Thursday, May 31, 2012

Document: May

Oh My May!  While May didn't fly by as quickly as a few of the other months this year, It is still hard to believe that June is beginning!

May was pretty full -- Finals, graduation guests, another set of classes beginning, friends moving, weddings, and last-minute family visits!  No wonder Doug and I didn't get much of a chance to redo the guest room (though it is less cluttered and much more visitor friendly), buy all those odds and ends (although we have upgraded a few things), or even think about rearranging our room!  All in all, it was a great month with dozens of chances to enjoy our friends and family -- we definitely decelerated!

1. Apartment-versary 12 in 2012. So, we didn't get that much done in the apartment, but I think just realizing and celebrating that I have lived here for a year was worth it to see how far the last year has brought both of us.  I also was able to thank those who have helped us get settled and have all that we do in this apartment!  We have been so blessed here!  The only regret I have is not getting to know our neighbors very well; hopefully we can rectify that in our next year here!

2. Reading.  Summer = lots of reading!!!  Thanks to that little bit of extra free time, I have been able to read so much this month!  I read 12 books this month (5 new books) and am halfway through the 13th (6th new)!  That puts me at 42 books for the year (18 new) with a month to go before the midway mark of the year.  While I am definitely reading as much as I'd like to be, I need to read some new books!!!

3. Cooking.  For the first few weeks of May, cooking became throwing frozen food into the microwave or oven just to get through Finals and prep for guests being here; now that things have slowed a bit, we have been able to enjoy our (indoor) grill and all the fresh produce available.  The biggest new thing I tried this month is salmon!  We will definitely be using our grill a lot more in June, and I still have a stack of smoothie recipes waiting...

4. Health/Fitness.  While we may be eating a bit healthier, the gym has been eluding me!  I think I have finally worked out the kinks in our summer schedule so that I can make the gym a fixture in my life again ;)  Plus I still have some winter weight to conquer!

For June?  Our 12 in 2012 schedule says that June is "Mid-Year Review."  That means that I will be sitting down a reevaluating the rest of the 12 in 2012 goals, possibly specifying or replacing some.  That means Doug and I will discuss what the rest of the year looks like for us and on what we want to spend time.  It means looking back at the previous goals and filling in any gaps.

I encourage all of you do think back to your resolutions from January; have you accomplished them?  Are you in the process of achieving your goals?  Do you know where you are headed?  Take time this summer to revisit and revise your goals for this year.  2012 is about halfway over; how can we make it the best year yet?!?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Delicious: Buffalo Chicken Pockets

Some leftover Shredded Buffalo Chicken inspired this idea!

I opened the crescent rolls and pinched the seam on each rectangle together to make four pouches.  I spread some cream cheese (I used low fat, neufchatel).  I doubled this recipe, but it is best to only handle a few at a time.

Spreading Cream Cheese

I put a big spoonful of buffalo chicken mix on one half of the crescent and topped with some shredded mozzarella cheese.

Working on the cheese

I just folded the top over and pinches the edges to seal.  I repeated the process on the next four, making eight pouches all together.  I topped the pouches with a little shredded mozzarella.  I baked the pouches according to the crescent roll directions; for me, that was 11-13 min at 375.  I put the pouches on a higher rack for the full time (13 min) to make sure that the chicken was heated through.  Two pouches was the perfect serving size for Doug and I; they were easy to reheat in the microwave or for Doug to take to work!

Finished product!
The best part about this recipe is that you can use almost any leftovers -- chicken, beef, pork, veggies -- or even lunchmeat to make quick and easy pockets ;)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Delicious: Weekly Meal Plan

It is officially grilling season!  While Doug and I can't grill outdoors at our apartment, we love using our indoor grill all summer long ;)  It won't get a ton of use this week, but it will be a lot more than the last few months

Tuesday:  Out to Eat with Family and Friends
Wednesday:  Buffalo Chicken Pockets
                     Beef Fajitas (Freezer Meal)
Thursday:  Salmon and Veggies Pouches
Friday:  Chicken Parmesan
Saturday:  Breaded Pork w/ Veggies
Sunday:  Pizza!
Monday:  Adobo Grilled Chicken Quesadillas

