Monday, January 31, 2011

2011 Resolution Update

Janurary is just about over, so I felt as though it would be an appropriate time for a New Year's resolution update. My thought behind the update is mainly to hold myself accountable. Since I put the resolutions out there for all to read, I owe it to you to let you know how things are going. Don't worry I won't be giving updates each month - at this point I just wanted to see if I could keep my resolutions for at least one month.

This year I put a lot of consideration into my resolutions. You can read more about that here.

One month in, I think I'm still going strong.
  1. Read at least 12 books in 2011 - I have read two books already only 10 more to go. (I don't think will be reading 2 books every month, I am just eager this month)
  2. Read through the entire Bible - Our church has a reading guide to help with this and it is keeping me on track.
  3. Make the bed every day - Justin and I have made our bed everyday!! It has now become part of our morning routine and I love walking into the room with the bed made. I feel like the room looks cleaner when the bed is made.
  4. Blog at least once a week - As many of you know I have been blogging 3 times a week. My resolution was to blog at least once a week so I am still going strong. However, as much consideration I have decided to scale back and only blog once or twice and week. This way I will be able to put more time and thought to each post I make.
  5. Like always, workout/eat better - I have been working out at least 3 days a week. I am also planning on running a 10K at the end of April. I have been cooking healthy recipes and taking multi-vitamins. This will be the one resolution that will give me the most trouble.
How are you doing with your resolutions? It's never too late to start making life changes.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Current Bedroom Inspiration

Now that we have finished our office (more about this later) we are now looking ahead about what to tackle next. Justin and I both agreed that we need to work on our bedroom. This has been a room that we have totally neglected since moving into our home. We did paint our room right after moving in but that is the extent of what we have done. All of the furniture are things Justin and I had before we got married or furniture that was given to us.

We are going to keep the same paint color but that is all that we are going to keep in our room. The only other thing that we are 100% sure about for our room is that we want a upholstered headboard. When looking for inspiration we knew the bed had to be upholstered and in the blue/gray family.

It is very exciting to be working with a clean slate. These are some bedrooms that we are looking at for inspiration. We want something very comfortable, fresh-looking, and sophisticated but not too stuffy. We are very excited to start this next project, but we are still in the early stages of coming up with a design that works for us.

This is not something that we are going to use as inspiration, but when I saw it I had to share. What girl would not want to have this has her room.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I love Snickers

Over Thanksgiving break the girls in my family cooked dinner for the whole family and made this delicious Snickers Cheesecake (to see the whole meal click here). I have been wanting to make it again for a while, but I knew that Justin and I didn't need to have it sitting around the house. So, when we hosted out adult small group last week I knew this was my chance to make it. It was just as good as I remembered. I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.5 cups of crushed Oreos
2 tbs butter, melted

Crush or puree Oreos until fine add butter. Pat down into a spring-form pan. Bake 6-7 minutes. Cool.

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8 ounce) softened cream cheese packages
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
24 mini or 4 King Size Snickers candy bars or more!

Beat cream cheese on low until smooth. The key to a smooth cheesecake is to beat the filling nice and slow. If you beat it fast, too much air gets into the batter and it will not be smooth, it may also crack.

Add sugar, then the sour cream. Beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth and creamy.

Chop up the Snickers candy bars.

Fold in Snickers, leaving a handful aside to top the cheesecake with.

Pour into cooled pan. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the center is still a bit jiggly but the rest of the cheesecake is firm. Cool and refrigerate.

Ganache Topping:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbs butter
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Slowly melt all ingredients together while stirring until smooth.

Pour over cooled cheesecake. Sprinkle with extra chopped Snickers pieces. Let cool.

Undo the pan and look at all the pretty layers.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Monday, January 24, 2011

If you don't succeed DYE again!

As you can see, this was just a little overwhelming

We have been working on decorating our home office for months. The colors we chose for to use are gray, orange and white. For the past few months, it's been just about complete, with the only things that were lacking were curtains and a little side table next to the reading chair. Well, not anymore!!

I had been looking around and thinking about what color and style of curtains I wanted for the office. We have two small windows so I really didn't want to have full length curtains, so my options were very limited.

A few months ago while Justin and I were in Atlanta for a friends wedding and we stopped by Ikea. We really were not looking for anything in particular on this trip but were very happy when we found these bright orange curtains for only $20.00 for two panels. Unfortunately, they were full length panels. However they came with some iron-on adhesive tape so you could adjust the length. I told Justin that we could use one panel for each window and make a valence. So for $20.00 we got them.

They sat in our office for months...really. We didn't have curtain rods and never really thought about picking any up when we went out. During the holiday while in Lowes we found some for $5.00 a pop. Yet again the curtain, along with the new purchased rods, sat in the office for another week. At least we were making some progress.

