Friday, March 29, 2013

March Update!

Here's this months post about my progress on my 13 in 13 for the Resolution Revolution!
It's been a tough month.
It could be that winter has way overstayed its visit (& generally depressed me), or that I've been busy applying for sub jobs, or that Dave's been so busy with school work (& that somehow effected me?)... But let's be real, I just slacked off for most of the month.

I will give an update nonetheless and try to focus on my successes for April!

1) Blog - My goal was to blog more, overall, and really focus on designing a better layout. As well as get involved with other blogs and start swapping buttons. I actually did pretty well with this one! What do you guys think of the updates I've made? Any suggestions?

2) Run a 10k - I'm still signed up for the 10k in September, but I haven't been able to run at all this month. It's been tooooooooo cold and my lungs are wimpy =( I am running a relay in the Pittsburgh marathon, though! (I'm beyond excited about this!) It's 3.8miles and it's on May 5th. This should definitely build my confidence (& endurance!) for the 10k in September. 

*If you're interested in sponsoring me, I'm running to raise money ($100 total) for solar powered running filtration systems in Haiti (clean water for all! email/comment for details!)*

3) Make & Follow a Cleaning Schedule - Well, I made one this month - woohoo! But besides today, (my monthly go-crazy-and-deep-clean-everything-day) I've totally been slacking.

4) Open Esty Shop - No progress to report here. This is a big thing that takes time and I'm hoping to tackle it more seriously this summer. Suggestions are always welcome!

5) Pray More - I think I've been doing better at this. Take a look at this post and see what I've been working on doing differently.

6) Start Teaching - I'm working on it... these subbing applications are ridiculously long. And no one seems to be calling/emailing me back. This topic is kind of a bummer. (Anyone know anyone who wants to hire me?!)

7) Read More - Along with my 10 minutes of tidying/day that I mentioned last month, I had also been spending 20 minutes/day reading. Like several other things this month, I've been slacking at this, and hope to get back into the grid of things come April! (Which is in like, two days. Okay. I can do this!)

8) Work on Our Scrapbook - No new updates here, either. Lame, I know. 

9) Study the Bible - I'm ashamed to say, I've even stopped studying the word a bit (compared to last month) and I'm really trying to change this. This week alone I have sat down twice for some quiet study time with God, my bible, and my devotional... Just keep swimming! (and studying, mainly studying )

10) Explore Pittsburgh - Dave and I actually got a chance to go out last Saturday and do some exploring! We walked over 3 miles (before the cold brought us home) and we discovered some new places, as well as took some fun photos!
...That's just Dave climbing up a random fire escape... ya' know.
The forecast for tomorrow is 60 degrees and sunny all day so we will definitely be outside and exploring this beautiful city as much as possible!

11) Volunteer - I had coffee with a lovely lady earlier this week and talked about my volunteering role at CPJ! I'm excited to say I will be doing some research, helping at various events, and learning a lot of really valuable and meaningful information about public schools and how we can positively effect change as Christians.

12) Start Composting - We are doing so well with this! This great little compost we bought last month has been perfect & we dropped of 5 bags of compost to a local composting site just yesterday! It's actually in the backyard of a house of a friend... so I kind of felt criminal doing it, but hey, it's good for the earth! (No worries, I don't think I can actually get in trouble for it haha)

13) Get Off The Couch - I've done pretty well with this! Probably because our tv's speakers are busted (for no reason!) and because I feel like I should have hibernated with the weight I gained this winter (ha!) 

I've been doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred several times a week - which is awesome! (Seriously, I saw a difference in my body within the first week.) And I've been walking wherever I can, whenever I can. Really though, if not having sound on your tv isn't a clear sign to get up and move, I don't know what is! (I think God is quite the comedian.)

Well, I suppose March hasn't been a total failure, now that I see it all written out... But I do hope to do better in April. 

How did you do with your goals this month?
I'd love to hear from you!

Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

I discovered this method of dying Easter eggs awhile ago, but it wasn't until last year that I was able to try it. Due to scheduling conflicts Dave and I weren't able to spend Easter with his family, and for the first time as a couple, we were spending a holiday just the two of us. So, we decided to embraced making some of our own traditions. 

I asked if we could try this - since dying Easter eggs in some form is a must - and he excitingly agreed! We ran around to some of our favorite thrift stores and found some pretty awesome ties. 

