Jan 31, 2014

5 on Friday

I've got some good posts coming up, but honestly work is frying my brain and stealing my time, so I'm doing a quick 5 on Friday (and I think I'll actually remember to link up this time).

I decided I was going to be productive last night and folded 3 weeks worth of laundry (no, I haven't put it away yet). Then I thought, why not do another load tonight so I can have all of my clothes clean and putaway at once. On my way back from lunch this afternoon I realized I left the clothes in the washer and didn't put them in the dryer. Going to be re-washing them tonight. I have never ever done this. 

I want to prep food for the week like JENN on Sunday. I say want to, because I hate eating the same thing over and over. And more than that I have a fear of getting sick from food that's gone bad sitting in the fridge for over 2 days. I know this is completely irrational, but I always dwell on it so much I practically make myself sick when I eat something older. On the other hand, I know I'm not going to want to cook every night of the week, and I'm sick of feeling yucky from what I eat. I'm going to find a compromise this weekend. 

Stealing this one from AMBER - three is my number. Has been since I was in second grade and won a contest by picking a number between one and fifty. My boyfriend in high school was #3 on the hockey team. I was #3 in water polo in high school and college. 

My family vacation snowmobile trip is two weeks from today, and I haven't made a single list. I have made a file folder and done some print outs. But me and my list making obsession are slightly disappointed in myself. Goal this weekend is to actually put the computer on the desk and knock some stuff out (like this list).

This cat kills me every night when he does this. Apparently the wrist band of the wii remote is too much for him. He rolls on his back and I swear it's the highlight of his day to play with it!

Come link up for some 5 on Friday!!

Jan 29, 2014

Frozen Solid

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days - I've been frozen solid on my couch. I've been trying to thaw out with blankets, a fire, and lots of kitty and puppy snuggles, but I just can't. 

Gahhh - seriously I have had ZERO motivation to do anything since Sunday afternoon. I had a great Friday and Saturday though - let's recap those (only a few days late).

I took a half day vacation on Friday and drove half way to my parents to meet my mom for lunch. I hadn't seen her since Christmas and I was REALLY missing her (she was missing me too). I know a month doesn't seem long to be away from each other, but last year while my Grandma was sick, I was home every other weekend to visit. We got used to seeing each other often and it sucks not to. 

We always meet in this little hole in the wall place. First, the town is literally in the middle of nowhere (because honestly - what is between Toledo and Columbus? NOTHING). But we love it because the food is great, it's not packed or loud (so we can spend 2 hours in a booth talking and not piss anyone off), and it's quirky.

This is a picture of the one wall - it's painted with very retro things. That's the best way I can describe it.

Then Friday I got back in town, and met up with some friends at the local bar for a few beers. That turned into us all deciding to go out to dinner (one of the guy's owns a restaurant in town). We ate, we talked, we laughed, and drank. It was perfect.  

I snapped this picture right at the end of dinner - after several drinks. 

Saturday wasn't bad either. I woke up with super motivation and decided to scrub my house. I started with taking the Dyson attachments to every corner of my house. This included anywhere that is hard to dust (fireplace). That was pretty gross. Then I continued with scrubbing my couches. I have a dog and two cats that think they own the place, so the couch scrubbing needs to be done every 3 months or so. I continued my productive day until it was dark, cleaning anything and everything I could get my hands on, all while watching the gorgeous snow fall.

Snow always makes me VERY happy!

And then I woke up Sunday morning and said "screw it!" and haven't been the same since! I'm going to try and thaw my brain and body from this solid state and join the rest of the human race today! How are you handling this cold? Funny enough it's been sunny the past 3 days, so I shouldn't be feeling "down in the dumps," but it's really hard not to when it's this cold out!!

Jan 23, 2014

Stephanie's Chili

With the second polar vortex showing it's face on Tuesday, I decided to make some chili to get me through the rest of the week. I always make cornbread to go with it, because I just feel like they are a great pair. I don't do anything fancy with the cornbread - just use a "Jiffy Mix" and follow the instructions. The chili is a different story.

