Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Crafting--Not my Strong Suit

I have a lot of anxiety--I stress over little things.  I used to bake my stresses out.
Now while I still bake quite a bit, I realized that baking kind of defeats the point of going to the gym if I keep it around the house. But just look at these yummy cupcakes I had here around Thanksgiving.

Thankfully I had a baking order, sold the leftovers and then took some to my in-laws for our Thanksgiving dessert.  I think they were a hit! :)

I knew I needed to find a new hobby to relieve me.  Gym, baking, blogging--are all fun, but I wanted to take on something new.  SOOO---I tried crafting. Yeah, not really my thing....not that I don't love doing it--BUT, for some reason, it doesn't turn out like I had hoped or envisioned.

 You see, I like that farmhouse style, but what amazes me is it that style is kind of expensive to get little things here and here that are deemed "Farmhouse."  Who would have thought that plain, and simple with a little rust on that galvanized metal would be a little pricey--not to mention a simple wood sign being upwards of $80.

On that note, I told myself, "Self, you can do this on your own."  While I was pumping myself up, little did I know that the materials for crafting aren't that cheap (Cheaper than the product itself though).  AND, when it was all said and done--I realize why people charge what they charge.  For the record, it is easier to buy it unless you want to give it a go on your own.

My first craft project was a footstool.  My husband and I went to a local auction house.  This little dandy was like $2.  I thought for $2, why not see if I can play around with it and make something of it.  It was really in rough shape.  Here's a similar pic of what I had to work with.

Now mind you the top was not in that clean, fine needlepoint design.  It was rough, falling apart, dusty and you could see the original horsehair underneath. 
 This is what the horsehair would have resembled, but again, it was no where near that clean.

I stripped all the padding/cushioning off of it and left just the frame and original board.  I painted it with a "rub effect"  Again, I know NOTHING about crafting.  I dusted it off well and I used a white chalky paint and painted over the already dark stained frame. After I painted each section, I took a paper towel and rubbed in areas causing it to look a bit distressed.  I love the color it turned out!

 I added a new foam padding to the board and covered it with burlap.  I thought it needed something else for decorative purposes, so I literally "sharpied" (coined it---used a sharpie marker) and stenciled on a D for our last name. Honestly, it looks kind of cute just sitting there in the corner.

My next project just involved playing around with some leftover wood scraps from our new construction.  I mean I might as well try to use all of that left over lumber if I can--and I was just playing around.  I started with a board that was just big enough for the word JOY.  I probably should have stained my board first to create a better wash color, but it works for now.

I love that little chalky finish paint.  Its really a nice color.  I also purchased a little wreath from Hobby Lobby that I wanted to use as the O in Joy.  I debated buying garland and creating one, but this was the same price--so, I rolled with it and took the easy way out.

After painting the board, and letting it dry, I found a font I liked on the computer.  I played with several fonts, and different size fonts to get the right fit for my board. I printed the letters and cut them out. Remember I just needed to use the J and Y as I was  using the wreath for my O.
I used carbon tracing paper for my J and  Y.  I do not have a steady  hand--so its a good thing I like vintage and rough design. :)

I colored in the J and Y with a red paint.  I used sand paper to rough it up just a bit, and traced over the edges with a black sharpie (remember--unsteady hand--so I thought this would help with the paint job too)
 Then I placed my wreath in the middle and hammered in a nail to help hold it in place. It actually turned out pretty cute, and looks nice on the front porch.  Only took about $10 to make and that was because I bought the wreath.  The other items were just laying around the house.  So--for $10, I will LOVE it! :)

For the next time though, I will just remember that I am NOT crafty--and leave it to the professionals.  :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Personal Blog Post

For those of you who have found me or follow me through my Teacher blog, and if you have followed for several years,  you may know that I do not live in the best part of town. First, I am not from the town I currently reside, and second, my neighborhood USED to be an elderly neighborhood--but times have changed. We have tried moving on more than one occasion, but with a two teacher salary and a four member household, it wasn't in the cards for us..maybe it's because I believe in taking family vacations..I am sure if I held back from that, we may have been able to save...I do think that those moments and memories are precious and important.  We tried selling our house previously, but then when we had offers, we had no place to move as most apartments wouldn't allow the kids' pets.  

