I’m Alive!

Well hello! If you follow me on Instagram (something I highly recommend you do if you want to see pics of workouts, food and super cute kiddos), you’d know that I’m still around. Running & eating real food as best as possible.

Since I last left you…in January?! We’ve had lots of things go down on the home front.

  • Someone totaled our car…While parked in front of our house…During my last day of maternity leave. I was on my way into spin class when I got a phone call from Larry asking me to come back home. I immediately thought it was one of the girls. Luckily that wasn’t the case. Since he was home alone with two littles, he needed me to come home so that he could deal with the cops and such. Fun times.
  • Isla came down with a pretty terrible illness that landed us at Children’s hospital for nearly a week. At the end of February, our then almost 4 month old came down with a horrible case of bronchialitis. Because her lungs were so little, she had to follow a certain protocol and meet various requirements before she was allowed to go home. Thankfully, we have a wonderful support system who all helped out with Madelyn and it makes things easier when we live extremely close to Children’s. I told hubs that as long as we have kids 18 and under, we are never moving. Ever.

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    Giving me the look…”put your phone down & get us home ASAP!”
  • In March, we had a small electrical fire with our gas stove. The story is too long to explain and I’ve told it I don’t know how many times, but the bottom line comes down to faulty wiring from the previous owners. It could’ve been so. much. worse. We are lucky to be alive.

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This happened in the middle of March and we are still without a fully functioning kitchen. When this little mishap occurred, we decided to take this as an opportunity to remodel our kitchen. Apparently I picked out a pretty awesome sink…everyone else thinks so too because that sucker has been on backorder since  May. After weekly calls to Louann, they were able to track one down for us in Texas and were supposed to be shipping it this week. So fingers crossed it’s here this week or after the Holiday. Hopefully, our kitchen will be up and running sometime in July. Before our stove was hooked up we were eating at the Whole Foods hot bar, restaurants and my mom’s house. Our insurance is pretty awesome and partially reimbursed us for all of restaurant meals.

So between all of the events listed above plus trying to keep alive and nurture two small human beings, there hasn’t been much “real food”cooking or running…the title of this blog.  I did manage to partially train for a 2 half marathons (within two weeks of each other) and did surprisingly well, but I didn’t set any PR’s. Summer running is always a toss-up.

That’s been our year in a nutshell. In between all the chaos and stress there have been princess parties, story times and lots of laughs. Long days followed by short nights. We’ve spent time trying to find the balance between caring for a new baby while still giving your oldest child your undivided attention (newsflash…that can’t be done.) It’s been an adjustment for everyone and I finally feel like we’re at a good place with everything. Madelyn LOVES playing with her sister and Isla is now at the age where she can interact with Madelyn. Watching these two play together (even with the 3 year age gap) makes my heart very happy. I know it won’t always be that way, (I have a sister, I know how this works.) but I’m going to savor these sweet moments while I can.

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Weekend Happenings

Happy Tuesday!  I got an extended weekend this week…I’m home sick today :-/  Being sick on a nice, sunny day is the absolute worst.  But I’m taking advantage of having an empty, quiet house by relaxing and catching up on some reading.

This past Sunday, Madelyn and I met my sister and her friend at Colectivo for Maker Market.  We browsed some local vendors and I picked up some handmade soap from Cloud Nine Soap Co.

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This is my first experience with handmade soap and I loved it.  It left my skin feeling super soft and clean.  Added bonus, the soap had a very mild, but pleasant smell to it.  I’m going to definitely check out more of their products next time I come across their stand at a market.

After the market, we headed to Home Depot to get some things for our yard.  I got some hanging flower baskets and hubs got grass seed and straw.  Hopefully, we seeded correctly and we will have grass by this summer!  Our yard has come a LONG way and I’m excited to see it when it’s all finished.  IMG_2624Although we spent a lot of time in the yard this weekend, we also found some time to play at the park!

parkThis little monkey LOVES the park!!  This was the first time that I’ve taken her by myself and I never realized how much she loves to climb!!  She’s pretty brave too 🙂 We played for awhile and she fell asleep in her stroller on the walk home.  She’s at such a fun age-this summer will be filled with lots of adventures 🙂

I’m off to eat some breakfast, drink some juice and hopefully kick this cold!

Clean house, Happy House

Happy Monday Friends!  Did everyone enjoy a long weekend?  I feel like weekends are never long enough.  I had Friday off of work.  Instead of doing something fun and enjoying the day, Madelyn went to daycare and I went to a quick workout class and then home to clean.  It’s much easier to do a deep cleaning when there isn’t a toddler running around destroying everything in her path.  After 5+ hours of cleaning, I promised myself that I would never spend a Friday off of work cleaning again.  Enter the long awaited chore chart.  cleanhousehappyhouse

I’m surprised this wasn’t done sooner.  But it is here and I’m really hoping that it works, because spending your whole day cleaning is zero fun.

