Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Made it Through NaBloPoMo!

Woo hoo! I made it through the challenge of posting every day in November. Sure... a few of them were just a quick picture update, but I still made the effort to update daily. Anyway, it was a good introduction to blogging and to get into posting regularly. It'll be interesting to see how often I choose to post now that the challenge is over.

There isn't much to report lately. I got back to the gym after a Thanksgiving hiatus. It's really hard to get motivated after a break with lots of yummy food. I did an ab class last night and am feeling it today. I've been watching Psych and avoiding going back to the gym. I'll go today... in a little while ;)

I still haven't put up Christmas decor inside (other than my new wreath on the front door) and we're still not sure when we'll get our tree. All I know is that it better be soon :D Don't worry, there is still lots of Christmas cheer in the Sloan household. I think it's safe to say that Mike is already sick of Christmas music.

And because squirrels are pretty much the cutest things ever, I will leave you with a picture I took yesterday. I finally caught the little furry bugger in the act... and it's so cute!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Feelin' Festive

Mike stayed true to his word and put up my lights the day after Thanksgiving. I'll have to get a picture of the entire house from the outside, but I was too cozy in my warm house to venture out tonight ;) Mike even picked up the colorful rope lights when I said I wanted something to wrap around the fence. Now all I need are a giant swirly tree and maybe a snowman for the front yard.

I haven't put up decorations inside yet. While Mike was hanging lights outside, I was packing up my Autumn decor inside. I had planned to get some Christmas items up, but I got distracted by my Cricut (it's so much fun)! I will probably decorate here and there throughout the week and I hope to get a tree next weekend. I loooooooooooove Christmas!!!

I was watching Psych (great show, btw) in the living room when Mike came running down the hallway yelling, "Chandra, you gotta see this"! So, I followed him to the office and saw Eli and Opi all snuggled up. This is not uncommon, but this is the first time I've seen them all cozy on Mike's chair. I had to laugh especially since Mike had a strict "no cats in his office" rule. I hope you like the picture of your Grandkitties, Mom. I can't imagine how many pictures you'll want when I have human children, haha...

Now, if you'll excuse me... I must get caught up on Psych!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010


So, it appears I shouldn't have made fun of Mike for going shopping on Black Friday. Luckily, his friend wanted to go, so I did not have to brave the crowds. My sweet hubby was running around town all night and came home at 7am with 2 things. One: a pair of wireless headphones for him and... Two:

I couldn't believe it when I saw him walk through the door with this baby! I've been wanting a die cutting machine for the longest time, but never looked into it because they are kind of expensive. He even got a green one to match my craft room. He said it was for my birthday, but I could have it early so I could use it to make Christmas cards. A+++++, Hubby :)

When I told my mom about my new toy, she told me to pick out some cartridges as a birthday present from my parents. So, of course I went out to Michael's (they were having a great sale) and grabbed some Christmas themed cartridges.

I've been playing with it all evening and am figuring it out pretty well. I still have a long way to go, but I am off to a great start. I may want to make 100 Christmas cards now that I have a Cricut!!! Thank you Mike & Mom... you guys are the best :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Series of Events

1. I noticed a hole in the pumpkin the other day and today I realized it was getting larger...

2. I happened to be cleaning the windows when I saw some movement by the pumpkins. I grabbed my phone to take a picture just in the nick of time...

3. It turns out that the little flash happens to be a not so little squirrel...

4. That's right, little buddy, your cover is blown...

Tomorrow is trash day and I had planned to toss the pumpkins, but I didn't have the heart to go through with it after seeing this. Who am I to take away Thanksgiving dinner from a family of squirrels? Between the pumpkins and the peanuts I've been feeding them, they will definitely be prepared for Winter!