There used to be an awesome mix out there that I used. It wasn't a powder mix - it was a jar full of yumminess. You put the jar, one jar of water, whatever meat and veggies you want, and simmer for about an hour. Easy peasy. Unfortunately I can't find it anymore. And it has been so long since I used it I can't even remember what it's called. When it first disappeared from my local grocery store's shelf, I searched high and low on the internet for it, with no luck. So I have since then learned how to make my own. The thought of making chili from scratch was very overwhelming to me, but since then I have done it several times and it just keeps getting better!

First, I brown some meat and drain the fat. I had a frozen bag of half ground turkey and half ground beef saved for meatloaf that I decided to use (trying to use all of the pantry and freezer food before doing anymore "big" grocery shopping).

Like all the steam on the sink? Yeah it was cold in my house that night. 

Then I chop some onion and garlic and cook it in some oil to get soft. I also add 1 can of petite diced tomatoes, 1 can of tomato sauce, and one can of tomato paste into my large pot. Before cooking that, I stick my immersion blender in there and grind up those tomatoes (I can't stand chunks of tomatoes). Sometimes if I have steamed tomatoes or other forms of tomatoes in a jar I add those. Just depends on what's in the pantry!


After that, I turn the sauce on low, and start to add some seasonings.

I don't have exact measurements for this part. I go completely by taste, but I have a general idea of what I always put in. 
- About a quarter cup chili powder (this is where you get all of the goodness!)
- Tablespoon of salt and tablespoon of pepper
- Tablespoon of curry powder
- Tablespoon of cumin
- Tablespoon of paprika 
- Tablespoon of cayenne pepper (obviously if you don't want it spicy, reduce this, or if you do like things spicy you can increase the amount)
- Tablespoon of garlic powder (not pictured)
- Teaspoon of hot sauce (also not pictured, I use franks - it gives is a bit more flavor)

Seeing all of the steam in these pictures makes me think that my house must have been very cold Tuesday night!

Stir it all up, then do a lot of tasting and adding. I know this time I added more garlic powder and cumin. But keep in mind - you aren't done at this point. 

Dump in your meat and veggies. I have a strict NO BEANS rule for my chili, because I just don't like beans, but feel free to add whatever you want. I usually just stick with the onion/garlic mixture and a can of corn (drained) because I really like corn. 

Mix it all up and let it get to a boil, where it "pops". Make sure you have a lid on because it will make a huge mess if you don't. Give it a good mix again and then let it simmer for about 20 mins. 

This is the point where you need to do the ultimate taste test. Once everything has cooked together, your tastebuds will tell you what you need to add. I like cumin (smoky flavor) so I usually add some of that. And I like my stuff hot, so I usually add more hot sauce. I'm going to be giving half of this pot to my parents (and they hate spicy things), so I didn't add any. But you can't screw this up - just add what you like and when it tastes good it's done! 

I was so wrapped up in eating it, I forgot to take a picture of the final product until I was putting it away. 

Now, I always top it off with some cheddar cheese and raw onions. Then I have the cornbread on the side, but feel free to add whatever you want.

Do you make chili? What do you do differently? Any suggestions for me?

Jan 21, 2014

The Winter Blues

Don't you hate the winter blues? They ALWAYS come around and I DREAD them. Although the winter blues I'm referring to isn't what you think . . . . 

I LOVE winter. Don't get me wrong, I like summer and fall and spring too. But I don't mind the cold - I actually prefer it.

I keep my house at 60 degrees in the winter. And at 65 degrees in the summer. If you are coming over to visit you better bring a sweatshirt (unless you are my mom, because I will do anything for her). 

Growing up my parents always kept it colder in the house in the winter and I remember complaining all the time how cold it was. We were always told to just put a sweatshirt on. Now when I go visit my parents I think their house is hot. 

It started off that I didn't want to pay a high heating bill, but I quickly just go used to the cold. And let's face it - any overweight person HATES being hot, so in the summer I crank that AC. 

My sister and I out on the trails. Don't I look great in that hat?!

So, back on topic - I have the winter blues because we DON'T have any snow. I don't mind the cold, but if it's going to be cold I want a LOT of snow. 

I love everything about it - I get really excited when it starts to fall, I don't mind shoveling (free exercise), I love running around in the back yard all bundled up with Cooper going nuts, and I love coming into the house with a fire and some hot chocolate. I love wearing my snow boots to work and being all nice a cozy bundled up. 

