Monday, March 10, 2014

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Last Sunday, my beautiful niece and her boyfriend were in the OC visiting his family and they were nice enough to make some time for me. 

It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Huntington Beach - I even got my first sunburn! It's day's like that that make me never want to move from Orange County!
It was so beautiful, I wasn't ready to head home after they left so I headed to the Wedge in Newport Beach. 
On our way, I stopped at 7-11 to grab something cold to drink. As soon as I got out of my car, a homeless man approached me and asked me for money for something to eat. I rarely have cash on me these days, so I tell him that and continue to go inside. Then it dawns on me, I'm going into a store that has all kinds of food, why don't I just get him something. I asked him what he wanted and he said, "Just something to eat and drink." Followed by expressions of gratitude. 
So, I grabbed 2 waters, a sandwich, a yummy looking fruit salad, and asked for $5 cash back and gladly gave it to my new friend, wishing him a good day. He, of course, was very grateful and went on his way. 
It warmed my heart as I pulled away to see him find some shade and opening the fruit salad for him to enjoy. 

I hope that the reason I share these random acts of kindness isn't misconstrued. I don't share them to get kudos. I don't share them to feel grandiose. I share them in the hopes that it will inspire more acts of kindness and show how simple it is to change someone's day and to spread a lil love. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

First Reward

So I got a new scale. That means I met my first weight loss goal. Yay!
The irony of a new scale is the weight difference. I was hoping it would work in my favor (who wouldn't) but it did the opposite.
Funny story, really.
The scale is fancy. I can enter my starting weight and my goal weight and it will tell me how much I've lost (or gained.) It tracks my progress for me. Nice!
So I'm programming it and step on to get my starting weight with this scale.
It read 182. My goal for the reward was 180 so 2 pounds wasn't terrible. In fact, 2 pounds may equal my clothes.
Naturally, I stripped out of my clothes and tried again.
This time it read 183!!!
I'm not quite sure of the confidence I have in this new scale. And I'm also not that excited about losing pounds I already lost, but progress is progress, right?
According to my original scale, I'm down 7 pounds. If we go from my biggest since I moved to So Cal, I'm down 14 pounds. And if we go from my biggest of all time in 2004... Hahaha just kidding.
I'm excited for results. Results keep me motivated.
Next reward? A new book!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Valentine's Candy Jars

I may have mentioned before that I am not a huge Valentine's Day celebrator. I know, I am kind of bah humbug about it, but it seems like such a retail holiday. I love the people I love EVERY day, not just on Valentine's day. But for some reason this year, I was feeling the love and I wanted to celebrate it.

I happened to be in Northern California spending time with some of my biggest loves and so I thought, "I don't get this opportunity very often, I want to do a little something." So, the BFF and I headed out to the stores after the kids went to the school and got creative.

My niece, aka "Princess" is like her mom and I in that she loves all things peanut butter. So her jar is filled with peanut butter M&Ms and her card says, "You're the peanut to my butter."
My nephew JP likes just about any candy so I got him Starburst and told him he was my "shining star." Awww!
And my other nephew, who I don't really have a nickname for without giving away his name, likes chocolate mint stuff so I got him York Peppermint Patties and told him we were "mint" to be together. Schmoop!
(The Reese's hearts were from their mom.)

I also made similar ones for my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew - theirs just had different kinds of M&Ms. Oh, and my sister and bro-in-law got a bottle of wine with theirs too. And then they fed me a delicious steak dinner.
OH! And I almost forgot the best Valentine's/Birthday gift ever! My sweet nephew, JP, gave me this:
It says, "I love you so much, I will build you a house of money." Ugh! Just melt my heart, why doncha! He has a heart of gold, that kid. It was agreed that I couldn't spend it until he came down to So Cal to visit me. That middle part? That's a $20 bill folded into a shirt. That's 25 dollars that kid gave me. I mean, I have to wait and spend it with him, but what 11 year old do you know that would give away $25 of his own money? He's the only one I know!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Baseball Flip Flops

I recently traveled up to Northern California for some much needed friends and family time. While there, my BFF and I were crafting machines! We made these really cute candy jars for Valentine's day (stay tuned!) and a few days later, we made these cute flip flops!

The BFF got the idea from this pin, which doesn't link to a blog or any place I can give proper credit to. We winged it and made them our own and since we were figuring it out on our own, naturally they got cuter as we went along. 

See? We were so excited to just get the first shoe done! One down, five more to go. 

