Friday, August 26, 2011

A New Venture...

I know I said this blog was intended for reporting on all things house and home. So whether or not you think this falls into that category...I'm going to go ahead and report it!

I like to share what we've been doing around the house. Well, there isn't really anything new at the moment. We have "things in the to-do in the near future list" but we haven't exactly completed anything yet.

The biggest thing that's happened around here lately is that I've gotten back into cooking. Nothing too fancy, but it's a start! I've been on a strictly vegetarian, Italian diet lately. That means carbs, carbs, and more carbs! I'm trying really hard to branch out. I miss my vegetables, but just can't stomach most of them right now. This meal was a giant leap towards broadening our meal horizons.

This week I attempted a baked/healthy version of Eggplant Parmesan. In our casa we always make our own sauce so that wasn't anything new. We'd run out of cans of sauce so I improvised with diced tomatoes instead. (Side Note-I can't stand Cherry or Grape tomatoes at the moment, but Vine-Ripe fresh, and canned diced seems to be ok.)

While the sauce was simmering away...I got to work on my eggplant. I peeled and sliced, then lightly salted and let it sit for a few. After I soaked up the excess water, it was time to get to work.

As I mentioned, this was the "healthy" version. I still "breaded" my eggplant, but it was baked instead of fried.

First the eggplant was coating in an egg and milk mixture.

Then it was coated in the "breading." Now if you're a purist--don't read this part. My version of breading was a mixture of Wheat Germ, Parmesan Cheese, and Basil. Much healthier than breadcrumbs--well sort of!

Then the eggplant baked away for a bit.

While that was happening I cooked some whole wheat spaghetti. When it was all done I plated it all up with some mozzarella on top.

Looks tasty doesn't it?

A few recommendations:
1. Never advertise to your Italian husband that you've made a "healthy" version of an Italian favorite.
2. Never divulge to your Italian husband that you are feeding him whole wheat pasta and wheat germ. He'll never understand.
3. Never share the above information with your Italian husband, even after he eats the meal and exclaims how tasty it was. Trust me on this, he'll then claim he didn't like it.
4. Allow said husband to enjoy the meal without complaining about how you had to make it all by yourself. After all, he's been "cooking" for us both for the last four months. It's about time you do it all by yourself again! :)

Baby steps...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lights, Outlets, and Closet Clean out!

This weekend we enjoyed a visit from Mom and Dad B. Thanks for coming!! It was great having you!

Of course, no trip would be complete without a bit of shopping and attacking a few projects. Sadly...hanging my curtain rod in the guest room could not be done. More on that another time.

Here's what was accomplished!
Lights were added to the basement. It's like daylight down there now! I'm not sure that we needed that many, but someone is VERY happy with the new additions and that's enough to make me happy about it!

Some outlets were added:

The lights even have outlets! Smart thinking!!

Our electrical panel is now labeled. What a relief to have that out of the way. We've only been talking about doing that for about a year. I'm not sure why it wasn't done when it was installed, but it is now!

As many of you have heard Verizon went on strike this weekend. Unfortunately for us...this affects Michael. So for the foreseeable future we will be cutting back on some things. (Perhaps I'll have to return some of the new items we bought on our little shopping spree the day before....perhaps.) The first thing to get cut was going with Mom and Dad B to Sturbridge to visit some friends. It would have been fun, but this way we got to spend the maximum amount of time with Mom and Dad B before they headed home.

It also meant that I had the afternoon free to get to a project I've been meaning to cross off my list for a few weeks. It was a really stormy afternoon so it was the perfect day to listen to some music and attack this "little" project!

Closet Clean Out!

I've been getting really frustrated every morning trying to figure what clothes I can wear and how to make an outfit out of the options I have available.

Let's just say I have more flexibility with my tops than I do my bottoms. I think I can only wear about 1/8 of my usual bottom options.

