Sunday, January 13, 2013

Project: Pantry

Our first monthly house project to complete was an overhaul of our kitchen pantry.

The wire shelves that were in the pantry when we moved in were in BAD shape. They were dangerously close to falling down if too many items were on the shelf and in danger of collapse if anything was in the middle of the shelf. Things were a hot mess and the lack of any organization was killing me.

We decided to break this project down into baby steps so we could just spend an hour or two each day working on it so we wouldn't get burnt out.

I had previously pinned an image from The Container Store, their ELFA shelving looked like it would do the trick to get us organized.

**Run don't walk to The Container Store for their Elfa shelving!**

Thursday night we emptied the shelves and popped them out of the brackets holding them in. We had to get them out to the curb before Friday trash pick up.
Friday's job was remove the brackets and patch all of the holes. This was Hubs' job. He did an excellent job of hiding the dozens of holes that were in the walls.

Saturday came and it was time to paint!!!! I picked out a coral color for an accent and would really make the white shelving pop. After two quick coats of paint, I was enamored with the project so far. We bought a whole gallon and used about 10% of it. Now I'm itching to paint a bathroom or other small space coral too.
We woke up this morning to unpack all the hardware we had purchased. We took advantage of The Container Store's Elfa Sale. The weekend before we had visited our closest Container Store and sat down with one of their designers to create the ideal plan for our space. It wasn't a tough space to plan for, but it was great to talk to someone who designs closets for a living. They had excellent advice and guided us in the right direction to have the most efficient space.

The installation was super easy. Just hang the horizontal bar with anchors and the two vertical pieces just hang down and support all of the shelves.

We just started putting in shelves from the bottom and messing around with the vertical spacing of the shelves as we went. With the Elfa shelves you can move everything around as much as you need, so it was super easy to get it just right to accommodate everything we would load onto each shelf.

We ended up with an extra shelf and the hardware for that piece and some storage containers we decided wouldn't work. We ran back to The Container Store to return the items and pick up a couple of extra containers to get everything organized and pretty!

I was so giddy getting everything put away and in the right spots. I was so excited as everything was coming together exactly as I had imagined. The final product was better than I could have hoped for!!! I can't wait to tackle some more closets and organizing projects around the house!
Have you tackled any home projects yet this year? Any big projects in the works?

**The Container Store has no idea who I am, just a fan of their Elfa shelving and the whole process. Their design consultants were SUPER helpful in getting this project going.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rewind: Christmas and Flu Shots

Merry Christmas (two weeks later)!!!!!

This year we celebrated three times. It's always more fun to stretch it out as long as possible and open presents for three days, but kinda takes away from the big day excitement.

The first celebration was breakfast on the 22nd with my sister and her family at my mom's house. They were taking off to drive to my sister's in laws house that day, so we'd have to open presents with her kiddos early.

This year I stuck with the "brown paper packages tied up with string" wrapping. I was almost sad to see everyone tear open the presents, they looked so nice!!!!

The three boys were adorable opening presents. The three year old exclaimed "This is exactly what I wanted" with each present he opened. The seven year old was very helpful to his one year old brother in opening presents. He even stopped opening gifts when a book was unwrapped for his brother. He wanted to sit down and read to him. Adorable.

Sunday evening we hosted dinner at our house for hubs' parents. I made sausage cups as an appetizer and Pioneer Woman's Drip Beef for dinner. YUM. I made the sausage cups several times this holiday season and they were a hit everywhere I took them. I came away from the evening with a shiny new immersion blender. Can't wait to make some soups with that bad boy.

Christmas Eve didn't have a big meal or any more presents, but hubs and I went to see This is 40. Highly recommend if you like Judd Apatow movies. I'm a huge fan of Leslie Mann, so a movie with her as the main character was right up my alley. After the movie we grabbed some apps and a glass of wine before hitting the grocery store to pick up everything for Christmas Day.

Unbeknownst to us, every grocery store in our area closed at 7. We pulled up to the first one at 6:50 and the manager was standing at the door turning everyone away. We got to the next store at 6:55, same story. Next store by 7, no entry. We passed a fourth store a couple minutes down the road, they were open, but didn't have some of the main ingredients we needed. Store number 5, no dice. Finally we were thinking we could just buy milk and eggs at a gas station and at least be able to make breakfast. No milk and eggs at the gas station. I'm starting to panic at this point that Christmas would be ruined. One store in the area opened at 8am the next morning, but that wouldn't help much with the Christmas casserole I make every year. Finally I called one more store across town, open until 8! It was 7:30 by the time we got there and the place was pretty crowded. Everyone in our zip code apparently had waited to grocery shop and was there. Safeway save Christmas!!!!!

