Friday, November 19, 2010

The Headboard

You remember the headboard project right? 
Well you simply must click here to get all caught up.
Ok, now that you are familiar let's talk results!
These are not final results because I have yet to pick the perfect wedding pic to get a giant black and white print of so that I can frame it and hang it about the headboard, but it is in place.  At the head of the bed.  In the bedroom.  On the right track...

So here are the almost finished pictures....

The (hopefully) last bedroom project will be refinishing the side tables.  They are currently a dark stain and I'm really loving the white trim with the chocolate walls so I may do 'em up in some kind of white.  We'll see!

Additionally, we are finishing up the walls and doors for the laundry room.  I'll share pics as soon as there are full walls not just studs in place. 

What are you dong this weekend?  (Other than preparing for Thanksgiving feasting)

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Recipe! Black Bean Salad

Choc full of flavor and nutrition this salad makes a great meal on its own or along side tacos!  It's super easy to make and comes together super fast... Check it out ASAP!

2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of corn, drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small bunch of green onions, chopped
Juice of 1 lime

Mix all above beans and veggies together.  Drizzle mixture with lime juice, toss to coat.

Serve with homemade tortilla chips* as snack or appetizer or alongside your favorite Mexican dish as part of the main meal.

* I make homemade tortilla chips by cutting store bought corn tortillas into chip sizes pieces (think round pizza slices).  Lay them out on a cookie sheet, spray lightly with cooking spray and lightly salt.  Bake @ 400 degrees until slightly golden brown.

Enjoy this healthy meal and then enjoy how good you feel after the meal!

Cheers to "du-ing better" for our health!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Before and After- China Hutch

Over the summer I bought a sad looking china hutch from none other than CRAIGSLIST!!! 
Solid Maple= score!
Excellent Condition= arguable, but score!
I knew that I was going to be painting whatever I bought so I didn't really care if it needed a little love.  I also knew that I didn't want to spend alot of money especially if the piece was going to require some work. 
Here is the before pic....
I ask that you notice the awesome gold etching on the glass.  Who doesn't love some sweet gold criss crosses??!!  This girl that's who.  Needless to say those went bye-bye.  Easy as scraping off with a flat razor.  Next, I went over the whole thing with some sand paper to rough it up.  Then a coat of Killz primer followed by a coat of country white to freshen up the look.  I switched out the sad, dated hardware and re-hung the glass doors and VOILA!
A new to me hutch for the dining area!

Paint- $15
Hardware= $12
Total= $107

I'm cool with spending a hundred bucks on something that I am really happy with.  The whole project took a few hours to do.  Well worth it in my opinion!

Color Me Bad

What a title... A post about how color relates to your personality.  My maiden initials were BAD...  deep.
My favorite blog to follow (YHL) had a post about this silly color quiz.  At least I thought it was silly until I did it for myself and it came out sooooo right!

Follow this linkto figure out your own color profile.  Hogwash or Legit?  How did yours turn out?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

P90X- Week 3 recap

More of the same to report this week.  It is really hard to fit this program in with traveling...
Last night we subbed Cardio X for Kenpo to change things up a bit.  Oh. My. God.  I literally cannot think of another work out that made me so sweaty.  This wore me out!  I was toast by the end.  Like wobbly knees and seeing stars toast...
In a good way, though!  I really liked it.  It's a mix of yoga, plyometrics and Kenpo.  Went really fast too!  Today is supposed to be a break day but I think we may do X-Stretch because I don't have to teach yoga tonight.

Next week is recovery week.  Let me tell you, Tony's use of the word recovery is a bit misleading.  In my pea brain I like to think of recovery as long bubble baths, massages, pedicures, glasses of wine..... 
In Tony Horton's pea brain he thinks recover involves the hardest yoga EVER, Core Synergistics (OW!) and more stretching.

