Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas - Looking forward to the New Year

Merry Christmas!


I am happy that it is Christmas. We got to come home to my parents place, which has not happened since AJ and I got married. It was nice waking up here, and just being able to come down to the house for Christmas morning.

I have had a good Christmas. It has been fun and wonderful. But, I am looking forward to the new year. I am looking forward to getting back into my routines and starting some new ones. There are so many things that I want to start doing and incorporating into our lives. I just need the time and things to slow down to get things figured out.

I have come to the conclusion that where my life is heading is something I am terming "vintage homemaking". I have been heading in this direction for a VERY long time. I started trying to figure this stuff out when I first graduated college. There have been lots of bumps along the way. The biggest one has been overcome... I got married to a man who wants to have a wife that is into homemaking. The next biggest ones have been finding the information that I want to know.

Luckily, my parents are real throwbacks (a term I use with love, and very frequently call myself). They grew up with parents who were adults during The Great Depression, and that has influenced their lives and mine. I grew up with parents who grew food, canned, and raised farm animals. Some of my earliest memories are of slaughter days and learning how to make our own food. My grandparents  and parents quilted, knitted, crocheted, sewed, cooked, hunted, fished, planted, and gardened all for survival and because that is what they knew. I have gotten a lot of information from them, but not as much as I want.

I have discovered that my family has been "green" long before "green" ever existed. Luckily, their quirkiness on that stuff has been passed to me. I have been on the green websites and learned more there, too. I don't want to go "green". I don't care nearly as much about that aspect... I am not saying that I want to do things to hurt the world, but I am not going to go out of my way to do things to that inconvenience me either. I like a lot of the ideas that the websites have, but I get tired of reading about "carbon footprints" and "CO2 emissions".

I have also found some homemaking forums, but they are on sites I don't always agree with either. I don't want to go into what they are, but they do have some useful information. Though I don't agree with the sites, I am glad to know that there are people out there trying to learn these things, too. Occasionally, I feel lost in all of this because it feels like I am the only one trying to tackle these things.

I don't want commercialization. I want real stuff. I am tired of plastic things. I am tired of things that break, don't last, and are not reparable or re-purposeable.

I am not saying that to say we are getting rid of technology, heck I just got my new Zune and it is charging as I type this, but more to say... I don't want my homemaking attempts to be fake or bought. I want my life to be real and the things in it to be real.

Real food. Real clothes. Real time and energy. Real love being put into things. Real work.

I want to hone my skills. I want to be good at the things I do. At the end of the day I want to be proud of what I have done and accomplished. I want it to be something that serves me and my husband. I want him to be proud of who we are and what we can do to take care of ourselves.

I don't know how long it will really take to make these transformations, but I want to do them. I want to try to keep track of our journey in all the things we do. AJ is learning all kinds of new things, too. I am really proud of his accomplishments - as I write this he is sitting on the couch reading a book he got for Christmas on DIY Home Improvements - he is turning into an amazing home person.

I know this post is long and rambling, but a journey has to start somewhere, and mine normally start with some random wanderings... so this is that first wandering rambling step.

Here is to the Journey!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Pain

I normally don't talk about the physical problems I am having. I might mention them in passing, but I rarely go into the details. Part of the reason for this is I don't have any clue what is wrong. One doctor diagnosed it as one thing, and then when I mention that to any other doctors they mildly flip out and say that diagnosis is a cop-out answer. I have been seeing a nutritionist, and trying to get answers or even some relief by controlling my food and the chemicals in them. It has helped until recently.

Lately, the pain has been unbearable. Today, it was so bad I had tears running down my face at work. Luckily, my boss wasn't there yet, and when he did get there he let me come home early. I got home, took some pain killer (what a joke of a name, if you ask me), and then proceeded to sleep for 4.5 hours. I was so hoping that when I woke up, I would feel mildly better, and be able to actually do some of the stuff I wanted to do. No such luck. The things that only moderately hurt were mildly better, but the things that really hurt, well they still really hurt.

There is something wrong when even laying or sitting down makes you want to cry. Every joint in my body ACHES, every muscle feels like it is on fire, and every nerve ending is in hyper-drive mode. I can barely stand to have anything touch me, let alone if I bump into something. Barely bumping into something means that I am going to be in EXCRUCIATING pain for a hour or more.

I am so tired, but I am sleeping somewhat normally lately. I thought it was because I was giving in and taking Tylenol PM at night, but even the nights that I don't take it I am getting about 4 hours sleep before I start waking up from the pain of laying down. I have spent more than a couple of days lately sleeping. I will wake up for a couple of hours (maybe) and then pass out again. It is really odd.

I am having  a hard time with this whole situation. I want to do so many things lately. I have the problem of making myself push through the pain to do a lot. I know I am going to suffer later, but there are things I don't want to give up. I want to spend time with my friends and family, but I know I am going to hate it and myself later.

I have an appointment with an endocrinologist tomorrow. I am hoping to maybe get some answers, or at least a path to pursue for something. I am mildly scared at the same time though. Doing research for a lot of my symptoms leads to some potentially scary things. The bad part is none of them are "zebra" type problems. Most of them are autoimmune problems, and well... I have a fairly messed up immune system. I have never denied that, and some how it wouldn't surprise me that my immune system has decided to just be even more of a pain. It is the only thing that isn't hurting right now, so maybe it just wants to get in on the "fun".

