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Monthly Archives June 2013

What I COOKED Wednesday-FREEZER PLEASERS!

WIAW

It’s a WIAW first! Normally, my #WIAW posts involve a whole lot of…well… the things I ate on Wednesday. But I realized that lately on my Weigh-In Wednesday posts {dang, I post a lot on Wednesdays!} I’ve been doing a lot of complaining about being so busy and having that prevent me from eating properly. I finally came to the realization that it was time to quit bellyaching and ‘pony up to the bar’- I needed to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Making the decision to do so doesn’t necessarily mean that all of a sudden my schedule cleared up, we came into beaucoup amounts of money, or the hubs was given 3 straight weeks off of work and unearthed a heretofore unknown fountain of youthful energy with which to pull off all of our DIY projects. What it did do, however, was give me the desire to find a better way to manage our food so that I could pull off healthy meals each day and not resort to eating out, ordering in, or grabbing something quick (but inevitably unhealthy) to shove in my mouth in an effort to fill the ache in my tummy! After bumping around in blogland and checking out various other sites, I ran across Karrie @ Happy Money Saver and her post about the day she made freezer meals. EUREKA!  I found my answer! I suddenly realized that my problem wasn’t just about making bad food choices- it was about terrible time management as well. I knew that if I followed Karrie’s example, bit the bullet, sequestered myself in the kitchen, and cooked my tushie off making a ton of freezer meals- then dinners would be a SNAP to pull off any given night of the week! That way, I could still be terrible at managing my time yet stay on a pretty straight and narrow eating plan. Yay me!

My ‘smaller than I thought it would be’ shopping list

I did a bit of Googling and found several sites with tons of freezer meal ideas (which I quickly bookmarked) but decided to initially go with Leanne Ely’s ‘5 for the Freezer‘ recipes (which I promptly adjusted and made my own). I chose her recipes though, because I love how she not only breaks each recipe down for you, with shopping lists and everything, but gives you side dish suggestions and more! It’s dummy proof (and if you know me, you know why that’s important!) I had several requirements of the recipes I chose- they had to be relatively few ingredients (that my kids would actually be willing to try/eat), the ingredients had to be fairly inexpensive and relatively easy to purchase (I’m not in a huge city), and it had to be fast and simple to pull together and/or cook. I printed out a stack of recipes as thick as my fist, sat down, and made my shopping list (which I honestly thought would be MUCH longer) and headed for the store. It took $200 and a trip to Sam’s Club, Aldi, and Harris Teeter before everything was bought and ready to cook- my kitchen table was completely covered and there wasn’t an ounce of room in our fridge! But man, the amount of food I was able to whip up! All told, to date I’ve made 35 ‘Freezer Pleasers’ (I’m totally trademarking that name) and I’m already chomping at the bit to make more. (I know, I’m a total glutton for punishment). It’s such a joy to know those 35 meals are sitting pretty in my freezer and you can’t imagine the relief I feel knowing that if I went on strike and didn’t lift a single spatula or wooden spoon for the next month (literally a whole month!), not a one of us would go hungry or gain 30 lbs. from eating McDonald’s every night!

I did my best to make a variety of meals so that we wouldn’t get bogged down by too many pork dishes or an overabundance of chicken. I even managed to make them fit into the daily meal categories that my kids find so amusing:

 

  • Meatless Mondays (Vegetarian)
  • Tasty Travels Tuesdays (Ethnic)
  • Wet N Wild Wednesdays (Seafood)
  • Throwback Thursdays (Comfort food)
  • Pizza Fridays (Pizza, duh!)
  • Souper Saturdays (Soups/Chilis)
  • Slow Cooker Sundays (Crockpot Cooking)
{Can you tell I’m a sucker for alliteration?!}

Here’s what I made (and yes, you can click the title to get the recipe!):

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Throw Me Some Bead(board), Mister!

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Alright, this is not a ‘Moms Gone Wild’ Mardi Gras post or anything- so don’t anybody get the wrong idea here! (Ironic the bead reference though, as the hubs and I honeymooned at The Orleans in Las Vegas and actually have several strands of beads around the house as a fond memory of the time we spent there- and no, we didn’t do anything ‘special to get them’! You can easily buy them in the gift shop!) Regardless, I’m not passing out treats in this post… at least not in that regard! What I will bare though, is the awesomeness that is our new porch ceiling and the trials and tribulations (of course!) that we went through to achieve it.

Rot is GROSS!

 

If y’all remember my last post, you’re very familiar with the hot mess of a house that we bought ~2 years ago. It was a foreclosure, so we got an awesome deal- but it has required SO MUCH WORK and we’re still not done with it yet. {read: still a hot mess} Of late, we’ve abandoned the inside for the outside as we just can’t take it anymore! The catalyst for this great migration to the outdoors was some wood rot that needed repairing and once that was fixed… well, it just kind of snowballed! *grins sheepishly*

 

We started out by replacing the front porch columns (they look sooooooooo much better!) and while researching the column wrap kits, I ran across this amazing vinyl soffit stuff that looks just like beadboard! This was an awesome find in so many ways:

  1.  In our initial repairs of the house we had to replace quite a bit of vinyl siding and Tim got really good at putting it up so I knew he could easily do this
  2. It is super cheap and I was totally able to find it local (and in stock!) so no waiting for shipping or paying freight charges!
  3. It completely covers our horrible plywood ceiling on our front porch which was that rotten butter yellow color and had all the rusty nails showing (GROSS!)

    Horrible plywood ceiling- YUCK!!

