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Weigh-In Wednesday & a GIVEAWAY!!

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Yes, Yes. I am aware that I am….once again… delayed in getting a post up on the blog. If you tuned in to my last few posts, you’ll most certainly understand why! I’m sure you’ve guessed, by now, that with all the crazy shenanigans and goings-on over the past few months, dieting and eating right were not exactly high on my and the Timster’s to-do lists. So much so, that both of us managed to gain back all the previously hard fought weight loss, plus tack on quite a bit of extra poundage. Blech!

Finally tired of being so overweight that getting out of bed made me breathless (not kidding!), I decided that it was time to jump back on the eating right bandwagon and start fighting the good figh...

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New Year’s Resolutions (and Making Them Stick!)

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How hilariously ironic is it that it’s almost March and I’m JUST now getting around to writing a post about New Year’s resolutions?! I’ve had this post on my mind since before the start of the year,but with all that has been going on (which you read about here), I just didn’t have the time. I hoped I would be able to get it to you in time for the lunar new year (Chinese New Year- Jan. 31), but alas, I am late there as well! It seems that procrastination strikes wherever I go! Nevertheless! I am determined to bring this information to you, because I feel it would be as relevant on August 1 as it is on January 1. Moving on… ;)
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I know a lot of people tend to pish-posh New Year’s resolutions-...

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New Year, New Me!

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Cue Aerosmith and strains of ‘Back in the Saddle Again’ come floating through the room. I know, I know…a familiar tune seen ’round here on the blog- the on again, off again yo-yo of sticking with a ‘good for us’ eating and exercise plan that competes with the actuality of life with 4 crazy kids, one insane cat, and two stressed to the max parents!

This past year’s attempt was a complete doozy for us. We were…how do you put this nicely…completely unsuccessful. I told you about several of our roadblocks, but I think more than anything, said roadblocks were just excuses to not really be committed to the changes we were attempting to embrace...

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I’m baaaaaaaaack!

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K8B9VP4G Didyamissme?Didyamissme?Didyamissme? :)

Seriously, it’s toats ok if you didn’t, but it means a lot to me if you did! I really did miss you guys though! Man- I do have to say I feel like I have been gone FOR. EV. ER! So much has been happening in my life that has kept me from my blog (promise not to bore ya too much with the deets) and this is the first time I’ve really been able to get back to you, my darling readers!

For those of you who follow me, I’m sure the first thing you’ll notice is that the blog actually looks quite different. That’s because I finally made the leap and switched from Blogger to WordPress. YAY WordPress! However, it didn’t come without its hurdles...

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The Baking Bug is Biting….

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For some reason, I am going through a massive urge to bake lately. Perhaps it’s due to necessity, since I’m forcing myself to make more of our snacks at home to cut down on all the processed foods that we eat around here. Maybe, an old flame who’s coals have long been banked is just finally being rekindled (I did originally start going to college to train to be a pastry chef- but my plans just changed over time).

Whatever the reason, the baking bug always seems to bite me at ~12:30-1:00 in the morning…every morning. Seriously! My family comes out most mornings interested to see what yummy goodie the ‘baking elves’ (not to be confused with those sell-out Keebler guys) has left on our kitchen counter. Let me entice you with what’s been smellin’ up my kitchen lately….

The first thing I whipped up was homemade granola bars. My kids are constantly bargaining for a ‘nack’ and man, do we go through pop-tarts, fruit snacks, granola bars, and the like! Even with coupons I can still spend my weight in ‘nack food’ for their hungry ‘lil tummies, so I knew there had to be a better way. A quick trip to Google (and help from StacyMakesCents.com) and I found out I was right! A healthier, CHEAPER version was close at hand with ingredients I already had in my pantry- who knew?!

Looks like birdseed but tastes soooooo much better!

 

I got aggravated after I had already creamed together the butter and brown sugar when I realized I didn’t have old-fashioned oats on hand- only quick oats. No matter- in recipes where you are baking things like this, just sub one for the other! Crisis averted! I decided to double the recipe but for some reason didn’t change the size pan I used to bake it (i.e. 8×8 vs. 9×13) so I wound up with really thick chunky bars instead of thinner more numerous bars. Regardless, I still had plenty with which to fill my large tupperware container!

Overall, I think they turned out fairly tasty but I would do some things differently next time. I’d use a bigger pan (duh!) and I’d probably toast the oats- it would bring out a yummy nuttiness that I feel is lacking greatly. But Tim and the kids loved ‘em and the tupperware is esssentially empty, so I guess they couldn’t have been too bad!

Next, I decided to dabble with fruit as I have a bunch of frozen blackberries that I wanted to use up- enter Blackberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars (courtesy of FriendsFoodFamily.com). Talk about melt in your mouth scrumptiousness!! How can you go wrong with oats, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon topped with a blackberry sugar reduction and then more brown sugar streusel? HEA-VEN!!!!!

YUM-O!

 

There’s nothing I would do differently next time other than make sure I have more blackberries on hand so that I can totally double or triple this recipe. It makes a gracious 32 bars (or 16 if you want them to be bigger like I did) and if you put the computer down right now and go in your kitchen to make these I swear you won’t be sorry. Just promise you’ll come back and finish reading my post when you’re done.

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Weigh-In Wednesday-#5 & #6- A Starting All Over Again Twofer…

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So, if there are any of you out there who keep up with me and my weigh-ins (and I’m sure you are few and far between), then you probably noticed that I haven’t actually posted the last few Wednesdays. This was not a slip up or oversight on my part- I actually did remember to weigh. I just didn’t post because I was totally embarrassed about the actual amount of weight I managed to gain. I don’t know why it was such a problem for me to post- the whole point of this blog is to be an accounting of EVERYTHING… good, bad, AND ugly. And lemme tell you… the past few weeks’ weight gain has been UUUUUUG-LY!

BUT, I am totally OVER my pity party. I was actually over it last Wednesday when I weighed in at 373.4 and realized I wasn’t just back up to my original starting weight but had actually managed to surpass it! I was so utterly frustrated that I wanted to scream. I jumped back in the saddle that very day- I just haven’t had the time to post about it yet because of being so busy- hence the Weigh-In Wednesday Twofer!

It’s still been a busy time in our lives- my Mom’s been in the midst of buying a new house (yay!), we’re still working on the craziness that is our backyard (a piece of the Amazon Rainforest transplanted in NC), we adopted a new puppy, and we just celebrated a certain 5-year-olds birthday (Hey Ro!). Plus I’ve been feeling uber-crafty (I’m sure you’ll see the posts soon), so I’ve got 400 projects in various stages of completion lying around the house. (Remember that whole 85% girl thing? Yeah, it’s rearing it’s head…)

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What I COOKED Wednesday-FREEZER PLEASERS!

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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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