Monday, November 22, 2010

2 Weeks

I've been checking weather.com religiously the past couple of weeks and just waiting for the inevitable: snow and freezing temperatures. According to the current 10 day forecast, it may snow here by next Tuesday (Nov 30th). I cannot believe it hasn't snowed yet and that the weather has been kind of decent (the temperature jumps around a lot, but it's been in the 40's mostly). I am thankful, but bracing myself for the negative temperatures that are bound to come.

There have been quite a few gloomy, dark days. I could do without those. They have a way of sucking the energy right out of you! I am trying to be aware of how it affects me and I try to correct it the best I can. Although it was a rather "blah" day, I still managed to keep my energy up and get things done. The trees around here look down right pathetic. The poor things have several leaves hanging on for dear life. I took a picture of our tree about 2 weeks ago and another picture yesterday:

November 6th

November 21st

It's amazing how much things change in just 2 weeks. I feel as if I didn't really appreciate my first real Autumn as much as I could have. There is always next time since I have 2 more years here. As I said before, nature around here is looking quite sad, but I'm sure it will look beautiful surrounded by snow.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and Other Sunday Happenings

Today was the perfect combination of laziness and productiveness. I slept in and woke up to breakfast in bed (A+ for the hubby). Then the Mr. and I lazed around for a while, watching TV. I spent a majority of the early afternoon making Christmas cards. I have about 1/3 of them finished and have the makings for the rest underway. I made a late afternoon trip to the Commissary to get groceries for the next couple of weeks. Apparently, not many people are out and about here on Sunday evenings. The traffic there and back was nearly non-existent. The Commissary had a fair amount of shoppers, but not nearly as many people as it normally does. It looks like Sunday evenings will be my new shopping time.

After I got home, I decided to get to some chores. I organized and wiped down the fridge before putting groceries away. Then I did a few loads of laundry, changed the sheets, straightened up the living room, and wiped down the bathroom. My darling hubs gets another A+ for cleaning the kitchen while I was shopping!

Mike finished his finals for his two online courses today. He will have a break from classes for about a month before he starts again. He's been doing really well managing work and school. I know he's got a lot on his plate, so I do not ask very much of him when he's at home. He usually takes the initiative to pitch in when he can which is much appreciated.

I've been in a baking mood this month. I found a delicious recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies that was recently posted by Your Wishcake. These cookies are amazing! Who knew pumpkin and chocolate could be so good together?! They are so light and fluffy too. I made them last week, but they got burnt on the bottom. I had a feeling it was because I used parchment paper instead of greasing the pan. I gave it another go today, but greased the pan instead of using parchment paper. They were perfect. I think I will bring these (along with a broccoli/cheese/rice casserole) to Thanksgiving dinner.

More baked goods to be sent to work with Mike. Better that they go straight to his co-workers thighs than mine...

...but I have to have just a couple before they are sent away...

That's about it for this weekend. Oh, we did have game night again on Saturday (looks like it's a weekly thing for sure). The teams were girls against guys for both games and we lost both times. INCONCEIVABLE (yep... a Princess Bride reference). We are definitely going to have to correct this next week!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christmas-y Things

The Grinch (aka: my husband) says there will be no Christmas decorating before Thanksgiving. While I am a bit disappointed, I suppose he has to draw the line somewhere. If he doesn't set boundaries, I am likely to set up my Christmas decor in the middle of June. While I wait (not so) patiently for Thanksgiving to come and go, here are a few things that are holding me over...

*Finding, buying, and wearing my Christmas pj's for this year. Super warm slippers and a cute kitty to cuddle are an added bonus:

*A new festive mug from which I can enjoy many servings of hot cocoa.