Well, I might post more on this later, but it depends on how things go, or just how long it takes to figure something out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Participation in Once A Month Cooking #oamc

Well, I sort of did this. I got a really late start (I went thrift store shopping this morning), which was about 1:30pm. Not exactly the best idea or preparation I have had. I had to run by Publix again today (we had just gone on Sunday evening).

I really wanted to just take the day and cook/ bake. My muscle and joint problems have been really BAD lately. I have been having tremors that are whole body ones instead of just the shoulder. The pain has been through the roof, also. I think that not watching what I am eating as closely has been a part of that. It hasn't been bad, but I haven't been making "whole foods" as big a part of my world as I was for a while. I haven't been using a whole lot of prepackaged food, but more than I am comfortable with. It was nice to really get in the kitchen and just make a mess, making a mess of food for a later date.

Goals to get made today:

Beef broth 
Roast a chicken
Bread - Honey Wheat Loafs
Muffins - Cranberry Walnut
Chicken broth
Pumpkin spice french toast 

I didn't get the chicken broth done today. I have all the veggies prepped for making it tomorrow. I want to make a batch of chicken noodle soup to put in the freezer. Both the broth and the soup are uses for left over roast chicken that I really love.


I plan on putting pictures up later tonight of what I got done. I just don't trust myself with the camera in the kitchen.

I also did a freezer inventory today. We have A LOT of food in the two freezers. I really need to cook one of the turkeys we have in there. We also have two hams.  I am happy to find out that we have 5 lbs of ground beef. I guess I need to make some taco meat, spaghetti sauce, and taco soup soon.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stuffs for Christmas

Well, Thanksgiving is technically over in our house. My parents are coming down in a week, so it isn't officially over yet, but close enough. That means I need to really start working on making the Winter/ Christmas decorations. I am excited to get started on them, but overwhelmed at the same time. The other problems are that I really like the Fall decorations that are up right now and I am not exactly ready to get rid of them, and I am not the biggest fan of Christmas decorations. The compromise we came up with in our house is to slightly more decorate for winter.


Decorating Ideas:


Curtains:
I want to get a set of these from Ikea to use in our kitchenette. I have cranberry ones in there now for fall and it looks really nice. I got to see the blue ones in person the other day at the store and they are perfect color-wise.


I want new curtains for the living room. I don't want anything to permanently replace the ones that I have now because I really love them (and they work so well to block out heat and light in the living room). I just want something that says holiday a little more than the ones do now. Any suggestions?




Block Decorations:
 I really want a set of these. AJ is going to cut me some that I can paint. I don't think I am going to do "Happy Halloween" on the other side though.



Train:
This year we actually have a real sized tree that we got on Black Friday. I have had a train set that I have wanted to put around the tree for years. This year, we are going to try to make that happen. The only thing I am worried about is AJ playing with it all the time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crazy Day - In Progress

I found this on a friend's facebook page. I love it!



I couldn't sleep last night, so I got up earlier than I normally would, I couldn't just lay in bed this morning. I got up and made my list of things I want to try to get done today, and to my surprise it was really long. I am going to try to keep a running list of my projects (at least for today).

  1. Take pantry apart. - DONE
  2. Paint pantry shelves. - DONE
  3. Paint pantry brackets. - DONE
  4. Patch holes in wall from removing towel rod that was inserted INTO the drywall. - DONE
  5. Fold laundry that is done. - DONE
  6. Empty, load, run, empty, load and run dishwasher.
  7. Wash laundry.
  8. Go to Wal-Mart & Lowes. - DONE
  9. Spray paint patio chairs. - Did 1 and DIDN'T like!
  10. Put last of mulch out front. - DONE
  11. Re-pot some plants. - DONE
  12. Pick up living room.
  13. Change sheets.
  14. Vacuum downstairs. - DONE
  15. Clean laundry room.
  16. Put pantry back together. - DONE
  17. Cook dinner. - DONE
  18. *Added NAP - DONE
  19. *Added Mop Floors. - DONE
Yikes. That is a lot. Let's see how much I can get to. Well, back to work.

***Well, I got most of my list done. Not bad for adding a nap into the mix. The nap was really nice. I also got to help AJ attack his cable project. We had some problems with it last night. We were trying to find out what was causing a problem and stuck the tape measure down the hole in the wall. Well, it got stuck at the 6 foot mark. We couldn't get the tape measure out of the wall at all. So, today we drilled a hole into the bedroom wall. We found the tape measure and managed to get it unstuck. We also got the cable and network cables ran through the house and got to take down the temporary cable that was hanging down the stairway. YAY!!! I don't like cables being visible. Though, now we do have a whole in the wall in the bedroom, but I am going to take the piece of drywall to Sherwin Williams and see if they could match the color. I have had a really hard time getting Lowe's to match the paint. Everything I have bought so far hasn't matched real well at all, but I have been making it work because I didn't have much sample to take them to work with.

So, all in all, a good and very productive day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

CRAFT DAY!!! Project 4

Goal 5 - Start Working on Papermache critters

I found these neat little birds on this site and I really loved them. I have no expectation of making anything that looks as good as this lady's. Her's are so darn cute! But, I haven't done papermache in ages, so I wanted to give it a whirl.

