Thursday, September 27, 2012

Leavin' On A Jet Plane
Tomorrow is the big day! Yes, I'm excited. Nervous, but ultimately excited. Today is going to be a lot of organizing, packing, planning, and checking things off my list to make sure we don't forget anything. And oh yes, snapping some pictures of the insulation being installed over at the house. It's hard to believe the house may be done by the time we get back. Yes, please! Anyways, I'm off to get started on my busy day. I'll be on a plane this time tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Construction Update: 9/28/12

We are having a pretty good week in home construction. Things started to turn around because... we got a new project manager on our home. The hubby had had it up to here with the previous project manager's shenanigans i.e. no communication, no organization, not doing what he said he would, etc. He wrote an email to the Schumacher bigwigs, as well as calling and complaining to this guy's boss. Long story short? As of this week, we have someone new on the project.

I like this new guy already. He always calls the hubby back when the hubby leaves him messages. He seems to know what he is doing. On Monday, he told the hubby that the siding would be put installed on Wednesday. Lo and behold, the siding was installed yesterday! This was the first time that something happened early on our home. I told the hubby that during this whole process, everything had been about a week late (sometimes longer). Now, something was done early! I'm pretty stoked about this new guy's potential. He also told the hubby that insulation is being installed on Thursday, and sheet-rocking will be installed on Friday. He said he saw no reason the house shouldn't be done by the time we get back from Oregon. I about died and went to heaven when the hubby told me this. If that does happen, I'm liable to actually look forward to coming home at the end of my trip to Oregon. We'll see on that one :)

We are about 2 full days from leaving for Oregon. I've got today and tomorrow to finish up packing, and organizing our stuff. The hubby and I are leaving his aunt's house Friday at 2 am to leave for the airport. Our flight is at 6:30 am! Wowsers, it's going to a long day! Can't wait till it's over!

As always, here are some pictures of the progress on the home. I have to say, I'm in total love with the color we chose for the siding. Love, love, LOVE it! Couldn't be happier with the exterior of the home.

Hope everyone has a fantastic Wednesday!

Siding being installed.

Finished siding in the front.

Insulation around the main bath.

Insulation in the garage.

Siding being installed on the back of the house.

Siding around our French doors.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Almost Time

We're almost there! T-5 days until the hubby and I leave for Oregon. I'm a nervous bundle of energy right now. So ready to go, but sooooo anxious about the travel day. I know once it's done, that I'll feel better, and the trip home won't be so bad because I will know what to expect. But until then...

We had to order special carriers for the dogs. We needed cloth ones, not hard ones and the dogs need to fit in the bags, but the bags have to fit under the seat in front of us. They arrived in the mail this week, and we introduced both the dogs to their new carriers. I've got a never-ending worry that they won't let Haloti on the plane because he's too fat. The hubby assures me that this will not be the case, but once again, until that day is over, I won't know. He does look awfully cute in his little carrier though :)

I'm also still worried how Gizmo is going to react to all this. Gizmo has plenty of room to move around in his carrier, and also plenty of room for us to put his Blue Monkey in with him. The inside of the carriers has a clip where you can clip their harness's in, and then zip down the top so they can stick their heads out. We'll probably be doing this at both the airports (we're flying out of Columbus, OH with layover in Denver, CO, before heading to Portland). I'm afraid I'm going to be that dog-owner, the one who's dog whines during the whole flight. Oh, I hope not!

I love this picture of Gizmo peeping out from the top. We gave the dogs a bath, a brushing, and haircuts, so they are ready to rock-n-roll! I just wish I was ready to rock-n-roll :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Concrete! Finally!

Well, it finally happened! The concrete floor in the basement and garage, and the front porch was poured yesterday. I've been wanting to tear my hair out waiting on them. The hubby and I were growing increasingly annoyed each day. We are leaving for Oregon in 6 days, (Yay!) and there are things the hubby wanted to have done before we leave town for a month. Thankfully, right now it appears the hubby will be able to get all the little things he wants done, done. The furnace was installed today, and the electrician is coming out tomorrow! And when he's done the HVAC people will come back, install the cooling unit, and VOILA! Time for drywall and sheetrock, and eventually, siding. I'm still hoping against hope that the house will be nearly done when we get back from our trip. A girl can dream, yes?

