Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Post-It Note Tuesday

So I saw this on Little Miss Scatterbrained's blog and thought it was a super cute idea that I'd like to try this week!!!!

Click the postie above to participate!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Your weekly - weekend review

Well here we are again at the end of another weekend! Nothing too thrilling went on around here:

Friday: We headed out to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant and caught a little bit of the OSU basketball game, which they sadly lost and are now out of the running for the championships. Then it was off to Gander Mountain to get our fishing licenses and see what new gear they had for the year. We headed back home and didn't do much else.

Saturday: I was up bright and early to go a Master Gardeners class with Andrews mom. I am pretty sure I was the youngest person there (not that it really matters) but the classes we went to were fun! The first one was about all new plants at a local garden center including veggies, annuals and perennials. The second class was about square foot gardening and if you want to know more about that check out this website, trust me you'll learn tons! I am totally convinced now that I am going to have a 3ft x2ft garden and do some pots as well. We were done around 2 and then Andrew and I took the boat out for a little bit (yeah it was freezing) and didn't catch a thing.

Sunday: We were both up at 4am coughing and hacking. The cold I thought I had fought off was back with a vengeance.....and I passed it to Andrew. So a big bowl of homemade chicken and noodles was just what we needed! We've been watching movies since 4am - Resident Evil, Chronicles of Riddic (yeah I didn't get to pick what to watch) some Gene Simmons Family Jewels and of course PowerBlock TV. I ran out to the store to get cough drops, groceries and some other stuff and immediately put my jammies on when I got back. My house really needs cleaned but I have zero motivation!

Hope that everyone has a great week and had a fantastic weekend! Anyone do anything fun?

Friday, March 26, 2010

A year already

I was looking through an old journal the other day and realized its been one year since Andrew bought our house! The picture above is from last summer a few months before I moved in and not much has changed really.

This was one of the first houses we looked at and Andrew just kept going back to it time and time again. I for one hated the house - the basement was flooded, there was mold on some of the walls, it had no working furnace or hot water heater and the whole place needed work. The house I loved turned out to have even more awful problems than this one and we had to walk away.

We have many more projects to do this summer - painting the trim (probably a dark brown), landscaping, sealing the driveway and a lot of other things. Its exciting to be able to make the house our own and do things that we want. I know our next house might not be such a fixer-upper and that's fine by me! My hope is that we'll have more land and maybe even be able to build next time around.

I'll be sure to keep everyone updated as the projects continue this summer!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A weakness

So after reading all of the writing prompts this week for Writers Workshop, I wasn't sure which one to choose. So I asked a few people what they thought my weakness was fearing that they would all say something weird or awful. I'm not sure if what they told me is an actual weakness, but here it is, my biggest weakness....worrying.

I am a huge worry wort.
I worry about everything a majority of the time.
People, money, time, love, my car, my safety, lots of stuff.
I get worried when someone doesn't return a call (mostly family and Andrew).
I worry about running out of gas on the way to work - falling on ice - getting to the store only to realize I don't have my debit card and have a cart full of food.
I know that people say, "Worry is like a rocking chair, it will never get you anywhere."
I sometimes think my worry turns into paranoia. It sucks.

My worrying often stops me from trying new things too.
Like the other day, we went for a walk and I didn't want to go down this rather steep hill because I was worried I'd fall, embarrass myself and possibly break a bone.
I'd love to not be like this anymore but I'm not even sure where to start!

So what is your biggest weakness? Are you a worrier, neat freak, perfectionist?

Mama's Losin' It

Monday, March 22, 2010

Food insanity

I got home from work today and had this sudden and burning urge to cook/fix a bunch of food for the rest of the week. I wanted to have enough stuff ready to go so that I could work out at least a few times this week when I got home from work. I made a quick run to the grocery store when I got off work to pick up some stuff that had spoiled this week as well as more eggs and some whole wheat flour (which just so happened to be on sale for $1 off).

Then the madness began!

First I made a salad, enough to last for 2-3 days with romaine and spinach, carrots, red peppers and tomatoes (I had to leave them whole so Andrew could easily pick them out).

Then I boiled eggs and made some egg salad (I'm still looking to make this recipe have a little more flavor - I tried adding some sweet relish this time). I also made Tuna Salad but didn't take a picture because I think Tuna is gross but mostly made it for Andrew!