One of us is confused on the meaning of "recovery".  Which is it?  I'll give you one hint, it's not me!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu Planning

Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away!
Last year I didn't cook.
This year I am.  For what could be a whole big bunch of people.  If you are in the area, stop by!  We'll have plenty of grub to share.
Because I do not like failure, I am planning for this feast.  Not just daydreaming of all the food and drinks, but seriously planning.  Here's what my neurosis has come to:

Similar to an inspiration board, but not.
A PLANNING BOARD!  (Now re-read that phrase but in an announcer voice.  Way more fun, huh?!)
Starting at the top, we have your basic yeast rolls, painted with butter for sheen and buttery-ness.
Next, a glass of Frangelico liquor to take the edge off.  Two if the pie doesn't turn out right or the potatoes aren't cooking fast enough or I drop the cranberry sauce all over the floor, or let's face it, if I feel like having 2 glasses of Frangelico....
Stuffing.  Oh stuffing, how I love thee....  Simple.  Delicious.  From Martha.  'Nuff said.  (I substitute dried cranberries for the cherries)
Pumpkin Creme Pies.  Like the old fave oatmeal creme pies, but pumpkin.  And less processed.  My how C Diddy will love me! 
Sweet Potatoe Fries.  Because no one ever eats the mashed sweet potatoes and because I'm choosing the menu and I think these will be a SMASH!  I sprinkle mine with salt, pepper, and nutmeg then bake them @ 400 'til they are ready to eat or I am ready to eat them (whichever comes first).
Butter... in the shape of a turkey??!!  Don't mind if I do... if I can find this at the store.  I will not be carving butter.  There won't be time for such tom-foolery. 
Turkey.  Duh.  We are American. 
Green bean Casserole.  A non traditional version of the old cream of mushroom favorite.  By using fresh beans instead of canned there will be some bite to the dish.  Some crunch.  Mmmm.
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.  Duh.  We are American.
Cranberry Sauce.  I will most certainly have the awesome canned jellied cranberry sauce because it is bomb- diggy.  But for those more sophisticated tastes I am going to throw this bad boy together.  Looks delish!
Apple Pie.  I love to make Martha Stewart's traditional apple pie with her perfect pie crust.  I am also known to make fun cutouts for decorating the top of the pie.  Please note: I am no artist so don't get your hopes up. I did some little apples a few years ago.  Nothing too crazy.
Last, this wine has quickly become my favorite.  Despite the name "Sweet Red" it's not so sweet it tastes like juice.  It pairs well with everything!  The other night while using a bit of it to cook I poured myself a glass and added some frozen blueberries to chill it.  They infused the wine with a gorgeous flavor and made for a tasty treat once the wine was gone!  I do insist that you try this wine.  A- mazing!

How is your planning coming along?  Are you cooking or just eating?

End note: Barefoot Wine has no idea that there even is a Mrs. Dubetter.  They did not incent me to provide a raving review.  I did that all on my own.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

P90- Week 2 recap and a recipe

Photo Courtesy of Tony Horton, P90X
In a word: SLACKER!
While not a total failure, I'm pretty sure Tony Horton would not be pleased.  I'm also pretty sure that every time he says, "I know it hurts!  It's supposed to!", he's speaking directly to me.  As if to say, "Stop with the whining and crying and slacking!  Just work!"
I'm taking it very personal.  Probably because I know I didn't work as hard as I should/ could have. 
I skipped Friday, Sunday and Monday.  Oh god, I really want to delete that because that looks really bad in writing!
Whoa is me, I'm a slacker.
Ok, no more feeling sorry for myself.  Must get amped for Week 3!  Then week 4 is recovery week which means Core Synergistics and Yoga!  Yum!

Photo courtesy of P90X
 Ok, officially inspired. 
We've been doing really well with eating well.  I promise to post some delicious recipes soon.  Last night we had homemade Broccoli Cheese soup.  Followed by fat free cookies and cream frozedn yogurt.  Tonight is Chili!

Broccoli and Cheese Soup
Photo courtesy of Cooking Light
 Here is the recipe for the Broccoli Cheese Soup (or click here):
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (16-ounce) package broccoli florets
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces light processed cheese, cubed (such as Velveeta Light)

Heat a large nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and broccoli. Bring broccoli mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 minutes.
Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.
Place one-third of the soup in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed soup mixture to pan.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)

CALORIES 203 (28% from fat); FAT 6.3g (sat 4g, mono 1.8g, poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 15.6g; CARB 21.7g; FIBER 2.9g; CHOL 24mg; IRON 1.2mg; SODIUM 897mg; CALC 385mg;

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Riddle me this...

