Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Document: July

Tomorrow begins August, month of back to school sales, humidity, grilling, and busyness!!!

...but July was pretty great ;)

First, I finished my (super unnecessary) class on Church Administration!!!  Even though I found the class entirely unnecessary (I won't be running a church) and somewhat boring (for someone who naturally organizes everything), I managed to focus and pull an A!  Wow!  If only I could focus like that on my Genesis class...

Second, we had an amazing weekend celebrating the Fourth with Doug's family followed by a fun and relaxing week in Williamsburg!  This trip conveniently was scheduled during a massive power outage in our area, which was truly a blessing!  Though we came back to no power, no food, no water, etc, we were able to deal with the situation for the small amount of time it was necessary.

We were also able to host my mom and gram for a few days; my gram had never been to visit before, so it was really exciting.  Even though I was fighting a sickness (including a high fever the day they were driving down), we were able to have fun and show her the city, including a trip out to Appomattox.

As far as my goals are concerned...

12 in 2012.  Organizing!!!  In the last week Doug and I cleaned and redecorated our bedroom, which included getting rid of a lot of clothes (there goes September's goal) and a lot of clutter.  We took care of the final touches today (hanging pictures, hanging a clock, getting the laundry station set up), so I should be able to take photos and show you all of our hard work!!!

Reading.  Oh my beloved books, I have failed you!  With so much reading for school and so much work on our apartment, I have very little time to read!  I was only able to add one book to my list, making a total of 49 books (23 new) for the year.  I am close to finishing 3rd Degree, and I will have 2 more books from school to add to the list in August.  My loving husband just bought me Red Pyramid. (Can you tell I like reading Rick Riordan?)  Plus, with Mark of Athena coming out in early October, I will be perusing through the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series in September. (Yea for 8 more books!)  AND I still have three more Women's Murder Club books to finish after 3rd Degree, so I should be able to catch up quickly!!!

Cooking.  Due to coming home from vacation to an empty fridge and freezer, cooking has been a struggle.  Now that we have finally caught up, I am excited to try some new things!  This week I will be trying to grill a London Broil, which I have never done before.  I am also working on my own version of Easy Mini Beef Wellingtons and a Southern-Style Mac and Cheese.  I also bought instant oatmeal at the store today; I have never tried oatmeal before, so this will be a new experience for me!

Health/Fitness.  Honestly, between vacation, catching up on school, sickness, visitors, and cleaning...I haven't found much time to get to the gym!  I have been stretching and trying to do yoga ever morning, but making it out the door early evening has been really difficult for me.  I have been considering some alternatives (walking, at home DVDs) while trying to make sure they fit into my Fall Schedule.  Hopefully this will be much better in August ;)

Speaking of August, it will hopefully be a month of rest for us before school starts!  We are planning on redoing our Guest Room over the next two "weekends," but our priority is getting on a set schedule for when classes begin.  Doug will be starting with three classes, two of which are residential (and one online that ends in October).  This will be a big change from this summer (no classes) or even the Spring (one class at a time).  I am also taking a residential class, which I have not done for the last 3 semesters.  Getting into a set schedule early in August will definitely give us one less thing to worry about when classes begin!

Delicious: Weekly Meal Plan

Did we overspend on groceries this week?  Yes.  Are we finally back to normal (after losing power for 8 days earlier this month)?  YES!

For the first time since the end of June, Doug and I have a full fridge and freezer AND a full week of meals (including packed dinners for Doug and portions for me on work days)!!!

