Monday, November 18, 2013

Living In Transition!

We are constantly in transition here. We haven't really been able to get anything fully accomplished yet. I can tell it's driving Hubby a bit bonkers, lol. We are probably (with my expert opinion) 55% done with the furnace installation. They are in the upstairs rooms now and just have one more room to do downstairs. As I'm writing this, I believe I heard them say, "Uh, oh. That ain't good." Oy!

So right now we have huge metal pieces lying on the floor and also hung on the ceiling in different levels of installedness, lol. And there is a permanent layer of dust from them cutting into plaster and pulling down the drop ceiling tiles.

We've also still got a ton of boxes to unpack, but have no closet downstairs yet, so we are putting our clothes wherever they can stay without getting dusty.

It's also cold. Why? Because the furnace guys are here and they are in and out a lot and they were getting really hot working up on the ladder where the heat had risen to. So I turned the heater off for now. Gus and I can cuddle for warmth! : )

On the positive side, we are making progress. I am really hopeful that we can get this furnace done in the next two days. They'll probably stay another 4 hours today and will get in 6 or so hours tomorrow, although they did miss yesterday due to a heat emergency elsewhere. I know things always take longer than you expect, but I can still hope!

Also, we are just waiting to get some wiring done in the bedroom and we can finish up the drywall and then start doing the mud and tape and sanding. After that, the hard part is done!

Oh, but did I mention that we don't have a ceiling? We took down all of the drop ceilings in the downstairs, except the kitchen and bathroom since those were big enough for the vents.

But I am focusing on the positives, right? Right! We've been here a month and are slowly turning this house into exactly what we want. We'll get there!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Finding Support

I mentioned that I am doing my new program along with other people. I'm doing a fitness mix of P90x and Fitness Blender and walking with my brother's girlfriend. I'm doing Whole30 with Hubby. 

Just recently I was talking to a lady at church and how she was doing on her program. She started about a week before I did. I posted (on Facebook) that I loved her daily updates. She was afraid that she was getting annoying because she was posting every day and she didn't want to bother people. I didn't think she was really bothering people, although there is always someone out there who will be offended by something little and will make a comment about posting every day. 

I know. It's happened to me. I used to be a part of a discussion board on a wedding planning website. I was doing well with my workouts and losing weight. Many of the girls were very supportive and joined me in checking in each day. But there were a couple of girls, for whatever reason, that decided to complain and let me know that it was annoying to them that I posted every day. 

I never complained when they posted something that I wasn't interested in, but maybe I'm just not as vocal and I chose just not to read those posts. No big deal. It may not seem like a big deal, so what they don't like your posts. But when you are doing great and feeling good and then all of a sudden someone is criticizing you for how well you are doing, you can lose that steam. Maybe I'm just insecure, but when someone criticizes me for that, I start to wonder if maybe I'm being cocky or arrogant or maybe I'm rubbing it in their face when they are struggling? This is what goes through my mind. Where do you draw the line from being proud to being arrogant? 

Well, this lady from church and I decided that it would be wonderful to have a space that we could check in as often as we want and not have to worry about annoying or bothering people. So we decided to make a Facebook group and open it up to anyone from church or surrounding area that would want to participate. I was thinking it would be a few people maybe that would participate, but we've got quite a few people checking in daily now and it seems to really be helping people. 

It's so helpful to have a safe place to be able to go and share your experiences, to ask for motivation, to share recipes, and to support others in their journey as well. And we don't have to worry about posting too often or anything like that. If someone doesn't want to see our posts, they just don't have to join our group. 

It's already been very helpful for me because I get to where I don't want to work out or just want to be lazy and have something not on my menu, but then I think about those people and how I can't check in with good news if I go off my plan. It has helped me stay on track each time and it feels good to be able to say that I had another successful day. 

So there's an option if anyone wants a support group, to make a Facebook group or join a specific discussion board geared towards that particular subject and find people who are on the same journey. It's amazing how much more motivated you are to do well when you know other people are counting on you and are looking forward to your check in. I think that may be one of the biggest tools to success! Good luck!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Beginnings

I don't know if this is a true beginning or if there was ever really an end, but my motivation is back and I have teamed up with a few friends and family to get a grip on my nutrition and fitness before the cold/holiday season starts.

I have, especially the last couple of winters, had a hard time dealing with the changing seasons. I would say last year was the hardest of all. It doesn't really make sense to be depressed when you are a newlywed and have so many exciting things happening, but for months before that wonderful day that I married my best friend I dealt with all of the planning. I am so happy it turned out the way it did, but I am so happy to be done with it. Never again. Wedding planning has been the second most stressful thing I've ever done in my life. Buying a house was #1. Luckily, I made it through both without committing any crimes and with all of my hair intact.

But the stress of the wedding, the stress of holidays, the stress of gaining weight due to the stress of everything else... it all takes a toll on your body. Add on a horrible diet and it's really no wonder I wanted to stay in bed and do only things that required no thinking or emotion for the entirety of last winter.

This winter, I want to get a handle on things before it gets to that point. This year I'm doing things a little differently. First of all, I'm taking vitamin D. There's nothing that can substitute for the real deal, but if you can't get out in those rays, then vitamin D does help. Also, I'm going to make sure I stick to a fitness routine. Exercise has also been shown to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I even moved our treadmill into the house (by myself, I might add) in an attempt to make sure that I have no excuse not to do SOMETHING! Thirdly, I'm going to make sure to stick to our Whole30 nutritional plan this winter. I feel worlds different when I follow the plan, so I know it will help me to stay more positive, more energetic, healthier this snowy season. And the last thing, for now, that I plan on doing is to keep in touch with people. Interaction goes a long way to keep you from those winter blues. I have Gus and I have Hubby, but sometimes just giving a friend a call when you are feeling a little out of it, can really liven you up and help you keep your chin up.

