Thursday, May 23, 2013

ABC's of me

Things are really coming along for the bbq on Sunday. I ended up staying later at work (almost an hour later) and then a friend came over last night with last minute notice to help fix the chimney cap so I didn't get the chance to do my circuit workout. I am going to force myself to do it tonight, despite the fact that I won’t get home until at least 8:00 tonight.

Last night, I also made a master list of what we will be serving for the bbq and came up with the massive shopping list. I probably won't post again until after the bbq and I am hoping to finally put up some before/after pictures of the house.

On another topic.....

Another blog I follow, Meals and Moves, posted this survey a while ago. I thought it would be fun so here we go....

A is for age:  29 but by the end of the summer, I'll be hitting the big 3-0.

B is for breakfast today: Same as pretty much every day since I can remember: 2 packages of brown sugar and maple instant oatmeal, a glass of cran-grape (lite version only!) and a mocha iced coffee that I am still drinking throughout the day

C is for currently craving: Chocolate. I am ALWAYS craving chocolate.

D is for dinner tonight: Since I work at a family’s home providing home services on Thursday evenings, I typically eat dinner there. Depends what the mom is cooking tonight but I am sure it will be delicious. She is a fantastic cook and I look forward to dinner there every week.

E is for favorite type of exercise: Pole dancing! I used to go to classes a while ago and Ryan even got me a pole for my birthday a few years ago. I've since stopped practicing regularly but would love to get back into it again. Just gotta find a good place to install the pole at home and find the time.

 (yep, that's me!)

F is for an irrational fear: Someone breaking in in the middle of the night or really, anything happening in the middle of the night. When I lived alone, I always had a hard time falling asleep because I was so afraid of something happening while I was asleep.

G is for gross food:  Olives. Pickles. Blech.

H is for hometown: I grew up in a suburb half way in between Boston and Providence. Cute little town.

I is for something important: Alone time. Since I am really really trying not to yell, making time for myself is really important. Bubble baths tend to be a regular thing for me as well as the sporadic manicure/pedicure.

J is for current favorite jam: Hmmm, I don't really have one at the moment.

K is for kids: Well, we have the Teenager at home. Does that count? I also consider all my preschool students "my kids" so...I have somewhere between 25-30 kids :)

L is for current location:  Work. At my desk.

M is for the most recent way you spent money: My iced coffee. I splurged and got a large today. Good call on my part.

N is for something you need: Nothing in particular. Yes, there are tons of things I would like for my house but I don't actually *need* anything. I have a roof over my head, a wonderful boyfriend, a job I feel good at...I'm doing alright.

O is for occupation:  Speech Pathologist...aka: professional nose-wiper, bubble-blower, talker.

P is for pet peeve: Kids playing on electronic devices all the time, especially at restaurants. It keeps a lot of restraint in me not to go up to the parents and tell them to tell their kids to put away the freakin ipod/ipad/ds/iphone…If you are bored while waiting for your food to arrive, try having a conversation. Or turn the placemat over and play hangman with your kid. You know what else is a good idea? Keep a deck of cards in the car and play a game.

Q is for a quote: “I don’t remember exactly how we all met; I just remember we were always together” It’s how I feel about my girls.


R is for random fact about you: Despite being predominately right handed, I always did my cartwheels/side aerials on my left side.

S is for favorite healthy snack: I’ve been on a banana/nutella kick lately. Have you tried that combination? Its ah-may-zing

T is for favorite treat: A good beer. This is one of my favorites (notice a chocolate theme in my life???)

U is for something that makes you unique: I actually enjoy having MRI’s done. Chance to lay in a warm blanket all cocooned up? Yes, please! The loud, repetitive noise actually comforts me

V is for favorite vegetable: Corn. Butternut squash. Delicata Squash. Raw Cauliflower. Green beans. This list could go on.

W is for today’s workout: I’m hoping to do that circuit workout I posted about!

X is for X-rays you’ve had: I would be here for hours and hours on end if I went through every x-ray I’ve ever had. I broke my left ankle multiple times while in high school from dancing which caused permanent nerve damage. Multiple x-rays from that. I have also dislocated my right hip from years of dancing and having shallow hip sockets. I had massive surgery (called a peri-acetabular osteotomy) a few years ago to reconstruct my hip which obviously resulted in multiple x-rays, cat-scans, and MRI’s.

Y is for yesterday’s highlight: I work with a student who chooses not to talk and yesterday, he spoke!!!! Multiple times!!!! I was working with him and one of his friends, and must have created the perfect situation in which he was comfortable enough to talk. He answered question after question. IT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY SCHOOL YEAR!!!!

