Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Climb to Glory"

For those of you that don’t spend your days stalking the Fort Drum Facebook Page (aka anyone other than me) that is the motto of 10th Mtn. And for the next 7 weeks, I’m using it as my motto for the Fight for Air Climb!

After spending last Wednesday evening with 20 other people climbing the 50 flights at Three Logan Square, I have been seriously revamping my training technique. Technically the 50 flights was only half of what K and I will be doing, but gave me a great barometer for where I need to improve and approx how long the 100 flights should take me. See, while this event is a fundraiser and not technically a race, you’d better believe hubs and I want to beat everyone. Team For Little Debbie is going to be passing people in the stairwells. Well, maybe not – that whole passing thing is a whole ‘nother ballgame.

Anyway, end randomness and back to the topic at hand, training. Mr. Firefighter from KOP and Mr. Firefighter from NJ had awesome tips for me since they’ve both done this at least twice, and both have done it in full fire gear. Do you understand what that means – it’s 70lbs (at least) of gear. Yeah, go ahead and think about how crazy that is, then come back to me.

Okay, you back? My previous training routine looked like this –

After talking to “my firefighters” my new training routine looks like this –
Benefits of new training routine, my knees don’t hurt nearly as bad and I can do the stretching part and the low impact cardio (riding my bike inside) while watching trashy television and likely making the neighbors think I’m crazy. I am giving myself two full weeks of this routine and then am going to hit up my new favorite training place and see how fast my time is. New training location – the 7 story parking garage in West Chester (yes, I know this is weird, but it is the tallest building I can find to run up and down in). And yes, I am using the term “building” very loosely here. Anyone want to lend me a staircase in a taller building – let me know! Obviously my new training time won’t exactly balance out with doing the full 50 flights straight since I’ll have to take several breaks to come down the stairs, but its close enough for me. Then, I’ll still have 5 weeks to get myself into shape for the full 100 flights. There is no scientific method behind it, but I think I’ll do 80 flights as my maximum (kind of like how when you train for a marathon you only run 80% of the full distance). Sort of make sense?

That being said – is there anyone I can convince to join our little team and make it 3 people strong? If I can do it, you can do it! Minimum to raise is $100 and technically, rockstar hubby and I have already done that for you!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Resolutions in Motion - Week 3

Hi everyone, and welcome to the Resolutions In Motion GFC Hop! Link up your blog below, hop around and check out some new blogs, and cheer our participants on with their resolutions!

I can't believe we're already half way through this 6 weeks! I was off all weekend and made the most of it with friends, so I'm feeling super positive about the week ahead even if last week involved more long hours than I would have liked.  I did work two 12 hour days, which was the opposite of my goal, but I also worked one 8 hour day, and I couldn't tell you the last time I made it out of here in just 8 hours! If the grand total for the week works out to be 10.4 hours/day that still counts as a positive if my goal was working 10 hour days, right?!

One thing I did super well on last week was not checking email/doing work from home.  So even if I worked 12 hours and didn't get home until 7:30pm, I was able to get in a good workout for The Climb, do some updates on Mom's blog, and make dinner.  I enjoy cooking very much and making time to cook dinner at night is not only healthy but a stress reliever for me. And breakfast - does everyone love breakfast for dinner as much as I do? I ran out of eggs and was super sad I couldn't have french toast on Friday so I found a happy balance and made pancakes Saturday morning.  YUM!

Thanks for hanging in there for my misc ramble and cheering me on as I work to find this work/life balance! How did you do last week?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happies and Crappies

Excited to post more happies this week than I did last week - yay! For those of you new to the link-up, the goal is to focus on both the good and bad things from during the week. For me personally, this link-up combined with my Resolutions in Motion goal to get a handle on my work-life balance seems like a great way to start off 2013!

