Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 2 of Early Shut Down & Some Green Cleaning

Hey everyone! So I am just stopping in fast to let you know how I'm doing with the whole turning off the computer by 10pm deal. So far day one (yesterday) was a bit rough. Since Frank doesn't get home until late I am usually trying to occupy myself until he gets home. Last night I was on the computer and looked down at the time only to gasp! It was already 10:18pm. Fail.

But, I have to say that it was not a complete failure. It just proved how used to being on the computer late at night I am. Also, as it usually tends to go, when you make a mistake you regret, you remember it better the next time around. It is now 9:48 and I fully intend on shutting down my computer by 10pm. At least I am more aware right?

Anyway quick sharing time. Today I was browsing on Pinterest for some cleaning tips before I was about to clean my house and found this little gem. Basically you should read it. It explains how incredibly dangerous and harmful cleaning products are. As I was reading I realized that I own more than a few. So I looked up alternatives, as it suggested. I found these:

At least there are alternatives! And as the article mentioned, people had clean houses before they started to commercialize cleaning products...soo why the need to make things so complicated and quite frankly, so expensive and even dangerous.

Tonight I bought 2 24oz spray bottles from the dollar store, baking soda and vinegar. I made one of the suggested all-purpose cleaners and cleaned both my bathrooms and kitchen with it.

All-Purpose Cleaner:
1 part water
1 part vinegar

Then I used the one suggestion to put 1 cup baking soda in the toilet, let sit for 1 hour, and flush to erase odor and clean the bowl.

I challenge you to check out these links...especially the first one and be mindful of the products that we use on a daily basis. Not everything that is sold is actually safe.

And with that, I'm out! Have a fantastic night!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Early Shut-Down

This will be a quick post as it is already 10:06pm. I decided today after working on scheduling my week out that although a majority of the time I spend on the computer I am being productive, I am finding myself on the computer late at night out of sheer boredom. (having a husband who doesn't get home from work until almost midnight doesn't help, but it's not an excuse either) ... (oh, and did I mention I don't have a TV? Still not an excuse.)

I read somewhere--forgive me as I cannot remember for the life of me where I heard it--that this person was going to shut down her computer completely, for the night, no exceptions, at 8pm. When I read this the horrible reaction I had was honestly, "I could never do that!" The more it set in, I realized just how awful my response was. Today, we rely on computers for everything. I mean think about it. Everything. Recipes, directions, communication, school work, reading, shopping, etc. These are all good things, but when we begin to rely too much on these things and forget the simple pleasures in life such as reading a good book, drinking a glass of wine, or taking a walk, that's when it becomes a problem.

I'll admit it's been a bit of an adjustment being alone in the house for the majority of the day since Frank works evenings. I get lonely. The problem is not that I get lonely. I mean I live in the woods far from friends and most family and without a TV or even a DVD player at the moment. The problem is that I rely too much on technology to keep myself company. Instead I could be using my time more wisely.

SO, all of that to say. I'm challenging myself to begin to do the "early shut-down". Eventually the goal will be to shut down the computer before dinner. For now, I need to start with 10pm. If I can do that, then each week or two I will make it earlier and earlier until I reach my goal.

Here are a few things I want to fill that time with:

Reading books (not school books)
Reading the Bible

Source: via Brittany on Pinterest

Anyone out there with me on this challenge? Anyone already good at doing this? I'd love to hear your tips/thoughts.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I love Lamps

So, as I mentioned on this week's Wednesday Wish List, one of the items we have been needing to buy are lamps. But, lamps are expensive, and since we have been living at my grandmother's house where there are lamps available, it was not a priority. Until...I saw these at Marshall's yesterday while shopping with my mom.

They were marked down from $55 to $29.99! The base is sea foam green and the shades are a sandy color. The bases are ceramic and just so unique aren't they? I was with my mom and wasn't sure if the Husband would like them or not so I just snagged them and brought them home to see if they'd even match our blue & sea foam green blanket or not.

They worked! And the husband said they were okay! I love them.
Excuse the fact that our pillows don't match our blanket AT ALL. Our normal comforter matches the pillows but since it's so hot lately we're using a summer blanket that doesn't really match the pillows super well. 

Notice the adorable baskets I got from Target on sale.

I also have been recently getting into yard sales/ flea markets lately. Like I mentioned in my post about Baltimore, I picked up these great blue tinted mason jars (totally my new obsession).

I put some freshly cut hydrangeas from the yard in one and an aqua candle in the other and clustered them on a table in our dining room area.

I just love the color and the fact that they were $7 for all three! (people were selling them for $5 a piece) I also found a few other items around the basement and house today as I was cleaning/rearranging things. I want to use them in some decorating, but still in the brainstorming phase.

This milk jug is just adorable. And that white vase was from my bedroom about 5 years ago. The tray I got at my bridal shower, but I haven't figured out yet how to display it.

