Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coffee Bar and a New Desk

After getting the island assembled last week, it was time to get the hutch moved out of the dining room. We had planned to use the island as storage for the stuff currently in the hutch. After everything was moved (and some things stored that are hardly ever used), we still had room on top of the island so we decided to make a coffee bar! I love it since I have recently started drinking coffee. It has the K-Cup Brewer, K-cups, tea packets, creamer and sugar, splenda, and our mugs (hanging from another IKEA bar from my friend, Michelle).

That horrible white thing in the middle of the wall is a phone jack - we have never had a land line since we've been married so we won't be using it. I tried to take it off, but there were so many wires behind it I was too nervous to try and remove them. I have decided to buy some canvas art and just hang it right over the electric cover. I found one canvas that I like but it is small enough I will need some extra things to hang with it. I am determined not to purchase things just to fill space, but to make sure we really like what we hang in the house.

I also wanted to post a picture of the desk I assembled. It fits perfectly in the corner of the music room! I'm not sure I like how I have the shelves arranged, but I'm sure they will change frequently. In fact, they have already been changed from this.

We also need to find a desk chair. We are currently using one we just had laying around, but it mismatches so badly with everything I didn't even want to have it in the picture, haha. Some other things on the to-do list for the music room include hemming the curtains, hanging art above the fireplace (already have an idea of what I want), picking up the new chair from IKEA (I got this when I was there with my mom a few weekends ago, but it has a faulty part where the legs attach so we have to exchange it tomorrow), and finding a lamp and/or table to go with the chair.

It is so nice to see our house becoming our home!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Diet Update

After finishing paleo, I knew I would go back to weight watchers. As I have been getting back into the routine of counting points, I have also been contemplating what adjustments to make to the kind of food I am eating. While on paleo, I had a significant reduction in my pain level (joints, muscle, etc.) and I want to find out what it is that I eat that impacts that. I have decided that my first trial will be with gluten. Weight watchers will still be my weight loss factor, but I will adjust the foods I decide to eat based on the way they impact how my body feels. Gluten free is my first experiment.

The way I am approaching this is to eat foods I know are paleo-approved, and when I want to add something else in, I make sure it does not have gluten. For example, I wanted popcorn the other night but it is not paleo-approved - so I checked the ingredient list to make sure there was no gluten and once confirmed I went ahead and ate some. All of this is still within the limits of my daily points allowance to make sure I am still losing weight while experimenting. Although paleo was a good cleanse, it was hard for me to monitor how much food I should be eating (regardless of how healthy it all was for me, I could still potentially over eat).

I am also trying to apply other basic rules, like only eating when I am hungry, drinking mostly water, eating more produce, being careful about sugar intake, etc. I am still not super excited about the idea of giving up diet soda, but I have a feeling it will be one of my experiments. I know it is not a healthy drink but there is something to be said for having a little bit of unhealthy stuff just for the feel good aspect it brings, haha. With that said, I would have to be much more limited with it than I currently am in order to qualify under "a little bit."

So there you have it - my update for what I am currently doing. I have lost 5 pounds since starting weight watchers two weeks ago and my main goal is to stick within my daily points. The side experiments are just that - on the side. I am hoping to accomplish my weight loss goals as well as discover what foods negatively impact my body, specifically in the area of pain management.

Classic Caranci Cuties

Here is a post in honor of our sweeties - just our wonderful, everyday life. :)

Eden got a new "big girl" booster seat. She loves it! She loves sitting at the table with us now, and I have to say we like it too. Seems like we can finally eat as a family now, with one in the high chair and one in a booster instead of having to trade off with the high chair.

Happy Harry - he laughs and smiles all the time. :)

Being sweet! The kids really are loving with each other - Harry is most definitely touchy-feely all the time, constantly loving on someone. Eden is sweet to him too, usually holding his hand when they are sitting close. Makes my heart swell!

I found a bowling set for them at a consignment sale for $1. Eden seemed to really like it.

She kept setting the pins up in a straight line though...I guess she gets some OCD tendencies from me, haha!

Her first attempt at rolling (more like throwing) the ball into the pins. She over-shot a bit, but got better with time. Even Piper was excited about the new toy!

This is the extent of Harry's involvement with the new bowling set. He was glad to have something new to put in his mouth. :)

My favorite shot of the day! These kids are such a blessing to us - what did we ever do without them?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lots of Goodies!

