Beginning from Scratch

I feel like lately I’ve seen the scale inching upwards little by little. Never much, a quarter pound or so, but seeing an increase week after week is frustrating. In my current living situation, it’s exceedingly hard to eat clean and fit in the amount of physical activity that I would like. I’m tired of feeling like I’m making excuses, though, so I’m putting on my big girl shorts and digging deep. I will succeed if it’s the last thing I do!

Since I dropped my WW subscription a while ago (too much money for the online program that I can do for free elsewhere), I’ve decided to “start from scratch.” What does that mean exactly? Start my lifestyle plan as if I’ve never done it before.

I think many of us get into a new fitness or eating routine and blast our effort level up to 100, then tire out too quick and feel like we’ve failed. I refuse to do that. Here’s my plan:

Workout

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In addition to this, I’ll be taking Atlas on his normal walks, with the goal of reaching 10,000 steps a day using my FitBit One.

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Eating

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This awesome list brought to you by Coach Morris

I also found this great graphic to give me some more information!

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Tracking

Being a firm believer in tracking to help keep motivated, I’ll be using the Lose It! app and website. It’s Free!

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Please help keep me motivated and in check guys! I’ll be here if you need some encouragement along your journey to good health too, just leave me a comment and I’ll start following your progress!

Pinterest Post: Easy DIYs for the Spare Bedroom

Happy Thursday!! Can You believe it’ll be June in two days! Crazy how time flies!

If you read yesterday’s post about my Dream Master Suite, you’ll know that the countdown to Cali has begun! I am in full planning mode for decorating our new place, but if you need to know anything about me, it’s that I hate spending excessive amounts of money.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love quality products and am willing to pay for it, but I have paying so much for something I can easily make myself for a fraction of the cost! Cue Pinterest! I’ve been finding some great ideas for every room of the new apartment, but the office is going to be my most challenging endeavor. It is not only an office, but our guest bedroom, and all of our OSU paraphernalia is in that room (diplomas, graduation tassels, acting like big kids = office appropriate) .

My challenge is to make the design for the office/guest bedroom theme cohesive. I really don’t want to go this route

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because I want our guests to feel at home in the room when they visit, but still need to be able to incorporate all of our college decor since there’s no other place that it’ll fit.

Here’s what we’ve got currently:

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Keep in mind, Jeff just blew up our air mattress and covered it to get an idea of how big the bed will be in the room. We now have an actual bed with a headboard, I just don’t have pictures of it yet!

This room need a LOT of help, though. The entire room needs a theme or inspiration to focus it. I’m thinking the overall feel for the theme will be Rustic & Red.

The first thing to go will be the brown bedding…too dark. We’ll switch it to clean white linens with DIY scarlet and gray throw pillows like these:

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I’ll hang a huge DIY bulletin board like this one by Anne  the Adventurer on the wall next to the desk and move the small rolling organizer and bookshelf into the closet for tucked away storage!

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Some DIY graphic prints in vintage wood frames by the desk will add a little personalized and rustic flair.

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As you can tell by the photos of the room, you see that we have some beautiful real-wood furniture and decor made by family members. The wooden bench was made by one of Jeff’s uncles who has passed away and the lamp was made by my father. We also have a huge hanging bookshelf of similar color that has two buckeye leaves and a Block O carved into the surface that will hang above the desk. All of these elements will help really pull our smorgasbord room together! I’ll post pictures of the before and after as soon as I move and get everything done!

Building my Dream Bedroom

So it’s starting to hit me. I’m moving to Cali in 14 days!! That’s 14 days closer to being able to decorate the whole apartment and post pictures!! In celebration of this momentous occasion, I’ve decided to post my inspiration for the master bedroom.