We has so much fun doing this last year, that we officially made it an Easter tradition!

What you'll need:
100% Silk Ties (the crazier the pattern, the better! ....At least I think so)
An old white t-shirt, sheet, or pillow case
Rubber bands or twist ties
1 Large pot
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
 Start by cutting the seam of each, and "gutting"them, leaving just the silk casing.
 Then, cut each tie into square(ish) pieces, large enough to wrap around an egg.
Cut similar sized squares from your old t-shirt or sheet.

Now you're ready to get to work.
First, wrap the egg in the silk cutting, with the design/printed side facing the egg.
Then, wrap the white fabric around that and use a rubber band to secure.

Place the wrapped eggs in your pot and fill it with water, covering all the of eggs & add the 3tbsp of vinegar. Bring the water to a boil & then turn it down to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Scoop out your eggs, let them cool, and unwrap to discover the awesomeness!

We love the fact that this is a mess free, odor free (Dave doesn't like the smell of vinegar), surprising craft. It's always neat to unwrap the eggs and see what mark has been made by the tie. 

Also, it would be super fun to get some friends together (kids, too!) and have everyone bring a tie and do this in a group. It would lower the cost and up the fun for sure!

Happy Decorating!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sneak Peek: Easter Tradition

Dave and I went to a couple of thrift stores today and found these wonderful (& hideous) ties!
What do all of these (& a white t-shirt) have to do with Easter, you ask? 
Will I be making Dave wear all of them to church on Sunday? (No, but that would be hilarious!)

We will be dying our Easter eggs with this beauts and I'm super excited to share it with y'all.
I'll post a "how-to" tomorrow with all the details!

Until then,

P.S. Don't forget to follow my blog with Bloglovin !

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Strawberry Banana Goodness

I'm currently on Spring Break (from work). There are a few inches of snow on the ground, (need I remind mother nature it is almost APRIL!) And I am drinking a smoothie.

And I'm actually enjoying every minute of it. 

 Lately I've been discovering some lovely new blogs, catching up on some reading, and of course, drinking yummy smoothies. I've also been working on my 13 in '13 (the beginning of the month was rough - but more on that Friday!)

Anyway, here's a quick recipe to make a delicious smoothie!

What you'll need:
 1 cup strawberries, cubed
1 banana, sliced
5 milk cubes (or 1/4 cup-1/2 cup milk) - depending on how thick you'd like it
1 dash of honey powder

I prefer to use 2% milk (instead of H2O) so instead of ice cubes, I just freeze my own milk cubes

 Just throw it all in the blender - purée for several seconds - and enjoy!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend Update

I can't believe it's Monday already!
Despite the weekdays dragging on, the weekends seem to fly by.
 Time sure is a funny thing.

Anyway, this weekend was interesting. 

Friday night Dave and I went on an impromptu dinner date to The Cheesecake Factory (courtesy of my in-laws, thanks guys!) It's easily one of our favorite places to eat, because they have so many dang options & such scrumptious cheesecake!

Then, we caught up on The Office.
It was a pretty standard (but always enjoyable) Friday evening.

Saturday was a beautiful day. It was sunny, warm, and all around wonderful. 
Dave and I took a very long walk (3+ miles!) around our town and explored some new places. 

I also took a ton of pictures of him. 
Partly for an Instagram project but mostly because I really wanted to go exploring with him and be outside on this magical day (before the snow hit).

Sunday was kind of the opposite of Saturday. It was cold, boring, and not really a great day. 
For no reason in particular Dave and I seemed to be a bit off and generally grumpy. (Probably because we spent the day cleaning, and the weather was cruddy.) Also, we're human and we get grumpy sometimes, so there's that.

Regardless, we spent last night playing a game and watching some Netflix to cheer us up. 
Naturally, it worked! 
(Can anyone stay cranky while playing a game with their best friend? I think not.) 

Oh, and today I had a meeting about various ways I will be volunteering for CPJ and I'm super excited about it! - I know, I know it's not the weekend but I wanted to share
How was your weekend?

I'd really love to make this into a blog-hop... so comment if you're interesting in getting involved! Also, this week I will be posting about an awesome Easter tradition Dave and I enjoy doing, so keep an eye out for that!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Reminders of Beauty

While visiting my favorite blog, I discovered two videos that I found quite beautiful and calming.

