Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hungry Lady: Low Maintenance Eating

I don't know about you, but by the time I get home from work, I am wiped out. While we like to really cook and try new recipes on Sunday nights, weekday nights are low maintenance. I'm also going through this weird stage where baked or grilled chicken breast (which we used to eat at least once per week) is grossing me out. Like, makes me want to vomit. (No, I'm not pregnant. This is totally normal for me. I've also been known to get overwhelming cravings for chili dogs. Again: Not. Pregnant.) So, I've been trying to think outside the box for easy, fast meals that don't involve a drive-through.

Here are a few grocery store finds that I absolutely LOVE.

Pictsweet Edamame - When I saw this in the frozen food section of the grocery store, I almost didn't buy because I thought there was no way frozen edamame would heat well. I was wrong - it was delicious! Totally recommend and an easy way to get your greens with dinner!

Perdue Chicken Tenders - Yes, we sometimes eat like 5-year-olds, but these are made from all-white meat, baked and are not too bad for you. Plus, they are so low-maintenance and fast to make. Pair with some whole grain Kraft mac 'n cheese and we have a meal fit for adults who eat like children.
Ravioli - One of my all-time, fave go-to easy dinners is ravioli (and no I don't mean Chef Boyardee). I buy the frozen ravioli, boil it for 5 minutes (throwing in spinach for the last minute) and serve with spaghetti sauce. Maybe it's my obsession with spaghetti. (I could literally eat pasta a few times a week. I mean, my ass might be huge, but I could do it.) Plus, I still get in my green veggies. I'm always concerned about eating enough green veggies, so anytime I can sneak them in, I do.
Kroger Rotisserie Chickens - Don't overlook the delicious, convenience of the rotisserie chicken available at most grocery stores. (We shop at Kroger, but you can get them at Market Street, Walmart, etc.) We've been known to eat these 2-3 times a month, especially if we're really busy. A while back they put up a sign that says they guarantee a hot rotisserie chicken every night until 7 p.m. or its free, which embarrassingly enough, led to what I can only refer to as the Kroger rotisserie chicken debacle of 2010.
But we still love them!

Any other go-to, easy meals I should know about?!

Happy Eating!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

O'verlay Love

Hi, I'm still alive! I usually blog more often than this, but between work being cuh-crazy right now, wedding season parties and trying to get ready for my sister baby shower (I'm crafting like a mo-fo, right now. Like. A. Mo-fo.), I just haven't found the time or energy. But there has been a little craft I've been working on this week that I'm dying to share.

There's a good chance you've probably heard about O'verlays. But if not, they are a company that produces decorative panels (or "overlays") that you can attach to furniture to give it a more modern look or "fancy it up," if you will. When I first heard about them, oh probably about 6 months ago, I knew I had to give them a whirl. They have a line that specifically fit with Ikea furniture and, lucky me, I have an Ikea that I drive by every single day.

So, in February, when the company had a special coupon code for 15% off, I ordered their overlay kit for an Ikea Lack table (with shipping, it came in around $40ish). By itself, the table is pretty lame. And at 9.99 a pop, why wouldn't it be? But once I received the Overlays, I knew it would be adorbs. So, I lightly sanded, primed and spray painted the overlays gold.

Then, I used a liquid nails-type glue and contraption to adhere them. Easier said than done, really, as this glue gun thing and I had a rough go of it for a while.

But all in all, I adore how this table turned out. I'm going to use it in our guest bedroom as a bedside table for now.
And I can't wait to use O'verlays again. Check out some of the cute ways they've been used...
(from here)
(from here)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crafty Bitch: Birchbox Edition

It's no secret that I love Birchbox. For those who haven't heard of Birchbox, it's a monthly service where you receive handpicked samples (or sometimes even full-size) of high-end/premium beauty items to your door. Like a magazine subscription, but BETTER. After a few months of receiving goodies, I started to get a stack of the boxes. The, ahem, Birchboxes. And I was looking at them one night and thinking that they are the perfect size for a gift box. Besides the logo in the middle - it would need to be covered up. So I started playing around with it to see how I could re-purpose it into a gift box.

First, I took some wrapping paper and cut it in a strip (probably 1.5 x 8 inches). Then I took some clear packaging tape and attached it to the paper, with just a smidge of tape hanging over on each side. I then placed the strip right down the middle of the Birchbox and attached on the inside.

Perfect size for a cute baby onesie and a gift card.
The second go-round, I actually bought some patterned duck tape. Mine was a bright chevron pattern that I picked up for about $3-4 but I've seen leopard and tons of other prints. Simply place tape around the center of the box - I added some ribbon for extra decor and voila!
Perfect for an Etsy handmade gift for a wedding shower.

But the options are endless - you could add fabric or even this adorable metallic tape that I came across on Pinterest.

So for all of those peeps getting their monthly Birchboxes, don't throw away the box. Re-purpose it!

Happy Crafting!

Monday, April 9, 2012

And With Your Spirit

How was everyone's Easter weekend? Ours was - well - not what we expected.

On Sunday, we went to church. As ashamed as we are, we've totally become those people that only show up to mass for Christmas and Easter. As a good Catholic girl, I've had all my robotic church responses memorized since I was a wee little tot. Well, while the hubby and I have been taking a bit of a break from our regular church-going (oh, take your judging eyes elsewhere! Our Catholic guilt is enough, thank you very much. ;-), they decided to go and change all the words to all the responses. Most important, the words "And With Your Spirit" as opposed to "And also with you," which for all those non-Catholics, you say no less than, like 8 times during mass. I missed every single one. 

