Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Wednesday- Crockpot Taco Chicken

It seems like all I have time for nowadays are these Pinterest Inspired Wednesday posts.  I want to post more and have so many things I want to write about but y'all I am burnt out.  I am about to have a mental break down.  In fact, I've come close a few times over the last few days.

And yes, I am complaining.  Last Wednesday was when my train decided to pick up it's pace to get to crazy-town.  It's a long story that I don't have time to go into tonight.  I don't know what the heck God is trying to teach me right now, but last Wednesday I felt like He told me giving up complaining for Lent wasn't the right thing (and pretty much impossible) and instead every Wednesday for Lent I should:

a) Go out of my way to selflessly help someone


b) fast for dinner

And yes, I just realized today is Wednesday and came close to shedding a tear because I can't have dinner tonight.  Especially because I have more of this yummy crock-pot taco chicken in my fridge.

This is the pin that inspired me:

It is so simple!  Just a few chicken breasts, a jar of salsa, and a packet of taco seasoning.  I cooked it on low for about 6-8 hours and shredded the chicken about an hour before it was ready.  Here is how mine turned out:

Yes I love cheese...But the chicken was yummy too!  It really was so good!  I made tacos the first night, but last night I put some of the left over chicken on a sandwich thin bun with a slice of pepper jack cheese and that was yumm-o too!  Two thumbs up!  Will definitely be making this again!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#18- Upgrade one room in my house

I have learned over the past six years that one of the most frustrating things about having a house is that it is like having a project that is never really complete.  First of all it is expensive!  You move in and you have all these ideas of things you want to change but dang! it is expensive to do everything you want to do.  Then as you complete projects, new ones come up.  It is a never ending cycle.

That is why I had a hard time marking this one as complete.  Because there are still things I want to do.  Especially in my kitchen because that is the room I really had in mind when I put this on my list.

I have upgraded several rooms in my house over the past few years, but one of the most dramatic differences I think it in my office/guest room/home gym.  Here are some "before" shots:

And here are some "after" shots:

One other MAJOR improvement in my house was the instillation of bamboo hardwoods throughout my first floor.  Here is a "before" shot (sorry only one I could find):

 And here is an After:

I also painted my Master Bath and upgraded the faucet in that room. I can't find a good "before" but here is the "after":

And since I mentioned the kitchen, here is a picture of what that looks like now:
I still want to repaint this room (the entire downstairs in fact), add knobs to all the cabinets, install a new light fixture, upgrade all the appliances to stainless steel, get a new sink and counter tops,  put a valance over that window or something, and add a backsplash.  But that takes money that I do not have at the moment, so it will do for now!

Even though there are a lot of other things I want to do when it comes to "upgrading" my house, I am marking #18- "Upgrade one room in my house" as COMPLETE!  Finally.  YAY!

Pinterest Inspired Wednesday- Nails (again)...also what to give up for Lent?

I am a little obsessed with nail polish at the moment.  I just realized I bought 5 new nail polishes in one month!

Anyway, here is the pin that inspired me last week:

Since it was Valentine's day last week, I decided to do white shatter over red polish.  Here is how it turned out:

It was a little funky, but I really liked it!  And I got a lot of compliments on it!  And it actually lasted a little longer than my normal polish jobs.  So I'd call that another success!  Thanks Pinterest for the inspiration!

On another note today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  I love this season because it always ends up deepening my relationship with God and teaches me so much about myself.  In the past I have given up fast food, sodas, and last year I gave up cigarettes (I ended up giving them up for good not just for Lent!  YAY!)

This year I have decided to give up complaining.  The other contenders were to give up cursing, sweets, or my daily diet coke.  Ultimately I decided on complaining because it is something I do enjoy doing so I would be depraving myself of something I like.  Also one of the fruits of the spirit that I feel like I am greatly lacking in sometimes is joy.  I want to be a more joyful person.  It is going to be hard.  And it's not as easy to measure.  What is considered complaining and what is constructive criticism?  With cursing, sweets, or diet coke it would have been easier to tell when/if I "fail".  But with complaining sometimes it isn't so black and white.  In fact am I complaining right now??  Maybe I should just give up speaking in general!  I'll stop now before I get myself in trouble.

What are you giving up for Lent?

Friday, February 17, 2012

#10poundchallenge update

Back in January I signed up for The 10 lb. Challenge.  The challenge is to lose 10 pounds in 12 weeks.  We are nearing the end of week 5 and we were supposed to do an update on our first four weeks sometime this week.

I almost didn't do this post.