Finally after many months of sitting in the office the curtains are finally up. YEA!!!!! Hold on was not that easy...we had to dye them first.

You can see just how orange the curtains are when you compare them to a real orange.

When we put them up to see what they would look like we found that the bright orange color was just a little much for our office so off to Walmart I went to get some dye. We got brown and orange, because Justin and I could not agree. We first dyed them brown hoping that they would keep some of the orange color. Unfortunately it didn't keep much of the orange color. It was more of a brown orange and not the color that we really wanted. So we tried it again but this time we used the orange dye. The result was a successes.

This is a good picture to show the true color of the curtains.

After dying them twice, I cut them and used the iron on adhesive tape to hem them. The color is just a little darker than I would like but
for only $35.00 for both windows I think they look great. Having the windows done brings us one step closer to having a finished home office.

Not the best picture, I know

Since putting up the curtain, I found the perfect table to go next to my reading chair. The office is now finished. I will be posting about the finished office very soon.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Unexpected storage

I love using items in unexpected ways - like this great organizing tool. As many of you know, I love office/school supplies. When I was young, my favorite part of school was getting new school supplies and getting them all organized. Now that I am done with school I have no real need for lots of supplies, but that does not stop me.

A few years ago I downsized my desk at home and lost a lot of storage for all my supplies. This was sad because I was not ready to part with my supplies, so I purchased some baskets to store them in. Yes, this caused our office to be overrun with all kinds of random baskets and boxes. Eventually, Justin told me that I should just get rid of some stuff. Not wanting to part with my colored staples, colored pencils, and all the other fun things that I have collected over the past few years, I searched for something to put all my supplies in that would not take up a lot of space and would help me find just what I need without having to dump everything on the ground. What I found was this:

Yes, that is an over the door shoe organizer (in its old life), but now it is the place that I house my glue sticks, note cards, batteries, and so much more. The small clear compartments are great for finding just what you are looking for at a glance.

When I am in need of something I just go to the back of the door and look through the clear pockets and find just what I am looking for. Since I am not longer is school many of the things that I once would have put into my little pockets have changed, but I still love this system for keeping everything organized.

Here is a closer look at what I have in each compartment.

Craft Scissors
Lots of Sharpies
Random Science Stuff and UV Beads,
Colored Staples
Erasers, pencil sharpener, whole punch
Glue and balloons
More craft supplies
Felt for furniture
Paint Markers
Safety Pins
More tape and pencils
Note cards

More Sharpies
Random Supplies

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Saying bye to 100 unused things

A few weeks ago I read about someone who was moving and wanted to get rid of 100 things before they moved. So, I starting thinking...I have more than 100 things I could and should get rid of. We are not moving, but I did want to go through our house and get rid of some things that we don't use anymore or have not used since moving into our house over 2 years ago.

I thought this would take only a few days but I was wrong. In doing this I have not only gotten rid of 100 things but have cleaned out our guest room closet, our office closet, our bedroom closet, and just about every other closet in our house. I did my best to keep everything organized but my pile kept growing and became a mess!

This is the itemized list of everything we got/are getting rid of:

Books (6)
Clothes (69 pieces)
Frames (8)
Decorative clock
Wall Art
Candle holders (5)
Window panels ( 4)
Pillows (4)
Sewing Machine
Blankets (3)
Alarm Clock
Vases (2)
Desk Lamp
Workout Bands (2)
Guitar stand
Shoes (5 pair)
Key Holder
Purses (4)
Lunch Box
Scarves (3)
Hats (2)
Beach Ball
Decorative Wall Art
Cookie Sheets (4)
Picnic Blanket
Japanese Learning CD's
Scrapbook Paper
UGA Calendar
Pet Paw Groomer
Over the Sink Rack
Canvas Art Work
Scrapbook Album
Messenger Bag
Shams (2)
Water Bottle
Light Saber (This was Justin's)
Photo Albums (5)
Dog Costume
VHS tape
Dog Rain Coat
X Box and lots of games

Grand Total: 160

I was very pleased with everything that we got rid of. I am still keeping my eyes open for more things that we might not need or use anymore. I feel like this might be something that I try to do once a year but on a smaller scale.
If anyone has ever done this or is thinking about getting rid of things that are not being used let me know.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What will 2011 look like??

"What will 2011 hold?" That is a question that I have been thinking about over the past few days. At the beginning of each new year people, myself included, start thinking about things they want to start doing or stop doing...resolutions. Well, I am looking at my resolutions a little differently. Instead of thinking of about 5 things that I want to start doing, I am thinking about things in my life that I want to improve on. Last year I blogged my resolutions, which you can see here, and looking back on the 4 resolutions I made, I am sad to say that I only was able to keep one.
This year, I (of course) really want to keep my resolutions, so I thought long and hard about not picking things that would just be easy, but things that I really wanted to accomplish and were reasonable to achieve.