I started the day with this craft, because I never really do things in the order they are on my list. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my hands to work right. I lost my fine motor control for a while, so I gave up right after they looked like they do in the last picture.


Paper ball lumps. Covered in masking tape.


It sort of looks like a bird, right?


This one looks much more pathetic. I still need to put some wings on him, and I think I am going to try to put a tail on both birds. The second bird is a LOT bigger than the first one, about double the size. I don't know if I am going to make more of one size or the other, but I would like to make a pair of red birds. The craft store had some that I like the other day, but they were expensive and covered in glitter paint (I DON'T LIKE GLITTER!!!!), so I took pictures to try to make them.

CRAFT DAY!!! Project 3

Goal 4 - Cut Out Fabric for Christmas Place Mats

I wanted to get a head start on the fabric for my place mats. They are going to be slightly different than the ones I made for Fall. I didn't think I was going to have enough fabric the way that I wanted to make these, so I was trying to figure that out. I was right, I only had enough for 4 and not the 6 I wanted. I also want to make a table runner that will go on the buffet. So, I am going to have to pick up more before the next #craftday.


I love my rotary cutter and mat. I want a bigger mat because I have to keep folding the fabric to cut large pieces. Not really that big of a deal as long as I keep the edges even. The place mats are 13" x 19", so not huge, but big enough that they don't fit onto my mat.


I had bought white fabric to make these the exact same way that I made the Fall ones. I decided I didn't want to make them that way though. So, I had to come up with a way to do the edges. I made my own bias tape. Yes, it would have been easier and probably cheaper to buy it, but I already had the same fabric in white, so I did it that way.


Pinning the bias tape to the place mat.


Finally done pinning. I am going to have enough white fabric to make the edging. Hmmm... now that I have it pinned, I really should sew it to make sure that the thread I bought will work...


The snowflake actually on the place mat. I only did one of them on this one. I am probably going to do two on each place mat, in opposite corners.


A look at the almost finished project. I might do the other snowflake today, or I might save it until later... though it would be nice to have at least one done to show AJ tonight.

Random thought: Do stores have any idea how much I would buy from them if they would make Christmas decorations in blue, white, and silver? Yes, I realize that these are traditional Hanukkah colors, but I don't care. Living in Florida I need cold colors at Christmas to make it feel like winter!!!

CRAFT DAY!!! - Project 2

Craft Day Goal 3 - Making the snowflake template for my Christmas decorations.

Did you know that it is almost impossible to find a snowflake stencil? I almost bought a spatula that had a snowflake in it to just get a stencil, but it wasn't the right size and honestly I didn't like the snowflake. So, I decided it couldn't be that hard to make my own.

It wasn't hard, just time consuming. The whole thing took about 30 minutes.


I had to find a snowflake I liked that could be turned into an easy to sew snowflake and one that still looked like a snowflake.

Then printed it out and taped it down to my glass mat. Then taped the plastic sheet on top and traced the picture onto the plastic.


Then I had to look for the nice nifty new exacto knife I bought. Apparently, it has already run away. So, I used my trusty standby razor knife. All those pink pieces are what I cut out. Pink sharpie works great for being able to see what you are cutting.

The finished template. I really really like way it came out. The colored spots still on the template were where I was telling myself not to cut. Had I cut those the stencil would have been loose and not had the detail. I don't know if I am going to use the diamonds in the middle of the final projects or not. I like them, but not sure how they would look sewn into the placemats.

CRAFT DAY!!! - Project 1

Goal 2 - Spray Paint Candle Holders

was to get these little metal trays that I picked up from Ikea (they were 4 for $1) spray painted. I have some fun paint that makes things look like hammered metal.

Ugly silver color (normally, I really like silver, but this time it just won't work).


Ruining the bottom of a plastic container, oh wait, this is the one that the corner is busted out of, so spray paint won't hurt at all.


Final outcome. A pretty candle holder that works with the fall colors and theme. It doesn't look anything like the little bowl it started as.



I love spray paint. I have changed the way so many things look with spray paint. I am not afraid to fail with it and then try something new. I guess it was telling how much I love using spray paint when we were cleaning the garage. I have a whole shelf of spray paint... all kinds of colors and textures.

CRAFT DAY!!!

I have been looking forward to this since The Natural Mommy posted it on Twitter. I am getting a late start in the game, but I have gotten started.

My goals today:
  1. Get dinner started - black eyed peas cooking.
  2. Spray paint candle holders
  3. Make stencil for snowflakes
  4. Cut fabric for Christmas place mats
  5. Start papermache projects
  6. Take pictures of Fall decorations
I am not sure how much I am going to get to, or get done, or even if the list is going to change as I go along, but I am going to give it a whirl.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Craft Room

I said I would finally get around to posting pictures of the house. Well, since I have been spending a lot of time in my playroom I decided to start there. This room looks nothing like it did when we bought the house. Here is what it looked like when we bought it:





Did you notice all that "lovely" hot pink coloring? Trust me, it was hideously obnoxious. It was bright enough that when someone walked into the room they looked like they had an instant sunburn. I did love the fact that it has an awesome little window seat. So, even though it was the craziest shades of pink, I took this room for my playroom.