You see I weighed myself on Monday after coming home from the ski trip and having my friendly monthly visitor show up the night before and I was SO disappointed with the number on the scale.  I had gained back almost everything I had lost since starting the challenge.  I was only down 3.5 lbs. before I left for the ski trip but to gain almost all that back (minus a measly 1/2 lb) was devastating.

I thought maybe the scale had made a mistake so I weighed myself again the next morning.  Same. exact. number.  BOO!

I was so mad I didn't weigh myself for the rest of the week and stuck to my counting calories and half marathon training plan.

This morning, after going back and forth about it for a few minutes, I reluctantly stepped on the scale.  As the digital display churned I was so nervous to see what would pop up.  But I am happy to say that as of this morning I am 4.5 lbs. down in this challenge!

It just goes to show you how finicky the scale can be.  I know I have lost weight because my clothes are looser and other people have even commented on it.  So why do I let that stupid little number devastate me like that?!

So far this year I have done a pretty good job of with sticking to my diet/training plan.  I have kept up with all of the runs in my half marathon training plan for almost 6 weeks now.  I have ran over 80 miles since Jan. 1 and will reach 100+ miles by the end of the month.  I have tracked my calories every day since January 1st except for the 5 days I was on the ski trip.  (I tried to do it then, but it was impossible to keep up with.)

I'm not going to lie and say it is easy.  It's not.  But it feels good.  I still hate running sometimes.  Especially when I first start my run, and even more thinking about the run I have to do.  But sometimes it feels really good to run!  In fact last night I was actually dancing while I was running.  I mean how can you not dance to this song?  It's freaking fabulous!

Hope you guys have a great weekend!  Mine just got kicked off with a fantastic start :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

10 Things I Learned on Ski Trip 2012

1. How to do The Wobble and The Wop and the Copperhead Road dances

2. That goggles and face protection is necessary not optional when skiing while it is freezing cold and snowing.

3. Leaving the laptop at home while on vacation is a good thing.

4. There is a sports company called "Head" and they make a snowboard that says "I *heart* HEAD" which totally sounds very dirty when you see a guy carrying it and are not aware of said company.

5. A snowboard or a guitar can instantly make a guy way hotter than he would be without said items.

6. Hot chocolate with a shot of Bailey's and a shot of Kahlua and lots of whip cream is the yummiest drink ever when you are freezing cold.

7. It might be smarter to buy my own skis if we keep doing this trip every year instead of renting (or at least my own boots because those things kill my feet!).

8. People are buried facing east because when Jesus comes back He will come from the east supposedly.  (And the sun rises in the east. and The Son rose on EASTer. and we make Easter eggs and eggs are eaten in the morning which leads back to the sun rising in the east.  This blew our minds for some odd reason.)

9. Bunk beds can actually be really cozy and comfy.

10. You need wool socks and toe warmers to keep your feet warm.  Layers of cotton socks will not do the job when it is freezing out.

And that is all for this totally random Wednesday post :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Wednesdays- Nail Polish

On the ski trip we had a little nail painting party.  I have been trying to keep polish on my nails because it is fun and pretty.  I am not as obsessed with it as some of my friends, but I can see how it is easy to get carried away with! 

I hate that it only lasts a few days though.

Recently my friend had a birthday and I decided to get some nail polish for her.

I was on a mission to find this color since she had re-pinned my pin on Pinterest for it:

But I could not find that color at the Ulta I went to.  But they did have OPI's Spring Holland collection:

I knew I had pinned something from that recently so after I picked out her colors I looked at my Pinterest board and got this one for myself:

It's called "I don't give a Rotterdam" and I like it a lot.  It is more of a subtle sparkle and a little darker than what is in this picture I think.

When I got home from Ulta that day I kept looking at the colors I got for my friend and loved them too so I ended up going back and getting them for myself too!  I'm not going to tell you what colors they are though because I still haven't had a chance to give her the gift yet!  But they are fabulous!

Are you obsessed with nail polish?  What's your favorite color?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ski Trip 2012- Snowshoe, WV

I had so much fun on this year's ski trip!  This group has been doing this annual ski trip since 2006 and over the years we have just about perfected this thing.  We go somewhere different almost every year, not everyone gets to go every year, and there are always new friends that join us but one thing remains the same- we always have a good time.

This year we went to Snowshoe, WV and we apparently picked the perfect weekend because they got their first big snow!  Fourteen inches over the four days we were there.  This place was so big!  It had two different ski areas and shuttles that ran between the two and also to all the lodging and houses.  Our house wasn't skin in/ski out like last year, but we only had to walk to the top of our driveway to catch the shuttle!  Here is the house we stayed in:

I stuck to skis this year.  I didn't want to waste the whole time trying to learn how to snowboard again.  I stuck to the green slopes after last year's terrifying blue slope.  It was fun though because there were so many green slopes and they were so long!