I am hoping to get my camera working again so I can share these recipes and food with you!  Have you pulled out your grilling gear for summer yet?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Design: Weekly Goals (May 27-June 2)

This week is, once again, all about school!  Hopefully I can squeeze in some Memorial Day celebrating ;)

School/Homework
1. Essay, 300 words (due May 30)
2. Wedding Policy Paper, 3-5 pgs (due June 3)
3.  Lots of reading (roughly 300 pgs)

Housework/Errands
4. Menu Planning/Grocery List (w/ blog post!)
5. Quick clean the house

Personal
6. Gym, 3 times
7. Spend time with friends
8. Fix my sleep schedule

Design: Weekly Results (May 20-26)


Full and fun week!


School/Homework
1.  Essay, 300 words (due May 23)
2.  Organizational Chart and Church Assessment (due May 27) -- finishing up today
3.  Catch up on assigned reading

Housework/Errands
4.  Menu Plan/Grocery Shopping (and blog!)
5.  Get the pantry organized -- it'll have to wait another week
6.  Do more freezer cooking

Personal
7.  Get to the gym 3 times this week
8.  Read for fun every day
9.  Make it to the lake once (or at least plans to go)
10.  See Avengers again ;)


This last week, I have been plagued with migraines :(  I really felt like I had done nothing all week; looking at this has really helped me to see that I did have accomplishments!

I also gave myself a dare this week to read more.  While I didn't read 7 books, I did read more each day this week than previous days.  I ended up reading 4 1/2 books this week, which I think is a major accomplishment.  Not only did it push my closer to my yearly reading goal (41/100, 16/50), but I read instead of watching TV or playing computer/video games.  While those things are okay in moderation, spending a few hours reading every day was a welcome rest and healthier way to spend my time.

Hopefully I can keep reading this summer the way I did this week!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Delicious: Weekly Meal Plan

This week while I am trying to work ahead in school, my wonderful husband is taking over some of the cooking and doing the grocery shopping this week!  It was so great to plan out the week together and find a way to balance the housework with his job and my classes.

Tuesday -- Doug's Shrimp and Sausage Boil w/ Corn on the Cob
Wednesday -- Crock Pot Beef Fajitas w/ Onions, Peppers, and Rice
Thursday -- Grilled Chicken w/ Broccoli
Friday -- Breaded Pork w/ Potatoes
Saturday -- Niki's Wedding!!!
Sunday -- Burgers and Chips
Monday -- Grilled Fish w/ Roasted Veggies

I am so thankful for such a helpful hubby!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dare

Dare (noun):  challenge, adventure, venture

With Summer finally here, I find myself craving books.  Thank goodness I had the foresight to get a few new ones in the Spring!

Anyways, for most of the summer I will be travelling, studying, or hosting; but, this week I have just a bit of schoolwork and nothing else!  So, I am giving myself the "Book a Day" Challenge for this week!  I recently completed my Jane Austen Series collection (by Debra White Smith) with the two books I had been missing.  Those six books will be the backbone of my challenge, along with a book for my class that I hope to complete (and do the assignment for) to get it out of the way for the class.

For me, reading is a constant.  My whole life I have loved books, and I just cannot bear to part with them.  I still remember at the end of my freshman year when I tried to sell my books back, and I just could not sell them back -- and those were textbooks!  Books are friends; anytime I feel lonely or sad, I can pick up a book.  Anytime I am curious, I can find a book.  When I need an adventure or just a break from the everyday, I can jump into a book.  When I don't read, I don't grow.  When I do read, I flourish ;)

At the end of the week, I will try to update you on how I did with my challenge.  You can join me in a reading challenge, whether it's reading a book a day, a few books this week, a chapter a day, or even just picking up a book every day this week!  Reading is a great stress relief, it is easy to do, it takes little effort, and it is a healthy habit to begin.

