Friday, January 31, 2014

Making small goals to lead to better life habits

So I started this post in the beginning of January with intentions of finishing.....but then I got distracted and not motivated to do much blogging.

The premise of this started with the obligatory new years resolutions. With the upcoming wedding and my recent milestone birthday, I wanted my resolution to be an overall healthier and better lifestyle. So I came up with the idea that I was going to make 2 small goals that I could focus on for January and I was going to do my best to stick with those goals. At the end of the month, I could reassess to determine if they were realistic and could become lifestyle changes or if they were completely unrealistic.

My first goal was a health related goal and that was to cut myself off from the kitchen after 8:00. I have a horrible habit of snacking binging at night so I gave myself some rules: I could drink as much water after 8, but nothing else. I gave myself Friday and Saturday's off because I knew that wouldn't be realistic.

The verdict: With the exception of 2, maybe 3, nights, where extenuating circumstances came up (like I didn't get home until way past 8 and one afternoon I was sick, but starving by nighttime), I really stuck to it and will continue to maintain this no-eating-after-8:00-thing.

My second goal was fitness based and it was to complete  the 30 day sit up challenge, push up challenge, and burpee challenge. Every day. No matter what. I am determined to look and feel kick-ass in my wedding dress and for the first time in YEARS, wear a bikini on my honeymoon so I figured I gotta get my ass in gear.
30 Day Sit Up Challenge Fitness Workout Chart

30 Day Easy Push Up Challenge Chart

The verdict: DONE. I didn't miss a single day. I did get incredibly sick and ending up in the hospital during one of the days, so I just switched out the upcoming rest day, but I am SO PROUD of myself for sticking to this. As the days increased, I broke down the large numbers into smaller ones and rotated through all the different exercises until completion. For example, I would do 12 burpees, then 4 pushups, then 27 sit-ups, then I would do 7 more burpees, 3 more pushups, 38 more sit-ups, etc. until I reached the total amount for the day.

So, to up my own ante for February:

Health goal: I am going to continue to the no eating after 8:00 habit. My new goal will be to drink an entire glass of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I guarantee I am going to be peeing even more than I already do.

Fitness goal: My goal is to be able to do 20 pushups consecutively, 50 burpees consecutively, and 100 sit-ups consecutively. I am also going to start tackling the pull-up bar. Daily plans to come-I need them to keep myself accountable!

I am adding a financial goal: I am going to figure out a way to pay off $350.00 towards my credit card bill. My long-term goal is to pay off the entire debt before the wedding. I already budget $150/month towards the bill but I am going to find every possible way to scrape together a total amount of $350.00 for this month.

How are your New Years resolutions going?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

100th Post: Chocolate Cinammon Bread Pudding.

Yay for me-my 100th post. No better way to celebrate than with something chocolate!
I wish I could give credit to the proper person/source, but I have NO idea where I even found this recipe. I've had it in my recipe book for as long as I have been cooking.
  • loaf of cinnamon bread, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 2.5 cups of milk

1. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Cut/tear up bread into pieces.

2. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.
3. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk, vanilla, brown sugar, salt. Pour over bread and press down to ensure that all of the bread is saturated. 
4. If possible, refrigerate until needed or you can pop right into a preheated oven at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

One of our favorites around here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Phase Four -Painting the trim

Phase Four of the bathroom renovation is complete. Skipped over phase three for now.
To recap: we peeled all the wallpaper in phase one and painted one wall and the inside cabinets a rich cranberry color in phase two.
Whelp. I switched it up. I ended up painting the trim before painting the walls-it just worked out to be easier that way.

I was able to complete it in a couple of half-hour sessions. Not too bad, especially because I came home one day to find the entire window completed. Thanks Ryan!

We will have to fix the window and paint one more section of it, but that is 100% going to wait until the weather is better because the windows will have to be open for it.

Most people hate it, but I don't mind the tedious task of cutting and edging. I'm not the greatest at it, but I definitely do not get bothered by doing it.

The worst part was getting in the back corner behind the toilet. Talk about an area you just don't want to be in!

Still working on tolerating the giraffe-looking tile.

The bathroom painting is starting to irk the shit out of us. It has now been over a month and we are still chipping away at it.