The Vintage Modern Wife: Happies and Crappies Link Up

Happies for this week
  • Kevin and I are at more than 80% of our goal for the Fight For Air Climb.  That means we have raised more than $800!!! HOLY CRAP.
  • I got to have drinks with my Internet bff Kaela last night to celebrate her new job.  Added bonus, I got to meet her new man-friend (NOT BOYFRIEND :D)
  • I am off this weekend and husband and I have absolutely nothing planned.  Well, since I originally wrote this yesterday we've added possibly helping a friend move, fundraising insanity, and dinner with a friend.  BUT - those are all things that we want to do, and only one of them involves taking a shower and getting dressed-up.  In our world, that is still nothing to do.
Crappy for this week
  • Little brother deployed to Afghanistan this week.  Even all of my happies can't counteract this crappy.  I'm more than a little sad and missing him already and we're only 24 hours and 7 minutes without cell phone contact.  I have a feeling this could be a trying year for us, but fingers crossed he gets access to the interwebs soon and I can see/hear his smiling face!  

This link-up is hosted by Stephanie, Sarah, Neely, and Sar and I can't wait to see what their own "happies and crappies" are for this week (Or, whenever Stephanie's blog decides to cooperate)! 

Come on, you know you want to share your own with us too!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

So, this phone...

I finally joined the current century in December when hubby bought me an iPhone! Yay? 

I was really quite happy with my little Blackberry, and my "fancy flip fone" had lasted me for 3 years before I got the smarty phone. So, I wasn't such a super fan of spending more money when my Blackberry worked just fine.  Imagine my surprise when an entire glass of water was spilled on my phone at a Christmas Party (cough cough Andrew cough cough) and seriously jacked up it's functionality.  After the water incident, my phone would spontaneously play video clips and/or not charge. 

^^^^that^^^^ was my overly wordy way of saying - my Blackberry worked just fine before getting a bath, and then it started acting ridiculous. 

Kevin took that chance to upgrade my phone. So, now I have an iPhone with an ugly purple and yellow case.  It's not doing much for me and is in need of a serious upgrade.  So, if money was no object - which one of the following would you chose? Or do you have a better suggestion? I'm open to suggestions! 

$41 from Zazzle 
$3.85 from ESaleDeal
$24 from CafePress
$40 from Zazzle

So... Thoughts?! This ugly case has 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mom: Fight for Air Climb 2013

Today I have a super duper important meeting to attend in Philadelphia after work.  That meeting is for the Team Captains for the Fight for Air Climb Philadelphia 2013.  I am nervous about meeting other team captains, since our team is just Kevin and I - but I know we have as much heart as any 10 person team! I've included some information below to clue you in about the Climb, and have a post in the works for our basic training program and how we're getting our butts in shape for this adventure!

Kevin and I are excited to have signed up for the American Lung Associate Fight for Air Climb in Philadelphia.  The climb is on March 23rd, which thankfully gives us plenty of time to train and fund-raise! 

Who: Team Little Debbie, which is currently made up of just Kevin & I (and anyone else who would like to join).  
Plus or minus 1000 other participants.

What: Philadelphia 2013 Fight for Air Climb -
Century Climb (This means we are doing the full climb TWICE) 
A total of 100 flights/2176 Steps

When: March 23, 2013 at 8:30AM until we finish or fall over

Where: Three Logan Square, Philadelphia

 Why: Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women, responsible for more deaths than breast, ovarian, cervical and prostate cancers combined!  Each year, about 160,000 people die from lung cancer in the U.S., accounting for more than one in four cancer deaths. Also for those suffering from asthma, emphysema, and COPD.

How: We are now officially registered, and are responsible for raising $100 each.  Our goal is to raise $1,000 for Team Little Debbie, which seemed daunting when we first started.  Now, thanks to friends and family (honestly, mostly friends - but that is another post for another day) we only need to raise another $310 before the climb. I am considering increasing our goal, but with us also participating in Relay for Life in June I would also like to raise money for that.

You had to have known that this part was coming, so please forgive me for asking.  For those of you that knew my Mom, I hope you will consider making a small donation in her memory.  Won't you help us make an impact in Debbie's name and help motivate Kevin and I?  I will not recount all of the wonderful things that the American Lung Association does, but please visit their website if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to learn more about this organization. 