So, my brother's girlfriend and I have decided to do P90x together. We started yesterday! I have a backup plan. Because Tony can get a little obnoxious. And sometimes I just don't have 60 - 90 minutes to devote to a workout routine. Plus a shower! So I am going to keep some Fitness Blender videos handy and have my treadmill cleared off so I can jump into those on days when I know I should do something, but just can't get on board with P90x.

Hubby and I are also doing the Whole30. I have to admit that we did indulge a little more than a little at our friend's wedding this weekend, so we are starting it over again. It is going to take us past Thanksgiving, but we're planning on putting together a few Whole30 friendly turkey day recipes to keep us on track and maybe even make a believer out of some of our family members!

So I've got exercise with my some-day-sister-in-law (come on bro!) and then a nutrition plan with Hubby. I've got the support of my friends and family to keep me busy and socializing. And Gus of course! : ) And I'll be taking my vitamins too! So with all of those tools under my belt, I plan to show Winter who's boss this year!! Wish me luck! I'm considering taking measurements and posting them, in an attempt to hold me accountable and on track. I'll be updating either way though! Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tearin' Down The Walls!

Ok, time to get to the real meat of our DIY projects to date! We tore apart the bedroom!

It started out looking like this:

And we decided that we had to take down the lathe and plaster to put up drywall. We discovered at this time that they had used horsehair in the plaster. It was both disgusting and fascinating. 

Then we decided that the old drywall had to come down because they hadn't sealed the crawlspace so moisture had gotten up and into the drywall. Not good. So we took that down. 

That meant that the walls were completely gone. Down to the studs. And it looked like this:

So now comes the easy part, we just put up drywall, right? Wrong! Apparently the studs are not flush at all. Some leave 1 inch indents and some stick out 1 inch from the rest. ALSO, there were no corners, so those had to be built so we could support the edges of the drywall. AND then we found out that the there were no top or bottom supports. So we decided to fill in gaps and add 2x4s to the corners, tops, and bottoms to create a level work surface. 

This would be my mom, helping us to get the room finished! : ) 

This was no easy task, especially since the existing studs seemed to have petrified and it was nearly impossible to get a screw or nail into them without it bending or just getting stuck half way. But we finally managed to get three of the walls completed. And it looked like this:

Here Chris was shaving off a bit of wood that was pushed out and would have made the drywall sit uneven against the rest of the studs. Tough job, but someone's gotta do it! And below he is cutting out a square for the outlet. 

So at this point it was time to put in the drywall. The drywall was much heavier than I had expected. My mom and I carried it into the house and we about broke her knuckle because we were moving it and her hand became smashed between door and drywall. But we eventually got the hang of it, and we now have almost 3 full walls up.

We have had a few setbacks. We were waiting for my dad to finish putting in new wiring. That's a whole other topic right there. And we have had a few issues getting the corners flush. But we have made some really good progress and it's starting to feel more like a nice room with potential rather than a creepy, abandoned, crime scene. I exaggerate, but there are a lot of pointy instruments in that room right now. 

It's been slow going. Hubby doesn't get home until 6 and then we have dinner and we unwind and get ready for the next day. So we have mainly been working on the weekends. I would try to get some of it done during the day since I get off earlier, but I'm afraid to use power tools by myself. Don't think I can rely on Gus to drive me to the hospital if I were to saw off my finger or put a nail through my foot. (I am not the most graceful person on this Earth, lol). 

We're hoping to get the rest of the supports up on the top and bottom and then to get the rest of the drywall up this weekend, but we're also going to a wedding on Saturday (of which Hubby is in) so our time will be limited. We're going to see what we can do though. My parents have been amazing throughout this whole process. I can't even describe it. We decided we want to DIY as much as we can with this house. It saves money, it's a good skill to have, and it's a sense of pride for your home that you just don't get anywhere else. They have been through a lot of this already since they did the same thing when they bought their home 25+ years ago. And they have been teaching us, and letting us learn first hand, and really supporting us financially whenever they can too. We would definitely not be getting this stuff done without their help. So we are so grateful to have them helping us throughout all of this process. Thanks, Mom & Dad!! : )

Anyone else working on a DIY project right now, anyone tearing down walls or putting up drywall. It's a long progress and always more time consuming and more expensive than we think, but it will be so worth it! 

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. We have an issue on the fourth wall. There is a little chimney in the wall. And from what we've seen so far, we can't tear it down. So instead we will be building a column around it and just closing it off that way. Wish us luck! We'll share the progress as we get there!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

We Are Not Alone In This House!

I thought for sure I had conquered any fears of our new house the second night I had ever slept in it. We barely had any furniture inside, we were sleeping on an air mattress, and Hubby was at his mom's getting a trailer loaded up with a bunch of his stuff to bring it to the house. I had stayed behind so I could have my parents come early and start working on some fix up stuff.

So I was alone. Except for Gus. I am so very thankful Gus was with me. Although, he did add to my fear of sleeping alone in a creepy empty, old house. He was comforting because he was with me, but at the same time, he is active at night. And he was sleeping in the office, which butts up against the family room where I was sleeping. There are no doors either so I could hear each time he knocked something over, hopped on something, or took off running (he does that sometimes). And I probably woke up every fifteen minutes between him and our space heater kicking on and off. It was a rough night, and I slept with a hammer beside my bed. I even put in some Disney movies while I went to sleep to keep my mind off the shadows and what might be in them. I'm a tad dramatic, but the dark scares me and being alone in a house/apartment scares me, lol.

Anywho, I made it through. And ever since then I haven't been afraid to stay here alone... well, except for going upstairs. That part is still empty and there's a blanket covering up the entrance, so it's still a little creepy when I'm here alone. It's also 20 degrees colder up there so it feels like an old abandoned house still.

I'm getting off topic. The point was to talk about my recent scare. And now I am back to nightlights and checking corners before entering a dark room.

We had an invader. I was the one who found him. He scared the pants off of me. I never saw it coming!

I went into the bathroom to blow my nose, didn't turn on the light because it was a quick trip and the kitchen light lit it enough for me to see what I was doing. Well, I get to the tissue and a little dark "something" takes off running between my feet and the wall, which is about a 1 foot gap at that point. It then slides into the wall, changes direction, and races under the sink.

