Archive | January, 2010

A Rainy Day Project

18 Jan
Happy MLK Day!!  How have you all been spending your holiday weekend?  I, for one, decided to take on a little project that I had been thinking about for the past couple of weeks – and have since been giddily sharing the results with everyone I know out of sheer delight that it came out exactly the way I imagined it (don’t you love it when that happens?).
I’ll be honest – I am not much of a DIY connoisseur when it comes to projects around our apartment.  We are renting and there is only so much that we can do that we won’t have to undo within the next couple of months when I finish school and we move.
However, it was rainy and gross in Atlanta on Saturday and – since I really didn’t feel like admitting to myself that school is back in session by spending the day reading – Bruce and I ventured out to our local Goodwill to tend to a DIY itch that had been building in me to find a new way to store my ever-growing earring collection.
We came home with these.  Two big wooden frames for $10.50 total – you really cannot beat that!!
We ripped out the backing and took the paintings out.
Then we sanded the frames down and wiped them off with a warm, wet towel in preparation for painting.
We shopped at our local Ace Hardware and used their color selection – the color we chose was called Goldrush.  Initially we had planned to go with a brown or black, but thought at the last minute that we wanted something a little bit more bold that would stand out on the walls.  I am so glad we did that – I love how unique it makes the frames look.
We let the paint dry and flipped the frames over to give a quick coat to the back before going on.  Because of the shape of the frames (and the fact that they were going to be three-dimensional off of the wall) we wanted there to be some consistency if you looked at them from a side angle (I am assuming if you used more of a flat frame you wouldn’t need to do this).
I also used a small brush to make sure the crevices in the wood looked consistent with everything else.
Someone looked less than impressed with the progress we were making.
We used black window screen to “frame” this project – this is what the earrings get hooked onto.  Bruce used one of the original paintings from the frames to measure how much screen we would need.  He cut it out and we attached it to the inner-most part of the frame using a hot glue gun and then securing them with staples.  (If you try this, make sure to work through this step slowly – it’s important to pull the screen as tightly as possible for some of the heavier earrings you may hang.)
Then we stapled black material on the outside of the frame – this served no functional purpose, rather it just created a black background so when the frame was hung you couldn’t see through to the wall.
Rather than hanging them both separately, Bruce decided to screw hooks into the bottom of one frame and the top of another and string them together using rope.  This way, if I need to get to the back of the frame (for some of my earrings that have bullet clutches as backing) I can using the bottom frame.
Voila!!
What do you think?

Weekend Recipes – Cheddar Chowder

17 Jan

Before I start on this recipe, I have to shout a big ‘THANK YOU’ to Barb Sears for this recipe.  Kari introduced me to this in college and I begged and pleaded with her to pass it along to me when I got to Atlanta.

One of the biggest challenges of my resolution to cook more and eat out less is the lunch situation.  Both Bruce and I have a tendency to hit the snooze several times before we finally roll out of bed and as we are scrambling to get dressed, make coffee and grab our stuff for the day, the thought, “What am I going to take for lunch?” rarely enters either one of our minds.

This is why cooking in bulk (soups, crockpot meals, casseroles, etc.) are going to be imperative for us this year.

I decided to make this soup on New Year’s Eve this year, because we had a TON of ham leftover from Christmas and we had already had tons of leftover plates and omelets, haha.  It was time for something else.

Today’s recipe is PERFECT for freezing individual portioned containers and grabbing them later on whenever you are running late.  If you freeze them you really don’t even need to worry about keeping them refrigerated throughout the day, either.  Enjoy!!  (Thanks, Barb!!)

