Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye 2011!

For us the biggest event during 2011 was building our front porch.  I first posted about it here back in January. I am so thrilled this worked out for us to build this year.  I truly feel lit really transformed our house and I couldn't be happier with it.  Each time I pull into our driveway I smile.  Our builder (Mark Glennie) did a fabulous job and we'll likely work with him again this year to 'beef up' our garage.


I look forward to decorating the porch for the seasons during 2012 and beyond!  

What are we looking forward to during 2012?

I want to do more crafting.  I have a fabulous craft room that I don't use nearly enough.  I also want to try some new mediums to work with (fused glass) and I'm excited about that.  

We need to get the landscaping done around the porch.  The walkway doesn't line up and the side stairs don't match the granite steps down to the garage anymore.  We need to fix that, hopefully in the spring.

I'm also taking a photography class this spring!  My husband works for the local community college so I can take classes for free.  I figured I might as well take advantage of that.  Starting mid-January I'll be in class two nights a week.  That should be interesting, I haven't been in a college class in a LONG time!  I'm really looking forward to it though.

That might be about it...if I think of anything else noteworthy I'll post about it!  

Here's to 2012!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Our tree this year.  I love it in this corner of our living room and I'm 99% sure this is where we'll have it each year.

Every year Pat and I go to the tree farm on the hunt for the perfect tree to cut down.  We found this one pretty quickly this year and it might be my favorite tree so far.  There aren't quite enough lights on it for me as we had some strings that were out and we decided not to replace them this year since we plan on buying LED lights after Christmas.  So more lights for next year!

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Homemade Vanilla

It was almost a year ago that I knew I'd be making homemade vanilla extract for this Christmas.  That's a long time to wait!

I had originally saved this blog post to go by, but ended up mostly following this one.  I bought the vanilla beans at Olive Nation and they were AMAZING.  Excellent prices, fast shipping and plump awesome vanilla beans.  I will definitely purchase from them the next time I make vanilla!

I basically cut the vanilla beans into a 'V' shape and dropped them into a fifth of vodka.  I bought fairly cheap vodka as everything I read said it didn't matter at all.  After I was done I just put them in my cupboard for a few months and then bottled them up!  I made two fifths of extract, so I have enough to last me and my gift recipients quite a while!

Here are some pictures of the process:

I was amazed how quickly the vodka turned brown.  It smells heavenly!

I wrapped a ribbon around the bottle and attached a label to them.  I think they look pretty cute!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lighted glass block Christmas presents

A few weeks ago I went to a craft fair with my sister and fell in love with these lighted Christmas presents made out of glass blocks.  However, I'm kind of cheap and didn't love the price tag.  Always being up for a challenge, I decided to make one for myself. 

I'm overall pretty happy with how this turned out.  However, I really need some practice making bows! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cupcake ornaments

These are only iPhone pictures, so they're not the best.  I'll try to get some better shots soon of these adorable (if I do say so myself) cupcake ornaments I made this weekend.  I can't wait to make more and send them off to some special people!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Crafts

It might be a little early, but I am totally in the mood for Christmas.  I have big plans for decorating this year and a lot of it involves being crafty!

I came across a picture of a glass ornament covered in glass jewels in my favorite site, Pinterest, and knew I could make them.

I picked up some glass ornaments at the craft store, got out my glue gun and set to work!  

Overall I'm happy how it came out and I'll likely make a couple more.  However, this is not an ornament for a weak tree branch and the little silver topper isn't very sturdy so I think having these on a shelf is safer!

In the background of the second picture you can partially see another Christmas craft I'm working on!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You're not a dog!

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How many of us automatically think about food when we think about celebrations?  Need to celebrate something?  Go out to dinner!  Miss your friends?  Meet them for happy hour.  So much of our lives revolve around food.  It's normal, obviously we need to eat.  However, I know I need to remind myself every now and then that food should not be a reward.  If I could only get it through my skull that food should only be looked at as fuel for your body instead of something to take pleasure in dieting would be a lot easier.

I've been back on the treadmill this week, Monday and Tuesday so far.  It has been easier with the time change so it's not pitch black out at 6am now.