Tuesday -- Baked Pork Chops w/ Cheddar Pasta and Steamed Broccoli
Wednesday -- Grilled London Broil w/ Broiled Potatoes and mixed veggies
Thursday -- Leftovers!  (including baked chicken and burgers)
Friday -- Steamed Cod Packets w/ Zucchini and Alfredo Pasta
Saturday -- Sliced Steak Fajitas w/ Rice
Sunday -- Grilled Chicken w/ Sauteed Green Beans and Herbed Pasta
Monday -- Shrimp w/ Veggie-filled Rice

While there were some "expensive" items on our list this week (London Broil and Shrimp), Doug and I wait for items like this to go on sale or Manager's Special.  We buy a large portion (in this case 2 lbs of shrimp and a 3 lb steak) so that it can be used in multiple meals.  At the end of the day, we spent $20 on these two items, but they will easily make 4 meals (plus leftovers) for us.

If you are on a tight grocery budget (like my $40 per week limit) consider saving up some money to allow you to purchase items like this in bulk when on sale.  It may cost more at the moment, but it will save time and money in the following weeks ;)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Design: Weekly Goals (7/29-8/4)

Three weeks until School Starts!  Oh my!

1.  Four presentations
2.  Exam 2 (due 8/5)
3.  Reading, roughly 150 pgs

4.  Menu/Grocery Shopping (and blog!)
5.  Clean out Guest Room
6.  Finish Back to School Shopping

7.  Gym and workouts
8.  Prep to begin Fall Schedule (on 8/6)
9.  Take a day off to relax

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Design: Weekly Results (July 22-28)

This week was really busy and really fun!  Doug and I accomplished so much!

1.  Devotional Project (due 7/29)
2.  Five Presentations -- still working on some of these ;)
3.  Work on Research Paper (due 8/12)

4.  Clean Sweep Guest Room -- see below
5.  Clean Sweep Bedroom
6.  Menu Plan/Grocery Shopping (and blog!) -- no blog post because we did no shopping 
                                                                        this week! Yea  for eating from the 

7.  Back to School Shopping -- though I have a few minor things left to buy
8.  Get to Gym!!!

Doug and I sat down Tuesday morning and walked through what it would take (time, effort) to Clean Sweep both rooms this week.  In the end, we figured out that the Guest Room needed little changed or removed; we basically only wanted to rearrange the furniture.  Our bedroom, however, needed a major overhaul!  we decided to spend all of our time this week cleaning, rearranging, and redecorating our bedroom!!! (Pics and post to come.)

Now that we have control over our room, we can spend an afternoon next week to rearrange the Guest Room.  The Clean Sweep method (take everything out of the room, place the furniture, move necessary items back in the room) has really helped us to take control of the space and get rid of clutter that does not belong in our lives!  If you have not tried "clean sweeping" a room, take a day or two to try it!  Not only will it help you create the space you want, it is a great way to find items for a garage/yard sale or to donate.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Design: Weekly Goals (July 22-28)

Now that I am mostly caught up with school, it is time for Doug and I to get to work on our bedrooms!

1.  Devotional Project (due 7/29)
2.  Five Presentations
3.  Work on Research Paper (due 8/12)

4.  Clean Sweep Guest Room
5.  Clean Sweep Bedroom
6.  Menu Plan/Grocery Shopping (and blog!)

7.  Back to School Shopping
8.  Get to Gym!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Design: Weekly Results (July 15-21)

So on Thursday, I reworked my "To Do" List for school.  Unfortunately, I did the list from Wednesday to Sunday, giving me an extra day that I did not have.  And I didn't figure that out until Friday morning.  Needless to say, that put me in a bit of a tailspin!!!

1.  Reading, reading, reading (about 275 pgs)
2.  Six Presentations/Lectures -- one presentation for tomorrow before the Exam
3.  Exam 1 (due 7/22) -- prepped to take it tomorrow!
4.  Gather sources for upcoming papers (due 7/29 and 8/12)

5.  Menu Plan/Grocery Shopping (and blog post!)
6.  Gather and sort all paperwork -- this is just going to have to wait

7.  Get back to the gym! -- this I Epically failed due to work, sickness, and naps ;)
8.  Get back on normal schedule -- I was able to get back on schedule, just not the normal one ;)

Anyways, I am choosing to make the best of this!  I am so close to being caught up (from losing power), and I know if I just work diligently through Sunday, I can take control of my schoolwork!!!

