Monday, March 26, 2012

Around the House

I haven't posted many photos of how the house is set up, and honestly it's because it's been a mess since we've moved in. We just don't have the cupboard space we're used to, so there are a lot of things tucked into corners because there is no where else to put them. So the place looks a bit cluttered, but what is life without a bit of clutter, eh? We live here, and it looks like we live here, unlike those houses you see in Better Homes and Garden magazine. They look so perfect, like no one lives there! We are an active family, we use our belongings, we have a toddler running amuck making messes everywhere she can.

I've been trying to declutter the house a bit, get rid of things we don't use or need. Especially this past week. Since my health scare I've been forced to rest, so my usually active, busy days have been spent sitting around trying not to strain myself in any way, and when I get a bit antsy I clean something, or organize.

My bookshelves! The bulk of my book collection is here, but I also have a few in my bedroom as well as tucked into different places around the house. I love my books. My collection has grown quite a bit because it's difficult for me to get rid of any of them once they're read. I used to do that when I was younger, and now I could just kick myself for it. There are some books I vaguely remember what they were about, but I can't for the life of me remember what the titles are, and I'd love to reread some of the gems from my childhood. I know that many of these will be worth rereading in the future, so I hold on to them. Living the military lifestyle and moving around a lot is an unstable life. We are constantly losing things or having to replace broken furniture thanks to careless movers, or some pieces don't fit into new houses so we have to get rid of them, but my books are always constant. I will always have my books.

My apothecary "table" It is called a table according the store we bought it from, but it is much more like a chest of drawers. It is filled with junk, but we're slowly weeding through it and keeping only the things we need. On top I have a stack of graphic novels that are based on classic lit that I love. I've got The Picture of Dorian Gray, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Nevermore (a collection of selected Poe stories,) The Wonderful World of Oz, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, as well as a beautifully illustrated book of Shakespeare's sonnets.

My vintage suitcases. They're filled with yarn & handkerchiefs.

Layla jumping in on the photo. I've got my old frame filled with Spring inspired vintage hankies, a painting of bunting that I made myself, a print of Katie Daisy artwork, and the farthest one is my multi media 'I beard you' art.

This is where we keep our DVDs. I love the two Katie Daisy Prints here. 

Where we keep Jer's books. He doesn't have as much as me because he has a nook. This is on the landing on the stairs. The window looks out into our driveway and front yard.

Tulips and matryoshka dolls!

The view out our front door. We see the fence that surrounds the RAF base we live nearby. That building is the youth centre where Layla will be playing footie and doing gymnastics. We also have a great view of the nice base housing neighbourhood. It's a bit cruel that we are forced to live in the ugly, terrible homes and just over the fence we're forced to look at a beautiful neighbourhood with beautiful homes.

My dining room table! We are finally able to enjoy the table and I have a lovely Spring bouquet to complement my Cath Kidston table cloth.

My little phone table. This is the only spot in the house where we can hook up the phone, so I had to put my great-grandma's little table here. It's a bit in the way since it's in the dining room, and it's not a very big space.

And that is our wee little home. We've tried to make it as cozy and liveable as possible, but I will never love this house. I'm still counting down the days until we're able to move out. Don't be fooled by these pictures, I've taken them at flattering angles so you don't see the clutter and mess. It looks like a much bigger space in these pictures than it in in real life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The area I live in isn't great for runners. I don't know why England is so unaccommodating for so many things; running and cycling included. 

My neighborhood is in the middle of nowhere connected to the outside gates of a large Royal Air Force base. To get anywhere outside of my immediate neighborhood you have to go out on the tiniest roads. They barely accommodate cars & lorries, there is absolutely no room for runners and cyclists.

So I've had trouble trying to map out running routes. My mileage hasn't been too high so since I've been here I have either run on a treadmill or, since I'm trying to improve my speed, on the track. It's been fine up until now, but once I get over a recent health scare I'll be upping my mileage & I'm disappointed at how few options I have. 

I can either run on base, but I'm not allowed to run with headphones for safety reasons (something I'm not willing to give up for long distances.) Or I can risk my life trying to run the winding country roads, which honestly I'm scared out of my mind to do (especially if I'm pushing Layla in a jogging stroller!) Or I can just run a million laps around the track (no thanks.)