"There's a book for that" ;)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Design: Weekly Goals (May 20-26)

This week is school, School, and more SCHOOL!  Then, I will be rewarded with a day trip to Winchester to see one of my best friends get married!!!

School/Homework
1. Essay, 300 words (due May 23)
2. Organizational Chart and Church Assessment (due May 27)
3. Catch up on assigned reading

Housework/Errands
4. Menu Plan/Grocery Shopping (and blog!)
5. Get the pantry organized
6. Do more freezer cooking

Personal
7. Get to the gym 3 times this week
8. Read for fun every day
9. Make it to the lake once (or at least plans to go)
10. See Avengers again ;)

Design: Weekly Results (May 13-19)


I was able to accomplish a lot this week, but I have to keep working ahead  so I can take some time off for my anniversary in 6 weeks!


School/Homework
1.  Start strong for my new class
2.  Essay, 300 words (due the 17th)

Housework/Errands
3.  Menu Planning/Grocery Shopping (and blog!)
4.  Catch up on laundry -- some of it is done ;)

Personal
5.  Get to the gym!
6.  Get outside twice this week -- cold and rain ruined my plans earlier this week
7.  Spend extra time with Doug ;)


AND I get to celebrate with several friends at a wedding this afternoon!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Determination: May Update

So far this May I have accomplished...nothing.

Well, not actually nothing, but none of my apartment-versary tasks!  Though, it is crazy to remember back to a year ago in my apartment (of which I have no pictures because...well, because I didn't think about taking pictures then).

-- The day I moved in (a Tuesday), I brought a floor lamp from my dorm room, and my husband brought his couch over.  Oh, and I brought my laptop (since I was paper-writing for Finals week).
-- The first week I lived in my apartment, we had electricity set up, internet set-up, and our mattress and frame delivered.  Other that that, our apartment remained empty:  no groceries, no microwave, not even sheets for the bed!!!
-- When I moved out of my dorm room, the guys helping me (my hubby and his roommates) piled everything in the middle of the living room!  It took me 2-3 days to sort through everything...and finally buy some groceries.
-- I spent the first two weeks travelling home and back to bring furniture and supplies (like sheets for the bed).
-- I lived here alone for 6 weeks until my wedding

I look at our apartment now, which has been rearranged and fully lived in for a year.  Doug lives here with me (and I can barely remember him not living here).  We are mostly organized, clean, and sorted.  We have more than we need and way more than we started out with, thanks to the generosity of our family and friends, especially my parents (who bought our bed and guest bed, gave us furniture, bought us kitchen supplies, and financed me living here for 2 months) and my grandparents (who gave us a kitchen table and chairs, a buffet/TV stand, and lots of other supplies).

Even though I often feel like there is a lot to accomplish in this apartment, it has been so refreshing for me to think back and see how far we have come in this place and how much this tiny home means to me.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Delicious: Weekly Meal Plan

It is the first official week of Summer here in Lynchburg!!!  This week is a bit transitional for us:  we have finals fare to finish up, but the grill and fresh produce are calling too!  ;)

Tuesday:  Grilled Chicken w/ veggies
                Supreme Pizza
Wednesday:  Eggplant Parmesan w/ Meaty Sauce
Thursday:  Grilled Fish with Sauteed Green Beans
Friday:  Baked Chicken and Potatoes w/ Veggies
Saturday:  Wedding!!!
Sunday:  Fajitas w/ Rice and Veggies
Monday:  Baked Fish w/ Roasted Veggies

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Design: Weekly Goals (May 13-19)

This is our first official week of summer!!!  This means my schedule will loosen up a bit, so hopefully I can spend more time outside and more time relaxing ;)

School/Homework
1.  Start strong for my new class
2.  Essay, 300 words (due the 17th)

Housework/Errands
3.  Menu Planning/Grocery Shopping (and blog!)
4.  Catch up on laundry

Personal
5.  Get to the gym!
6.  Get outside twice this week
7.  Spend extra time with Doug ;)

Design: Weekly Results (May 6-12)


Crazy, crazy week...but absolutely wonderful ;)


