Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Healthy Eating Our Way

I've received some inquiries about the food we eat so I thought I'd let David (my hubby) start sharing about it. I know healthy is a relative term, so we'll be sharing about foods that we deem healthy for our family.   

For most of my life I thought I knew what good food was. I didn't know how to cook it, but I was convinced I could spot it when I saw it. Turns out I was wrong. I had no idea what good food was. What I thought tasted good was processed, full of junk, and generally unhealthy. Needless to say, I am glad I have seen the light.

For the past few years I have been doing the majority of the cooking in our house. I would say 95% or more. It is not that Marixa can't cook. Quite the contrary. She can cook quite well. However, I really enjoy the process. It is not where her creative desire lies. So, I come home from work everyday and I fire up the kitchen.

I really enjoy the process of cooking from scratch. The smell of onion and garlic sauteing in olive oil is one of the primary smells around our house. The food tastes so much better when I cook with fresh ingredients. I love it. I do use some can goods from time to time, but no where near as often as I used to. Canned tomatoes and beans are on my high usage list. Most everything else comes fresh.

Cooking fresh meals became even more important last year. I hope you have read Marixa's previous posts on giving up sugar and also her post on high fructose corn syrup. As she stated in those posts, she gave up sugar for lent last year. I have full faith in my wife's willpower. When she says she is going to do something, I can take it to the bank. But, giving up chocolate and sweets for 40 days? I knew that was going take some willpower. She was up to the task and more. Not only did she give up the sugar, she started challenging me to really examine what I was putting into our food.

Now, as I said before, I was cooking some good stuff. Most of it was very fresh and good, but she challenged me to put more nutritious good stuff into it. I admit, I grumbled for a bit. Sometimes it is hard when you feel you are doing good, but are told you could do so much better. That is what I needed though. Why be content with good when you can have awesome? Little by little our produce bill has gone up every week when we go grocery shopping. It has been worth it.

I am still a work in progress, but I am on board with living and eating healthy. I do not succeed 100% of the time in eating and cooking healthy, but we are happier and heather than we once were. I call that a definite step in the right direction.

Stay tuned for more guest posts by David with recipes.
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Master Bedroom Makeover #532

OK, so it's not really #532 of my master bedroom makeover, but it feels like it sometimes! Yes, I am once again wanting to work on our bedroom. It seems that the past several times I've worked on our bedroom it just hasn't quite been what I want. But I hadn't really spent a lot of time coming up with a plan.

So it's not wonder I look at our room and I don't really care for it. It feels very bland and boring. I noticed when I worked on Trey's room that I had a plan but I also let it flow. I ended up with a few different patterned fabrics and I loved the look and feel of it. So that's my goal for the master bedroom.

I've been pinning bedrooms on Pinterest that I liked and then spent some time looking over them to see what I loved about them. It definitely helped me narrow down some ideas, like the colors I wanted in there and the feeling I was after.

Next I went pulling paint swatches at a few different places. I usually buy my paint at either Lowe's or Home Depot but I didn't find a great selection of shades in the colors I wanted, so I went to Sherwin Williams to pull swatches and will just have Lowe's color match it.

I also went looking at Fabric.com for some fabrics and then ordered some swatches so that I could look at them in the bedroom with the paint swatches.  This is a pic of what I ended up with.

As of right now:
 I want to repaint the walls, nightstands, dresser and refinish the small side table.

I want some new art in a couple of spots. One being a large photograph and the other a gallery wall.  

I want to switch curtain panels with the living room.

I want to make new pillow shams, new throw pillow covers and recover my vanity bench.

I want to make a new bed skirt.

So, that's my plan to make this room feel more pulled together, have a bit of personality and life while keeping true to who we are and how we live. I want a fresh, soothing space with modern/classic elements, on a budget!