I finally took a leap of faith, and prayed that things would find a way. We looked for homes out of our area and into the country,  but I just couldn't find something that was the right budget that didn't need work...SO  we bought land about two years ago in the country and decided to build within a few years.  I am not sure if this was the best decision of my life, but I told my husband I would know the time was right when I felt it.

I felt it.  I felt like I prayed for so long about things working out for us, that it just so happened that there was a staircase, and I jumped.  Granted, my house hasn't sold, and I'm now in the process of building a new one-but I know that somehow, someway, things will have a way of working out.  God is good...and God knows that this is what my family needs.

I started realizing just how much this was the right decision for my family when my husband and I were at our local auction house.  I got a phone call from my teenage daughter.  She said that the ambulance was at the house next door.  It just so happened to go to that house TWICE the same night--for overdoses.  It came back the next night for the same.

I have had cops on my front porch two times in the past month inquiring about our neighbors.  I have NEVER had cops visit me.  I  see various gentlemen coming in and out of the house of the lady that lives next door.  I hate to assume what is going on in that house, but there is way too much going on that isn't my lifestyle.  Things I don't want to expose to my daughter, and my son.  They deserve a much better outside environment.

You see, a few years ago, I even open enrolled them out of the district that we reside. It happens to be the same district I teach. As much as I love my job, and the kids I work with, I felt I needed something different for my own children.  Not to mention, it is much easier to not have them in the same building that I work, though I do miss them with me.  Having them at their new school, the school district in which we are building our home in, has been one of the best decisions we, as parents, have made for them. I am so thankful that they have made friendships, kept their grades up, and became involved in extra-curriculars.

But now the stressful part, building is not an easy task....and it isn't even the decision making, though that too, has been a pain in the hiney.

It's just that people ask/say/comment "Are you getting....or,,,are you doing this... this would be perfect for...we really like this and it's a great feature."   But all I seem to think is, I am doing good to stay afloat while making two house payments...and while I know they are just being helpful, or just as excited for us, it just makes me feel, well,

 You see...again, two teacher income...we budget, and we budget tight. I am not into all the fancy dancy features, the hard wood floors, the special lighting, or even pan drawers.  I am pretty much a plain Jane that loves farmhouse decor.....

BUT did you know that even that is EXPENSIVE? I've tried my hand at some few "crafts" to help with my anxiety and stress of building...but then I realized I really am not a crafty gal.  :) 

But when it's all said and new house may not be fancy...but whatever house I am in, it is home.  And I am ever so grateful to the Good Lord above for helping me and answering my prayers. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Back At It

It has been two years since I have blogged on this little blog of mine.
I can't believe how quickly time has passed.  I was reading through some of the posts I had.
Acts of Kindness at Christmas was my last one.  I still believe in doing those kind acts--no matter the season.  The post before that--losing weight. HA!  Guess what?  I'm still trying to lose it and it still keeps finding me.  In that post, I talked about my 102 year old grandma.  It's sad to say that she passed away this fall.  She was always my cheerleader.  God love her.  And HOW AMAZING is it to live to be 104?

As I continued reading through old blog posts, I realized I sure do bake a lot.
Hence the weight still finding me thing!

Actually, I think that baking is my form of therapy.
I feel at peace in the kitchen.
But my poor neighbors can probably only take so many baked goods in a week, 
so I needed to find another form of therapy.

I have always liked blogging, but theres' something about having the time or the content.
I mean, I lead a pretty boring life.
Teacher by day, mom and wife by night.
I guess that's where the time has gone.

Now that I no longer have my own classroom, as I'm a Title teacher, it has become difficult 
to create material and blog posts.  With three different grade levels and teaching reading and math with 20  minute groups, I'm doing good to stay afloat with materials I have had in years past. So that pushed the teaching blog aside for the past couple years as well.  But I've missed it.  I'm trying to get back to the teaching blog AND I so wanted this to be my other outlet--my form of therapy since it isn't as fattening.
BUT--then I feel guilty when I sit down and take a few minutes.
Unfortunately laundry doesn't do itself.

