a great first date too. 
This is not from our first date.  This is from our first camping/fishing trip.

 And this was taken before my then boyfriend moved farther away from me.  We did long distance the first year and a half.

Fast forward some more.  We got engaged the end of February of 2010.  He proposed at the lake behind his parents house.  It was perfect.  We got married at our favorite lake in a shelter house overlooking the water.  We had our reception at the marina resort.  There was BBQ.

Basically our day was perfect.  I mean I wouldn't have changed a thing.  In the three years since, I've finished my masters degree, we bought a house, we bought furniture, we've done crazy home improvements, and I've come to understand that I have the best husband.

Every year for our anniversary we go on a little trip.  The first year we went back to the same area we went for our honeymoon (Branson, MO to be specific).  On our honeymoon we stayed at Big Cedar Lodge, our first anniversary we stayed at.... um, some golf course hotel.  It wasn't nearly as nice as Big Cedar.  Then last year we got smart.  When I met my husband, he lived at a resort at Lake of the Ozarks (they had cabins and apartments).  So we've started going back there.  And it's wonderful.  It's right on the water.  Close to good restaurants.  And on the quieter end of the lake.  Perfect anniversary destination in my opinion.

So, get ready for lots of lake pictures.

Clockwise from top left:  Dinner @ Larry's on the lake, getting ready to watch some Mizzou football, one last lake picture before we left, and fishing on the dock before the Chiefs game.

It's not a lake trip without fish pictures.  On the left, a 13" crappie and on the right a catfish.

No better place to be

Well, except maybe here.  Drinking wine, overlooking the river.  There was also brick oven pizza.

What do you guys do as celebrations?  Anybody else a big fan of trips for occasions?  We're headed back down there in a couple of weeks to celebrate my dad's retirement and my sister's birthday.