  4. It goes perfectly with our modern cottage/vintage/urban/farmhouse design aesthetic!
I WAS SOLD!!

 

Of course, we had to go about it all the wrong way in the beginning! We started out by pulling off the plywood and realizing that our studs were not 16″ on center as they should have been (our house isn’t THAT old- that rule was in place in 1980 when it was built!). Then, in reading the instructions for the beadboard, we saw it needed to be nailed every 8-10″ to prevent bowing, so we had to reinforce between the studs with 2×4’s. {Commence unhappy hubby here}. This added an extra day (literally!) to our project, just to cut 50+ 14.5″ 2×4’s and toenail them between the studs to add the extra support. But that sure beat sitting out there one evening and having the beadboard fall on your head or bow like sailcloth!
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I ‘Column’ Like I See ‘Em

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I couldn’t wait to show you the ‘AFTER’!

*Sigh* As much as I LOVE DIY projects, I do believe the NC summer is already starting to get to me. That, and the fact that we can’t seem to ever have an easy go of any project we attempt. The hubs always jokes that we seem to be cursed in this arena. No matter what we take on- it’s ALWAYS 5x harder! Like the fact that our house was apparently built by a bunch of crackpots who had not a care for state rules and regs (and probably paid off inspectors), so every stud in our house is not 16″ on center. Some are 14″. Some are 12″. You get the picture. We’ve even found some load bearing walls barely capable of bearing a bag of groceries, much less our roof- so we’ve had to reinforce. It’s just been a never ending process! But, like mama always said (gosh, did I just channel Forrest Gump?), ‘When you own a home, you are married to it’. She couldn’t have been more correct. However, our home is more like our fickle mistress because we are, of course, married to each other! :D

But I digress. We’ve spent the first two years working on the inside of our house and I’ll post all that DIY goodness later, because it’s still not actually done (that whole 85% girl thing, you know?). But here recently, we’ve gotten the wild hair to begin working on the outside of our home because it is just UG-LY! (Trigger cheer: U-G-L-Y- you ain’t got no alibi- you ugly!) Everything about it is awful- the bricks are all tones of brown on brown, the trim is painted this nasty shade of rotten butter yellow (yuck!), the shutters and front doors are baby poop brown, the 3-tab roof (original to the 1980 house) is brown as well and in terrible condition- it is just GROSS!

 

The house was obviously owned by a bunch of manic depressive when we bought it. It needed HELP!!

See the ugly column?

Another shot of the awful columns!

One of the things we always hated was the columns on the house. They were so small and spindly (and also painted rotten butter yellow) and were meant to be decorative, although they were anything but. I kept pushing my hubby to replace them with 4×4 posts (because even though I’m an 85% girl, he’s totally a 100% guy) but he was worried about how we’d get them out of the concrete and keep from losing the porch roof in the changeover (all totally valid concerns!)
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WIAW-#1 (What I Ate Wednesday)

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I’ve finally decided to jump on the #WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) bandwagon. WIAW is a weekly food diary (a bit voyeuristic in nature) run by my friend Jenn (great name!) over at the blog Peas and Crayons.

As Jenn puts it, ‘it’s a great way to reflect on my eating habits and spot out patterns, slip-ups, and successes!’ No matter what type of Wednesday I’m having- be it a school day, a lazy day, or a DIY the house day- it’ll be different and I’ll learn something new about my eating habits every time!

So, the way it works is I’ll take pictures of everything I eat each Wednesday- the good, the bad, and the ugly (yep, even the ugly) I’ll even include some recipes for the eats t...

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Weigh-In Wednesday-#4

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Allllllllllllllllllllllright, y’all! I am so totally starting to love Wednesdays! I gotta say, when I stepped on the scale this morning, I really wasn’t prepared for a whole lot. Scratch that- I was actually prepared for the needle digital numbers to creep ever skyward- as this week was, once again, just as bad as the previous two. In fact, if asked to describe it in a modicum of words, ‘less than stellar’ is what I would probably use.

It’s not that we deliberately set out to sabotage ourselves- we seriously don’t! And it’s not even like we did a lot of eating out (we didn’t), had a lot of sweets (nope on that one too), or anything in that arena. Huh-uh, we’re still trying to hurdle the mother of all stumbling blocks right now- the fact that we are stretching ourselves in a zillion directions!

Take my average day for example- between schooling the kids, working on my blog, trying to plan meals/exercise/etc, run a household, plan a neighborhood yard sale and/or block party (not at the same time, mind you), figure out ‘what’s for dinner?’, deal with someone always hollering ‘I’m hungry!’ (even the dang cat!)… whew! I’m exhausted just typing it and it’s obvious there’s just not enough hours in the day. On top of that, my poor mama’s trying to sell her home, buy a new one, and we keep getting bamboozled every time we turn around! By the time I get my morning dose of ‘As NC Real Estate Turns’- it’s already time for lunch and I haven’t even had breakfast yet! :) Thank goodness she and I both have a great sense of humor and get along so well. That way we can laugh our way through most of it!

So, because of living such a busy life I usually just end up grabbing whatever is convenient- and that isn’t always the healthiest or most diet friendly choice. I try to keep easy and healthy stuff on hand, but with 4 men in the house… Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is quite often bare! So, one of my new goals is to try and stay ahead of my shopping (and their eating) so that I’m not stuck raiding the pantry and fridge or just eating ‘whatever’ because I have to have something.

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Framed Fabric Art (or is it?!?!)

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They say that necessity is the mother of invention- I tend to disagree. I’m of the camp that believes it is laziness that is the true mother of invention. Case in point: I have this swath of wall behind my front door- just a random piece of wall that doesn’t really have a purpose, isn’t all that great to look at, and doesn’t do much good for anybody other than holding up the roof...

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