Friday, February 27, 2009

Happenings in the 'Hood [Foreign Invaders]

Location: Urban
Period: Single, living with Z's sister

Please note before thinking I'm crazy: different regions of the county have VERY different little critters!!

Second note: I am quite afraid of little critters.

Third note: If you happen to be pro-insect-rights, you might not want to read this.

Christi and I had 2 different roommates while we lived in our 3-bedroom duplex in the city. We found them both via rigorous craigslist screenings. When the first one moved to California to be with her online boyfriend (whom she met on craigslist as well), it was just the two of us for a month and 1/2. [Note, I'm all for normally meeting people online- heck, I blog! But to date someone who posted a craigslist personal.. eek!!] Anyway, moving on, we're both pretty independent so we often spent time in different parts of the house.

One night I had made a good dinner and was cleaning up after by myself...or so I thought. Once I got the dishes done, I decided to be the good roommate and do some more cleaning. I wiped down all the countertops, tables, and chairs, and proceeded to start sweeping. You know that little area under the edge of the kitchen cabinets & dishwasher that always seems to hide some nasty little crumbs?? Well, I was bound determined to rid the area of "ick" completely. I got down on my hands and knees with our little hand broom and dustpan and started sweeping all the nastiness that roommates and our guests had left behind.

As I neared the dishwasher, I knew that would be the hardest part because it wasn't perfectly even with the edge of the cabinets. I went at it pretty good and paused for a moment to push my sleeves back up. When I looked back down at the floor I saw the most huge, disgusting pest with a million legs that I'd ever seen! Of course, I immediately let out a blood-curdling scream that the little old lady next door probably heard! But then, it was into action mode! No nasty little critter invades my home and gets away with it! I grabbed the dustpan and proceeded to beat him as if he'd stolen my favorite handbag! Little did I know, the beating was so intense it sounded more like someone was trying to break in our back door (which wouldn't have been unusual in this city) and that caused Christi to run down the stairs to come to my rescue.

Of course, by then Mr. Nasty was dead and not quite in his original form. Thus, I couldn't accurately show her the huge invader that DID break into our house. Oh, how I wish he'd been bigger. That would've prooved to my future sister in law just how brave I'd been to take him on by myself. But no, apparently centipedes, as they're called, are common in the midwest. Ugh. They're not the little tiny bugs shown in your Jr. High science book by the way.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Mr. Nasty's grandchild(much smaller than Mr. Nasty himself):

I do apologize for the picture, but the story is just no good without seeing the star.
It makes me nauseous too, don't worry.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happenings in the 'Hood [Intro]

God has led my life through some very entertaining times. I grew up in the country. Like.. 2 hrs. from a half decent mall in NORTHERN New England. Then, I came to the Midwest for college, and somehow found myself stuck here thanks to the lovely thing we all know as love. [Of course, we met in the south, but that's a different story.] I lived very 'urban' while dating Z- his sister and I shared one side of a duplex ~1 mile from downtown Dayton (not a big city, but hey, it was for us country bumkins!) while Z & a couple friends of his lived on the other side. It was tons of fun, and produced a lot of stories. Now, Z and I have migrated into 'Suburbia' or 'Development Land' as I like to call it.

Looking back, I laugh at all the memories.. so, rather than keep the Happenings to myself, I've decided to share them with you! These are the stories of my experiences with different lifestyles. Enjoy :) Here's a little preview in pictures, because I just hate posting w/o pictures!! :)
The Country Years
(taken by myself after a good hike up to the top!)
The Beginnings of Life in the Midwest.
(trip to the beach on Lake Michigan)
Z's family's area of the midwest... FLAT.

The Urban Years
And finally, the Suburban years.

Stay tuned!! :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eye Candy

If you love home inspiration photos, prepare to drool.. My Inspiration Photo file is getting pretty full, and I'm completely torn between the new trend of calm, airy colors, and the dramatic ones here and there. I thought I wanted all these dramatic, moody colors in my next home, but now that I see all these serene, totally classy, light-colored rooms I'm having second thoughts. It's not like we're buying a house any time soon, but a girl has to plan for these things, right?? Anyway, feast your eyes, ladies!!
The more bold tones I loved:These pillows are actually from Kmart I believe (go figure!), but I love the colors- they're very similar to the tones we already have in our house.I always thought i wanted a red kitchen, and I love this one- from a lovely lady on the nest- I'm sorry I can't remember who! Oh, and this serves as proof to Z that black furniture is pretty.
I'm loving the Navy & Blue found @ Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper. Check out this Living room:
Honestly, the octopus on the wall freaks me out, but I really like the colors in the rest of the room.Another Mrs. Howard bedroom- I love the black and white!! Throw in a little damask fabric, and I'd be sold (it's a recent obsession).And what's better than black & white?? Black, white, and YELLOW! Not sure I'd paint my walls yellow, but I love the colors. This is from Decor Report.