*Starting the process of making my Christmas cards. I could not decide on one design, so the plan is to make 5 different types & making 10 of each type. 50 cards is my limit... I'll have no mercy if there is a 51st person I remember last minute ;p

*Making Christmas surprises for my family since I cannot be with them during the actual holiday

Less than a week before my house becomes a Winter Wonderland!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fitness Friday: Feeling the Burn... A Lot

I pushed myself a little too much this week and ended up reeeeeeeeally sore! I did really well with endurance while running, so that was a plus. Other than that, this week was kinda "blah" fitness-wise. My legs have been so tender... I wanna cry. Speaking of crying, one of my sports bras left me with some battle wounds :/ I had such high hopes for it, but the underwire was poking out after just a few wears/washes (I hand wash all my bras with some fancy detergent that's made for bras, btw). Weird!

(image via herroom.com)
This bra did me wrong!

I also had somewhat of a bruised ego to deal with. I was doing my thing on the treadmill and getting really into my groove when my arm got caught on my headphone wire. The wire got ripped from my phone as it fell to the ground, so the whole gym could hear that I was rocking out to ”I Like to Move it” by Reel to Real. Hey, it came up on my playlist and it was working for me... don't judge ;p It wasn't really that embarrassing since there was just one lady directly next to me. I just scooped up my phone and got back to business.

I definitely need to get a better sleep pattern down. I've been staying up WAY too late and that's when I am most likely to get the urge to snack on junk. Bad, bad, bad! Today, I got the strangest craving for this...

(image via google)
It was really random. They do have really tasty veggie burgers, though. B.K. is really my only option as a vegetarian for a fast food burger... that's probably a good thing since it prevents me from hitting up the drive thru too often!

My homework for next week: rest my poor legs, get back on track with sleep habits, and knock it off with the junk food. Here's hoping next week is better! Now please excuse me while I finish the rest of the pumpkin ice cream (in my defense: it's the weekend AND I've had that one carton of ice cream in my freezer since the beginning of October... that is what we call a "miracle" around here)!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Disney Kid

Growing up, I was what you would call a Disney Kid. I lived for all things Disney. Short films, feature films, toys, stuffed animals, clothes, and best of all... trips to Disneyland! When I reminisce about my childhood, chances are the particular memory I am recalling has something to do with Disney. Going to Disneyland triggers some sort of magical childhood nostalgia. That was the case when I went for my birthday last year anyway. As Mike and I were leaving the park after a fun-filled day, I pleaded with him to stop in a gift shop. Mike is not really into Disneyland to begin with, but he had been a sport all day. I practically skipped into the shop as Mike dragged his feet behind me.

Immediately upon entering the shop, my gaze fell upon the wall of dvds. As I scanned the covers, I kept getting this strange feeling. I kept experiencing this tightness in my chest. It was... nostalgia. I realized that I KNEW these cartoons from my childhood. Every cover set off another memory. Mike and I had agreed that as part of my birthday gift, I would bring home 2 dvds. All these memories were flooding in at once... how could I pick just 2? 20 minutes and one annoyed husband later, I made my decision. I chose the ones that I remembered most vividly from my childhood: Mickey and the Beanstalk & The Tortoise and the Hare.

image via amazon.com

image via amazon.com

image via amazon.com

image via amazon.com

Ever since rediscovering those key elements of my happy childhood, I've been on a mission to collect all of them. Maybe I should correct my first statement... I AM a Disney Kid. Maybe it's not Mike's thing, but he already knows that our kids (and grand kids) will be Disney Kids too :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Living Room Tour

A few of my friends and family members have been asking for pictures of our new house, so I thought this would be the perfect place to post pictures for everyone! I'll start with the living room since it's the only room that I feel is pretty much put together. I put the pictures in order, so this is a counter-clockwise view starting at the front door...

Here's our front door complete with a mini wreath I made last year. I definitely need a bigger wreath, which will probably happen soon since I'll be putting up Christmas decor soon!

This is the view you see once you step inside. The living room is to the immediate left. The kitchen and laundry area are just past the living room. On the left side of the hall: full bathroom & main bedroom. On the right side of the hall: entry to garage, half bathroom, Mike's office, and my craft room.