I did what any rational adult would do. I jumped into the tub and started yelling for Hubby, lol. He deciphered my high pitched mumbo jumbo and realized the little guy was trapped under the sink still. The little guy was a cute little mouse.

I am not normally afraid of mice, but he was SO FAST and I was definitely not expecting something to come running at me in the dark. So I recovered and went to get a box. It was a little big for the job, but we did managed to get him into it. We were too slow though, so he ran right back out and ran under the door, into the bedroom, never to be seen again... that night.

We gave up looking because Hubby was irritated. Why was he irritated? Because when little mouse decided to run back out of the box, he ran between me and the wall again and I screamed. Directly into Hubby's ear. Oops. He doesn't like to be scared. Makes him grumpy, lol.

So he talked me into getting some traps and we went to bed. The next night we were watching a movie and little mouse shows up again. In our family room/bedroom. We got him trapped again, but again he managed to escape. He also managed to find our traps. And in a very 007 manner licked the peanut butter right off without a single snap.

At this point Hubs decided it was unacceptable to be beaten by a mouse. I swear I could watch his testosterone levels puff up as he plotted and planned the poor mouse's funeral. I don't understand why guys get into that so much. He figured out that if you use tootsie rolls, they have to actually dig in to get it, and that leads to triggering the device. Poor mouse.

So that's what he did. And it only took a day before little mouse joined the other mice in mousy heaven. I hate to see animals die or be hurt, but Hubby swore it was going to be quick and he'd never know what was going on. I also made him promise that I wouldn't have to see the poor thing.

So Hubby now feels accomplished because he achieved his goal and our house is no longer threatened by little mouse man. So far it seems like he was a loaner. Hubby left the traps out and we haven't had any more snaps. So either the other ones are eating something else or maybe we're lucky and we only had one? Who knows.

Anyone ever had a mouse scare? Or a scare of a different color? Are there any safe ways to remove them? I've heard of live traps, but everyone says you basically destroy the thing trying to get it out and it's more suffering for the creature. Hopefully that's the last of the invaders. I'll be sure to update you if I catch a glimpse of any more whiskers or tails!

Since I have no mouse pictures, I'll share one of my favorite white Rabbit, Gus! : ) 

Friday, November 8, 2013

My Failed Project

Ok, I was really excited to do something on my own, but I am not very experienced in DIY stuff just yet, so I wanted to start simple. I thought, "What could be easier than putting on a new shower head?" Right? Wrong!

Well, this shower head was a gift to us for our wedding. The attachment was plastic, not metal, FYI. I will just say that from the beginning. So I took off our old shower head, which looks like it has been here for 100 years. Easy.

Then I read the instructions and get to the part where I am supposed to tighten the new shower head attachment onto the existing pipe. Well, I got a little Hulked-out I guess because I tightened it too much and cracked the plastic. So when I turned on the water, there were little streams shooting out the side. No bueno.

So I showed Hubby, in hopes that he could fix my oops. But no, we just have to get another part or maybe just another shower head. It was a nice shower head, but now it is back to sitting in its box until we figure out what we want to do with it.

I don't have any pictures either because I got frustrated and deleted them. I wasn't going to share this story, but decided to just own it and admit what happened. It wouldn't be very REAL of me to hide it, lol. I am sure I'm not the only one who has failed on a DIY project! Anyone? Ok, maybe it is just me then! ; )

Anywho, I'm over it. I'm ready to move on. We will just live with the old shower head until we get around to replacing the part or buying a totally new one. Either way, I will show you, with pictures, the next time I attempt that. I thought about letting Hubby tackle it for me, but I am now determined more than ever to take charge of the tub and show it who is boss! lol.

Ok, I'm done. But I did go back and take pictures of the old shower head, the new one, and the broken part with my phone to give you some visuals. So never mind that comment about no photos! : )

Our old shower head. There's a knob on the side, but I haven't really played with it to see if it does anything. 

 The new part ... the one that I broke. You can't see it very well, but it's definitely cracked.

And the new shower head that we were hoping to install. Nothing fancy, but an improvement from the old one, for sure. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Crawl Space Dilemma

I mentioned before that we are getting a forced-air heating system put into our new house. And they have to put it in the ceiling because of issues with our crawl space. That issue would be that the crawl space is practically non-existent.

When we were buying the house, we had to go through a whole bunch of inspections. One of those inspections included the crawl space. That's when we found out that there is a reasonable amount of room to crawl around under our kitchen and bathroom (the addition built on to the 1900's-built house). But then there is a stone wall separating the kitchen/bathroom and the rest of the house... and we couldn't find an opening to get under the rest of the house. So we had the owner cut one. And then it still doesn't go all the way around the bottom. But that part of the house has like 1 - 1.5 feet clearance. That means that it would be impossible to do duct work and still be able to move around down there (if they could even get in to begin with).

So our only option to get a new heating system, since ours is not-so-great, is to put it in the drop ceiling. It's really not a bad option, but means we have to lower three rooms to make sure there is enough clearance for the system.

Another issue with our crawl space is that there are no vents. We've learned that in 1900, they weren't all that concerned with ventilation, standing water, mold, etc. Luckily we do not have standing water and so far no mold, but the ground does feel damp after it rains (does not help that we don't have gutters yet). So we're going to hopefully find a way to put in some kind of vent so we can open them in the spring and close in the winter. We'll have to see what our options are.

We were going to have an appointment with someone who does crawl spaces for a living, but he basically called and said he couldn't come give us a quote because as narrow as our space is, he can't do anything.

So we still haven't completely figured out what we are going to do, but we do know that we need to put gutters on ASAP! Even with winter coming and the rain being less frequent, it is still high on our priority list.

So that's the situation with the crawl space. We are finding out more and more that being home owners of a 100+ year old house means that you are likely to start hemorrhaging money and each project is 2-3x harder, more expensive, and takes longer than you thought. But I know that we are going to love it once we get some of the big things done. I'll talk about more on our Dream List! later.

