Sunday Afternoon Purge

Last weekend I made a bunch of food to jump start the week. It was so great that I decided to do it again. Nothing like home cooked comfort food to keep everyone happy.

I am proud to say I had a very productive afternoon. After church, I accomplished the following:

Cooked One Quiche and Two Soups
Filled Three Garbage Bags with junk
Washed Four Loads of Laundry and
Made Five Piles to decide what to do with

While the food was cooking, I felt the basement calling..."YOU ARE NEGLECTING ME." You see this is the last room that is not finished, not organized and looks like a bomb hit it. My husband has one side of the basement and well, technically I have the other. My side became a dumping ground for everything that did not have a home.

It's a mess.
It's dirty and it stressed me out.

Wanna tour? OK, beware of JUNK and please don't call the Hoarder Police. I won't even explain it all, but you'll get the picture that it's time for some serious purging, selling and finishing.

Left of door is husband's man cave. Why won't anyone use the door handle? See that grime on the door.
That's disgusting. Need of serious paint.
Stuff is thrown down the stairs. Reason pillow is sitting there for about 2 months.
Why won't someone kick it out of the way?

Cabinets used to be where the bead board is missing, but we used them in the pool house.
I am coming up with new plan for the space. Wish me well.


It just gets worse.

The scariest place to be. Laundry room. Furnace, Hot Water Heater, Water Softener, Well Pump and the Cat Box.
They are not my friends and I wish they would leave my space. I have to learn how to make do and share in a more friendlier atmosphere.

After hours down there, sneezing and annoyed at myself for letting it get like this, I am pleased to say today was a start. I am now looking forward to planning, painting, trimming and putting the finishing touches on the space. I am scouring the internet looking for inspiration. I'll keep you all posted. Pray for me. :)



No idea why I've been so focused on food and exercise lately. Anyway, I've heard a lot about this movie in the last week...just so happens there is a lot of chatter at work and with friends and family about this movie.

All I can say, watch it. If nothing else, it is interesting and gets your mind thinking.

It didn't make me want to stop eating beef, chicken or pork. It's not about that. It's about knowing where your food comes from and making educated decisions about what you eat.

I was floored that I had assumed a lot and really had no idea what made up a lot of the "stuff" I put in my mouth. I'll let you decide how to absorb all the info in the movie. For me, it kick started the concept of eating healthier.

Additionally food comment---

Fellow blogger at Clover Lane talks about reducing sugar intake. Give it a read.


Cash for Gold?

You ever junk your gold for cash? I am tempted. I rooted around my stash and came up with a pretty good pile, including a class ring that I never wore.

There was a company that set up shop at a local hotel this week. Ad said to bring your loot and walk out with cash...I never made it there. I know my local jeweler gives cash for gold. Is it worth it? I told myself tonight it's worth a free estimate and sure beats just having stuff around not in use...I'll be exploring what my goods are worth sometime soon.

Anyone have a good experience (or bad) they want to share?


Exercise Tips

For those of you who are like me...trying to keep up with your exercise goals, I will say it hasn't been easy. However, I am starting to notice some serious toning action going on. The scale hasn't budged all that much. I've been fluctuating few pounds here and there. BUT the great news is that clothes are fitting much better and (the saggy toosh has seen some lift.) WHO HOO.

Tips that I have found to work

  • Stick to a time that works for you. I find I tend to exercise more and harder in the evening. I am not a morning person at all. I wake up HUNGRY. Who wants to jump around hungry?
  • Right now I am sticking with Gilad on FIT TV since I am seeing results. I throw in some running on my treadmill every few days. The strength training is really working. I recommend actually using the weights that you may have in the closet. Little reps here and there have done wonders.
  • Allow yourself to have your favorite food. On the weekends I allow myself to eat cookies, cake or chocolate that I crave. I have found over time a few bites is all it takes so I don't feel deprived. I've been sharing with HUBS that way I don't feel like I ATE THE WHOLE THING.
  • Keep telling yourself that you won't get in shape overnight. Give yourself short and long term goals. My short term goal was to get moving 3-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes. My stretch goal is to kick it up and improve my cardio. I want to be strong, lean and healthy by May.

Things I am trying to improve upon

  • Eating less sugar and bread. I am trying to knock down my carb intake. A big help has been watering down my juice to 1/2 juice, 1/2 water mix. Only using honey instead of white table sugar and trying to have more protein to offset carbs in meals. I am trying to eat more fruit as opposed to empty carb calories. It's a constant battle. Few years ago I was having problems with low blood sugar and I absolutely hate that feeling so food intake helped to compensate. I am trying to eat the right foods now that help sustain my blood sugar.
  • Putting health first. It is so easy to work, clean, blog first, but I am trying to make it a routine to exercise first and care for all the rest later.
  • Get more sleep. I am in a rut. I've been staying up 'til almost 1am some nights. I can't fall asleep earlier. I think I need to kick up my exercise to tire me out. I find on the weekends I nap for 2-3 hours. Can't be good to not get enough sleep.

