Tuesday, July 31, 2012

not all glitz and glam

I am sooo ready for a vacation!  Bermuda cruise is in the works for Joe's 30th, but that's not til next June!

As blessed and happy as I feel about my life & the things going on in it, there are just some days when all the craziness hits me & I begin to shut down a bit.  Today was one of those days.  The first day in long time too. I think all of the things we have had going this summer, between plans every weekend, the new house, and being over loaded at work, it's all starting to take a toll on my body and mind.  Even my borderline obsession with getting pregnant hasn't been much of anything but an afterthought as of late.  I think it's completely normal for the body to act this way after putting it under stress & not giving it the mental and physical attention it deserves to keep balanced.  So how do I deal with all of this?

Me time...
First of all I believe a well deserved pedicure is in order!  When?  I don't know, hopefully soon.  And possibly a tanning package.  I know that probably isn't the healthiest thing to do to my body, but man does tan skin feel good, & honestly, I haven't seen as much of the sun as I normally do in the summer because of the house.  Goodbye pasty legs!

Us time...
Friday we are taking a break and going to Bartley's and to see The Dark Knight Rises.  Date night!  I can't wait.  It's been a couple of weeks since we have done a date night, just the two of us.  The last time we had a date we went to Applebee's & to see Ted.  I am not a huge fan of the movie theater here in town, but I am a fan of date night with my husband.  We have been spending a ton of time together, working together as the great team that we are on this house, but we need some fun, work-free, relaxing time together too.  Really looking forward to it.

Work time...
I have been doing work for another area because they are short handed.  I welcome as much work as possible because it keeps me busy, but this is a busy time for us in our own area, let alone taking work from another operating center.  I am pretty good at making sure I prioritize equally & try not to spread myself too thin.  I need to make sure that when I get to a point that I feel I can't handle any more work, I kindly decline any additional work, or ask for help, this is much better said than done.

Social time...
Between rekindling relationships with old friends, making new friends, weddings, house parties, cook outs, boating, swimming, wine club membering, blogging, pinning, facebooking, what a busy summer it has been & continues to be.  I am the matron of honor in a wedding in October & I can't wait for my beautiful friend Jen to get married.  She found an amazing man, and if anyone deserves an amazing man, it's her.  It's been so fun planning with her, and having already had my own wedding, I love being involved in the planning of hers because it's such a fun, (and at times stressful) thing to do.  I've been spending lots of time with my girlfriends doing all kinds of things like concerts & male review shows.  I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of  my best friend of 21 years, sister-in-law, & mother of my two favorite children, Jodie.  She just happens to be married to Joe's brother Jon, they have been together for around 10 years & are high school sweethearts.  How happy were we when Joe and I started dating... and now we are sisters!  She will be home in October with her family for Jen's wedding & family camp-out.  It's going to be such a blast having them here.  Clearly lots of social events, past, present, & future this summer.  Cancel some social events.

my bestie Jodie, me & Jen

I am looking forward to the time when I am able to go home from work right at 3 with no errands to run or places to go, plopping on my couch with my dog, & catching up on my DVR.  Right now I have 7 episodes of The Real Housewives of Orange County.  We are just catching up on 5 episodes of Wilfred, and don't get me started on how many Kendra on Top I have missed because they play 2 episodes a week! Yikes!

I love every moment I have had this summer so far, with tomorrow being the first day of August & fall fast approaching (thank God!), it reminds me that time just flies, & like Ferris Bueller says, "life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you might miss it".  There is nothing but truth in that quote.  No matter what has happened this summer whether it be good or bad, I once again am reminded of how blessed and happy I am in my life.  I may be still recovering from a terrible accident, but I have great things, and wonderful people in my life. 

Stay tuned for before and after pics of the house!  

Monday, July 30, 2012

rock that body... diet & exercise

Thought I'd post something about my diet & exercise routine which I have to say, has honestly been a roller coaster since the  accident.  

I love to cook, & I try to eat healthy most of the time, but never deny myself something that I really want & don't punish myself if I sometimes over indulge because I would be under constant scrutiny if I did.  Most of my recent favorites can be found on my Pinterest pin board,  Yummy Stuff!  A few that I've made recently that I've really enjoyed:
Gnocchi Mac n Cheese
Parmesan Chicken Bake
Chicken Parmesan Bundles
Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa
Cream Cheese Sausage Pinwheeles (I used ground beef)
Pulled pork sandwiches

I try to use Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese, mayo, & sour cream.  If I do use either of the other 3 aforementioned ingredients, I buy light or low-fat.  I also do this with salad dressings.  The taste is not that different, but plain Greek Yogurt is by far the healthiest (also no or low-fat) & it works just as well if not better.  It doesn't have to be softened, & it's creamy.  