We got in late Wednesday night.  Thursday morning we slept in and took our time eating breakfast and getting ready.  We got to enjoy an amazing view:

We headed over to the Silver Creek ski area since the Snowshoe slopes closed at 4:30.  We hung out at the bar downstairs until 4:00 so we could get the cheaper night ski lift tickets.  There were only two green slopes at Silver Creek but they were both long though. There was an "easy" option and a more challenging option one of the guys showed me towards the end of the day once I got my bearings on the skis again.  We got to see a beautiful sunset from the top of the mountain:
Around 7:30 we decided to head back to the house since it got pretty cold once the sun went down.  The other half of our group had arrived and we had a fun night playing Apples to Apples, hot tubbing, and just being silly.

I ended up sharing a cozy, tiny bunk bed room with my friend's cousin.  I was a little bit nervous about sharing a room with a guy, but it was not bad at all.  Here are Ellie and Heather enjoying our cute bunk beds:

Friday we got up a little earlier, made breakfast, and got our ski gear on so we could make it over to the Snowshoe area for skiing.  Half of our group had stayed up until 5 am and didn't make it out with us.  They really missed out because this was the best day of skiing I've ever had.  We got out there around 1:00 and once we got to the bottom of our first slope it started snowing.  It was so pretty!  The wind wasn't bad and it wasn't too cold.  All the fresh snow made the skiing perfect!  We stopped for a drink at the top of the mountain about half way through.  There were so many runs and lifts so we all had to stay together or we would never find each other. It was such fun though!  We didn't even make it to every green slope!

At 4:30 when Snowshoe closed we headed over to Silver Creek.  We skied there until 6:30 and then stopped and had a drink at the bottom of the mountain to warm up before heading back to the house.  We had hot chocolate with a shot of Bailey's and a shot of Kahlua and it was the. best. drink. ever.  Two of the girls had tried it over at Snowshoe earlier when I had stuck to beer but I had to get once here because it was so freaking good! It cost $15 but was worth every penny!  Such a perfect end to the perfect day of skiing!

Friday night the last of our friends arrived.  We had a fun night playing more Apples to Apples, Phase 10, and cooking dinner.  I was exhausted from the day but was able to hang until about 1 am before calling it a night.

Saturday was freezing!  I think it was in the teens or single digits all day!  We went up to The Village first to visit the shops.  I don't have ski boots.  I've always been able to get by wearing my rain boots and a couple layers of socks.  But this day my feet were freezing!  I bought two pairs of wool socks and two sets of toe warmers.  I added those to my two layers of socks I already had on, but my feet were still freezing all day!

After we visited a few shops we headed down to Silver Creek so we could have a drink to warm up before snow tubing.  They ended up not having hot chocolate at the bar we went to so we settled for a shot and then went snow tubing for 2 hours:
They had five lanes and all the fresh snow made each run so fast and smooth.  Most of us had to call it quits before our two hours was up because it was just so dang cold.  I got to try four of the runs though and it was the best tubing I've ever done despite the cold.
We stopped by the house and then took the shuttle back to The Village so we could catch the bus to The Top of the World so we could hit the bar where we first discovered our awesome hot chocolate drink.  The Village was so cute all lit up at night!
At the bar they had live music!  The guy was a great singer and we enjoyed his songs along with our special hot chocolates and a hot apple cider drink they had on special.

We were a little bit tipsy when we got back on the shuttle.  I'm pretty sure people thought we were crazy.  That night we cooked oysters, had a little dance party in the living room, and played cards.  It was a very fun end to a very fun weekend!

Sunday it had snowed so much we ended up having to get our cars towed out of the driveway:
We made it out and down the mountain safely thanks to the boys four wheel drive trucks and good driving skills.  I would have been a mess if I had to drive in that stuff!  It was a LONG drive home but well worth it because the weekend was just so perfect! 

I already can't wait for next year!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday Snippets on Monday

Sorry for my lack of posts lately.  I just got back from my annual ski trip last night!  It was a blast and I will do a wrap-up post about it tomorrow. 

When I am out of town on the weekends, I miss going to church.  But fortunately that doesn't mean I miss the sermon completely.  In fact the sermon at my church is only one of the 3-4 sermons I listen to each week.  I like listening to podcasts from other churches while I'm working or at night when I'm trying to fall asleep.  In fact I listen to one on the way up to West Virgina on Wednesday. It's so easy because they are all on iTunes and I don't even have to download them.  I just stream them.  Here are the ones I try to listen to each week.