This hope chest is over 70 years old. I really wish I did not have to mess with the finish, but it definitely needs some TLC. Those cute pumpkin candle holders were given to me by my mom when I had barely any Autumn decor. She always teases me about taking them back because she misses them ;p The picture is from my trip to North Carolina years ago. It fits in perfectly with my holiday theme.

I wasn't too keen on this little window cut out when we first moved in, but I've gotten used to it. It's fun to put little decorations on it. Mike likes it for convenience. Since the kitchen is on the other side, I've passed many drinks to Mike through the little window... lazy bum ;p

Our comfy couch and my FAVORITE picture of all time. I've waited for years for that beaut! I kind of based the whole look of the living room around this picture... that's how much I love it. It's called Singing Butler by Jack Vettriano. I got it from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for just over $40 (thank you 20% off coupon)! Oh, and I have to rave about these Dwell Studio Pillows from Target for a second. It was love at first sight when I spotted them online a while ago, but I could never find them (they were previously sold out online as well). I saw 2 of them at my local Target about a month ago and nearly had a heart attack. Needless to say, I snatched them up in a hurry... I may have scared fellow customers with my enthusiasm...

The view directly across from the hope chest and TV (I had to take the flash off so there wouldn't be a glare on the picture). My friend, Susan, gave me 2 of those little wall sconces as a gift. I recently spotted them while shopping and grabbed 2 more. I think they fill in the space around the picture nicely without distracting from the picture.

Close up of the little floral arrangement I made this year (I got the flowers, container, and floral foam from Hobby Lobby for under $15... I love that place). I got those cute little pumpkins at a local craft fair a couple months ago. The table runner is a gift from my aunt (can you tell my family loves the holidays?).

The view of our messy yard (I raked it all yesterday, so it's nice and clean now).

Other side of the living room. I am always rearranging the items on the little entry table.

The entry table's current look. My friends and family may not believe this, but I got that adorable cider sign from... wait for it... Good Will. Yep, you read that correctly. I don't want to say that I am a snob when I shop, but I never pictured myself browsing the aisles of Good Will. I've been putting together a frame collage, so I got the idea to check out Good Will for cheap frames. All I need is a little black spray paint to spruce up the ones that need a little TLC. Anyway, I saw the cider sign hanging out with the frames (ha, no pun intended) and picked it up for a whopping $1.99.

So, that's the living room. While I love those little lamps with the red shades (a gift from my mom), they are pretty dim and that is our only source of light. We need to get a standing lamp or add a light to the ceiling fan. Other than that, I just need to refinish the hope chest and entry table; add a little something to the wall that is perpendicular to the painting; and I would love a new coffee table (I hate having a glass top table). My ideal table would be a big, chunky chest with lots of storage for dvds! Hopefully I will have updated pictures in a few months!

P.S. This is the first time we've lived somewhere that A) allowed us to paint & B) we would be there long enough for all the work of painting to be worth while. I surprised myself with my color selection. I picked Torchlight from Sherwin-Williams. I am definitely not afraid of color, but this one is pretty bright. My reasoning is that it will cheer me up in the gloomy winter months.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Sometimes I feel as if I am a living version of the movie Groundhog Day (highly entertaining movie, by the way). I know I felt like this sometimes when I did have a job, but the feeling occurs much more often now that I am not working. Before you all think I am a bum, Mike and I decided it would be best if I did not get a job when we moved. We wanted to see how things went financially with one income for a few months to see if we could afford to have a family. The verdict is in... YES! Especially now that Mike gets a couple of raises (for being in the Navy for 6 years and the usual annual one... woohoo)! So, now it really would not make sense to commit to a new job since we are officially trying for a baby (woohoo, again)!

Back to my version of "Groundhog Day". It goes a little something like this: breakfast, craft, clean, gym, laundry, lunch, yard work, cook dinner, blog, sleep. When it comes down to it, I'm not really complaining. I am thankful that Mike's job allows for me to be a stay at home wife (life is so much more organized when I am not trying to juggle a full time job along with cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc). All I'm saying is that it gets a little boring at times.

