Saturday, July 24, 2010

So Good to be Home

I don't even know how many weekends we've been gone from home, but I know it's been a lot. Maybe four in a row? I've lost count. Of course, it was all for good reasons: visits to family, baby showers, visiting friends we haven't seen in a while. But it really starts to be tough to keep things done around the house, especially when you're working. I find myself asking, how these women find time to do this:



Or this:



Or this:


I mean, am I the only person who feels so overwhelmed and exhausted that I never have time to do anything? Maybe I am. Or maybe I just shouldn't put so much pressure on myself? Or maybe I just enjoy reading and watching TV too much. It's probably that one, come to think of it. Plus, I guess blogging just isn't that important to me (gasp!). It's not something I think about often, even though I'm always perusing others' blogs, and I never think to take pictures of important things that I could actually post. I barely have found time to weed the flower garden (which was pathetic, and I'm really glad that I didn't remember to take pictures of that, because I might have actually posted them), and I can't even tell you how long it has needed it.

So I've just decided that maybe I should post about my "favorite things", as I have seen others do. I definitely have lots to say about that. Right now, one of my fave things is this...


and this...

(Don't you love how he sits like a frog?)

JC came home and told me there was a "cutest dog" contest in the Atlanta area. Of course, I suggested that our dogs are by far the cutest, and JC reminded me that everyone thinks that about their dogs. Which is probably true. And really, our dogs are just pretty average. But that's okay--I love them anyway.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spaghetti with Sauteed Chicken and Grape Tomatoes

This recipe is just straight up incredible. I have recently restarted Weight Watchers, as I actually feel that I have the willpower not just to lose weight, but also just to be healthier in general and more conscious of what I put in my body. So I was looking through this great website, Gina's Weight Watchers Recipes, and stumbled upon this. It had pretty great reviews, so we decided to try it. JC of course was not too keen on this, because "there is no sauce" and "nothing to give it any flavor". Somehow I convinced him to try it, and he was glad he did! Obviously he had no idea how much garlic can do for a recipe. Anywho, here it is.




Spaghetti with Sauteed Chicken and Grape Tomatoes
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups Calories: 302 Points: 5.5 pts
  • 2 skinless chicken breast halves, diced in 1 inch cubes
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 tsp each of dried oregano and dries basil
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper
  • 8 oz spaghetti (high fiber or low carb) I used Ronzoni Smart Taste
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Season chicken generously with salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Heat a large skillet on high heat. When hot, spray with oil and add chicken. Cook about 3-4 minutes, until no longer pink. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.

While pasta cooks, add olive oil to skillet on high heat. Add garlic and sauté until golden brown (do not burn). Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium-low. Sauté about 4-5 minutes. When pasta is drained, add pasta to tomatoes and toss well. If pasta seems too dry, add some of the reserved pasta water. Add fresh basil and chicken and toss well. Serve and top with good grated cheese.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mexican Casserole

If you are a Mexican food connoisseur (and yes, I did have to look up the spelling for that. Don't judge me...) as I claim to be, you should try this recipe. So, yes--it is still faux Mexican. But totally delicious and closer than most "Mexican" dishes (I'm pretty sure it's the cilantro that makes it). We made this over the weekend, and it is definitely being added to the rotation, especially since it's really easy and pretty healthy, if you use the extra lean beef as we did. Here is the recipe:

1 lb lean ground beef
2 cups salsa (we used Newman's Own)
1 16oz can chili beans, drained
3 cups tortilla chips, crushed
2 cups sour cream (we decided this would be reduced to between 1 and 1.5 cups in the future)
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large skillet, brown the beef. Stir in salsa, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is absorbed (about 10 minutes, depending on how thick your salsa is). Stir in beans, and heat through. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. Spread crushed chips in a layer on the bottom; then add ground beef mixture. Spread sour cream on top. Top with onion, tomato, cilantro, and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Recipe found here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Easy Peasy Spring Wreath

It's definitely true that a wreath makes your door look instantly better. And it's true that it makes it appear more inviting. It's also true that store-bought wreaths usually cost an arm and a leg. So after looking at my naked front door for a few months (after the poor Christmas wreath had to come down), I decided that I could make my own for a lot cheaper. And here it is.


