Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Spice Niche

Over the last year and a half our life has revolved around with home projects, football, real estate, and of course our kids. With having 3 adults in the house and all of us cooking our way of storing spices and seasonings was NOT working.

In our old kitchen we kept them in a drawer and labeled the tops but with the new kitchen we shrunk the drawer sizes and lost the island so there was no place to store them. Although before we even began our remodel we had always wanted to do a Spice Niche in the pantry. It was the ideal spot, hidden but easy to get to and there was dead space on the wall.

So our project began with my husband taking his saw and making a large opening, we thought it would be to big but knew we could store other items as well.

 When we made it almost to the bottom we realized that the electrical wire was humped up where the extra piece of drywall was. So we notched out the wood to allow the cord to lay flat (non structural board) and cleaned up the edges.
The drywall in back is to the dining room and with the edge there we knew it needed something to cover it. Fortunately for us we had bead-board that we used for a quick basement wall and tore back out so we could access the wall anchors. It was the perfect use.
 Of course nothing goes as easy as you think, especially in an older home. And we thought the hard part was the electrical cord...haha. As I was cleaning out the hole I looked up and saw this....

It took us a minute to realize that we had just cut into the cavity for the return air from our room. After consulting with some contractor friends we came up with a way of rerouting the return air by cutting a hole (not easy to do) with a drill above and below the niche so it would still operate the same way but would take a small detour. For the record it has been a year and we have had no issues, actually it turned out we made it better than before because our room heats and cools more efficiently. After narrowly escaping that situation we quickly cut 1 x 4's and made a box to fit in the opening.

The middle shelf we made fixed to add extra support. He used a Kreg Jig to drill holes on each side for pins so we can adjust the shelves accordingly. Don't let him fool you, I did most of the painting. I only took a break to snap a picture and figure out what spices and seasonings we had ;)

 Turns out we had more than we realized...But they all fit and if we had duplicates (which we did) they were able to fit behind the other. And now it is easy to find everything! I sorted them alphabetically, and the guys get a kick out of switching them up every now and then to see if I notice (I do) It took almost exactly a year but we finally trimmed it out along with the rest of the pantry and Voila!

And we had many doubters that we had that many spices...truth be told we do use most of them frequently.

Until next time!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Two Steps back One Step Forward

You know how it goes you start on a path and then there are obstacles that cause you to trip and sometimes fall but it is what happens after than matters. For me it was gaining back the weight that I lost when I had the flu.

Started off great but in the midst of trying to get back to normal we also decided to try (and succeeded) to refinance which meant a lot of quick meals and eating out. Fast forward through February and the main floor projects almost completely finished and starting to have friends over for dinner again...well I bet you can tell how well that goes with eating healthy.

I saw an ad for a fitness class that didn't look as intense as CrossFit but something that would push me and included help for my nutrition. With the encouragement of my husband I decided to go for it. Nutrition truly is my downfall and after speaking with my trainer I realized how bad I have been.

Protein has never been a prominent part in my diet. I'm not a vegetarian but it has never been something that I crave and CANNOT stand the powders. But I was told in order to get my nutrition on track I needed to eat 1 gram of protein for every pound I weigh. So I was averaging about 25 grams of protein before and now I am suppose to consume 170 grams! WHAT!?!

It wasn't easy to consume that much protein and not go over on calories but what was suggested is that I include protein calories...yeah I tried and just wanted to throw up and then I would have to start all over. Instead I woke up every morning and made myself
2 eggs
1 string cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese

Ok I could handle that although it did get old and I was not suppose to have any cheat days. This was extremely hard and more emotionally than physically. For 4 weeks I did exactly as the trainer told me but I was not seeing change and to go in every week to see maybe a pound lost and maybe 1/2% body fat gone didn't help encourage me because those were the best numbers. I became extremely depressed and angry. I felt horrible because I knew I was not giving my family the best they deserved.

One day I was doing a search for protein recipes and came across a link for a book saying "Eat and Cheat Your Way to Weight Loss" I thought it was a joke but clicked on the link. Pleasantly surprised it was a book by Dolvette Quince my favorite trainer on "The Biggest Loser" and his book is titled  "The 3-1-2-1 Diet" The more research I did the more I wanted to try. It incorporated a lot of what I as learning with my trainer but restricted my calories more and gave me more structure but with two relaxed days every week. I should disclose that these are my thoughts and not an advertisement for his book.

I read the first half of the book and started putting his meal plans to use. This is where to me the book was more helpful that he gives a structure of how your meals should look not just eat this much protein. For me this is what I needed, to be told eat 1 cup of pineapple, 4 eggs...etc. Not only that but if say I don't like fish (I don't) then it gave me options of what to substitute.

The last week I was going to my trainer I didn't tell them that I had been following this...but I wanted to see what my numbers were. I was already seeing a huge difference in my attitude, energy, and the scale at home. In fact when they took my body fat I had dropped almost 1.5% and down 2 lbs. The numbers may seem small to you but they were huge in what I see and how I felt.

I really wanted to keep seeing my trainer but it wasn't like I was expecting, we hadn't talked about working out at all, it was all about my nutrition at this point and that is fine but I wanted to be active too. I also felt that our weekly 15 minute sessions were always rushed and they didn't truly look over my logs until a few minutes before my appointment if then. I was late one time for an appointment and felt the anger they had but every other appointment was either them running behind or someone else needed the room so that 15 minutes was 5-7 really. It works for others but for me at this point it was just starting to add to stress.

I ended my appointments that next week because our lives have become insane. For instance I started typing this in April and well it is mid June. My kids were in soccer and I was helping to coach for one of them, my husband started school to earn his bachelor's, we started our next project (ripping out our front porch), and real estate has boomed this summer. Not to mention that we were in the last few weeks of school and a few other things.

Due to all of the above mainly that I have been out showing property since late April I fell off my diet. But starting today I am back to it. It isn't about losing the weight, although I would love it, but more about feeling good about myself and being able to be a good example to my kids.

Never before have I told people what I weigh especially on a public site but to keep me accountable I am putting it out there. I am back at 170 lbs and not as fit as I was 2 months ago. I want to get back to running more than 3 miles and working out for 40 minutes with out exhaustion. So here is to this summer by August 31st I want to accomplish losing 20 pounds and running an average of 15 miles a week with less than 10 minute miles.

Let the journey begin!