And back to that weight thing-hubby and I joined a gym about 9 months ago.
Yay?   Honestly, I was apprehensive about going--because you know--Chubby Chick!
But then I realized people really don't care about my size there--they are actually quite helpful.
AND It isn't' so bad really.  I actually have found that I really like lifting weights, but don't tell my husband.
He has become quite used to my complaining about gym time. 
It's just that baking in the kitchen sounds like a MUCH better use of my time.
Nahh, in all reality, I really do like lifting.  
I've been keeping a notebook with our routines and what we lift.
I may have not lost pounds, but my clothes are  loser.  That for me is a win.
PLUS, I am impressed with myself.  Each week I get stronger.
My PR for bench is 160. Not too bad for a chubby chick.
I do about 350 on the sled.
I have definitely come a long way from where I was 9 months ago.
I will take those gains and be proud. 
 **But it's really cool when you see that you're lifting more than the GUY next to you.
--not judging, just saying! :) 

I have also taken up crafting.--kinda.
I  will share some of my projects in my next blog post.
Hopefully it will be within a week--and not two years! :)


Saturday, November 29, 2014

It's the Holiday Season---

Growing up, my family always put our tree up the first full weekend in December.  My brother was born on the 3rd, and it seemed to fall around his birthday every year so it worked out great when we were all kids.  But, when my hubby and I got married, we decided that it would go up after Thanksgiving, usually on that Saturday.  We've maintained this tradition for years and it works great for us.  It's good quality family bonding...and it puts us in that holiday mood. 

This year, our big debate was real tree vs. artificial tree.
Me?  I wanted a real tree.  
I remember having one at home, at my grandparent's, but never since we've been married-
-I felt I was due.
Then, I thought---ick-what a mess.  
With my artificial tree I can bend my branches if things won't stay the way I want them.
But I was missing the smell---ahh the smell.
SOOO--lo and behold lookie!

These are FABULOUS.  I'm only on day 2, but I can smell the fresh evergreen as soon as I walk in the house.  Well worth it if you like the smell, but not the mess.

 And---you can't always tell if it's a real or artificial tree at first look
(sometimes even 2nd look) :)

The holiday season is also about creating memories.
We get so wrapped up in other things that we forget to breathe.
We forget what the season is about.
See that little sign:
Here's a closer look.
He's the Reason for the Season.

I wanted to keep the season alive--
I'm all about the acts of Kindness.

We came up with some ideas we wanted to do.
We asked for more ideas at Thanksgiving with my dad/siblings.
But I was surprised at what I was hearing.
What my husband and I do just because it feels right--
people don't always do????
Holding a door?  Taking someone's cart? Helping someone with something heavy?
Picking up trash because we see it?  Really??? I didn't know.

I guess I just assumed others were doing it out of habit.
So, we continued with our list that we had started.

Our list is nothing huge, some things we're doing do cost money, but it's nothing extravagant.
Just little things here and there as we count down to Christmas.

I truly feel I'm blessed in so many ways.
If I can bring a smile to one person's face--or even a shock of confusion followed by a smile-
-then I'm happying up my own day too!

So for our first countdown to Christmas activity, we passed out lottery tickets.

When I first bought them, I turned right around and gave one to the cashier.
She looked confused as I wished her good luck--and I went on my way.

We ended up going into a few stores with the kids and I had them pass them out as well.
The kids were getting into it, and the receivers were all shocked at first--but my kids said "Good luck" and Merry Christmas.  I had fun with this activity with the kids tonight.
We may have to do this one again.

Monday I am calling our local hospital to see if there are any restrictions for our children's ward and chemo ward.  I want to donate a few things, but feel I need to double check before I do.
We would like to do board games/coloring books/crayons etc for the children
and chapsticks, gum, socks, mints, etc for the chemo patients.
This idea hits home----as my mom had breast cancer.
When she was sick, she remarked about the taste she would have in her mouth.
Hopefully this helps other patients and the hospital accepts our chemo bags.