I won't be finishing this project for a few months, but I'll be spending lots of time working on my plan and working on small projects. I'm hoping to do a few new things with this project including: wall paint mixed at 75-50% strength, chalk paint (not chalkboard paint) and a 2 toned half wood half painted piece. But we'll see how this evolves along the way.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Organizing DVD's Part 1

For those of you that don't know David (my husband) in person, he is a movie fan. He loves movies and before we had Trey we'd regularly go see them in the theaters. But he also loves to collect DVDs. Now for those that don't know me in real life, I hate collections. It goes against my organized, clutter free ideas. So as you can imagine this has been a source of some tension. And they are outgrowing their space.
One of the reasons I bought the dresser for the living room was to have concealed storage for all those DVDs. Trey was beginning to crawl and pull movies down off the shelves that they were housed on. So having drawers that he couldn't open, and would hide all those DVDs but keep them accessible was a perfect solution. That is until we started running out of room. Oh and we also have 2 small cabinets on either side of the fireplace and one was full of movies as well as the full dresser.

So, when I read a blog post a few months ago about how one woman organized her 200+ DVDs, I fell in love with it. I brought it up to David and he liked it. The system is basically thin plastic sleeves that hold 2 DVDs and the cover paper(s).

So, we spent a couple of hours pulling out every DVD and counting them. Since a lot of movies have an extra disc, I couldn't just count the cases. Oh, would you like to know how many we have? Well not counting boxed sets and TV show seasons which would stay as is, a whopping 460! That was about 100 more than I anticipated!

Here's a pic of most of the movies. Not shown are the Christmas, Workout, boxed sets, TV series seasons.

I ordered the sleeves through Amazon, I did hear that Target sells them but I didn't have any luck finding them there. The brand is Atlantic and they are called Movie Sleeves. Each box has 25 sleeves in them and each sleeve holds 2 DVDs so that's 50 DVDs for one box.

When I got them in I was so excited to get started so the next day I planned to get them all switched over that morning. By 5pm that night I still wasn't finished! I sat on the floor in the living room from 9-5 switching the DVDs. Trey and I watched movies all day to pass the time and we only do that when we're sick. And I had miscounted and still needed 2 more boxes.

Ok, so let me show you what 280 DVD cases looks like on our couch (some cases were the cardboard cases, some were 2 to a case that's why the number is different)

And here's a pic of all the little inserts in all those cases.

If you look at the pic above with all of the DVDs on the floor, the stack in the foreground is all of our Man/Action movies. And once they are converted to sleeves this is the stack.

And if that's not awe inspiring enough, check this out.

That's 21 cases, with 21 DVDs in sleeves with cover papers, taking up the space of 3 cases. Um, YES please! So far we are loving this!

So this is where I have to leave you with this wonderful makeover. I need to work on my sleeve storage next so I'll share that when I get it done. We will most likely being storing them in one of the drawers in the dresser with some additional organizing to make it user friendly.

Ok I need to know, how many DVDs do you have? Does anyone have more than us? How do you store your DVDs?

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sugar Free a Year Later

Ok, so I'm not 100% sugar free and it's not quite a year later. But I did want to talk about my journey a bit more.

It was March 2011 when I decided to cut sugar for Lent. (you can read about how I started and ended) For months prior I'd been so addicted that I was eating something sweet after lunch and dinner every day and it was hurting me. I'd get severe headaches and my body would just ache in as little as 15-30min after eating the sugar. I knew I had to make a change, I was scared of getting diabetes because of my sugar intake. So I cut it.

After Lent was over (Easter) I allowed myself to have some sugar in moderation. However I didn't allow myself ANY High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) because this was the biggest offender on my body. I did notice that powdered sugar and regular white sugar also were problems. At this point I'm able to eat brown sugar, organic raw sugar and honey in moderation without causing pain.

As mentioned in my end of journey post, we had to change some of the things we were eating that had HFCS in it that I never realized. Things like soup, bread, jelly/jam, cereal. David has started making soups from scratch, which was a wonderful bonus because they are 100 times better for us and tasting than Cambell's soups or anyone else. I found another whole wheat bread without HFCS and I eat Kashi cereal now which has small amounts of organic sugar. And lastly my jelly/jam, we've made some homemade using honey as a sweetener instead of sugar and it tastes great without being too sweet.

I also don't partake in eating sweets like I did before. I used to not be able to turn down any sweet. Now I rarely eat one. Sometimes David will make something like cookies and I'll have one and then no more (and then he takes the rest to work).