Concrete is very, very boring to look at. And take pictures of. At least I think so. I've got a couple of pictures of the new concrete, but nothing too extreme :)

New concrete for the porch.

They actually poured the basement floor concrete through the basement windows.

Looking out at the front porch

Another of the front porch. The hubby says the color will bleach, and the concrete will look lighter.

Basement floor and brand new furnace. It's dark down there!

The nice, shiny garage floor.

The hubby is so in love with the garage floor, he wouldn't even let me walk on it :)

Man, I hope the electrician shows up tomorrow! Wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Life's Frustrations
Life's frustrations have handed me writer's block.

The hubby and I are very frustrated with the progress on the house. We are at a standstill at the moment. We've been waiting almost a week for the basement floor to be poured. Once the basement is poured, HVAC guys can finish up (since the furnace sits on the basement floor), and the electrician can come and do his job. Once the electrician is done, we can start drywall and sheetrock. So you see, everything hinges on this concrete dude who was supposed to be out here last Thursday. We are still waiting.

I'm also frustrated, because I'm tired of blogging about construction. I want to blog about food! I want to bake, I want to use my food processor, I want to make fish! We are getting to the tail end of time before the hubby and I leave for Oregon, and now that we are in that homestretch... more impatient than ever!

So because I can't blog about what I want, I don't want to blog at all. Sigh.  8 days until we leave for Oregon. Countless more days till we are in our house. I will say, when this is all said and done, hubby and I have paid our dues! This has been a really hard time period. The one positive I can find in all this, if there is one, is hardship will make us appreciate our home all the more.

All I can say is we are really, really freakin' going to appreciate our house at this point :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Favorite Chicken Dishes

I got my Cooking Light in the mail this week, and very eagerly dived in. Per usual. As I get closer and closer to moving into my new house and my new kitchen, the more and more I think about food. I can't wait to bake my first batch of cookies in the house, and frost my first cupcakes. To roast my first chicken, and to simmer my first batch of chicken broth all night. To sit down at our dining room table in our new dining nook in the bright Kentucky sunshine, and enjoy dinner with the hubby. We haven't had room in a house for our dining room table since we lived in our first apartment together, which we moved out of a couple days before we got married. The excitement is getting harder and harder to keep a handle on.

There was a big feature on chicken in Cooking Light this month. This, of course, got me thinking about my favorite chicken dishes. I love chicken. As far as proteins go, boneless skinless chicken breast is very healthy. It can also be incredibly tender, versatile, and packed with flavor. I actually had a hard time picking out my favorites, as my mind wandered off on this particular tangent. There are a couple of dishes that stand slightly taller than all the rest :) In no particular order (because I just tried to put them in order, and that didn't work so well):

5. Chicken Parmesan
Ah, chicken parm. How can you not like a chicken breast breaded, seared, and then baked with sauce and cheese? This is one of my favorite dishes to make in the winter. It feels a bit heavy for summer, but this is serious comfort food when the weather is 30 degrees and the ground is covered in snow.

4. Chicken Lo Mein
Simply because I love noodles. And soy sauce. And vegetables. Oh, but how I love those Asian noodles. Lo mein is my favorite Asian dish, and gets heavy rotation in my kitchen. I love this dish with shrimp, but chicken makes a much more affordable dinner.

3. Chicken Soft Tacos
I would probably eat anything that came in soft taco form. In my opinion, there is hardly anything not made perfect with a tortilla, cheese, and some salsa. I make tons of different tacos, but my hands-down-favorite and go-to is chicken. Argh, now I want salsa!