Cheddar Chowder
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cups potatoes, chopped
2 cups water
2 cups ham, diced
(Cheese Sauce)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Dice, chop and cube onion, carrots, celery and potatoes (note – WATCH YOUR FINGERS when you are cubing the potatoes).
Add onion, carrots, celery, potatoes and water to a large soup pot.  Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until veggies are tender.
Meanwhile …
Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the flour and whisk until combined (it will form a paste).  Slowly stir in the milk until combined, then add the shredded cheddar cheese – stir until melted (over medium heat)
(Just a note – for some reason, we were completely out of white flour, so we used whole wheat.  I couldn’t taste the difference, but it made the cheese sauce a touch darker.  I would definitely do it again, though.)
When the cheese is melted, pour cheese sauce into pot with the cooked vegetables (and the boiling water).  Stir until combined.
Enjoy!!

45 and Rainy

16 Jan
Someone’s got a case of the Rainy Day Saturdays …
Me?  I am currently putting my best DIY face on in an attempt to store my ever-growing earring collection a little bit better.
I have a feeling I will not be interrupted.

Stay tuned …

Show Us Your Life – Weight Loss Tips, Diets, Work Out Ideas

15 Jan

Here is the irony of my life right now – I have fallen of the wagon on a New Year’s Resolution that I DIDN’T EVEN MAKE.

Most people make the resolution to lose weight and get fit.  This year, I did not.  I made the resolution to be better about budgeting, specifically when it comes to how Bruce and I eat (ie cook more, eat out less).  And yet, after a week-long vacation to Pennsylvania where all I did was eat cheese and pretzels, drink beer and consider shooting a .22 to be “exercise” I think I need to be intentional about hopping back on the proverbial wagon.

That is why I am so happy that this week Kelly is hosting Show Us Your Life – Weight Loss Tips, Diets, Work Out Ideas.  I am really looking forward to linking up and reading about some creative ways to get in shape and to eat healthy!!

I usually stick to two major forms of exercise – pilates and walking.

Pilates

A couple of years ago I bought Shelly McDonald’s Caribbean Workout Pilates series.  You can find it on amazon here.  I love it because there are two different levels and the workouts are only 20 minutes each.  I always think that I am going to be ambitious and do two workouts a day, but usually end up collapsing after one.  It’s a good collapsing, though – the kind where you know you got a good workout and are getting stronger.

Walking

I looooove walking outside, but it’s not always possible in Atlanta – Bruce really hates me walking alone at dark.  So during the summer and parts of spring/fall, I walk a lot when I get out of class or work.  I crank my music and walk at a pretty fast clip.  The great thing about being outside is that the terrain changes and I think I get a better workout when there are changes.  I usually walk for 45 minutes to an hour.

Also – and I am probably the only person in the world to say this – I love walking on the treadmill.  Get one where you can change the incline and you can get SUCH a great workout.  I like to crank the incline really high and then slow my pace, and then I’ll bring it down and increase my pace, etc. etc.  It is really low impact (good for people like me who don’t have much cartilage left in their knees) but still gives you a great workout.  If you hate the treadmill because you don’t go anywhere, listening to music helps me and I know watching TV helps a lot of other people.

I can’t wait to see what other people have to say!!  I am terrible when it comes to healthy cooking (until tacos count? they have vegetables, right?!) so I hope people post some good, simple and healthy recipes, too!!

Make sure to hop over to Kelly’s Korner to see what other people have to say!!

What They Don’t Teach You in Seminary

14 Jan

‘Twas the night before classes started and all through the house
Sarah was filling in her calendar while enjoying a fire built by her spouse.

Ahhh, first day of classes.  It always sneaks up on me.

No, literally.  My first year at Candler, classes started the day after MLK day.  Last year they switched it.  So for two years in a row I have thought (up until the day before classes actually started) that I had another six days of freedom.  Then I realize I really only have about 18 hours left of then I start to hyperventilate a little bit.  You would think I would have learned my lesson last year and planned ahead a little bit better this year.  I did not.  So after dinner I pulled myself away from NCIS reruns, went to Office Max to buy myself a calendar and have spent the night deciding which color ink I will use to indicate classes versus meetings.

