Less than a week to go before our quick trip to Disney World, and I have prepared very little. Something can be said for winging it, right?
I booked our hotel (we’re also staying with my sister later in the week) and reserved a couple of character meals. I checked on times for different character meet-n-greets and took notes. I bought some swim suits. I have not yet started packing.
The boys are not yet three, so this visit will be less elaborate that ones in the future. We’re spending day in Magic Kingdom, park-hopping one day, and that’s it! We’ll see what we can and not worry about the things we miss. At this age, the magic will be in full force regardless.
The only sites I’ve used are the official My Disney Experience website and the cheat sheets on Easy WDW.
Worries: N’s peanut allergy. N’s new game of “catch me” that he likes to play. Heat. Orlando is mild in March, right? RIGHT?
May I confess that I’m excited for my sister to watch the boys one day while my husband and I enjoy Harry Potter at Universal?
Our house is tiny, but for the most part the floor plan works really well. It’s an open floor plan with bedrooms tucked off to the side. One room that is seriously lacking, though, is the master bath. It’s the size of a spare bath and even though it has a nice garden tub, it’s a combo shower/tub. No linen closet, no storage, no double sink. Super small.
We have actually completely changed it up twice now. So now I present to you the evolution of our master bath. Sorry for the complete crap pictures:
Top left is when we first moved in. Everything builder-grade, generic, no paint, same shower curtain I had in my apartment since 2001.
Bottom left is the first update. We went with a crazy orange which I loved for a while but eventually wore on my nerves. We purchased a new shower curtain, new bath mats, new mirror, new fixture, new accessories (towel rack, tp holder, outlet covers, etc).
The right is our latest change-up. We put down new tile floors and wainscoting, repainted to a relaxing color (Sherwin Williams Sea Salt) and changed the trim/painted the wainscoting in Cream Delight by Valspar. We kept the curtain, bath mats (ignore the random towel in this picture) and accessories. I think we are finished with this room for a while. We’re working on the living room next.
I come from a bookish family. My parents have shelves full of books, and my mom made sure we always had access to reading material. I learned to read at a young age, and never stopped. My siblings are all still avid readers, though our tastes all differ. As a pre-teen/teen I began writing, first in a journal (including a ridiculous 100+ page monstrosity dedicated to just one boy, and probably evidence of early stalker tendencies), then short stories and poetry. None of it was mind-blowing, but it was an outlet that I needed. It’s an outlet that I still need.
It’s no surprise that as an adult I sought out an online community of book fanatics, and over the past 6 years it has blossomed into a group of true friends. Some of them blog about their reading experiences (check out We Still Read), some of them write, and some of them just devour books on the daily.
A small group of us formed a writing support group, mainly for support during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) a few years ago. Life has stalled my writing plans (though I have a ton of unfinished material waiting on me when I’m ready), but several of my friends have pushed through, worked diligently, and found success. I will do whatever I can to get their material into the hands (or e-readers!) of as many people as possible. I am so, so proud of each of them.
The first to publish this year is Melissa Landers. Her debut Young Adult novel, Alienated, was released in February 2014 and is the first book of a series. Alien exchange students. Witty dialogue. Drama. Definitely check it out.
Melissa also writes romance novels under the pen name Macy Beckett, including the Sultry Springs series and the upcoming Dumont Bachelors series.
Also coming up this year from my book nerd/writing buddies: Push Girl by Chelsie Hill and my friend Jessica Love, and Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke. I’ll post more on these closer to the release dates!
I made this as a side dish for Thanksgiving, and it was so good I just made it again so I can eat it for a few days as an actual meal.
I pretty much followed these directions exactly. I used Johnsonville Three Cheese Italian Chicken Sausage, a pre-cubed container of butternut squash, dried sage and Boar’s Head goat cheese, so I have maximum laziness yet still delicious results.
Click here to see the recipe – it’s Butternut Squash Crack from pyjammy.com. (Her blog is cool in general if you have time to check it out – she has identical triplet boys.)
Here is a picture of how mine turned out:
If I had a random vacation, I think I would spend it reading and sleeping. Maybe I would do a little writing and a little cleaning here and there so I wouldn’t feel completely worthless.
My husband? My husband lines up a bunch of projects to complete and ends up not getting any rest all all. The upside is that the changes look great! The downside is that it’s like he didn’t take a vacation at all.
He repainted the main areas – living, dining, kitchen, hallways – in Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray. My picture is crap, so excuse me. I’ll post a better one later.
In order to do this he had to take down about a million shelves and pictures and put them back up.
He also installed a tile backsplash in the kitchen:
We bought it from Lowe’s. I don’t remember the brand but the color was Coastal Blend.
The biggest change was our bathroom. He tiled the floors, built and installed wainscoting, and repainted (remember the orange walls??). This color is Sherwin Williams Sea Salt. I like it enough to possibly use it in the (still unpainted) spare bedroom. We used Cream Delight by Valspar for the wainscoting and trim.
I am tired just looking at all of this.