2. Chicken and Dumplings
Again, you can't go wrong with this down-home, Southern classic. I personally like an updated version with celery, carrots, and peas, rather than the standard chicken, broth/gravy, and dumplings. I especially like to sprinkle parsley on mine. There's something about those fresh colors that makes my mouth water.

1. Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatiki Sauce
Well, I think my choices are certainly diverse! I cover a good portion of the planet with my faves. Chicken Souvlaki is soooo healthy, but you would never know it by how good it tastes. Chicken is marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt for a good couple of hours before tossing it on the grill. The best part is the Tzatiki dipping sauce, also extremely healthy. I make mine from Greek yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Combined with the chicken, this combination is a flavor explosion. Maybe this is my favorite chicken dish :)

Awww, now I'm hungry!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Product Review: Dove Nourishing Curls Whipped Cream Mousse and More!

Time for more product reviews!

1. Dove Nourishing Curls Whipped Cream Mousse
This summer, I've been trying to go with my hair's natural tendency. Somewhere between wavy and curly, and always frizzy. I feel like I'd tried everything to get my hair to look healthier. I was so envious of women who could get out of the shower, let their hair air dry, and it would look soft and shiny. Meanwhile, I would have a frizzy mass on top of my head. I tried something completely new-to-me per lately- the no-poo method (that's the no-shampoo method, if inquiring minds want to know). I've been doing it for about a month and a half, and I feel like I've finally discovered something I should have always known. My hair feels soft, it's shiny, and best of all, no more frizz! I basically just wash my hair with water, do a pretty thorough scalp rubdown, and wash with conditioner. This method is not for everyone, but I have extremely coarse, dry hair. And no, it doesn't look greasy. Anyways, I've been scrunching this into my hair after getting out of the shower, along with some leave-in conditioner. This produces pretty waves that hold, but feel soft. Not like you dumped a jar of gel on your head. It also doesn't give hair that sticky feeling, which I love. I picked up a couple of cans of this while couponing, and I'm glad! I've almost went through one can, and definitely want to keep using it. The verdict? Great for wavy/curly hair. Produces soft, but not overly styled hair. You can get it for a great price. I will be buying this again.

2. Revlon Colorstay Lipliner in Nude
I've recently forayed in lip liner. I've become obsessed with Revlon's Colorstay Just Bitten Kissable Balm stain. I've got half a dozen colors, which I pretty much use everyday. My only complaint about the product is that it gets a little blurry at the edges. I hate when lipstick bleeds outside the natural line of my lips. It just looks messy and sloppy. Serious dislike! I decided I need to give a lipliner a try to see if this would solve my problem. I've always felt kind of iffy about lipliner, specifically because when I was in middle school it was in style to outline to the shape of your lips with a dark lipliner, and leave it like that. Dislike even more! This lipliner, however, completely matches my lips. None of that dreaded too-dark look. Lately, I've been running this lipliner all over my lips before putting on my stain, so the stain lasts even longer. Love! This formula is pretty creamy, it doesn't dry out my lips. I've read that you should buy a lipliner pencil that you can sharpen, because these self-sharpening pencils dry out. I haven't found that to be the case with Revlon's formula. The verdict? A great tool to keep lipstick from bleeding, which you can get a reasonable price. I'd definitely buy this again.