Ok so I might as well come clean so as not to disappoint...
No riddles.  Just questions.  But I do encourage you to read on because I just know you will have some comment or criticism to offer.  I know it!
1.  To Wii or not to Wii?  That is the (first) question.  I finally got the hubs to say, "Fine, you want a Wii, go get a Wii.  Go now.  Don't wait.  If you don't go buy one now you will next month so just go."  I didn't though.  Hence the question of whether or not to Wii.  I am currently slapping my palm against my forehead.  "Dummy, he just endorsed going out and spending money frivolously and you are sitting here!"  But I am the queen of buyers remorse.  I had buyers remorse for almost 6 months after I bought a flat screen 19" (mind you) TV.  FREAK!  Needless to say, a Wii costs a wii bit more, hahaha.  Will we use it?  Will it get old quick.  Will it measure up to my exceedingly high expectations?  Ok don't answer that last one, but answer the others will you and put me out of my misery.  I am obsessed with the possibility of owning a Wii.  Help me.
2.  Why is it that I find it so impossible to get motivated to work out?  I already noticed a difference after week 1 of P90X.  I even feel better after each workout.  But the past 3 days it has been torture.  I'm still doing them though so stay tuned for Week 2 update coming later this week.
3.  Why do I keep forgetting to take "before" pics of projects that I do.  For instance, yesterday I finally recovered a foot stool that I bought for $8 at a garage sale a few weeks ago.  [Side note: This fellow Bostonian that I feel like maybe I was BFF's with in a past life love garage sale tales.  I've only technically hung out with him 1 time.  But I think that he would agree it feels like a whole big bunch more than that.  But seriously he loves second hand items.]  Ok but back to the foot stool.  It was pretty ugly, with it's maroony floral pattern fabric.  I felt compelled to funk it out.  Up it's funk factor if you will.  So while you have no before to compare it to, here is the ultra funky after....
3.  Why did I think I would like the Women's Lifestyle Show?  Don't get me wrong, Mama Smith was GREAT company, but 98.999% of the women at this thing were a new kind of crazy.  I got elbowed and bumped more at this show than I did in the front row at the Incubus concert.  For real.  Also, the politicians were in full effect!  With their kids peddling their fliers.  Trust me when I say that I did not come to a womens show to get shmoozed by our local politicians snakes.  Don't get me wrong, Mama Smith's company was great and it wasn't all for nothing.  It began with a rare sighting of the below and ended with a bloody mary.

4.  Why don't men understand the infinite wonders that can be found in a KitchenAid stand mixer?  I mean this thing is the cadillac of mixers!  And, come on ladies, how freakin sweet are all the attachments??!!
5.  Finally, I really enjoyed the sunset last night.  We were outside after the boys had a long day outside on the property.  Hubby rented a Bobcat for the day... (only got it stuck once).  Just look at all that color!  I really try to never take for granted the fact that I can look out my windows and see this everyday.  I love my life.

Cheers to enjoying each day.  Taking the good with the bad and constantly striving to DuBetter!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Inspiration Board- Simple Charm

Project= basement
Timeline= Infinity
We are not technically/ officially starting the basement project.  We have one (more important) financial goal to fulfill before we start this.  I am just really excited/ ready to have a FANTASTIC (!) basement. 
I put together my first ever inspiration board as an outlet for all of my, "Wouldn't it be great if we did this!?", moments.

