01/28/2013

Neat and Clean

This past weekend, I headed to Columbus with Tim to meet up with a few of my girlfriends and their significant others for dinner and a night out at the piano bar downtown.  While at dinner, we started discussing housekeeping and organizing and who runs the cleaning schedule in the home.  The more we talked, the clearer it became that in every relationship there seemed to be that opposites attract mentality.  That balance between one needing a clean home and the other being more laid back about organizing seemed to make for the perfect compliment of one another and leads to an easier living situation than if there were two obsessed or if there were two who didn’t care.

As long as I can remember, I have thrived off organization and have felt most creative in clean spaces. When I used to finish playing with my toys, I would immediately pick up and put them away in an ordered manner. My American Girl doll’s clothes had to be folded neatly, my Barbie dolls were placed in its respective storage, and all of my Beanie Babies had to be accounted for and in the assigned bins. Even at the age of seven I believed there was that perfect spot for everything I owned. To me, a clean room equaled a clear mind and I continue to think in a similar manner even today. Whether I am at work, at home, or in the car I try to keep everything neat and tidy.

During my youth, I had gymnastics practices fourteen hours per week and during competition season I would have entire weekends devoted to the sport. I did all of this while also going to school full-time, keeping up my grades, spending time with friends and family. I think the crazy schedule I maintained forced me to be organized from a young age. It was the only way I could complete everything I needed to and still stay sane.

I know this type of behavior can be annoying to those I live with who are not quite as clean obsessed as me.  My husband likes a clean space, but it doesn’t stress him out the way it can me and again, that balance works for us.  I used to think I was pretty strange when it came to wanting everything in its place, and for awhile I thought I was the only one crazy about organizing. However, now that Pinterest has come into existence I feel a little less insane knowing there are others out there like me. In fact, there are plenty of domestic divas putting my antics to shame! Rest assured I am picking up some tips along the way and am even learning to be a little easier on myself for wanting everything in its proper place.

Right after the new year began and all of the Christmas decorations were packed away until the next holiday season, I decided to clear out and organize my hallway closets. I had a linen closet that was filled with bed sheets, blankets, and towels that had been unfolded and thrown around a little bit. My second closet was my mish-mash storage area that had everything from manuals to DVDs, vacuums to paper products, and was filled with frames and pictures just waiting to be hung throughout the house. I tackled these areas with a little help from some Pinterest, and some newly purchased baskets, Tupperware, crates, and glass jars from a variety of stores like Target, Dollar Tree, and Hobby Lobby.  I absolutely loved how the baskets kept everything neat and orderly, especially when stuffed with sheets that may not lay flat and can look like more of a mess than they actually are.

closet2

closet1

closet4

 closet3

I even got my some more pictures hung up in our stairway collage.

photo collage

I wish I had before pictures to share as well in order to show what a difference the containers made, but you will just have to trust me that my hallway closets are much, much more organized now. My next goal is to straighten out my bedroom closet that is filled to the brim with clothes and shoes. About half of the clothes in there I wear constantly, but the other half consists of either old clothes that are too worn to wear, clothes that are stretched out or no longer fit, or sweatshirts and sweatpants that need tossed or cut into cleaning rage. I hope to find time in the next couple of weeks to try on all of my clothes and shoes and keep those that fit well and that I love and give away or sell the rest.

 

Questions:

· Are you passionate about organizing like I am? Or, do you not get worked up when things aren’t perfectly organized?

· What are your favorite organizing tips? Feel free to link up if you have anything specific to share from the web!

· If you are organized and live with someone who is less strict about putting everything away, how do you handle this sort of living situation? Or, vice versa, if you don’t care about organizing as much, how do you live with someone who is obsessed?  From past experiences, do you find that the opposites attract mentality works well when living together?

01/26/2013

Weekend Brunch: Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Pancakes are one of those recipes I look forward to having during a delicious weekend brunch.  Throughout the week, I tend to stick to quick breakfasts that I can prepare with little time and not much thought before work.  On Saturday mornings though, I prefer to take my time in the kitchen.  I like to whip up foods I don’t usually get Monday-Friday and put a meal on the table that makes an ordinary, cold January day feel just a little bit more special.