School/Homework
1.  Finish Final Paper (due May 11)
2.  Order books and prep for new class

Grading/Tutoring
3.  Gather all end-of-year paperwork and finalize grades
4.  Grade Final Exams

Housework/Errands
5.  Menu planning/Grocery shopping (and blog post)
6.  Clean apartment (for guests coming May 10)
7.  Semi baby-proof the apartment (for the kids staying with us)

Personal
8.  Celebrate one year anniversary in the apartment (May 10 and May 14)
9.  Spend time celebrating graduation with friends
10.  Get to the gym!
11.  Spend some time outside.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Diligent

Diligent (adjective):  hard-working, active, busy, industrious

I am so happy to say that I have been diligent this week in so many ways (even though I haven't in several others).  First, I did not post about my menu plan for the week because we did not have one.  GASP!  With this being Finals Week for Doug and I, I got a lot of grab-and-go foods (frozen pizzas, lean pockets, frozen entrees) and some snacks (strawberries, ice cream, bagels) for us to munch on while we worked.

I only had one paper to complete, but because I had been working on it for the last few weeks, it was easily completed.  Doug had two papers and two exams to take, so I tried to help him as much as I could, i.e. bring him food and clean up after him ;)  My hubby DID surprise me Tuesday morning with a clean kitchen, so he did his part around the house this week too.

Most of all, we were able to relax and spend time with friends who came into town this weekend for graduation.  First, my dear friend Skylar popped in for a few hours with her daughter Lydia (who is 3 months old).  Skylar had been a part of our wedding last year and was able to visit with her husband in the Fall; I hadn't been able to see baby Lydia yet, though!  Catching up was much needed ;)

A few hours later, our friends Ben and Bekah arrived with their kids Ellie (2 1/2 yrs) and Luke (almost 10 months).  Doug and I were able to visit them in Florida when Ellie was 3 weeks old; we saw her around 3-4 months as well, but we haven't been able to make it down (or them make it up) for quite some time, including to see Luke!  The whole family is staying with us this weekend which has been AMAZING.  Yes, we had to child-proof a bit.  Yes, kids can be cranky and cry and take a perfectly clean room and destroy it in a New York minute.  But they are our "niece" and "nephew" and we love them anyway.

Ben and Bekah relaxing

Ellie playing with the "magic ball"

Luke and Uncle Doug

Luke in his play pen

Hopefully I can continue to be diligent as my new class begins on MONDAY!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Design: Weekly Goals (May 6-12)

This week will be a very social week for me with friends visiting from FL and other friends graduating!  It is also my last week of classes for this term, but I start a new class on Monday!  Ahh!

School/Homework
1.  Finish Final Paper (due May 11)
2.  Order books and prep for new class

Grading/Tutoring
3.  Gather all end-of-year paperwork and finalize grades
4.  Grade Final Exams

Housework/Errands
5.  Menu planning/Grocery shopping (and blog post)
6.  Clean apartment (for guests coming May 10)
7.  Semi baby-proof the apartment (for the kids staying with us)

Personal
8.  Celebrate one year anniversary in the apartment (May 10 and May 14)
9.  Spend time celebrating graduation with friends
10.  Get to the gym!
11.  Spend some time outside.

Design: Weekly Results (April 29-May 5)


Whew!  What a crazy week!


School/Homework
1.  Essay, 400 words (due May 2)
2.  Finish Final Paper research (paper due May 11)

Grading/Tutoring
3.  Give Hebrew Final (May 1)
4.  Grade Hebrew Finals (done by May 11)

Housework/Errands
5.  Menu planning/grocery shopping (and blog post)
6.  Prep for Avengers Day (living room set up, buy soda, etc)
7.  Keep using Cleaning Schedule

Personal
8.  Have a fun Date Day with Doug this week
9.  Relax and enjoy the Avenger Day party (and take lots of pics)
10.  Get in some exercise!!! (Gym, being outside, etc)


I am so excited for this week:  classes end, friends are graduating, and friends are visiting!!!  Plus, this week marks my one year Apartment-versary!  Yea!