We also have our own garden, we grow tomatoes, and lots of peppers including jalapenos, bells, banana, and habeneros, also green beans, & green onions.  We have done okra in the past too.  I love to make fresh salsa or poppers on the grill with low-fat cream cheese and bacon. 

here is some of the salsa I made this weekend.

Here are some of our favorites:

1lb ground beef
1 pie crust (I use the boxed one)
1 1/2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 onion finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped peppers (I use a jar of sweet)
4oz. Daisy Lite Sour Cream
4oz. Non-fat Greek Yogurt
1 tomato finely sliced

Shredded cheese (I like to use a Mexican blend)

Brown ground beef & chopped onions, drain & add garlic powder & chili powder.  Mix well.  Fill pie crust with the ground beef mixture.  Mix together sour cream, Greek yogurt, & chopped peppers.  Spread evenly over the ground beef.  Thinly slice tomatoes and cover the pie with the slices, then cover the pie with shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend works best).  Bake the pie at the temp according to the pie crust for 30+ minutes or until cheese pie crust is golden brown.

1 Pillsbury Flat Bread Pizza Crust
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp. hot sauce
1 tbsp. Tabasco sauce
Steak Seasoning (an orange powdered spice not A1)
Ranch or Blue Cheese
Shredded mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, etc…

Precook pizza crust for 5-7 minutes according to the temp on the package.  Season chicken with steak seasoning, (a little on each side will do) & cook in a skillet until done.  Shred chicken (I throw mine in the Kitchen Aid with the paddle, it shreds it like restaurant style, AMAZING! Thank you Pinterest).  Heat the tomato sauce, butter, hot sauce & Tabasco sauce & add chicken once boiling.  Coat the chicken with the mixture.  Use ranch or blue cheese dressing as the sauce, spread evenly over precooked crust.  Spread chicken evenly over the crust, add your cheese, pop back in the oven for an additional 5+ minutes or until cheese is melted & enjoy!  The guys LOVE it!

1 package Phyllo dough (found in the freezer section)
1 stick of butter (approx.)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small bag leaf spinach
1 1/2 cups Italian blend cheese
Season chicken breasts with salt & pepper, oregano, basil, & garlic powder.  Cut up into cubes & cook all the way through in a skillet, set cubes aside.  Cut stick of butter in 1/2 and heat in the microwave until melted.  Brush each sheet of Phyllo dough with butter, fold in half & layer on top of each other, (try to use 3-4 sheets per packet, so folded you will have 6-8 layers of dough).  In the center of each square, put a few leaves of spinach, a few cubes of chicken, then sprinkle with cheese.  Fold each corner of your dough up & to close the filling in.  Brush with additional butter & set on a cookie sheet.  Phyllo dough will come in a box with 2 rolls of  sheets, one roll will make 4-6 packets depending on how many sheets you layer, a few layers is good though, you don't want them to be too thin.  Set oven to 350 and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

These are a tad messy to make & take more effort than other dishes but they taste amazing.  The butter makes the dough flakey and delicious.  I highly recommend these.   

As far as working out goes, most of my workouts have been done at physical therapy which I have been doing for about 16 weeks now with at least 10 more to go, I might be going for a full year.  Before the accident I would go to the Y roughly four times a week.  Tuesday's and Thursday's were water aerobics night, which I love & once we finally settle down in the house I plan to go back.  It will be a great workout for my knee & it's low-impact.  It's an hour long & it doesn't even really feel like a workout.  Plus it's in the therapy pool so the water is warm, I love it.  I wear a one piece (so JR. high) & water shoes because the bottom of the pool is awful.  I got these from Swim Outlet for real cheap.  I spend the other two days in the fitness room on the elliptical, treadmill, & whatever random machines I feel like working on.

So we are finally about done with the house & will be moving in this weekend!  I will be posting pics soon, everything is looking amazing,  The paint colors turned out awesome.  Right now we are working on the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation which is time consuming, but has so far been pretty easy!  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

she wore blue jeans and a rosary

Good news! NO, I'm not pregnant, but, I don't have to wear my brace anymore!  Hooray!  One step closer to a full recovery.  I had my doctor's appointment last Wednesday the 11th at Rush in Chicago.  An hour and a half drive for five minutes with the doc seems pretty ridiculous, but he is amazing & I am so glad that I was referred to him.  I have been going to physical therapy for 14 weeks now, and have probably around 12 more to go.  Doc says if I don't get my knee all the way straight they will have to go in and do an  arthroscopic clean up of the scar tissue that has built up that may be causing my knee to not straighten all the way.  The slight bend in my knee is causing my right leg to be shorter than my left which is causing a bit of a limp.  Sometimes it is more noticeable than others, if I wear tennis shoes, my foot feels good & I walk pretty well, if I have flip flops on, my foot hurts horribly and my limp is definitely noticeable.  Fingers crossed that by my next appointment (Oct 17, 6 months since surgery) that I have worked hard enough in PT to get this sucker straightened out.  I do not want to experience another surgery, even if it's only arthroscopic.