Doug and I are also planning to see Dark Knight Rises next week and "Clean Sweep" the bedrooms of our apartment; being on track with school is the only way I do those things!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Delicious: Weekly Meal Plan

Thanks to my Mom and Gram taking us out to eat quite a bit (and my sickness allowing us to eat out a few more times than normal), we have lots of food left for this week = normal size shopping list/bill!!!

Wednesday:  Sausage Jambalaya
                     Eggplant Lasagna
Thursday:  Chicken Quesadillas w/ Rice
Friday:  Burgers w/ Chips and Salad
Saturday:  Tuna Melts w/ Squash
Sunday:  Meatloaf w/ Potatoes and Green Beans
Monday:  Breaded Pork w/ Cheddar and Broccoli Pasta
Tuesday:  Pan-Fried Fish w/ Roasted Asparagus and Alfredo Pasta

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Design: Weekly Goals (July 15-21)

This week will be (once again) all about school!

1.  Reading, reading, reading (about 275 pgs)
2.  Six Presentations/Lectures
3.  Exam 1 (due 7/22)
4.  Gather sources for upcoming papers (due 7/29 and 8/12)

5.  Menu Plan/Grocery Shopping (and blog post!)
6.  Gather and sort all paperwork

7.  Get back to the gym!
8.  Get back on normal schedule

Determination: July Update

This month, Doug and I have been able to celebrate our one year anniversary!  While this has been really great, to me it has been a little weird.  It just hasn't felt like a year at all.  It feels like fifty years and like a week all at the same time.  Everyone says that your first year of marriage is the hardest, but this year has been really easy for us (at least with our relationship)!  Anyways, we have definitely accomplished being able to celebrate, and I could not be happier with where we are in life and in our marriage.  

The same can not be said about our apartment.

While I absolutely love our apartment, and while I have worked very hard to make sure the kitchen is both beautiful and functional, while I have redecorated the living room and revamped our finances and filing system, while our bathroom is clean and organized...the bedrooms are abysmal.

Doug and I realized in the Spring that we have a lot of misused space in our bedroom and the guest room; that we have made things hard on ourselves due to the layout and organization of these two rooms.  It makes no sense to have his clothes in one room and mine in another, but that's how it ended up when Doug came.  It makes no sense to have Doug's office area in the middle of the guest room, unable to be used when guests arrive.  We have piles of books in our room and empty shelves elsewhere.  We have a TV and VCR sitting on our bedroom floor (and thus unable to be used).  It is just a wreck.

So, that is something we desperately wanted to change.  Doug has put in for some time off work; we are planning to Clean Sweep those two rooms so that we will finally have a place for everything and everything actually in its place!!!

While this is going to be a lot of work, I really think this will help us to enjoy our bedroom more, enjoy having company more, and enjoy our apartment overall more.  This will help us to rid our apartment of a lot of unnecessary things; this also gives me a chance to purge my closet once more in time to replenish during the back-to-school sales ;)

Design: Weekly Results (July 10-14)

So, how did I do on this short week with a very short list?

1.  Get caught up on school (down to one class now!) -- on schedule, but behind where I want to be
2.  Restock the fridge/freezer
3.  Clean before Mom and Gram get here on Thursday!!!

I ended up with a horrible cold/cough this week, which had me waylaid all day Wednesday.  Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who picked up the slack and worked very hard for our house to be in shape for my Mom and Gram.  This included doing all the grocery shopping, handling quite a bit of the meals, and taking care of me!  Am I super blessed or what?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Detox: Heathsville and Williamsburg

It is finally here!  Anniversary Trip photos and post is here!

June 30:

When we left our house that morning, we had no power and a ton of leaves/branches all through the yard and parking lot.  Since all of our town (and surrounding states) had lost power as well, there was really nothing to do but head out!