Current Furniture – Espresso Queen Bed & Two End Tables (like one on left)

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Main Color Scheme – Key Words: Clean, Organic, Blush

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Linens – crisp white linens with light gray throw

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Curtains

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Lighting

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Throw Pillows

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Decor – a collage of our wedding photos

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Summer Science

As we get down to the last couple weeks of school, I find my kiddos bored with movies and overwhelmed with final exam study guides. To remedy both situations, I have planned a week full of fun science experiments that include ingredients commonly found in our kitchen. Here’s the schedule for the week (pictures to be posted as we go!) :

Tuesday: Giant Bubbles

Today I mixed up two batches of homemade bubble fluid:

Giant Bubbles – 6 cups water, 1/2 cup dish soap, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 Tablespoon baking powder (not soda!)
To make bubbles: Add all ingredients in a bucket and stir gently until dissolved/combined, trying to not make bubbles in the mixture

Indestructa-bubbles – 6 cups water, 1 cup corn syrup, 2 cups dish soap (Joy was recommended)
To make bubbles: Combine water and corn syrup in a bucket and stir until combined. Add soap and stir gently.

We used a whole bunch of kitchen tools as bubble wands to make all sorts of different bubbles!

I’d post a video, but there are video wavers necessary for that…

Wednesday: Soda Geysers

The kids and I watched a video by Steve Spangler and will be replicating this experiment with a few changes.

Materials:
– 1 two-liter diet coke
– 5 mint Mentos candies
– A hammer
– A screwdriver or nail
– A large paperclip

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Directions:
Unscrew the cap of the Diet Coke and set aside. Drain out about 1 cup of Diet Coke. Drink!
Using the hammer, carefully punch a small hole in the top of the diet coke cap.

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Straighten out a large paperclip. String Mentos onto paperclip (making a Mentos-clip). Make a loop with the end of the paperclip so the Mentos will not fall off.

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Push extra wire of the paperclip through the  inside of the cap. Bend the paperclip so that it is holding onto the outside of the cap.
Carefully replace the cap onto the Diet Coke. The Mentos should not be touching the top of the cola. If it is, drain some more Diet Coke out of the bottle.
When ready, unbend the paperclip, letting the Mentos-clip  drop into the Coke.
Hold the bottle pointing away from you and watch the geyser happen!

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Thursday/Friday: Solar Oven S’mores

The best explanation is shown here on Howcast!

Recipe of the Week: Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

As we come upon Memorial Day, I was inspired to post about the most patriotic, American recipes I could think of. There was Apple Hand Pies, Ultimate Cheeseburgers (I couldn’t choose which one!), and these Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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Ultimately I chose these because I have always struggled with making chocolate chip cookies. Mine always spread across the pan like a chocolate-chip cookie lake or begin to caramelize instead of puff up and become deliciously gooey. My sister has an amazing recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies using Pudding Mix, but when I found this recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction, I just knew I had to share! I suggest checking out her picture-guided post if you have inept cookie skills like me, but for those of you who have previously mastered these lovely morsels, please just vow to make these in the near future!

*Side note: It’s totally killing me that I can’t make these delicious things until I move to Cali in a few weeks! Needless to say be on the lookout for a food-for-all post after the move!

 

Sally’s Baking Addiction – Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, spoon & leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

Instructions

  1. Toss together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the egg, then the egg yolk. Finally, whisk in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft. Fold in the chocolate chips. They may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter, but do your best to have them evenly dispersed among the dough. Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory.
  3. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  5. Roll the dough into balls, about 3 Tablespoons of dough each. The dough will be crumbly, but the warmth of your hands will allow the balls to stay intact. Roll the cookie dough balls to be taller rather than wide, to ensure the cookies will bake up to be thick. See this post for more clarity and a photo. Put 8 balls of dough onto each cookie sheet. Press a few more chocolate chips/chunks on top of the dough balls for looks, if desired. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. Do not bake longer than 12 minutes. They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
All photos and recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

It’s My Birthday and I’ll….

Celebrate until the night is done!

In celebration of the past year, I’d love to share my highlights (and low-lights?) of my 25th year on this great planet!

May 25, 2012 – In Ohio checking into the hotel I would be staying at the following night; the night before I became Mrs. VC

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May 27, 2012 – Our Wedding Day!

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May 31, 2012 – Donated 12 inches of hair to Locks of Love.