3. CoverGirl Expert Wear Eye Shadow Singles in Shimmering Onyx
OK, so recently I was at the library. I was trying to help my husband find a book in non-fiction when I came across a section devoted to makeup. I was instantly enthralled. I found a makeup how-to book by Bobbi Brown. I, of course, checked it out. I started reading the book immediately upon returning to the car. The book talked a lot about smokey eyes, a look I've never been able to master. Not for lack of trying, but I always try the smokey eye a few times, decide I hate it, and go back to my usual look. No more, I decided. I started playing with my makeup that night, just putting it on to practice my smokey eye. My first look was a disaster. It looked like I had black eyes. Ick. My second look wasn't much better. But I finally got a finished smokey eye look that looked... like a smokey eye! That was with brown shadow. The next time I tried, I tried a purple smokey eye. The first purple look sucked, frankly. The second one was perfect. Finally, I tried a darker smokey eye, using darker browns. I used this black CoverGirl eyeshadow in the very corner of my eye, blending completely. The look turned out good. I'm not so fond of this shadow though. I used an eyeshadow primer, as well as MAC paint before applying this eyeshadow, but there isn't a lot of pigment to this shadow. It actually goes on kind of gray, instead of black. I had to layer this shadow a ton to get anywhere near the color I wanted. Besides the lack of pigment to this product, it otherwise worked just fine. No creasing, which is always a concern. The verdict? Eh, I probably won't buy this again, since I probably won't use this whole eyeshadow. However, if you are looking for a more subtle look at a good price, this might work for you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Have Cheech's, Will Fly

Our vacation that starts in 16 days? Turns out we are flying. I'm super excited about the vacation, and a little nervous about flying with the dogs. We were going to rent a car and drive, but after we worked on the budget we discovered driving would cost twice as much. Thus, we bought plane tickets yesterday and reserved 2 doggy spots. I'm more worried about Gizmo than Haloti. Gizzie gets scared very easily, and I think could whine and/or bark more. I think Haloti will behave. Besides scaring them, I'm also worried that cabin pressure and altitude changes will hurt their ears or something. I've been doing a considerable amount of Internet research since I found out we are flying yesterday, and everything I've read so far says that air travel is fine for dogs. I'm feeling very fortunate the little guys are little, so that they can fly in the cabin under our feet. If they were big dogs, this would all be out of the question. I would never fly my dog in the cargo hold. So here I am, trying not to get too worked up about this. I'm guessing the whole thing will turn out just fine. Plus, all the travel for the trip will be done in 2 days, instead of 6. Can't beat that.

In house news, plumbing was put in over the weekend and HVAC people are there working this week. We are anxiously awaiting the electrician, because as soon the electricity is done, we can pour the basement floor and drywall/sheetrock can get started. That guy better turn up soon :) I didn't find the plumbing pictures scintillating enough to post a bunch of pictures of. Drywall/sheetrock? Definitely some exciting stuff. Also, I believe the county is coming out to inspect the plumbing today, so fingers crossed that that goes well! I can't imagine why it wouldn't.

I'm still on "Operation Lose 11 lbs", so I'm off to get a long workout in. Happy Tuesday everyone!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Windows, Doors, and A Tub

It's come to the end of another week in home construction. Between Thursday and Friday, our tub and showers were delivered, along with our doors and windows. I was soooo excited to see these things show up, especially my bath tub. I've waited so long for a tub like this! I love, love, lurve it! I love the window placement, and I like that there will be a little shelf behind the tub. Room to put my iPhone so it doesn't get wet. And a bottle of wine :)

Bath tub in the master bathroom

Shower in the master bathroom

Shower/Bath combo in the main bathroom

Looking at the master bathroom from the living room. Soon we won't be able to do that :)

Our windows and doors were also installed this week. It was love at first sight. All the windows are very high quality. They open from the bottom up, and the top down. They are super easy to lock, and seem very sturdy. So happy with them!

Den window in front of the house

Guest room window

Front door. With a lock and everything!

Probably one of my most favorite features of the home, next to the kitchen and master bathroom. Love the french doors in the dining nook!

Living room window and master bedroom window. Again, sometime soon there will be a wall there.

Master bathroom window. Sigh.
The hubby and I were talking last night, about the progress of the home. We both feel that the more the house gets finished, the more impatient we get. Overall though, we are both happy with the way construction is going, and very satisfied with the quality. Won't be too much longer now!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Food Diary Of A Food Fanatic
I must admit, my eating and alcohol habits have not been the healthiest lately. The hubby and I are obviously under some stress, what with the house construction and living in someone else's house, but it's definitely caused us to overindulge. Both in food and cocktails. The straw that broke the camels back was I got on the scale on Tuesday, and realized I'd gained 6 lbs from Friday to Monday! I know some of the weight was probably water weight, but the more I thought about it (especially about the crap that ate and drank on Sunday), the more I realized that I have been eating too much.