Our trip begins in Heathsville (at Doug's Grandparents' Home) for the annual family fireworks show!

Each year is themed; 2012 is WW2, Battle of Cod Creek

Two of Doug's uncles run the show
Since they still had power, the picnic and gathering for fireworks went well!  However, I ran out of batteries during the show (which was fantastic), so I have no photo proof.  We also we super blessed to have two of our friends come to the fireworks; they had recently moved to DC (4+ hrs away), and it was so great so spend some time with them ;)

July 1:

After staying over in Heathsville (in comfortable air conditioning), we ate some breakfast with the family and made a quick stop at Doug's old house to check on the tenants who were moving in that day.  Then we confirmed that our hotel had power and drove off to Williamsburg!

Williamsburg Lodge

We grabbed dinner out at Sal's Ristorante Italiano; Doug had Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo and I had Eggplant Rollatini.  Cheesecake and cannoli came back to the Lodge with us for dessert.

July 2 (Our Anniversary):

Our anniversary was pretty exciting for us; since we often did not see each other during the summer, it was the first July 2 we had ever got to actually spend together (since we were separated most of the day of our wedding).

Breakfast from Raleigh's Tavern; we got refillable mugs that were free to fill

Colonial people told everyone to head to the courthouse for an announcement

The Courthouse

Governor's Mansion

She Crab Soup -- the best thing I have ever eaten

Anniversary minute photo!
We spent the morning (starting very early) in Colonial Williamsburg; after seeing the sights and skits, we ate lunch at Chownings, toured the Governor's Palace, and went back to the hotel to escape the heat.  We had dinner in the Lodge Restaurant and made sure to snap a picture around 7:15 PM -- when we had been officially married!

July 3:

This was Busch Gardens Day!  Yea!  Unfortunately, it was also super-humid-and-hot day...

Entering the park through England

Escape from Pompeii
Refillable Verbolten Cups
Beginning of the Lunch Show in Italy
We got our Verbolten Cups and had them filled in England; it was already warm enough for Escape from Pompeii!  We rode more rides (like Apollo's Chariot, Roman Rapids, and DarKastle) before we needed to get out of the heat and get a lot more fluid in us!

Because of the intense heat, we started making our way back to England, so Italy was a great place to stop for lunch.  We were just finishing up lunch when the afternoon show began!  It was a great reason to stick around and rest up a bit more before catching the bus back to our Hotel.

At this point, we found out that our power at home would not be returning until Saturday (at the earliest).  Doug was able to take one more night off of work, so we officially extended our trip from the 4th to the 6th!

We ate dinner at the Lodge again (more She Crab Soup! Yea!) and went to bed early.

July 4

Musician outside Shields
We wanted to take our extra days pretty easy, but there was no way we were missing the Fourth Festivities in Williamsburg!  We ended up getting some pretty decent seats (and video) behind the courthouse for the Salute to the original 13 States and (at the Capitol) the reading of the Declaration.  Lunch at Shields Tavern closed out our time in Colonial Williamsburg, and we headed back to the room to relax.

That afternoon we drove over to New Town to see The Amazing Spiderman!  We loved it!  We got some take out from Applebee's on the way back to the hotel.

July 5:

Doug surprised me with a Spa appointment!  We ate lunch early, then he relaxed with a book in the Lounge while I went across the street for a 90 minute scrub and massage ;)

They sent me home with some goodies!
We headed back out to Busch Gardens again!

View of Ireland from the Sky Ride

Loch Ness Monster and Griffon

The famous Clydesdales
Big Ben lit for Illuminights
We were determined to cover the remaining areas (France, Ireland, and Scotland), so we took the Sky Ride from England to France to ride Alpengiest.  The heat took hold (107, index of 112) and we walked through Scotland to see the eagles (for Doug), wolves (for Doug), horses (for me), and goats (for me).  Most of the other animals were inside due to the heat, but most of these enclosures were shaded and around the stream of water.