There may also be talk of another get together with my internet friends next year with a race as the focal point and I'd like to be able to participate in the 5k if it happens.  Even if it doesn't happen, it's a good goal to work towards.  I certainly know I could walk a 5k, but it would be great if I could actually jog/run it.  We'll see!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Off the wagon

In all honesty, I've been very terrible about exercising since the Boston trip.  For the past two and a half weeks I haven't exercised at all.  It has been a combination of a cold, a busy Halloween schedule and being lazy.  Really there isn't any valid excuse.

The good news is that I haven't gained any weight back.  I am down 12.2 pounds, but I know I need to get back on the treadmill if I want to see any more off (which I do).

In the effort of full disclosure, I'm putting it out there.  Trying to hold myself accountable to the internet world.  Sometimes you just need that extra kick in the pants to get back on track.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

94. Make a travel map

Remember waaaaay back when I put up my list of 101 things to do?  Well we haven't forgotten about it, but we definitely are behind schedule!

However, one thing I wanted to post about was making our travel map.

I've been wanting to make one for years since I saw this post.  However, that map just isn't my style so I kind of put it off.  Until I saw this post.  Pretty much perfect and (I have to admit) I totally copied it.

Without further adieu, here is our map.  We clearly need to travel a little more!

We're only putting pins for trips that we've taken together, so business trips etc won't clutter up the map.  Also, once we have kids we plan on using a different color pin for trips we'll take with the kiddos.

It was a really fun project and I love having it finished and on the wall (finally).  Anyone else made a travel map?

Boston Getaway

I've disappeared again!

Just when life seems mundane and normal, it gets fun!

This weekend was all about fun.  I've mentioned my 'message board friends' on the blog before.  They are a bunch of fabulous ladies that I met while planning our wedding.  There are a lot that I've been fortunate enough to meet and we live close enough to get together every now and then.  But this weekend I was lucky to meet two more awesome friends from Wisconsin and Maryland.

We did a ton of walking, so that was good.  But, we also didn't eat that great.  All in all, the scale wasn't too mean when I got on it so I'm confident I can get back to my schedule soon.

Tonight I'll be doing my exercising as it was impossible to wake up this morning.  After not having to get up early for five days the 6am alarm was just too much.  Luckily, I know I have plenty of time this evening to get a walk in.

The other big thing that's going on is it's Halloween season.  If you know me and my family, you know that's the most important holiday!  My parents go a little crazy with decorating and entertaining, but we really enjoy it.  I'm in the process of working out a costume right now, time is running short!

Anyway, hopefully soon I'll be back to regular blogging!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Where have I been?

Seems I took a little break from blogging.

As a follow up, I did get on the treadmill last Thursday night.  Since then I'm back on my morning routine and things are going great.

In fun news, I've got a girls weekend in Boston coming up this weekend that I'm very excited for.

In the meantime, here's a little something to keep you focused!

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nobody's perfect...

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Nobody's perfect, and if they are?  I don't want to meet them.

This morning I was awake from about 3:30-6:00am.  Right around the time I normally get on the treadmill I fell into a deep sleep.  I reset my alarm for 6:30.  But I was still sleeping so amazingly I didn't want to get up.  So I didn't.  I knew that in order to get through the workday today (which is proving to be a struggle) I needed that extra sleep.

I know that one day does not make or break your fitness routine.  But I'm going to get on the treadmill when I get home tonight.  There's nothing stopping me from exercising tonight, so mentally I feel like I need to do it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

This picture reminds me of my economics classes...

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So true.  The greater the effort, the greater the results.  I like the visual.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Even when you don't want to...

I won't lie.  I was not planning on working out this morning.

I had a rough night of sleep and at 2am when I was laying in bed awake with sore feet, I convinced myself that I'd just turn off my alarm at 6am and enjoy an extra hour of sleep.

Well, 6am rolled around and I picked up my phone to shut off my alarm.  I got out of bed and was already dressed in exercise clothes before I remembered what I told myself in the middle of the night.

I was thiiiiiis close to getting back in bed, but I didn't.  I figured I'd start walking and see how I felt.  Honestly?  I felt fine.  I wasn't as tired as I thought I would be in the middle of the night.  My feet didn't hurt.  I was fine.  I walked for 30 minutes and was pretty proud of myself for getting up, even when I really didn't want to.

I think that's the biggest factor.  Doing what you know you need to, even when you don't want to.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Lifestyle Change

I'm finding a lot of inspirational quotes on Pinterest that definitely apply to me.  I want to share them to remind myself and to also possibly help and inspire someone else.