Z is for your time zone: Eastern Standard time. I actually just had to double check with my co-worker about that one.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Circuit workout

This past week, I've been attempting to get in workouts that are quick moving, require very little space or equipment. Despite having a gym membership, I barely go. I used to go but I just don't like it.
Instead, I've been focusing creating my own workouts at home and this is the most recent one I've been doing. I really like it-I can do it in the little space in my bedroom and because the "work" rounds go for 20 second intervals, it doesn't feel like a half an hour. I definitely sweat  from this one!

 I set the interval timer on my phone (free app) for 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for 60 rounds for a total of a 30 minute work out. In one minute, I will do a cardio move, 10 second rest, strength move (alternate between arm/legs and abs) followed by a 10 second rest. Each time I have done this, I have switched it up a bit...sometimes I do it at random, sometimes I go through the entire circuit and then repeat it for a total of three times, and other times I do the same interval three times in a row to get it done.

1. Mountain climbers & squat hold with front arm raises holding dumbbells
2. Right leg burpee & basic crunch
3. Right leg crosses & squat hold with bicep curl
4. Tuck Jumps & reverse crunches
5. Switch kicks & alternating lunges with side arm raises holding dumbbells
6. Butt kickers & up/down planks
7. Left leg burpee & alternating lunges with over head press using dumbbells
8. Left leg crosses & bicycle crunches
9. High knees & elevated tricep pushups
10. Jumping jacks & jumping jack planks

I really like doing workouts like this-it gets my heart rate up and the constant change keeps me from feeling bored or too fatigued to keep going.

I will be doing this workout tonight, as soon as I get home (well after switching the laundry) followed by showering, cooking dinner, cleaning up the house and getting started on some of the baking for the bbq this weekend!

Ryan installed the blinds for the bathrooms last night and they look great. The house is really coming together and I am super excited to show it this weekend.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Update on the house stuff

The past few days have been pretty busy. Actually very busy. The weekend of the 11-12th, we went to Times Square for the Teenagers birthday. He loved it. Our wallets didn’t. This trip confirmed we are not city people. 
Last weekend, Ryan and I go to work on the house and did project after project. I have to give Ryan credit-he powered through and did way more work while I found lots of opporutnties to attempt to beat my level in candy crush.

We started getting responses to our bbq (T-4 days) and I’m looking forward to this “cram” time to get the rest of it done. Since last time, here is what has been accomplished:

Master bedroom/bathroom:
-Hang up curtains in master bedroom  A gazzliion stores later, this is finally done
-Hang up blinds in master bathroom: Still waiting for these to be delivered. Writing up this post is reminding me that they should be here by now…Maybe a phone call to Home Depot is warranted.
-Remove clutter/find a place for clutter that's gathering in the bedroom :

-replace electrical outlets throughout bedroom.
-Finish spray painting the pulls for the drawers and furniture. They were a bright silver when we bought the furniture and we have been meaning to do this for a while. I started but then ran out of spray paint. Now, I am just waiting for a good opportunity to finish this.

-Find lamps, other lighting for bedroom: We couldn’t find wall sconces that we liked so instead, we went a little unconventional and used mini-lanterns meant for outside. They look freaking awesome.  I still need to find a tall lamp for the corner of the room but it's not a priority.

The teenager's room:
-Hang up curtains in his bedroom:

New: electrical outlets in bedroom

-Hang up pictures in hallway/remove clutter gathering in hallway

New: electrical outlets

-remove piles of crap
-push back desk
-figure out what to do with the stupid electric drum kit
-clean up and make it look presentable

FILE/Organize paperwork: this will be a long process because I need to start the filing system from scratch but I am hoping to get something temporary in the meantime.

Dining Area:
-Find rug for dining room table area


Living Room:
-Wiring for cable for TV in living more extension cords! Ryan took care of all the wiring for the television, speakers, and all the equipment and hid it in the wire mold. I spray painted the wire mold so it wasn't stark white
-Find high-top table
-Take out anything that does not belong in the living room
 -Remove old hearth, install new hearth-may need to rethink this one. Hearths turned out to be a lot more expensive than we anticipated. We may end up replacing the panel of glass that shattered and doing a spray paint treatment on the ugly gold. We took the hearth off and cleaned out the fireplace log holder thing. It looks significantly better with a quick coat of the high-heat spray paint.
-Buy fireplace tools

Outdoor Patio:
-patio furniture set: We got a great deal on this, mainly because the clerk didn't scan the items properly.

-Hang up blinds in bathroom-still waiting for the delivery
-Put up shelves in hallway bathroom/reorganize shelving system. Yup, I spray painted them and they look SO MUCH BETTER. I want to refold all the towels but that’s not that big of a deal.