Here are some questions I considered when making my resolutions for 2011:

  • Did I have a plan to accomplish the resolutions? (For example, if it was to lose some weight, did I have a workout plan or an new dietary plan ready?)
  • Was I passionate about the resolution?
  • Could I be held accountable to complete resolution?
  • Would there be a real benefit from the resolution?
If I was able to answer yes to at least 3 of the 4 points then I gave the resolution some real consideration.

So without any further adieu, here are the things I would like to accomplish this year:
  • Read at least 12 books in 2011
  • Read through the entire bible
  • Make the bed every day
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Like always, workout/eat better...I don't know what this plan will look like yet, as I am still working on it. I thinking about going one day a week without carbs, working out 3 to 5 days a week, drinking lots of water, and trying new healthy recipes.
Well there you have it, my resolutions for 2011!

Just an update... I only have about 30 pages to finish before I am done with my first book, I have made the bed everyday but the snow day we had on Monday (you get a couple of free days, right?), and I have started reading the through Bible using a scheduled plan that is produced by our church.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book Review: The Memory Keeper's Daughter

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards is a novel that tells the story of a man who gives away his newborn baby, who has Down syndrome to one of the nurses.

I have had this book for all most a year and I had it on my reading list for longer. When I finally got around to reading it, I turned to the back cover to get an idea about what the book would be about. Sometimes I like to judge a book by its cover and just start reading without any prior knowledge of what the book is really about. The cover and the title play a big part in my decision to read a book. As you can see from the cover it really does not give much away about the book. After reading the back cover, I was not as excited about the book as I had been when I saw it on just about every "must read" book list.

I have to confess that it took me a while to finish this book. My interest was not captured at first. I have a friend who says if she is not hooked on the book within the first few pages she passes on the book and starts another. Although it was tempting to do the same, I dredged through the first few chapters and by the end of the book I was pleased.

I think one of the reason that I had a hard time getting into this book was because unlike most books that I read, this story was told through the view of the three main characters. Just when I was getting into one of the characters it would change to another one and my focus was broken.

With all of that said, I did actually end up liking this book. I am not sure that I would ever read it again, but once I got into it, I did enjoy it. The story line was very unbelievable, but I guess that is why it is fiction. I don't think a doctor would ever really deliver his own twins and finds one has Down's and give it to his nurse. Well, I suppose it's possible that some crazy person might do that, but not a person who could go on living as if it never happened.

If you find yourself thinking about reading this book I would love to hear what you think about it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made NYC

Most of you know that I love NYC. I feel it's the result of our first trip in 2007 when we celebrated our 1st anniversary. We stayed with friends had a great time. It really felt like we lived there.

Since then, Justin and I have back two more times - two years ago Justin and I rang in the new year in Time Square, and just a few weeks ago we went back with our dear friends the Followell's. I have to say that each time we go we have a wonderful time but each time the experience is just so different.

I think the best way for me to tell you about our trip is to tell you everything that we did then include some pics with some explanations, otherwise you would not finish reading this post.

  • Tried to go to the Regis and Kelly Show. When that failed we tried to get on The View...and failed at that also. (story below)
  • Road the Staten Island Ferry
  • Ate lots of great food and lots of desserts
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Time Square
  • Empire State Building
  • Found the best cookies ever: "Macarons"
  • Shopped
  • Saw the Lion King
  • Saw the Radio City Rockettes
  • Photo shoot with Robby Followell
  • Union Square
  • Dylan's Candy store
We had a wonderful time. I could tell you lots of stories, but I will limit my story telling to just one.

On Monday we woke up really early, 4:30 a.m. to be exact, with the hopes of getting on the Reggis and Kelly show. We didn't have tickets, but thought if we got to the studio early enough we would be able to get a standby ticket.

You should have seen our faces when we walked up to the door and saw no one in line.

You should have also seen our faces when we found out that they would not be filming the show that day. I We went from ecstatic to sad in a matter of seconds (at least I did). They don't have any info on the site saying they would not be filming so we had no way of knowing. So, four very sad adults walked across the street to Starbucks for breakfast and to come up with a plan B at 6:00 in the morning. We decided to try and get on the The View, not because we like the show but because that was the only thing do at 6:00 in the morning. After waiting in line until 8:15, we had our standby numbers. We were told to report back at 9:30 and at that time we would find out if we could get into the show. Well, we didn't get in. We were disappointed but it was okay since none of us were fans of the show anyways. Don't worry our day was not lost, we had a great rest of the day shopping, eating, seeing the Lion King, and walking around the great city of NYC.

