Monday, October 31, 2011

Vote for Me! Please.

This here little 'ole blog is up for a Baltimore Sun Mobbie award! Exciting stuff. But, obviously, I need your help!

You can vote once a day...and I have some stiff competition! Won't you show your support for my little slice of the Interwebs? Pretty please? Voting ends November 11. 

Ok, enough begging. Here's the link:

I'd appreciate your vote! You're the best! 

Button Monogram

Recently, my place of employment had a huge consignment sale. It's a really big thing every year, and this year was the first time I decided to check it out. 

Thank goodness I did. 

My love of Pinterest and all the ideas I've gotten from there made the trip very worthwhile. My first purchase was a big bag of buttons. Lucky for me, they had them all broken down by color. Amazing. So I snatched up a big bag of blue buttons (and then immediately felt like my Grandmother, who hoarded buttons in her day.) But I had an objective for them. Actually, several objectives. The first? A button monogram. 

There have been several ideas that I'd taken off of Pinterest, like:

Source: via Ruth on Pinterest

Source: via ReneƩ on Pinterest

Source: via Jill on Pinterest

I also found, on a recent trip to Goodwill for craft supplies, these metal and wood hanging frames. There were $1 each, and they looked like something that I could use. So I picked them up. Not sure where you'd be able to find them, but I'm pretty sure canvas or a wood block would work just as well. The metal part, I painted white (it was a gross rusty color before.)

Then, I painted the frame blue and free handed a script A. I put the buttons down first to create the pattern before I glued them to make sure they were exactly how I wanted. Once the pattern was good, I took my trusty glue gun and glued those suckers down. Now, it's hanging in my hallway amongst some photos!

I still have half a jar of buttons, so it looks like I'll be perusing Pinterest for more projects!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

First off, I see that I have some new followers! Hi! Thanks for stopping by my little slice of the Interwebs. Hope you enjoy your stay. Leave me a comment and introduce yourself!

Second, yes, you read that title right. Yesterday morning for breakfast, I decided to bust out my culinary skills and whipped up the hubs some seasonal pancakes.

When we were first married (you know, almost five years ago...we're so old), I used to make breakfast every Saturday. But then, life got in the way, and it felt like Saturday breakfasts suddenly weren't a priority. 

But this weekend, I decided it was time to bring that back. There had been a pumpkin spice pancake recipe floating around Pinterest, but I decided to put my own spin on it. Plus, I used Bisquick. Because it's convenient. 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

2 cups Bisquick (I used the Heart Healthy mix to make it a little healthier)
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk (I used skim)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I like Libby's)
2 tbsp sugar 
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or more, if you're a chocoholic like myself)

Pretty simple, really. Mix all the ingredients together. Spray a hot griddle/pan with nonstick spray. Flip when the edges are firm and the middle starts to bubble. 

Finished product. You can see the "mistake" pancakes are on the bottom. I swear, it was the pan's fault. Hubs consistently makes fun of me because my pancakes never, ever look good. Not like you'd get in a restaurant. But they always taste good, and that's what counts.

If you ask me, I don't think these even need syrup. But that's just me :) Enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Happy weekend! Got any plans? Mine involve cleaning and organizing. Kinda lame.

However, some good news. First, I ordered my iPhone4S! Woohoo! It's back-ordered, of course, but it will be on its merry way on November 4th and I can't freaking wait. My Samsung Rogue is really crapping the bed lately. Not only does it shut down for no reason, but the touchscreen has decided to take a personal hiatus. 

Also, today my pumpkin lanterns are being featured on Mod Podge Rocks, one of my favorite crafting blogs! Go check it out, will ya? Thanks to Amy for featuring me :)

Speaking of pumpkins, we carved some this week. Our bestest friends, Chris and Julie, headed down to our place to take a look at the new basement, have some dinner, wine, beer and carve away. 

Here are the pumpkins...can you guess who carved each?

There are several with pretty intricate patterns. And one? Not like the other. It even still has Sharpie lines. Can you guess who's that is?

Yep, it was the hubs. He said, to Hell with patterns. He used his creativity. 

Did you carve pumpkins this year? Did you roast the seeds? We sure did. And in honor of Maryland, we added some Old Bay. Yum.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fitness Friday

It's Friday and guess who's not at work? This chick. Hubs has every other Friday off, we have a gajillion things to get done, so I figured it was a good day to take a day off. Random three day weekend. Love it. 

This is week 3 of my amped up fitness routine. This week was pretty hard. Tuesday I woke up and was so sore, that I skipped the normal kickboxing routine and opted for yoga. I needed some stretching. And today? I overslept big time. Which means my workout had to wait until after work. 