How does Sugar Affect Us?
For me, the most noticeable affects of too much sugar is physical pain. But if that's not the case for you then you may not think it's "that bad" for you. But it's damaging to our bodies. Here's a blurb from Keeper of the Home's blog:

  • It compromises the immune system

  • It feeds opportunistic bacteria (ie. the bad guys) in our gut. This leads to symptoms like tiredness and lethargy, mental fog, increased sugar cravings, impaired digestion and more.

  • It weakens teeth and causes cavities

  • It makes our skin break out

  • It messes with our blood sugar balance, creating vicious cycles of highs and lows throughout the day

  • It depletes our vitamin and mineral stores, and impedes the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat

  • It contributes to an overly acidic state in the body (which in turn contributes to disease)

  • It throws off insulin levels which can create/contribute to hormone imbalance

  • It is addictive and the more that we eat it, the more that we want it

  •  Did you catch all of that? It actually keeps your body from taking advantage of all that good food you do eat! And it keeps your body from fighting off illnesses like it should be able to, it weakens your body. I had never known that before and to me that was big stuff! I wasn't doing me any good to eat my fruits and veggies and other good foods if I was continually adding sugar to my body.

    I think a lot of times we think that if we eat more good than bad that the good will outweigh the bad. But I don't think that's the case.

    Yes I've "gone off the deep end" with my attitude toward sugar but I've experienced how much of a change it can make to my health. I have one body and I'm determined to make good decisions to make it the best I can. I probably have a million other things I could do to make it better, but it's a process.

    For me this was a life changing decision and one I don't regret. It lead me to make other changes in my eating and health for the better. I drink raw milk, eat more raw, eat real butter and we cook from scratch 95% of the time.

    The last year has been huge in terms of health changes. I know that even just 3 years ago, we wouldn't have believed we'd be doing what we're doing now. But I love the results and I love knowing that we are taking care of our bodies.

    I challenge you to make changes as well, you won't regret it!

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    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Clothes Deals at Goodwill

    If you've been reading long you know that I love Goodwill. I've bought so many great things at great prices there over the years. And clothes have been no exception.

    A few weeks ago David and I were in the mood to go looking around Goodwill. We weren't after anything in particular but just like to look around. I like the housewares, furniture and clothes. David likes the books, electronics and clothes. Trey likes the toys!

    So, we head in and I'm drawn to the clothes. I really love the way my local Goodwill's organize the clothes, it works with the way I think. They put all the women's sleeveless shirts together and then by color. Then the women's short-sleeve tops together by color and so on. So I can easily just look for the kind of top/bottom I want and then look at the colors I'm interested in. I love it.

    Well after a while of looking at jeans and other random stuff, I walked the skirt rack and 2 caught my eye. They had great colors and patterns. One was marked my size the other a little bigger. We were getting ready to check out when I noticed them so I didn't try them on. I figured if they were too small or didn't look right I'd just use the fabric for something else. So we bought them.

    Then the next weekend we had the itch to go back to Goodwill, only this time a different one. I went straight for the clothes and started pulling tops in colors I liked/looked good on me. Of course I grabbed more than I thought I'd get because after trying stuff on you usually weed through the pile. I took 7 tops in and all of them I liked/fit! And they were all very comfy.  I was surprised that they all worked. This isn't always the case but you embrace it when it happens. So we bought them.

    So, I had 2 skirts, 4 tank/sleeveless and 3 t-shirt tops. After trying everything on, I needed to alter both skirts, the pink tank, teal tank and teal shirt. I felt pretty confident in taking on these alterations since they were pretty basic. Skirt #1 was too long. Skirt #2 was too wide. Both the teal tank & teal shirt were too long and the pink tank was too wide.

    With the help of my new serger I altered all my new clothes to my liking. I was SO excited that I was able to do all of this all by myself. And with a little help from the manual! I'd tried shortening some tops last year just using my sewing machine but I wasn't happy with the results. They were mostly knits with some stretch and when I hemmed them they puckered or the stitch would break. I know you can use a zig-zag stitch to help with stretch but I didn't like the look. This is one reason I asked for a serger for Christmas. I love that I was able to take at least 2 items that were sized too big for me and make them my size.

    This thing worked beautifully! I'm VERY happy with my results and I'm now working on making some skirts and dresses using my serger. I'm enjoying learning how to make clothes.