Just found out that they were not filming.

The Lion King was great!!

Radio City Music HallPhoto by Robby Followell

Rockefeller Center
Photo by Robby Followell

Just another great shoot of NYC
Photo by Robby Followell

Justin informed me when we got home that we would probably be taking a break from visiting NYC. I am sad but I am excited to visit other parts of our nation. I think LA would be a good choice, and I don't mean Louisiana.

PS--Don't compare my pictures to Robby's. He is a professional!!!

Not a Real Snow Day

I'm not going to complain about not having to work yesterday, but I was really sad that we didn't have any snow on the ground.
On Sunday when the weather was bad I was hoping/wishing that we would not have to work on Monday because of all the snow. Well when I woke up on Monday I didn't have to go to work but I also didn't have any snow.
I was still super excited about the day off and will gladly take a free day off of work any day.

This was taken on Sunday night. We didn't get snow just ice cycles.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas in the house!

I know I am really late writing this post, since I have taken down all my Christmas decor, but I still wanted to show some of the Garcia Christmas decorations. I am sad to say that I really didn't decorate as much as I did last year. I blame this on a few things: 1. I didn't start decorating until the week after Thanksgiving. 2. We were out of town a lot during the break.

A little background...This year Justin and I got a new artificial tree. The one we had before was a hand-me-down from my parents. Justin really wanted a real tree and I wanted a fake one, but the "fake" tree won when we found a great looking PRE-LIT tree. I have to say that not putting light on the tree this year really made decorating it much more enjoyable (the same with for taking it down).

I hope you enjoy the limited pics of my tree and front porch.

This year we filled our tress with red and sliver ornaments.

This is one of two ornaments that we not red and sliver, we got this on our honeymoon.
This is the other one, we got this on our first trip to NYC for our first anniversary.

Our front door. I still get excited when it's time to change the bow!

Our front porch
These are all the pictures I have of our home decorated for Christmas. I know it's not much but that was all I was able to get done. Next year I plan on making up for this year. Well, this year I plan on making up for last year. Haha!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Merry Christmas 2010

I really wanted to blog about my family Christmas while it was going on, but never got around to writing it. So, here it is a few weeks late. This year my whole family was home for Christmas. Last year Abe and Lindsey were not able to be at my parents on Christmas day so it was so great to have everyone home.

On the 22nd, my parents picked Justin and I up from the airport in Memphis on our way back from NYC (post to follow). When we arrived at their house, my twin brother Stan was just getting there also. We said our hello's and quickly went to sleep because it was late and Justin and I were worn out from our trip.

On the 23rd Abe and Lindsay arrived and the party started! We had a great time just being together. All we really did was hung out and tried to get some cooking and baking done.

On the 24th Christmas Eve Abe woke up with vertigo...not good! Lindsay did her nursing thing and nursed Abe back to health. That night my whole family went to my Mom's parents house where my aunt and cousins were. We had a wonderful dinner and a good time being together. I can't remember the last time all the grandchildren were together in one room. After dinner we headed back home to get ready for Santa but not before almost killing a deer with the car. It was a little scary but no people or deer were hurt. Thank goodness.

My mom's side of the family
All the grand-kids and their spouses and Conner
Growing up my bothers and I always had matching PJ's to wear on Christmas Eve, now just the girls get the cute PJ's. The guys just don't appreciate matching. This year our PJ's had Miniature Schnauzers on them, to honor Max and Jack.

On Christmas morning Jack (our alarm clock) woke us up around 6:45 so my sweet husband got up to let him out. A few minutes later Justin comes back into the room telling me it was snowing. I jumped out of bed and looked out the window! Justin was right it was snowing so I ran into my parents room to wake up my mom. We love snow and get excited very easily. Within a few minutes the whole house was up, though they weren't all quite as excited about it. This was my first white Christmas!
The best picture of the snow on Christmas morning

Once the excitement had died down we started getting our Christmas morning breakfast ready: monkey bread. When we had the first batch in the oven we started opening our gifts. Santa was good to everyone this year, no one got ashes and switches, just clothes, watches, gaming systems, jewelry, kitchen items, and more. Jack even got a new toy and a bandanna from Abe and Lindsey. Later that day Abe, Lindsey, Stan, Justin, and myself thought we could find an open Wal-Mart to make an exchange. Well, we could not find one but we did find and open CVS and went inside and bought lots of junk food. When we arrived back home we started getting ready for our family Christmas dinner.

The rest of the time with my family was filled with playing the Wii and having a great time. I love my family and I am looking forward to the next time the family is able to get together.

I want everyone to notice the cute owl hat that Ella Kate is wearing, I really wish they made these for adults.