Friday, November 30, 2012

Making a house a home: Living room edition

The past few months have flown by. I look back and can't believe that it's already been 4 months since we have moved into our new home. Between moving, starting a new job, working on the house and settling into a new area it has really left very little time to blog so I'm hoping that since things are starting to calm a bit that I'll be able to focus on blogging a little more regularly. When I think back about all that has happened this year, it boggles my mind, but that's a post on it's own that I'll go into at another time.

In the small amount of time we have spent in the new house we have been able to complete a lot of projects. The whole downstairs area has been re-painted, that includes the living room, family room, dining room and kitchen, including all the cupboards and trim as well. I can say that I'm completely sick of painting, and to be honest I did little of it compared to Ryan. As much as I hate painting, it makes such a difference in a home. Before we moved in we had this icky yellow/off white color on the wall the reminded me of a smokers home. A new, fresh palette really made a huge difference. Adding in some personal items and lots of love have definitely made this house a home.

I can honestly say that I love our new home. Moving here has allowed us to be so much closer to family and friends and we love the simplicity of being able to call someone and meet up the same day, instead of making travel plans days/weeks in advance. I feel like this area is a step up from where we were before and as much as I loved the college town atmosphere, it's nice to be somewhere different and more...evolved. Living in town in so convenient for running to the store to pick things up and close to local events. Having the high school and middle school nearby is great for all the extras they provide (pool, tennis courts, track, football stadium). This small town atmosphere is definitely something I admire and am so thankful to have.

Here are a few photos of the home and projects we have completed so far. For now, I'm going to just show the living room and family room area.

Before: Living room looking into the family room.

Before: Living room (love the big picture window)

Before: Keeping Ryan busy with all the painting.
Before: Our old frumpy furniture (which now has a new home in the basement)
After: New furniture (FIL gave it to us because too large for his new home) & rug that we LOVE. Such a step up! Still need window treatment and a hanging light in the top left corner.

Cozy fireplace that is getting a TON of use already. 

Christmas Love

Our musical corner: Piano from my childhood home that my parents gave us and guitar from my dad. The area to the left leads to our dining room and kitchen. 

 Do you have any home projects that you are working on right now or the near future?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 1 & 2 #Elf4Health Recap: Homemade Cards

The #Elf4Health challenge has been going great so far. Meatless Monday was a pretty good success and day two was a task that I was really excited for because it gave me an excuse to be creative AND get in touch with those most important to me. I had been planning on making all my own Christmas cards this year and this was a perfect start to it. The #Elf4Health task for day 2 was to send a handwritten note. I took it a step further and also made all my cards using my Silhouette machine (similar to a Cricut). 

Lately, I've been really wanting to get my creative spark going again and this seemed like a great activity to do it. I'm really happy with how they turned out and hope that the recipients enjoy them too. I really love handwritten notes and hate that email is taking away from that tradition. There is just something about a hand-written note that makes it that much more special than some plain text on a computer. Maybe because it feels like a tangible part of the person and their personality. Am I the only one that feels that way? I doubt it. 

Below are the cards that I made yesterday to be sent out to friends and family. I still need to make about 10+ more of them and hope to finish them by the end of the week.

This challenge reminded me about all the handwritten notes and cards I have at my parents from high school. They are locked up in a toolbox in the attic so I'm hoping to stop by there soon and hopefully be able to crack the passcode to get into it. I think it will be a great laugh to see those from the past and our silly antics. 

Do you miss the art of handwritten notes? 
Did you take part in day two of #Elf4Health? 
Did you save your notes from high school?

Monday, November 26, 2012

#Elf4Health Challenge! Are you part of it?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and spent lots of time with their families, took a moment to be thankful for all that you have and indulge on some of the goodies that are so popular this time of year. Although I had to work, I'm more than thankful to have a job in this tough time, a brand new house, an amazing and supportive husband and a healthy family that I can always count on. I count my lucky stars every day for being so happy and strive to fully appreciate everything, and everyone, that I have.

I'm also thankful that I came across Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean and Elle at Nutrionella blog's because of the #Elf4Health challenge!

This challenge is great for the holiday season because it encompasses so many different aspects of health (nutrition, physical activity, emotional, philanthropy, you name it!) and also includes a HUGE network of support. This kind of thing is right up my alley of favorite things. Everyone can always use a cheerleader and pat on the back to help make them reach their goals. The health promotion and education nerd in me is loving this type of program and major kudos to the gal's for organizing this huge challenge (over 600 participants in the first 2 weeks)! I love challenges that have a group mentality. Having a group of people for support makes it much easier when you may struggles, gives you someone(s) to bounce ideas off of and/or get motivation and helps to hold you accountable.

The challenge runs for 6 weeks with daily tasks, winners and sponsors, support through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Each person is paired up with a "health elf" for 2 week periods. The first period I am paired up with Bridget from British Columbia and from the bits I've gathered so far she is pretty darn hardworking and inspirational with the athletic feats that she's already conquered (half marathons!). 

If you're interested, you can still join! You won't be paired up with a partner for the first segment, but you can still participate and sign up for a partner for the next round. 

Here's a brief look at the current week's tasks:

Go meatless today.
Show us what you make!

Good Elf Ideas: Email your buddy quick & easy veggie recipe to try - either one of your favorites or one you've been wanting to try. You can always share one of our picks below, too!

Send a card or handwritten note to a friend.

Include a small newspaper or magazine clipping that made you think of them.
Other possible recipients: a sibling, extended family member, a friend you've made through blogging/social media, a childhood friend, someone you haven't talked to lately.

Try a new workout today!
Show us what you did to sweat!

Good Elf Ideas: Help your buddy find a new way to enjoy being active. If they're at your fitness level, send them one of your favorite home workouts or ask them what they struggle with when it comes to exercise and offer other suggestons. If they are new to exercising, it can be as simple as taking the stairs twice per day or parking farther away from stores when running errands.

Get up 15 minutes early to meditate and reflect. 

Good Elf Ideas: Share an article about the benefits of meditation with your buddy.

How many colors can you eat today? Challenge yourself!
Post pictures of your colorful eats in our Facebook Group, on Instagram or by Tweeting. Email photos to your elves!

Good Elf Ideas: Send your buddy a recipe to try with lots of different colored veggies or a fruit salad. Tell them why it's important to eat different colors!

You can see all the tasks for the next 6 weeks here and more information here. Don't forget to use the hashtag, #Elf4Health when posting!

Are you participating in #Elf4Health? What challenges do you think will be most difficult for you? Do you like having a group or person to hold you accountable?