When I do cook brunch I sometimes take classic favorites and try to make them a little more healthy.  Once you are on a sugar-rush at 10 a.m., it is hard to even out your blood sugar for the rest of the day.  I don’t know about you, but if I have too much sugar, too many carbs, and a lot of unsaturated fats in the morning I struggle to get full the rest of the day.  However, with these Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Pancakes, I was able to enjoy a classic pancake breakfast that tasted delicious, gave me proper fuel, and left me feeling satisfied without the sugar headaches! 

wwgyp

Some healthy pancakes can be a little thin and lack that fluffy pancake texture so many of us hope to find when we eat pancakes.  These Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Pancakes though made me forget I was in the comfort of my own home and not in the dining room at the local IHOP, or my local favorite The Golden Nugget.  There is nothing like eating easy to make, delicious pancakes while staying in your pajamas until late morning!

 

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01/24/2013

Peanut Butter Lovin’

Peanut butter is a favorite food of mine that seems to make its way into my diet pretty much every single day.  Not only is it cheap and cost effective for my grocery bill, but it also has a simple ingredient list (typically just roasted salted peanuts), is a quick and easy choice when I need a snack, is nutritiously filled with all of those healthy fats and protein, and makes everything it is slathered on taste delicious.  I swear, sometimes it seems to be yelling “Eat me!” from inside the cupboard where it sits on my Lazy Susan just waiting to be consumed.

My absolute favorite brand of peanut butter is the Kroger Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, but I also like the Creamy Salted from Trader Joe’s, and the 365 Creamy Peanut Butter from Whole Foods.  What can I say; when it comes to my peanut butter I stick to the simple, money saving store brands.  I have actually yet to find a $5.00 jar that I prefer!

 So what is with my love of peanut butter on this random Thursday you may ask?  Well, today is January 24th, 2013 and it is National Peanut Butter Day!

Peanut butter is an ingredient you see all over the blog world, and for good reason!  It is one of those foods I used to think was off limits for someone wanting to stay fit because of the high calorie count and loads of fat grams.  However, I couldn’t have been more wrong!  After getting past the fear of peanut butter and choosing to add it into my meals, I quickly began to crave the healthy fats I had missed for so long.  My hair is extra shiny and healthy, I have more energy, and I don’t even feel those hunger pains anymore.  Some of my favorite ways to eat peanut butter are:

  • A Dollop on Top of Oatmeal
  • Smeared onto Apple and Banana Slices
  • Stirred into Greek Yogurt
  • Spread on Top of a Rice Cake, Slice of Whole Wheat Bread, English Muffin, or Light Tortilla
  • Added to a Smoothie
  • Mixed into Batters: Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Cupcakes, Breads, etc.
  • Straight from a Spoon!

As you can see, peanut butter does not have to be saved for special occasions; it can be enjoyed at any time of the day!  Don’t be afraid to give it a try and throw a jar or two into your cart next time you’re at the grocery. 

Here are some blog recipes using peanut butter (even making peanut butter!) that have caught my eye:

Courtney’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches

Ashley’s Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Overnight Oats

Brittany’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter

Averie’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Katie’s Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake

Here are a few of my favorite peanut butter recipes from www.newlywifehealthylife.wordpress.com:

Peanut Butter & Oats Celebration Cookies

Peanut Butter & Oats Celebration Cookies

Last Year’s National Peanut Butter Day Recipe: Peanut Butter & Oats Celebration Cookies! 

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Oatmeal 

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Oatmeal

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Oatmeal

Banana Pecan Protein Pancakes with Peanut Butter Almond Syrup

Banana Pecan Protein Pancakes with Peanut Butter Almond Syrup

Banana Pecan Protein Pancakes with Peanut Butter Almond Syrup

 Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies

 Craving peanut butter yet?  After all of those delicious recipes, how about one more!

 [gmc_recipe 212]

 Questions:

  • What is your favorite way to eat peanut butter?
  • Do you have a favorite recipe using peanut butter?  Feel free to link up!
  • What is your favorite brand/flavor of peanut butter?
  • Are you going to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day?  If so, how?!