Although, life in the kitchen is not so monotonous. Luckily for me, there are many like-minded people with blogs where I can find new recipes. I love that I can find something new to cook with a click of my mouse. Tonight, I used a recipe that Apricot Tea recently posted. The recipe: Lemon Pepper Pasta and Asparagus. The verdict: fresh, light, and delicious... just how I like my meals. I added a summer squash that had been hanging out in my fridge and it was really tasty with the other veggies. The only changes I will make for next time are omitting the tomatoes and adding garbanzo beans for protein. Mike enjoyed his with some baked chicken.

Sadly, the Commissary did not have any arugula (they kind of fail in the produce department) so I did not make the salad to accompany the pasta. Instead, I made our typical mixed greens salad. I plan to shop for produce somewhere other than the Commissary from now on, so next time I make this recipe I will try out the arugula salad as well!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Productive Monday

I pushed myself extra hard at the gym today and spent the afternoon cleaning out the Jeep, so I was kind of tired by the time Mike got home. I had a delicious meal planned and was about to get started when Mike said he wanted me to go with him to Kohl's because he wanted sweatpants. My husband...initiated shopping??? I had to see where this was going. We were there for a while and ended up getting a lot more than just sweats. We tried on silly hats, looked at really ugly snow boots, pet the oh-so-soft fleece blankets, etc. It's strange how 5 years of marriage changes you. A trip to Kohl's is our new version of a date night!

Yep, he got this hat

By the time we got home, it was well past the time we usually eat dinner. I was considering just dumping a jar of spaghetti sauce in a pot, boiling noodles, and calling it a night, but then I remembered how much I was craving the meal I had planned on making. I am always on the look out for new recipes.. especially now that I am a super stay at home wife ;D Somehow I stumbled upon Veggie Mama’s blog. I am so glad I did because she provides some wonderfully unique and yummy vegetarian recipes.

I tried the recipe for Thai Basil Vegetables that she recently posted. It was a big hit with the husband. We're both big fans of Thai food, so this recipe will definitely find it's way into our monthly meal rotation. I sort of winged the recipe and it went well. I did not use the coriander, sugar, or cornstarch. I did not measure the veggies either, I just eyeballed it. I only wish I made more sauce... I definitely will remember that for next time. The chili/garlic/ginger/soy sauce/basil/lime flavor is a-maz-ing! That paired with the crisp veggies makes for a light and fresh meal. I served it with brown rice and added shrimp to Mike's.

Worth every bit of work

Thank goodness for bloggers and creative recipes. Without them, I would likely be eating the same 7 meals each week! In fact, dinner tomorrow will also be a recipe I found from another blogger. I really wonder how people ever managed without the internet...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Scenery

I'm still getting used to seeing things like this instead of palm trees and coastline on my daily drives...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gloomy, Rainy Saturday

I have a feeling this weather will get to me eventually, but for now I am enjoying it. Today was dark, rainy, and 40 degrees throughout the day. I drove the 30-ish minutes to the Commissary and back without thinking to use the heat. I wasn't bundled up either (long sleeve t-shirt, barely there short sleeve knit sweater on top, skirt, tights, and boots). I didn't even break out the umbrella for the steady drizzle dripping on me as I walked in and out of stores. It was a pretty proud day for this Cali girl!

Today I was thankful for chunky sweaters and hot Starbucks. The combination is a must-have for driving to and fro in chilly weather. It makes for a very enjoyable drive!