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July 15 – 4 days in Cali with Jack. Lots of sightseeing and apartment searching.

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August 14, 2012 – Start my 4th year of teaching, 2nd in Florida

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November 5, 2012 – Jack & Nick get engaged!

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November 18, 2012 – Honeymoon at last! Head to St. Lucia for a week.

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December 11, 2012 -Go to the shelter. See Atlas. Fall in love immediately. Adopt him on the spot.

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December 22, 2012 – Atlas’s first road trip to Ohio.

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December 24, 2012 – Dad’s annual Shop Party. Atlas is the star of the show.

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January 5, 2013 – Jeff leaves for the start of his 7 months in training. Big thumbs down.

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February 1, 2013 – Move into the new apartment with friends.

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March 22, 2013 – Head up to Ohio for Spring Break and Jack’s Wedding Shower

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April 13, 2013 – Move into current apartment. Missing my roomies, but best for everyone’s sanity 🙂

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May 11, 2013 – Jack & Nick’s wedding day!

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May 25, 2013 – 26th Birthday! Jeff’s home, Atlas has grown so much, and ready to start off my best year of life yet!

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Thank you all for sticking with me for the past 60 posts! I cannot tell you how crazy it seems that I started this endeavor a few months ago and already have so many awesome followers! I love you guys!

Who Needs a Running Buddy?

I do! I do!

Well, I’m sure you figured that out from the title, but it’s so true! I need someone who will beg to go outside every single day for an extended period of time. Someone who has a TON of energy to burn and who will be a loyal, solid running buddy…

If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m talking about my pup, Atlas 🙂 He has SO much energy to burn off since he’s home all day alone while I’m at work and he loves going outside (when it’s not too hot, of course!)

I’ve tried going for small jogs around our complex with him, but he easily gets confused and has bitten or scratched the back of my legs thinking I am running from him to play, not with him for exercise.

Problem? Yes. Solution? Surely! I found a few articles online that are training guides to helping get your furry friend in running shape. Check them out!

Runner’s World – Turn Your Dog Into a Runner

Gear Junkie – 10 Rules: Running with your Dog

Cesar’s Way – Safety Tips for Working Out with Your Dog

Clicker Training – Running with your Dogs: Wagging Tails on the Trails

Pinterest Post: Easy Hostess Gifts for Summer

As I get ready to move in a few weeks, I have promised myself that I will be a social butterfly when I get to California. I, Lisa, proclaim today that I will do the following:

  1. Go to my apartment’s functions. Pool parties, movie nights, cooking classes, etc. to make friends who live close to home.
  2. Hit up as many ship functions as I can do become a part of the new ship family. That way, when the hubs is out at sea, I’ll have people to hang out with!
  3. Try joining a new club or MeetUp to get involved in something I have never tried before or something I love to do. Sharing is caring, right?
  4. Work towards getting Atlas certified to be a therapy dog so we can volunteer in hospitals on the weekends. Nothing brings a bigger smile to my face than seeing others smile!
  5. Accept any and all offers to go to picnics, BBQs, get-togethers and bring one of these kick-butt hostess gifts!

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Lemonade kit, anyone? This awesome idea from Fashion meets Food is a unique gift that I’m sure many hostesses haven’t received!

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Sticking with the lemonade idea, bottling some homemade versions in different fruit flavors would be a nice treat to bring as well. Use old, clean wine bottles and fruit additions like strawberries, blueberries, or pineapple.

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Want to bring cookies, but know that everyone else is bringing desserts? Bring some of these frozen cookie dough balls for the hostess. That way, the next time her family wants some fresh baked goodies, she can pop these on a pan and have them ready!

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Headed to a dinner party? Bring a small potted herb plant for the hostess! If she loves Italian food, try basil or rosemary; Latin food, grab some oregano or cilantro; Mediterranean food, try some thyme or sage!

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Bringing a salad to the party? Try making some of these Painted Serving Utensils to give to the hostess. Not only are they customizable, but a thoughtful gift to remember you by for parties to come!