After my appointment we picked up my cousin who goes to Loyola and took him to lunch at a place called Wilde.  It was amazing & we had such a good time catching up with him.  I had this amazing bison burger with mozzarella & bacon plus sweet potato fries & a Goose Island IPA, sooooo good! 

This past weekend Kid Rock came to town to play for the annual LaGrotto's Concert for a Cause.  I have no idea what the "cause" was for this year, usually money to benefit a school.  It was fun.  We actually got some rain a few hours before the concert, it has rained every year for the last few years the day she holds her shows, REO Speedwagon actually cancelled one year because of weather.  So we got a horrid storm and a torrential downpour of rain for awhile.  I can't remember the last time we had rain since then!

The girls!

me & the hubster!

We're making really good progress on the house.  We are hoping to be in by August 1st so we don't have to pay double payments, but we'll see.  Most of the rooms are painted, our room should be done tomorrow then all the rooms but the kitchen and the bathroom are done.  The kitchen and bathroom are still being worked on, plumbing in the bathroom had to be moved around and we have to install a tub surround and plumb in a shower.  We also have white waynes coating (??? not sure if that's spelled right) going up on the wall & floor to be laid, plus the painting.  The kitchen needs flooring, paint, & we have yet to tackle the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations in Quilters White.  There are tons of things to be done outside, but all those things can be done while living there.  It is looking so cute, classy, & quaint.  I will definitely be posting pics when it's all said and done.  

No news in the baby-making business.  Still taking my temp & hoping for the best each month.  Maybe I should just give up all my techniques & to quote Carrie Underwood let "Jesus take the wheel"... 

One more thing to mention then I am off to bed... I can't believe how quickly our one year anniversary is approaching.  
 We have matching wedding date tats, Joe's on his wrist, mine on my neck.

What I'm looking forward to:
  • Eating the top of our cake! Yes, this is one of the top things.  Our cake was done by a lady who has been around forever & her cakes are just awesome.  I wanted lemon cake with raspberry filling and Joe wanted white cake with strawberry so we alternated layers & of course the only bite of cake that I had was when Joe tried shoving a whole piece in my mouth so I am anxious to try my wedding cake.
  • Hot air balloon ride.  We were supposed to do this on our honeymoon last year in Galena but we didn't get to because of all the pilots being gone to a hot air balloon festival.
  • Renewing our vows.  Yes, we are going to renew our vows!  We are doing it at the Iron Horse Social Club & Motorcycle Museum & I cannot wait.  It's a biker bar/motorcycle museum in Savana.
  • Camping.  We are going to camp a night or two a Poopy's in Savana on our way to Galena since Eagle Ridge is pretty expensive & we love to camp.
  • Bike trip!  We did our honeymoon on the bike, I hope to do all of our anniversaries on the bike.
Take Care Ya'll!

Monday, July 09, 2012

baby, baby, baby, ohhhh!

Well, another weekend to cross off the calendar!  I can't believe how fast this summer is going by!  I guess time flies when you're having fun & this summer has been such a blast.  We have done some fun things, and we are creating some wonderful new experiences and adventures in our lives, rekindling old friendships, working our butts off on our new house & just generally enjoying life to the fullest!

It's baby-making time! Yay!! I bought a thermometer which was suggested by a family member.  You take your temp each morning before you get out of bed and track the changes.  I also plan to use my ovulation test to see if the two methods actually correlate with each other which they should.   A thermometer is about the cheapest way I've found to track too, $10 bucks for this little guy, and all you do is hold it on your temple and it takes your temp, soooo easy!  Got it at Walmart.

So we worked on the house all weekend, well, Joe did, Sunday I took a break and went boating with my dad & step mom and some other family & friends, it was a blast!  Definitely a Sunday Funday.  We loaded up our cooler with Lime-a-Rita's, fruit snacks, & white cheddar popcorn & took to the good ole' Illinois River.  We finally had a break in the ridiculous heat we were having so it was perfect yesterday.   Oh and Jessica (my rekindled friendship) and I went to Target and bought these awesome hats as seen below.  She reminded me of the Kentucky Derby!  