So, allow me to elaborate.... (don't mind if I do)

1.  This is the style of doors that I aim to install through out the entire house.  Simple charm.  That's the theme.  I think these doors fit the bill.  Classic 6 panel primed white.
2.  Inspiration for the furniture to put in the 4th bedroom/ home office.  Clean lines.  Classic white will be a nice contrast against the floors.  (more detail on those under #12.)
3.  Built in bookshelves and media storage.  We'll also be sinking a panel for mounting and wiring the tv and sound.
4.  I love these faux wood blinds!  I just hung some in the kitchen and they are really easy to work with and easy to clean!  My favorite thing about them is they mimic the look of plantation shutters at a fraction of the cost and no need to special order!  The white keeps the room bright while blocking out the blazing sun... it's like magic!
5.  The decor theme in the family room portion of the basement will be subtle Harley Davidson.  I love their vintage tin signs.  I'll DIY some throw pillows for the sofa and there you have it subtle Harley decor.
6.  Speaking of Vintage Harley tin signs... this is a picture of the first one that I ever acquired.  I picked it up while we were visiting the HD museum last year.
7.  The only other room in the basement other than the family room and 4th bedroom is the laundry room.  We want to have space available to install and toilet and sink at least so stackable washer and dryer would allow for that.  I love the pewter color of these.  So chic!  hmmmm.... chic and laundry, really Bek?
8.  This is almost identical to the sectional that we currently have the family room.  It's ok.  I don't hate it enough to replace so I'm guessing it will stay for the time being.
9.  I love the look of this piece.  I'd try to find something a tad larger so it could be used as a coffee table.  I'd make the legs a distressed black and let the top remain distressed wood.  l.o.v.e.
10.  I'm thinking something in this family of shades for wall color.  I think white trim against this color will look really sharp and the color will help to warm the basement and feel homey. 
11.  We currently have an old wood burner downstairs.  It's really great in the cold months.  The crackling of the fire and the heat pouring out of there.  It's dreamy!  But I hate the way that it looks.  It's small and old and not at all charming.  Wouldn't this just be lovely!?  Plenty of light, but it's an insert so it is more efficient than a regular firebox style.  That white mantle is gorge!  Which reminds me that I still need to post the headboard reveal....
12.  Here are the floors.  Magnificent.  We saw these in Home Depot a few months back.  There is no gluing or nailing involved in installing this floor.  The edges are almost like magnets, but not, and they just overlap to create a snug, secure fit.  No worries about continuing this floor into the bathroom/ laundry room.  It's WATERPROOF!  Check it out here.
13.  Finally, a utility sink that doesn't look like a utility sink.  Remember how I told you space was tight in the laundry/ bathroom?  Well how great to have a utility sink that you can also wash your hands in and not feel like you were washing your hands in a plastic rubbermaid tub?  I know, right.  SO great.

So I dream big.  I mentioned alot of DIYing in the above list of hopes and wishes.  So I'll contribute to the completion of all of this.  Right now it is concreteville, USA.  It's livable but it's not enviable. 

P.S.  Don't tell hubs that I already have this all planned out.  I told him we would arm wrestle for each choice that we had to make and if he won he could have it his way.  What I didn't tell him was that he has to have his arms tied behind his back for said arm wrestling matches.  You know what that means.... I WIN!!!!  Yay for me!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ow! aka P90X Week 1

Literally just completed the last workout in Week 1 of P90X.  Now many of you readers may recall that we've done the P90X 90 day program before.  We finished about 2 weeks before the wedding.  Once we got home from Jamaica... well, we'll just say there's a reason we are starting the cycle again...
Week 1 consists of:  Chest and Back + Ab Ripper, Plyometrics, Arms and Shoulders + Ab Ripper, Extreme Yoga, Legs and Back + Ab Ripper, Kenpo X.  The week completes with a rest day that can be substituted for the X Stretch workout. 
Already I feel thinner, leaner, stronger, healthier.  I don't have nearly the afternoon slump that I had been experiencing.  I really do feel the transformation happening.  I know that sounds cheesy and sickening.  It's really true.  I can't wait to be reminded of how it feels to complete month 1!
But back to week 1.  There were many days that I took the stairs a little slower.  Days that I walked a little stiffer.  And days that I didn't necessarily want to workout, but overall I think it was a successful week.  I am sore, but feel accomplished.
I've combined a list of my favorite things about Tony Horton and his crazy idea of fun, P90X:
Variety.  Every day it's something new.
Motivation.  Tony Horton is a complete cheese ball, but he really does a great job of keeping you motivated throughout the entire workout.
Fast Results.  Any workout that makes you feel like you are stronger and leaner instantly is a-ok in my book.
Achievable.  Each move has a variation that you can rely on early in the 90 days.  As you get stronger you can transition to the full move.
Feels good.  I'm not one those freaks that enjoys working out.  Every once in a blue moon I crave a workout, but this is definitely not the norm.  Each and every workout that Tony has you do makes you feel like a super hero upon completion.  Pretty sweet.  Now if only the workouts could be done with a cape on...
I am really excited to continue through this journey and will certainly chronicle the honest week by week results.  It'll be even more exciting to get some motivation from you!!  Leave some comment love and keep me moving!!

