Sunday, June 30, 2013

30-Day Challenge Results!

I did it!  The June 30-Day Challenge is OVER!!!  I have squatted and pushed myself through the whole month!  I must say, it feels good!!!!!  I am super excited that I was able to actually finish this.  I did miss a day or two and had to make that up with a couple morning and night sets, but I did.  Will admit that I was hoping for better results, but I am not going to complain.  I am going to work HARDER!

                                     June 1st                                               June 30th
                               Waist 28 inches                                   Waist 30 inches   
                               Hips 37 6/8 inches                               Hips 37 6/8 inches
                               Thighs 22 1/2 inches                           Thighs 22 inches
                               Arm 11 1/2 inches                               Arm 11 1/2 inches
                               Bust 34 inches                                     Bust 34 inches
                                                          Beginning weight 136 pounds
                                                          Ending weight       131 pounds   
Same pair of jeans with an extra few days in the sun :)  I have to say that when I took my measurements today that I was in shock when my waist had grown by two whole inches!!  Yikes!!!  Then I remembered.....mother nature is about to make a visit.  So the bloating should be gone in few days I am going to remeasure.

I do notice that the jeans do not feel as tight and I have less lappage.  I am also feeling more tones!  I am loving this.  No big results, but I did make progress and that was enough to keep me motivated.  You can find all my before pictures here
Starting tomorrow....I will be posting a new 30-Day Challenge for July.  I am super stoked to get started on this.  Oh, and it is even more challenging!  There will be cardio...nothing too drastic but enough to get that heart pumping.
BE sure to check back tomorrow, I will be posting a calendar of the new challenge!  I would love for you to join in on the challenge with me.  If you would like a copy of the calendar sent you just let me know and I can email you a copy.
So looking forward to seeing some more results in 30 days!


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Broccoli Salad

My mother makes the best Broccoli Salad out there, just saying! 
 No matter how many different recipes you try or how many restaurants you go to, no one ever seems to cook as well as our own mothers.  I love my mothers Broccoli Salad.  Its one of my favorite sides that she makes for grill outs.  With my sister coming up for a visit today, I figured it would be nice to make something that would make her feel a little bit more at home.  Its an easy peasy recipe ta boot!
Step 1:  You need about 6 cups of chopped Broccoli.  Clean and rinse prior to chopping.
Step 2:  Add 1/4 cup of diced Red Onion.  You can use which ever kind of onion you prefer, but we use the red.

Step 3:  Add 1/2 cup of chopped Walnuts.  I buy these pre packaged in the baking aisle.
Step 4:  (picture not shown)  Add 1 package of cooked and crumbled bacon.  Buy fresh, the bacon substitutes will not be the same!
Step 5: (picture not shown)  Add two cups of finely shredded mild Cheddar Cheese.

Step 6:  In a small bowl you will add 1 1/2 cups of Mayo, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and 1/2 cup of white sugar.  Wisk together and add to broccoli mix

Step 7:  Mix all ingredients together very well.  Cover and refrigerate over night for best results.
Today, I am serving this along side corn on the cob, baked beans, deviled eggs, grilled chicken (weather permitting) and white chocolate raspberry cheesecake! Recipes for the rest of todays menu soon to come!
Now time to get started on the rest and wait for my sister to get here! 
Home Stories A2Z

Friday, June 28, 2013

Link Party Questions??

I would like to start up a blog hop.  Does anyone have any suggestions on the best tools to use for this?     Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  Thankyou in advance!
Have a great weekend!

Make a House a Home....from Scratch! 8

If you have been following along, then you are probably familiar with this post title.   If not, then the title pretty much sums it up.  This is where I post all of the work that we have been doing on our home.  We bought the house six months ago in complete disarray.  We are doing all the work on it ourselves, with no budget to work from so we are only able to do things as we accumulate a little extra money here and there.
We hit a down spot for awhile (my husband has been layed off for the past two months, and still is)  but we have been trying to make some progress when we can.  He actually got started on the dining room this week.  This room has been put off for some time because the damage to the plaster was so extensive.  We are making it through though, one bucket at a time!

Below the chair rail there used to be wallpaper, and paint, and more wallpaper and plaster.....and several more layers upon layers of all the above! Can you imagine......50 years of layers!!!  And then, just like in the kitchen...more of the lovely black and green paint!
The baseboards were completely ripped out and vent covers were missing and/or damaged.  Im not really sure how you lose a vent cover or damage one that is on the wall above head level.....but apparently it is possible, previous owner proven!