I've also recently learned that there are footpaths that go between the towns, but I'm a bit worried about running them alone, plus I don't think they will work well with a jogging stroller.

Ugh. I don't know what I'm going to do when I ever need to run anything over 3 miles. I'm going to have nowhere to run.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Monday!!

The Weather::
We had a nice, sunshiney day yesterday so Layla, Jer, & I took advantage of it by heading out of doors. We didn't go far, Jer put together our patio table as well as Layla's climber, so on our next sunny day I'll be able to enjoy a nice cuppa while Layla plays on her slide. I also tried to take Layla for her first bike ride in England, but she was scared of bugs and cars. She even tried to get us to let her hold onto her plastic golf club so she could swing it at any bugs she might see, but she's not a good enough rider for that. We made it about a block away, but had to turn around because she kept screaming.
Today it was supposed to be partly sunny, but we have yet to see anything but grey skies.

On My Reading Pile::
I'm a little indecisive on what I'm going to read next. Just yesterday I went through all of my books, organizing them on my shelves while rearranging furniture, & a few titles caught my eye. Some I've never read, some I would love to read again.

On My T.V.::
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings

On The Menu This Week::
Layla and I made healthy, baked chicken nuggets for lunch yesterday, & they were a big hit for all 3 of us, so I think I'll make a huge batch this week to reheat when the craving strikes again!
I'd really like to try spaghetti squash.
Beef Stir Fry
Chicken Lo Mein
I've been craving really good chinese food, and I haven't been able to find any decent take-away in our area, so I'm going to try some recipes I've found online.

Looking Forward To This Week::
De-cluttering and maybe starting a new project. It's been a while since I've done any embroidery, so I may do something fun. & St. Patrick's Day! We're not doing anything extravagant, but I'm going to make Irish Car Bomb cupcakes for Jer's co-workers!

On My To-Do List::
De-clutter (story of my life)
Layla's writing lessons (though, I don't think we're going to do that today since she's sick on the couch and I don't think she'll really be up for it.)

What I'm Crocheting or Creating::
Nothing! I finally finished my ripple blanket last night! Ever since I tied the last loop & declared "It's done!" Layla demanded to be wrapped in it. She snuggled up in it & fell asleep with it last night. Then this morning she woke up sick & she's been cuddling in her new ripple blanket on the couch watching Disney Junior. I don't know what my next project will be, but I will probably start making stuff for my shop soon.

Looking Around The House::
& I hate this house. I hated it when we first saw it, then when we got all of our stuff I really tried to be optimistic about everything and hoped that once I had my own furniture and belongings I'd feel better about it, but no matter how hard I try I just hate this house. I will never like it & I can't wait to move out of it.
I'm going to try really hard to de-clutter & get rid of things we just don't use or don't use often enough. Also try to figure out a better storage situation; clean out drawers and cupboards to make room for the things we actually use.
This will make living here a little easier, and it will make things easier when we finally move out of this house.

From The Camera::
Layla wrapped up in my finished ripple blanket. My poor little sicky.

Favourite Blog Post This Week::
From Lucy at Attic24 posted about the Sunshine we had this weekend. I think the whole country got a glimpse of Mr. Sun yesterday!

Something Fun To Share::
I know that with the hustle and bustle of everyday life & the stress that often creeps uninvited into our lives can slowly, but surely disconnect us from the important things in life. I don't have to put much effort into making time for family, but it is important to plan "unplugged" time together. No T.V., no phones, no computers. Just us. Playing out of doors, playing a game inside, any type of fun, playtime. It's important that children engage in fun activities with their family & it's very important that they know they have your full attention. So go ride bikes, or help them bake something fun!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

On The Hook

I'm still working on my pretty ripple blanket.
Since the movers brought us our household goods I haven't really found the time to sit & work on more than a few rows at a time. I'm determined to finish it this weekend. Since I'm sick in bed with the croup I think I can easily accomplish this. Once I'm done I will have to decide whether I'm going to keep it for myself or sell it on etsy as a lap throw or a toddler sized blanket. Since it's my first successful ripple (all others before it came out wonky) I think I might keep it & work on a smaller version for etsy.
I have yet to work on anything for my etsy shop.
I am giving myself all summer to work on stuff, but I really hope to get started this spring so I will have an abundance of yarny delight for the shiny shop window come August.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How we spend out mornings

Layla & I were up early Wednesday morning because we had to take Jer to work. When we got home we decided to crawl back in bed, cuddle, & watch some movies. We also enjoyed the feature on my iPhone camera that turns the camera around so we can watch ourselves on the screen while taking pictures. It's Layla's favourite feature, she just loves to watch herself!