I spent about three days painting the room. It took two coats of white primer to cover the pink. Then I put up the yellow. The initial plan was to paint the whole thing this really soft buttery yellow. Well, the best ideas aren't always the best plan. Once I got the top painted I decided that it was probably going to be to much if I did the whole thing yellow, so I left the bottom white. I really like the way it turned out.



We found this neat little table at Salvation Army one day for $35. It was more than we probably should have spent, but it is exactly what I needed. It has double drop downs. So, I can choose how much table space I need. Normally, I keep the half that is down in the picture up. But I do love the flexibility of the table. I also really like having my desk in the corner.



I love the board hanging from the rosette. Beth gave it to me as a wedding present. It is cool because it is actually a magnetic board with a "clothesline" attached to it. It is really easy to change the pictures and words without much thought or effort.





I found these pictures in a calendar at a thrift store. I fell in love with them. I think little piggies are so cute. These gave me the idea to try to decorate with black and white on the yellow. I think they turned out really well. The fun thing is that when I get tired of these four pigs I can change them out with the other ones in the calendar.


I promise the bookcases are actually way more organized than they look. I like having a shelf for my cricuit, sewing machine and serger, and fabrics. Having my supplies visible makes me want to actually use them. Hence , the reason that there are no doors on my closet any longer. I am so happy that AJ built me these awesome shelves. They hold a lot of stuff. Actually, the shelves aren't organized as well as I want, but I have so much space in there that it isn't a problem right now.

The other cool thing I got was a paper rack. A craft store was going out of business last year around Christmas, so we picked up the rack for me and about four more for my mom as a Christmas present. I still need to take the price tags off the rack, but at the moment I am considering it character.


The window seat. I want to find some black and white fabric to make curtains, but I have yet to find what I want. Apparently, it is really comfy because AJ is currently curled up on it.


I made a mini nightstand type area to hold stuff so I could sit on the window seat and have a place to put my glass or keep a pen and a notebook. Also, note the cute cast iron pig I found.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Meal Planning 11/15-11/21/09

I am trying to get back in the habit of meal planning. I don't know if I honestly do better cooking with a meal plan or not, but one of my doctors has me on a specific high protein diet to try to control the pain a little better. Long complicated story, and at some point I might address it, but let me just say it isn't always pleasant (eating the stuff he wants me to or the pain). I am very limited in my fruit choices, but also in the amount that I am allowed to eat - one serving a day and NO fruit juice. EEK!

Monday:
Breakfast: Protein shake
Snack: Grapes
Lunch: PB & Honey & carrots
Snack: Sunflower seeds
Dinner: Shrimp scampi, corn pancakes, & collard greens

Tuesday:
Breakfast: Protein shake
Snack: Apple
Lunch: Shrimp scampi, corn pancakes, & collard greens
Snack: Almonds
Dinner: Black eyed peas, rice, corn bread, & collards

Wednesday:
Breakfast: Protein shake
Snack: Grapes
Lunch: Black eyed peas, rice, corn bread, & collards
Snack: Walnuts
Dinner: Chicken & broccoli stir fry & rice

Thursday:
Breakfast: Protein shake
Snack: Apple
Lunch: Chicken & broccoli stir fry & rice
Snack: Sunflower seeds
Dinner: Shrimp & scallops w/ wine & veggies, egg noodles

Friday:
Breakfast: Protein shake
Snack: Grapes
Lunch: Black eyed peas, rice, corn bread, & collards
Snack: Pistachios
Dinner: Taco salad, avocado, corn

Saturday:
Breakfast: Protein shake
Snack: Berries
Lunch: PB& Honey sandwich, carrots
Snack: Cashews
Dinner: Salmon patties, sour cream dill sauce, rice, green beans

Sunday:
Breakfast: Protein shake
Snack: Berries
Lunch: Turkey sandwich, carrots
Snack: Pecans
Dinner: Potato crusted salmon fillets, rice, green beans,

Attack of the Killer Garage

Today we worked on the garage for seven hours. I will admit that includes about an hour break - to eat lunch and allow AJ to deal with some issues that came up at work today. Somehow I really thought it would get done a lot earlier than it did today.

We had a minor wreck in there, oh ok, a major wreck. We have been trying to come up with a game plan on how we want the garage. We have to have it function as both storage and workshop for AJ. Note, that no where is it really a big deal on getting a car in there. Well, at least to me. AJ wants to be able to park my car in the garage, but I have never pulled a car into a garage. We also need to get a garage door opener. AJ's parents are giving us their old one, so we have access to one, but we need the garage clean before we can tackle that.

We also wanted to re-arrange where AJ's workspace was in the garage. So, besides just unpacking boxes, moving shelves, putting stuff into containers (which we found on a great clearance at Target for $2.50 each, normally $6 for the size we got), we had to move all the heavy duty tools and machines.