I was so overwhelmed by this room I wasn't sure where to start.  So, I just plopped down on the floor and started ripping off the rest of the wallpaper that was still there.  This is gets old real quick let me tell ya!  But I did get it finished and the next step is left up to the hubby! 
More pictures to come, promise! 


Thursday, June 27, 2013

A June Wedding

Did you know that June has been the most popular month to hold a wedding, and has been for centuries??  Every year when June rolls around, I find that we always have a wedding to attend.  This year,  my oldest niece was married on the 15th, at a very young 18 years of age.  Hey, when your in love......right!
My own wedding was held in the month of June.  We just celebrated our anniversary last week actually!  We went and had dinner at Texas Roadhouse and then to see World War Z.  Oh, and by the way.....the movie was awesome!! 
I wanted to share a few pictures with everyone from wedding.  It was a simple wedding but I will tell you, I have never been to a wedding where everything went so smoothly and perfect as this one!  Everyone  had a wonderful time! 

The Bridesmaids and Maid of Honor. 
The third from your left is the Maid of Honor, the brides sister, and my niece.  Such a pretty girl!
The Bride.
It was so hard to get a picture of her smiling because she cried the whole time she was at the alter.  Such sweet love!
The Cake!
I love weddings .......and this one was perfect!
Congratulations to the Mr. and Mrs.!!



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Looking Ahead

Oh,boy!  I have a super busy weekend coming up here at my little home!  My sister and her children will be coming back for another visit.  They will make the drive up on Saturday and leave Sunday evening.  Just a quick visit, but its a dual purpose one, lol. 

When I started the 30-Day Challenge on June 1st, she started doing it for the second time.  We took our measurements and weighed in.  This weekend, though a day early, we will be tallying up our progress and see just how far we have come.  I am excited!  I have worked hard this past month to stay on track with it, I had a few set backs but did pretty well otherwise.  I don't think that I have lost as much as I had hoped for but this is the beginning for me.  I plan on continuing with exercising and even try some diet changes as well.  I am looking forward to the day my goal is completed.

While she is here, I will be trying some new recipes for our Saturday night dinner.  I love experimenting with food and having company gives me the perfect opportunity to do so.  What will I be serving?  We will be having Grilled Chicken, but this will be an old recipe that my grandfather used to use.  Our sides will include broccoli salad, corn on the cob, baked beans and deviled eggs.  Nothing unsual and all of which I have had and made before but Im trying some new recipes for them.  For dessert, I plan on making a White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake!

A day at the lake, will also be taking place, weather permitting.  I love the little beachy lake we have by our house.  Its a great place for the kids to run out some energy, and for me to catch some sun! 

So, yes!  This is going to be a busy full weekend of spending time with my family!  I cant wait!

Boneless Chicken Thighs

Whenever we pick up a bucket of takeout  Fried Chicken, it always seems like the thighs are whats left in the bottom......just sitting there all lonely and unwanted.   What piece is the last to go at your house?
  I, myself, like chicken thighs.  They run pretty cheap at the store so I tend to stock up on them.  I have a few tried and trusted recipes that I use them for but the family is getting tired of them.  Since, I just stocked up last week, I figured I better get to looking for something new to try.
After a couple hours of searching, I think I have found some that my family would be willing to try!  Here are my top eight picks:

Nonna's Roasted Chicken Thighs from Stranded in Cleveland

Orange Chicken Delight found on

30 Minute Almond Chicken by Minute, found on

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo from Campbell's Kitchen

Grilled Chicken Adobo from

Spanish Chicken and Potato Roast from


General Tso's Chicken  from
Don't these all look so delicious???  I can not wait to break one of these dishes out and see if my family approves!  I may even get some out of the freezer and start on this list tomorrow. 
What dishes have you created using boneless chicken thighs? 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Come join the Hop!!

Come link up and join the hop!!!
It is always nice to meet new people and find new and exciting blogs! 

My Green Thumb 3

Summer has definitely came in with blast..........a heat blast that is!  I am so glad that I got most of my gardening done already.  The thought of watering my plants with sweat does not sound too appealing right now! 
This little project took place last month.  I had already planted all my bulbs and anything that was previously planted had all started to come up. This side of the house was lacking when compared to the others.  Sure it had the row of Hostas and the Snowball bush (which needs some serious  trimming) but it is a deep space and just seemed empty to me.

I wasn't quite sure what to do here really.  So, I headed to Lowes and picked up some flowers to get me started.  I wasn't familiar with the flowers I bought but they all said that they would attract butterflies (which I love)  So I grabbed up a handful and went with it!