I've realized after these three weeks like I actually like working out in the morning. Do I like getting up at an ungodly hour while it's still dark? Nope. But I do like getting it out of the way in the morning. Plus, it allows me to work on my running three days a week after work. AND hubs cooks twice a week. Really, I think that's my motivating factor. 

Here's my recap this week:

Sunday: Nothing
Monday: Core training, 25 minute run/walk
Tuesday: Yoga, 25 minute run/walk
Wednesday: Cardio training
Thursday: Interval training
Friday: Kickboxing
Saturday: Nothing

And it looks like my running outside days are numbered for this season. They're calling for snow on Saturday. Boo. I'm certainly not ready for that. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lasagna Soup: Perfect for Fall

Fall is soup season. In my opinion, everyone could use a big bowl of soup to cut through the chill in the air. 

Typically soups tend to bore me and aren't always hearty enough to serve for dinner. However, this soup really fills you up without being too high in fat or calories. 

Lasagna Soup

1 pound, Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
3.5 cups chicken stock
2 cups spinach
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
5 wheat lasagna noodles, broken
2 teaspoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a large stockpot, brown sausage in a teaspoon of olive oil. Remove from pan, add a teaspoon more oil and brown onion and garlic. Add spinach and wilt. Add tomatoes, sauce, stock, seasonings, bring to a boil. Add pasta, boil for 10 minutes. Add ricotta, heat through. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Basement Renovation: Complete!

It's been a long time coming. Months in the works. But, the basement is finally done! What does that mean for me?

1. No more Gears of War blasting in my living room.
2. No more living room clutter of 1028374 remote controls.
3. No more cursing at the Chiefs on Sundays within my earshot. 
4. 2/3 of the house free to decorate and arrange in whatever way I desire.
5. 2 floors between my bed and the surround sound. 

Yes, the basement was mostly for hubs, but we all benefit here. Plenty of space for entertaining. A bar. Space for working out. Watching movies. Spending quality time. And a lock at the top of the door in case he pisses me off. Ha! I kid. Kind of. 

Let's look at the before photos:

 After wall demolition.
Who doesn't like "salmon" carpet? Oh, right. Everyone.

 Progress= 5 quarts of "Silky Bamboo" from Behr, 7 paint brushes, 6 rollers, several bottles of wine, several 6-packs of beer.
 Free Home Depot hat. Why? Because we're loyal customers. And because hubs had issues getting paint in his eyes.

Now, the BIG REVEAL!


 Don't mind Peanut. She's hazing a nap.
 Big screen and the World Series. 
Happy hubs at his computer nook. See above his head? Surround sound. The first movie he tested it with? The Matrix. 

Lazy Boy with heat AND massage, cup holder and built-in booklight. Someone went all out for comfort. And bonus Wiggles in the background.

And the bar. Ah, yes. Complete with mini-fridge. Classy.

There it is! On it's way to being complete. We have some more furniture and WAY more organizing to do, but it's coming along. Next? I'll post pics of the rest of the house. Now that we can actually move around in it. Happy day!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fitness Friday: Frustrated Edition

Welcome to the Fitness Friday Frustrated Edition. 

I'm on week 2 of my more intense workouts. And guess what? I haven't lost a pound. Not a single one. And it's really making me frustrated. 

Let's review this week:

Sunday: Nothing
Monday: Core training, 30 minute run/walk

Tuesday: Cardio circuits
Wednesday: Kickboxing
Thursday: Interval training
Friday: Kickboxing (I'll be running tonight)
Saturday: 30 minute run/walk

My diet? I think it's just fine. I was only bad once this week when we went to a luncheon for work. I had a turkey melt with sweet potato fries. 

Maybe I'm building muscle? I don't know. Le sigh. Or maybe I'm destined for weight loss failure. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's Going On With Me Now?

I saw this idea on, where else, Pinterest. I've been lacking for blog content, mostly because I'm waiting for the basement to be done and my house to be put back together so I can unveil it :)

Here's a list of things I'm currently doing:

Listening: Right now? Rain. It's a rainy day in Maryland. Are you shocked? But if I were to plug in my iPod right now, I'd be listening to either Owl City or Mumford and Sons.

Eating: Well, I'm not currently eating anything, but I do have a lovely dinner of thai peanut noodles planned.

Drinking: French Vanilla coffee and water. Gotta hydrate.

Wearing: My staple black pants and a ruffled red shirt with black flats. 