 

Leave me a comment with more hostess gift ideas! I have a feeling I’ll be needing them this summer!

Flea Market Finds

This weekend when scaling my Facebook Feed, I noticed that one of my nearest and dearest friends, Lindsey went to the bi-annual flea market super-fest not too far from her home in Ohio. Many of her pieces of furniture, decorations, or home decor have been purchased at a flea, thift, or antique store. She finds her favorite items at places like Anthopologie and then sets out on a mission to find a similar item at a much cheaper price. Here are a few of her finds:

Note: All photos are property of Lindsey (she’s a graphic designer…and a super amazing one at that! Check out her website!)

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So needless to say, I will be hitting the flea market when I get to Cali to decorate the house.

What are you best flea market finds? I’d love to hear about them!

Being the “Tough Teacher”

My college FCS professor and I butt-heads quite often when I was completing my Bachelor’s Degree. She was stubborn, hard-headed, and tough. We had the first two things in common already, but I could not quite ever bring myself to be that last one: tough…

Now I’m no pushover in my classroom. I like to think of myself as a realist. My students have a lot going on in their lives. Heck, half of them have bigger issues going on in their lives than I do! I tend to be the understanding teacher most of the time and let them turn in assignments a day or two late with minor penalty, listen to music during work times, and spend the first five minutes of class getting their “Chatty Cathy’s” out of their system.

Yesterday, however, I earned my stripes. I finally became the “tough teacher”. And I’m pretty sure I have a few new student enemies to show for it. You know what, though? I’m proud of myself. Let me tell you about the situation that caused me to come to this point…

I assigned a Culinary Portfolio project at the beginning of the year. I told the kiddos that it would be due at the end of the year and they would have all year (including some in-class work days) to get it done. It’d be a low-stress assignment if they kept up with it, but could become their worst nightmare if they procrastinated. High schoolers, procrastinate?! NEVER! 🙂

I’d been warning and reminding my students about the due date for the past month and a half. I even gave them three work days to finish it up while I was out for my sister’s wedding. And I told them in the clearest, most stern voice that I could muster before I left (and repeated EVERY day up until the due date) that I “WILL NOT ACCEPT YOUR PORTFOLIO IF IT GETS TO ME AFTER 1:40 PM ON FRIDAY, MAY 17TH! Unless you’re in the hospital where I can visit and bring you flowers because I care about you! (big cheesy smile)”

Now while most of my little lovelies turned in their portfolios on time (some even early!!), I’ve had a handful of kids approach me to give me their excuses on why they couldn’t get it to me on Friday because of an absence. There was a “family emergency,” a sprained ankle, and a suspension from school. And I had to sit there, with my game face on, and tell each student “Sorry, deadlines are deadlines.”

Inside, I was crying. What if they actually had a family emergency? (they didn’t I later found out). I felt so heartless, but then, bubbling out of my mouth before I knew what I was saying, I heard myself calmly say to the sprained ankle student:

“When did I say the due date was? (May 17 at 1:40) And what did I say would happen if it wasn’t here by the due date? (I’d get a zero)…. Honey, this is real life. In real life, sometimes you have to make the tough call and stick to deadlines. Even if it means relying on someone else to bring in your materials so you can still make the deadline. In real life, your boss won’t care that you had a sprained ankle. ‘It’s not broken? Great! Get back to work’, he’ll say, ‘and where’s that memo I asked you to write for our meeting today?’ Not meeting deadlines doesn’t just affect you in real life. It affects everyone you work with. So, darling, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s going to be a zero this time. Next time, get it done early, so if you have another sprained ankle, you’ll already have it done and turned in.”

Sprained Ankle student walked away (perfectly, mind you…with no signs of a sprained ankle…curious!) with his head down low, then quickly asked to go to the nurse to get out of class.

Sorry, kiddo. I’m the tough teacher now.

 

Leave me your best inspiring “tough teacher” story to keep me motivated to stick to my guns! It’s hard facing the sad faces of kids that you love and put so much effort into!