Here it is a little closer...


Nothing super special, but instantly better. I just took an old grapevine wreath that I had (that I have used for endless other wreaths) and grabbed some faux foliage from Hobby Lobby (50% off, of course). That was honestly the hardest part--picking which branches I wanted. After that, it was just a matter of sticking the branches in and contorting them to fit my desires. (I also must add that, since I am a cheapo--*ahem* frugal-ista--I had to make sure I could reuse these branches. So I didn't cut the stems off, even though they were super long. I just bent them around and pinned them behind the wreath. That way I can use them again later if need be!) And because raffia makes everything look better, I added a little bow. Easy peasy spring wreath!

Note: Inspiration here. I'm nothing if not a shameless (kind-of) copycat.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Classy Flea in Marietta

So remember how I told you there was a thrift store/antique shop/flea market in Marietta that I really wanted to go to? Well, yesterday, I went! It's called "A Classy Flea" and it is hands down one of the best I have ever been in. Not only are the items incredible (and they have tons of items), but the prices are so much more reasonable than most shops I have been in. I took a few pictures so you guys could enjoy the eye candy also.



 


Are you loving all the blue furniture like I am? This place is crawling with beautiful blues!

And if you like the chippy, weathered look (which I do), they have that, too.



If you have a thing for vintage napkins and doilies....


I was in love with this buffet and hutch, which the owner told me came from Scotland. Unfortunately, I have no place for it. Sad times.


A close up. The detail on the hinges is just gorgeous!


This doll really creeped me out. Am I the only one who has something against dolls? 


And here are a few more pictures, for your enjoyment...






I walked away with a treasure trove of goodies for an excellent price, which is a rarity in a shop of this kind. So the moral of the story is, if you live in the Atlanta area, you need (as in, it is absolutely imperative) to stop by "A Classy Flea". And if you don't live in Atlanta, it would still be a good day trip!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

March Recapped and April Goals

March goals:

Fun: Take in a movie with the hubs at the local dollar theater. Semi-success? We did plan it, but JC got sick and we had to postpone. Sad times.
Read 5 books. Success! I actually ended up reading eight, due to traveling for work, delayed flights, and being sick. In case you're curious. these books consisted of authors Karen Kingsbury, Irene Hannon, and Lynn Austin.

DIY/Crafting: Sew something new. Fail. It just didn't happen. I was gone for work and gardening, and I just didn't do it.
Complete at least two projects listed here. Fail. But I did complete a few other projects, to come.

Cooking: Try one new recipe for dinner. Success! This wasn't a new recipe (I had eaten it before), but it was something I had never made on my own--a delicious pot roast in our wonderful crock pot. I also made a new recipe for some incredible pancakes, found here.)

Gardening: Decide what to plant in our mini-garden. Plant garden. Semi-success. I have bought the plants and a new tiller. We are going to work on finishing this this weekend. But we have planted lots of beautiful flowers!
Trim the hedges. Success! They look much less all-over-the-place and crazy now.
Re-do some landscaping in the front. Success. The flowers look nice and everything looks much better. Pictures will be coming as soon as I actually take some.

Home: Finish laundry room reno. Success. We are nearly finished with this. I just need to clean a few things up so I can take some pictures. Are we noticing a pattern, here? I can accomplish things, but I just never post them. Ugh.
Purchase washer and dryer. Success.
Living room (room of the month--read about it here). It's coming along. It takes a lot longer to put a whole room together than I thought.
Take care of electrical issues. Success! Finally, I have outlets in several places where they were needed. And our hallway light switch functions properly!
Get estimates about screening in our back porch. Success. We have gotten the estimates, but we haven't decided if we are going to go through with it or not.
Sew the button back on so I can wear one of my fave sweaters before all the cold weather is gone! Fail. That poor sweater just never got worn. Sad.