So, I hope to post and share more of our RAKS, but I'd love to hear from you.
Do you have any ideas?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Weight Loss and Fitness Motivation

I'm a fluffy gal who is trying to get rid of some of her stuffing.  I'm cuddly, soft--you know all those words that describe a big ole' teddy bear.  I'm trying to fix it. 
  It didn't get there overnight, so it is definitely not going to go away overnight. 

My husband has been a great motivation for me.
He stood beside me and did the 24 day challenge with me.
By the way, it rocked!
You can click HERE if you want to check it out yourself.
The first 3 days were the hardest.  The first 10 pounds were the easiest to lose! became harder.
 But 20 pounds later...and I'm getting the hang of it.
Sure, it may be disappointing that people may not see it.
You see, I know I'm a bigger girl. It will take a while for people to notice.
I have had friends and family notice.  My grandma LOVE her dearly told me...MY you've lost weight.  Now see, Grandma is 102 years old.  I just thought she couldn't see me well, so I got closer to her. ;)  She said WOO-EY, how much have you lost.  I told her about 20 pounds, and she said it sure does show! ;)  Yeah, I need to visit granny more often! ;)

Now, that the challenge is over, and school is out, it is time to keep myself on a routine.
I started walking.
 I thought that (above) was a good place to start! 
No, really though, I started walking on the treadmill.
And yes, this was my attitude--I had worked myself out of any kind of workout regimen.

I mean the closest work out I had been getting for a while was a push up from the couch.
Though when I was in school, I was getting some occasional sit ups in.

But I started feeling more energetic.  Weird, right?
 I know I had read this quote below before and I thought...whatever
But it's true.  I did feel better.

So then, I went to that wonderful hubby of mine.
I said I don't want arm flab.
I don't want to be in school and using a pointer, or doing the Phonics Dance and my flab is still swinging away, or riding a roller coaster with the kiddos and seeing our picture and my arm flab is waving at the camera.
 So he helped me out.

I have just little weights here at the house.   I don't pay for a Gym Membership.
I mean there is nothing worse than being a bigger gal and seeing all the skinny people working out.
I'd go to a gym too if I had the body that I was supposed to have! :)

So my wonderful hubby wrote down a little workout for me.
He just looked a few things up and started adding things as I went along.
I use little weights from Wal-mart and I have a little exercise mat I use for comfy-ness.  :)

Here's my little routine as of today.
Notice it says Morning----
After working on my arms, and walking on the treadmill, I thought I can do this.
Why not try to start running instead, I said....
 Try the couch to 5K, I said.
Yep, I TOTALLY need this shirt.

But in the end, it's not the fact that I run EXTREMELY slow.
It's not the fact that I'm not working out with a major routine.
It's the fact that I'm trying.

Now I'm not saying that what I'm doing is the right thing or not....
I just know that I'm seeing changes with me.
Am I Tired?  -ISH!
Am I Sore?  Some Days!
Do I HONESTLY feel bad if I don't work out?  Yes!  
(Wow, who would've thought I would have said that?)

 Here's to the next 20!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Coconut, Chocolate Chip, Heath Bar Cookie

Funny how my last post was on weight loss and this post is a cookie recipe.  I still bake.  I enjoy tinkering around in the kitchen with recipes and then passing baked goods on to friends/family.  For Father's Day I made cupcakes and Reese Dreams for our dad's to enjoy.  

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
Butterfinger Cupcakes
 Our grandmas (my husband's and mine) also enjoy their sweets.  The great thing is that they both enjoy the same taste...chocolate, coconut, butterscotch, lemon, etc----Okay, I think our grandmas have a bit of a sweet tooth too. :)  So when I decided to combine some of their favorites into a cookie, THIS is what turned out. 
A Coconut, Chocolate Chip Heath Bar Cookie.

I mean just LOOK at this delicious batter!!

Want the recipe?
 Click the image below.
Coconut Chocolate Chip Heath Bar Cookies