Well, seven hours later we got it almost all done. There are still a couple of boxes that we need to go through later. Most of them are AJ's that have paperwork and memory stuff. I have one that is a giant mess of stuff that I have no clue what to do with (this is excluding the fact that I have 3 boxes in my craft room that are more like AJ's - they just aren't in the garage). There are a few things that we found that need to come inside, and some pillows that we just ran out of steam to tackle. We could pull my car into the garage. That is just amazing. We now have a pile of boxes that is almost as tall as me, sweet!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Cell test 2

Well it almost worked last time. It just wont post more than 2 sentances.
I wanted to try out the mobile blogging feature. My phone has bad luck with these types of things. Facebook wont let me update my statu

*Edit - well it sort of worked... there was another sentance to that. So, I am going to try again.

Long Update

I really want to start trying to keep my blog more up to date. I stink at working on it though. I would much rather get into hands on projects than to write about them. But, I want this to evolve into something I enjoy, and something a little more current.

I was looking at the house pictures I posted. Wow!!! They are so out of date it isn't even funny. I didn't think that we had done so much since May, but WOW! I spent yesterday afternoon taking down a lot of the things I had put up since May. Had I known that I hadn't taken pictures of things I would have. Well, now I have my incentive for making sure I take pictures of all the Fall decorations. I really like the way things look right now (except for the guest room - AJ has it torn up to try to work on getting the cable run through the wall into the livingroom... for some reason the cable jacks in the living room and master bedroom never worked. He has all the basics put in now to run the coax cable and the networking cables, so now we just need to get that done.) Hopefully, this weekend we will get the garage fixed so that it is really a useable space. AJ has been working really hard on floorplans for it.

It is interesting, nothing was really wrong with our house when we bought it. Mainly, it had some quirky issues... one of the biggest being that the baseboards are not all nailed down (the former owners took them down to put tile in the downstairs). But, we have spent a lot of time working on things that make the house more liveable to us. We have taken out almost all the wire shelving in the house (I HATE WIRE SHELVES!!!), the only places it is left is our bathroom, the guest bathroom closet, and the guest bedroom. I am so happy with the real shelves that AJ has put up everywhere for me (note to self - take pictures of shelving). We have spent a lot of time decorating the house (and more time trying to find bargins to decorate the house).

We have also spent a lot of time having people at our house. That has been a lot of fun. We like being social, and it is so nice not to be in our horrible apartment (I am not kidding about how bad that place was) in Orlando. I like being able to have local friends over to have dinner and play games, and also have people come into town for the weekends. We have had about 10 different groups of people stay with us. What a blast!

I am also amazed at all the fun stuff I have been able to do in my playroom. I have taken up sewing (sort of), which means that I keep playing with things until I understand them and then move onto the next project. I have had the space to make more t-shirts. I have also had the space to work on pictures. I am not used to that anymore. I really haven't had a craft space since I moved out of my parents place. It is really nice to be able to make a mess and then walk away from it. I don't have to try to clean up in the middle of something, which is really nice when I am working on somethig and it frustrates me... I can go away until I figure out how to fix it. AJ also hooked my desktop back up for me, so I have a computer hooked to a printer that is all mine (for everything from my music to my crafts and pictures).

I want to be better at posting pictures from our world. I have so many things I have done that just got lost in the void of life. I want to take pictures of the things I make - food, crafts, and memories. The bad part about that right now is that my camera DIED!!! AJ tried to fix it, but to no avail. So, it means that for now I am using the still function on the video camera... well, at least it normally takes good pictures.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

House Pictures - Finally!

I have been promising pictures for a while and I finally dug AJ's camera out and took some. Things are no where near as done as I want them. I figured out a good reason for that. I keep getting distracted by random projects.


Dining room. It is still lacking the personality I want it to have, but it is getting there.


The china cabinet. I LOVE THIS!!!! I LOVE THE CHINA TOO!!!! We have AJ's grandma's on both sides china. I think it is so awesome to have family stuff, it makes me feel closer to his roots. The cows that are in there are salt and pepper shakers that I thought were just to cool to pass up at Salvation Army. They made me smile and I got the set for $1.50.


Our pineapple kitchenette. This area makes me smile. I really like the sunny yellow color. Waking up to this makes me happy. I painted my little table I got from my grandma. A couple of years ago I painted this set with black and white polka dots on the table and bright red chairs. It looks so different being white and yellow, but I love this look in this house as much as I loved the polka dots in my flat in Gainesville.


Having the cookbooks next to the kitchen is amazing! It is something I have never had before, and what a difference it makes. I am more willing to try new reciepes if they are closer to the kitchen for some reason. I also wanted to get a closer picture of the little bird I found at Lowes. He is supposed to be an outside thing, but he was just too cute to pass up.


This area is along the staircase wall that houses the 1/2 bath. Still not sure how this is going to evolve, but so far I like it. The dresser is great storage for all of our games. The funny part is that even with all that space we have more games that don't fit. I picked up the mirror at a garage sale today for $3. I think it fits well in that space. I don't like mirrors at all, but I am learning that they are ok to use as design and decorating things.


My elephant 1/2 bath. I am really excited about the potential of this room, but kinda stuck on it right now. I want to paint it a nice light green, but I am a little burnt out on painting lately. If you look at the elephant on the floor that is the one that the head keeps coming off. I fixed it again today, and I am hoping it holds this time. The picture that is on the wall I got today at a garage sale for $1. That really is giving me some more inspiration.