The next step will be to clear the remaining walls of all the remaining debris from the wallpaper, sand them down, prime the walls, and then paint. Okay, so that's more like 4 steps.

It's getting annoying living in a bathroom that is

Baby steps, though.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Random THoughts on a Snow Day

-It's a snow day today and I kind of wish we didn't have one. I'd rather have more time off at the end of the school year than sporadically throughout the winter.

- We booked a venue yesterday! It's a beautiful historic hotel, built in the 1920's with a lot of old world charm and we will be married exactly seven years and one day after our first kiss.

-My best friend and I are doing a two goal (one health, one fitness) per month challenge. My health goal is to avoid eating after 8:00 and my fitness goal is to make it through the entire 30 day challenges for sit-ups, burpees, and pushups. I haven't missed a day of the fitness goal, although I did have to switch one of the days around because I was sick. As far as the no-eating-after-8:00 goal, I have been pretty good except for last night when I had a bowl of cereal late-night-but to my defense, I didn't eat dinner because I wasn't hungry earlier in the evening.

-I'm on a mission to pay off my credit card bill, hopefully before the end of the year, but definitely before our wedding. I would like to start off my marriage debt-free.

-I had been storing my puzzle downstairs in the basement and forgot about it for a few weeks. I saw it this morning and a huge chunk of it was destroyed. Grrrrr.

-That's it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Quick and Easy Questions.

It's been a stressful few weeks, hammering out some major wedding decisions and some other health concerns but now that most of that has subsided, I can give a little bit more attention back over here.

I have looked at a bunch of wedding venues and still cannot find something that perfectly suits my vision, along with my parents requests, so I am back to square one. I had always envisioned the "barn wedding with lots of twinkling lights" but because I cannot find a venue that is within a reasonable distance, I am reluctantly giving up that vision and trying to convince myself that I can find another type of venue. Just keep reminding myself that it is only a wedding and the marriage is waaaay more important.

We are looking at one more venue tomorrow afternoon and I have very high hopes for it.

Anyways, just wanted to touch base quickly before I got into this week's questions.

Quick and Easy Questions
1.  What time did you go to bed last night?  I took a few Tylenol PM to help with the sleeping and other pains, but it didn't help too much. I got into bed around 10:30 or so but was up until midnight. And then again three more times throughout the night.

2.  What is the last thing that made you smile?  I am spending the day with one of my favorite people and it never fails to make me smile when he looks me deep in the eyes and makes strong, meaningful eye contact. He happens to have profound autism and I have been working with him for eight and half years.

3.  What is the last movie you watched?  Ummmmm. Uhhhhh. Drawing a complete blank on this. I am totally NOT a movie person.

4. What did you have for breakfast today?  Same thing as always: oatmeal, cran-grape lite followed by coffee.

5. Would you rather mop all of your floors or do laundry?  No question-laundry. I have never mopped the floors in our house-Ryan does that. I like doing laundry.

6. Do you drink coffee?  Every single morning.

7.  Will you watch the Superbowl?  I'll probably go to someone's house to "watch" it but will realistically sit in the kitchen with the other girls and chat.

8. How often do you shop for groceries?  Typically I go every Sunday or Monday. It's my alone time and I relish in it.

9.  What kind of workout will you do today?  With the exception of last Saturday when I was really sick, I have stuck to the 30 day fitness challenges for pushups, sit-ups, and burpees. Today, I am slated to do 15 pushups, 95 situps, and 65 burpees. Like I said, I haven't missed a day in the entire month of January, except for last Saturday when I was sick. I just bumped up the rest-days when that happened.

10.  Do  you use a fitness tracker?  I do not.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Vodka Slush

My mother has been serving this vodka slush for as long as I can remember. It's probably best in the spring/summer just because it is a frozen drink but I can still enjoy it all year round.

I served this on Thanksgiving and it was completely gone by the end of the night. Its very "drinkable" -which can be both a good and a bad thing!

  • 7 cups of water-divided
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4 tea bags
  • 1 can of orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 can of lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups of vodka, depending on how you like it
  • Fresca for serving

How To:

Start with bringing 2 cups of sugar and five cups of water to a boil.