    Oh, and in case you are wondering most of these items are name brand pieces.
    Pink tank- Jones New York
    Green tank- Mossimo (Target)
    Turq. tank- Old Navy
    Teal tank- Ann Taylor
    Pink tee- Gap
    Teal tee- Apt 9 (Kohls)
    Purple tee- Eddie Bauer
    Skirts were brands I've never heard of.

    Oh, and I got all of this for about $35. I LOVE GOODWILL!

    In case you aren't familiar with Goodwill here's some tips.
    Don't expect to find great deals every time. Some times you score big sometimes there's nothing good. Items are donated so the supply is constantly changing and that's what makes it so fun! Although I've seen many items with their original price tags on them, often from the original store that just needed to get rid of the items. So they are in great shape for fractions of the price.

    Be open to finding diamonds in the rough. You have to search and look and try things on. I don't only buy clothes, I find decorative items for my home and sometimes furniture too. Be willing to look. Clothes can be altered, items can be painted or cleaned up, furniture can be refinished, fixed, altered and painted.

    Give yourself time to look. If you are in a hurry you won't find as much.

    The Oklahoma Goodwill's offer a discount card for each calendar year. It's about $5 for card and every time you use it they take 10% off your order. And around here that's more than sales tax. If you shop there often it's worth it to get the discount card.

    So there's my story of my latest score from Goodwill.

    If you shop Goodwill or thrift stores tell me what you get. Any awesome deals?  Please share!

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    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Trey's Room Reveal!!!

    Ok, I'm laughing a little at the title, the exclamation marks make it seem like a really huge, big deal. So, here's the room.

    So, I talked last time about all the furniture moving that happened right after Christmas. I was finally able to work on and finish the details of Trey's room. This was a lot of fun! I spent a few weeks working out the details of what I wanted it to look like and what I needed to make it happen. This is going to be a long post with lots of pics but I wanted to show you everything. So, here we go!

    In Trey's room before I'd had a small gallery wall of frames. While I liked the idea the black frames weren't going to work for what I wanted. I wanted light and bright, big surprise! I found my tastes moving more toward light colors, white and simple decor.

    So, I spent about a week painting all the old frames and some others I'd picked up at Goodwill (another big surprise!). I had to prime them and then paint them. I could have knocked it out a lot faster by spray painting them but I had all the paint, so I went for free and time consuming.

    After the frames were dry I started looking for stuff to put in them. I didn't want just pics like I had last time, I wanted a few pics, some art and whatever I liked. I found a blog that has free printable's that I loved! I loved that they were kid oriented but with softer colors and fun designs. I also knew I wanted to include his hand and foot prints done when he was a month old and his 3yr old hand print (I do a hand print every year around his birthday). Here's what I ended up with.

    Starting on the top left: I made this on the computer, it's all Trey's birth stats. This was cut on my new Cameo machine, it's just a star that I really liked. Trey's hand and foot prints from a month old. This is a free printable from this site (they have a girl version too). This frame has been recycled many times, I didn't have anything good to put in the small mat openings so I just cut out his name with the Cameo.
    Bottom Row: This pic is over a year old but I love it, the mat was a Christmas gift from my parents. It's a wood cutout, that I painted white. This is a free printable from the blog I mentioned above. His 3year old hand print, which I'll just change out every year. The blue is another design cut from my Cameo. And lastly is a family pic when Trey was about 4mo. old and still a favorite.

    All frames were Goodwill finds except for the 2 holding his hand and foot prints, those were some old ones we already had. I love how this wall turned out! I like that I'll be able to add to it as I want/need by going up and side to side. I know it's a bit symmetrical but that's just who I am. The different frames offers that bit of character, while all being the same color keeps the unity.

    Like I mentioned in the last post, this dresser was moved to this spot to make room for the bed. The wall originally had a recliner and 2 black shelves. I'd seen several blogs with these great white modern wall shelves. They were from Ikea, so I thought I could order them online (the nearest store is 4hours away) but for some reason they don't sell them online only in store. And it wasn't worth the trip for $40.
    BUT, I did find these at Target and they are very similar to what I liked at Ikea and for less money. I got 2 for $22! I put one on each side of the window for balance and to keep things simple. On the left side of the window I originally had one shelf.
    The frames on each shelf are from Walmart, which I love! And they were already white so no painting! The printable's are from the blog mentioned above. I love how they look in the frames!