Loving the color that it added!  They are perennials so hoping that they take well and produce better next year.  Gotta start from somewhere, right?
We also still had a small pile of creek rock laying around, so I threw some of those in there for walking stones.  They have came in pretty handy when its been time for weeding.  I also liked it because it separated the Hostas from my newly forming Butterfly Garden.

My Green Thumb is continuing to sprout and maybe one day I can get the weeds to stop growing!  Until then......I will pick away!


Monday, June 24, 2013

My Little Pony Galore!

When I was little, I absolutely loved My Little Pony!  I had the pony dolls, castle and just about anything that you could imagine that they were printed on!  I was a total 80's child, and when I had my little girl, the ponys were making their way back into mainstream once again.  I can not tell you how excited I was about this.
When my daughters was transitioning over from her crib to toddler bed, I knew that I had to redo her room with........none other than the My Little Pony theme from my child hood.  I did some looking around and couldn't find bedding and such items that I was going to need to redo her room.  They had just started to release the toys on the shelves and suppose they weren't ready for my takeover yet!
This ladies and when I bought my first sewing machine!!  My great grandmother was a master quilter, and watching her all those years....I knew I could do!  So, I then started searching for fabric.  This they had!  I found the fabric on ebay.  There was a listing for a bundle of 12 yards, two different prints and I knew I had to have it.  By the way, this is a throwback post.....this all took place about 8 years ago...but I wanted to share.
My sewing machine didn't stop running for days.  I made her a quilt and several pillows.  Once I got going I couldn't stop..........I had sooooooo much of this fabric.  I recovered the glider in her room and made her a valance for her window.
This is a pretty bad picture, I had to pull this out of the photo album, I was digitalized yet! 
A few years later, when she started growing a mind of her own, she decided that she no longer wanted the ponys.......I was very sad to see them go.  The problem here, well.......I still had yards upon yards of this fabric left!  I was hoping to use it again to make her a quilt when she switched bed sizes again but that was now not going to happen.
I did manage to get lucky once.  About four years ago, I good friend of mine was pregnant with a girl!  Oh, here was my chance to finally get to use  up some more of this fabric. 
For her babyshower, I made her a quilt with the ponys!  She loved it!  And her little girl still uses it to this day. 
Ok, some more bad pictures.......I know......but these are throwbacks!
The problem I am now having, and the reason this post is being thrown out there, is that while cleaning out my stash.......I realized that I still have several yards of this fabric!  I have ran out of room to store anything new that I buy so I am trying to use up some of my supply.  This fabric must go!  My daughter wants nothing to do with it and no one I know is having little girls anytime soon.
So what do I do with it?  What would you do with it?  I would really like to make something out of it.  I thought about making a couple baby quilts and just storing them a way for quick gifts.  That doesn't get rid of my problem though.  I need to make space for new stuff and this idea would just be moving it from one spot to another, lol.  I guess if all else fails there is always ebay :(

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Creating Buttons

I did it!!!
I finally made my own buttons for the blog!  Ah...see you notice that new button tab up there....yep....that is where they are at.  Just click on the tab and you will find two buttons that are ready to be snagged up and shared!
I designed these myself using Photoshop CS5.  I used Image Shack to get my codes.  I also found this great tutorial over at Blogging with Amy that helped me put it all together and get them loaded up for everyone to use!  Her tut made it super easy!

Check them out!  This was my first attempt at designing my own buttons, they are not perfect, but I think I did a pretty good job.  Now time to get started customizing the rest!


Oriental Style Country Ribs & Fried Rice

I don't know why, but I love Chinese food!  Growing up my parents never once cooked it in our house, or got us take out from a restaurant, but for some reason......once I tried it for the first time....I was hooked!  We have this HUGE Chinese Buffet about 15  minutes from the house, and I try to get my husband to take me there atleast once a month.  I mean they have anything and everything you can imagine.  I, however, do not always get my way.  So, when I get a craving for the stuff and its not in our budget to go out, I try to whip up something myself!
A few weeks back while shopping at Jungle Jims (O.M.G.  if you don't live by one of these stores you are missing out, google will see why), we ventured into the Asian isles.  And this is what I found:
If you have ever been to a Chinese buffet and seen those bright red boneless ribs........this is what they use....well, atleast you can use this to create those!  I picked up a couple packs of it knowing that it would come in handy one day when the craving striked.  I liked the fact that it contained no MSG, and the ingredients on the back, well, lets just say I could pronounce every word!