Yeah, I know, we're awesome!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday!

The Weather:
We had a chilly, but sunny day on Saturday, and I'm so glad we took advantage of the sunshine by heading out to Newmarket for some shopping. It was mostly window shopping, but it was nice to walk around outside & not be freezing for once! I did pick up a magazine & found a gold mine of stamps!!
After that nice day it rained all night Saturday & all day Sunday (I even went out & ran on the track in the pouring, freezing rain!) Then a few hours afterwards the snow took over. It accumulated a bit on the lawns, but didn't stick to the roads (SO grateful for that!) & then it warmed up too much for snow, but the wind and rain lasted through the night and morning & it's still going strong this afternoon.
It looks like we'll have rain/snow for the next few days!
I'm okay with that though, I can stay indoors with Layla and get some crocheting done!

On my Reading Pile:
I have a graphic novel of selected short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. I am a huge Poe fan & am getting very excited for the new Poe movie 'The Raven' (staring John Cusack as Poe!!!!) so I've been reading through a few of my favourites.

On My T.V.:
Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

On The Menu This Week:
Healthy, homemade baked chicken nuggets
Creamy Avocado Pasta
Baked sweet and sour chicken
Chicken Parmesan (I found a healthy delicious recipe that is easy & simply divine!)
Creamy grilled chicken piccata
Artichoke crusted chicken

On my to do list:
Help Layla clean her room
Clean the kitchen up
Grocery shopping

What I'm crocheting or creating:
Still working on my ripple blanket. I've only been able to sneak in a row here and there every now and then. I'm also working on some flowery bunting for my living room to liven it up. I'm still living in a false sense of spring in spite of the bitter cold taking over.

Looking around the house:
Well the dresser has finally been moved up to my bedroom, and my kitchen table is still in pieces in the dining room. The stacked chairs and table are in the way of organizing my pantry, so I'm having a bit of trouble keeping the kitchen clutter free for now (which is ever so annoying!!!) I did spend Friday night organizing as best as I could as well as giving the counters a good cleaning and sweeping and mopping the floors really well.

From the camera:
I love stamps! I have a few pieces of jewelry made from stamps that my beautiful cousin, Sarah, has made. My absolute favourites are the Great Britain stamps of Queen Elizabeth II's profile. They come in such beautiful colours! This weekend I found an absolute goldmine of used stamps, many of them were Queen Elizabeth, as well as some spiffy stamps with her father, King George VI and some of King Edward VIII. There were some other cool royal ones in there as well. I am going to make something with them, but I'm just not sure what!

Something fun to share:
I was just informed this weekend that about an hour from here there is a Cath Kidston warehouse shop! It's cheaper than the regular stores & it looks like they are stocked up on every print that is normall available, as well as out of season items that have been taken out of stores! Also, since it's a warehouse things are a bit cheaper than normal!! I'm so excited to go have a look around & I'm hoping to be able to go pick up a few goodies for my birthday this summer! Maybe Jer will take me for mother's day =)
So anyone in the Mildenhall/Lakenheath area, if you fancy a trip to St. Neots for some Cath Kidston shopping and lunch, let's plan an outing!! We'll make a day of it!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Finding Motivation

It's been a while since I've blogged about running.
Honestly, there hasn't been much to blog about.

I don't like making excuses, but that is exactly what I've been doing.
I've basically been living in a state of denial.
For some reason, I had it in my brain that I really didn't need to run while in the process of moving. My last move (from Nebraska to California fall of 2010) I didn't run during the entire 3 weeks of the stressful move. It was a short time off, and I was too stressed about a near-cross country road trip alone with a toddler during the winter. So when I was settled in California, I picked up right where I left off. I'm not going to lie & say I wasn't sore, but it was just the soreness of waking up tired muscles.

So for some reason I thought my "return" to running after this move would be just as easy. I use the term "return" loosely. I ran off and on during the move, but I was very unmotivated & did not run on the level I was used to or the level I should have been running at. Especially if I want to run a half marathon in the spring. Plus, this move took a lot longer than the last one. 5 months is a long time to not run regularly.