I’m only 2.5 months into eating healthier and I’m already sick of eating the same things over and over. So, I created a Pinterest board just for pinning low-carb, low-gi, paleo or just healthier alternatives to what I want to eat. Here is a link.
I’ve already tried out a bunch of these over the past month. Last night I fixed Cauliflower Casserole au Gratin from Kalyn’s Kitchen, but I subbed crumbled turkey bacon for the ham and regular onion for the green onion. I also tried out a 1/2 batch of this primal fudge recipe, but I have to say that it requires a taste for coconut! My husband surprisingly liked it a lot.
Some repeat favorites for me:
In panic, I’ll either eat pre-made meatballs with steamed veggies or scrambled eggs or a salad. Almost every morning I eat greek yogurt and apples, but on the weekends I always have scrambled eggs
I’m still a clumsy cook, but since I’m really the only one eating my food I can afford to be a little terrible at it. N will try almost anything I fix, but he is particularly fond of the stuffed peppers.
Wish me luck,
Is this Ally blogging about food like she knows how to cook? Yep!
I know this concept is hilarious since cooking is not my strength, but I have been attempting to shed some weight and therefore am forced to try. Really the only type of dietary change that helps control my cravings is cutting out the sugar and cutting down on the carbs in general. In the past I’ve followed the South Beach Diet with success, but this time I’ve followed most of the basic principles without following the diet exactly. I never cut out fruit, I’ve kept in starchy veggies like carrots and I am still not eating red meat. Also, I’m not a fan of sugar substitutes so I really have only had them in smaller quantities in sugar-free jello and pudding. This time around, I haven’t been able to eat peanuts or peanut-contaminated products since we keep a peanut free house.
I’ve been at it for 2 months so far and I’m still feeling pretty good. I thought I would share some of the recipes that have turned out well and are super simple for people like me who aren’t very talented in the kitchen.
Today’s lunch: Crockpot Turkey Chili
What I did:
Browned 1lb lean ground turkey with olive oil, then threw it in the crockpot with 1 large chopped onion, 1 chopped green pepper, (2) 14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes (I get the no-salt ones), (2) cans kidney beans (I’ve used dark or light, reduced sodium), about 10 diced jalapeno slices from a jar, a teaspoon of minced garlic, a lot of chili powder (I use a salt-free one, can you tell I hate salt?), a lot of cumin, quite a bit of black pepper and a bit of basil and oregano even though I don’t really think that matters. I put cook it on low overnight and it’s ready in the morning to pack some up for lunch.
I’m sure you appreciate my exact measurements above. When I heat it up, I throw some shredded cheese and sour cream on top. Yum. My husband and I can usually eat this up in a few days, and I usually eat it for lunch, dinner, lunch, then dinner before I get sick of it.
Here is an old picture I took way back when I was doing Project 365:
It looks better once it’s finished cooking.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!
The boys are still at an age where the actual process of Trick-or-Treating means more than the candy. Since N has a peanut allergy, we will always have to screen candy and will have to come up with a future game plan. This year it was simple – we let them collect whatever candy was given to them and put it in their buckets. When we got home, they almost immediately forgot about the candy and were more excited about playing with glow sticks. We dumped the candy back into our candy bowl and gave it away.
E was game. He willingly visited every house. N was a little more reserved. He preferred to hang out in the wagon until his cousin and friends showed up and he decided to participate with the group. Our neighborhood was packed with kids because it has sidewalks and streetlights and a lot of parents bring their kids in from other neighborhoods.
Here are our minions!
Edited to add: Since a few people have asked, I bought the yellow shirts from Kohl’s (in Yukon Gold), the overalls from OshKosh and the hats were made by etsy seller Crochet4Cuties. I picked up some $0.79 gloves from Walmart and made the Gru symbol myself out of felt.
If you know me (and I assume, if you are actually reading this, you probably do know me personally), then you know that I don’t have a natural aptitude for anything domestic – cooking, cleaning, decorating, fashion. When I moved into my new office last month, I was met with a much larger blank canvas than I anticipated and nothing to fill it. I had a diploma frame and a couple of 12×18 pictures I thought would do the trick. Not so much.
What I immediately enjoyed was the natural flood of light into my office (very different from my previous prison-cell window) that allows me to keep the bright overhead lights turned off all day. I brought in a little lamp to use as needed, but otherwise I bathe in the natural light all day.
What I didn’t enjoy was the clinical, institutional feel to a lot of blank wall space. I considered purchasing a huge canvas to take up space on the wall I face, but ended up brainstorming (with the help of Pinterest) a wall collage. After collecting all of the pieces and drawing up a diagram, one of our awesome maintenance guys lined everything up perfectly for me. Here is the result:
I love it! I also bought a plant (let’s see how long it lives – add “keeping plants alive” to my list of non-skills) and some other frames and personal items, so now after a month it’s starting to feel like my real office.
Sometimes I consider this potential problem when I think about us moving into a larger house. Sure, it would be nice to have the extra space, but will we lose some of the family togetherness we currently have because we are all squashed together all of the time? Will the blank canvas walls be intimidating and clinical to me?