Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Five Days to a Fresh Start

I read about this challenge on Kate's blog Centsational Girl, and I knew I had to try it. Our house is absolutely crying for this! I'm so excited, I might start early...

So here is my list of places to tackle:


• my closet

• office

• night stands/dressers


• clothes from closet

• old office desk

• stuff from office

• old dishes/glasses


• my closet

• kitchen cabinets

As organized as I am, H is usually the one who takes care of filing bills, tax info, medical stuff, etc. I have a tendency to "clean" too often and throw away things we need, so important papers are safer in his hands. I'll see if I can interest him in filing away some mail, pay stubs, and papers. However, this is something I try to do on a daily basis so I'm not sure how it will turn out...

• holiday decorations

This constantly needs to be done throughout the whole house, but I guess that's a bit ambitious... but what really needs a good, thorough scrubbing is:

• the upstairs bathroom

• laundry area

• downstairs bathroom

I'll give myself a goal of Sunday, January 10th. Let's see how it goes!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Away We Go

We FINALLY signed up for Netflix.

Why do I say finally? For at least the past year (probably two, possibly even more) I have been keeping a running text document of movies to add to our Netflix queue. Anytime I saw a preview on TV that grabbed my attention, I knew we would never get around to seeing it in theaters, so I just added it to the list. Problem was, we didn't actually have Netflix. We procrastinated with excuse after excuse (no time, no money, too busy, etc... ), but finally did it! I'm so excited. And I have to say my queue is pretty well stocked.

One of the first movies we received was Away We Go. I probably won't be blogging about movies to often, but I'll periodically write about one that stood out for me. And this one did, omg it was love!!

(image from imdb.com)

Away We Go stars Mya Rudolph, of SNL fame, and John Krasinski of The Office as a couple expecting their first baby. They travel across the country, meeting with long lost friends and family along the way, in a search for the perfect place to raise a family. And that's it. The plot is so beautifully simple that nothing else needs to be said to better describe it. You really connect with the characters and the situations; it's a charming movie that manages to be simultaneously touching and hilarious. I bawled and I laughed out loud. Highly reccommended.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Officially Snowed In!

And here is the grand total, about 24 inches!

The Not so Busy Weekend

Well, this weekend was supposed to be our busiest of the holiday season so far. I had my office Christmas party Friday afternoon, then we decided to go up to NYC on Friday, right after the party. We'd stay until mid-afternoon the next day, getting home just in time to clean up and whip up some apps for our friend's holiday party in Philly that night. We'd get home late Saturday night, sleep in, and get a little bit done around the house before heading to my parents' house for Sunday dinner/my mom's birthday.

None of that happened though (well except for my office party, that I made)... here is what did happen :

(8:30 AM Saturday)

(around noon, Saturday)

(I have such a wonderful husband!! This is the first round of shoveling.)

(around 4:30 PM Saturday, it's like he never shoveled!)

(around 8 PM Saturday, after the second round of shoveling. Our Christmas lights look so nice in the snow! It was about 18" at this point.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

mmm... Pizza

One of our favorite fast, easy dinners is homemade pizza. We buy the refrigerated Pilsbury thin crust dough. They also make a thicker crust, but I think it fills you up too fast and overwhelms the toppings. And the toppings are the best part, of course.

This combination is one of my favorite pizzas to make- it's pesto, shrimp, and tomatoes with feta and mozzarella. I would hardly call this a recipe, but here it is:

Pilsbury thin crust pizza dough
Large handful of raw, defrosted shrimp
Olive oil
Minced garlic
2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
2-4 Tablespoons basil pesto at room temperature (depends on how much you like it)
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Handful of shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Sprinkle cornmeal on pizza stone (or baking sheet with aluminum foil if you don't have one) to prevent sticking (flour can burn). Unroll dough and place on stone/baking sheet and place in the oven. You'll want to wait until it just starts to turn golden brown to get a slight crisp before you put the toppings on.

Sauté shrimp in garlic and olive oil until pink. Remove from heat, chop into smaller pieces, and set aside. When crust reaches a light golden brown, remove from oven. Spread pesto on the dough, then sprinkle shrimp, tomatoes, and feta. Do the mozzarella, or whatever melty cheese (yes, that's a technical term, stay with me) last to melt on top of everything else. Put back in oven for about 5 more minutes, or until it reaches your desired crispiness.

Served with water, it was only Tuesday, you lush. Although I'm sure a good pinot grigio would go really well with it...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Computer Room- A Before and After

it was two different shades of yellow- one very bright yellow-yellow and one an orangey yellow and a wallpaper border in between.