And last but not least my greatest creation of the evening were these whole wheat banana nut muffins (please excuse my dirty stove top) - I found the recipe on How to Eat a Cupcake and then found a lot of other amazing recipes there as well! Not all of them were as healthy as these but sometimes a good dessert splurge is totally worth it! I accidentally added too much flour but after adding some extra milk it seemed to balance out and the cupcakes were fluffy and moist!

I am also going to attempt a lentil recipe this week so I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pictures and weekend in review

We finally got our patio furniture on Friday night - got it home at 9:30 and put it together till 11pm - we were going to eat dinner on the deck Saturday night but it got a little windy and chilly.

My Star Magnolia tree is about to bloom any day now. We saw some small ones at Lowes that were already in full bloom but figured they were shipped up here from a warmer state. I can't wait to enjoy all the pretty spring flowers at the house this year!

We went to a new park in Columbus on Sunday - The Scioto Audobon park. It was pretty neat but not done yet so there wasn't as much to see as we thought. We found this neat water tower with viewing platforms and a place to launch the boat but it was nice to be outside and enjoy the warmer weather!

Also this weekend: Andrew started to work on my Volvo, a few other issues were discovered and he had to order another part so it will be another week before its done. My herb seedlings have started to sprout and in a few weeks I should be able to pot them and introduce them to the outside. The diet has been going well - Friday we went out for wings and last night I made shrimp/chicken/veggie kabobs on the grill and brown rice! Tonight we are having Rock Cornish Game Hens in the crockpot!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A new day, a new opportunity

As some of you might know, I haven't quite finished my college degree. After several attempts to go back and some personal issues, I needed a break. I needed to work and pay on my loans. I decided after a year or more away from the academic world that now just seemed the time for me to get back into school or at least start thinking about what I was going to do to finish. Transferring didn't seem to be an option since I didn't have much time left to go but I was still unsure of how I would pay since I was out on my own and with my dad not working I was left without a co-signer.

Then I was presented with a fantastic opportunity - Andrews family said they would pay my tuition so that I could finish school! If I can get done and I graduate with good grades, Andrew also promised that we would finally...........GET ENGAGED!!!!! I mean who wouldn't want to finish their schooling if they had all of these things going for them?!?!

If all goes to plan I will be enrolled and taking two classes this summer - which would start June 14th. I could be done as soon as the beginning of winter if everything is offered within that time frame that I need to take (2010 fall/winter classes aren't out yet). My college is going to semesters in 2011 and it would be great if I could get everything completed by then since the schedule for semesters would be totally different. Things are definitely going to be difficult during this time but I just have to do this for myself and for a lot of other reasons!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

If I could turn back time....

It was a chilly January night - I was sitting in my car blabbing away on my cell phone trying to watch for his silver Impala to pull into the parking lot. I could feel my voice starting to shake as the time got closer to 6pm - then a text came into my phone.

"Hey, I'm here where are u."

I quickly hung up the call with my friend Jessica and scurried to shut off my car and find him in the parking lot. He was a few cars down, standing out in the parking lot with a tan hoodie and jeans on and suddenly I was even more nervous. He walked towards me and instead of going to hug him I started blabbing on about being too early and we started to walk to the door of the restaurant. He looked better than his picture and his good looks were 90% of the reason I was so nervous.

This was the night I met Andrew. After months of talking online, in texts and on the phone we were finally going to dinner. We had planned to meet a few weeks before but oddly enough got sick at the same time - him with strep and me with a sinus infection. I suppose I'd like to relive this night because my memories of it are somewhat blurred. I know that we talked the whole time and there was never an awkward moment. He never made me feel uncomfortable and we had a lot in common. After months of dates that sucked, this one seemed like it was the real thing. Maybe the two margaritas I had made me feel differently but it was wonderful. I knew that eventually I was going to find that "instant connection" with someone and I would love to go back and relive all the moments when I felt that way with Andrew - comfortable, well liked and loved. I knew on that first date that it was meant to be.

Andrew later told me he was sad that I didn't hug him, but he must have liked me at least a little bit since he stuck around for the rest of the date.