Here's what you need:
  • Flip flops. (We got ours from Old Navy and Target.)
  • Leather Hole Punch Tool
  • Ribbon
  • Baseball beads
  • Some rhinestone embellishments (from the scrapbooking section)
  • Super Glue
  • Patience
This is the first pair:
Cut the ribbon long enough to go on both sides of the shoe with extra to at the end to tie. 
We punched five holes on each side. 
Tied one end of the ribbon. (As you can see, this part was the key part to figure out. My concern was that the knots would not only loosen when walking, but might even irritate the skin/foot. I think we nailed it on the next attempt.)
Weave the ribbon through the holes, putting a baseball on when the ribbon is on the outside of the strap.
Repeat till you get to the other side of the shoe and tie off. 
Then we super glued the embellishments down (this is the part where you need patience) and we even glued the baseball beads down for good measure. 

Here's our second attempt: 
We did these the same way as the other ones except we tied the ribbon (and super glued for good measure) to the little prong thing on the bottom of the flip flip. After tying it on there and securing with super glue, we just pushed the prong thingy back into the shoe for a smooth transition! Genius if I do says so myself. (I wish I could take the credit here too, but it was technically my sister's idea.)

And last, but not least, these ones were my favorite! 

The only thing we did different on these is instead of 5 holes, we punched two. One on each side of the thing that goes between your toe then tied off the ribbon into a bow. They are both really cute, but the less busy is just my personal preference. 

We'll see how well they hold up. I mean, they're not made to play baseball in, they're made to look fashionable while you watch someone else play baseball! So they should be fine. 
 As soon as the BFF posted them on her Facebook page all the other baseball and football mom's wanted a pair so I think she's jumping on the opportunity and will perhaps make a buck or two making them!
I am proud of both of us for making our (really, her) vision come to life. 
And thank goodness she painted her toes the day before we made these!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Roasted Potatoes

I may have mentioned before that I haven't met a potato I didn't like. This was no exception.

I modified the recipe from McCormick's website.
I didn't have any of the seasoning's they suggested, so I improvised.
I also didn't add onion like they suggest. 
Here's what I did: 

  • Preheat oven to 425 and spray a baking pan w/cooking spray. (I used a 9x13 Glass Pyrex.)
  • Cut six red potatoes into bite-size cubes and put them into a gallon sized zip lock. 
  • Dump the following ingredients into the bag w/the potatoes:
    •  3 tablespoons Olive Oil
    • 1.5 teaspoons Garlic Powder 
    • 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoning Salt
    • Sprinkle in some pepper. (I use McCormick's Peppercorn Medley.)
  • Shake it all up until the potatoes are nicely coated and dump it into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until golden to your liking. Stir occasionally. (I stirred about every 10-15 minutes.)
Throw it together with some chicken and asparagus and you have a le gourmet meal!

Bottle Cap Magnets

I don't really get along with this project and it seems so simple to do!

1.) Drink some beer and save the bottle caps. (I'm really good at this part.)
2.) Use a 1" circle punch to punch the pic.
3.) Glue pic to bottle cap and allow to dry.
4.) Put glossy substance over pic and allow to dry.
5.) Add magnet on the back of the bottle Cap.


Or so it should be. The first time I attempted these, I half assed glued them down and didn't allow for drying time so when I added the glossy substance the pictures moved and sort of floated into weird positions. And there were bubbles in the glossy substance. This attempt, my glossy substance was a liquid glass of sorts I use for scrapbooking.

So this time, I filled the cap with a layer of glue and let the glue dry overnight. It still didn't really seem like it was dry but I'm impatient. Plus if it didn't dry in 12 hours I'm nit convinced it was gonna dry. Haha Anyway, I added the glossy substance. This time I used Mod Podge Magic Dimensions (or something like that) and, well, it dried wierd. Kind of concave. And with bubbles. :o|

Whatever. I was over it. I slapped a magnet on the back and sent them off to their unexpected recipient. She'll love them because she's not the anal critic I am and probably won't see all the flaws like I do. :o)

Not sure where to give the original credit to because the idea came from multiple pins on Pinterest and I probably checked out all of them to see where I was making mistakes sooooo - for original cred see various pins and blogs on Pinterest.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

School House Treat Jar

So, I made another one of these guys. (You can find the instructions here.) This one was for one of my BFF's that runs her own in-home day care, hence the school house theme. My thought was it could be a special treat jar for her kids as a reward for when they have good behavior or do something kind, but of course she's welcome to use it however she sees fit! :o)

This is a left over from my pay it forward post from 2012. ("Pay it forward 2012. I promise to make something hand made to the first 5 people that comment. Then post this to your status and do the same... It can be as simple as a coffee, hand written note, or something more. Just has to be done in 2012.") The beauty of being a procrastinator is that the people that were promised these things have likely long forgotten that they've had it coming. So when it does finally come, they aren't expecting it and it becomes a random act of kindness that hopefully puts a smile on their face. 