In case you missed the 42 links included in the post - our team page can be found on the For Little Debbie blog or here -

January Birchbox Review

I wasn't even paying attention to the mail last week, since post-birchbox email it typically takes FOREVER for my box to get here. Then hubs sent me a picture of the box and it made my day.  Yes, because he knows that this little box makes my day (maybe my week). 

The amika shampoo was the most sudsy (sudzy, sudzie)  made SO MANY SUDS that I think hubs thought I took a bubble bath.  It smelled okay though, seemed to leave my hair clean, and I got enough out of it for two washes.  Not sure I would buy this one again, but mostly because 14oz is $22, which isn't a great in my opinion. 

There were two products that I thought were equally awesome, and I'm excited to buy both of them.  They were the Balm eyelid primer and the Embryolisse’s Lait-Crème Concentre (24 hour Miracle Cream). The eyelid primer passed the workday test, which for me is between 10 and 13 hours that virtually nothing survives.  The combination of the primer and my favorite gold Ulta shadow made it through the day and was very easy to apply.  I would estimate there is enough in the tube to make it through several weeks, but even when it comes times to purchase it, I wouldn't hesitate to spend the $18. The Embryolisse cream is a little more expensive at $28, but this cream gave my make-up a flawless finish for a night out and really evened me out for the photos.

Synposis of January:
Dinner Date Worthy: Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre
Seriously Birchbox: Juicy - Viva La Juicy
Want to check it out for yourself? Use my referral link -  
When you use this link, I'll earn 50 birchbox points when you sign up, and for every 100 points I earn, I'll do a small giveaway!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Resolutions in Motion - Week 2 (Co-Hosting)

Hi everyone, and welcome to the Resolutions In Motion GFC Hop! Link up your blog below, hop around and check out some new blogs, and cheer our participants on with their resolutions!

Our lovely co-hosts won their spots, so make sure to visit them and follow, as well as our four hostesses!

This GFC hop is for anyone and everyone, and as a special surprise this week, I'm giving away a February featured ad space on my blog (Shaping Up To Be A Mom), and a pair of earrings of your choice from Cents of Style! This giveaway is open to everyone!

(Coupon Code "0512" for 10% off!)

Now on to the hop!

Please feel free to share this button:

Follow your hosts: 
Shaping Up To Be A Mom
Covered In Grace (RSS or email)
Ramblings of a Southern Belle

Follow your co-hosts:
Big Apple Mami
Whispering Sweet Nothings
A Little Bit of Everything in Bmore
the Anna Delores blog

Link up your blog, a specific post, a giveaway, or anything else you'd like to share!

My update for the week:   After working the previous weekend, I got a comp day last week, and had the opportunity to take Thursday off.  Most comp days are spent cleaning the house, grocery shopping, catching up on all the things I missed while working all weekend.  This comp day was much more fun! I got to have lunch with my grandfather, mother in law, and Kev's grandmother and Aunt.  We had lots of fun at lunch and had a great tour of the life care community that my grandfather lives in.  (If you follow me on Twitter, this is the live-tweet insanity that was going on last Thursday). I only had to go back to work on Friday, and then had Saturday and Sunday off as well.  I was off all weekend and only got one super quick phone call! HOORAY! My hours last week (ie; Wed & Fri) were a little longer than I would have preferred (11 hour days both days), but I kept it to less than 12 which is better than I can say for the previous week! I get to work Monday - Friday this week, which is a bit of a treat for me.  Goals for this week are the same as the rest of this 6 week challenge - keep to 10 hour days, and ignore the email while at home (since I can't ignore the phone calls). Monday was about 10 1/2 hours, but 1 hour of that was shoveling and salting the sidewalks so I'll call that extenuating circumstances (ha)!

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Fighting the Funk...

To put everything out in the open, I have been in quite a downward spiral over the last 2 years.  I don't want anyone to think that I am depressed or anything of that nature, but my general positive outlook on life has taken quite a beating.  In 2 years, I have lost both my grandmothers, Kevin's grandfather, my mother, and had my brother deployed twice.  