I am now settled in the house & have no excuse to not be running.
& yet, I am finding excuses.

My main excuse is a simple one;
I lack the motivation to get up & run.
You'd think I'd want to rebuild the muscle mass I've lost.
You'd think I'd want to lose the weight I've gained in the past half year.
& I do...I just don't want to do the work.
I've just been living in a state of denial & misery.

So this past week I've had a heart-to-heart with myself. No more pity parties. No more excuses.
I'm just going to make the time & force myself out the door.
Motivation will surely turn up eventually, right?

Today I went for my first real run.
I'd been pumping myself up for it all week.
& getting myself ready for the shock that would be a timed run outside. No treadmill to soften the blow, no easy, watch-less jog about the neighbourhood.
A track workout.
With a watch.

Of course I happened to chose the coldest day we've had this week, and of course the freezing rain picked up on my way to the track, but I got out there, I got it done, and I had motivation. I was actually looking forward to running. Whoa! Where did that come from?

& I wasn't too shocked with my timing.
It was actually better than I expected, but I'm still a long ways from where I need to be.
Hopefully this newfound motivation sticks around. I need to rebuild what I once had & get rid of this extra weight I've been carrying around. I don't just want it, I need it.
It really helps that I have found such an amazing running community on twitter, everyone is full of encouraging words.

x Jenna

P.S. I highly recommend Under Armour charged cotton gear. Even in the cold I was very warm, and although it's not 100% water proof, it helped tremendously in keeping me dry. It poured during my entire track workout as well as the jog to the track & back to the house.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Favourites

i love books!
i love reading. 

I've always been a bit of a book purist & refused to get any kind of E-Reader. I prefer to feel the book pages and hold a real book in my hands as I read. 
My book collection is by far one of my prized possessions.
While the movers were still bringing in boxes I started unpacking my books and lining them on the shelves. I was just so happy to be reunited with my books! 

Even though I will always consider myself a true book purist, I am starting to contemplate getting an e-reader. 
I know.
Me?! With an E-Reader?!
What am I thinking!?

I will still buy real books when I can, but it makes sense. I have the bookshelf pictured full of books, plus another 2 that I share with Jeremy's books. I really don't have the room to store them. There is no room for another bookshelf in the house we currently live in so I'll have to be a bit creative. In our last house I used to line them up on the windowsills, but this house doesn't have windowsills big enough to hold any books.
Also, with our lifestyle, we travel a lot. We travel to see family, we like to go on vacations, and as our last move proved, we can be separated from our belongings for a long time! I was separated from my books for 5 long months, and during that time I purchased 17 books. (That's how much I read!!) 17 books takes up a lot of space when you have limited room in your suitcases!
So it just makes sense for me to get an E-Reader. Just for the convenience.
Maybe I'll ask for one for my birthday this summer.
Any thoughts?
Anyone have an E-Reader? 
What kind do you have, and what do you love/hate about it?
Jer has a nook colour & I think I'll probably get one as well, but I'm wondering what everyone else thinks?

Words I live by!

x Jen

One Step Closer

We've been in this house for almost 2 weeks now & today we are one step closer to being finished with moving in. Usually I am unpacked by about the 3rd day after the movers bring in all of our furniture & boxes, but we've hit a few snags along the way. Our rooms are MUCH smaller than we are used to, & we knew from the beginning that our entire bedroom set wouldn't fit in the master bedroom of this house (I'm using the term "master bedroom" loosely.)

So we had the movers leave our long dresser in the dining room so we could either sell it or figure out what the hell we were going to do with it. As we were unpacking we figured that it would fit in the master bedroom as long we moved the tall dresser out. So today we finally had someone come move the big dresser up the narrow stairs and into our bedroom. It was quite funny watching these two guys try & maneuver that beast up the stairs!

So we finally have a bit more walking around room downstairs, but our table is still in pieces on the floor. The movers somehow lost the hardware to put it back together & we haven't been able to find hardware that fits anywhere! (UK stores carry metric hardware, we need US Standard, so anything we find here will be either slightly too small or too big.) Luckily I have awesome parents who will be sending us the correct hardware as soon as their able to go to the store & pick it up!

My poor little table. (& my poor tablecloth needs to be ironed! It fell behind the table & got a bit wrinkled!!)

x Jenna