Anyone that has ever lost weight on a diet and then gained it back knows that this is true.

In 2004 I lost almost 40 pounds on Weight Watchers.  Sadly, I didn't treat it as a lifestyle change, but a diet.  Once I was happy with my weight, I gained it all (and more) back.

Why did the program stop working for me?  Let me correct that question.  Why did I stop working the program?

I believe that for a lot of people Weight Watchers can be a sustainable lifestyle.  You eat 'real' food as opposed to 'plan' food.  The program teaches healthy living tips and tools.  What you can't do is go back to how you were eating before once you're at a happy weight.

That was my mistake...I went back to my prior ways that made me overweight in the first place.  This is not to say that you can never have that treat again, you can.  In fact, you moderation.

I feel like this time around I'm making the changes that will be sustainable life changes.  I'm not looking for the 'get thin quick' plan.  I know this isn't going to be quick or easy, but with the proper tools and planning it can be forever.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Making motivation be a habit

I really like this saying.  This is what I'm trying to achieve.  Right now I'm operating on motivation.  Motivation to look better.  Motivation to feel better.  Motivation to be stronger.  Motivation to lose weight.  Motivation to wear those smaller jeans taunting me in my closet.

I need this motivation to become a habit.  I'm working on it!

Friday, September 30, 2011


A week or so ago I saw this on Pinterest** and it really struck me.  For so many years now I have been that person on the couch.

I work 50+ hours a week at a desk job.  After work, I would go home each night and flop down in front of the TV with my laptop and stay there until it was time for bed.  There was

So when I saw this picture I realized that no matter what form of exercise I added to my daily routine it was going to be more than I had been doing.

My routine for the past two weeks has been to get up at 6am and get immediately on the treadmill.  I make sure I have my workout clothes and sneakers laid out upstairs before I go to bed so I have no excuses.  Although 6am seems so early to me (I don't leave for work until 8am), it's good for me to get up and get motivated.  I walk for 30 minutes and then shower and leisurely get ready for work.  My goal with getting up so early is that when I'm ready to up my walk time to 45 minutes or an hour I won't have to get up any earlier.

So I figure 30 minutes every day is a heck of a lot more than I was doing before, and that's a good thing.

**Pinterest is an amazing site where you can 'pin' various pictures you find online onto your profile.  It's easier than downloading or bookmarking all the neat things you come across daily while browsing.  If your interested, you can follow me here!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Goal...and going public

The saying "fat and happy" really applies to me.  I've never been happier in my life.  I have an amazing husband and we have a great marriage.  I love my house.  Even my job isn't terrible these days.

But one thing that really isn't great is I've put on a lot of weight.  I've debated about 'going public' with my efforts to lose weight.  There are the definite pros (the support).  There are also the cons (admitting to everyone you have a problem).

However, the pros outweighed the cons.  Not to mention that if you know me 'in real life' then you already know I need to lose weight.  Just putting that out there!

So I'm starting to make some life changes.  I'm not talking about a diet, because diets don't work.  The changes I need to make are true lifestyle changes.  A couple of weeks ago we bought a used treadmill and I've been getting up to walk each morning.  I've also started paying a lot closer attention to what I eat and tracking it on the livestrong app on my phone.  

There are the obvious benefits of looking and feeling better, but I'm also concerned about health risks.  I turned 33 this year and I'm not getting any younger.  The other major factor is we'd love to have a baby, but it's not healthy for me (or the baby) to get pregnant while I'm this overweight.

So there it is.  There's my big dirty secret that I'm ready to change.

For a little bit of inspiration I want to post a picture of me from May of 2007.  I wasn't thin here, but I was pretty happy with how I looked.  In fact, this was taken in Washington DC, the day after Pat proposed.  I was a very happy girl!

I hope you'll join me on my journey!

Monday, September 26, 2011

What's three years?

What can you say about three years?  It seems like yesterday, and yet it seems as though we've been married forever.

I'm having a hard time finding something to write.  I've written multiple sentences just now and deleted them.  None of them seem just 'right'.

Is three years a long time?  Certainly not.  Then kind of is.  It's not a 'big' anniversary like the first one was, or what I imagine the fifth, tenth etc will be like.

We're definitely not making a big deal of it, but I certainly didn't want it to pass by unrecognized here.

So here's to a very happy third anniversary (tomorrow, 9/27) to my amazing husband.  I love you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Hubby!