I think the challenge with bold colors is choosing wisely- too bold and you look like a teeny-bopper! Like the whole Aqua & Orange trend- it just looks juvenile to me (sorry if that offends anyone!) :) So.. I think the light colors are an easy way to play it safe & look really classy at the same time. The only down side I see- light colored furniture/linens = cleaning nightmare. You don't really want a pretty room that you're afraid to spend any time in! :)

Here's some Mrs. Howard faves, again..
And, a little safer with the chocolate furniture:Okay, now here's the last bunch from another fave design blog, Things that Inspire:
Okay, that's it, I promise. I've probably caused you to OD on pictures by now, so I'll end here. But what do you think? Bold? Light? Can you do both in one house and still remain cohesive? I'm hoping so, because I don't think I'll be able to choose. :)

Maybe I'm just challenged, but...

...why on earth can't I comment on some of your blogs?? Seriously, some of my fave girls out there- you have a different format or something. It's the one where you have to scroll down and choose which account to post with- so I choose google reader, then type in my comment. When I hit post, it comes up with the word verification box, and where the word should be it just says loading... and it never loads. So therefore I can never type in a word, and can never comment on your blogs. Seriously- I love some of them, and you'll never know because technology has stumped me once again! Examples of blogs with this format: The view from my shoes & NEWLYWEDS. Can anyone help me out here? Is it me or is it the technology? :( This is how I feel:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Super Easy Chicken

Last night I finally got the time to cook us a good dinner. However, that doesn't mean it took forever. Thanks to someone (wish I could remember who) on the Nest D&R board for sharing this recipe!

Crispy Ranch Chicken

You need:
  • Chicken breast (~4)
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 packet of Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal (I wasn't feeling the cereal, so I did italian bread crumbs, and crushed Ritz crackers)
What you need to do:
  • Mix Parm, Ranch mix, and cereal (or whatever you choose to use) in a bowl
  • Dip chicken in egg whites, then in Ranch mix, then place on greased cooking sheet.
  • Bake for ~30-35 min. on 350 degrees.
Voila! Easy as that! And the flavor was AMAZING! I (being always a little leery of meat), even loved it!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Good News!!

Z's sister & her husband, who I talked about here finally got a baby!! Thank you all so much for your prayers!! Here he is:
The mother is a college student who wanted nothing to do with the baby (her parents didn't know she was pregnant til the baby was born). Sad situation for her, but a huge blessing for J&L!! Now that they have him, we're planning a shower! So, because I'm just overzealous like that, I already whipped this up last night:
I have fallen in love with diaper cakes!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

*flutter*

Disclaimer: Sappy, girly post ahead!

So yesterday, I leave work, have a nice little trip to JoAnn Fabrics, and head to the gym. When I went in, my stomach was growling a little bit, but I didn't have any snacks with me, so I hopped on the elliptical for an hour anyway..followed by some Ab work. Apparently, that was a bad idea.

I had plans for a nice baked chicken dinner, but once I got the chicken out, I had to sit down for a second because I was feeling a little queasy. Then, Z gets home from the gym (we work out @ slightly different times after work) and hands me a gorgeous bouquet of orange-yellow roses!! Apparently, Orange means "just because".

[Sidenote: Z doesn't really do holidays. He doesn't like giving gifts when they're expected, or on occasions that can be termed 'Hallmark Holidays'. So we went to dinner for V-day but that was it. No gifts. Needless to say, I was "wooed" all over again when he brought home flowers!]


I hardly had time to smile, thank him, and smell them before I knew we were in for trouble.

Me: "Uhh.. honey? I don't mean to ruin the moment, but I think I might throw up".

So, he wisked me into the bathroom, and there we sat - on the edge of the tub, ready to dive to the toilet - for quite some time. God bless him- he just sat there with me and rubbed my back. That was the first time I've been really sick since we got married. It was the first time anyone other than my parents or myself took care of me when I was sick. A bit embarrassing, but in a strange way, it brought us closer.

Finally, my stomach decided that it wasn't going to erupt just then, so I went and laid on the couch. Z brings me 2 blankets, a trash can (lol) and tells me not to worry about supper or any of the other things I'd wanted to do last night.

I dozed off, and floated in and out of queasy la la land for the next couple hours. When I woke up, I found the roses in a vase of water on the coffee table in front of me, the dishes all taken out of the dishwasher and put away, the dryer running with a load of laundry, and Z asking me how I was doing.