She likes the "Live, Laugh, Love" saying so I threw in those cards to go with it. I think she was pleasantly surprised since this is the Facebook post that followed after she got it:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Basil Chicken Orzo Soup

Looking for a healthy, easy, comfort soup? Look no further. This recipe that came from "gimme some oven" is scrumpdilicious! I made some slight modifications.

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 3 cubes of Dorot frozen garlic.)
  • 8 cups good-quality chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, chopped (I used 3 cubes of Dorot frozen basil.)
  • 1 cup dried orzo pasta
  • Heat olive oil in a large cooking pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add carrots, celery and garlic then stir for 60 seconds. 
  • Stir in chicken stock, chicken, and bay leaves. 
  • Let simmer for an hour (or 30 minutes if you're rushed). 
  • Bring soup back to a boil.
  • Add basil and orzo - cooking according to package directions. 
Yum! I have made it twice now and it's a dish K and I both like. 
It's a bit on the salty side as is so be sure to taste test before you add any salt! 
Also, if you have leftovers, be forewarned that the Orzo seems to soak up all the broth making it less soupy. K eats it as is, but I add a little water to mine before heating it up and it's fine. 

P.S. This recipe is Weight Watchers friendly!
6 Points Per Serving: 
Calories:  259
Carbs:  32
Fat:  3
Protien:  23

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Interchangeable Picture Plaque

This lil guy couldn't have been more simple and less cost effective! I got the plaque from the dollar store for - you guessed it! - $1! I had the paper, Mod Podge, paint brush, photo corners, and pictures.

All I did was remove the wire hanger. Then I Mod Podged the paper to the plaque. Let it dry, then put a couple more layers of Mod Podge to seal it. Once that dried, I pushed a tack through the paper where the holes already were on the plaque and re-threaded the wire. Then I put the photo corners on on the picture and attached the picture to the plaque.

I could definitely be embellished more if you wanted to. I love that the picture can be changed out. Once I started this project, it took everything in me to not run out to the dollar store and buy 16 more plaques because I suddenly had several pictures I could use and multiple ideas for gifts for people!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I Have Issues.

Isn't it weird how the mind works? Sometimes when I see things that I don't think bother me at the time, days later, it will randomly pop back into my head.

The other day... not sure where I saw it - if it was on Pinterest or Facebook, but there was a picture of a toilet paper roll loaded the wrong way (under not over.) On the bottom side of the toilet paper roll, there was a spider. Then there were the words, "This is why you load the toilet paper the RIGHT way," or something along those lines.

So now it seems, every time I go to the bathroom at work, where the toilet paper is loaded the wrong way, that pic of the spider pops into my head. And my overly anxious, imaginative mind takes it even further and sees a spider go flying across the stall as I spin the toilet paper roll. One time I even envisioned a freak out when the spider landed on me somewhere.

I have issues, I know.

Now, I will admit, I have a completely irrational fear of spiders. Even when they are enclosed in cages. One time I went to a friend of a friends house (because no friend of mine would have spiders as pets) and they had two giant tarantula spiders in a glass aquarium. When I saw them, I immediately became dizzy and had to sit down. They terrify my.

Just now, I went to look for the picture I mentioned. I started with Pinterest and searched "toilet paper with spider" and it pretty much just gave me a bunch of ways to make a spider with rolls of toilet paper.

So I braved Google. I searched "toilet paper spider". And I nearly died. My eyes started watering. Weakness started seeping into my limbs and I found I could no longer scroll. My thumb flailed to the bottom of the screen where I attempted to hit home and threw my phone down. I took a couple deep breaths to calm myself and picked the phone back up. You can imagine my dismay when I picked up my phone and it was STILL ON THE SCREEN OF SPIDERS!!!! Before the watery eyes and uncontrollable weakness could set in, I hit home and got the hell out of there!!

Like I said, I have issues.

Does anyone else's mind work this way? Or is this just one of the perks of being the conductor of the crazy train?

Needless to say, I don't have the picture with the spider to show you. But I will leave you with this one so you know the right way to load your toilet paper:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Weight Loss Reward Chart

As I mentioned the other day as part of my 2014 Goals, weight loss is one of them. My ultimate goal is to lose 50 lbs. My realistic goal is to lose 30-50lbs.

The other day, I was spending some quality time with my virtual BFF, Pinterest and came across this pin for a weight loss chart with rewards. I realize this is not a new concept, but I thought it was a great way to keep me motivated and reward me in a healthy way. Usually, I would reward with myself with a soft serve ice cream or a McDonald's Big Mac. And well, that just seems counter productive... doncha think?

Here's what I came up with:

5 lbs  =  New Scale (I want a digital. The dial one we have now sucks!)
10 lbs = New Book
15 lbs = New Jeans
20 lbs = New Shoes
25 lbs = New Hair
30 lbs = New Tops
35 lbs = New Outfit (I may substitute this with a pedicure or massage.)
40 lbs = Dress Shopping (Me? Dress shopping? Only for a special wedding! :o)
45 lbs = Weekend Getaway
50 lbs = New Bathing Suit
55 lbs = TATTOO!!!