Hope you all are having a good day!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Under The Weather

Monday night I went to bed feeling cold, achy, and exhausted. I had a massive headache and just felt like blah! On Tuesday, I felt much better, still a slight headache and a little bit of a runny nose, but not too bad. I guess I probably should have listened to my body a little better, but instead of resting I decided to bring the treadmill and exercise bike into the house. By myself.

I managed to roll the treadmill from the garage to the house and then realized I had to turn it side ways to get it through the door. But the part that you walk on had to be held in so it didn't catch on the door frame. So I really needed another person to help me, but if nothing else I am stubborn, so I decided I could do it myself. I managed not to break anything and I got it in the door. Then realized I couldn't put it where I wanted because it was too wide. So I decided to put it in our living room/bedroom. Then it was too long. So I decided to move the bed. After moving the bed I realized that it still wouldn't fit. So I moved the bed back and decided to move everything else in the room instead.

By the end, I had moved half of the things in the living room/bedroom upstairs, moved the bed twice for no reason, and finally found a home for the treadmill, only to realize that the cord was an inch too short to fit in the plug. Arg!

So I moved some more things around and now I can't see out the window, but at least it is in, it's settled, and it plugs in!!

I considered that my workout for yesterday and I felt like crud after I got all the way done with all of that, so I took a shower and that helped and then made dinner and that helped more. But I was still feeling bad by the time bedtime came around and this morning I am paying for my stubbornness. I have a headache again, I feel cruddy, my throat hurts, I keep sneezing, and I currently have tissues shoved in my nostrils because my nose is too sore to wipe it anymore. So I'm staying in bed to work today.

I do have to get up after work and take down some ceiling tiles though. We need to have them down before the furnace guy comes. I'm really hoping it won't be a long job and I can get back in bed and take a nap.

And speaking of being under the weather, the weather today stinks. I think it feels as bad as I do. Grey (or gray, don't know the difference) and cold and supposed to rain. Yuck! So this post is all for me to complain, lol. I don't get sick all that often anymore, thanks to my hypothyroid pills, but when I do I can be quite a big baby about it, lol.

Hope you all are having a better day than I am! Hopefully I am feeling better by this weekend and hopefully Hubby doesn't get sick. We have to go to a wedding and he is one of the groom's men, so hopefully he avoids it and I get over it quickly!

And since every post deserves a picture, here is one of Hubby and I for Halloween this year. They were costumes we reused, but still fun times. I am Mrs. Potato Head (I made it myself) and he is a pirate (goods from Good Will).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Feel The HEAT!

We are still waiting for the furnace guy. He has our furnace ordered, but is waiting to finish up a job before he can get to us. He said he would give us a day or two notice when he is ready. We are hoping it will be this week. Fingers crossed!

So the plan for heat is to get rid of our current system, which is more of a joke, really. It is a large, very large, and very ugly, propane space heater. We had our current propane company come look at it and he said it's probably about 65% efficient, which isn't great. Plus, it's loud and it takes up a TON of space. The guy who installed it also put it too close to the wall, so it's dried out the horrible paneling and so now that is cracking and peeling away from the wall. 

We had several different companies come and give us a quote to put in a new forced air system. It's funny because they all said something completely different about where the furnace should go and how the duct work should be placed. One wanted to put the furnace in our bedroom, one wanted to put it in our entryway, and one wanted to put it in our utility closet. We ended up choosing the one who recommended putting it in the utility closet, but also because his price was more affordable and we felt like he was more genuine than the others. I'm soft spoken so he has a hard time hearing me, but he's been in the business for 40 years and hopefully he will get the job done right! 

We just have to wait for him. But while we are waiting, we are keeping busy. He said we could go ahead and put up drywall in the bedroom, so we are 2/3 to 3/4 done with that. We've had issues there, which I'll discuss in another post, but we are making progress. Also, we have drop ceilings in every room downstairs except our bedroom, but we are planning on putting one in there too. Since our ceilings are only lowered about 5 inches in the dining room, family room, and office, we are going to have to lower those three rooms to make sure he has the 9 - 11 inches that he needs for the duct work. So we'll be getting to that soon. I am really hoping we can do it and keep the different rooms organized and not end up with a huge puzzle to piece back together when we're all done. We'll be taking some of it down and then putting it back up once he's done, that way we don't have to lower it any more than necessary. 

Typically, it's nice to have forced air go through your crawl space, but I will explain THAT mess in another post too. 

But there's the skinny on our heat... or lack of. We've been supplementing with a little propane heater on wheels that my parents got us for our anniversary. It is amazing!! Especially on those really cold, windy days when I just can't get warm! I am so looking forward to consistent heat though!! Hopefully he will get to us soon! Until then we are keeping the entire upstairs blocked off and the bedroom blocked off (we're sleeping in the family room currently until the bedroom is done). So no heat going to those rooms means our jumbo space heater doesn't have to work quite as hard. 

Gus doesn't mind. Lucky duck has a nice coat to wear to keep warm! All he needs to be happy is food and some cardboard to chew on! : )

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Stella's Got Her Groove Back!

By "Stella", I mean Ely (myself) ... and by "groove", I mean the Internet! We are moved into the house and signed up for the Verizon Home Fusion thing. I don't want to blame the Verizon setup because I may or may not have messed with settings ... anyway... the system kept crashing at the same time every day for about 20 - 25 minutes, which doesn't work because I work from home. So I had to use my phone as a hotspot until it went back up. Again, not sure if that was my fault or the system's. And then Verizon doesn't have unlimited data, so we were on the 10 gigabyte plan, which turns out is not a whole heck of a lot. I actually drove to Panera to sit in their parking lot to use Internet because I was afraid I was going to use up all of ours and have to pay extra for me to have Internet to work.

So, we decided that the stress of it was not worth it. We were still within the 14 day grace period, so we called them up and cancelled and installed a local Internet service instead. It's a bit slower, but honestly I can't tell much of a difference yet. I don't upload/download all that often besides pictures so it hasn't been an issue. And now I get to use as much Internet as I want. Plus, it's about $5 cheaper. Win-win. : )

So now that I have Internet again, I can start catching you up on what we've been up to.