Here's to week two and trying to "DuBetter" with more reps and more weight as my body is ready!

(Tony Horton did not endorse this entry.  He doesn't even know I exist.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy "Boo"thday!-- Saturday Recap

This weekend was crazy busy!  My mom came first thing Saturday morning.  We went out to buy a baby shower gift then raced home to make lunch (Corn and Potato Soup- recipe to follow).  Then once the soup was done I had to run down to the local bar and decorate for a surprise birthday that I helped plan.  Birthday girls actual birthday is on Halloween so I went with a Halloween theme.  I decided that I don't want to do all orange and black.  I think it would be much more fun to go with green, purple, orange, pink.  Here's how it came out....

Once this place was decorated I had to race off to get ready for another surprise birthday party for one of my Mom's friends.  Left there after an hour so I could get home, get the cake and get back to the local bar to surprise Halloween Birthday girl.  Phew!  You think that was exhausting.  Wait until you hear about Sunday....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weekend Recap

This weekend was rich with family, love and food!
Saturday we went to C’s cross country meet.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day!  Bright blue skies, crisp air, crazy teenagers...

Hubby and I rode the motorcycle to the meet and then went for a nice long ride after the meet (more on that below). 
C’s old cross country coach told him earlier this season that X-country just isn’t his bag.  He waivers between seething mad at the old guy and laughing it off, using his words as motivation.  Me too.  I give the boy a lot of credit for volunteering to run 3 miles everyday.  C’mon I wish I would stay consistent and run even 3 miles a week! 

This year his girlfriend (whom he met during track season) decided that she would run cross country with him.  That’s dedication!  Mostly because she HATES running.  So not only do we have C volunteering to run X-country as a means to get in shape for wrestling season (which starts 11/8/10- it’s gonna be GREAT!!!) but we also have this girl volunteering to do something she is not crazy about as a means to support and spend time with her young man!  What a gal!  I love that! 
Anyway, this meet was huge, most of them are, but this one seems bigger to me than the others.  Look at how beautiful the day was!

Both the kids did a great job.  Girlfriend K didn’t come in last as she always predicts.  And C had a nice push towards the end.  Proud mama!

Once the meet was done J and I hopped on the scooter and headed up the river.  Destination: restaurant on the river for a relaxing dinner.  Not naming names because the food was a new kind of HORRENDOUS!   We got to said restaurant, played some bags while we waited for food, but quickly quit because the boxes were seriously way too far apart!  When the food came we were ready!  Some ribeye steaks, sweet potatoe fries and a salad.  The fact that the lettuce was beige should have been an indicator as to how the rest of the meal was going to be…  I tried to cut into the steak and quickly tried to flag down our waitress to ask for a portable reciprocating saw.  The steak knife wasn’t gonna work.  She was nowhere to be found.  I figure maybe I just got caught on some of the fat or something.  Cue plate spin and take 2.  Finally got through the meat only to find that it was 3 shades of purple and gray.  No pink.  No brown.  Purple and gray.  I about lost it right there.  I asked J if his was all nasty looking and with a bite in his mouth looked down at his and just nodded yes.  Ok, that’s it.  I can’t do this.  I’m not an order it then complain about it kinda gal but this was TERRIBLE!  I wouldn’t feed this to the obnoxious raccons that live in our woods.  This. Was. Bad.  Waitress finally came back to check on us and was mortified at what was on our plates.  She charged us for our drinks and we were outta there!
On a nicer note, check out these awesome pictures from the ride home that evening!  So lovely.  Yes, motorcycle and lovely can go together.  Just like glamorous and dozer.  (Read why that works here.)