Yesterday was a major accomplishing day for me - not too smart on my part, but I definitely got some things done. I have been having a lot of pain/aches the last few days, but there were some things in the house that needed to be done and I didn't think would take too much effort. The first thing on the list was to hang some baskets in the kids'/guest bathroom. My friend Michelle (holla!) gave me these bars and baskets from IKEA and I wanted to put them up. I thought they would be great in the bathroom to hold washcloths and hand towels (we are going to get orange ones to go in there, so it will be a nice pop of color, too). I got to use the power drill and level for this project, and I think I did pretty well!

(straight on shot)

(from the door, so you can see it in perspective)

Next up was to assemble the island we got for the kitchen. This most definitely took more effort than I expected. It didn't take a long time and wasn't super complicated, but I think I gave myself carpal tunnel using the allen wrench. Ouch. But...I REALLY love the finished project! Here it is pictured with some other goodies from the birthday trip: a vase with tall branches from IKEA (I think this will go in our bedroom eventually) and my $6 owl from Kirkland's.

Love him! I think I will name him Clive. :)

With the new island, we moved the bar height table into the dining room and will be giving the hutch and regular dining table to my sister. This is a picture of the disaster room - once the new desk is assembled in the music room (pics to come soon!) and the hutch taken out, plus new light fixtures, I think this room will end up looking nice and open. All on the list of things to do!

In other news, we finally got dates when Jason's sister and her family will be coming to visit - YAY!!!! Jason hasn't seen Jen in 4 years, so it is well over-due. They are planning to come the last week of March (Jen, Scott and the 4 kiddos). I have a master list of things to accomplish in the house before they get here, including finishing the painting in our bathroom and bedroom, moving all the furniture into the right places for upstairs, buying and assembling a bookcase for downstairs, hanging light fixtures in the entry, dining room, and bathrooms, and hanging some decorative things I have in mind for the hallway, music room, and both of the kids' rooms. All to be documented as we go! :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Catching Up

So it has been a LONG time (okay, a week) since I posted last - but it is because we have been crazy busy and very sick. I am going to try and do a thorough but concise recap for all of you fine folks out there in cyber land. Here goes!

Two weekends ago, we (the kids and I) went to the beach for a few days. No real reason, just to get away and relax a bit. My sister (Sarabeth) and her friend (Loren) went, as well as Grammy. It happened to fall over my 30th birthday, too. :) Here are some shots from the weekend:

The best smile I could get out of the Peanut.

The bean - got the smile, but I'm not sure what he is looking at.

Miss Hollywood watching TV. Seriously, she wore the sunglasses almost the whole time we were at the beach, whether we were inside or out.

They got lots of quality time with Grammy!

We really did have a great time and I was happy to get to go. It was SUPER cold so we didn't get to go outside very much, but I'm sure our summer trip will make up for it.

We were all glad to get back home to Daddy - one of Eden's favorite things is getting "toasty" on the bed and watching TV or a movie with us. :)

When we got home I had about 3 days before my Mom and I left on our birthday trip to Charlotte. First stop: IKEA! One of my favorite places to shop.

We didn't take a lot of pictures inside with the camera, mostly just with the phone to picture message Jason and my Dad to see if they like something we found.

Mom wants to re-create this room in her house - we both loved this library!

I ended up getting a lot of goodies for the house, which I will blog about as they get set up. Some of them take some assembly, so we will see how long it takes us! Included items: chair with ottoman for music room, comforter and sheet set for master bedroom, island for the kitchen, new desk for the music room, and some knick-knacky stuff. Can't wait to get it all set up!

We were hungry after all that shopping so we headed to our hotel to find a spot for supper. Cracker Barrel was it! I love to eat there and since Jason doesn't, it seemed a good opportunity. I had breakfast for dinner - biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, and grits. YUM!

The next day was a full day of shopping, so we headed to Kohls after breakfast at the hotel. Found lots of good buys on kids clothes and then headed to lunch at Carrabas. Another favorite of mine - the best dish they have is the Chicken Bryan (grilled chicken with breast with roasted red peppers and goat cheese, served with garlic mashed potatoes).

Next up, Concord Mills! It was SO packed, but we found a couple of little things: clothes for the kids, a ceramic owl (I don't know why, but I just loved him!), two pairs of sketchers for me, and some other little things for the kids. We headed to a movie after that and enjoyed resting our poor feet.