Also done this weekend?  My longest run since the Chicago Marathon.  After the marathon, I look a very long, much needed break from running.  It was nice to casually get back into it and run for fun not because I had to.  I had been keeping it around 3 or 4 miles each run, mostly because that’s all I could muster for the treadmill.  But on Saturday, I was feeling really good and I just kept going.

5miler5 miles done.  Now to increase my mileage and get ready for a half marathon in March.

Here’s what’s on the workout and dinner schedule this week:

Monday: Barre & leftovers from date night in (Recipe coming this week!)

Tuesday: Easy 3 miles/pasta with italian sausage, veggies and sauce

Wednesday: Barre/roasted chicken and butternut squash

Thursday: Run 3.5 + core / Fish tacos and beans

Friday: Much needed rest day! No set dinner plans.

I’m off to go get dinner prepared for Madelyn and then to get studying for my NASM test.  I hope everyone has a good week!

What’s the one household chore you hate the most?  Mine would be cleaning the shower!  Luckily, I came across a very helpful pin that will hopefully make it less painless.

Weekend Catch Up 10/28

Hi friends!  I hope everyone had a great weekend, I know we sure did!  We were super busy with lots of family stuff in Chicago on Saturday.  Back in August, at Madelyn’s birthday party, my SIL asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.  I gladly accepted the offer and on Saturday we set out to look for some dresses.  After trying on a few dresses, we found one that looked great on all of us.

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This one was my favorite of all the dresses we tried on.  It’s the perfect material for a June wedding, it looked great on everyone, and it was very comfortable.  I can’t wait to see them in the actual color that the bride to be picked out!

We also celebrated Grandma Rita’s 90th birthday in Chicago.  I’m amazed at Larry’s Grandma: not only does she still live by herself, but the woman drives and loves going to the casino 🙂  She’s quite the little ball of fire!

On Sunday, we took the babes and walked around the mall for a little bit.  I had some birthday money I wanted to spend and I also wanted to check out Williams-Sonoma to get a head start on my Thanksgiving Day prep:

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I used this last year when I made my first Thanksgiving turkey and it went over very well.  So, I’ll be using this again this year and in the future, until I get brave enough to venture out and try something new 😉

After the mall, I came home and got ready for a baby shower for a girl at work.  I was going to bring my little miss, but she was passed out on the ride home from the mall and didn’t even blink an eye when I took her out of her carseat and into her crib.

Speaking of Madelyn…this past week I bought her her first pair of boots!  She didn’t know what to make of them at first and had a hard time figuring out how to walk in them.  By the time I picked her up on Friday, she was walking all over in those things.

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I die over the cuteness 🙂

Today, I finally made it out to my garden to plant some garlic.  I hope I didn’t wait too long.  The weather is supposed to be decent this week-nothing below freezing.  Instead of planting 100 heads of garlic, like the previous owners did, I opted for 40 heads.  I think that should be sufficient.

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I’m really excited about gardening in 2014.  I’ll definitely have more time to plan out what I want to plant back there.  We are also in the process of transitioning half of our garden space back into the backyard.  After assessing how much of it we used this past summer, we decided that 6 raised garden beds is just too much for us.  If it was our only hobby, then maybe.  And we’d like Madelyn to have a bigger yard area to play in than what we have now.  Removing 3 of the beds would open up a ton of space and give us back a good chunk of our yard.

P.S. Does anyone have tips for growing beets?  I planted a TON of those tiny seeds in July and I only got TWO beets!  I don’t know if I planted them too late in the season or what, but it was very frustrating given how much time I spent doing it.  The two beets that I did harvest ended up in a juice this past weekend.  Apple, beet and ginger.  YUM!

Pinterest IRL: DIY Scrapbook Coasters

I’m not really sure how I discovered Pinterest, but since its infancy, when you needed to be invited to participate, I have accrued 44 boards and 990 pins.  Some of the pins are my own from this blog, but the majority of them are recipes, home decorating ideas, and DIY projects from other websites.

Since being temporarily unemployed until further notice, I’m trying to use this time to be productive around the house, spend time with my family and sort through all of my Pinterest boards.  So far this week, I have a PInterest DIY project and recipe to share.  I’ve learned through experience that sometimes Pinterest projects/recipes turn out awesome and other times, not so much.  So I’m here to share with you Pinterest in Real Life.  Tried and true Pinterest projects that have been a WIN for me.