I still don't care that we met through online dating, no matter what anyone says it worked for us and for millions of other people according to those E Harmony commercials. I didn't want to get my hopes up after that amazing dinner that he would call me but the next day he texted me and asked me out that weekend and as they say the rest is history.

I'm participating in Writers Workshop over at Mama Kat's and I chose prompt one: If you had to relive a day in your life what day would it be?

Mama's Losin' It

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

These girls....

Are my best college friends and the greatest women I know. From left to right - Megan - who is headed off to Physicians Assistant school this fall and works in Alzheimer's research; Andrea - who is getting married in September and is such a fashionista; Me - well I'm not going to brag about myself, other than I love the jeans I have on here; Sarah - Who is the married lady of our group, a wonderful listener and going to Grad School in the fall for Marketing. We don't all get to see each other as often as we did in our years at college, but when we do its always a great time! We went to our fave Mexican Restaurant El Vaquero and hit a few bars downtown after dinner. We all met living together on the first floor of our dorm when were 18 and we've been the best of friends ever since! I can't wait to see what happens with all of our lives this year!

And on another note: We started the step down vegetarian diet this week and its going well. Monday I made turkey meatballs, homemade pasta sauce and whole wheat pasta; last night was fish, garlic green beans and perogies and tonight I'm making a spinach salad with lots of veggies. I figure if Andrew gets sick of it he can cook his own food on the grill! I'm still on the hunt for great recipes and thank you to everyone who commented on my last post! I did check out a lot of those places!

Stay tuned tomorrow for Writers Workshop!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My vegetarian adventure

I have completed another book in my adventure into becoming a vegetarian/healthier eater. It didn't take me long to get through this one because half of it is recipes but I think I took a good deal away from it anyways. I'm pretty much convinced now after reading about five books on different diets that I am not cut out to be a Vegan and that a lacto-vegetarian diet is probably a good fit for me and Andrew as well! They still eat cheese, milk and eggs and fish and occasionally have poultry as well. I didn't know much about that particular diet until I read this book.

I learned a lot from this book about planning meals and even planning meals if everyone in your household isn't ready to venture into the vegetarian way of life. They suggest you start with one meal a week, probably dinner since you will eat it everyday. When you start shopping for your food pay attention to how many vegetables and fruits you are buying and read the labels on everything you purchase. We are going to get started by cutting out pork and red meat, so this week I purchased catfish filets, ground turkey, frozen chicken breasts and lots of salad ingredients. I also got fruit which we can cut up and have for a snack instead of chips or something equally fattening (okay I'll admit we do still have two boxes of girl scout cookies). Obviously once we start eating this way our body is going to have an easier time digesting our food since carbs, fruits, veggies and unrefined grains are easier to digest than fatty meats.

There is only one thing in this book that I don't think I can do - give up coffee. Its like my life blood during the week and sometimes on the weekends. I already rarely drink pop and I suppose candy will be a hard one too. I'm a dessert person and I like to have something sweet after dinner. They suggest mixing plain yogurt with fruit instead of having chocolate or a piece of pie.

There is also a really great section in this book that breaks down what vitamins you can get from various foods. I never knew that Vitamin E could be found in eggs and sweet potatoes or that whole grains were a good source of Magnesium. I say if you're ready to start thinking about going vegetarian or just cutting certain foods out of your diet, then this is the book to read first. I wish in a way I would have read this one first instead of Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman because I didn't take a lot of what he had to say seriously.

I will keep posting about our vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian adventures as they continue!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Writers Workshop

I was about ready to scream with joy when I saw that Mama Kat herself had chosen one of my prompt ideas for Writers Workshop this week - I've had a total blog crush on her since I discovered the awesome writing prompts so that totally made my week. I didn't know if it would be appropriate to choose my own idea, so I decided why not do something else and I'll blog about spring another day (our lovely Ohio spring rains are going to start today).