Family pic at Boon Town - Me, My Dad, My Sister and My Grandpa

So while we have these polar vortex temperatures, we actually have less than a half inch of snow on the ground. And that just makes me depressed. It's obviously too cold to do anything outside, so why not have it pretty out? And central Ohio hasn't gotten much snow at all this year (well we did get one storm, but I wasn't in town, and then it all melted 3 days later so that doesn't even count). 

So there you have it. My personal winter blues. I will have my fair share of snow during our annual Family Weekend snowmobile trip, but that isn't for another 3 weeks. If I have to bundle up for the cold, why can't I play in the snow?! 

How do you feel about this cold? Do you get the honest to goodness winter blues? I usually get those too, but not until it's 20 degrees in April. By then I'm over it. 

Jan 20, 2014

Monday's Mumblings

I started a 5 on Friday post, but never completed it, so today I'm going to tack on a few things from the weekend and fill you in on the randomness that is my life. 

This happened Thursday night:

This is a VERY rare thing in my household. Someone is always getting jealous of the other and runs away. And if it does happen, no one is there to take the picture. But last night I had a friend over and we were just watching TV and BAM - everyone was snuggling with me. I think they might love me (or maybe they were just cold because I had the temperature at 60).

I got a wild hair on Saturday afternoon and decided I need to clean out and organize my pantry. I've got some before pictures, but haven't completed the task yet, so no after pictures. I plan on finishing this tonight - pictures to follow tomorrow. In the meantime I've put all of the food I pulled out of the pantry in the half bath - I don't want Cooper getting anything he doesn't need! 
Picture of the counter while "in-process" complete with pen and paper so I could write down each item and the expiration date so I know what I have!

I'm all about being green. Remember the cable repair man in Independence Day who ends up saving the world and how geeky he was about recycling? Yeah that's me. I yell at everyone in the office anytime I see them throw away something that can be recycled. So today I found Bee's Wrap and fell in love. I haven't purchased them yet, but will do so soon. The idea of not having to use plastic wrap anymore thrills me!
Bee's Wrap

I broke down and subscribed to Netflix this weekend. I like having the TV on in the background while I'm scrapbooking or doing work, and I was getting sick of watching the same thing. Only $7.99 a month and the first month is free? How did I not know about this? And how did I not know about Breaking Bad? Someone suggested I watch it and I'm already through the first season - here's to binge watching while folding laundry!

What did you guys do this weekend? Hope you all have a great week to come!

Jan 15, 2014

Humpday Confessions

Today I'm linking up with Kathy for some humpday confessions! 


I figured it was time to mix things up, plus Kathy's blog is AMAZING. You really need to check her out! So today I am confessing to . . . 

. . . . . making a whole batch of cupcakes for Cooper's birthday, but frosting only two - one for him and one for me. I did store them in an airtight container though, so if I frost them tonight I can bring them into work and feed the masses tomorrow right??

. . . . . going to VIP last night and having a few beers with the guys. I've been telling myself with the start of the new year I will only go hang out on Friday's. But yesterday got the best of me and I stopped. There really are few things in life that are better than an ice cold beer after a long day. 

. . . . . not folding the laundry this week and therefore digging through the basket each morning for clean socks and underwear. 

. . . . . obsessing over planners. I'm trying not to spend the money, and make my own, but I might break down. I want the Emily Ley one, the Erin Condren one, just about everyone I see on Etsy, but especially the one from Plum Paper Designs, and of course I have it in my head that I can make one on my own. Seeing as how I can't even make this blog look cute, I don't know how I'm going to create electronic versions of the planner I see in my head. But, I'm going to give it a damn good effort! 

So what are you confessing to this week? I can tell you that I will be working hard on my version of a planner and hope to have something to show you guys next week. Have a good one and thanks for reading!!

Jan 14, 2014

Cooper is 13!!

How do you like the new blog design? Pretty fancy huh? Well, probably not to most of you, but it's amazing to me! Thanks to Chris for sprucing it up for me. I finally feel like a real blogger. Maybe soon I will post on the regular :]

Yesterday was Cooper's 13th Birthday. My childhood dog growing up was a Cocker Spaniel, and we woke up one morning about a month after his 10th birthday to find him dead. So honestly I didn't expect Cooper to make it this long. Let's just say I've been on pins and needles since Cooper turned 10. According to the vet, he should live to be 15ish. So here's to two more years!!