While I admit I want to look good in a bathing suit, this exercise goal really is about getting and feeling healthy. I am by no means overweight, but know that feeling tired isn't a good thing. I have an rather unknown condition called Polycystic Kidney Disease and while right now I am considered healthy...I know that can change at any time. I want to do what I can now, TODAY, to help me TOMORROW.

Join me and get moving. I came across the "Jog before you Blog" button last night and thought now that is GENIUS.


Putting things back

Did you ever watch Hoarders? I am very intrigued. The show gets me in the mood to purge and to do it quickly. My biggest challenge isn't so much the stuff as it is putting the stuff back. I admit, I have some junk to clear out, but I've been doing pretty good at abiding by the rule - "If it doesn't have a home, donate, sell or trash it."

How to you keep your house tidy?

I am doing better at making sure the kitchen is tidy before bed, but I struggle with stuff accumulating on the stairs, table and my office desk. How many times do I walk up the stairs empty handed??? Too many. I have found that the 10 minute rule has helped. In ten minutes, put as much stuff away as possible and then call it a day. I tend to get distracted and start cleaning out the fridge, linen closet, something. Focus. Focus.


Kitchen- Stainless and Tile

Glass Doors have "wavy" glass installed by local glass shop. Grandma thought Saran Wrap was on them :)
I love my Fiesta Dishware!

I was not planning of getting new appliances, but a comedy of errors happened during the remodel. Hubs was transporting our relatively new Maytag white gas range out to the garage. A trip and a crash= broken range. Was it usable? You bet. However, the glass door was cracked, handle broken, dent where the controls were, so I said I need a new one. It turned out to be what started the hunt for new appliances. I wanted to streamline the look since our kitchen is small while getting the best bang for my buck.

With the redesign of the kitchen, we opted for a micro, cook top and built-in oven all from GE Profile series. I purchased the micro and oven at Sears when they had No Interest, No Payments. I purchased the cook top from eBay. There was a scratch on it, thus reducing the cost by $600 dollars. That's a lot of cash to save. Every so often I use a black Sharpie Marker to cover the scratch.

I love not having that little crack between the stove and the counter top where greasy drips go. The cook top is sealed gas with a glass top. It is very easy to clean. I Windex it down after each use and once a week clean the grates with hot soapy water in the sink.

I admit that I spent way too much for the oven. It's a convection oven and it took me 2 years to even use that option. I am not much of a baker, but it does brown cookies faster than normal. I probably could have gotten away with a cheaper model. Even so, all the appliances match and I like that.

My subway tile I purchased locally. I was going to use the subway tile from Lowe's, but my contractor told me to check out local tile places to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I fell in love with these tiles. They are not your standard flat subway tiles. They have a bubble appearance and add a subtle difference to the kitchen. I spent a total of $150 for the tile and supplies. The receipt says they are called "Sadon White".

I recently bought a 3M Command hook in ORB and used it under my sink cabinet to hold my pot holders. I can't tell you how thrilled I am with this little hook. Best few bucks I spent. Go get yourself one.


Kitchen Island

Over two years and I still don't know what to hang on the wall behind the island :( Chalkboard?
Lighting is from Home Depot or Lowes

That's my wall of fame aka family way back there on the far wall.
Red Clock is from Pottery Barn

My kitchen remodel included a "I want that!, Can I have it?, Please say yes." kitchen island. I saved a big chunk of change by reusing some existing cabinets for my DIY island.

We never thought we could even fit an island in this tiny kitchen, but with a lot of planning and using my trusty blue tape, we found the perfect size. The granite matches the rest of the kitchen and I love how easy it is to clean.

I took two existing base cabinets. One is narrow and holds my cookie sheets and has a tiny junk drawer for pens and such.

I bought that tray at Target. Perfect size and has no slip grippers on it.

The second cabinet is a two drawer, two door base cabinet that holds my baking dishes, blender, mixer, and food processor. Stuff that I don't use all that much, but takes up a lot of space.
These roll out trays are really cool and save your back!

I mapped out the cabinets using my trusty blue tape and then had them secured to 2x4s nailed onto the floor. I wrapped the back and sides with bead board and trimmed with 1x3 boards. I had ordered the drawer and door fronts online and had the hinges drilled. Everything received a coat of my favorite white paint. Benjamin Moore White Dove in Eggshell Aqua velvet finish.

My knobs/Pulls are ORB and are from Home Depot
The bead board was half sheets from Home Depot

Hubs and I sit at our island all the time. We eat all our meals here, do paperwork, read the paper. When we entertain, everyone gathers here. It's great for buffet food serving. Love it for baking and even wrapping presents.

Thanks for stopping by. I'm linking up to Cottage Instincts Make it for Monday.


Sewing: Pillow "Country Living" Way

I finally said to myself "ok try to do something constructive tonight". I busted out the sewing machine and stared at it. Frightening.

I wanted to make something and had torn out this article from Country Living a few weeks back. You can find it here. It details how to make a pillow cover from button down shirts.