This weekend I have 2 birthday parties, 1 of which I am decorating and doing the cake for.  Pictures will be posted!

Budgeting Basics

I know what you are thinking. 
"What a boring topic.  This is not going to be fun!"
Maybe you are right.  Fun may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about sitting down and really examining your finances.  It certainly wasn't for me.  Until last night. 
We have been talking about have a couple hour sit down and really digging into what's going on with our money.  Here's what we knew before the sit down last night: 1). We make money that gets automatically deposited into our acconts.  2). We spend money.
Deep, huh?
STEP 1:  Monday night I took our bank statements and categorized each and every transaction during the last 30 days.  My categories included:
A= ATM withdrawls
C= Credit card payments
F= Fuel, Car Pmts, Maintenance
G= Groceries
H= Household expenses
I= Insurance expense
M= Mortgage
R= Recreational Spending
Step 2:  I totalled all of that and compared it to what we bring in for one month.  That told us how much "cushion" we would have, or how much we should be transferring to savings. 
Step 3:  We determined what we should be spending in each of these categories.  This allowed us to make a goal for our savings contribution each month. 
Step 4:  Look for ways to reduce expenses, increase savings contribution.  Based on the expenditures that we made vs. what we thought we should have spent we determined that by paying off loans early we could make the biggest impact and that impact would come VERY soon.  How are we going to pay off loans early?  Well, we know we aren't going to get raises that big when we go into work tomorrow so we had to think of other ways.  We have some pretty liquid assets that we are ready to get rid of so that is where we are going to free up dollars.  We ran a couple of what if scenarios month by month using the logic that as we free up cash we would pay off the loan with the smallest remaining balance.  Once we pay off one we take the payment that we were making (on the now paid off loan) and apply that to the next lowest remaining balance.  You get the idea.  Keep paying off and "rolling over" payments and voila!  Before you know it you are debt free! 
Here is where it gets fun.  We laid that all out month to month to month and we will pay both of our vehicles off over a year early!  See ya, interest! 
I will admit that I did not look forward to this uncovering of where our money goes.  I know I don't pack our lunches everyday and I know that eating out is bad for your wallett.  Not to mention my waist line!  Hence, the P90X starting again tomorrow!  But we were shocked at just how much the eating out was costing.  We had no idea!  I'm a great cook, there is NO reason that I shouldn't be bringing left overs to work for lunches.  All in all the money talk went really well.  You know money is the #1 reason couples fight so I'm glad we could have such a relaxed and honest talk about our dinero. 
I definitely encourage you to be honest with yourself and really look at where you are spending your money.  You may be pleasantly surprised our may not be.  Either way you won't be guessing.  You will know for certain that you are financially healthy! 

Cheers to Health and Du(ing)Better!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We're all busy...

I always get so those silly "pass along" emails.  Some are cute pictures, some are funny jokes, some require you to pass along to 10 friends within 10 minutes or else your crush will not ask you out...  You know the ones I'm talking about.  I bet you can count on one hand how many of these messages you not only read from beginning to end, but then also felt compelled to pass along.  A few years ago I got one of these messages that was actually really good.  So good I made a project out of it.  The message, called "The Golf Balls of Life", went like this:

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.  He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was…
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.  He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They agreed it was…
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded with a unanimous, 'yes'.
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed…
'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.  The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your
health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car…
The sand is everything else---the small stuff.
'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.  The same goes for life.  If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.  Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your children.
Spend time with your parents.
Visit with grandparents.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your spouse out to dinner.
Play another 18…
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter.
Set your priorities.
The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.
The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'
The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

I made mini versions of these jars for some important gals in my world.  The materials I used were glass jars (from Hobby Lobby), river rocks of all sizes (also from Hobby Lobby), and craft sand (again from Hobby Lobby).  I opted to not add any liquid, you still get the idea without it.  I followed the order of assembly that the professor did and the end result looks like this:

I attached a pretty print out of the message with a pretty ribbon and placed it in a gift bag.  Easy as that!
I'm a big fan of a meaningful, heartfelt gift and I think this fits the bill. 

