Life is more fun when you RAWR!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

This is my last Menu Plan Monday for 2011!
What a year it's been, and yet our menu hasn't changed much.  I guess we like what we like!
What will we eat this week?

M: Chicken cutlets, roasted broccoli, sauteed mushrooms, rice
T: Chicken tacos, Spanish rice, salad
W: Mongolian beef, rice, salad
T: Spaghetti, green beans, salad
F: Grilled chicken, parsnip mash (I'm really in the mood), roasted acorn squash
S: left overs/take-out - it's NYE!
Sunday:  1/1 Steak, roasted asparagus, baked potatoes, butternut squash.

I hope you all had wonderful Christmases and I'm really looking forward to a new year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bathroom trasnformation

Our downstairs powder room was a nightmare.
Wallpapered with a lighthouse/sail boat pattern, the boys in their potty-training decided to rip up some of the already-peeling edges.

The paper was dingy at best and really didn't fit our style.  It had to come down.
We met with some local professional painters and while their prices were reasonable it was still outside of what we could afford at Christmas time.  It looked like if the bathroom was going to be presentable again it was up to me to make it so.
When we first moved here I was really excited to do home improvements but  didn't really have the knowledge or skill for how to do them correctly.  Anyone who has seen our master bathroom will know what I mean.  So I'd mostly given up.  Our house is just not the "dream house" I thought I'd create.
With extreme trepidation I started researching the best techniques for painting a bathroom, color selection, etc.
And I dove in... tearing off the wall paper first.
There was another layer of wall paper under it.
Double surprise, they'd painted over the drywall before putting the paper on.  That's a good surprise because everywhere else in the house had wallpaper glued directly to the drywall which is a nightmare.
I got the paper down and the walls were in surprisingly excellent shape, if a little bloody underneath. (My facebook friends have followed that saga)

Learning from lessons past (again, see note above regarding the master bathroom) I found a color family I liked, tested the colors on the wall, texted pictures to some trusted friends and family to get opinions and picked a color.

Then I taped off the trim using frog tape.   Why mention frog tape specifically?  Because it worked like a charm, went on quite easily and I tell you what - not a drop bled through that tape.  All future painting projects will include frog tape.
The bathroom looks amazing now.
We love it. 
Sometimes I want to just go stand in there and feel like I did something right.

The old mirror was red. 

Now it's white and looks crisp and clean against the brown/gray of the wall.

I was concerned about going dark in a small room but several blogs suggested that when a room really is small it's okay to go dramatic on the color.  It's absolutely beautiful in there.  I gave the cabinets a total makeover too. 

They started out a dark wood color:


The best thing about this whole project is the cost. 
Our lowest painter-estimate started at $250.
I spent $40 on a gallon of paint and a few supplies.
It took me 2 evenings to get the wall paper off (12 hours), 1 hour in an afternoon to spackle, 1 evening to sand and wash the walls, 1 evening to paint the walls, and most of a Saturday to touch-up the walls, paint the cabinets and trim and clean up.
Worth the time to save the money in this case as I found I really enjoyed doing the work.
I think it's even given me the courage to tackle the master bathroom again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Christmas Edition!

I cannot believe how fast time is flying.  I also cannot believe that I haven't posted all of the dozens of things I keep planning to post here.  I really have got to be a little more diligent. 
For now though, a rundown of what we're planning for dinner this week must suffice.
Monday: Take out!  My sweetie surprised me with Chinese take out.
Tuesday: Chicken Piccata, mashed potatoes, green beans
Wednesday: rice & beans
Thursday: spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
Friday: leftovers!!
Saturday: take out again.  It's a long-standing tradition.
Sunday: for the morning I'll make a hashbrown casserole, some bacon and eggs.  We'll have a Christmas late-lunch of Bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin, martha's potatoes, roasted veggies.

And then the holiday-eating detox must begin!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

It's time for another menu plan Monday!
Ham is super cheap this week so we have ham for breakfast, lunch and dinners.  Good thing we all love it!

Monday: Spaghetti Carbonara, salad, rolls
Tuesday: bean tacos
Wednesday: pork fried rice, steamed broccoli
Thursday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, salad,
Friday: chicken curry
Saturday: Steak, martha's potatoes, orzo salad (if I can convince my mom to make it!!)
Sunday:  cheeseburgers, fries

My parents are going to be here on Friday and I couldn't be more excited for a Christmas-time visit with Granny and Pop.  I have just a few more presents to wrap and I need to get presents for the kids' teachers.  We've been making a TON of the Chow Mein noodle cookies.  It's so easy! Melt one bag of butterscotch ships and one bag of chocolate chips in a big sauce pan (it takes the butterscotch chips longer to melt for some reason I'm certain chemistry can explain but I cannot).  Then take the sauce pan off the heat and stir in about a cup of chow mein noodles.  Spoon it onto wax paper and let it cool.  Yum.  Easy.
I've also been making coconut macaroons since they're Drew's favorites.  They're also super easy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm still here!

Hi Jennifer!
I'm still here!
We're really really busy but I'm still crafting, sewing, now I'm knitting(!) and I'm in the middle of a powder room remodel.
I've been doing a lot of this:

And on Tuesday and Thursday I do this:

I'm doing a ton of exercising but I'm not losing any actual pounds which is incredibly frustrating.  I do feel much better physically so I'm going to stick with it.  Hopefully the scale will catch up.  I know I need to cut my carbs. I mean, I ate two cookies for breakfast this morning!

I am still menu planning but I'm doing it hastily as an afterthought and often during church or somewhere else where I'm just distracted.  I'm starting to become obsessed with the idea of having one protein - like say a chicken - and finding a way to stretch it over 4-5 dinners by using the whole bird - making stock from the bones and having soup one night, etc.  Unfortunately I can't see where I can make one whole chicken last 4 dinners.  Not with the way our family eats.  Want to know how bad it is around here?  I made hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls for dinner last night.  Drew wouldn't even touch it.  He ate a bowl of leftover rice for dinner instead. At 11.  After we spent more than an hour washing adhesive off our our powder room walls.

I promise to post pictures of some of my projects.  There have been a TON and I am so so very behind on others I started and others that are on my to-do list.  Not to mention my Pinterest addiction is feeding me with all sorts of fun new ideas for things to try.  Terrible cycle man, terrible cycle.