I leave you with pictures of the evening. I was going to find some puppy pictures and add those, but since it was raining I was too lazy to go out to my studio. Maybe I'll write a full post on Cooper next week - complete with adorable pictures. Don't mind my "comfy clothes" and general lack of concern for how I look. It was a rainy Monday and I was OVER it. 

The best picture I got of him and the cupcake

Once he realized it was his, it was over. I barely got the candle out before he swooped in

Here I decided it probably wasn't a good idea to let him eat the wrapper. I barely got a third of it out of his mouth.

And then we were left with a giant mess on the ground. But he made sure to lick the floor in a 3 foot radius of where the cupcake was. Tonight's task - mop the floor!

I hope you are all having a great Tuesday!

Jan 10, 2014

5 on Friday!

Time ran away from me today, so here is a quick little 5 on Friday post!

- ONE - 
Girls night dinner tonight. I'm very excited because I haven't seen this group of girls since September. Plus we are going somewhere that is new (for me) and I think I will like it! I'm even considering branching out and getting something very different for me . . . Review to come on Monday.

- TWO - 
I have two big goals for this weekend - work on the scrapbook for my Grandpa, and make my planner cute. I've been DYING for a new from Plum Paper Designs ever since Jenn wrote about them on her blog. But I have a perfectly good planner I bought last year, so I'm going to try and spruce it up and make it cute so I can use it another year or two. No reason to buy something when I already have one that works perfectly fine. 

- THREE - 
Cooper's 13th Birthday is on Monday so I've got to make some cupcakes this weekend. It's always fun to watch him try to eat a whole cupcake in one bite. But since he's getting up there in age I won't let him. 

- FOUR -
The family weekend snowmobile trip is set - February 14-17. I can't wait - and neither can the rest of my family. We are going to a new place this year - we will still rent a cabin, but this place is more of a "resort" and has clubhouses with an indoor pool and video games and lots of fun stuff for the kids (and me). Now all we can do is hope there is snow!!

- FIVE - 
Have you tried Graze yet? I just signed up today - all natural healthy snacks delivered every two weeks for only $6 a week. Sign me up! Oh when you sign up you will get 2 boxes for free! It's still by invite only, so if you want to join, be sure to use my friend code: 175FXQXXP - it will ask you for one when you go to sign up here.

Go link up for 5 on Friday and have a good weekend everyone!

Jan 9, 2014

2014 Goals

While I wrote yesterday about my story and the three big changes I'm going to make in my life, I feel like I still need a list of goals. I see the changes as more of permanent lifestyle changes. I decided to go with 14 goals for 2014. 

1. Lose 50 Pounds

2. Finish Kal-El's Scrapbook

3. Clean and Organize all 4 closets in my house

4. Make a "Family Weekend" scrapbook for my Grandpa

5. Hang more Art that I LIKE on my First Floor

6. Plan my garden better - planting times and harvesting times

7. Start a Savings account for Lasik Eye Surgery

8. Stop Wasting Food (Keep Track of What I Throw Away)

9. Make This With My Animals Paw Prints

With paw prints?

10. Have a Special Weekend for just my Mom and I

11. Volunteer/Donate to the Local Animal Shelters 

12. Go to a Seminar for Work and Start to Develop Myself More

13.  Have my Nephew and Niece Visit for a Long Weekend

14. Join a Gym with a Pool and SWIM

I'm pretty sure everyone has already written about their 2014 goals, but if you haven't what are yours??

Jan 8, 2014

Steph's Story Part II

If you didn't read Steph's Story Part I you can read it here. Don't mind the first part of the post where I was a whiny bitch. 

I figure with a new year, and my head somewhat stable, now is my time for change. 

First up - Eating. 

Or should I say NOT eating the things that are terrible for me and make me feel like death. I'm planning on small steps with this one. First, NO MORE diet mountain dew. I would have one "occasionally" and then 3 days later I've drank my weight in pop. I'm not a huge pop fan to begin with, I just drink it when I need a pick-me-up (I HATE coffee). And then one thing leads to another and I'm CRAVING the pop. So I'm done. I ordered some Spark and plan to try it this weekend (because let's be honest, that anxiety isn't all the way gone, and what if it makes me crazy while I'm at work?). Other small steps include limiting my grain intake (that coincidentally Holly just wrote about today here), no more beer, and no more processed junk. I always buy lots of great fresh things at the grocery store and then throw them in my freezer because I'm too lazy to cook them - well time to bust that stuff out and cook!