Last photo of Gus at our apartment.
1. We are doing another Whole30. We are on Day 3 today. So far so good.
2. We tore down walls in the bedroom and are now working on building them back up.
3. We have hired a guy to put in a new heating system, due any day now.
4. We have moved about 3/4 of our things into the house. Waiting on the furnace before going all in.
5. We have someone coming to inspect our crawl space on Saturday to get that moisture blocked.
6. We are still searching for a subleaser for our apartment.
7. We gave Gus his own little window seat, even if it is a little wobbly. We'll fix it eventually.
8. We met the neighbors!
9.  I tried installing 2 things. I broke the first one and was successful with the second.
10. I LOVE our new house. I have so many ideas for it. And I can't wait to share them all with you!

So that's what we've been up to. In a nutshell. I will elaborate in the days to come. It's amazing how we were only limited on Internet for a few weeks but I still feel like I have to be conservative. Same thing happens when I use Hubby's computer for an hour. He has a Mac and I have a PC and I always, always, always end up trying to do the two finger scroll on my computer when I'm done. Ah well.

Ok, that's the update for now. I'll work on posts to explain in detail those 10 things ... and I'll have pictures! : )

Hope you all have a wonderful Halloween! : ) 

Friday, October 18, 2013


I have been obsessed with blogs like Young House Love and Bower Power for a while now. I may have even gone back and read the entire Bower Power archive from start to finish in the weeks leading up to us buying our house. I am fairly OCD sometimes, lol. I don't regret it though. I learned a lot and fell in love with their adorable family.

So I'm excited to post our own before/after photos of our house as we get to redecorating and all of that fun stuff! 

So far we haven't done too terribly much because we've been working on moving our things over to the house from the apartment, making lists of everything we need to do, comparing options, and getting quotes. 

But we did manage to tear down the walls in our bedroom. Before we did anything, it was only half done. The seller had put up some drywall on half of it, but the rest was lathe and plaster. There were a couple of holes and broken pieces and horrible wallpaper. In the picture below you can see the side with the drywall.

The other half of the room, which I never got a picture of, had ugly green/blue flowery wallpaper with streaks in it. I did get a picture of it from when that brick column started peeling though. It looked a little more blue than it does in this picture below.

We decided that the walls couldn't be salvaged, so we started ripping them away. That actually was more fun that I thought it would be. And a good workout too! I'm still sore from the tear down and then trying to shovel all of the plaster out of the truck at the dump. 

We'd had weeks of frustration and anxiety waiting to find out if we were going to get the house, so I like to say that was my release. We also took off the drywall because there was a little moisture damage, so we'll be replacing that. 

 The view from the other side. We're hoping to get rid of that ceiling fan too and replace it with something a little more up to date. 

So we have a whole list of things we want to do (eventually) in this room. Some will be sooner than others. And since I love a good list, I'll share it with you. 

  • Put in some new wiring/more outlets
  • Put up new drywall
  • Put in a drop ceiling
  • Replace ceiling fan with one that's more our style
  • Paint the walls (pick out a color)
  • Put in carpet
  • Figure out window treatments
  • Put the door back on and fix it so it closes easily
  • Put in supplemental heating or forced air (still deciding)
  • Decorate (too undecided to itemize, lol)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I've disappeared again. Sorry about that. But we've had a lot going on. A lot, a lot. 

We ended up changing our closing date. Again. For the 5th time. We got to the eve of closing and realized they had put us down for the wrong downpayment %, so we changed it, and in doing so had to wait a week for a new closing date. 

So finally, on Thursday, we got the green light, and were able to close. We didn't actually look to see where the building was, so we parked way down and almost had to run to get there on time. And then we had to take an elevator (which I don't handle very well) so I had to sit down when we got off because my head was spinning. But that passed after a few minutes. 

We got there just a minute or two late, but had time to sit down for a minute before the title agent came in to get us.

Ok, so we'd never been through this process before, and I had heard to expect to sign a ton of papers. But holy geez! I'm sure my eyes bulged out of my head when I saw the two inches of paperwork that we had to either sign or initial. I wish I was exaggerating. I would say that home buying in itself is responsible for half of deforestation! I'm surprised my hand didn't cramp up. 

So signing the paperwork took about an hour, and the guy didn't even really explain each paper in detail, just a quick summary of what it was we were signing. We got to talk to the seller afterward and ask some questions and everything. That was really helpful. And then he gave us our keys! It was so hard to leave them lying on the table where he had put them, but I wanted to at least appear calm and normal when inside I was dying to grab them and do a happy dance, lol. 

So, an hour later, we were walking out of the title agency and back to our car so we could drive to the house and soak it all in. That's about all that we did too, soak it in and make plans. It was late by then and I had to work the next day, so we locked up and went back to our apartment.

Gift from the seller.
The next day, Friday, Hubby was off of work so he went out and ran a few errands while I worked half a day. And when I got off work my mom, mother-in-law, and a friend showed up to help us start moving things. We got everything but the big stuff (couch, bed, cabinet, etc.) moved that day, so it was a big day. On Saturday my mom was replaced by my brother and we still had my mother-in-law and then 2 friends helping us, so we moved all of the big stuff in. 

Now we have just the things that we need to live off of during the week until we get Internet hooked up and we can fully move to the house. We've been keeping busy over there with some big changes, so hopefully tomorrow I can post about that. I will say that it was a ton of fun removing some ugly blue wallpaper! : ) 

That's probably long enough for now. I'll try not to be gone so long next time! Hope you all are having a good week!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chattering Teeth and Anxiety Attacks!

This weekend went by in a blur! It seems like we were either so busy we didn't have a spare second or we were complete bums trying to figure out what to do in the meantime. No middle ground. Does that make sense?