Wellness: Work out four times a week. Success. Besides the week that I was sickly.
Follow the Abs Diet (= eat healthy). Success. I have actually been eating much healthier, and I feel tons better!

April:

Fun:
Go to one Braves game.
Read 5 books. (I'll be traveling again, so I feel like this will be a cinch.)
Go to see one movie at the theater.
Visit the Marietta thrift store I have been dying to go to. Buy lots of things (or maybe just a few).

DIY/Crafting:
Make two new crafts.
Sew something. (Anything, Kelly... just pick something already.)


Cooking:
Try one new recipe.

Gardening:
Finish planting veggies in garden.

Home:
Organize two spaces (closets, drawers, etc.)
Follow our chore chart (I developed a nifty little chore chart with weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly chores. We'll see how long we stick to it.)
Finish living room.

Wellness:
Work out five times a week.
Continue to eat in a healthy manner.

I'm sure I'll add things as I think of them. As I've said previously, I'm a goal-oriented person, so I'm always thinking of new things to put on my to-do list.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Paint and Twine are Magical

Paint and twine can transform a lot of things. Seriously. I've been using a lot of these lately. See?

Before:


After:


Ah. Already so much better. We have gold, reds, and yellows all over our house, and it is currently being changed (slowly... verrrrrrry slowly) to lighter colors and more cottage-y. So the gold had to go. I am just working on changing the shade now, and then it will be a whole new lamp!

Before: An old drying rack that we got from JC's mom's house. Not terrible, but the blue really did not fit with the new laundry room (which will be revealed soon). (Also notice my sweet puppies in the background. They are really loving this new spring weather!)


 After: All white. Much better.


Before: A poor old ugly wine bottle.


Nothing a little twine and some hot glue (and a few burns on my fingers) can't fix...
(Note: If you want to do this, remember to remove the label before you start gluing the twine on it. I had to stop about right here and work for ten minutes to get this stupid thing off.)

After:



Before: Miniature rolling pins from some sort of kid's church craft project. I had seen several people wrapping these around old vintage clothespins or spools. Sadly, I had neither of these. But I did have kiddy rolling pins, so...


After:


I put them in a jar on the entryway table....


Sorry about that crazy bright, blinding stream of light coming through. I always forget to take pictures when I'm actually supposed to. And that big silver plate is probably going to be moved somewhere else. Part of the ever-evolving Poole household.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My First Blog Award!

My sweet friend Bethany over at The Vaughns gave me this lovely Beautiful Blogger award!




Bethany and her husband Alex lived in the same apartment complex as we did, right after we got married. They were good friends to us, and have since had their own precious little boy! Anyway, Bethany also loves thrifty projects, and she is an excellent artist. You should check her out!

So the rules are that I must post 7 random things about myself. Let's see...

1. My husband and I (semi) met on facebook. (Don't judge me... and we actually went to the same church, too.)

2. I love free/cheap things. (You probably already knew this.) But I love getting a good deal more than just about anything in the world.

3. I never watch awards shows (Grammys, Oscars, etc.). I just look at the pictures of the dresses afterward.

4. I was on the UA women's rowing team in college.

5. I am not like most people... summer is my least favorite season.  (Fall is my favorite.)

6. I seem to like to plan to do things more than I actually do things.

7. I hate scary movies.

Now I need to pass this on to seven more people:

1. Jen at Noting Grace. Jen has some great DIY projects!

2. Kim at NewlyWoodwards. She also has great projects and apparently we like the same designs, since one of our inspiration rooms is exactly the same.

3. Kristen at We Are THAT Family. Kristen is such a beautiful person, inside and out. Right now she is on a mission trip with Compassion, International. You can read about it on her blog.

4. Heather at Mrs. Southern Bride. She and her husband are absolutely precious. I love reading their date night stories and looking at her photography.