The solution is to remove things that don't fit and only leave behind solid options! Makes perfect's the getting it done part that's really annoying and time consuming! I mustered up my motivation, turned on some music, and got to work trying on everything I owned (except dresses-I didn't get to that yet!) My level of motivation definitely dropped with each item I decided had to be relegated to the "pack away for next year" or "donate" pile. I suppose that's to expected and hopefully only temporary.

Here are those piles...

Pack Away for Next Year:

Give Away:

And then I reorganized all the things that I can wear...or think I'll be able to wear for a little while longer.

Only the viable options remain...Gym clothes, sweat pants, sweat shirts, purses, and winter gloves and scarves. (As my pile-o-sweat pants becomes more and more alluring...I've made a little pact with myself. I have no problem wearing gym clothes out and about to do errands but I draw the line at the sweat pants. These are for home wear only! Make me stick to that! Ahem-I'll be the first to admit that the sweat pant pile is my first stop when I get home after work these days. Sad, but true.)

I can find my shoes now...

I have space for new (necessary) clothes...for the future. And on the right are the remaining sweaters I should be able to wear in the coming months. I held onto the longer sweaters, and those that had zippers or are meant to be left open in the front.

And here's what remains! Not a whole lot...

I commandeered the guest room closet a while back for my boot storage. It's now become my boot storage along with clothing that I hope to wear next year. Truth be told...I never wore much of this to begin with so I really paired it down during my clean out. Since I began working at the gallery years ago I've gotten away with less formal work attire in exchange for me fun/fashionable outfits. You'll also notice that I've kindly allowed Michael to store his motorcycle gear in this closet as well! How thoughtful of me! It's the least I could do after I stole half of his big closet to store my dresses! Hey-it was necessary since we keep the laundry baskets in my closet, there's no way my dresses will fit over them! Not to mention that anyone who knows Michael knows that he owns about 5 articles of clothing that require a hanger! ;)

After I completed most of this project I took a little gym break, with a stop at Home Depot to buy a couple storage bins to put my "put away for next year" clothes in. Too bad the piles are still sitting on the floor of our bedroom. Well at least phase one of this project is complete!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things...

This weekend was BIG. No, we didn't do anything special, but we did "stuff." And by we, what I really mean is ME! That's not to say I was the only one doing "stuff," but it was a big change that I was in fact doing, "stuff" finally.

Our weekend was jam packed (compared to how we've been doing things.) On Saturday I woke up feeling very motivated. I had some breakfast and then decided to vacuum the downstairs. Then I decided to mop. Then I decided to do one of my weight videos. Then I decided to go to the gym and use the Elliptical for a while. Then I decided to go grocery shopping...all before going over to Kristen and Mike's for an afternoon BBQ. We had a great time at the BBQ. By the time we got home it was about 8 and let's just say...I was beat! It was a wonderful day!

Sunday was a beautiful day as well...

First off, I decided that I was finally sick and tired of seeing our blank walls. Although still un-painted I decided it was time to get sort artwork back up on the walls.

Boy have I missed my Amy Maas painting. Here's a little preview:

This is a new piece actually. It was a gift from one of our artists at the gallery. A thank you for all our hard work. Framing courtesy of the boss lady. (If you wait until she's framing hers--she'll usually do yours too!) It's a little hard to see with the glare from the window, but you get the idea.

The hallway art returns...

After some rearranging we decided to go for a long walk around the lake. Of course we enjoyed taking a break halfway through at our favorite muffin shop for a little snack. It was much needed!

Next up was some yard work. Our bushes had been rather neglected lately. Since I felt like helping (yes you read that correctly) we decided to attack them!!

And the porch and steps needed some serious attention so I got right on that! No really, I did!!!

A few action shots:

and FINALLY...I give you PROOF that I was actually out there helping!!!

After a quick visit from Malfroy (who also came bearing a special delivery of gifts!!! THANK YOU JESS AND CRAIG!! It was back to work.

Next project was finally moving everything away from the front door and back into the mudroom. Eventually we'll have a bench, a rug, and some type of hooks/storage contraption on the wall. For now, at least it's being used for its intended purpose again.

At this point it was already 5pm. Definitely time for a shower and some dinner.