The elephant picture. Isn't it just adorable? Can you tell I have a thing for elephants? When I get my little collection all figured out I will post pictures of that too.


Our bedroom. I am still looking for the metal candle holders that I want to use for the headboard... they are in the garage (under AJ's tools which are to heavy for me to move). I am still torn about the curtains, but we need something to block out light because that room is just to bright early in the morning. I made the pillow cover on the little pillow out of two napkins I found on clearance at Wal-Mart. AJ built the little bench at the end of the bed, I just need to get him to put some sides on it so I can paint it.


My vanity. I am excited about the possibilities with this little area. I got the desk of craigslist, the mirror at Salvation Army, the tea set at a local thirft store, the lamp at a garage sale today, and I had the metal chair (it was just black and red to match the polka dots). I like the lamp a lot, I am just not sure it is going to stay there or that lime green. It is a really old metal lamp and it is just fun. I was really surprised it worked when I put a bulb in. I got another one that is a burnt orange color that I can't get to work, but I am hoping we might be able to re-wire it and get it working too.


I painted the chair and recovered the seat cushin with this fun brown, white, and blue fabric. I was so thrilled when I found the fabric and it was $1.50 a yard. I got 3 yards. I plan on covering some of the other throw pillows I have for the bed. I just ran out of steam and time before I got the camera. I also found this really nice soft blue fabirc and covered a little throw pillow I had. It works really well as the back cushin.

Looking at the pictures I am starting to see how much work has gone into things. They aren't where I want them to be, but they are making progres. I keep thinking things aren't getting done, but looking at it from a different perspective was kinda nice. I still need to take pictures of the guest room, but right now it is a staging area for AJ's library bookcases. I also need to take pictures of my new improved yellow playroom, but I need help haning my pig pictures and I need to finish cleaning it up some (making pillows is a messy project).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Random Thoughts On Cooking In The New House

I have been thinking about cooking in the new house. I have also been cooking a lot in the new house. So, now I have some random observations:

1. I like cooking even more now. I didn't think that was possible, but apparently it is. 
2. I LOVE having space to play with my food. 
3. I don't use near the kitchen "gadget" appliances that I thought I would. We dedicated the entire inside of the island to appliances, and I have only pulled one thing out of it - the collander and that doesn't even count as an appliance.
4. Lamb is a very sticky meat. It also is one of my least favorite things to clean.
5. I like chopping vegetables... makes me wonder why I don't eat them as often.
6. I baked! I actually baked something other than food, not that cupcakes aren't food, but well they aren't hearty food. I am not a baker. 
7. I love having my own stove that I know hasn't been abused. That also means that the oven holds a temperature, and the burners WORK!
8. I am learning not to cook on high on burners. I think it has something to do with the fact that they actually work on a setting other than high.
9. I love having my cookbooks by the kitchen. I feel inspired to try new things.
10. I got to really cook for my parents. I think that it stunned them that I really have learned to cook. They have never really gotten to eat with me because there was never really any place for us to sit down and enjoy a meal together. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Response to Birth Control

I was randomly wandering through my friends friends on twitter and came upon this blog:

Well, the post that happened to be the first one on the page was about birth control, the chemical kind. And since that is always a sensitive subject to me, I had to read their thoughts. 

Wow! I am kinda dumbfounded on their take on birth control. I was also taken aback by the majority of the comments about the post. Apparently, according to them I am a horrible person because I take Seasonale (I really do take that specific one).  The thing that no one is really taking into account is that it isn't always an easy choice to be on this stuff. I would almost give my left arm not to take birth control, but that isn't an option.

My Story- 

I was 12, I had been having my periods for about 3 months. I started waking up in the middle of the nights screaming in pain in my abdomen. My parents (being good parents) took me to the emergency room. After hours and hours of test and no real answers the doctors sent me home, saying to talk to my primary doctor about the problem. Everyone kinda thought that it was an appendicitis that never fully developed. So we went to the doctor and he thought that it might be a minor problem with my ovary, so he put my on birth control.  Well the pain went away. 

I was only on it for about a year, and then I came off, thinking that the problem was over, and that no 13 year old should be on this stuff. Well, slowly the pains started coming back. Also, I started having real problems with my periods... they were missing randomly, they were long, they were very heavy and painful, and just horrible. So, the doctor put me back on birth control. It had been about two years since I had taken it last. They figured that my ovulation should have worked it self into a normal routine, but it hadn't.

So, fast forward 7 years. I had taken it fairly normally for that long. OK, I did my research, I wasn't sexually active, I didn't like what it was doing to my moods (come to find out the hormone levels weren't what I needed from that particular brand), and I didn't like the cost. So, happily off I come. It was amazing! I was free from that crap.  

Well, turns out stopping taking it was one of the worst ideas I had ever had. During the last year I was taking it I was starting to have pains in the abdomen again, and spent many a night in the ER and getting no answers. It kept coming back that they thought it was a problem with my appendix.  Turns out it wasn't. 

One day I was out running errands. I got the most horrific pain in my side and stomach I had ever felt to that point. I rushed myself home and was sick as a dog. I took pain killers, and no help. I called a friend who rushed me to the ER. This time there was something major going on. I was in the ER for 18 hours. The final conclusion was I had an ovarian cyst - the size of an orange on my ovary. The first doctor sent me home. Told me to see an OB/GYN later and not to worry.