Ok, so, after breaking it down that way, apparently my math skills need a little refreshing. I guess I want/need to lose 55 lbs to get to 130.

All of these things will cost a good chunk of money so, obviously, it will depend on how quickly I lose the weight and how quickly I make some money.

I hung this baby on the back of the closet in the bathroom so it's a daily reminder to keep working towards being healthier.

I have been watching what I eat for about a week now. The first few days were excruciating because I constantly felt hungry. Then a good friend suggested I incorporate more protein into my foods and that seemed to help. I am not seeing results yet, but I'm not giving up just yet either. I have a plan B if what I'm doing doesn't work. If plan B doesn't work then I guess I am just meant to be fluffy.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Coffee On Me

I completed my first Random Act of Kindness in 2014!

It was nothing big, but perfect for getting the ball rolling.

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." ~ Aesop Fabulist

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 Goals

Well, I failed at the daily gratitude for November, let's see if I do better with my 2014 goals!

I am not big on New Year's resolutions because, for me, they don't get much thought beyond January 2nd. So this year I decided to just make some 2014 "goals." I know, I know... It's just semantics, right? Isn't resolution just a fancy way of saying goal? Yes, yes it is... however, it's January 14th and I am still thinking about these goals so I am already way ahead of all my past resolutions!

In order to try and keep myself accountable, I thought I would share my goals on here. My intent is to blog my progress on them as I go along to help keep me motivated and interested! 

Here's what we're looking at:

This is something I have been wanting to do since my Pinterest infatuation. First, I must acquire a sewing machine. If you have one that's collecting dust in the back of you closet, I'd be happy to take it off your hands! :o)

I want to read 52 books in 2014. That's a book a week... I am already behind on this one, but I get on reading kicks where I read a book every few days so I am pretty sure I can make up lost time for this one. I will blog my progress and provide reviews. You can also check out what I'm up to in the book world on Goodreads.

I already volunteer a couple times a week walking rescue dogs at the shelter we got our cat from, but I want to do more. I really want to work with the elderly somehow. And maybe get back into Relay for Life. I just want to do more. I cant do much financially, but there's no reason I can't give my time. 

If you know me, you know I have a passion for Random Acts of Kindness. My goal this year is to do at least one a month. Obviously more is welcome, but one a month is my goal. Can be anything - send a card to a friend to brighten their day, pay for a stranger's coffee, leave change on a vending machine, feed a parking meter, take baked goods to a local fire house... You get the gist, big or small, just do something unexpected for someone. 

Multiply that by about 10 and that's my goal! I am tired of being unhealthy and feeling like a busted can of biscuits when I get dressed every day. If I can shed 50 lbs this year - even 30 - I'd feel sooo much better. And if I can actually make this happen by October, that'd be even better since I have to get into a dress for one of my best friend's weddings. :o)

Yoga isn't easy for a big chested girl. Especially one that has some extra rolls around the middle! LOL But I took yoga for one of my college PE credits and I remember my body just feeling better when I did it. I ached less, I moved more easily. Plus, with my career change, I could use a little stress relieving breathing and meditation. Whether it be yoga through the local college, at a studio, or at home in front of my TV, I want to give yoga another try. 

Idk if it just became over all trendy or if it's normal that when you hit your 30's you start running 5k's, but it seems like I hit my 30's and all of a sudden, running a 5k was the thing to do. All my friends were doing it. I kid, but at the same time, they all inspire me. Now, I despise running. I am not graceful when I do it and this is another one of those big chested girl issues. It's uncomfortable (and a little painful) to run with those things bouncing to and fro, but I want to give it a shot. If I don't make it to a 5k, I will be ok with being able to run just a mile. 

I think it would be fun for K & I to take a class together. Perhaps an art class would be fun. Although, I'm not going to lie - K is really talented in that department and I would be afraid I would get discouraged by her skills and my lack there of. I also think it would be fun to take a language class together. Spanish would be most beneficial considering where we live, but I have taken a semester of sign language and really enjoyed it. Such a beautiful way to communicate. Plus, if K likes it I think being an interpreter would be a perfect career change for her!

And last, but certainly not least... I want us to have special, meaningful dates at least once a month. It says date night, but with our funky schedules it's subject to change. Couples tend to get complacent in relationships and sometimes I think that we are getting there. We get so caught up in the daily grind and surviving, we forget to have fun. So my hope is that we get creative and think outside of the box so we can connect in love and laughter and not get stuck in the daily grind rut! 

So there you have it folks. Stay tuned for progress updates throughout the year!
Did you set any goals for 2014? If so, feel free to share them and share your progress too!