So instead I chose prompt four - what lights your fire? Write about 5 things you are passionate about!
  1. Photography: I love to take pictures of everything that I do and see. I never want to forget about a moment, how I was feeling and what was going on around me. People often get annoyed that I am always taking pictures, but that is just a part of me. I love to use film and digital cameras and someday I'd love to have my own darkroom.
  2. Reading: I think that everyone should read something for fun every now and again. Okay, so you might not like to read novels, but you can always read a magazine or an article online. For example: Andrew isn't into books, but he loves his Jegs catalogs, Hot Rod Magazine and internet forums on fishing and fixing cars. But me, well as you know lately I've been into vegetarian books and biographies.
  3. Bargain Hunting: I bet you're all sick of hearing about this one - hehehe but really I am a woman on a mission to save money - whether its clothes or groceries, I can't stand to pay full price unless its totally necessary.
  4. Cooking: I love love love to cook after a long, difficult day - nothing seems to make my stress melt away. I like to try new recipes and even make things up as I go along. In the summer there is nothing better than being able to cook with fresh vegetables and cook on the grill.
  5. Spending time with loved ones: For me this also includes my friends, they are all like family to me. I love being with my parents (when we're not arguing), my brother, Andrew, his family and all of my wonderful friends. Sure there are times when we all just want to be alone, but for me being around other people is always a great feeling!
What are you passionate about? Do you share any of my passions?

If you'd like to participate in writers workshop, click the button below!

Mama's Losin' It

Becoming a Lady Blogger

When I started this blog, I didn't have much direction and I wasn't quite sure what all I wanted to say - I wrote about life, participated in things like Haiku Friday and did little surveys. I never found a blog group that was for women (and not just moms like most of the ones that are out there) until I found Lady Bloggers. I had seen the button on my friend Maya's blog and clicked to check it out!

FINALLY a place where you didn't have to be a mom to fit in (not that there is anything wrong with that, but I'm not a mom yet and I wanted to find a place to meet other woman bloggers). I decided this would be my first step into developing my blog and finding great blog ideas! If you're like me and want to meet more women who blog, check out the Join Here section of The Lady Bloggers. To me, its all about connecting with other women, finding interesting blogs to read and getting a better feel for this whole adventure.

Each Sunday there is a Tea Party social where you can take the opportunity to check out blogs that interest you and they are all divided by topic, which makes finding something great even easier! I hope that my woman blogger friends take a chance to check this out and mention my blog if you decide to join! They have a fantastic contest going on right now so check it out and let me know what you think!!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weekend in Photos

We shaved off Andrews winter beard he's been growing since Thanksgiving Friday night.



When we went to dinner that night the guy at La Fagota (our fave mexican place) laughed when he ordered a beer - does he really not look 27 without the beard??

My brother turned 21 on Sunday - he wanted a giant cookie cake with a monster truck and so that's what I did! We had stuffed cabbage and mashed potatoes for dinner and took him to the American Legion for his first legal drink afterward!

My brother got a dog a few weeks ago - he found Max on Craigslist and kind of adopted him without telling my parents. He's two and really needs to be neutered. He's a little jumpy and wild but he's been better. They've had him for about three weeks.

That's about all the excitement for me this weekend - I've got a few blogs in the works for this week!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


For months the topic was at the top of the list in my house - the new CEO was going to eliminate my dads job. For nearly a year it weighed heavy on everyone's mind until one Saturday in February of 2009 when my dad came home from a meeting and told us it was finally happening. In April he would loose his job. I wanted to throw up, I wanted to scream, I wanted to march down there and punch that guy in the mouth and ask him what he was thinking. They were going to keep one person, but in the end it wasn't my dad (one of the long time employees of that department and one of the hardest workers). Instead he was left jobless on April 17, 2009 and is still unemployed. It was so hard at first and with each day grew harder, I watched my dad go from a laughing, happy person to someone who didn't sleep and didn't laugh as much anymore. My heart would break every time I saw him. I would love to help them out but I can't, the economy hasn't been easy on me either, like most Americans.

I read articles on Yahoo daily about this Jim Bunning who has filibustered the passing of a law that would extend unemployment, now he will be my new mouth punching victim. Everyday that my dad goes with out a job is heart-wrenching and it hurts me to think that they could soon loose their home and everything they worked so hard for because of what happened in this economy. This man probably has millions of dollars and can't see what his vote is doing to millions in this country. Then I read the comments, people saying that the jobless are lazy?!?! You have to be kidding me! And that collecting unemployment is making them even lazier, its just like another slap in the face.