Four hours later, I was being rushed back to the ER. A new level of pain was occurring. I get back into the ER, they rush me in, put in a morphine drip (which come to find out has absolutely no effect on me), and call the OB/GYN on duty. He takes one look at the CT scan from the night before and starts getting me prepped for emergency surgery.

My "minor" ovarian cyst had flipped itself upside down (an ovarian torsion) and was killing the ovary. I later discovered that this is fairly rare, and the doctor was impressed to get to see one because as he put it, "You can go your whole career without ever seeing one of these in OB/GYN." Yay, thanks! He tried to save the ovary, but by the time I got to surgery it had already gone necrotic. So, I am down to one ovary.

The next week for my check up, the doctor laid out some hard cold facts for me. I have to be on birth control until I want kids, or their probably won't be another ovary to have kids. I was floored. I didn't want to do that. So, I choose not to for about 6 months. I wanted time to heal and to think about what that meant. Well, my body knew what that meant... make more cyst on the remaining ovary.

Two more ER visits later with small to medium cyst on the remaining ovary convinced me the doctor was right. Back onto birth control I went. I talked to him about other hormone options or natural methods, basically for my problem there are no real other options. They don't work as well as the birth control does. And, honestly, I still have a lot of problems. I still have lots of pain, I still have rough periods, but not as bad as they were.

So, we played around with about 10 different versions of the pill before we landed on Seasonale. Some versions allowed more cyst, some allowed bigger cyst, some I bled continuously for the three months that I was on them testing them out, and others made me suicidal. I felt like a guinea pig, but I want kids. I have had the fake "morning sickness" more times than I can count as my body tries to get used to a new formula.

This journey and this "choice" that I have sucks! I would never wish it on anyone. I would honestly give up anything to not have to live like this, but I don't want to give up my future kids. It hurts me to have to live with this choice. I cry every time I have to get a prescription filled. It makes me feel horrible. 

My husband knew all of this going into our marriage. He knows where my faith is and that I believe life starts at fertilization. He knows this isn't an easy choice for me to make. And, we both know that the last 15 months of our marriage have not been the time to start trying to have children. We both have prayed over this choice - both to continue the pill and to wait on kids, and we know when the time is right God will show us that. 

My husband even came to one of the OB/GYN appointments to talk to the doctor himself about what the pill does and why I have to be on it. That is strength in my world. We have both fought this situation. 

I just want people to understand that God fearing Christians do occasionally have to take this stuff, even when it is the last thing they want to do. I hate looking at that purple box sitting next to my toothbrush, but I have to keep in my head... "If I want kids, I will do this. If I don't want more surgery, I will do this."

Honestly, my other options are - stop the pill and freeze some eggs and then have to go through InVitro, or stop the pill and know there will be pain and surgery.  Neither of those sounds healthy. I know that after we have our kids I am going to have to have the last ovary removed. I also know that for me that means I am on hormone replacement therapy for the rest of my life. This last one is a life sentence, but taking that stupid pill every morning means one more morning that I put off loosing the ovary. It means that I could have kids (there are some other issues to worry about in actually having the kids - all as an outcome of the surgery).

Just be careful how fast you judge a person and their motives some times.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Working on the House.

I worked on the house today. It is the first day I haven't wanted to just lay in bed and suffer through this infection. Actually, I couldn't sleep or rest if I wanted too. The doctor put me on prednisone (a steroid), and I don't react well to this stuff, but luckily it is only a lack of sleep.

So, today I got stuff done. Nothing major, but enough that I feel like I made some progress. I did take a couple of pictures, but I realized I took them before I had finished some of the projects today. 

I unpacked the china that we got as an early Christmas present from AJ's grandma. It looks awesome in the china cabinet. I love the dining room set we have. AJ's grandparents are moving to a retirement community in a couple of weeks and they sold us their set. It looks amazing in our dining room. The china cabinet also has a set of china from his Grandma Peck, too. The sets look so nice next to each other. They are also in there with a partial set that I picked up from a garage sale. It is a partial set because it is missing most of the eating parts of the set... mainly the large plates, so I plan on using it is a dessert set.

I glued my elephant's head back onto its body. During the move from Gainesville to Orlando, Scott cracked the head, and then a couple of weeks later the head fell off. I had meant to throw the thing away before we moved into the house, but AJ kept saying to just glue it back together. Then my momma saw it last weekend and she said the same thing, and that I should use it to hold towels in the half bath downstairs. So, the elephant has a newly fixed head and is waiting to turn into a towel holder. 

I worked on finding stuff in the garage. That is not a fun task. I almost want to just go to Wal-Mart and buy the stuff over again so that I don't have to about die from heatstroke in the garage. I found some of the things I wanted, but I am still missing a shoe rack that I want to put in the bedroom. I found the shower curtain rod for the guest bathroom... now that means I need to silicone the shower so that it is usable. Maybe I will tackle that this weekend. I also found AJ's missing lunch box. We have been improvising and I think that has been annoying him.