*flutter*

Make fun of me... go ahead. But I "flutter" when he does stuff like this. Z's more into working on stuff in the garage than he is being sensitive and helping around the house, so things like last night are just heaven.. except for the being sick part.

Anyway, I'm feeling much better this morning. But I'm still feeling the warmth of thankfulness that God has blessed me so much with such a great husband. Ladies- they can be frustrating, even downright disgusting sometimes, but they're your gift from God, so remember the nice things they do & don't forget to thank HIM! :)

Happy Thursday & I hope you're all feeling MUCH better than I was last night!!

OH, BTW, new layout/design coming soon! :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Randoms

  • Apparently, Dayton is the 5th most 'empty' city (based on vacant houses and rentals) in the US. Yikes! Not where I live, but it's where I work. Ugh.
  • No lbs. lost this week. Blah. Probably those cookies I made for Valentines day. BUT, my body fat percentage went down 3%! I spent an hour on the elliptical Monday, 45 min. yesterday, and I'm planning on another hour today. I figure if I keep doing it, it'll feel like NOTHING before long!
  • It's really cloudy and blah here today.. but the boss is gone so that brightens the mood! :)
  • I've been searching for a neat design to embroider on a matching pillow for this one. Well, I whipped out trusty google image search, and came up with the following ideas. What I need from you is your vote on which one I should go with. Note: I don't like birds, so those suggestions probably would fall on deaf ears. I'm really starting to like the cherry blossom idea.. Remember though, I want to go with the same embroidery pattern on the first pillow, so everything would be more of an outline. I could do just a branch.... OR- a whole tree! Please Excuse some of the funky pix- they're just to get an idea!

Love Ya Award!

Thanks to Megs @ Newbie New Yorker for giving me a Love Ya Award!

Rules that accompany this honor:
“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”!


Okay guys, I have to be honest- I have NO IDEA what self-aggrandizement is. I'm guessing it's bad. But if you know, feel free to enlighten a clueless blonde. :)

But anyway, here's who I nominate:
Lindsay @ Learning to be a Wife ~She's become a great blogger friend!
Leah @ marital-bless ~She's so honest & going to have an adorable baby soon!!
S @ a.little.bit.delieious ~She so sweet & I'm enjoying getting aquainted with her blog!
Holly @ Life in the Fun Lane ~I've just started following her blog & love her home decor tips!
Abby @ Life with B&A ~This girl is seriously creative!!
Andrea @ Living Large on a Dime ~A local girl- I enjoy watching her home reovations as well!

We're gonna stick with 6 for now! :)

Thanks so much Megs!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Little Pillow Love

I whipped up this little number a couple weekends ago for our living room. I have yet to make it's match, but I kind of like it, so I thought I'd share. I designed the tree pattern based on a piece of art we have in the same room.
Close up with beadwork.

It's not as hard as you'd think- I bet you can create one too! :)

Whatcha think?? :)


Let's Have a Coffee Date

I've had this annoying headache for the past few days, especially in the morning, and I can't figure out what's causing it. Z asked if I'd had any coffee. I said no.. and am now sipping a cup, but it got me thinking.. I can't be addicted when I only average 3-4 cups per week, can I?

[Sidenote:] I work in an office with 4-5 men, depending on who's run to a job site. These men go through ~4 pots of coffee per day- BY THEMSELVES! Is it just me or is that crazy?? They drink it like water. I limit myself to a cup in the morning only if I'm really sleepy- which is 3-4 days per week.

Anyway, I think Coffee, in moderation, is just heavenly. I recently brought International Delight's Chocolate Mint Truffle (It was a limited edition flavor, almost gone now) and gave it a try. It was AMAZING. Especially if you like mint chocolate things.

Now, for all you coffee lovers, here are some interesting statistics found here:
  • Coffee statistics show that among coffee drinkers the average consumption in the United States is 3.1 cups of coffee per day.
  • 65% of all coffee is consumed during breakfast hours, 30% between meals, and the remaining 5% with other meals.
  • 35% of coffee drinkers prefer black coffee; 65% prefer to add sugar and/or cream
  • Women indicated that drinking coffee is a good way to relax. Men indicated that coffee helps them get the job done.
  • Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world.
  • Over 50% of Americans over 18 years of age drink coffee every day. This represents over 150 million daily drinkers. 30 million American adults drink specialty coffee beverages daily; which include a mocha, latte, espresso, cafĂ© mocha, cappuccino, frozen/iced coffee beverages, etc.
For more, check out their website.

*excuse me while I continue sipping and attempting to remove this headache...