Family Picnic, Family Photo, Soldier Family, Family Portrait
Our family before Chris's first deployment to Korea
 I used to think I was a very positive person, and that I was quite resilient.  That belief has certainly changed over the last few years.  While I have done my best to stay positive with regards to my personal life, it is certainly hard to do when I feel as though I can't catch-up.  This past weekend we took a trip north to New York to say goodbye to my little brother as he prepares to be deployed.  Those of you that have dealt with deployment likely have an understanding of the heart break I was feeling.  That heartbreak just 4 months and 2 days after the final goodbye to my mom was almost more than I could bear.  I am so "incredibly beyond words proud" of my little brother, but there are certainly days (like Sunday) where I would rather have him home with me. Christopher is an amazing soldier, and loves the team that he leads, the men that lead him, and his country.  He has grown-up in ways I can't explain in the last 3 1/2 years of service. 

Part of the other blog I started is to keep myself busy, and my mind occupied with things other than sadness.   While focusing on my mom may seem like a sad thing to some, it is an opportunity for me to honor her memory and the lessons she taught me.  I will freely admit to missing her when I sit down to work on the blog or fundraising, but those fleeting moments of sadness are overwhelmed by the pride of being able to call her my mom. 

I am hopeful that mail to the big sandbox will be prompt (ha), and that I will have an opportunity to mail Christopher fun care packages over the next 9 months.  I have big plans for St Patrick's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, and well, every holiday.  There isn't much I can do for him from here but send love-mail, and I am more than happy to do so.  Keep your eyes out for some deployment box posts, as I hope to share some items that do/don't ship well, packing tips, and how to make even the practical items fun.  If I can make time in my schedule, I may also hop on the Baking Gals bandwagon again, mostly as an excuse to bake cookies! 

Easter Box, Deployment Care Package
Easter box while in Korea
 Thanks for listening/reading, and I hope you won't mind that I am asking for all the prayers, good wishes, happy ju-ju (whatever you believe in).  These men need all the help they can get, and from the states, prayers, etc are the best thing we can do.  So, won't you do me a favor and think good thoughts for those soldiers in the big sandbox and all around the world? Today may be MLK Day, but there are thousands of men and women still fighting for our freedoms today.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Family Baking: Tassies

One of my most favorite and least favorite things to bake during the holidays are Pecan Tassies.  The recipe that my family uses is from my great-grandmother and is a bit labor intensive.  This year was the first making them without my mom, and I learned several lessons.  I'll start with those, since they're important. 

1. Use full-fat cream cheese and butter.  Don't use substitutions, it is NOT the same. 
2. Let the cream cheese and butter come to room temperature naturally, do not soften in the microwave, it is NOT the same. 

Okay, now that I've got my public service announcements out of the way, let's look at a short description and pretty pictures! 

The dough is very simple, and is butter, cream cheese, and flour. Make the dough, divide into 24 small pieces, and press into mini muffin tins. 
 Crush half to one cup of pecans and fill mini muffin cups about halfway. 

Mix egg, brown sugar, and vanilla and then pour into cups to cover nuts.  

Then bake for 15 - 20 mins and EAT! 

If there is any interest in the specific recipe, let me know and I'll get it typed up and emailed out! I'm not posting this full secret on the internet, no sir!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happies and Crappies for the Week

The name of this link-up cracks me up, but I'm thinking it is a great thing for me to join in on! Focusing on one good thing and one bad thing for the week, along with my Resolutions in Motion goal to get a general handle on my work-life balance seems like a great way to start off 2013!

Happy for this week - I have raised more than $500 for the Fight For Air Climb Kevin and I are doing in March.  I am proud of our friends and family for their contributions and proud of myself for maintaining relationships with such amazing people. I did a little happy dance and may have cried some happy tears each of the 16 times that my phone beeped to let me know we had another donation. I have the most supportive friends and family, and they all make me smile - laugh - and occasionally, drunk.

Crappy for this week - today (the 19th) is 4 months since we lost Mom.  I know there will always be good and bad days, but this week I feel as though every moment is a trying one. 

This link-up is hosted by Stephanie, Sarah, Neely, and Sar and I can't wait to see what their own "happies and crappies" are each week! 

Come on, you know you want to share your own with us too!