We were heading home Sunday, so after a brief stop to pick up some last minute things at IKEA, a stop at Trader Joe's, and some yucky Indian food, we were on our way. I'm not sure how Gertie (my Aztec) held under all that weight, but we managed to get it all in and make it home!

It was such a good time - nice to get some things for the house, eat good food, spend time with my mom, not have to worry about anyone but myself, and just have a good time. I am so thankful my Mom could come up from AR and spend the weekend - made for a great 30th birthday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Just wanted to give a short update - sorry I have been out of the blogging world for a bit recently, things have been busy. Not to mention I am sick - AGAIN. I am headed out this weekend for a birthday trip with my mom, but I will catch everyone up on the beach trip, Charlotte trip, and all else that has been going on sometime next week! :D

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Favorite Kiddos + a Dresser Makeover

The kids and I have had such a good week, I think because we are all finally feeling better (save for Jason, who still has some junk in his throat and sinus headaches going on). One of the big highlights of the week was finishing up Eden's new dresser and moving it into her room:

For those who didn't see it in the "before" stage, here ya go:

I sanded it, painted everything white, then did the inset parts in the same purple as her walls. I actually did not do the insets on the bottom or middle of the dresser, only the drawers. We also got new hardware for the drawer pulls. Looks a little cleaner now, for sure! The best part? It was free! Didn't pay a dime for it, just for the paint and hardware. My parents purchased some rental property and there was a lot of furniture left in the place, so we got to take our pick from the lot. Overall, I am really happy with how it turned out! We are almost done with Eden's room, just a few little things left to hang on the walls. Pics to come!

Other stuff from our week:

Eden wanted her picture taken, but wouldn't look straight at me...I'm thinking she is just working on her angles. :) Don't mind her hair, it is always a hot mess, just like mine.

Lunch was really happy on Monday - a smiling hot dog face, Eden's favorite!

Harry had his 2nd haircut, which I attempted by myself this time. Not too bad, if I do say so myself! Of course, how could you really mess up this handsome face anyway?

Tomorrow morning the kids and I get to head to the beach for a few days with Auntie Sarabeth and Grammy. Wish Jason could come, but it should be fun to hang out and chill...and ya know, turn 30 YEARS OLD! Saturday is indeed my 30th birthday, and I'm happy to be spending it at the beach. Only thing better would be if the whole family was there too, but I'll take what I can get. We'll be back in time for Valentine's Day to spend it with our favorite valentine, Daddy! Aka, Shmoopy. :D

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Work I Go!

Yesterday was an incredibly busy day in our house! For whatever reason I had mounds of energy and decided to get into as many projects as I could. My mom is coming in less than two weeks and I have several things I would like to get done before she gets here - it makes for a good goal day! So, the first thing I did was pull out the power drill and hang new hooks and a clock in the kitchen. Not so hard of a thing, but we have virtually nothing hung in the house right now since we have been painting and I'm anxious to see things look more "homey." Plus, I'm really starting to like using the power drill. :)

Next, I painted the window in our music room. When we moved in, there were long sliding blinds in there - we have since purchased curtains from IKEA to hang. Jason took down the blinds over the weekend and before we hang the new curtains I decided to go ahead and paint while it was all clear. I also had to remove some of the hardware that held up previous shades (no go with the power drill for those, I had to put some muscle into it with a regular flat-head screwdriver). I will have to do another coat before we hang the curtains and then I will post a picture.

Next, I decided to put a coat of paint on Eden's new dresser (hopefully the last coat!). More on that later - I will have a post to show the befores and afters of that project soon!

My last project of the day was to frost the sidelights by our front door. This was a long process. I first got the idea from pinterest, to use contact paper with a pattern cut out to give the panes a frosted effect without having to paint them. Turns out, Kernersville doesn't know what contact paper is, so I ended up buying the frosted paint for windows. I decided to make my own stencil from a design I also saw on pinterest, so Sunday night as most of the country watched the super bowl, I was cutting out the pattern. I emailed the design to my father-in-law who shrunk it down a bit to fit the window panes, and printed it out for me to trace and cut out (about 20 times, haha). After cutting out the pattern, we realized I should have made a border to make the lines look more even and also to give the pattern something to grab onto while taped to the window for spraying, so I cut some strips of paper to make a border around the design. Here is the final stencil I came out with:

I taped up the windows and surrounding door with newspaper to keep it from getting sprayed and got to it.