5. Brittany at Superwoman. She is currently doing a series called "31 Days to a Healthier, Happier You!"

6. Anne at Fiona and Twig. There is so much eye candy on this blog! Her vintage style is right up my alley.

7. Sasha at Lemonade Makin' Mama. This girl is hilarious. Hilarious, I tell you! And she has the cutest kids. And the cutest blog.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Compassion

If you don't follow "We Are That Family", well--you should. It's a great combination of DIY projects, deep insights, and real experiences. Right now, Kristen is in Africa on a trip with Compassion International, and she is blogging about her trip. I just finished reading her second installment, "True Religion". It made me weep over my own selfishness and sinfulness. How many times a day to I think about what I need, what I want, what I can have? But how many times a day do I think about others, especially the ones who are living with nothing and desperately need my help? Not many, I can tell you. Because although, if you asked me I would tell you that I completely believe in charitable giving--not just your tithe, but above and beyond out of the abundance of God's blessings--how many times do I live that out? How many times am I actively searching for ways to bless other people, through financial means or with just my time? I can tell you that it is a small fraction (minuscule, probably) of how much time I spend thinking of "me". I know that I'm not alone on this--I believe it is a struggle for everyone.

At the end of her post, Kristen asked us to consider sponsoring a child through Compassion. At first, I balked, because I know how many organizations take advantage of those willing to give and use much more than necessary on administrative costs and other garbage that the sponsored children will never even see. After doing some research, I found that Compassion is one of the highest-rated charities by BBB and Charity Navigator; I feel much better knowing that our money will make it to a child in need. So I clicked on her link to see the children. It is heartbreaking to look at their little faces and read their stories, knowing how much suffering they endure. I cried more. I asked God why I had been so blessed while some people have nothing, and why my heart is so stinking sinful.

Then I read this on Compassion's site: "God can use you to help ease the pain of a child in desperate need." It made me so thankful to remember that even though I am selfish and self-seeking, He can still use me. He wants to use me. And really, what is a measly $38 a month? A couple of nights that we don't go out to eat? Or a new sweater that I don't buy? As much as we have been blessed, I know we can squeeze $38 out of our budget every month. I ask you to look at your budget and see what you can spare. It's not just money, either; you write and receive letters and information on the child you are sponsoring, which is honestly the most exciting part to me--personal contact. A relationship. Please ask God to show you if you are being faithful in your giving, and if you are giving with your heart and time as well as with your finances.

P.S. Our little boy's name is Joseph! I am so excited to receive our packet. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

January Goals Revisited

So I just realized that my sidebar still contained "January goals". Really? That's pathetic, Kelly. And there's no point in making many February goals, because it's a short month and it's nearly over. So now that it's nearly March, perhaps I should let you know how I did on these January goals, and maybe set a few for March.

January Goals:

Fun: Pasadena for the National Championship! Success! Boy, did we have fun. We got to see so many things while we were out there, but most importantly, WE WON! I probably will never get to go to another national championship game, so I was really pumped that Alabama pulled it out.

DIY/Crafting: Sew something new. Fail! Ugh. Soooo didn't happen. I will say, in my defense, that it was probably because I still don't have electricity in my craft room. That could be a problem, right? I mean, the people who owned our house before us (and also planned it and had it built) apparently saw no need to install electrical outlets in the room. So I can't sew in there unless I run a bright orange extension cord halfway through my house. Not happening. Yes, I know it is weird that we don't have any power in there. Yes, I am working on that as we speak--hopefully an electrician will be remedying this soon.

Finish painting guest bath. Success! Yaye! We did this pretty early in the year (with my darling little sister's help), and I like the pale yellow SO much more than the purple that was in there before.

Cooking: Try one new dinner recipe. I know that we did. But it has been so long that I have forgotten what it is. So I will consider that a fail since it obviously made no impression on me.

Use more fresh veggies for each meal. Success! I should have been much more specific, because that's a very vague goal. But I know that we did make an effort to buy and use more fresh vegetables.

Gardening: Trim hedges. Fail! This totally didn't happen. Of course, the good news is that since it's winter, they aren't growing very much. :-)

Decide on window boxes for the bay window. Success! I don't know if I should count this, because I technically just decided on it a few days ago. I had originally said no to the window boxes, because I didn't want to be drilling stuff into the side of our house. But I discovered (whilst taking the dogs out) that there seems to already be hardware there for window boxes. Score!