After stepping on the scale that morning, I just felt... gross. I decided it was time for a change. I've kept food journals in the past, and they help me stay accountable for what I'm eating. I think about what I eat, because I know I'm going to have to add it to my journal. So, I signed up at I've been keeping track of my calories for 3 days now, and the plan is working.

Working out hasn't been my problem, I've been getting 4 workouts a week in. Good, long ones too. It's just the amount I eat and/or drink after my workouts that is the problem. I never think about how many calories are in those vodka cocktails I make (lots!). With watching my calories and working out, I stepped on the scale this morning, and discovered I lost my 6 weekend lbs. A good start, but I'm still 11 lbs over my normal weight. Time to keep going!

I do feel like I'm "restricting" my calories, even though I'm eating between 1500-1700 calories. It's always hard to train your body back to what's normal when you've been having a free-for-all. But a girl's gotta do, what a girl's gotta do. I've also swapped out my 2nd cup of coffee in the morning for a cup of green tea with lemon juice. 3 servings of green tea a day is supposed to aide weight loss, and can also boost your metabolism up to 80 calories. I know 80 calories doesn't sound like a lot, but to burn that just from drinking tea? Sign me up.

So you can find me on, under the username JessicaJarr13. I know, a totally creative name. As for now, it's time to go hit up that elliptical :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We Have A Roof!

Good afternoon!

I don't have too much to say today, I'm still recovering from a migraine I had Monday. I'm still feeling a bit foggy and detached, and a bit hung-overish. What a fun Labor Day, huh?

Anyways, as of yesterday, we have a roof and I wanted to post a couple of pics. These people meant business, showing up at 6 am. I almost had a heart attack, as I was letting the dogs out to do their business in my pajamas with my hair pointing every which way. They worked fast, and were gone by noon. Behind them, they left our finished roof. The hubby and I think it's bee-u-tiful :)

Please excuse the oh-so-classy dumpster out front :)

Another shot of the roof

Front-on shot

Let's get a closer look!

It's actually brown shingle. I think it will look more brown when the siding is on the house, since the siding is a taupe color.

Love it!
Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Couponing

LA Looks hair gel, ReNu contact solution, Wisk laundry detergent,  Nivea lotion, Skintimate shave gel, Glade candles, Dial handsoap
Who coupons on Labor Day? Me! It looks like a small haul, but I didn't include 30 Gatorades and (4) 24 packs of Diet Pepsi. Those were the mainstay's of my haul that I decided not to include in my couponing picture. Other than that, I saved a lot on the rest. Here's this week's breakdown:
Glade Candles, 2 for $6; Spend $12 on Glade products, receive $4 in ECB's
-used (2) $2 off 2 Glade candles, received $4 ECB's
Wisk, $4.99
-used (2) $2 off Wisk coupons
Nivea Lotion, $6; Spend $10 on Nivea, receive $3 in ECB's
-used (2) $2 off Nivea lotion

-used $20 in ECB's from last week, paid $1.98, and received $7 in ECB's.

Rite Aid
LA Looks Gel, $2.99; Buy 1, Receive $2 in UP's
-used a $1 off LA Looks coupon, received $2 in UP's
ReNu Contact Solution, $7.99; Buy 1, Receive $7 in UP's
-used a $2 off ReNu coupon, received $7 in UP's
Skintimate Shave Gel, Buy 1, Get 1 50% off; Buy 2, Receive $2 in UP's
-used (2) $0.55 off Skintimate, received $2 in UP's

-used $7 in UP's from last week, paid $5.11, and received $10 in UP's.

Dial Handsoap, $0.88
-used (4) $0.35 off coupons (doubled to $0.70 off)

-paid $0.72

Total Spent- $7.81 on $79.08 worth of product. Savings of 91%.