I went home, happy as can be and put together the casserole to just drop in the oven the next morning. I was in such a good mood that I also decided to make cookies for Santa. I got tired of the cookie cutters, so I just made a giant cookie and dropped it in the oven.  Off to bed I went with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.

Christmas morning the casserole went in the oven and we sat down to watch Moonrise Kingdom. We sent out this video to friends. Wilbur was not happy about having to sit still for the video.

We then unwrapped presents. Santa brought me a new Michael Kors watch and Kendra Scott earrings. He must have been paying attention when I took Hubs to Nordstrom and said "Buy me these"


When it was time to head over to my mom's house, hubs wasn't feeling so hot. His whole body was achey and he was pretty congested. He had started feeling crappy the day before, but it hit him all of a sudden Christmas Day. I headed over to my mom's house where the two of us enjoyed a spread big enough to feed 8-10 people. After a couple hours and my throat started feeling icky, I headed back home with my mountains of leftovers.

I also went downhill fast. I was in bed by 7 with the same whole body aches, feeling feverish, and coughing hubs had been feeling all day. Turns out Santa had dropped the flu off at our house this year. (Maybe next year I'll put a little more effort into the cookies we leave out)

We headed to the doctor the next day and got our Tamaflu. It took about 5 or 6 days for everything to run it's course. We were going to bed between 5-7 o'clock each evening (afternoon) and would both sleep horribly through the night. Coughing hurt so much that just the thought of a coughing fit coming on could bring me to tears. It was a miserable week for both of us. Now that we're back to normal we can reflect back on it and promise each other we will never skip the flu shot again. We're actually still going to get it this year now that we're both back to almost 100%.

How was your Christmas? Have you been hit by the flu epidemic yet? If not, GET YOUR FLU SHOTS!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and great New Year!!!

We kept it low key this year with a dinner out then home to the couch to watch some Dexter and watch the ball drop.

Last year I made three simple resolutions, lose weight, save money, buy a house.

I ended the year at about 2 lbs up, so that one didn't happen. We managed to save enough cash to put a down payment on our new house!!! So 2 out of 3, not too shabby.

This year, hubs and I made a list of more concrete goals to work towards.

1. Eat out fewer than 20% of our meals. This is an effort to save some cash along with eating a little bit better. We came up with 220 meals, this counts lunches purchased and happy hours that turn to dinners. Since we plan to take a couple vacations, that will be 25-30 meals off the list right away.

2. Lose a combined 80 lbs. This makes it a team effort and will keep us accountable to each other.

3. Complete one house project each month. We have a couple of closets to redo, a few rooms to paint, and window treatments for several rooms to pick out and hang.

4. No credit card debt. We finished this year at zero dollar balances, which I was astounded by after all the home shopping we did. The goal this year is to maintain living within our means and keep those balances at $0.00.

5. Go to London. Hubs has never been to Europe and why not start where we know the language? Flights aren't too obscene that there happens to be an event occurring in September that hubs would like to catch at Wembley Stadium.

6. Buy Penn State Season tickets. We've started the ball rolling for season tickets, now to save the cash and get them in my hot little hands! We may not be able to make it to all the games, but tickets are easy enough to sell to fellow alumni in the area.

7. Golf. I would like to take lessons and learn a thing or two about swinging a club this spring. It'd be fun to be able to make a passable attempt at golf and maybe go out a couple times this summer or on vacation.

8. Get professional pictures taken. Once we've lost the lbs and are svelte, might as well get dressed up and get some good pictures. I absolutely adore our engagement and wedding pictures. I'd like some more recent ones of us to replace the older ones.

9. Volunteer. We both would love to volunteer for an animal shelter or rescue groups. I'm really looking forward to finding an opportunity to help out some needy pups.

10. And finally, it'd be nice to get rid of one monthly bill, so we're going to try and pay off one of the cars this year. We still have 2 years left on the first loan, so an early payoff would save a lot in interest. This would also allow us to parlay that extra cash into paying off the other car and then rebuilding our emergency fund.

Some of my personal goals this year are:

1. booze free for January and February. Last year I went booze free for January and felt great the entire month. I'll stretch it to two months this year to reap even more benefits!!!

2. Run 500 miles. I'd like to complete a couple 10 Mile races this year along with a half marathon maybe? Training for these should knock out the miles with no problems.

3. Track my food for 200 days with Lose It. When I track my food, I lose weight. Easy peasy. 200 days will ensure I don't wander off track for weeks/months at a time. I'm one day in so far. 199 to go.

4. At least 100 blog posts. Along with the tracking, 100 posts gets me posting about twice a week. Not overly ambitions, but much better than my past history.

5. Organize all of my magazine tear sheets and try at least one new recipe a month.

I'm looking forward to keeping up with everyone else who has ambitious goals for 2013, cheering each other on! What will you be working on this year? Are your resolutions all yours or are they joint with spouses or friends?