Home: Finish taking down Christmas decor. Success! I'll just go ahead and leave the winter decor out of it, because by this point it is all gone, also. But just for the record, I did put it up. No I didn't take pictures (I am terrible about this), but it did look nice.

Wellness: Work out three times a week. Uh... er.... does my avoidance tell you anything?

Follow Abs Diet. See above. This didn't go so well. (In my defense, I was gone from home for several weeks at a time, first for Christmas, then for Pasadena, then to DC for two weeks for work... it's just hard to eat well on the road. Phooey.)


I'm just going to do March goals... trying for February is worthless at this point.

March goals:

Fun:
  • Take in a movie with the hubs at the local dollar theater (okay, so it's actually $1.75, but if you go on Tuesdays it's only 75 cents!).
  • Read 5 books.
DIY/Crafting:
  • Sew something new.
  • Complete at least two projects listed here.
Cooking:
  • Try one new recipe for dinner.
Gardening:
  • Decide what we want to plant in our mini-garden and go for it.
  • Trim the hedges.
  • Re-do some landscaping in the front--it's looking pretty sad.
Home:
  • Finish laundry room reno and purchase new washer/dryer.
  • Living room (room of the month--read about it here).
  • Call an electrician (regarding the aforementioned craft room problem, as well as some others.)
  • Do research/make calls for estimates about screening in our back porch.
  • Sew the button back on so I can wear one of my fave sweaters before all the cold weather is gone! (I know it's a small task, but I just haven't made myself do it. Small goals count, too, right??)
Wellness:
  • Work out four times a week. (I know, I know. You might say, "You can't even do THREE times a week--what makes you think you can do FOUR?" Well, things have changed, my friend, and my motivation is back. I'm tired of being tired all the time, and the 10 lbs I have gained since moving is NOT my friend, no matter how much the brownies tell me otherwise.)
  • Follow the Abs Diet (which really just means to eat healthy).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Decorating Style

The hubs and I are in the process of redoing a few rooms in our house. A few nights ago, we were discussing what style(s) we wanted to have in our house.

I asked him, "Well, what do you like?"

"Hmmm. I'm not really sure. I don't know anything about this stuff. I just know when I see it if I like it or not. What do you like?" he asked.

"Errr... well.... I really don't know either. It's not modern. But not totally traditional or formal. I like it simple--not a lot of clutter or things--but not modern. I like lighter colors--not a lot of reds, oranges, garish greens... that doesn't seem relaxing. And... not modern."

But I realized that I still really didn't have any certain style in mind. I know I like older items--furniture and decor. I just feel like something that's been around a while has a story. It feels like a privilege to own a piece like that. I would pick an older bookcase/chair/armoire any day--even if it's one I have to refinish myself--over a new piece I just bought at some furniture store. I know that I hate (I am really trying to not use that word so much, as it isn't a feeling that one should have often, but it's pretty applicable here) modern design. And by modern, I mean a lot of geometry, cubes, and modern art. Ick. I can't say enough about how I despise modern art. I mean, my niece could make modern art. Splash some paint on a canvas, splatter it with your finger. It's basically finger painting. Just tell someone that the colors mean something ("red means anger... fierce anger..."). (Note: I am not saying that people who like modern art have bad taste. Just giving my preference. This also does not refer to the homemade easy wall art--which I like--but rather to this.) Anywho...

What's more important is what I do like (and my apparent love for italics in this post). And I think that would be a transitional (but not really)/cottage (but not too much cottage)/vintage (never enough vintage)/shabby chic/farmhouse style. I totally made that up. I have no idea what it means. But here are some pictures so maybe you can see what I'm talking about.

From BHG







These are from Velvet & Linen. You can pretty much bank on it--if it's a design from there, I will love it.







Country Living









(If the hubs is reading this, please notice the chandelier and how beautiful it is in the bathroom. Just like I told you.)