My first pane was a sore disappointment. I like really clean lines, and this looked a bit blurred. I figure the problem was that my stencil was out of a regular sheet of paper instead of something thick like card stock. The spray went through or around the thin paper and blurred the lines a bit. I decided to forget the pattern and just frost the windows for now to have some privacy and I could re-do them later with a stencil. As I sprayed over the pattern, I noticed you could still see a hint of the design. I kinda liked it! So I decided to go ahead and use the stencil on each pane, and if it was blurry it wouldn't matter because I would be frosting over it anyway and just needed the main idea to show through. As I got to the middle pane on one side, somehow the stencil miraculously held up the clean lines. Then I got another idea - what if I left the middle pane on each side with just the stencil frosted, and the top and bottom panes frosted completely with the stencil showing through? Yippee, I think it's gonna work! I did one side and really liked it. After finishing both sides, I liked it even more. It worked great because there was a lot of privacy, but if we really needed to see who is at the front door there is enough space to see through the middle pane (right at eye level) since it isn't entirely frosted over. So my mishap turned into something I like even better than my original idea and plan.

I have found it is really hard to photograph and capture what it looks like, but this gives you an idea. Although the top and bottom panes look uneven in their coverage, it is just the way the light is hitting. Guess you will all simply have to come and visit and see it in person! :D

As Time Goes By

It has been very interesting to see how my body has reacted to eating non-paleo foods. I can see SO many more differences now than before. I didn't notice the changes while on the whole25 but now that I'm done they are much more evident. Here's the list:

1. My fingers feel swollen now - as well as maybe my ankles. There isn't a big enough difference to change my ring size or anything, but they just feel thick.

2. I can feel a difference in my body as a whole - not more or less pain, but I am much more stiff now than when eating paleo. I feel like I need to stretch all the time! And I am really stiff when I get up from sitting down.

3. I am having some balance issues - I think it is a blood sugar regulation thing, but I feel dizzy when I stand up or bend over and then straighten up again.

4. I definitely feel more bloated - not sure if that is the right word, but my whole body just feels thick...when eating paleo, I never felt that over-stuffed feeling. My stomach always felt flat (or maybe a better way to put it is not sticking out, haha), even after eating. Now, that is most definitely not the case.

5. I am definitely more hungry now. While on the whole25, I hardly ever felt hungry except in the mornings. Now I am hungry much more often, and throughout the day.

6. Two things that I expected to change that have not, is that my digestive track feels more in line now than when I was eating paleo, and my sleeping is much better than when I was eating paleo. Also, my restless leg syndrome is better now that I am eating non-paleo foods. I'm not sure what any of those mean, if anything.

So after having several days being off paleo, I certainly miss some of these things. I haven't decided yet how to proceed...I have considered switching to paleo full time, doing a whole30 every few months, having a flexible paleo-style diet, etc. I need to think through it some more and make a decision soon - I want to get moving on whatever plan I decide to stick with!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hungry Hungry Hiccups!

There are a few little things I have noticed since starting to eat non-paleo food...first, I am most definitely more hungry. I think it was Jennie that was telling me that it is because certain kinds of foods (i.e., gluten, grains, carbs, sugar, etc.) have a non-filling, addictive quality to them. When you eat them you initially do feel full, but it doesn't last and it leaves you craving more of those kinds of foods rather than more whole foods (veggies, fruit, protein, etc.).

Secondly, and it could be totally non-related, but I have had the hiccups...A LOT! Kinda weird, but it started the day I started eating non-paleo foods. :)

One of the things I thought I might be seeing as a result of being on paleo was that my fingers didn't seem as swollen. I didn't really know they were swollen to begin with, but once I started I could almost promise that my fingers seemed less thick. I think that must have been true now, because they feel thicker again now that I am eating non-paleo foods.

So there you have it, my reactions so far to being off of the strict whole30. Not too bad - nothing major like more joint/body pain or bad digestive reactions. So far so good!

The kiddos are feeling much better too. I snapped a couple of pics of them today, and they are so cute! Harry is chillin' out in some new jeans (oh my word, he is so adorable) and Eden has been wearing her coat since she woke up, hoping that we will get to go outside today. She says the funniest things - I will have to do a whole blog post dedicated to Eden-isms. :D

Happy weekend!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 1 Off the Train

Well, after expecting some trouble re-adjusting to non-paleo food, I am happy to announce I feel the same! I had no real adjustment going into paleo and it would seem I have none coming out of it. Granted I am only a day into it, but I haven't had any rushes to the bathroom. I told myself I needed to move slowly and add things back in gradually and in their specific food groups, but then it seems all caution went to the wind (is that the saying? can't quite remember if that is right...).