And so it begins.  My LAST SEMESTER OF SEMINARY.

Ummm … holy crap.

I wish I had something really inspiring to say.  But I don’t.  Because – let’s face it – the nation of Haiti is facing the ramifications of a horrific natural disaster and all I can do is complain about the fact that I got my wires crossed and actually have to go to class today.  How can I allow myself to try to reflect on how much I’ve learned and grown when God’s children are quite literally crying out in pain and desperation right now?

It’s easy for someone like me to say, “I wish I had the means to give, but in the meantime I will just pray for the people of Haiti.”  I really don’t have that much money.  Bruce and I just got back from a vacation, we are coming off of the holidays, I currently owe Emory University a large sum of money and Citi Bank just added to the bottom of line of money that I will start to owe them six month after graduation.

But I have $10 to spare.  $10 that I won’t even notice on my credit card statement.

And that’s all it takes.

President Obama said this morning that he knows that times are tough in our country – and he knows people do not have a whole lot of extra to give right now.  He’s right.  But he was good to remind people that they don’t need to give a huge donation to make an impact.  Pennies add up – and ANY donation will make a huge difference.

Scott & Kelly Stamps over at Kelly’s Korner have offered to donate $1 for every comment left on this post saying that they and their spouses/families have donated money.  They will donate up to $1,000.  If you have donated – head over and let them know!!

This is my last semester of seminary.  I have spent two and a half years “learning” how to be a minister, how to be true to God’s Word.

But this is the stuff they don’t teach you in seminary.

Prayerfully consider making even a small donation.  You will not regret it.

The Widow’s Offering
He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.  He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’
Luke 21:1-4

The Road Home

13 Jan
When Bruce and I first started dating, we lived about an hour away from one another.  I’m not sure I really consider that “long distance” – but we weren’t close enough to see each other every day.
However.
I drove to see him at least once a week.
Who could blame me?  Besides the wonderful company, it gave me the opportunity to visit this beautiful place.
There is a beauty to small town life that just cannot be found in the hustle and bustle of Atlanta, GA.
You can see why it was hard to leave on Monday.
Don’t worry.  We know how to find the road back.

The Tale of a Dried Up Christmas Tree

12 Jan
I always make it my goal to keep up my Christmas tree and decorations until the Epiphany – the day the Three Kings “allegedly” showed up at the manger bearing gifts (I say “allegedly” because who knows if they showed up 12 days after Christmas or months later or even years later – and supposedly Jesus was really born in May or June, but for arguments’ sake – and for the sake of the Church year – let’s say they showed up on January 6th and that’s the day I like to keep all of my Christmas decorations up until).
Well this year the kings showed up the same day Bruce and I took off for Pennsylvania – so I left a quickly dying tree and hoped it wouldn’t spontaneously combust while I was gone.
Combust it did not but when we got home I did find half the needles on the ground and the ones that miraculously stayed attached were as crispy as burnt bacon.
So today, while Bruce was at work, I started the task of taking decorations down, packing them away and getting back to some sense of normal in our apartment.  Other than losing another quarter of the needles as I fought with strands of lights and ribbon, the removal process went fairly smoothly …
I almost look organized!!
And then came the amateur mistake:  Trying to remove a seven foot tree that I did not even help bring in while it was alive.

The aftermath.
Dear American Auto Industry,
Find a way to run your cars on dirty water and dried up pine needles.  I’m telling you – it’s a GOLD MINE.
Now, this layer of pine needles might not have been such a big issue – if it weren’t for the fact that the filter on my vacuum needs to be replaced.
So after spending two hours on my hands and knees picking up the big pieces and unsuccessfully vacuuming up the little pieces, I called Bruce and said, “Hey, I think there’s something wrong with our vacuum.  And oh yeah – YOU’RE COOKING DINNER TONIGHT.  I love you!!”
I’m starting to understand why people buy artificial trees.

And why I’ve always taken down my tree when Bruce was home.