The Vintage Modern Wife: Happies and Crappies Link Up

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CSA - Indecision for 2013

Disclaimer - CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  We have participated for several years in two different farming groups in the Chester County area. 

I know that I need to make a decision regarding participating in a CSA for 2013. And I know this is a decision I need to make soon, but am so conflicted about.

I will miss the variety of vegetables the most, as I had so much fun learning about all the new types of vegetables we were introduced to throughout the season! The most fun from 2012 were the little baby eggplants - so small and a great texture addition to my favorite veggie dishes. The garlic was the most challenging, as even someone like me who cooks with a lot of garlic, a whole head (or two) each week is a lot to use! I am glad that I learned to roast it, and use as a spread on sandwiches, mixed with mayo, added to grilled cheese, and in marinades.

I am also a bit afraid that I will eat less vegetables this spring/summer/fall when I need to purchase them myself and decide to use them on my own. Having the already paid for, fresh and clean produce in the fridge was the best motivation I could have. 

Speaking of the paid for part - the up front $500 - $650 cost is a bit much to swallow when we are in the middle of house hunting.  Add in the many unexpected expenses from this fall, upcoming deployment, and Christmas - January is a tough month to make this decision. 

CSA, Vegetable Share, Community Supported Agriculture

There are a few reasons that even with all of the positive things are creating some feelings of caution. If everything goes as planned, Kevin and I will be in a new County, a new home, and just the two of us by the summer. The two CSAs that we participated with before are completely out of the way of our planned move and I seriously dislike the idea of driving 15 minutes in the wrong direction after my workday. Unfortunately, I am having trouble finding a new CSA in Downingtown that is in the price range we can afford. Our two previous CSAs were funded just by Kevin and I, but we did have a third person to help us eat our shares. To be totally honest, I am not sure that even if we ate vegetarian 3 meals a week we could handle the entire share ourselves. 
CSA Flowers, Community Supported Agriculture, Sunflowers

I am sad to say that I think this summer will be the first in 4 years that we'll go without a CSA. I am hopeful that I will be able to find a produce market/farmers market to visit occasionally, and with some menu planning that I should be able to maintain a relatively healthy summer menu. I also need to find a cheap way to supply the dining room table with flowers, as that was the most "exciting" bonus of summer 2013 with SIW's share!

Sorry CSA, we'll miss you!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Resolutions in Motion - Week One

I survived week one of Resolutions in Motion.  If I had to grade myself, I'd guesstimate that I ended the week around a C+.  I was very proud of myself for keeping track of the hours that I worked, which did help hold myself accountable.  

I realized how demanding some of my clients can be, but am trying to acknowledge that just because the phone continues to ring after 6pm does not mean that I need to answer it.  Even though Kevin is not home in the evening, I still need to go home and have some time to myself. That being said, I still failed with flying colors yesterday when I not only worked more than my 10 hour goal, I worked 12 hours.  Yep, at work from 7am to 7pm.  Thankfully there were leftovers in the fridge, so I at least ate a healthy dinner and not my usual cereal or scrambled eggs. 

7 day work week and 70 hours worked still balances out to 10 hour days, but only because there were two "short days" (aka 8 hour days) in there. Continuing to work towards this for next week, although I have Thursday off and don't work this weekend either! So, really I only have T, W, F, M to stick to my 10 hour goal! ::herewego::

Also, I wanted to give a bit shout out to my internet-gf Kaela (Twenty Something Dating) who has been on quite a roller coaster this last week and is seriously coming out on top! So, go visit and give her some comment love, pretty please? Or you can check out her spontaneous and Flyer loving self on the Twitter-verse @justkaela

Oh, one more non RiM thing.  If you could all please keep your fingers crossed for little brother, I would appreciate it.  It is possible that he will get to come home and see our friends and family this weekend before deployment, but there are no guarantees.  Otherwise, only 4 of us will be able to go North and see him, and I'd hate for him to not see everyone before he leaves.  We find out tonight (Tuesday), and as usual the nerves are high. Thanks! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thanksgiving (belated)

Yep, while everyone else is catching up on Christmas and New Years, I'm going all the way back to Thanksgiving.  Mostly because there is a funny story! 