Laundry Area:
- Clean floor/install flooring
-Clean out slop sink; thanks ryan for removing
- Hang pictures/freshen up

It's still a work in process but I think we've got a pretty good handle on everything. I will put up a post later on menu and other recipes but I think the next few days are going to look like this:
Tuesday-Thursday: finish up as many projects as possible in between working three jobs, maintaining the daily chores of laundry, dishes, and other upkeep.
Friday: Food shopping (BJ's, Liquor store, Stop and Shop). Ideally, I would like to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure that day and do a workout
Saturday: Workout, do all the cooking, as much prep as possible. I'd like to wash the blankets in the living room and bedding (dog=dog hair embedded throughout them. Although it doesn't bother me, I'd like it to look a little better for when we have people over. We have another bbq that day starting at 3:00 but we will probably get there a little later so we can do more around our house.
Sunday: Last minute cleanup (vacuum rugs, clean bathrooms, general tidy-up throughout the house, sweep/mop floors, etc.) We are expecting people at 2:00 so if I get up early enough, I can get a workout in and give myself time to get all dolled up. Bought a new dress and everything for this!

This housewarming is a really big deal to me. My parents and Ryan's parents (actually all of our siblings as well) are meeting for the first time. There have been family issues, particularly on my side, regarding this relationship so this is a really big deal to me.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

One Last Thing

I'm sitting in my messy/incompletely unorganized office with the dog curled up at my feet and feeling really content.  I wanted to do some work on the house after work today -or at very least,  the everyday upkeep: laundry and dishes- but ended up going out for a bite to eat with a co-worker after the faculty meeting. Glass of wine and girls impromptu night out vs. washing brainer. Plus, one of my alternatives to yelling as part of my self-imposed  "no-yelling" challenges is to actively focus on doing things for myself instead of being so overbearingly concerned about The Teenager.  
Even though i wanted to work on the house tonight, I still feel like I get to check something huge off that massive to-do list.  I FINALLY managed to get the what I think are the right curtains and curtain rods. Since last Saturday, I have made over 10 trips to various stores to purchase and/or return curtains and rods. Wrong size, wrong color, wrong type. I ended up at a cute store I had never heard of until someone at Lowe's tipped me off to it. Coincidentally   I found myself passing it on my way home from dinner.. Turns out, this place was fantastic. I just wish I could remember the name of it! I found curtains for the master bedroom and the Teenagers bedroom. Check that off my to-do list. 
One Last Thing: 
I have been following Tina's blog, Carrots 'N' Cake for a long time now and found this survey. It reminded me of those facebook/aol/mass email surveys my friends and I used to (still) do....
LAST SPLURGE: Hmmm...probably the kitchen sink. Our house has the ugliest, most inconvenient sink. Inventing in a new sink was eventually going to happen but we just couldn't deal with it any longer.  When we purchased the  new sink, we knew it would have to be a specialty order because of the dimensions but apparently didn't realize JUST how expensive a kitchen sink was. Even more shocking was how much the faucets cost. But it came in today and I am looking forward to Ryan installing it soon. 
LAST ROMANTIC GESTURE: I found these silly/cute flip flop things with cleaning pads on the bottom so you clean the floor while wearing them. Since Ryan is secretly proud of cleaning the floors on a daily basis, I couldn't help but think of him when I stumbled upon them. Funniest thing is that they are clearly made for women: bright green with polka dots. 
LAST THING I COOKED: Last Sunday  I threw a bunch of stuff in a crock pot and called it soup. Turned out to be really good. I literally threw in a bunch of stuff: chopped celery, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, can of cannelloni beans, can of kidney beans, a bunch of vegetable and chicken bullion cubes  some water, can of diced tomatoes, a handful of spinach, and two chicken breasts.  Cooked it on low for 8 hours, put the chicken in the mix-master to shred it, and called it soup. Best part is that I made a good amount and froze about half of it for the future. 
LAST HOME IMPROVEMENT: Even though the curtains are not installed yet, I am still considering the purchase of them to be the most recent home improvement. 

No-yelling challenge: 
I can officially say I made it through one full day without yelling. Granted I wasn't around for most of the day but when I asked the Teenager to take care of a few things (i.e. empty trash in the bathroom and bring down his dirty clothes-all stuff that he should be doing without having to be told anymore), there was no yelling involved despite the disgruntled noises coming from the Teenager. 
Today feels good. 

the "no yelling" challenge

As previously mentioned, I have an almost-teenager at home. In just a few days, this almost-teenager becomes a full-fledged teenager. And with 13 years of life experience under his belt, comes an attitude, a desire to do nothing but play video games and whine about wanting an iPhone, and a know-it-all demeanor that is annoyingly stubborn lacks responsibility to do homework.

Oh, and this teenager, who I will be lovingly referring to from now on as "the teenager," is my boyfriend's son, which means I get the line, "You're not my mom. You can't tell me what to do." live in my house, buddy. Yes I can.