Well, we decided to check out Iron Man 3 and World War Z on Friday night. We actually only watched Iron Man 3 and then decided to get some rest because we were helping with an event the next morning pretty early. I was expecting it to be not as great as the other two, just because movies sometimes spiral downward the more sequels they make. I was surprised though. It was really, really good. **Slight spoiler** I was wondering if it would make reference to the Avengers happening, and actually was expecting it to completely ignore that whole thing, but again was surprised because they did bring it up. So before I give away much more of the movie, I just want to say that it was really good and we will be adding it to our collection.

I will probably be adding World War Z to our collection as well. I had issues the night that we watched it, which weren't helped by Hubby chattering his teeth and screeching horribly. You will understand why when you watch the movie. I had just gotten done telling him we can't watch scary movies when we get in our new house because I get creeped out easily ... so what does he do? He starts making creepy noises from the film. Thoughtful one, that boy, lol. I survived the night though. I'm sure you are all happy to hear that! : )

Anywho, didn't really mean to talk about movies in this post, just wanted to share that they were both excellent in my former-horror-movie-lovin'-now-action-junkie self's opinion! : )

Ok, so Saturday morning there was an event. It was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I mentioned before that Hubby and I are amateur radio operators. Our local ham radio club got together with the race committee and we volunteered to be the communications at the different stations to any and all that we could so things would run smoothly.

I've mentioned before that I am shy. And I also have a huge phobia of talking on phone type instruments. This includes radios. Which is why I have only ever done it a handful of times ... under pressure. So for this event I was going to be in a strange place, with strange people, in charge of communications for that area, and I would have to do it on one of the things I hate most. I had a bit of an anxiety attack the night before. There were a few tears and some deep breathing and pep talks ... to myself. I was too embarrassed to let Hubby know and I knew it would make him feel bad ... plus more attention just leads to more crying, lol. So I talked myself up and decided that I could do it.

All in all, I had to talk on the radio maybe 4 or 5 times for about 10 seconds each. So it ended up not being a big deal. And I knew it wouldn't, but the anticipation of the unknown is what gets to me. I need to work on that, but you know what they say you have to do to get over it? Do the thing that you fear over and over and over ... and over ... again until you no longer fear it. Or at least until you aren't held back by your fear. I have tried that, but honestly I don't really have much of a desire to conquer that fear. I make phone calls when I have to. It's not often. So I'm ok being a hermit, lol.

The race turned out to be a great success. Nobody got hurt except one man who had a bit of a diabetic episode, but his wife was totally on top of the situation and it worked out fine. We had a ton of participants in the race and I got some pretty awesome pictures including a guy that spray painted his leg hair and a ton of people (men, women, & kiddos) in pink tutus! And in the end I was proud of myself and happy that I could participate in such a wonderful event. 

Well, this post took a totally different direction than I was expecting, but there's a bit more about me that I'm sure you wanted to know.

1) I am afraid of zombies
2) I am afraid of the dark, especially while thinking about zombies
3) I am afraid of talking on the phone, even to most family
4) I suffer from voluntary hermitism : )

I definitely have many more fears that I could add to that list, but I will spare you. That is only half of our weekend, but I'll save the rest for another post. Until then, happy Tuesday! : )

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Happy Anniversary

Happy anniversary to me! And my Hubby. It was just our 11 month anniversary yesterday, but that means that we only have one month left until our first wedding anniversary. I feel like this should have happened about five years ago. I can't really even believe that he wasn't always a part of my life. Should have posted this yesterday, but got a little behind. Such is life. Here's our story anyway for anyone who is interested! : )

Really it was just a little under three and a half years ago that we met. We both tried the online dating thing and hadn't had much luck. We were about ready to just give up when we found each other. I read his profile and was instantly impressed that he seemed intelligent and funny and handsome. He didn't have the text lingo or poor spelling and grammar. He didn't seem like one of those guys who is totally into themselves. He seemed real and genuine. So I decided to give it a try. Apparently he liked me too because here we are married, lol.
Our first date has to be the longest first date I've ever been on. A general rule of first dates is to keep it short; one to two hours to get a good feeling of whether you want to see them again. That's it. I believe we met at 4 PM and I went home around 11 PM. So yeah, long date. And even then we had a hard time separating. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We started out at a Q'doba. I'd never been to one before so I was nervous. I was nervous anyway just because I was excited to meet him for the first time after talking on the phone and emailing for a couple of weeks. I am just super, super shy to begin with anyhow, so it was pretty scary. I had to go to the bathroom right before we were about to meet. Nerves, I guess. So I went into another restaurant to do my business. Didn't want to get in there and see him and say, "Hey, how are you? I have to pee. Be right back!" 

He was a little late anyway, so it all worked out. He said that when he walked in he didn't even know if I was the right girl. Even though there were two other people in there, eating together, and I was sitting in a booth waiting. That's because I wouldn't look at him. I kinda smiled at him, but being shy I couldn't do much more than that, lol. So we got in line. Again, not talking. Eventually we made casual conversation about what we were getting. Again, I had never been there, so I checked it out online and had already decided what to get. Something super simple to order so I didn't have to talk much, lol. So I got soup, he got tacos. Yes, I remember still. : ) 

We went and sat down with our food. Apparently he says I did a loud gasp when he sat down. I do not recall this happening, lol. Our conversation was pretty minimal at first, mostly him talking. Can you tell that I am sort of freakishly shy, beyond the norm? Eventually I warmed up enough to make eye contact and contribute to the conversation, lol. 

We finished up our food and decided to go get some ice cream and take it for a walk. And that's when I tripped backwards off of a curb. Luckily, and I still thank God that I did not fall into the street, but he had stopped to show me something, so I continued walking very slowly backwards while he caught up, but I didn't notice the curb. The curb was the only thing separating the street, a busy street, from the sidewalk. Luckily there weren't any cars there, and I didn't go sprawling on my back. It was enough to turn my face ten shades of red though!