We cleared the junk out of there (although it is now in the guest room until we get some storage), disassembled the giant desk that was in there, and took down the wallpaper border. After hearing horror stories about removing wallpaper, I was afraid this was going to be a long, tedious, difficult process. I was lucky, however, that it went very quickly and was very easy to remove.

We painted the walls a pale robin's egg blue. The plan is to use browns, a crisp white, and red accents as the other colors in the room. We are probably going to paint the end table and TV stand white and we are looking for a small and compact desk for our printers.

After: (for now)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Traditions

It's that time of year...

I have been thinking a lot lately about Christmas traditions and how I long to start some with H as our own family. We have spent 4 Christmases together as a couple, but have very few constants that remain from year to year.

The only one we have so far is going up to NYC to enjoy the city decked out in it's Christmas best and to take in the hustle and bustle holiday atmosphere. Actually, I am afraid that that one won't even happen this year- between getting our tree last weekend (what an adventure); H's office Christmas party and my girls' night out with friends planned for this weekend; and then my mom's birthday, my office party, and our friend's holiday soirée next weekend, I'm not sure when we'd be able to fit it in. And the weekend after that is Christmas! When did that happen?

Anyway... we are planning on spending Christmas Day with our families- my parents, brother, and sister for brunch and most of the afternoon and then H's parents, his brother, and girlfriend for dinner and the rest of the evening. I can say that we are truly blessed that our families live less than a 5 minute's drive apart from each other and we're able to do that. Therefore, we are spending Christmas Eve together as newlyweds to do a nice dinner and exchange gifts. I'm really looking forward to it!

Our families have their own traditions that we love being a part of, but Christmas Eve is where I would truly like to develop our own. H wants us to go to Mass since he loves the music and the Christmas Eve service. One that I would really like to try is the Italian tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. I can't decide if it's a silly idea though, since it's a Catholic tradition celebrating the seven Sacraments- I'm not Catholic and my non-belief in all of the Sacraments is part of the reason why. Oh well, maybe traditions aren't something you can plan out like that...

But here is my hypothetical menu:

  • Tomato fish stew with tilapia and cod: this is one of the recipes in our regular rotation, so that would be easy. It also can be made ahead and kept warm.
  • Fried calimari: I've never made this, but would love to try it.
  • Shrimp scampi: I've made this many times in the past- easy, delicious, can't be made in advance, but not too hard to keep warm either.
  • Linguine with white clam sauce: I really don't want to use the clam sauce from a can, but then again I'm no Martha Stewart...
  • Seared jumbo scallops with spinach and garlic: easy enough
I just need one more fish, I'll have to keep thinking... or maybe I could just do the six fishes, that may make more sense to me anyway!

Call me Crazy

But I just bought this:

I was bored and browsing table lamps for our bedroom, and saw this right on the table lamp homepage of target.com. It's a bronze finished pig lamp with linen shade (in case you couldn't tell). H loves pigs, used to have a pet Vietnamese pot-belly growing up, and still semi-collects them, so it works. It's just too cute and quirky and perfectly kitsch to say no to. It comes with the shade and I have a Target gc I can put towards it, so it won't even set me back that much. I'm not entirely sure sure where it will go at this point, but probably in the computer room we are working on or downstairs in the media room. Love it!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Such a Productive Weekend!

What did we do this weekend? Lots!

Main floor:
Bought and assembled a coat rack for the entryway
(we don't have a hall closet and are really starting to need some storage there with the cold weather)

Bought, set up, and decorated our Christmas tree (will post pics soon!)

Vacuumed and dusted

Computer room:
Cleaned all the junk out of the room

Bought paint (it's a really pale robin's egg blue that we will use with browns, crisp white, and bright red accents)

Removed the wallpaper border (will post pics soon)

Cleaned the walls, spackled, and taped for painting

Bought a curtain rod

Master Bedroom:
Bought and put up curtain rod

Hung curtains (again, will post pics when I get home!)

And I still had time to bake cookies and enjoy the Harry Potter movie marathon on ABC family. I feel so Christmas-y! And even more, I love getting stuff done. Being productive puts me on this high, and I'm just so giddy and happy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My DIY Christmas Project

I braved the crowds on Black Friday to pick up some Christmas decor deals a Michael's, and I finally put together the piece I had in mind. It was less than $20 for everything!

the whole thing

closeup of the "snow-covered" branches

and a closeup of inside the vase. It's the cinnamon-scented pinecones, a box of red berries and mini pinecones- some glitter and some not, and a sprinkling of faux snow.