The teenager causes a lot of tension in the house and I am really really really working on not yelling or raising my voice in order to maintain the peace, preserve my sanity, and keep a balanced relationship. Because honestly, I have yelled a lot in the past and while some of it was probably deserved, it also could have been handled differently.

I recently stumbled upon The Orange Rhino Challenge and became instantly inspired. This woman is a genius. Her concept of "no yelling" for a year is an incredible goal and I hope to be able to follow suit.

I am working on my "no-yelling" policy and in order to do that, I am focusing on one major area for a few weeks that I will really work on in terms of not yelling....

The dreaded homework issue. At 13 years old, should a parent still have to check to see if homework gets completed? Because I feel like, unless I ask about it and look it over, it doesn't get completed at all or it is barely completed. It's always something.
When the teenager came to live with us a few years ago, we were VERY diligent about checking his homework, staying in contact with the school...almost to a point of obsessive. As a teacher myself, I wanted to do everything I could at home to support the teenager. Especially because the teenager came to us from a very different type of lifestyle ( responsibility, no effort, no life-lessons being taught). As the teenager's teachers say, we put him through "boot camp" and it was the best thing we could have done for him.
Now though, it is causing fights between my boyfriend and myself, and fights between the three of us. I am working on not getting involved so much but the problem is that I feel anxious knowing that there is homework or studying to be done but nothing is happening.

So, when I get the weekly report that there were multiple missing homework assignments, I will not yell.

I will not yell on a daily basis to ask "did you do your homework? Let me check it".

I will not yell when my boyfriend and I have different views on how to handle it: His idea is along the lines of "whatever, it's just homework" and "I'm sick of having to punish him". I, on the other hand, would like a consistent consequence for missing homework: lose electronic privileges (TV, computer, video games, etc) until the next weekly report comes in. If its a good report, you get your privileges, if it is not a good report, well've made your bed, now lay in it.


I have to let it go. I have to let him fail a bunch of homework assignments and let the school take responsibility for that. I have to understand that, at the end of the day, the teenager isn't my son and I don't want to jeopardize my relationship with my boyfriend and my relationship with the teenager anymore.

Therefore, no yelling about it. I am letting myself ask/gently probe only one time per day about it and will drop it after that. I am learning to relinquish the control freak in me. I am also taking a lot more bubble baths when I am feeling worked up.

Yesterday was day one of no-yelling. Well,  no-yelling about homework. But hey, it's a start.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My to-do list

So we have a bbq/housewarming/bday at our house on Memorial Day weekend but there is still sooooo much to do to our house before then.

Here's my list:

Master bedroom/bathroom:
-Hang up curtains in master bedroom
-Hang up blinds in master bathroom
-Remove clutter/find a place for clutter that's gathering in the bedroom

A's room:
-Hang up curtains in A's bedroom

-Hang up pictures in hallway/remove clutter gathering in hallway

-remove piles of crap
-push back desk

Dining Area:
-Find rug for dining room table area


Living Room:
-Wiring for cable for TV in living more extension cords!
-Find hightop table
-Take out anything that does not belong in the living room
 -Remove old hearth, install new hearth
-Buy fireplace tools

Outdoor Patio:
-patio furniture set

-Hang up blinds in bathroom
-Put up shelves in hallway bathroom/reorganize shelving system

Laundry Area:
- Clean floor/install flooring
-Clean out slop sink
- Hang pictures/freshen up

Oh yeah, and do all the cooking

T-18 days.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Making this my home.

I love reading blogs. Food blogs, parenting blogs, marriage/relationship blogs, fitness blogs (I pretend it motivates me). Do it yourself blogs, teaching blogs, beer blogs, etc.

 I have no idea what kind of blog this will turn into but I do want to start documenting and chronicling our journey...

Few things first:
I just purchased my first home. My boyfriend and I are planning on making it less 1970's and more of "us".

I can kinda sorta cook. Most of the time, it turns out edible. Other times, we end up eating cereal for dinner. I'm working on it (remind me to post about my early cooking days...) but in any case, I really do enjoy cooking and baking.

I work with preschoolers. Basically, I get paid to play with bubbles and play-dough and wipe noses all day. And teach communication skills.

With my boyfriend, comes a soon-to-be-teenager who lives with us. This dynamic is.....interesting.

I really enjoy craft beer. It's been a fun hobby to develop.

And, last of all...I'm technologically-challenged so please bare with me as I learn how to do this blog stuff.

If anything, this blog is going to turn into my electronic scrapbook.

And first blog post: No time for one. I am about to go to Target for the second time today. Oops. Bought the wrong size curtain rods earlier today and I desperately want my boyfriend to hang the curtains in our bedroom tonight. We bought the house and moved in about a month ago and while I very much enjoy the views looking out, I want to be able to control the views looking in.