I feel so bad for my poor little pug.  We have been leaving him home alone a lot lately because we are spending so much time at the house & with all the painting going on, I just don't want him in there with us until we are done because he would stick his face in it if I would let him.  He made a new friend this weekend though, he met a pug named Chuck that a friend of ours just rescued & they were so stinkin adorable together.  Chuck is smaller and whiter than Frank, I've never seen Frank around another pug before, it was so funny.  But most of the time he has been sad and depressed that we haven't been around to give him attention.  He is such a mama's boy too which makes it even harder for me to leave him.

Wednesday Joe and I will travel up to Rush in Chicago for my 2nd follow up appointment after surgery, or is it 3rd?  I can't remember now.  It has been about 12 weeks since surgery, and I am hoping that doc tells me that I don't have to wear this ridiculous, robotic-looking brace anymore.  It's seriously unnecessary to have so much brace on such a small leg!  I swear I am going to throw it out the window on the way home on 55 so if anyone is in need of a knee brace, check on the side of the highway!

That's all for now my friends!  Fingers crossed for babies & freedom from my brace!!!!!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

home is where the heart is

Well we've started on the house.  We closed last Friday the 29th & immediately went over after the closing and started working.  Joe got all the basement drop ceiling pulled down & all of the fans taken down by the end of the first day.  We are going to knock this thing out quick so we can move before the end of summer.  It has been so fun picking out lighting, paint, fixtures, hardware, flooring, etc, but it is also overwhelming.  I spend probably a half hour at Mendard's picking out one fan!  We went back the next day and bought two more!

I am super pumped for all of the paint colors!  The top two of the first sample, "Mississippi Mud" (2nd one down) for the living room, I love the name, it reminds me of the Goonies.  And "Golden Harvest" (top one) for the dining room.  The 2nd sample in is called "Toasted Marshmallow" that is for the entry way & hall way.  The 3rd, my favorite "Winter's Day" is for the bathroom, it's a blue/grey color I cannot wait to see it on the walls, and the last "Picket Fence" for the bedrooms and ceiling.  The 3 single color samples are Martha Stewart Living & the 4 color sample is Behr.  Now all free time is going to be spent at the house getting everything done. 

We worked diligently on the house all day on the fourth.  What a way to spend my day off!  Oh, the joys of home ownership.  It was so flippin hot here though, I can't imagine doing anything outside when it's 103 degrees with a heat index of 112, we did get alot accomplished & even started painting, it's going to be darling when we are all finished.  I did take some more pics, I realized I didn't have one of the outside of the house... so enjoy!

Front of the house... the tree will be trimmed, I promise you!

 This was the first project I accomplished, new knobs on the storage unit... piece of cake!

So we did see some fireworks this weekend, which I love, even in the heat, they were enjoyable & fun.  Tuesday we went to the Peru fireworks which are always a blast.  Everyone goes, everyone who lives out of the area comes home to go to the fireworks, so it's a great place to run into people that you never see, (or you have to be careful to hide from those you don't want to see!)  We also went to Hennepin's fireworks last night (the actual 4th) and they were really good.  I liked them better actually & there aren't nearly as many people so that aspect is nice too.  We took the bike both times which was amazing because we were able to park super close to everything.  Never taking a car again! 

In baby-making news, no such luck once again.  I thought it would've been so amazing to say that we conceived on Father's Day, but it didn't work out that way.  Just staying positive & honestly, now with the new house & everything that we have going on this summer, I am not focusing on it, which is good.  I know it will happen when it's meant to happen!  I got some great tips, & words of wisdom & encouragement after my extensive post about this whole process & I'm very thankful to those of you who are reading this & giving me advice!  We are having fun trying, & having fun being newlyweds.  How long do you get to be considered "newly" wed's anyway?  Joe and I have been married 9 months, celebrating our one year on September 24th... is one year the cut off to be considered "newly" weds???  

Speaking of our one year anniversary, I cannot wait!  We went to Galena on the bike for our honeymoon & stayed a few nights at Eagle Ridge Resort.  So beautiful& so many amazing things to do within the resort & in Galena.  We really wanted to take a hot air balloon ride, but the pilots were all at a hot air balloon festival so we weren't able to.  Really hoping to do that this year, Galena would be the best place in Illinois to take one, the scenery there is just amazing.  I just can't wait to go back.

Hope everyone is staying cool in this ridiculous heat!  Take care!

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