Monday, July 30, 2012

meal plan monday: july 30.

so... honesty time: last week's meal plan was kind of a bust. i mean, it was a great plan, but i kind of failed HARD when it came to actually following through with said plan. i think the only meals from the plan that we actually ate were the quesadillas and the frozen raviolis, because they were quick and easy, and because i was super lazy. the rest of the week, we managed to survive on leftovers, chick-fil-a, and a family birthday party, which all made for some pretty good eating... but i'd have to say the low point of the week was definitely the night that i ate some grapes and a brownie for dinner.

but even though dinner last week was a flop, breakfast turned out to be a major win. i needed to use up some of the rotten bananas that were chilling on my counter attracting fruit flies, so i tried a pinterest recipe for banana oatmeal muffins.

for being gluten free-ish (well, they dont use any flour, so if you use GF oats, then i guess they count) they were pretty delish. Mark and i have both been eating them for breakfast all week, even though Mark is not usually a fan of banana-bread-type-things. two thumbs up from each of us.

so since i could only get it together enough to cover breakfast and lunch last week (2 outta 3 meals aint bad, right?) this week's plan is basically a carbon copy of last week's, just slightly rearranged to make the best use of previously purchased perishable ingredients, which is thankfully going to make for a super-easy grocery trip today.

Monday: vegetable tian.
Tuesday: tilapia with cucumber salad.
Wednesday: cilantro lime chicken with rice.
Thursday: crock pot beef burgundy.
Friday: leftovers.
Saturday: frozen raviolis.
Sunday: tacos.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

and the winner is...


so here's how the whole "let's pick a paint color" really went. i didnt actually end up just winging it in the paint aisle of home depot and picking a color at random. which is probably a good thing, because when i stopped by there real quick-like on Friday afternoon because it was kind of only a little bit out of my way of my route home, i realized that there are a LOT of shades of blue out there. so i brought home a few swatches.

(ok, so maybe more like ALL of the swatches)

i managed to narrow my selection down to two: one navy, and one turquoise. one that Mark liked better, and one that i liked better. and then i tried to decide which one i liked best for the outside of the front door by taping them on the inside of the door in the dimly lit front room at 10:30pm. i do not recommend this method. at all.

so on Saturday morning i real-quick moved the swatches to the outside of the door to look at them in real sunlight. and i liked them both. sigh. but since i was determined to paint the door and i had a bunch of other errands to run, i taped them to the dashboard of my car and took them with me, hoping that by staring them as i drove i would make a decision before i got to the Depot.

i didnt make my final decision until the very last second. as in, i asked everyone at the paint counter for their votes. the one other guy who was buying paint voted for the navy. the one paint lady kept her mouth shut and mumbled something about it being a personal decision. the other paint lady told me the turquoise was kicky. and i liked that description of it. so i went for it.

ALSO, since i had to take the hardware off the door anyway, i impulsively decided to paint it too, with a couple coats of Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.

the only bad news of the day is that i kind of hate the hardware now even more than i hated it when it was all nasty and chipped gold. its just too dark, at least for the handle and lock that are on the inside of the door. i think i might have to repaint them a nickel color instead. or just buy new ones.

but let's focus on the good news: my front door is kicky and BEAUTIFUL!!! 

(even if the hardware is still mismatched right now because i couldnt get the door knocker off the door so its still gold but i want to give the paint plenty of time to dry before i tape and cover it to spray the door knocker but i dont even know if i'm going to do that yet because i might end up repainting the lock and knob anyway and now i kind of regret that i painted them in the first place and UGH how can one person be so impulsive and so indecisive all at the same time?!?)

Friday, July 27, 2012

it could be worse.

so APPARENTLY my husband doesnt fully appreciate my asking all of the internets for their opinion as to what color i should paint our front door, and APPARENTLY he has an opinion on all of this as well. so i would just like to say, for the record, that there are PLENTY of other options out there, and i have done very well in narrowing my choices down to the color blue. after all, the rainbow is FULL of wonderful colors, like:
Pink, Orange, Yellow, Yellow-Green, Lime Green, and Purple.



and since i found this awesome Color Visualizer, (courtesy of Sherwin-Williams) i figure i'd update with new photos showing the leaders so far:

Tied for First: Navy and Denim.

In a Close Second: Electric.

Still In The Running: Turquoise.

so now that you have a better idea of what these colors might look like on my actual house, anyone care to change their vote? or to vote again? i think my favorite has definitely changed, but i'm not telling so it doesnt influence your votes!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

i've got the blues.

i case you havent been to my house in a while, this is what my front door looks like. well, actually this picture is a few weeks old so use your imagination to add some peachy-orange impatiens in the two white pots and then thats what my front door really looks like right this second.

kind of blah, huh? and you cant even see the chipped paint or just how nasty those rusty brass fixtures really are. not exactly the greatest first impression. so i want to paint my front door. i want to paint it blue. and i want to paint it on Saturday.

my problem is, i dont know what color blue i want to paint it. and i am impatient, so there is no time for long involved processes like getting swatches, taping them to the door, and looking at them several times a day in different lighting to see which one i like the best before i buy the paint. not gonna happen. basically, my plan is to wake up on Saturday, go to the Depot, and buy a quart of blue paint in whatever shade looks best under the flourescent store lighting. seems pretty foolproof to me.

but just as backup in case that particular method steers me wrong, i figured i would get all your opinions too. you know, since everyone on the internet is known for their intelligence, level-headedness, and good opinions and advice.

here's what you have to choose from:
Option 1: navy blue.