I must have been contributing enough to the convo because after we finished our ice cream he still hadn't had enough of me! Or maybe that's just it, he hadn't heard enough to make a decision yet! lol

We took ourselves down to a little bar, got one drink, and sat and talked the rest of the night until people started coming in and the music got too loud. Then he walked me to my car and we said good night. He texted me that night after he got home and said he had a good time and wished me good night again. And the next day he started texting me again and we started planning for our second date! 

I don't think our dates were ever more than four days apart and I'm pretty sure that since our first date I have never spent more than 3 nights away from him at a time. It's kind of amazing how that happens, huh? I officially moved in with him a year later, although if I'm being honest I had started slowly staying longer and longer so it was basically just a matter of moving in my things at that point. He was there to help me get a job since I had just graduated, and after that first year of living together we decided to move to a different apartment to try to save some money and start saving for our future together.

That led to him proposing, planning a wedding, adopting a sweetheart of a little bunny, and now we are working towards buying our first home together. It's amazing how much your life can change in just three years. I couldn't have created someone more perfect for me than he is. And what's great is that my family loves him too. He fits right in! : )

So happy anniversary again, honey! And I can't wait to dig into that frozen cake with you next month! I love you!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Dating, of the Up Variety

That post title would be a glimpse into my husband's lingo ... and it means updating, lol. He has rubbed off on me a bit in the last few years. 

I've mentioned that we are buying a house, so I thought I'd give an update. 

We found our house, the one we want, that fits in our budget, and we will be happy with. We negotiated for a few weeks and finally came to an agreement. We've gotten the inspections done. We worked for a few more weeks on getting things fixed and passing our well test. That one took the longest. 

We finally got confirmation that our well passed the test and the well casing now just needs to be raised. We are writing up an addendum to the contract to say that the seller will just pay that part in closing costs and we'll get it fixed after we move in. So we are just waiting on that addendum. 

Hopefully we'll get it today and we can get it into our lender and we'll get to hear when our closing date will be. I hope. Prayers would be wonderful at this point. We are getting so, so close! 

And because we're getting close, we've started packing! We've gotten most of what will be put into boxes, into boxes. We've got a spare room that is full of stuff like tents, sleeping bags, camp stoves, that we've accumulated over the years, but most of that stuff is in containers already, so we'll just have to pick them up and go. 

We've still got some clothes unpacked and a lot in the kitchen unpacked, but we're close! And I just did a load of laundry at our laundromat last night. I had to stand there and wait for someone to come because all of the dryers were being used, except they were all done being dried. So they were just waiting for people to come get them. And I am one of those paranoid people who thinks that if I take someone else's clothes out of the dryer so I can dry mine that they will come back and pour bleach on my stuff or something, lol. So I waited. Eventually it worked out. But I'm hoping we don't have to rely on a laundromat for much longer. Luckily, our house will come with a washer/dryer so we don't have to worry about buying one!

Please ignore the crummy iPhone photo. 

So that's our update. Hopefully the next time I update you guys I will have a closing date! It seems that whenever I expect something, the opposite happens. So I'm sure there will be more 'fun' to come. Pray for us, lol. And hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pancakes! ... Er ... Waffles ?

I am a waffle girl. Or I used to be. I loved, loved, LOVED waffles. Pancakes were alright, french toast was yummy, but there's something about a waffle that just tops my list.

I'm sure most people know that waffles are not Paleo friendly and definitely not Whole30 friendly. We are following the Whole30 guidelines, but occasionally we do have a Paleo-ified treat. And last night was one of those nights.

I found a Paleo waffle recipe on The Real Food Forager website. I checked all of the ingredients and decided to give it a go. But then I realized that I had a problem. I do not own a waffle maker. You really don't have much use for one when you don't eat waffles anymore, so I gave mine away a few years ago. And honestly I really don't care much for those large appliances because they're kind of a pain to store, especially as a college student in a cheapo apartment with itty bitty kitchens.

So I decided to turn my waffle into a pancake. You can make a pancake out of pretty much anything. Just plop it down and try not to burn it. Easier said than done apparently because I burnt the heck out of my first two sets of pancakes. I started out with 3 little ones but they were hard to get the spatula under. And they ended up pretty blackened.

Then I tried one big pancake... but the consistency was a little loose. So that one was definitely not pretty. And I still slightly burnt that one.

So then I tried a medium sized pancake. That one worked great, but still kinda fell apart. I think it's mostly user error. I may have decided that I needed more coconut milk than it called for. And I know there's no coconut milk on the recipe card, but I prefer to use coconut milk instead of water. I also added in some cinnamon and nutmeg. I think of recipes as more of a guideline than rule.

I do have to say that even the burnt ones tasted pretty good. They are pretty sweet. We did go with some agave nectar and/or honey on top. Again, not really Whole30 compliant, but if that's where we splurge, then I take it as a win. And it's not something that happens every week, for sure.

The recipe looked kinda small when I started, but I only ate about half of my half. So about 1/4 of the total recipe. It's pretty filling.

I think it might be good if you add in some pumpkin to it too. I might try that next time instead of the bananas. I like to play with recipes. I'll add that to my grocery list and try it again and let you know how it turns out, but I give this recipe a 7/10. I can't say it's totally the recipe to blame, but the consistency was hard for me to work with and it was pretty sweet. Probably because we aren't used to that high sugar content, which again was our choice with the agave. But something that I will play with and try again.

Not sure if I convinced you on those or not. The picture above is from the website that the recipe comes from. I didn't take any pictures of mine because they came out pretty darn inedible looking, lol. We just threw a couple of eggs on top, drizzled some agave, and called it a day though. Works for us!