This chair is perfect. It was in one of the guest bedrooms and is a light aqua blue (that color again!). It needs to be repaired a bit as you can see, but it has so much character!

And this clock was given to me. It was my grandmother's. I'm not sure where to put it but right now I'm thinking on a bookcase stacked on top of some books or somewhere in the guest room.

Any suggestions?? Hopefully I'll find a home for these things soon....among many other things lying around our house at the moment...

What did you do this Saturday?

Greek Chicken and Oven Roasted Red Potatoes

So, as you all know, I'm working on my cooking skills. I'm not capable of doing anything fancy and I had chicken defrosted to make a rosemary chicken dish realizing that I forgot to pick up rosemary at the supermarket. So, I had to quickly come up with something I could put together in about an hour so that the husband had something to eat before his horrible 2-11pm shift at work. I flipped through a cookbook my grandmother had laying around on her cookbook shelf and tweaked a few things to make this recipe:

Greek Marinated Grilled Chicken (I didn't grill mine since we don't have a grill)

1 cup MIRACLE WHIP dressing (I used a bit less)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (I used dried and it tasted fine)
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth (I used Colavita white wine)
1 lemon, sliced and halved (I used half a lemon)
2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 (2 1/2-3 pound) broiler-fryers, cut up (I just used 4 boneless chicken breasts)

First, I combined all of the ingredients for the marinade (everything but the chicken) in a bowl and mixed it well.

Then, I carefully emptied the marinade into a zip-lock bag with the 4 chicken breasts. I made sure it was zipped well and got as much air out as I could. Then, I massaged the chicken well with the marinade and stuck it in the fridge to sit. The recipe said at least 20 minutes. I did about 30 while I worked on the potatoes.

Roasted Red Potatoes:
I used about 6 or 7 small red potatoes (it was good for about 4 servings) cut into about 1-inch pieces
dried parsley
dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil

First I washed and cut all of my potatoes. Then, in a bowl, I drizzled the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkled some parlsey, oregano, salt & pepper and mixed a bit to make sure the potatoes were all evenly covered.

I set the oven to 400 degrees and spread my potatoes onto a non-stick cookie sheet. I made sure that they were evenly spread out and tried to make sure they weren't touching.

Then, I stuck them in the oven for about 20 minutes checking them every so often and using a spatula to move them around to make sure they were evenly cooked.

About half way through cooking the potatoes I took my chicken out. I put a bit of olive oil and about a tsp or 2 of minced garlic on my non-stick frying pan. Then, with tongs I took my marinaded chicken breasts out of the zip-lock bag and threw out the excess left in the bag. The chicken will be thinly coated in the marinade which will then be cooked into the chicken making in possible to brown it a bit. Yum!

I cooked the chicken on high for about 10-12 minutes until they were lightly browned.

Then, I took out my potatoes and voila! A delicious meal and leftovers. The Husband said he loved it. The marinade had a delicious flavor and made the chicken very moist. This is a recipe I will definitely use again!

Recipe for chicken marinade from 100 Best Chicken Recipes. (can be found at

Baltimore mini-vacation

So last weekend the Husband and I took my parents for a trip to Baltimore mostly because my dad is a huge Orioles fan and we wanted to treat him to a game at Camden Yards. So off we went on some of the hottest days of the summer!
We spent the day in the Inner Harbor. Ducking in and out of air-conditioned locations (obviously). But first we went to eat at a great Irish pub that had an excellent view of the harbor from the balcony where we ate. And my mom absolutely loved her Maryland crab cakes!
the mom with her crab cake sandwich

the husband and I

the harbor
Then, we went on a tour of two of the four historical boats they had in the harbor. First the submarine...

And then the huge battle ship...

After we finished touring the harbor, we headed off to the Orioles game where my Dad had a blast watching his team...well, not win, but play hard! And he even got a signature by a man named 'Boog' who apparently used to be on the Orioles team when they went to the world series...a while ago.

Oh! And I forgot. As some of you may know from  previous posts, the Husband and I love love love lighthouses. We have seen a great deal of them and hope to someday make it a hobby to see as many as we can. While we were at the Inner Harbor we got to tour a really unique lighthouse which made us both super happy and rekindled our love for lighthouses. Hopefully we will be able to tour more soon!

It was an exceptional day followed by a relaxing Sunday in York, PA where I made a fantastic purchase at a flea market we found (more details in a future post) and Lancaster, PA where we visited one of my favorite restaurants in Lancaster, Lancaster Dispensing Company. We also briefly visited some friends in Lancaster which was great! Overall, it was a great weekend!

Next time, I'll explain a bit more about my purchase in York as well as a surprise purchase the Husband and I are super excited about!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I wish I liked coffee

So remember back before the wedding how I was so determined to get into shape? Well, I can tell you before the wedding I was in decent shape. Not the best I've been in, but decent enough. Now? Horrible. To be honest, I hadn't worked out one minute since the week before the wedding...until this week.