    On the right side of the window with the dresser I have Trey's dinosaur piggy bank that David picked up for him a couple of years ago. The frame is Goodwill, painted, with a printable in it. She had numbers 1-10, so I picked 3 since he's 3. I'll print out a 4 for his birthday just to keep things fresh.

    On the shelf is a ceramic turtle with moving head, tail, legs. My youngest sister got it on a mission trip (can't remember from where). The helicopter is from Hobby Lobby already painted. I just liked the colors and I love aircraft. The drum is from another sister on returning from Uganda on a mission trip.

    On the left side of the window. The figurine was a baby shower gift, because I loved it! One of my sisters took a pottery class and made this for Trey. Below it is a tile that all 3 of my sisters went in together to get as a shower gift. It's heavy and I finally got it hung up. I used 2 plate hangers from Hobby Lobby and spray painted the tips with oil rubbed bronze. I don't care for the brass look. Anyway, I love the tile and it looks great under the shelf.
    Under the shelf/tile is a rocking horse from David's parents.

    If you read the last post you would have seen the before pics of this chair. I bought this old dinning room chair from a thrift store or Goodwill (can't remember) about 8-10 years ago. I loved the wood and so I just recovered it. Well for a few years it's been in the shed as I didn't have room for it anywhere. After taking the recliner out I figured I needed a chair in here.

    So, I decided to paint and recover it. Unfortunately it wasn't as cheap as I was hoping but it was still cheaper than buying another chair. It took 3 cans of white spray paint to get it covered! And the first can was a paint/primer. Ugh!

    When the chair was finally done and dry, I started pulling fabrics that I already had on hand to see what looked best in the room. I ended up liking this one the best. Oh and it was a pillow sham I'd found at Goodwill (shocked aren't you?!) several months ago. It was Target brand, so no wonder I liked it!

    I am really pleased with how it turned out, even with some imperfections.

    I thought it could use a pillow on it to make it just a bit more comfy, so I swiped this off of our bed. I thought about recovering it but I didn't like anything else with the seat fabric so I kept it as is.

    As I mentioned in the last post, the bed was a hand-me-down from my parents, which was probably mine from high school. It's not a style I'd go out and pay for but for free it works just fine. We didn't have any bedding so I've been working on getting some at a discount price. I picked up the sheets and mattress pad at Target then got stuck on the comforter.

    I have a dislike for themed kids rooms. I don't do characters. So finding a comforter for his bed that didn't have characters for a cheap price was hard. I finally landed on a plain white fake down comforter from Target for $25, which was a good price for any comforter in a twin size.

    I knew I wanted a duvet cover even before finding a comforter. I picked up 2 flat sheets from Walmart for $6ea, one in navy and one polka dots in navy, teal and blue on a white background. Then I layed the navy one on the floor, then added the comforter, then the polka dot to see how it fit. Thankfully I didn't have to cut anything and just sewed the 2 sheets together on 3 sides leaving it open where the cuffs are on the sheets. I didn't add a closure but I might do buttons in the future.
    You can see all 3 layers in this pic.

    I also needed a bed skirt because I was using all that wonderful space under the bed for storage and want it covered. So, I picked up another $6 sheet from Walmart. I measured the 2 sides I needed covered and then cut the sheet to give me 2 panels. I hemmed all the edges up, then sewed some Velcro to the panels. 5 pieces for the long one and 4 for the short one. Then I held the panels up to the bed to figure out where the Velcro mate needed to go on the bed and hot glued it in place. This worked great, because the pieces will come off easily if I peel it off, but if I pull the skirt off they stay in place.

    I was very happy with this set up because I didn't use a bunch of fabric under the mattress as a normal bed skirt has, and I can easily pull a panel off the bed to wash as needed. LOVE it!
    Yes, the wall over the bed is empty. I have something I want to do there but I haven't worked it all out yet, so that will come later. The suspense!

    All in all I am very happy with the way the room turned out. It makes me very happy to go in there and look around. I think that covers everything, this post is really long so if I forgot something or you want more info on something ask me in the comments. I'll leave you with a few more parting shots around the room.

    That basket holds all his small toys. They were in an ottoman but they are easier to see and play with in this open basket (it's from Home Goods).

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