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Few Deals and a Note on Cleaning

Deal #1- Artscow.com- I've mentioned them before, but I was waiting til I got my prints back to do a review. Well, I got all 100 of our 4x6 prints, and 5 8x10s for ~$13, with shipping, and they are AMAZING. Seriously, gorgeous quality. Of course we had some huge res. pictures b/c they were from our wedding, but I just fell in love when I saw them. I have no complaints whatsoever with their quality. I also have an 8x8 photobook that I got for ~$10 coming in a few days, so I'll let you know how the quality with that one is. Now, the company is based in Hong Kong, so that's why it's cheap, but also the reason for the slow shipping. It's been over 3 weeks since I ordered the photobook, but they said the slow-down was due to the Chinese New Year (2 weeks??) and a huge influx of photobook orders. Whatever. As long as it's nice quality I won't complain. They give you a HUGE amount of free credits! I'm so glad we got our wedding photos on CD and printed them ourselves. It's definitely the way to go, especially with deals like this.

Here's the link: ArtsCow Click there, and you'll get 1200 free prints credits & 3 8"x8" photo books & other great photo gifts credits when you sign up. It's free! :)

Deal #2- Brylane Home. Thanks to Carrie at Money Saving Methods, I got an awesome code for a set of bags for FREE with any purchase!!So of course, I ordered these window panels in Chocolate for our master bedroom. $5.99 each on clearance!I just ordered the panels, not the scarves because I though it would be to much for our room.

SO- for $11.98 + $4.99 (shipping)= $16.97 I got two window panels and a 3 bag set. Oh, and I signed up for the free trial Carrie was talking about and I have a $15 check in the mail to me. Is that a deal or what?? :) Yes, I'm happy.

Quick note on cleaning:
One of my bosses has been on vacation for 3 weeks and is coming back monday. He's a SUPER clean freak. Like, so much so that I wonder how any man can have that much.. clean freak-ness.. in him! So.. I'm deciding to try and get this office spotless before he gets back.

Now, I usually love cleaning my house because I take pride in what is mine, and when people are at your house, it is a direct reflection of you. The office, on the other hand.. is not mine. I work with all men, and for the most part, they're pigs when it comes to cleaning (except said boss). That does not give me the same enthusiasm to clean that I have at home. So.. I'm about to spend the rest of my day cleaning & convincing myself that somehow I like to do this and it will be appreciated. Yeah, I know.. my hopes are too high.. but a girl can dream. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday Randoms

  • I'm not loving being a girl right now. Enough said.
  • I'm in love with these boots. But for $175.99? Not in the budget right now.. Delayed gratification, delayed gratification...
  • I'm so thankful for my husband. I just asked him how the finances were looking for the month (He's in charge of that area & we've been trying to stick to a conservative, yet comfortable budget) and he said that all our bills are already paid for the whole month, and Friday we'll have all debt (minus car payment, which only has a few k) eliminated. It's weird, we could pay off the car, but it helps his credit score more if we just pay little bit by little bit. Credit is weird like that. Anyway, I'm just super glad he takes care of everything. We're planning on saving a good chunk of change over the next few years for some long term investments we want to make.
  • I lost 1lb!! haha! Not a huge accomplishment, but hey, it's a start! Although, with the current amount of water retention in my body, I'm guessing next week will show much better results. I spent an hour on the elliptical at the Y last night & it felt great! The carb scale-down would be going 10x better if it weren't for Honey Bunches of Oats. Gosh. I crave them all the time.. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, that's what I'd pick (with skim milk of course). Oh, and YAY! Lindsay! She lost 2 lbs!!
  • Another hubby one- any of you married to an entrepreneur will probably say an "Amen" to this one- in the time that we've been married (a little over 2 months) here's the many different extra income options he's considered: Poly-phase farming (or something like that), Online trucking brokerage, Alpaca farming, Creating a service based consumer website that's a mash-up of craigslist, ebay, hotels.com, etc., Writing & selling covered call stock options, and today's latest: windmills. Whew.. life is never boring!! And did I mention that him 'considering' them entails researching the topic for hours on end, buying a book, and spending coutless hours thinking and trying to explain things to me. :) For those of you who've never seen an alpaca, how can you not love them?? Look:
Note: It's okay if you just fell in love.


Happy Wednesday!! :)


Monday, February 9, 2009

Perfect!

I'm writing this post mainly to get your input! So de-lurk, and let me know what you think! :)

Z and I were reading a couples devotional book last night and it was talking about how couples should expect that their spouse WILL hurt them, disappoint them, etc. We had a problem with the word WILL. We'd rather it be MAY. Maybe it's just us, but we grew up being taught that we should always expect what we want to get. No, it's not just positive thinking hype- it's proven fact. The more you expect something to go wrong, the more it will. Now, you have to be realistic and leave room for the possibility of things going wrong, but to expect that it will? That's a risky mindset to have- especially with marriage.