Grammy (my dad's mom), has always had a turkey butter at Thanksgiving, a tree butter at Christmas, and a lamb butter at Easter.  I know for many of you this is going to sound completely foreign, but I promise they exist, are cute, and are a holiday staple.  Two years ago when my grandmother was sick, it became my job to find the butters.  Sometimes I luck out at the first stop, and other times I'll be at 4 or 5 grocery stores before I find them.  Thankfully Giant seems to have a good relationship with Kellers (who makes them) and I can usually stock up at one of the three Giants near work and home.  Yes, stock up - because this year, I hosted little Thanksgiving at my house on Thanksgiving day (which required 1) and then we had "Delegated Thanksgiving" on the Saturday afterwards for 20ish people (which required 2). 

Now, in addition to have the butters at the holiday dinner, there is also a tradition at Thanksgiving and Easter which involves beheading the poor animal.  Ugh, I know, we're a little weird.  Christopher was at my house on Thanksgiving day, so he got the honor of beheading our little turkey friend. 

Thanksgiving Day in general was very casual - just 5 of us (me and 4 men), and we all ate at my little dining room table.  This may be the first time ever that I've eaten Thanksgiving lunch, that was seriously served at 1pm.  Thanks to several 3 - 11 shifts, this was the only time that worked for everyone, and while it did involve a very early start to the holiday, I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I apologize for the terrible picture of our Thanksgiving table, but in my rush to get everyone fed and off to work, photos took a back seat to eating! Oh, this also reminds me that I need to do a post about this little chicken (far left of photo).  A very generous blogger sent him to me ALL THE WAY FROM ITALY months and months ago, and he has taken up residence on my stove ever since! 
 Don't worry, I'll be sure and remind you before Easter to head out and find your little lamb - people will think you are either awesome or crazy, depending on the family.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ornament Swap

In December, I signed up for an ornament swap with Laura, from Luckiest in Love.  I was so excited to get a partner, read up on a new blog, and send something awesome in the mail! 

That was, until my package came back to me via the USPS and looked like it had been through  Jurassic Park.  I should have taken pictures, but I was so sad looking at the mangled box that I threw it in the trash.  Then I went shopping at Anthropologie to make up for the extreme late-ness of Bonnie's second box and bought her the ornament you see below! Yay it was so cute - I bought one for my tree too! 

Bonnie is from Texas, you can check out her blog at Life With You 1222 and see what she is up to! I got an adorable sled ornament that jingled whenever I brushed past our tree, it made me smile and made the husband a little nuts (so it was all good!). 
 I'm excited to see what other swaps I can get myself into this year - they've been a great opportunity to meet new people, and while this post may be very late (like 30 days late), I still wanted Laura and Bonnie to know how much fun I had! 

Thanks ladies :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

December Birchbox (belated)

December Birchbox wasn’t my favorite, which was a little disappointing.  I guess I expected the month of “caring and sharing” to really knock my socks off.  Maybe that’s why I was so late in getting this posted? Or that I lost the box in the mayhem of gift wrapping and couldn’t find the rest of the products to finish trying them.  Yeah, not the last one ::promise::

The product I liked the most was the Emily’s Chocolate Fortune Cookie.  Okay, that was my Instant Gratification product because I ate it about 7 seconds after opening the box.

The Keratese Thermique treatment was a great find though.  I only used about a third of the product in the packet each time, so the two packets lasted me more than two weeks! My hair was nice and shiny and didn’t seem to get that winter fly-away look going on.  The $39 price tag might be a little steep for me, but I have some points to cash in and this might be my next purchase! If I use it all winter with the same results, I’ll be broadcasting this one.

Last item I am even going to talk about is theBalm – Mary Lou Manizer.  The first three days I wore this, at least two members of my staff told me how good I looked.  I wouldn’t care if this cost $100, that may great compliments are worth it.  Already purchased this one, and the full size even gets valued space in my travel bag!

Synposis of December:

Want to check it out for yourself? Use my referral link -  
When you use this link, I'll earn 50 birchbox points when you sign up, and for every 100 points I earn, I'll do a small giveaway!