So here's the recipe. Try it or not... just thought I'd share! : )


  • 4 large eggs separated (pastured if possible)

  • 1 1/4 ripe medium banana mashed (or one large banana)

  • 2 heaping tablespoon applesauce

  • 2 Tablespoon raw honey (where to buy raw honey)

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla (where to buy vanilla)

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (where to buy coconut flour)

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (where to buy sea salt)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • - See more at:

    • 4 large eggs separated (pastured if possible) (I did not separate mine)
    • 1 1/4 ripe medium banana mashed (or one large banana)
    • 2 heaping tablespoon applesauce
    • 2 Tablespoon raw honey
    • 2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 cup coconut flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


  • Separate the eggs

  • Whip up the whites with an electric hand mixer

  • Add the honey, vanilla and mashed banana to the egg yolks and mix by hand

  • Add baking soda and salt to the coconut flour and mix

  • Add the dry mixture to the wet and blend together

  • If the dry mixture is very thick add water (up to 1/2 cup), a little more banana or more apple sauce

  • Fold in the whites being careful not to over mix

  • The batter should be loose

  • Using a large serving spoon, add the batter to the preheated and oiled waffle iron

  • Remove when indicated by the waffle iron

  • These are not really crisp but satisfying none the less

  • - See more at:
    1. Separate the eggs
    2. Whip up the whites with an electric hand mixer
    3. Add the honey, vanilla and mashed banana to the egg yolks and mix by hand
    4. Add baking soda and salt to the coconut flour and mix
    5. Add the dry mixture to the wet and blend together
    6. If the dry mixture is very thick add water (up to 1/2 cup), a little more banana or apple sauce
    7. Fold in the whites being careful not to over mix
    8. The batter should be loose
    9. Using a large serving spoon, add the batter to the preheated and oiled waffle iron
    10. Remove when indicated by the waffle iron
    11. These are not really crisp but satisfying none the less
    • Honey
    • Ghee or butter
    • Maple syrup
    • Yogurt
    • Fruit, etc.
    - See more at:


    Ghee or butter
    Maple syrup
    Fruit, etc.

    Side note: Apparently they compare a man's brain to a waffle and a woman's brain to a plate of spaghetti. Women are all busy thinking about everything all at once whereas men focus on one topic at a time and nothing else, hence the pouring syrup into one individual waffle hole at a time, lol. Just thought I'd share that with you. : ) 

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    About Me ... and my Family : )

    I made a new tab!I realized I was lacking a page to introduce myself, and to introduce my lovely family. So I fixed it. You can either click on the tab or just read below: 


    Sorry about the Christmas-y picture, but we don't have any decent & recent pictures of our whole little family.

    Hi, my name is Ely. The good looking guy behind me is my hubby, Chris. And the little fur ball in my arms is Gus. 

    I guess I should start at the beginning. Hubby and I went to the same university. He was a year ahead of me. We even lived in dorms right next to each other. I'm sure we had to have seen each other at one point or another, but we never met while we were in school. 

    It wasn't until we both decided to try an online dating site,, that our paths came together. I was too shy to meet anyone in "real life" and Hubby was away from home in a new town and didn't know anyone. So we tried the online thing. Apparently it's pretty popular nowadays. 

    We started talking at the end of May, 2010, had our first date the beginning of June, and were officially an item by June. I like to say that our dating anniversary is May 25th though because that's when we started talking. He literally swept me off my feet on our first date. Or rather, I fell backwards off a street curb, but close enough, right? : ) 

    We've been pretty inseparable ever since. He just can't get rid of me! ; ) 

    He asked me to marry him on October 22nd, 2011. I actually replied with, "Are you sure?" and then finally a "Yes!!". Lol, romantic, huh? We tied the knot October 2012. It was one of the happiest days of my life, even with all the little bloopers. It was a pretty chilly October day, but it didn't rain, and the colors were gorgeous. And I don't think that I will ever forget the feeling of such overwhelming love as I felt that day. 

    Our wedding day was also the day that Gus came into our lives. 

    Gus is our lovely little bunny. We thought it would be cute to do some kind of a magic skit while we did the garter toss. So we rigged up my chair with a box of props underneath and Hubby pulled out the items one by one, attempting to "find the garter". Well, Gus was the icing to his cake! Poor little guy had to sit there and get yanked out of a box and into a very noisy room. I was actually afraid he would hate us after that, but he's turned out to be quite the cuddle bug.
    We aren't exactly sure when his birthday is, but we are guesstimating the end of September 2012, so he's still a youngin'. And funny story: Gus actually started out as Lola. Yeah, we thought 'he' was a 'she' for about two months. And then we noticed a couple of things that had never been there before. So we changed the name to Octavius ... or Gus Gus for short. Yeah, that's from Cinderella. I grew up loving Disney! : ) 

    I currently work as a Spanish/English translator/coder and Hubby is a graphic technician. That means that he is super creative and has an eye for details. Me, I just love all things cultural. I fell in love with Spanish and studied abroad for a while and decided that teaching was not my thing. Too shy, remember?
    So this blog. How did I decide to start writing a blog? It started back in 2008 when I weighed in at just over 275 pounds. I was extremely unhealthy and not very happy about it, so I decided to change that. I joined Weight Watchers and lost a lot of weight. A hundred pounds and then some actually. 

    Unfortunately, wedding planning stress, married life, and just slacking off has caused me to gain some of that weight back. So I started the blog to document my success and to keep me accountable for getting back on track. I don't want to just lose weight, I want to be healthy and feel great. So I decided to start the Whole30 diet way of living. I don't like the term 'diet'. It seems to have a negative connotation and implies that it is a short-term event. I'd rather find something that works for me and just live a healthy life. Whole30 has been that something. Even Hubby has decided to hop on board with me. He definitely doesn't need to lose weight, but the other benefits have been enough to prove to him that this is the way to go. You can read my whole story over on my "How I gained and lost 100 pounds" page. 

    So that's where I'm at now, trying to find a balance, trying to get healthy, trying to find something that works for our family. We're also in the process of buying a house right now. That's been fairly stressful, but we're trying to stay on track and hopefully it will end happily. I try to incorporate a bit of my personal life into the blog. I know that's one thing that I really love in other blogs that I read. I feel like it lets me connect to that person. So I want to share that with you guys. So you may see posts about family or outings or Gus or home buying/decorating in addition to the posts about fitness or nutrition and general wellness. I don't know exactly where I'll take it, it pretty much just keeps evolving and I like it that way. I hope you do too and I'm happy to share my little world with you all! : )