I worked on re-organizing kitchen stuff. I got the appliances a little more figured out. Right now, I don't see the point in having the bread maker in the kitchen since it will probably be a while before I am ready to start making bread again. So, it actually went back into the garage. I did find the toaster... I have been hunting that bad boy. So, he got his home out on the counter next to the coffee pot and blender. I also found some great black porcelain containers that I had bought to put in the kitchen before we bought the house.

I am really surprised that all of the things we have for the kitchen match our kitchen (other than our white coffee pot, but that is ok). I think it is awesome that a lot of the things we registered for when we got married work in this house. I did find a hat rack that I bought to put in the kitchen to hang my aprons on, now I can't wait to get that up and hang all my pretty vintage aprons up.

I also re-organized the deep freeze. I know that isn't the most useful of my time, but it really needed to be done. It was getting annoying to have to pull everything out to try to find what I wanted to cook. I did find all the frozen juice we had gotten AJ. I told him it was in there somewhere, and of course it was on the bottom. I also found something that I need to let my sister-in-law know about.  They are yummy frozen meals that still require some cooking, but it is a complete meal that makes four full servings. We found them at Wal-Mart. They are amazing, quick, and just plain yummy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rain!

Yesterday we got rain at the house. Thank goodness, we needed the rain so badly. The grass looks green today instead of the nasty burned brown look. I need to go check on my tomato plants. They were looking pitiful yesterday when I got home and I was going to water them, but by the time I could water them (water restrictions down here) it was raining.

Watching the lightning from the living room windows was awesome. I am really liking the views that the triple sliding doors gives us. I need to find some kind of curtains to go in that space though. I don't like the plastic vertical blinds. Actually, I really hate plastic vertical blinds. It is a symptom of living in apartments for too long, they just make me feel like I am in a cheap/ sterile environment.

On a side note, the rain did not help my head. I have a really bad sinus infection. I went to the doctor and he checked my ears (which are hurting really bad). Apparently my ear drums are so retracted that my ear bones are projected out through the membrane. Yikes! No wonder I haven't been able to hear lately and they have been throbbing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Whole New World

I think I am finally back in the mood to start blogging again. I finally have a desire to share my life with people who want to read about it. Since moving to Orlando things haven't been the easiest, prettiest, or just plain not fun in a lot of respects. Things look like they are looking up now. 

Recap of the last year:

- June
 - AJ gets hired in Orlando. Molly still stuck in Gainesville.
- Molly quits working at UF after 7 years.
- Get an apartment. Decent place, but not the greatest. Miss the flat in Gainesville.
- August 
- A/C dies in apartment for 2 months.
- Molly gets part time job at Blue Man Group.
- AJ returns to working at Universal part time, also.
- Paid off all credit card debt ($3,000)
-Apartmetment becomes infested with bugs and continues until April 09.
- October
- Molly gets full time job at UCF. Still working at BMG, also.
- November
- AJ finally gets hired on full time at JBT. Still working at Universal.
- Molly stops working at BMG thinking that UCF is a stable job.
- December
- Molly quits UCF job due to INSANE supervisor. Decides being a stay at home wife is where she is supposed to be.
- Paid off AJ's first student loan ($4,000)
- January 
- Molly breaks foot. 
- Start planning major Disney trip to celebrate being out of debt.
- February
- Molly gets job as a church secretary, part time. 
- Paid off AJ's second (and last student loan) ($8,000)
- March
- Decided that now might be the time to start looking at buying a house.
- Find the house we want, and put in an offer.
- April
- Deal with major issues on getting the house. (Had an inspector say the house was unliveable because we didn't have a piece of baseboard, carpet transitions, and the carpets were dirty.)
- Finally closed on the house on April 15. File taxes and get house credit.
- Start moving into the house.
- DISNEY TRIP. The best vacation I have had in a long time.
- May
- House starting to look like a house and not a box wearhouse.

I love the being in the house. It is definately the right thing for AJ and I at the right time. When we had to go back to the apartment to clean it before we turned the keys in I was really sad. Not because I was sad for leaving, but at how bad the apartment really was.  When I was there the AC started pouring water out of the intake vent. I opened the cover and water gushed out, the filter was soaked, and the motor was "chugging" again.  I was glad to be leaving that fight behind.

I want to start posting pictures of the new house as I get projects done. I need to take some pictures tomorrow. 

I have the dining room almost done, I just need to center the furniture and find some curtains. I still want to paint the dining room a nice teal color, and use this fun fabric I found as the table cloth or curtains. But for now, that is down the road.

I did work on the kitchenette yesterday. The table had been a black and white polka dot and the chairs were a pretty bright red. I really loved this theme, but it didn't work in the new house. I tried and tried to figure out how to make it work, but it was to modern looking to fit into the house. So, I had been looking on the internet for ideas. I found something I really liked, and I have been searching for something similar. 


I found these great pineapple curtains at Wal-Mart. They are part of the Better Homes and Garden collection. I also painted the table and chairs to match the new theme better.  The table is a bright white, and the chairs are a sun shiney yellow. I also found this amazingly cute little clay bird at Lowe's.  We are hunting a nice corner cabinet to put in the kitchenette to display AJ's collection of theme park glasses (that is the only way they are getting put into the kitchen, because last time they were exposed to the air and they got all grimey). Our kitchenette doesn't look like the inspiration picture at all, but that is why it is an inspiration picture and not a copy of it.