Option 2: electric blue.

Option 3: royal blue.

Option 4: turquoise.

Option 5: beachy blue-green.

Option 6: denim blue.

 so i ask you: which one do you like best for my front door? or, you know, you could always submit your own inpiration picture for consideration, but just keep in mind the timeframe here and my already limited capacity for decison making, and the fact that now i have to make a trip to the jewelers this weekend too and that's going to cut into my paint-color-choosing time at the Depot, so really maybe you should just keep any extra color options to yourself and just pick from the wide variety of options i so thoughtfully provided for you m'kay?

Monday, July 23, 2012

meal plan monday: july 23.

this week i am:
...using my dayplanner again.
...thinking about becoming a jazzercise instructor.
...trying to remember what (if anything) we planned the weekend of Aug 3. the bathrooms.
...making a birthday present.
...preparing to meet with a financial planner.
...not going to singlehandedly eat that entire pan of brownies. i swear.
...planning some yummy dinners.

Monday: tilapia with cucumber salad. (recipe)
Tuesday: chicken quesadillas.
Wednesday: crock pot beef burgundy. (recipe)
Thursday: frozen raviolis.
Friday: cilantro chicken. (recipe)
Saturday: tacos.
Sunday: vegetable tian. (recipe)

Friday, July 20, 2012

better late than never.

this week, Mark hung another thing on the wall. in the basement this time. does anyone recognize it or know what it is?

no idea why everything looks crooked. its like a fun house!  

my amazing brother-in-law Micah built this dart board cabinet for Mark, to class up the dart board that we inherited with the house. isnt it beautiful? he's one talented guy, that Micah.

and just in case you cant see the details from far away, check out these way cool door pulls - those are actual darts that were welded onto threaded posts to attach them to the doors. love them!

so... did i mention that Micah gave this to Mark as a present two Christmases ago? yeah. we feel a little bad that it took us so long to get it together... but now its all hung and level and ready to play! we're probably going to need a bit of practice though... Mark has put one hole in the cabinet already.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

fresh from the garden.

so, our little turnip that we harvested before vacation never got eaten. we Mark followed all the suggestions for how to store it, but it still got mushy before we had a chance to eat it. it was so sad, since it was the first thing we Mark had picked from our Mark's first ever garden.

but now we can finally say that we have eaten something that we Mark grew - a cucumber!

and a giant one at that. the thing was about the size of my forearm! i'm not usually a big cucumber eater, but i figured since we Mark went to all the trouble to grow the thing, the least i could do would be to spend a few minutes on pinterest searching for a recipe that called for cucumbers. so that's what i did.

i used this recipe for tilapia with cucumber salad. and you should try it sometime. it was seriously good. and that's quite a compliment coming from me, who is historically not a cucumber fan.

as a bonus along the way, with the help of the internets i also learned how to chop green onions, and how to chop fresh cilantro. (neither of which came from our Mark's garden) i'm not linking to the videos i used because its a little bit embarrasing how simple they are. if i ever thought that i was even the littlest bit proficient in the kitchen, needing to watch those videos wiped away every last bit of pride i might have been holding onto. by far, the coolest thing i learned was how to store my extra cilantro in the fridge.

it seems like such a clever little trick, (i'm kind of surprised i havent seen it all over pinterest)(ok so i just searched 'store cilantro' on pinterest and came up with a zillion pins. nvm.) so far its working great, but now i think i might need to do some more research to find recipes that use cilantro!  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

come (yard)sail away.

on my sister's way back from visiting her new house over the weekend, she and her family stopped at our house to visit with her favorite sister! (ok so maybe they also wanted to break up their long drive and have a free place to sleep for the night, but the main reason was to see me i'm sure) 

since she was coming on a Saturday, i invited her to come yardsailing with me and my friend Nadine. it was a rainy morning, which meant that there weren't a lot of people venturing out, which made for pushy sellers who were willing to negotiate to make a deal. check out what i got:

- a little white side table for the basement - $15  $7
- an awesome rolling bar cart to refinish - $10  $7
- blue train case - $10  $5
- angel food cake pan - $1  incl. w/train case
- scrabble game - $2  incl. w/train case
- 'made from scratch' rubber stamp - $0.50
- new years cookie cutters w/sprinkles - $0.50
- snowflake cookie cutters - $2  $1
   Grand Total: $41  $21

admittedly, not the greatest deals ever in the history of yardsailing, but not too shabby for my first yardsale outing of the year either, especially since i'm not usually someone who really likes to barter.  i think the bar cart is my favorite, and i can't wait to paint it!

the scrabble game turned out to be missing a dozen or so letters, which in the grand scheme of old board games is not too bad, and really a non-issue for me since i didnt buy the game intending to play it. thanks to Pinterest, i've got plans for those old scrabble tiles...