The one heritage we both share (greatly share, that is) is Irish, so we were really excited to spend some extra time in Ireland.  They have a newer ride Europe in the Air where Corkscrew Hill used to be.  While I missed the leprechaun and his magic dust, the flight through Europe was pretty great.  We grabbed dinner in Ireland and finished up in time for the last show!

as it got darker, the park started lighting up for it's summer "Illuminights;"  I couldn't help but grab a picture of Big Ben on our way out!

July 6:

We checked out of the Lodge after a great buffet breakfast and drove back home...where we still had no power.  Thankfully, our landlord had emptied out our fridge and freezer of perishable items (which we gave her permission to do).  We grabbed some ice, a cooler, and some water bottles to last.

Thankfully, we regained power on Saturday, but the power outage put we way behind in my schoolwork, especially since one of my classes ended on Friday while we were still without power.  If only I had the foresight to bring my books and computer on vacation, but we probably wouldn't have had such a great time!

All in all, the trip was wonderful, relaxing, and well-timed!  I was able to get extensions (I ended up with an A in the class that ended) on all my work, and I just need to keep working hard to catch up!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Delicious: Weekly Meal Plan

It has been a really long time since Doug and I have been able to put together a Meal Plan!!!  This week will be kind of crazy for grocery shopping since we only have ice in the freezer and hot sauce in the fridge!  I am so glad that we had been saving grocery money by eating out of our fridge and freezer more!  We have a few weeks worth of grocery money stocked up to help us refill ;)

For that reason, this week is full of larger meals so that I can 1) make extra for the freezer and 2) have some leftovers for Doug to take to work.  The plan is to buy only what we need for this week and continue to restock over the next few weeks.

Wednesday:  Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sammies w/ Chips
Thursday:  Eggplant Rollatini w/ Spinach Rigatoni
Friday:  Meatloaf w/ Potatoes and Green Beans (out to eat for Lunch w/ Fam)
Saturday:  Salmon/Cod Pockets w/ Herbed Orzo
Sunday:  Breaded Pork w/ Potatoes and Broccoli
Monday:  Out to Eat All Day (w/ Fam)
Tuesday:  Smoked Sausage Jumbalaya

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Design: Weekly Goals (July 10-14)

Sorry it's taken so long to get back to normal with all my posting; I promise an Anniversary Vacay post is coming!  The electric is officially back, internet and TV has finally returned!  I also was able to spend a lot of time catching up on schoolwork I was unable to work on it while power was out.

Anyways!  This week, the list of goals is really short:
1.  Get caught up on school (down to one class now!)
2.  Restock the fridge/freezer
3.  Clean before Mom and Gram get here on Thursday!!!

Hopefully next week, things will be back to normal ;)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Design: Weekly Results (June 24-30)

Sorry this is late, but since we lost power on Friday night (and still don't have power in our apartment), then left for vacation Saturday morning...well, this is the first chance I had!

1. Complete and Submit Church Risk Paper, 3-5 pg (due 7/1)
2. Begin (and possibly complete/submit) Church Assessment Paper, 8-10 pg (due 7/6) -- with no power for the rest of this week, there is a good chance this paper will not be submitted on time!
3. Three presentations (with lecture notes) and ~160 pg reading for new class

4. Laundry (for vacation)
5. Quick clean apartment -- I did some before we lost power, but I was in the middle of packing when things shut off
6. Get car inspected, tires rotated, and oil changed

7. Get to the gym! (3 times) -- made it twice, so not too bad
8. Keep up with Bible reading even though it's been busy
9. Read 3 more books this week (to hit 50 for the year!) -- one down, two to catch up on ;)

The only goals I had for this week (July 1-7) were to 1) have tons of fun on vacation and 2) complete my paper/class.  At least I know one of those goals has been met ;)

P.S. Happy Independence Day!!!