Disclaimer: This post does not constitute a "kitchen pass" for you to go out drinkin' beer tonight...  You are on your own with that!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Homemade Energy Bars

J- Boogie (the hubby) and I have been psyching ourselves up for another P90X stint. 
Our buddy, Tony Horton
For those of you that were around for the last one, brace yourself.  We eat, sleep, breath P90X when we are "doing the program."  So, due to the fact that we have both completely fallen off the workout wagon, we are gearing back up.  This is quite a process.  A lot of talking about it.  A lot of guilt for ever stopping.  A lot of, "Ah... won't it be nice to be all cut and tan again...."
When we are on a fitness kick of any kind the 2nd most important thing, next to getting off our butts, is having the right food available.  So, without further ado, I bring you the first RECIPE!!
These make a fantastic post workout snack, mid morning or afternoon snack.  They are too easy not to make.  I will admit that they are a bit of an acquired taste, but you can make a substitution that makes them a little less "different."  If you follow the recipe exactly these puppies are packed with protein!  If you make the substitution they are still really high in protein, just not "packed."
1 cup quick cook rolled oats
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ (this can subbed for with more oats)
1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of powdered non fat dry milk
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar free maple syrup
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350.  Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Place all ingredients except for syrup and eggs in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add syrup and eggs and pulse until well combined- coarse paste.  Transfer to pan and spread evenly.  Bake about 20 minutes.  Allow to cool and cut into about 20 squares. 

 Extreme close up!  Look at those yummy bits of cranberries and apricots!  DELICIOUS!

Happy healthy snacking!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen....

... I sincerely hope that by now at least the vast majority of people who read that title are continuing with, "Ice is back with a brand new invention."
If you are not, please click here.  Educate yourself, then start at the title of this post again.
Photo courtesy of
I digress.
Last night after Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice I couldn't sleep.  I'm not at the stage of life where I roll over and read for a while, or fold some laundry or any other potentially productive tasks.  I channel surf.  This month the free preview channel is the DIY Network.  To quote Rachel Zoe, (from last month's free preview, Bravo Network) "I die."  Love the DIY network!
To my surprise/ delight/ shock/ fear/ wonderment Vanilla Ice has his own show.  Not "Behind the Music" on VHI, not "When I was 17" on MTV, but "The Vanilla Ice Project" on the DIY Network....
(insert blank line here to allow readers time to re-read that last sentence...)
Yes, you read right.  THE DIY NETWORK!  After watching 3 episodes of said Vanilla Ice Project I conclude that this guy has legit skills.  In addition to rapping, of course.  Don't be silly.
He knows an insane amount about palm trees.  I live in Illinois so this information doesn't do much for me personally, but I kind of love that he is knowledgeable. 
I also love that he looks the exact same as he did when Lauren and I were running around her house singing, "Ice, Ice, Baby too cold...."  Yeah roughly, 1.437 million years ago.
I'm glad he's back with a brand new invention.  I just hope he doesn't come even remotely close to copying someone elses' beats style.
In the spirit of DIY look forward to the next post containing some before and after indulgences.  It's gonna be great! 

Some more fun to look forward to in the coming week:
A weekend worth of pics from a motorcycle ride
A Sunday worth of cooking
Preparing for a party that I am planning, decorating, and baking for.

Hold onto your pants, people.  It's getting exciting!

Oh yeah and if you look just below the end of this post you will see a space that is blank.  That is a place where you, YES YOU, can leave comments.  Anything will do.  Comments about how witty and cute I am.  Comments about how cute Oscar is.  Comments on how fulfilled your life is after reading my pearls of wisdom... anything, really!
Have a great weekend!  (After you leave your comment)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Have a Namaste!