The way Z & I do things, we try and model Christ's teachings as much as possible. We hold eachother to very high standards. After all, that's why we're married- we fell in love (among other things) because we both expect the best out of ourselves, other people and life, and we work hard at improving. We'd finally found someone who surpassed our standards and encouraged us to raise them even more. So therefore, in our marriage, we expect the best out of eachother, and we encourage eachother to be as perfect as we can be. Now, of course we make mistakes, and have upset eachother, but because of the deep love we have for eachother, we're able to forgive.

During our pre-marital counseling, we took an assessment that was supposed to identify any potential problem areas. When the results came back- the only area of concern was that we weren't realistic. haha.. that's because we answered questions like "Do you expect that your marriage will have major problems from time to time?" with a "No". We refused to accept the notion that we're supposed to EXPECT these things.

See what I'm saying??

Matthew 5:48- "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

So.. if God didn't expect the best out of us, please explain this verse to me. And if being perfect weren't possible, then why are we commanded here to do it? Why do people get put down for being "perfectionists"? Perhaps some go too far and obsess about it and beat themselves up terribly when they mess up- that's no good. BUT- to try to be perfect - I think it's a good thing.

A lot of people give up on this pursuit because they get discouraged or they don't have enough self confidence. Romans 3:23- "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God". You're not alone! We all mess up together! But why can't we all strive to be perfect wives, mothers, daughters (as far as I know, my readers are female :) ), and Christians together?

This has just been on my heart & mind a lot and I wanted to share. If I've sounded at all condemning, that was not my intent. I just wanted to get you thinking & possibly give you some ammo to improve your relationships & yourself. Thoughts?

Weekend Recap

It seems like my weekends are just so busy all the time- I never get a chance to blog. So.. I think I'll start doing weekend recaps on Mondays- because I always do things over the weekend that I find blog-worthy- so here's the first one! (Please excuse the excessive amount of dashes in the previous sentance-- thanks.) :)

*Friday*
  • a note to Zumba: Please don't feel bad, Zumba! I still love you! See.. I know almost everyone cheated on you on Friday, but I'd never leave you for the balmy 45 degree weather! It's really not a bad thing that only a few people came to see you- it meant we got some quality time! And boy, you made me feel like I was going to drop by 6:30.. but that is why I love you. Don't give up, my darling! That little hip hop twist you threw in at the end was wonderful!

*Saturday*
  • Z & I went to a class at his parents' church on the Holy Spirit. It was good.. but the pastor flew through things so quickly that you couldn't dig into anything. And with a topic as complex as the Holy Spirit.. you just can't rush & skim.
  • Traveled to Indiana for a birthday party for Z's cousin's wife- love her! We had a really good time! Didn't love the drive- seeing all the FLAT farmland reminds me of how much I miss New England.
Note: not my picture.. but it's actually flatter than this!
*Sunday*
  • Got some MAJOR re-organizing done. Linen Closet, Storage Closet, Office drawers, Laundry room, Bathroom cabinets, Coat closet, Kitchen clutter, etc. I was happy. Cleaned the shower (I hate doing this for some reason), bathroom, dusted the whole house, did 5 loads of laundry, and Z vacuumed.
  • We tood a break after some of the cleaning and ran to Menards to pick some stuff up. We got a neat shelf & I got some wooden dowels to use in making DIY curtain rods.
  • When we got back to the apartment, it was nice outside so Z decided to wash our cars. While he was out in the garage, I decided to hang the canvases and letters in our guest room. I needed a hammer so I ran out to the garage to get one. Upon trying to open our front door, I realized I'd locked myself out... and neither of us had our keys. BLAH. I called the appt. manager- she lives 2 blocks away but had just given all the keys to the owner-- who had just been at our appt. -- but had just left and did not have a cell phone -- and lives 20 min. away. (WHY do you not have a cell phone if you own apartments???) OH, and I went out in just a polo so I was freezing and had to wear Z's GIANT Carhart jacket he uses to work on the cars. At the thought of being stuck out there for another hour, I sucked up the embarrassment about my attire, and wandered over to the other building where two guys were outside and asked them if they'd seen the landlord. After looking at me strangely, they said no and I walked back. Darn. So then Z decides we're going to try to break in. Luckily, I'd left the little above-the-sink window unlocked and we got it open. I wish you could have seen Z climbing up there & over the sink to get in- what a champ! :) Ugh. Remind me not to do that again.