I doubt that most honest Americans want to be "living off the government" but in times like this they have no choice. My parents do not get food stamps, Medicaid or Welfare and my dad paid into unemployment all the years he worked so he is entitled to collect what he paid into. The jobless rate in Ohio is at 10%, that isn't his fault either. People say they should move, do you really think they could sell their house right now or afford to pay rent and a mortgage on one persons pay?! I just don't think that anyone understands.

Thankfully after I began writing this post, unemployment did get extended until December for the millions of Americans like my dad. I was afraid the next blind siding moment would be my parents selling their home and everything they've worked for.

I know this is a rather depressing post for Writers Workshop, but its honestly the worst kind of blind-siding that I've ever experienced. Do you know someone effected by the economy? Did you or a loved one loose your job?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Learning to be a saver

I will admit that I'm bad at saving money (except maybe when I was a kid), but now that I live with a total tight-wad I've found it easier to save money. The biggest expense in our household seems to be food, at first I would spend close to $175 on food for the two of us and it would last for two weeks (most of the time). I didn't understand why I was spending so much, but one day I cleaned out my pantry and found I was continually buying things I already had multiples of. I never made a list and I never checked to see what we were really out of besides staple foods like milk, bread and eggs. Needless to say, I have started making lists and checking my supplies a few times before I head to the store.

Part of my saving has consisted of going to two grocery stores each week - Aldi and Meijer. If you live near an Aldi, go there, ignore the people who say "oooo its all off brand food and why would you want to go there" - off brand = amazing savings. Here are my tips for shopping at Aldi:
  1. Bring your own bags: Or you can buy the shopping bags they have that are huge and reusable for about $2. I have two and I can fill them both for around $40 depending on what I get. They have paper bags you can buy for $0.06 as well but I don't care for them.
  2. Buy your staple foods and dry goods: Their prices on canned goods, pasta, sugar, flour, cooking oils and other kitchen staples cannot be beat. They have 3 cup bags of shredded cheese for $2.89, which is what a small bag would cost at most other stores. Even there butter is cheaper and its the real stuff too!
  3. Be careful of the produce: Unless you are going to use it right away or its an item that will stay fresh for a while you might want to buy it somewhere else. There onions I've found start to get nasty faster, same with the potatoes and bell peppers. But the lettuces and apples are usually good just as long as food from other stores.
  4. Bakery items: I get all my bread and buns there, super cheap, sometimes under a dollar for a pack of hamburger buns or around a dollar for a loaf of wheat bread, and they have all kinds of stuff. Donuts, english muffins, dinner rolls and a variety of bread loafs from Italian to Whole Grain. Sometimes I buy a little extra and freeze it when possible.
  5. Meat: I do purchase some meat here, but not all of it. One thing I love are the little Cornish Game Hens, they make a great crockpot meal during the week, for two people I make two hens and just put in some onions, lemon slices, chicken stock and salt and pepper, set the crock pot on low and let it go for 8 hours while we're at work. The meat will just fall off the bone. Other good meat items: Frozen chicken breasts or tenders, frozen shrimp and ground turkey (fresh or frozen).
  6. Personal tips on what NOT to buy: There "Velvetta" it doesn't melt right, salsa, potato chips, cleaning products (there paper products are fine though, paper towels and toilet paper if its 2-ply), frozen meals are hit or miss you have to try them to see if you like them, frozen hamburger patties, frozen fish (it all still has the skin on it, gross). What will always be a GREAT buy: The Fit n Active line of lower fat foods (salad dressings and wheat crackers are my personal fave), cheese, baking staples, canned goods.
Once I get everything I need at Aldi, I go to Meijer, which I've found is much cheaper than Kroger or Giant Eagle (again if you have one, shop there, its kinda like WalMart but with better stuff). I get some of my produce and seasonings at Meijer, as well as my milk and eggs since they seem to have a longer shelf life than the items at Aldi. I try to only buy items that are on sale and buy the Meijer brand - I've come to learn that it all tastes just the same and will save lots of money! They also have a line of organic items that are pretty reasonable!

What do you do to save money on groceries or food? We also don't eat out for lunch and only go out to dinner once every other week. Any tips I could add for another frugal food blog?

Next installment of being a saver will be about thrifting and consignment stores!