Second - Moving (as in my body)

I don't care if it's the "Jillian in January" challenge, or taking Coop on a walk (although def NOT in this weather), or just riding the stationary bike for 45 mins, I need to get active. I've used the excuse of "I'm depressed, I'm anxious" way too long. I'm convinced that some exercise will make me feel better (did you know I was a varsity swimmer in high school and then played water polo in college? I always felt GREAT when I hopped out of that pool). I'm not going crazy here - just easing into a little exercise and increasing it as I go.

Third - Doing things I WANT to Do

I used to be so motivated and always looked forward to the new day and a new challenge. Now a days I'm dreading the day, not wanting to get out of bed, and just counting down the hours until I'm back home being lazy on the couch. This has GOT to stop. My plan is to complete one project each week that is something I WANT to do and makes me happy. Bet you didn't know I started as an art major. I love to do creative things. And I love making changes to my house. And I haven't done either of those things in over a year. It's changing now. 

I know these are the "typical" resolutions/changes you see everyone try to make. But this is where I'm at right now, and I've never been here before. I've never been so off track that I need to tell myself to eat right and that I need to work out - I've always just done those things. Until a few years ago I was slightly overweight, but otherwise happy and living a very balanced and normal life. And I'm beyond ready to get back to that point. 

Anyone else ready for change?

Jan 6, 2014

A Case of the Monday's . . . Steph's Story Part I

So do you have any snow outside? Chances are you do, because 1 - not very many people read this blog, and 2 - two thirds of the country is experiencing this "arctic blast." Here in central Ohio, however, we do NOT have snow, and I'm not very happy about it.

I LOVE snow - the more the better. And if it's going to be cold out, I want to look out at the gorgeous snow, while I snuggle with my pup and kitties by the fire. But that isn't happening here. We have the super cold, and barely a dusting of snow. I'm so jealous of my parents - a mere two and half hours north and they have about a foot. They issued a level III snow emergency, and my brother busted out the snowmobiles. And I don't even have a reason to wear my snow boots!

View out of my office window - NO snow. 

OK enough of my whining . . . 2014 is all about ME. This will be my first entire year spent in my 30s, and I've decided to make it MY year. There are a lot of little changes I need to make, and a few big ones. Thinking back upon my college years, I NEVER thought I would be where I'm at today. I am doing much better career wise, but as far as my personal life and happiness - I'm not where I should be. And it really makes me sad to think of my 23 year-old self looking at myself today, because I know she would be disappointed. 

So over the next few days, I'm going to tell all of you my plan for 2014 and the reason for the changes. (I know, because you all care so much). 

Today starts with where I was mentally last year. I have generalized anxiety disorder. Pretty much anything out of the ordinary freaks me out. I was diagnosed my sophomore year of college, when I wouldn't leave my sorority house to go to dinner with the girls, let alone walk to class or socialize in any other way.

And up until last year, I just saw my family doctor and got some medicine that make me kind of function normally. And then in the fall of 2012 things got bad again - REAL bad. (Later I would come to find out that for whatever reason, between ages 29-32 the brain goes through lots of changes chemically, and it's not abnormal to have to change medications). I had an absolute meltdown around Thanksgiving and found myself hunting the central Ohio area for a psychiatrist. I first went and saw him in January of 2013, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. 

That laid the groundwork for the new me. I had to mentally get in a place where I could go out to dinner with friends, and watch a movie in the movie theater before I was going to change anything else about myself. This took some time - I would say I was 75% better by this past summer, but not 100% ready to tackle anything. We have been playing around with doses and different medication (trust me, I don't like it, and wouldn't be doing it if I didn't have to. One day I will try and function without medicine, but at this time in my life, it isn't an option.) Now I believe I'm at about 95% and ready for some changes.

Mentally, I'm OK and I'm not so afraid of everything (most of the time). So, tomorrow I will write about what I intend to change, and how I intend to change it. Hopefully you will continue to read about my story!