Because I didn't have to teach yoga last night.  And because I had a tenderloin for lunch today.  Welcome to the first fitness post!  I really have to get back on the fitness train before I get run over by it.  Before the wedding I was all gung-ho with the P90-X and the jogging at the gym.  And then I got back from Jamaica. 
Whoa.  Can you say, "Screeching Halt?"
The only thing that I have maintained consistently is teaching yoga.  I teach twice a week at a small local (read: po dunk) park district.  I have about 8 attendees (up from 4 last year!). 
I asked that they do a survey a few months back to gauge their satisfaction with the style, challenge, and variety of the class.  The results were overwhelmingly positive.  These folks are GREAT!  They truly enjoy practicing yoga!  It's uber-refreshing.  I work full time and then 2 nights a week teach yoga to this group.  It makes for a long day, but their grateful and excited faces make it so worth it.
Yoga education time:
What is "Namaste"?
Namaste is a word that is used as a greeting or a salutation.  It is often used at the conclusion of a yoga class.  As attributed to Deepak Chopra, it means, "I honor the spirit in you, which is also in me."

Yoga can be practiced to achieve a variety of fitness goals, but is most beneficial when added to your normal fitness routine, which should include cardio and weight training.  For some, weight training is out of the question due to injury, illness, or age.  Yoga can be a great substitute because a yoga session is like a weight training session where you are using your body weight as the resistance.

So here, along with my shameless plug for my yoga class, are my Top 10 reasons to try yoga:
10.  Great way to unwind
9.  Improve your bodies ability to fend off illness.
8.  Increase flexibility.
7.  Restore range of motion (especially for heavy weight lifters and runners.)
6.  You get to sleep for the last 10 minutes of class.  (Only class I've ever taken where this is not only ok, but encouraged).
5.  Increase Strength.
4.  Reverse effects of Osteoporosis.
3.  Increase self- awareness.
2.  Boost self confidence.
1.  Find a healthy hobby that you feel good about committing to!

My Yoga class meets Monday and Wednesday from 7-8pm at the Butler Haynes Pavillion in Butler Haynes Park, Mapleton, IL. 

What is your favorite healthy activity?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My doggy has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R

We all regularly sing to/ talk to and otherwise ogle the fabulous OSCAR.  I regularly thank him for being so stinkin' cute.  Can you blame me?
Seriously.  Look. At. That. Face.
Even big tough guy Jeff loves the bits outta this little guy.  He'll never admit it, but I know it.  Ya know how I know it?

They are both smiling.  I know it and you know it. 
Let me tell you how cool this dog is.  He snores, little cute snores.  He loves like nothing else.  He likes to ride motorcycles, tractors, dozers, dirt bikes, lawn mowers, etc.  Anything that has a motor, he wants to ride.  You don't believe me?  See for yourself...

He rides that way through wheelies, bumps, high speeds, low speeds...  He's one tough dude!
Additionally, he tolerates more ridicule and joking than any other being should ever have to tolerate.  You try having a justifiable nickname of 'weiner' around these boys... sometimes I wonder if he might run away after some of the joke parades Jeff has.
He's tough.  And we sure love him for it.  His face makes me giddy.  Best. Dog. Ever.
One last Oscar indulgence... for now.

'Headboard' DIY Project

About 6 months ago I was inspired to turn an old mantle into a headboard for our master bedroom.  
image courtesy of Lowe's Creative Ideas

Step 1: Find an old mantle.  Simple enough, right?  Wrong.
All of the cool, semi- ornate mantles that I found at various antique stores, flea markets, etc. were hundreds of dollars!  If I wanted to spend that kind of money I would have gone to a furniture store and bought a stamped out, cookie cutter headboard.  What I'm trying to say is that I didn't want to spend that kind of money.  I just knew that I could do this project for about $75.  So the looking continued until finally I found this gem at a local antique store that is sadly no longer open.

Who paints a mantle in a glossy teal green???  Seriously.  I don't get it.

Anyway... A whole bunch of stripper, sanding, and painting later and, voila!  My 'headboard' is complete!

It is the perfect place to display some of the centerpieces from the wedding, the cake topper from the wedding and some other knick knacks that are thrilled to finally have a home.  (See the overall reveal soon when I post about the big bedroom makeover).

What inspires the decor in your home?