I had recently gone through my closet that I share with my husband looking for items to donate. (He has no clue I rummage his side looking for things). I came across a couple of shirts and tossed into bag with some of my belongings.

Tonight I dug into the bag and pulled out this white linen shirt (that had never even been worn). I had no idea what I was doing, but figured how hard can it be to follow directions.

3 hours later, I have a pillow. I followed the directions, but I didn't measure my pillow form all that well. What do I know about seam allowance? The first form I tried made the pillow look fat. Picture a fat man at restaurant with his shirt taught and tight. I found a smaller pillow form and sewed new seams.

This is the first time I have sewn anything in guessing close to 10 years. It was like riding a bike navigating the machine, but I learned a lot tonight. (BTW, I skipped step #5).

Couple of hints:
-check your measurements
-iron your seams flat
-clip your corners
-plan for any embellishments ahead of time. I wanted to add ric rack trim but forgot.
-get excited for your next one!

I'd be happy to answer any questions as I didn't take photos along the way. I was way too focused.

So very happy- award

I am giddy and so very thankful to The Brick Cottage for passing along The Happy Award to me.

About the Award: The Award asks for 1. Ten Things I Like 2. Recognize Ten Other Blogs

Ten Things I Like

1. My family. My Husband is love of my life and everyday is filled with laughter. My extended family makes me smile and gives me joy.
2. Living in a country that provides me freedoms.
3. A job that allows me to be secure for the moment and enjoy every working day.
4. Beautiful Beach days. Sand under toes, sun on my face and a good book = perfection.
5. Outdoor parties. Long days and nights spent with family and friends enjoying good food and company.
6. My cat. She proves unconditional love.
7. Johnson Baby Lotion. I love the smell of that on babies.
8. My miter saw and air nailers. These two tools have provided me the "power" to get jobs done around the house.
9. Watching a girly movie and bawling. One that does it for me every time I watch it is P.S. I Love You.
10. Becoming part of the blogging community. I've been inspired and in awe.

Ten Other Blogs I Like
I have so many to choose from, but here are some of my top picks of folks and some have recently entered blog land like me.


Dressing Table

I scored the most lovely lamp at Homegoods a few weeks ago. It's gone room to room looking for its resting place. I streamlined by master bedroom and the lamp looks just perfect there. My furniture is a little too country for my liking, but this lamp sort of adds a little touch of elegance. I used an old Lennox candy dish to store the jewelry I use everyday. The rose corsage adds a pop of color for V-day.

My new favorite piece of jewelry to wear is an etsy creation from KJ Creations. I've bought a couple of necklaces from Karie. One says BLESSED with a tiny cross and my new favorite is the heart with my husband's initial...ya know cause he's always close to my heart (he he).

Hope you have a great Monday.


Winter Views

We sure got a lot of snow and it sure makes for a beautiful scene. Even so, I am ready for warm weather.

Last March my husband and I traveled to Las Vegas on business. Who knew that outside the glitz and glam there would be so much beauty. Our two favorite stops were Red Rock Canyon where must husband ran and I trailed behind in the car :).

If you look closely, you can see people on the mountain.

We also loved Lake Mead and Hoover Dam.

How crazy is that bridge under construction?

At heart I am a beach gal, so I am now itching for warmer weather.


Bedroom Accessorizing

We have a big blizzard here on the East Coast and it has motivated me to tackle little things around the house, including hanging some curtains in my spare room. I recently flipped spare bedrooms and now this small 10x10 room is named "Beaut's room." The cat has made it her home. She likes to take naps looking out the window. I kicked her out for a deep clean and started to spruce up the place. I hung my trusty Target curtains (aka twin flat sheets), laundered and made the bed and even accessorized the dresser top.

I'm "shopping the house" for items to hang on the walls. I want to keep it clean and crisp with just a few items. I'm liking the idea of grouping some dessert plates...we'll see.

This jewelry box was given to me by my bridesmaids. It plays my wedding song "Unforgettable." I decided to group like items together and while I was going to paint the mirror frame, I like how it picks the gold up from the jewelry box. I'm thinking its OK to mix and match fixture colors...the drapery hardware and lamps are brushed nickel.

The room is now comfy cozy, especially since the view is off 2 feet of snow.
Stay warm this weekend.


Dumb Drapery Hardware

Do you see those holes?
7 of them, not to mention the other mares on the wall.
Every--- single--- time I go to install window hardware this is what happens.
It is SOOOOOO frustrating.
The stupid screws that come with the hardware are always too short and don't grab into anything.
This time I used my stud finder and figured I'd drill right into the studs.
I even found longer matching screws.
That didn't help because just when the screw was going to set, it strips and my drill goes flying and gouges the wall.
This is why all my bedrooms currently don't have curtains hanging up.
Every single time I run into this problem.
Now I have to spackle, paint (and hope I have touch up paint) just to try it again.
Am I using hardware that is made for rocket scientist?
What do you do?
I am so frustrated jumping up and down.
Time for cookies!