Eek! Don't these images just make you swoon? So beautiful. Now hubby and I just have to figure out how to incorporate these elements into what we have--on the cheaps. Double eek!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Google Reader Overload

I really love Google Reader. It's a great way to consolidate all the blogs/sites you read into one place. It's easy to "star" items (essentially bookmarking) and label or tag them. But I have one issue: every single thing I like, I star. So I checked through my starred items a few days ago, and I had over 500 items! Crazy. There's no way I could do that many recipe/craft/decorating things. So I narrowed it down. But honestly, it's still probably too much.

Then, I read Kim's post today over at NewlyWoodwards. She discusses her similar problem and then makes a much shorter list of the projects she really intends to do. So I decided I should do the same. Here we go...

Wire Cloche







Ballard Designs Knockoff Letters






Fabric Magnet Board






DIY Tile Coasters (Great gift!!)






Paper Balls






Book Page Wreath



Yaye! This seems like a good start. Hopefully I will be able to get through a few of these this weekend, as well as post one of my other projects I completed this week. What projects do you hope to complete soon?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Swagbucks

I love Swagbucks! I actually just signed up a few weeks ago, but I love the concept. And I like how a little page pops up like you've won the lottery when you win Swagbucks. It's really a great way to earn gift cards; I know of people who have bought all of their Christmas presents with Swagbucks.

Is the search bar as good as Google? The only thing I've found about it that isn't as good as Google is that it doesn't give you suggestions when you're searching. But I can deal with that for some free gift cards (or other items of my choosing). I literally search everything there. Even if I know the address, I still go to the search page and type in "www.google.com" or something like that. That way, you maximize your Swagbucks.

Anyway, if you're interested in trying it (and you really should try it), you can read a little more about it here. And if you do decide to use it, please go through the link here and enter my email address as the one who referred you: kellynpoole(at)gmail(dot)com.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Goals... and a Stomach Bug

If you know anything about me, you know I love a good list. A good to-do list or list of goals. I've got a couple more to add to my ever-growing, occasionally-achieved list. First, there is this "Read 100 Books in a Year" challenge going on here.



I love reading, I really do. And I'm a pretty fast reader. So I could read 100 books in a year. I promise. But if I stop two seconds and think, I know there are several more things I want to do this year, too. We want to do several (minor and major) renovations around the house, so there is only so much time I have to devote to this reading goal. I decided 52 books would be a much better goal. Before you ask "why 52?", remember that there are 52 weeks in a year, silly. To do this, I'll have to cut out some unnecessary things, like this...


No, not the snuggling part. The watching mindless TV part. I am the queen of sitting down for just a bit and then watching two hours of TV. Or of DVRing TV shows I would never usually watch, and then doing so because I can. That needs to stop. Pronto.

Additionally, because I get really frustrated when there are too many things on my plate (although I nearly always am the one who puts them there), we have assigned a month to each room in our house. For instance, our master bath is March. We are going to try to do anything that needs done in that room in March. That includes painting, new fixtures, hanging stuff on the walls, tiling, etc. It's a big job, so that one may extend a little over. But you get the point. Each room has a month. And I'm excited, because it makes it feel a little less stressed to focus on one thing at a time.

Now to the "stomach bug" part. On our way home Saturday, I started to feel really sick. Like, "pull over HERE!" sick. Not just once, but four times. It was not pretty. Sunday I was so dehydrated and weak that I could barely get out of bed. I told JC that death would have been a welcome friend at that point (okay, so I didn't really want to die, but the thought crossed my mind). Monday I didn't come to work, and I'm glad I didn't. I still felt really weak; Powerade can only work so fast. Monday night I felt much better, and I was excited to get back to work. (No, really.) But Tuesday morning, we woke up and poor JC had it. Unfortunately, his immune system must not work as well as mine, because he couldn't even keep water down. So that meant his medicine wasn't working. He was so dehydrated last night that we had to take him to the ER to get several bags of fluids through an IV. Four hours later, we were home. Thank goodness, he feels a bit better today! I hear this is going around... have any of you had the nasty stomach bug lately?