I started with a teeny piece of pizza yesterday and a few ounces of juice. No problem. So dinner was good ole cheerios - one of the things I missed most was cereal. So cheerios and milk = no problem as well. This morning was a bagel and. . . wait for it. . .diet coke, praise God! It was like manna from heaven. I can feel all of my anti-soda people cringing as you read this, haha.

So on that note, let's have a little side bar: I know that not all of the things I eat/drink are healthy or healthful. But here's the thing, I am doing weight watchers which teaches balance and moderation. Although I am somewhat of an extremist in most things I have found through trial and error that when I try a diet plan that completely eliminates something I don't have near the success rate as with weight watchers that occasionally allows for things outside of the healthy realm.

I need to be successful at weight loss - I have been overweight a long time now, and for the sake of my own body (not to mention my family) I need to be a healthy weight and exercise regularly. If following weight watchers instead of another plan is going to get me there, so be it.

I have the freedom to make decisions for my life, wrong or not. I sincerely appreciate those who are interested in my well-being and give their input out of concern. However, I have decided not to continue justifying the choices I make - I'm an adult, I make my own decisions, end of discussion. My skin is thickened to take the criticism and I refuse to let it hurt my feelings anymore!

Let me say this is not in response to anything about doing paleo - in fact, I appreciate SO much the feedback and comments I have received from those following my experience. I have had nothing but encouragement from everyone! This is just in general to give myself a little kick in the pants to start being a big girl and do what I need to do, regardless of what others are doing or saying. I can only take responsibility for my own actions and just as I want others to let me be, I need to let others be.

So with all that said and off my chest, thank you for continuing to read about our wonderfully blessed life here in the Caranci house. :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 25 = The End

Yesterday was day 25, and I had sweet potatoes for breakfast, some guac-mash for lunch, and some pecans and two tangerines for supper.

With that said, day 25 is the last whole30 day for me. I decided after talking with Jason that the last 4-5 days are not going to make much of a difference in the long run. The truth is, I have seen no major or minor changes in the way I feel since starting paleo. The expectations of lesser body/joint pain, better sleep, and more energy were sadly disappointed for me.

Don't misunderstand, I KNOW that doing a whole30 has changed people's lives! It just didn't change all. Granted, being aware of the things that are put into our food has definitely been a wake-up call - there are so many added things that simply don't need to be in there. And it is good to know that my original instincts were correct, and that I have a hard time digesting tons of produce. I thought I might have a gluten allergy, but we will see how things go as I slowly add things back into my diet.

Overall I am still glad that I took on this challenge, if for no other reason it was good for my self-discipline. I also had a wonderful time bonding with my paleo pal, Michelle - this has been fun to do with her!

The only real result from the whole30 (or whole25 in my case) was a loss of 10 pounds. I'm not sure how much of that was water weight from simply changing my diet drastically, but time will tell. My plan is to continue my weight loss through weight watchers, which focuses on teaching about balance in your daily food intake. I have done it before and had success until I got pregnant again and had to stop. I am looking forward to finishing this goal and maintaining a healthy weight for life.

Thanks so much to all who have been such an encouragement and help during my paleo challenge! I appreciate all of your kind words and helpful tips/gifts. Keep reading the blog, paleo was just one side to Caranci Chronicles - now there will just be more room for pictures of the kids! :D

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 24

Quick recap on my recent food: dinner on Monday (day 23) ended up being some guac-mash, made with some sauteed chicken, peppers, and onions. Yesterday (day 24) was a banana and pecans for breakfast and lunch was some turkey meatballs and boiled eggs (not sure why, but this is the first time I boiled eggs while on whole30; surprising because I really like them).

When it came time for dinner, Jason and I decided to have sirloin salads - lettuce, onions, tomatoes, carrots, olives, and grilled sirloin with dressing (balsamic mustard for me, italian for him). It was good!

In other news, the kids went to the doctor and we found out Eden has double ear infections, Harry has one ear infection with a blister inside his ear, and on top of that we still have the RSV (respiratory virus) that will take about 2 more weeks to get over. So both kids are on antibiotics and surely we are on the road to recovery now! Thank you to all those who have been praying for us, we sincerely appreciate it!

Today we are all home, trying to recover and maybe get a few things done. We will see how we feel and what all gets accomplished, but at this point I would be glad just to have some clean laundry. :)