Let me tell you one thing about my husband. He is a complete morning person. And when I say morning person, I mean that person that wakes up as soon as the sun is up (what does that look like again?) at 6am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And...completely and totally aggravating to someone like me who is NOT a morning person.

Source: via Elyse on Pinterest

He honestly gets so much done. He gets up and cleans the house, does the bills, makes me breakfast (I wish...that hasn't actually happened yet), and does silly things like...goes running at 7am. 7am.

Source: via Muge on Pinterest

This has all been incredibly frustrating for someone who NEVER and I repeat, NEVER, wakes up the first time the alarm goes off. I'm that kind of person that morning people hate. The kind that sets the alarm 30 mins before I actually get up so that I trick myself into thinking that I'm sleeping in by pressing the snooze button about a billion times. (like 3x...or 4). It also takes me about 5 whole minutes to slowly get my eyes used to the light most likely resulting in me looking like I have two little slits for eyeballs for the first few minutes. This is my life.

Source: via Leigh on Pinterest

However, even having said all that, this week, something changed. I began waking up exactly at 8am. It's not 7am by any means. But still, 8am is pretty good for someone like me. To make things worse. I woke up at 8am and actually, wait for it...went for a run. A run at 8am. gasp. I know.

Part of this is because the husband has signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon in November and has been hard at work running 5 days a week to get ready for it. He asked me to help motivate him and push him. Being that motivating someone is pretty much impossible to do while snoring and hiding under a pillow...I figured maybe I could try to compromise with 8am even just a few mornings a week. So, this week I began my own little training.

I wanted to see if I could accomplish some of my own goals while helping to motivate him. So, this is what I did today. Found this workout on Pinterest, but adjusted it to more of what I'm capable of doing now. Eventually I hope to make it more challenging as I can do more and more.

1 lap around the track jogging
12 push-ups
50 crunches
25 side crunches (each side)

1 lap around the track jogging
10 push-ups
25 crunches
25 side crunches (each side)

1 lap around the track jogging
1 lap around the track jogging straight ways & walking corners
10 push-ups
25 crunches
15 side crunches (each side)

I plan to do this work-out instead of just plain running/walking like I have before since it gives my lungs a little breather in between running and also gives me a chance to get some core exercises in. Also, I hope that if I do it once a week I can eventually turn the running into 1 mile, 1/2 mile, 1/2 mile. We'll shall see...

Maybe I should learn to like coffee?...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Little Details: Sentimental Touches

So last time I talked about our wedding details I shared with you our stationary done beautifully by my mom! And I promised a post shortly after about some of the sentimental things I did to add some personal touches to our wedding. Here are a few:

1. Something Old. I wanted to incorporate something from my Mom as well as both my grandmothers in the wedding so the old saying which I'm sure you've heard before many times...something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...was the perfect opportunity to do so!

The Something(s) Old was a beautiful brooch from my one grandmother and the beautiful silk handkerchief you can see in the second picture. Both were attached to my bouquet.
Photo Courtesy of Kara Loomis Photography

Photo Courtesy of Kara Loomis Photography
2. Something Borrowed. I had originally had something else in mind for this item. I wanted so badly to wear my mom's veil for my wedding, but unfortunately I thought of this too late and picked a dress that was far too ivory for the veil that was preserved SO well by my grandmother. Apparently using blue tissue paper does the trick and man was that veil still white! So, instead, my mom let me wear a gorgeous necklace that was very special. Apparently on my grandmother's wedding day her mother gave it to her (my great-grandmother) and so on my mom's wedding day my grandma gave it to her. So, on my wedding day I got to wear it. So special!
Photo Courtesy of Kara Loomis Photography

Photo Courtesy of Kara Loomis Photography
3. Just to finish this theme even though it doesn't quite fit with the something blue was ofcourse those pretty blue shoes above this line. And, my something new were these gorgeous earrings my Dad bought me :)
Photo Courtesy of Kara Loomis Photography
4. Wedding Photos. This sentimental touch was especially important since my grandparents on my mom's side have both passed away as well as my grandfather on my dad's side. I was really upset that they couldn't be there for my wedding and began to miss them even more than I normally do. I wanted to do something special to honor them. So, to do that, we asked each set of grandparents for a wedding photo and framed them with a card with their name and the date they married to display on the favor table (and later on the gift table). The cards were supposed to lay in front of the photos not tucked into the frame, but the people in charge of setting things up messed up that one. Oh get the idea.
Photo Courtesy of Kara Loomis Photography

Photo Courtesy of Kara Loomis Photography

Photo Courtesy of Kara Loomis Photography
5. We also played music from cassette tapes we had of my grandfather playing jazz music from when he was in a band called The Melody Men. I don't have a picture of it, but we had a photo displayed with him holding his alto sax with a big smile on his face.

There you have it! My sentimental touches. They were not that hard to incorporate, but definitely took a bit of extra thought. I'm glad I did though, because it made the wedding just that much more personal.

Happy Wednesday!