My most recent Pinterest project is DIY scrapbook paper coasters.  I had a lot of scrapbook paper leftover from Madelyn’s birthday party that I wasn’t sure about what to do with.  So, when I came across this pin, I was very excited because now I had a use for that leftover scrapbook paper AND I really needed coasters.  I was getting really tired of watching people leave their condensing cups all over our hardwood ledge but yet not giving them another alternative.  It was driving me nuts!  So on one crazy Saturday night, I created our scrapbook paper coasters.

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I bought individual tile squares from Home Depot.  I took the leftover scrapbook paper and traced over the outline of the tile in pencil and cut it.  Then, I layered on the scrapbook paper to the tile with ModgePodge.  After I let the tiles dry for 1 day, I sprayed them each with clear finish, outside and them dry for a few hours.  After that I went to Target and bought felt circles to put on the bottom so that they wouldn’t scratch the surface that they were on.  And Voila! Unique scrapbook paper coasters.

I love them because they are unique, cheap and they function just perfectly.  And this project allowed me to use the scrapbook paper to its full potential.  I call that a WIN.  If you have any questions about the scrapbook paper coasters, just e-mail me.  But so far they are holding up just great!

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What has been your experience with Pins on Pinterest? Tell me about your most successful PIN so far! 

Weekend Tidbits

Homeownership kept us pretty busy this weekend.  It was the first weekend we’ve been able to just futz around the house and get outside in the yard.  We spent a lot of time at Home Depot and World Market.

When we bought our house, we inherited a TON of garden space.

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I wasn’t joking.  When I first saw the space I was overwhelmed and immediately wanted to convert it back to a yard.  The only thing I’ve ever grown is a baby!  Then, during our second walk through I thought, “Well maybe we’ll take out the first three and keep the three beds behind the garage.”  After the previous owners accepted our offer, I met with the Mrs. and she informed me that the 100 heads of garlic were growing in one of the beds that I wanted to take out.

I finally got back there this week and saw the garlic starting to sprout.  I got really excited and started to plan out what else I’m going to plant back there.  I planted some carrots in the same bed as the garlic.  I’m not sure of how they’re going to come out: those seeds are tiny! And I thought of a better way to plant them after I kind of just spread them around.  The rest of the planting and gardening will resume after I get back home in the beginning of June.

Another project I wanted to get done before I left at the end of this month was the accent wall in our bedroom.

bedroom wall before
bedroom wall before

  I used a wall stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils to transform our wall into this:

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It was a really tedious job but I’m really happy with how it turned out.  The color is Special Gray from Sherwin Williams.  All the walls were painted with a matte paint and the accent wall was painted with a high gloss paint.  I used the matte paint to go over the high gloss paint.  I’m really glad I stuck with the same color.  Unless you’re a stenciling expert, if you’re going to do this, I would recommend sticking with similar colors.  There were a few little mistakes but it’s really hard to see them, which I’m very thankful for.

The very BEST part of my weekend came today when I was reunited with my sister.  She’s been deployed for two months and we’re so happy to have her home.  Madelyn has missed her auntie!

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When Melissa and I found out the date and time of when she was scheduled to come home we decided to not tell my mom, but rather surprise her at work.  Thankfully, everything fell into place and we were able to pull of an awesome surprise homecoming!

Welcome home to my sister and best friend!  We have some wine dates to catch up on 🙂

SOLD

Remember those goals I talked about in the beginning of the year?

Well today, hubs and I have one to scratch off the list.  We finally closed on our first home together.  It seems like it’s been a long process, but really it took about 45 days from start to finish.

We started looking at houses at the end of November beginning of December and then took a little (much needed) break around the holidays.  With Christmas and us still having so much time left in our apartment lease, I needed to stop looking-I was starting to feel overwhelmed.  Within those few weeks, Larry and I talked about what we really wanted out of a house.  He wanted a finished basement and I wanted a nice kitchen.  We both wanted a city with good public schools, not too far from work with a lot to do.  And I was really attracted {or so I thought} to houses with a lot of charm.  We ended up in a town west of Milwaukee about 25 minutes from work.  There, we found the perfect home to suit both of our needs: His finished basement and my big kitchen. home

 

We went in today and took a lot of pictures so that I’ll have some before and after photos to share.  I have so many Pinterest projects to get working on!  The house also comes equipped with SIX raised garden beds, all ready to go, so if anyone has any gardening tips, please feel free to pass them along to this girl!  The only thing I’ve ever successful grown in my twenty something years of life is a child.  The seller told me that we should have over 100 heads of garlic popping up this summer.  My plan for those are to give some to friends and then mince and can the rest.  I’ve found a new hobby 🙂

Stay tuned for more pics and house updates on the blog!