I love you!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hello September!

September is my favorite month of the year. I love the crisp, cool air. I love the smells of fall. I love when the trees change color. I love apples. I love sweaters. I love fairs. I love everything about fall.
This September we'll be working on our new project. Restoring an old 1972 pinball machine. We bought it on Saturday and it's in really great shape, however it didn't do much when we plugged it in. Luckily my father has restored a 1965 machine by the same maufacturer (Gottlieb) so he stopped by this morning to get us started. Sure enough, he got it running for us!
Now, it still needs some rehab and some work, but I'm a lot more confident that we'll be able to get this back in 100% working order. I am so excited, I've always loved pinball (grew up having one) and now we'll have one of our own!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I have an addiction...

to office supplies.
I was sitting here at work staring at the huge stack of invoices sitting in front of me that needed my approval. I picked up my pen and immediately knew that this just wasn't happening. I needed a new pen.
I think it's the change in the air that makes me want to stock up on new pens and pencils.
I hopped in the car and headed over to Staples where there were tons of mothers and kids stocking up for the school year. Oh how I miss a fresh new notebook to write in.
Anyway, back to office supplies. I'm probably a pen snob, but I'm ok with that. When you sit at a desk all day it's the little things that make the time go by.
I've recently fallen in love with Pentel pens (specifically their EnerGel line). I have them in blue and purple and they are great pens.
Since I love them, I also got their silver and gold pens. They're ok, not as good as the EnerGel line. I was also intrigued by a Sharpie pencil. I love a good pencil and had high hopes for these. They disappointed. My only compliment is that they erase very, very well. If you're not a pencil snob, you may like them.
So now I'm back to work, ready to tackle this stack of invoies with my new silver Pentel pen in hand.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Burlington, Vermont

When I was in public accounting I had a few clients in Burlington and it was one of my favorite places to go to. I loved the atmosphere and thought it would be a great location to go back and visit when I wasn't working.

This summer has been very busy and Pat and I found ourselves in need of some time away. We debated about where to go and my friend Mary suggested going to Vermont. It was the perfect suggestion and just the right distance away.

So, we both took off a Friday from work and headed up. Burlington didn't disappoint. They were having their annual "Festival of Fools" that weekend so there were a lot of street performers downtown to entertain us. I really enjoyed them. I was also able to go back to my favorite restaurant, Sweet Tomatoes (a must if you're in Burlington). We ate outside on Church Street since it was such a gorgeous night and it couldn't have been more perfect.

The getaway was just what we needed to recharge and Burlington is a city we'll definitely be back to visit.

(Pictures to follow, someday)!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Project Farmer's Porch...complete

We couldn't be happier with the transformation!

A little side by side comparison. The changes were the new porch (obviously) and a new door and new double upstairs windows. I'm so glad we did all of this.

Here's a better picture of just the 'after':

Monday, July 25, 2011

More updates!

This is going to be a very picture heavy post (aren't they all lately?). We're almost done, just a little bit of finish work left to do! I am so so so happy with everything. I couldn't be happier with the transformation!

Here the slats have been installed:

The ceiling is also in!

The new door is installed!

The posts are wrapped and the upstairs window is cut out.

Ceiling fan installed

New ceiling lights and house lights

Craft room ready for the double windows

Window is in!

Double windows installed, siding and shutters back on!

Door hardware

Such a transformation!!

Almost done, here's what's left (about two more days):

Two sets of stairs
Siding on side of porch roof
Shutters put back on

Monday, July 18, 2011

More updates!

I am so amazed at the transformation the house has taken on with the addition of the front porch. It seriously feels like a different place to me. We've gone back and forth lately on the upright posts and the railings and I'm not sure we've fully decided on anything, but I know at least these are issues that can be dealt with down the road.

The problem is we don't love the feeling of the white pvc type banisters. We both love the feel of real wood, it's just so much more sturdy and feels 'real'. BUT...I love the look of what banisters. I just feel undecided and I've been very good at making decisions regarding the porch.

Anyway, here are some new pictures:

At this point I think here is what's left:

Finish the decking
Two sets of stairs
Put in ceiling
Finish lighting
Install ceiling fan
Replace siding on house
Siding on side of porch roof
Install new front door
Install new double window upstairs

I'm probably missing a few things, but we're SO happy with everything and we've really enjoyed watching it come together!