This is a time-lapse video of Earth from outer space:

 This is a video of an installation in Montreal:

Things like this remind me of all the beauty in the world, despite what negative things we may hear about or experience.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend Update

Friday night we hosted a game night for the people in our building.
It wasn't quite as successful as I hoped, since no one from our building showed up... but we did have four wonderful friends come and help us eat all the food we prepared, as well as play some games! 

Since it was kind of a bust, we plan to go door-to-door next week and hand out cookies (& if people don't respond to that, then I think it's fair to give up).
Oh, and we looked pretty cute  
Anyway, I digress. 

There isn't much to report on about Saturday, but Sunday was a lovely day.
Dave and I went to church and then I made some cupcakes for dinner at our friends.
(Which was corned beef and cabbage!! A personal favorite.)

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day I made pistachio cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
I chose pistachio because it's green (and yummy) and cream cheese frosting because it is delicious!
I had never tried them together before, but how bad could it be, really? 

Turns out other people have tried them, and after googling it, I adapted this recipe. 
They too, ended up looking pretty cute

What you'll need for the cupcakes:
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 pack pistachio pudding mix

What you'll need for the frosting:
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 stick butter (salted or unsalted)
1 pound powdered sugar
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Well, that about sums up my weekend & St. Patrick's day. How was yours?
Also, I think I'm going to do a "Weekend Update" every Monday... thoughts?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Love Thy Neighbor

In an effort to do just that, Dave and I are hosting a game night in our apartment building this Friday! We're going to have games, snacks, & drinks for whoever shows up! 

...I know I would show up for free food, so I hope some people in my building have a similar mindset...

Since we moved here over 6 months ago (wow! time flies in Pittsburgh!) we haven't had many any opportunities to get to know the people we share a building with. And since we're called to "love our neighbor" we're trying to start right where we are, and do just that.

I posted flyers around our building a couple weeks ago & I really hope someone shows up!
(We invited a few friends, too, so if one person shows up they don't feel totally weird lol)

If you can, pray that some people come and that we can have fun and get to know each other.
I'd really appreciate it

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bits from today

I knew it was going to be a great day when the clouds finally parted and I saw the blue sky I've missed so badly. We've had nothing but grey skies and flurries for weeks now, so this was a very welcomed change.

I decided the second I saw the clear sky that regardless of the temperature, I was going for a walk. I needed to feel the fresh air & the warm sun on my skin. I put on my new shoes (did I mention I bought 2 pair yesterday for $50?! Shop local y'all!) and headed down toward the city.

Along the way I snapped a few photos, soaked up the sun, stopped for a dark chocolate hot cocoa (it was only 30 degrees after all), and picked some darling little flowers to press.

Once I was home I opened up my new compost bin from FAB which I am super excited about!
I've done a bunch of research about the best ways to compost while living in an apartment and this seemed to be the best option for us.

It's compact, fits in our freezer door (which eliminates any odor issues), and comes with 25 compostable bags. (Future boxes of 25 bags cost $5 on Amazon).
 I'm thrilled to finally be saving tons of organic materials from landfills. My hope is that I can get some of my friends/family to jump on board, too! (Who knows, maybe I can even create a local compost & community garden... a girl can dream!)

Today was such wonderful day - I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cleaning Schedule

After much thought and searching for inspiration, I finally made my own cleaning schedule!
I wrote out all the things I do/want to do (more regularly) and then got to thinking about a reasonable time schedule for each. (Keep in mind we have a small apartment which doesn't require too much work.)

The design is quite simple, but let's be real, it's just a cleaning schedule... how complicated does it need to be?
As I mentioned in my February update Dave and I have committed 10 minutes/day to tidying & the daily row includes just that. Believe it or not, we can get all that done - and more! - in just 10 minutes.

I tackle some of the weekly row on Saturday, but I actually break most of it up. (For example dusting & vacuuming on Saturday, laundry on Sunday, meal planning on Monday, etc.)

The monthly row is something that I naturally do about that often, but for me specifically choosing the "first Saturday of each month" is going to be a big help. This way I can actually keep track of how often it is getting done and I won't fall behind.

Yay for cleaning things on schedule!

>>If you'd like a copy of this design, feel free to snag this blank version of it<<
(Just click and drag the image to your desktop!)