Definitely got a couple of these looks...
 So, Greg and I had the little handout that points out all the word changes the ENTIRE mass, which was a clear giveaway that we are only holiday mass attendees. "Those people," if you will. Side note: we're quite convinced the Catholic church made the changes to the responses simply to shame those who only come on holidays. Well played, Holy Father. Well played.

So, I had all the intentions of doing a bit of crafting on Easter afternoon, but apparently our home had other plans.

First, our kitchen sink faucet broke off. Did I mention it broke off while the water was running? The hubby was filling up a watering can while doing some yard work and, well, it just broke right off. I blame it on the P90X he's been doing. He's too strong for his own good.

So, we finally figured out how to turn the water off and a quick trip to Lowe's was in order to buy a new faucet and HOLY MOTHER OF SINKS, they are expensive. So we got a nice, middle-of-the-line faucet and headed home for the hubby to Google how to install sink faucets. After a few minutes of video watching and about 10 minutes of language that I'm quite sure the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit would NOT approve of, we decided we'll just have to rough-neck it until we can call a plumber on Monday.

Then, I heard a weird noise coming from our laundry room and my beloved front loader washing machine, which I spent nearly an hour cleaning yesterday (side note: does the fact that you have to CLEAN front load WASHING machines irritate you as much as it does me?), was suddenly leaking water ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE.

Lots more terrible language, followed by one of those moments that you just tap the wall in your house gently saying, "I love my house. I love my house. I love my house" over and over again to make you believe it again. Oh, the joys of home ownership.

So, we'll be having a plumber come out to take care of our little issues. And I think it's safe to say God made his point pretty clear. See you on Sunday, God. See you on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rumble in the Hood: 'Merica Weed Epidemic

Guess what time of year it is? dunh.... dunh. dunh. dunh. Oh yeah, that's right.

It's time for our annual HOA meeting. Last year, I totally missed it and was so disappointed! As you may or may not know, we've had some past issues. Mainly that the HOA is all up in our shiz. (Our house is so cute and we take such good care of it that when I get one of those passive-aggressive "warning postcards," I tend to get all MommaBear on their asses. "The tree is fine. That bush looks great. Don't you start bad-mouthing my mailbox. It looks wonderful."

The other main issue? The neighborhood pool doesn't open until after Memorial Day, leaving me with no base tan for May/June weddings. I know, first world problems.

So, when I got the letter for the yearly meeting, well... game on. The hubby had to work late, so it was all up to me. I was fully ready to go in and campaign for an early pool opening, but, um, well it was not what I expected.

Here's why:

1. Chapter - If you were in a sorority or a fraternity, you likely remember chapter meetings. Well, I felt like I was transported back to the good ole G Phi B house for chapter when I walked into the HOA meeting. With all the "Can I get a motion for this" and "heretofor" that and "I'd like to nominate so-in-so for office" When it was time for board elections, I had the strongest urge to get up and snap for my crazy neighbor who was running. "This would be so great for her. She really wants to get involved. She's super-organized, all up in her neighbor's business, would be really devoted..." (said all while snapping enthusiastically above my head). Side note: can we please bring back the sorority snaps?

2.Weeds - A big message of the meeting is that we all need to band together to "Wage the War on Weeds." I'm loving the alliteration. Also, I'm loving that this was easily a 5-7 minute topic. I believe there may have been talk about forming some kind of committee. Pretty sure I avoided eye contact during this time. (Even though I love a good weed-pulling sesh.)

3. Meeting People - As I've chronicled, when you don't have kids, making friends in the suburbs is really hard. When I'm out running, moms at the park at least don't look at me like I'm about to babynap their toddler anymore (I'm choosing to think of this as a win), but I'm still coming up short of a friendly wave. So when I walked into the meeting, I'm immediately looking around for younger people/couples in the hopes that maybe we could score a neighbor friend. I found my target - a young couple sitting together across the room. The guy was running for board and when he made a joke, I laughed really loud. I tried to make eye contact. I smiled extra big when they looked at me and it suddenly occurred to me.... um, was I flirting with them? Oh yes, I think I was. I just found out they live around the corner. This is To. Be. Continued.

4. Be Careful Who You Vote For. I quickly realized why we hadn't recently received a "you're breaking the rules" postcard from the HOA Nazi... Apparently, she moved. Damn. I was still half hoping that the hubby and I would get tipsy one night and venture out to TP her house. No such luck. Well, we had to vote on new board members and (as I mentioned before), my neighbor was running. Since she's rather nosy deeply interested in the neighborhood goings-on, I thought she'd be perfect - and she actually won. Then, it hit me. The "post card" lady lives next door now. EFF!

5. This is 'Merica. Possibly the highlight of the meeting occurred while we were casting our votes for HOA board members. The nice, old community manager guy asked everyone to cast their votes and fill out their information on the ballot. At that point in time, I hear a woman down the row from me exclaim, "Excuh-YUSE me?! I'm not writing my name down on my ballot. This is 'Merica! This is a democracy! You don't have to sign your name when you vote for the president, do you?!" Oh sweet Jesus. It was at this exact moment that I became so happy that I decided to show up. Fantastic entertainment. Delicious people-watching. I pretty much just sat on the back row looking kind of like this:

Oh, and not to bury the lead, but they are projecting the pool will open in early to mid-May. SCORE!

Until next year...