Last week, I picked this little packet up for FREE....once I used the coupon I had.  Now, I have never made fried rice at home before, but it was a freebie,  and I needed something to go with the rib sauce I was hoarding in my cabinet.
Okay, so after hitting a small meat sale at Meijers I finally had accumulated enough ingredients to prepare me some of the yummy Chinese food I had been craving!  Since I had never worked with either of the seasoning packets before, this meal was going to be completely experimental.
This meal, though having few ingredients, was not a throw in the pan and call it done kind of dish.  Once the marinade was mixed up, the ribs had to be refrigerated in it for atleast four hours.  The longer it sat the redder it got!  My kids were starting to wonder if they were radioactive, lol.

When it came to making the Fried Rice, I had to cheat a bit.  The package called for two pieces of bacon, which I did not have, and scallions which not only was I lacking but my husband will not eat them.  I did have some bacon grease in the fridge that I was able to substitute.  That may have sounded funny and oh so unhealthy to some of you, but as far back as I can remember, my great grandmother always saved her bacon grease.  It ads great flavor when used and is very natural.  I also diced up some baby carrots that I had to add a little vegie to it.
The rice was a bit of a process too.  First you cook the rice as stated on package.  Then it needs to be refrigerated for atleast an hour.  You then proceed to the rest of the instructions on the packet.  While all of this is going on.....your ribs are still soaking!

When I placed the ribs in the oven, I veered away from the package instructions once more.  It called for a total of 40 minutes baking time at 350 degrees.  I cooked mine for 2 hours at 300, basting them with the left over marinade.

Voila!!!!!!!  Dinner is served!
Since I had never used either of these products before, I wasn't sure how it was all going to taste.  So, Im going to consider this  a product review.
The ribs turned out very nice and juicy, but were lacking in flavor.  When I prepare meat at my house, I add a lot of spice, and though this was marinated I found it to be rather bland.  Maybe I had too much meat to coat, or maybe its just me?  On the other hand, the rice was a complete success!  I will definitely be purchasing it again!  I may even add some snow peas and diced chicken and call that  a meal in its self!
Have you tried these products before?  Let me know what you think?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Google Reader....3 weeks left!

Don't forget that they are doing away with Google Reader!  There is only three weeks left to get your stuff switched over.
  I chose to go with Bloglovin..........and I love it!  They even have a mobile app so you can add it straight to your phone and read your favorite blogs anywhere!  I added the button on my right side tool bar, you are just a click away from staying connected with me!
If you need assistance in the switch over, here are some great links for how to do so:
Please read up, I would love to have you all stay connected with me!

Friday, June 21, 2013

An Extra Hour Please

Do you ever wish that there was more than 24 hours in a day, or more than 7 days in a week?  I know I surely do!  I work a 40 hr Monday-Friday 9-5 job and it really takes a toll on my home life.  My day starts at 5:30am and I get home from work at 5:45pm.  By time I get dinner fixed and dishes done its almost time for whole day is gone in the blink of an eye!  I know you shouldn't wish your life away, but I cant help but to hurry through the week to get to the weekends!  Seriously. this year is flying by and I feel like I have missed the whole thing.
My weekends are filled with playing catch up on everything! Laundry, housework, shopping and preparing for the week to come.  I feel like I never truly get a day of anyone feeling me here?
I started doing two challenges this month.  A 30-Day Challege for weightloss and a home organization challenge hosted by A Bowl Full of Lemons.  I have been keeping up really well with the exercising.  I did miss two days due to being out of town and having company over, but I have stuck with it and will be posting my results come the end of the month.  You can check at all my befores HERE.  The home organization, I am sad to say has not gone so smoothly.  The first week was the KITCHEN and I did really good with that one.  The second week was the garage, and I admit, I totally skipped this one!  Our garage is so full that the thought of touching it was so overwhelming, and I had no clue where to start.......or the money to put out for the bins and such that I was gonna need.  We were also out of town for a wedding so my town was very limited.  This week was the pantry.  We don't have a pantry, so I skipped this week also.  I do, however, have a shelving unit in the garage that I store extras on, so I may work on that this weekend.

My husband calls me a busy body, because I am always running around doing something!  Its not that I have to always be doing something, its just that there is always something that needs done!  He just doesn't understand what it really takes to make this life work.  We are on a strict budget so Im always couponing, and scouring the web for deals.......anything that will save us money...because honestly we don't have it to waste!  There is always laundry that needs done, or a floor to be swept.  These things just don't magically happen on there own.  He just seems to think I have OCD, lol.  No dear.......I am normal, I promise! 