... but i'm going to need more tiles if i'm going to finish this thing by Christmas, (only 159 days!) especially since just one name managed to use up half of my A tiles. so i know its starting to get late in the yardsailing season, but if you see any scrabble games, or if you happen to have one that is missing a few pieces that you would be willing to part with, just know that i'm on the hunt... because i'm going to need approximately a zillion more A's to make this particular project happen.

Monday, July 16, 2012

meal plan monday: july 16.

i had a little bit of free time at the end of last week, and my sister suggested that i use it to plan my meals for the week. what a novel idea! within an hour, i had my meals planned, recipes gathered, and grocery list made. here's what i ended up with:

Monday: zuchinni, black bean, and rice skillet. (recipe)
Tuesday: tilapia with cucumber salad. (recipe)
Wednesday: chicken and broccoli noodle casserole. (recipe)
Thursday: grilled chicken salad.
Friday: quesadillas.
Saturday: leftovers.
Sunday: chicken salad sandwiches.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

its office-ial!

thats a terrible pun. sorry.

just wanted to share with you all our latest office progress, since i'm sure you've all been waiting on the edge of your seats for an update. but mostly just because i spent most of this weekend working down in the cool basement and hiding out from the 100+ degree temperatures outside.

our "office" was a hot mess. i mean, just look at it. ugh.

when this all got started, we did a LOT of cleaning and organizing, simultaneously tackling the office closet, the mountain-o-junk, and the storage shelves in the other half of the basement. we also fixed the moldy drywall in the corner of the office.

on Saturday, i spent all day down in the basement painting. (Mark helped me do the cutting in around the windows and doors so i wouldnt have to tape them) we used the same color that is in our front room and dining room upstairs, since i figured it wouldnt clash too badly with the carpet, and because we had over a gallon of that color left over thanks to my wonderful over-estimating skills.

on Sunday, Mark helped me assemble our new IKEA desk, and then i spent the afternoon putting the office stuff all back into the office and making sure it all fit on the shelves.

and then ...drumroll please...

this doesnt even look like the same room. just go ahead and scroll back up to the before picture, then come back down and be amazed.

as Mark put it, we're probably not going to win Design Star or anything like that (not while we're working with that carpet anyway) but it is 1000% better than what it was. it actually looks like a functional office space/guest room, which it was not even close to being before. it was probably the most embarrasing room in our house (we made sure the door was closed anytime anyone came over) but now here i am being all proud of it on the internets!

and just for fun, how about an akward angle to try and capture all the elements of the room in one picture? working clockwise from the left we've got the new computer desk from IKEA, a bookshelf from Target that is full of Mark's textbooks, the (reorganized) office closet, and our garage sale futon from last year.

and now our office to do list is looking more like a to-done list:
- finish spackling/sanding the corner.
- paint.
- install baseboard? we opted not to do this since we would end up taking it
    all back down when we eventually tear out the carpet
- get a new desk.
- move the futon into the office.
- put some boxes in the attic.
- figure out what to do with the zillion CDs we own boxed and shelved.

all that's left is to move some boxes, and get a futon mattress so that we can actually USE the futon. but as far as i'm concerned, this room can be called office-ially done!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

tour de savage cannibals.

so my family does this thing where we all get together every two years for a bike ride. we call it the Tour de Bridge, since every tour originally featured at least one covered bridge. the first tour was back in 1994, and it's been a biennial tradition every since. (we only do it every two years because it takes us that long to talk ourselves into doing it again!)  over the years, we have toured in two different states, biked a historic battlefield, crossed countless covered bridges, and even navigated a few tunnels.

this year was the 10th tour, and i am kind of ridiculously proud to be able to say that i have ridden in every single one. this year's tour was 21 miles along the Great Allegheny Passage, the part that includes the Big Savage Tunnel.  i made sure i took my camera along with me, so here are just a few of the pictures i took.

(note: i have no pictures of the front-runners, since i stayed solidly in the middle of the pack, because this is not a race.)

a bunch of bikes - loaded up and ready to go. 

i rode most of the time with my sister. 

the first (and longest) bridge we crossed. 

me on the bridge. (viaduct?)

the pink ladies. 

i took pictures of every bridge we crossed. i love this one. 

i made mark slow down and bike a few miles with me after lunch. 

the Big Savage Tunnel.  

we made it through! no cannibalism required!

that view was spectacular. 

crossing into the deep south. 

you can't really tell, but she is going really fast. 

the only crash of the day came right at the finish line.

we already have the tshirt slogan for the next tour: "family happens." just writing it here in case we forget by then. maybe i'll even start training in advance for this one, once my butt is no longer sore... so maybe next year.