The Summit Church- JD Greear

This is my church.  I sometimes have a love/hate relationship with a lot of things at my church, but I always love JD's sermons.  I never feel like they are as long as they are.  I am always captivated and engaged with what he is saying.  We just finished our Jonah series.  I'll have to listen to this weekend's sermon because it was the 10th anniversary of our church's re-launch as The Summit.  I'm sad I missed it!

Austin Stone Community Church- Matt Carter

If I ever visit Austin, TX I will visit this church!  These sermons may be my favorite (shhh don't tell JD).  I love my home church, but these are sermons I make sure I listen to each week as well.  They did a series on heaven and hell last year that is still to this day one of my most favorite sermon series ever.  Right now they are doing a series Counterfeit Love about idolatry and it is seriously speaking to me!

Mars Hill Church- Mark Driscoll

I also enjoy Mark Driscoll's sermons.  Right now he is doing a sermon series on marriage that goes along with a book he and his wife co-wrote together about marriage.  It's pretty darn good.  This is the one I listened to on the way up to WV.  It was called "The Respectful Wife" and it definitely made me realize how much I could improve in that area and how much I had disrespected my boyfriends in past relationships.

Northpoint Community Church- Andy Stanley

These sermons are pretty good too.  They aren't as "meaty" as the others, but often have a lot of good life applications. 

Do you listen to sermon podcasts?  If so which ones?

Friday, February 3, 2012

List update- almost there!

Here is what is left on my list:
#1- get in the best shape of my life
#9- kayak
#10- catch a fish
#18- upgrade one room in my house (DONE post coming soon)
#26- kiss in the rain
#27- read the Bible all the way through (I finished the Old Testament and a lot of the New! Only 16 books left!)

Last year I had said in this post that order to mark #1 off my list I needed to run two laps around Lake Lynn without walking (aprox. 4.5 miles) and run a 9 minute mile.  Well I accomplished one of those this week!  I ran around Lake Lynn two times without walking.  I was so happy.  I am actually seeing progress with my running.  It is SLOW.  SLOW progress.  But it is progress.  And the feeling of doing something I had never done before was fantastic!!

I haven't tried the nine minute mile yet.  I am scared.  I'm still slow so I don't want to try yet and get disappointed if I'm not even close.  But I ran an easy mile as part of a fitness challenge at work and my time for that was 10:16, so maybe it isn't impossible.  I'm just not mentally ready to to try yet.

As I was running around the lake I decided I am adding something else to the criteria for crossing this one off my list.  I must be at a healthy weight according to this chart:

I tried not to make it about weight because I HATE how we girls become a slave to that number on the scale.  But I just can't declare myself "best shape of my life" if I am overweight.  So yeah.  All my life I have found it can be hard for me to fit what charts say is healthy because I am so short.  At my lowest, skinniest size 4 self in high school I was still at the upper-end of "healthy" according to the charts.  But this chart has a wider range than I have seen in the past and is totally do-able I think. 

What do you guys think?  I know I have asked this a million times, but how would you define "the best shape of your life?"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Wednesday- Corn Chowder

I love trying recipes I find on Pinterest.  Here is another one I tried today for lunch actually:

WW Summer Corn, Bacon, and Potato Chowder

1 medium uncooked yukon gold potato(es)  
1 spray(s) cooking spray  
1/2 cup(s) uncooked celery, chopped   (I don't like celery so I skipped this one)
1/4 cup(s) (chopped) uncooked onion(s), chopped (or 1 large shallot)  
4 piece(s) corn on the cob, kernels removed with a knife   (I just used a can of corn)
1 cup(s) sweet red pepper(s), diced  
4 oz uncooked Canadian-style bacon, diced  
2 cup(s) fat-free skim milk  
1/2 tsp table salt  
1/4 tsp black pepper  
1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce, or to taste   (I used Frank's Red Hot- is that hot pepper sauce?)

Pierce potato in several places with a fork; microwave on high power until tender, turning over once, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool; peel and mash. 

Meanwhile, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray. Add celery, onion, corn and red pepper; sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. 

Stir bacon and milk into saucepan; stir in mashed potato and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce; stir to combine. Cover and simmer 10 minutes (do not allow to boil). Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving. 

It was super easy to make.  Mine didn't look quite as pretty as the original pin:

Guess I need to work at my food presentation skills.  At first bite I wasn't sure about it.  So I added some more salt and pepper.  By the third or fourth bite I couldn't stop.  It suddenly was so good!  It only makes 4 servings and I had 2 in one sitting.  But since a serving is only about 270 calories that wasn't too much of a splurge for lunch!  I definitely recommend this one! 

#febphotoaday challenge

I'm going to be doing this challenge!  Hopefully I will be able to keep up with it.  If you want to see all my photos follow me on Twitter or Instagram (ncsuz).