Anyone have suggestions on how to create that extra hour in a day?  I would love to hear them?  I just feel like Im rushing through life and wasting away doing chores!  How do you work a full time job and still maintain a clean home?  How do you ever find the time to kick back and relax? A little help please? 

One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie Yours Mine and Ours........A house is made for expression not impression.  And this is said because the house is a mess in the movie!  I like the idea of it and I try to live that carefree way, but I just cant!  I want a clean house and still feel like Im not doing it to impress anyone.  Struggling here! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dry Cracked Heals Solution

Summer is my favorite season, for many reasons.  I love the warm weather, the kids are out of school, we get to eat BBQ......yum!,  and one of my favoritest things.......wearing flip flops or better yet....bare feet!!!!
The only problem is that walking around bare foot all the time does tremendous damage to heals.  My feet get dry and ashy, and my heals end up hard and cracked.  This can be a real problem, and unsightly at that! 
Sure I could go and spend $40.00 bucks on a pedicure, ah..........that sounds so nice.....but the only problem is.......Im broke! Lol!  No seriously, things like that are just not in my budget.  I maintain my toe polish myself and I do a pretty good job.  I have learned to file and paint like the pros and it has saved me tons of money that Im able to spend on things we really need.  I even have all the tools to maintain nice smooth heals, but for some matter how much buffing and products I use I can never get my heals to what they should be.
Until now!!
You see this little baby here!  Yeah, well this has been my miracle cure.  Im not brand specific, so that doesn't really matter here.  This just happened to be the bottle I already had at the house.  I had heard before that Tea Tree Oil is good at keeping Lice away, so I put a little bit in the kids shampoo, especially during school season.  Hey, you can never be too careful with things like that.
Back to the feet!  I have been rubbing this on my heals at night (just with my fingertips)  for the last few days.  I can already see a difference!  Hoping that after another good home pedicure that I can finally be rid of my problematic heals and feel confident that walking around barefoot is not going to be an issue no more!
Just a little advice, this worked for me. 
Home Stories A2Z

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Make a House a Home....from Scratch! 7

Busy, busy, busy........I have been such a busy bee lately!  For the past three weeks we have had so much going.  We have been out of town twice and had company over a few times as well.   I feel like have not had a chance to get anything done around the house.  I have made progress, but it just isn't coming along as fast as I would have liked and planned.
I chose the colors for the bathroom and my husband isn't so pleased.  Now what do I do?  Well, first of all let me tell you what all we have going on in here.  The bottom half of the walls are some sort of wainscoting.  Since the wall was separated I wanted to do two colors. (you can see my previous post with all the before pictures HERE )
The black trim had to go!  I had such a hard time covering it in the other rooms that in the bathroom, I kinda took the easy route and picked out a dark color.  I love earthy tones so I went with a chocolate brown.  I decided to paint the bottom half of the room this. It was such a dark color that I was afraid that if I painted the top half with it, it would darken the room too much.  And this is where my husband was not pleased.  Since the bottom was wood, he thought that it looked tacky brown because now it looked like fake wood, lol!  Well, it was already painted white before so wouldn't that have looked fake too?
Aside from his opinion, I did it anyways!  I kept having to convince him that once it was all finished an decorated that it would look good, and he would like it.  Once, I got the first coat on,  I started second guessing myself!  Oh, no!  Did I just make a huge mistake?  Was my husband actually right this time?  No, no, no........I was not giving in that easily.  I refused to give him the satisfaction of saying "I told you so"!! 

I put the second coat on, and I was feeling pretty satisfied with it!  The top we gave a fresh coat of white, and I was calling the  painting in this room done!  Now, I just needed to find the perfect pieces to tie the whole room together and show him that the brown was the right choice!
I found this canvas print at Lowes for like $12.00!  I absolutely love butterflies, and it had my browns in it!  My husband is a fan of the color blue, so when I seen this I knew that this was my color palette.  I found my inspiration!

I searched around the house to see what I could use in my bathroom before I did anymore shopping.  I found this old tea light holders.  I picked them up at the Dollar Tree some years back.  They haven't had a place in my home for quite sometime, but now they were being used again.  They even fit right in with my new butterfly picture.

To bring out the blue in the picture, I picked these window curtains up at Walmart.  They were around 10-15 bucks.  I had to buy two panels though so that brought my cost to double. They matched great though!  They are shiny!
After I started putting the room together, my husband was no longer able to say those dreaded words to me!  He actually liked it!  The room is on its way to being finished!  Woohoo!

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