Feeling: Ho-hum and tired. Probably because of the rain. It looks more like Seattle than Baltimore. 

Weather: Rainy. Grey. 68 degrees. 

Wanting: Material stuff? Some shelving for the basement and living room for books and DVDs. Non-material? A day off. Who doesn't though, right?

Needing: More coffee. A nap.

Thinking: My mind has been consumed all week with what I need to get done before the carpet goes down in the basement. And also what I need to clean. Because I feel like I'm seriously behind in that department. Sometimes, I truly wonder how I'll ever keep up with laundry, cleaning and cooking when I have a child. How do people do it?

Enjoying: Sleeping with the windows open at night. One of my favorite parts of Fall.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Upside Down Pizza Casserole

Does anyone else think the weekends too short? I do. I'm all for 3 day weekends every week. 

But, alas, it's back to the grind. Work, working out, cleaning, cooking. With hubs pitching in to help me cook a few times a week, I definitely feel like my load is a bit lighter. I'm starting him out small though. Here's a recipe that I've made before (which is delicious, by the way), and I'm pretty sure it's simple enough for him to be able to do himself. 

Upside Down Pizza Casserole
Source: via Audra on Pinterest

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (chicken or turkey would work well too)
15 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 - 10 ounce package of refrigerated biscuits
Salt and pepper to taste
I also added in some basil and Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, brown beef, drain fat. Add tomato sauce and seasoning, heat through. Add mixture to a greased casserole dish. Top with cheese. Flatten biscuits and add to the top. Bake for about 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden.

This also makes fab leftovers for your lunch :) 

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Wordle Cloud

I'm probably WAY behind that times on this, but I just found out about a site called Wordle. It takes words from your blog and makes a cool word cloud out of them. Wanna see mine? Click below!

  Wordle: LifeLoveBlog

Pretty neat, huh? Interesting words I use...

Fitness Friday

Happy freaking Friday! Is it sad when I look forward to Friday beginning at 7:30 on Monday morning?

This week has been a good one. I started my morning workout routine, along with running in the evening. The running this week has been scarce, however, since the weather has been rainy. SHOCK...It's RAINING in the Mid-Atlantic! 

My alarm goes off at 4:45 AM. I snooze until approximately 5:10-20. Get up, clumsily find my way around the bedroom in the dark, and somehow get on my workout gear. Go downstairs, take the pups out and then get to it. 

My morning workouts have been lasting from 40-60 minutes. All done in the comfort of my living room. The videos are cardio and strength training with some flexibility stuff like yoga.

Sunday: Nothing
Monday: Core work 
Tuesday: Cardio
Wednesday: Cardio intervals
Thursday: AM - Yoga, PM - 30 minute run/walk
Friday: AM - Kickboxing, PM - 30 minute run/walk
Saturday: If I'm feeling good, I might head out for a run. However, we're up bright and early to watch my friend Chris run in marathon in Bmore. So naps might win out in the afternoon. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Let's talk about things that are under appreciated. Those everyday conveniences and indulgences that make your day that much better. 

I have several things. Things that make me happy. That make my days worthwhile. Are some petty and largely insignificant to my survival? Sure. Are others crucial to my person? Yep.

1. Coffee. I love it. And I know that when I get pregnant, I must give this up. But until that time comes, you'll see me slurping down 16-24 ounces almost daily. 2 Splendas, 2 creamers. Love.

2. Mascara. This is the one beauty product that I have to have. I'm obsessed with good mascara. When I put it on, it makes me feel ten times better about my appearance. 

3. A good book. I'm a HUGE reader. I average a few books a month. Well, probably 2, but when I get on a kick, that can jump from 3-4. Right now? I'm reading Saving CeeCee Honeycut. I highly recommend it.

4. Puppies. This morning, I was randomly thinking about what life would be like without my dogs. And although I tend to bitch about  their annoying habits, I really don't want to imagine life without their furry butts.

5. Cell phone. Seriously, what did people do before cell phones? What happened when you got stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire? Or were running late for a meeting? We love our cells so much that we don't even have a home phone. AND I'm super excited that I'll be giving up my Samsung Rogue in t-minus 11 days for an iPhone!!!

6. Hot water. This is a grossly under appreciated amenity. I can tell you that before our 4 day power outage, I took my hot showers for granted. After? I thank the good Lord for my hot water heater.

7. Erin Condren Life Planner. Yes, I hopped right on board that train once the word of these planners spread like wildfire across the blogosphere. I love it. It keeps me organized in so many ways. Like planning meals, tracking workouts, keeping work tasks organized. Plus, it's pretty. I like pretty things.