Tonight was perfect for homemade chili and board games at a friend's house. I can imagine many more of these nights come Winter when even the thought of braving the cold just to get to the car and a 5 minute drive down the road seems unbearable. Once you get past the cold, it's worth it! We had quite a few heated battles. Who knew Sorry could be such a vicious game?!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fitness Friday: Routine and Gear

Recently I decided it was time to get in better shape. Of course I would be happy to lose a few pounds, but my main concern is creating and maintaining a healthy exercise pattern (especially before having children). My main goal is to build endurance and to feel strong (I know weight loss will come along with that, so that’s a plus). I joined a gym a little less than 2 months ago. I’m working on getting there 5 times a week. Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve been pretty easy on myself and try to not beat myself up if I’m not perfect about it. I tend to have a higher success rate if I take things slower and forgive myself if I fall off the wagon a bit.

For now, I feel accomplished if I get on the treadmill for 25 minutes and do my circuit training after. It doesn't sound like much, but I know I am getting my heart rate up for a good 45+ minutes. There are 14 machines included in the circuit training and I do 3 sets of 10 on each. I feel really good about my current plan. I am being challenged just enough to feel like it’s something I can commit to 5 times a week and complete it without feeling discouraged. Once my current plan no longer feels like a challenge, I will adjust it accordingly.

It's kind of crazy, but I haven’t weighed myself again since joining the gym. Again, it would be great to lose a few pounds, but I don’t want to get caught up on a number. Instead, I want to focus on how I feel and how my body looks. So far, I have noticed slimming and more definition in my arms and legs. Most recently, I have noticed the upper part of my abs slimming down (which is a great thing, but it makes my lower abs look that much worse). I noticed feeling stronger in my back and having slightly better posture (my mom would be proud). All in all, I think I am off to a good start and feel confident that I will be successful.

Here are a few of my favorite workout items that are currently aiding me in my success:

1. Skullcandy Headphones - These babies work like a charm. They stay put when I'm running, the sound quality is fantastic, and they are pink for goodness sake! What more could you want from headphones?!

(image via Google)

2. Pandora - Music is key for me and exercise to get along. I just cannot do it without some good music. Enter Pandora. I could make new stations all day long. My go to station at the gym is based off of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Stronger, Faster". Normally I am not big on electronic/techno music, but it's amazing how much it motivates me in the gym! Plus, every once in a while, I will get awesomely hilarious songs on my playlist. Last week Haddaway's "What is Love" (better known as SNL's Night at the Roxbury song) popped up. Try running on a treadmill and NOT bobbing your head back and forth... nearly impossible!

(image via Google)

3. Rubbermaid Sport Bottle - I am not a coordinated person. I am also slightly uncomfortable being on treadmills to begin with. Add trying to unscrew a water bottle cap while running and it's a recipe for disaster. That's right, this 26 year old woman needs a sippy cup for gym time. Seriously, though... it's convenient and environmentally friendly since I use it over and over instead of grabbing a disposable water bottle every time ;)

(image via Google)

4. Nike Dri Fit Shirt - My new best friend!!! How did I never try this type of shirt before??? I know I'm all sweaty while working out, but I cannot really feel it when I wear this shirt. This shirt is now a MUST for me since I hate sweating. I need to go out and buy 4 more ASAP!

(image via Google)

5. Anita Sports Bra - Support is a big deal for me. I have an unusual chest size (small band size and large cup size) and cannot find a bra in my size at Victoria's Secret, etc. Typical pull over sports bras that have sizes of small, medium, or large do NOT work for me. I need a sports bra with a band size, cup size, and hooks. I have this in white and I love it. The support it provides is incredible (and that's saying a lot coming from me)!

(image via herroom.com)

6. Freya Sports Bra - quite possibly the UGLIEST bra on Earth. Really, it looks downright hideous on me, but you know what... this is the most supportive bra I've ever owned. I can confidently run and not worry about lack of support. WONDERFUL!!

(image via herroom.com)

It may sound a bit silly, but knowing I have invested in the above items makes me WANT to go to the gym more. Sure, it may be a little out of guilt (if I buy it I better darn well use it). It's a little out of excitement to use my new "toys". All I know it that it keeps me motivated to regularly go to the gym, so it's all right with me ;)