In a separate pot, steep 4 tea bags in 2 cups of water.


In a large Tupperware container, mix the two liquids together once they have cooled

Add in a can of frozen lemonade concentrate and a can of frozen orange concentrate 

Stir it well.

Add in 2 1/2 - 3 cups of vodka, depending on how strong you want your slush to be.

Let it freeze overnight.

To serve, scoop a few spoonful's into a tall glass and top with Fresca.

This is a great drink to serve because you can alter the ratio of slush/Fresca to individual preference and is super easy to serve.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pop of Cranberry-Phase 2

The second phase of the bathroom project was painting the dark cranberry color on the wall behind the mirror and in the insert of the cabinets.

First, priming the area:

grey primer.
didn't bother to do the middle section that will be covered by the mirror

And now, comes the paint. It was looking much more magenta than a deep rich cranberry at first.


 But once the third coat went on, it was looking better.



The "J"....well, when we are pissing each other off but in only a semi-serious way, we refer to each other as "jackass". Its a wonderfully affectionate term for one another. He came in and jokingly said something so I started writing "jackass" with the paint. Didn't make it past the "J" though.

The pictures/flash of the camera/light make the paint look very different from how it actually looks. I still have to go back and do some touch-ups, but I am probably going to wait to do that until I paint the hallway-which may end up using some of the extra paint.

Oh, in case you were wondering (and so I can refer back to it if needed), the paint is called "Merlot" by Olympic, with an eggshell finish.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Phase 1-Peeling wallpaper

Phase 1 of my bathroom renovation is complete!

The horrible disco-kaleidoscope mustard yellow-gold wallpaper is officially gone as well as the very retro toilet.

I was slightly sad to see that toilet go

Prepping for the new toilet that actually flushes!

I know most people find peeling wallpaper to be one of the worst parts of a home renovation-the time it consumes, the tedious little pieces, scrapping those little bits and pieces off....

I don't mind it though. I actually like projects like that (it's also why I probably like folding laundry, knitting, and untangling knots)

I started peeling the wallpaper a few weeks ago when I just peeled off one tiny spot to jump start the process on fixing up this bathroom. Now that I have had a good chunk of time off, I kept going with it.

We didn't use any special tools-just the steam from the shower, and since oil is so freaking expensive, I only peeled the wallpaper when Ryan or I were using/just finished taking a shower. The steam from the shower allowed most of the paper to peel right off. The worst area was behind where the mirror was but a little spray of the wallpaper remover gunk and Ryan's electric sander made the process relatively painless.

Goodbye ugly wallpaper








 I saved some of the "good" pieces for an upcoming project. The wallpaper deserves a little bit of credit!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Random Thursday Thoughts

1. We had a low-key but perfect NYE around here. It's almost become a tradition for Ryan and I to host our friends for the evening. Ryan slightly over estimated the amount of food to make and now we have an abundance of pulled pork. It's-all-we-have-been-eating-for-the-past-two-going-on-three-days.

2. Massive snow storm up in New England. Most schools, mine included, have the day off tomorrow. Yep, teachers get excited when we have snow days too.

2. I am bugging out about potentially losing power and therefore, losing heat and hot water.

3. My parents are coming back from vacation today and have already had to re-arrange their travel plans to accommodate for the weather. It's nerve-racking thinking they are flying in this weather although it does help being able to get alerts from the airline sent straight to my phone.

4. But, since I don't have work tomorrow, I plan on doing some more painting in the master bathroom. It's really starting to come along! (Previews coming soon)

5. Assuming everything goes according to plan, I should have my wedding venue and date set very soon. Over vacation, I looked at a few more places and found the one. The venue is all booked except for one specific date in Spring 2015 that makes perfect sense. I'm hoping everything works out!

6. Speaking of wedding planning, I have learned the following things:
  • It's a lot more fun when it is a pinterest wedding and not the actual thing. So many decisions, so many factors to consider, and so many different people to please!
  • At the end of the day, whatever happens with it, it is just a wedding. I'd rather put my focus on the marriage.
  • With that being said, there are a few major aspects of the day that I am dead-set on because they will reflect and be a part of the beginning of our marriage.