8. iPod. I went many years without one and now that I have one? I'll never go back. Hubs got me a blue Nano 2 years ago for Christmas. It's my workout companion and friend on long car rides. 

9. Crockpot. Who doesn't love it when they can walk in their house and dinner is already done? If you don't, we probably shouldn't be friends. The crockpot is the most useful kitchen product I own. Ribs, chili, soup, porkchops? You name it, I've cooked it in the crockpot. 

10. Wine. Once upon a time, I only drank wine to get drunk. Do I still do that sometimes? Well, sure. But I've also developed an appreciation for the process of making wine, along with the complexity of it's flavor. Perhaps it's my visits to one too many wineries. Either way, my wine rack is currently stocked.

What do you appreciate?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Cooking Husband, You Say?

I've decided to it's time to amp up my workout routine. I'm not abandoning running, since I'm determined to get better at it, but I'm starting to work out twice a day, a few days a week. 

And let me tell you, when my alarm goes off at 4:45 AM (that's, of course, with a half hour of built-in snooze time), I am NOT ready to get out of bed. BUT, so far, I'm on day 3 of this little routine and it's working out just fine. 

I'm doing an hour long workout in the morning (a video, kind of like Jillian Michaels but more intense) five days a week and running 3 days a week. 

Since this is a lot of work, and I do it in addition to all of my other daily tasks (you know like, working full time, cooking dinner, cleaning, doing laundry), hubs and I came to an agreement. He will be cooking dinner for us twice a week. Which is HUGE. 

He's not really a cook. Not because he can't do it, but because he chooses not to. But now, I'm getting to see the his true blue culinary skills. Last night was his first meal shift for the week. Our dinner? Buffalo Chicken Wraps. They were delish. And were prepared with minimal questions (i.e, where's this, where's that, where's everything.) 

I cannot tell you how blissful it was to sit down and relax (watch DVRed reality TV) while my dinner was being made for me. AND he even cleaned up. I could get used to this. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Home Projects

I love owning a home. I really do. But the endless list of things to do can really catch up to you. 

We've been in a constant state of disarray since taking on the basement renovation. There's furniture everywhere that it shouldn't be. Clutter that's taking the form of piles, bags, etc. But I know it will be worth it in the end. When I can kick hubs downstairs and he can finally have his own little oasis. Because as much as I love him, I don't love the fact that I can sing all the songs on the Madden 2012 soundtrack. Or recite repetitive lines from Gears of War.

This weekend we took on the tedious, time-consuming task of staining and sealing the deck. Although the deck is relatively in good condition, we figured we would get it sealed up for winter. We don't want it to start graying and falling apart like the deck in our previous rental house. 

Though it took about 6 hours of labor, several gallons of stain/sealant and a few stinkbug casualties, the results were worth it. 

I also got some items together for the front porch to make it festive for the Fall. 

Now left on the list? Oh, you know, things like painting the dining room, painting the ugly gold electrical covers throughout the house, shampooing the carpet...and so it goes on. 

But I guess the home is always a work in progress. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fitness Friday: Are You Giving 100%?

Holy crap, has it really been a week since I've blogged? That's not cool. I guess life has got itself in the way. It's been a busy week, full of stuff for work and working on the house. Hubs and I have taken on the tedious job of cleaning and sealing the deck. You need a full week of dry weather and sunshine to be successful, and that's only something we've recently had around these parts.

But let's talk about fitness for a minute, afterall it is Fitness Friday. 

Question: When you work out, do you give it all you have 100 percent of the time? That's a good question to ponder. 

My answer to that, sadly, is no. Why? I'm not sure, but I'll tell you how I figured out. It started with a convo with hubs about how my running was going. I told him fine, some days better than others. Then he asked if I could consistently run a mile without stopping. The answer to that, I'm ashamed to say, was no. And he asked why...why after months of trying to become a runner can I not run a measly mile? 

So, this afternoon, fired up with anger from hubs questioning my dedication, I set out for my run. And I said to myself, "Self, you will run this damn mile and give it all you got, even if you drop over in the middle of the street." 

So I did. I ran that mile. Even when I wanted to stop. And at the point I would normally stop and walk, I talked myself out of it and kept going. And I kept going and going. This begs the question, why haven't I done this all along? And the answer?

I have no idea. I don't know why I sell myself short, convinced it's too much. Maybe some days it is? But how will I ever get better if I don't challenge myself? And how do I find the motivation inside myself to dig deeper? 

Not sure. But I guess I need to figure out how. Any ideas?