I thought I’d share something I made this past weekend. Maybe it’s more like put together than made but there was some decopaging involved and therefore it is going to be considered a craft in my book.

Anyway, I made a “Date Ideas” box. I got the idea from this website:

which I found on Pintrist.

My boyfriend and I always have trouble being decisive and coming up with ideas for fun or different things to do when we hang out. I found this idea months ago and told him about it and he has been occasionally asking me if I’ve made it yet ever since. Well this weekend I had to go to A.C.Moore to get supplies for a learning material for school and decided to grab some decorative paper, a box, and some little wooden letters while I was there and finally put it together.


This could also be a great idea for family outings, restaurants, etc. I actually might make a restaurant version at some point since that’s always something that I have trouble picking and end up eating at the same three spots every time I go out to eat.

It was simple to make and most of the ideas I put inside were from the website so I didn’t have to think too much about those (which I guess is the point of this, right?). I left out some of the ideas from the site since I knew some of them were things we wouldn’t actually do or wouldn’t be as into doing.

As for the decoration of the container, I started off with a cardboard cylindrical box with a lid, 2 sheets of my base decorative paper (you can’t see if very well in this picture but it’s navy blue with little stars), one sheet of the decorative paper for the lid, the wooden letters and heart, rubber cement (it was the only glue I had around at the moment), and some Mod Podge.

• First, I wrapped the base paper around the container so I could mark with a pencil where to cut the paper to fit. I then trimmed off the excess and used the Mod Podge to glue the paper to the container. I then did a coat of Mod Podge over the entire thing to give it a tighter bond and a nice seal.

• Next, I cut the paper for the lid. If I had chosen more pliable paper, I probably could have just wrapped the lid but the paper I got was pretty thick so I had to cut a piece to be the top (just traced around the lid and cut) and then cut strips to go around the edge (similar to how I marked and cut the paper for the base of the container).

• I used rubber cement to glue these on since the paper was thicker and the Mod Podge didn’t quite hold it in place well enough. I let it sit for a few minutes and then covered all the papered areas of the lid in Mod Podge (again, to give it a tighter bond and a nice seal).

• I then let all of that dry over night.

• The next day I used rubber cement to attach the letters. You could also use wood glue for this but again, rubber cement is what I had. I just basically rubbed each letter on the rubber cement brush and then put it in place on the lid. It dried quickly or at least held well right away so I didn’t have to worry about the letters sliding around as I went which was nice.

• The last step was to add the ideas! I just wrote them on paper , cut each idea out in strips, and folded them in half. It would have been easier to just print them out but my printer isn’t working so I had to go with handwritten. You could also get fancy with designs or fonts but for now, they are just plain. The cool thing about this idea is that you can constantly be adding to it or taking ideas out as you go.

Now put all of the ideas inside and have fun!



September 18, 2011 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

Have bag, will travel.

I made this bag about six months ago at this point. However, if it is any endorsement for the bag, I have used it everyday since and it’s still going strong. I will admit that the lace straps, although very pretty, are apparently stretchy. They have since elongated themselves significantly, causing me to have to wear it more like a purse (on one shoulder) rather than a backpack.

So anyway, I decided to share this bag because a) it was super easy to make b) it is very diverse (children’s play bag, purse substitute, small hiking pack, etc.) and c) I use it all the time. I’m a stickler for crafts and projects that are actually usable rather than purely decorative.

Here is the website I got the directions from:

They are showing it as a bag for young children but if you are making it for yourself, if I remember correctly, I just doubled all of the dimensions. You can easily just play around with the sizing depending on your needs or preference. I would show you my own process but since I made this six months ago, I didn’t think to take pictures of the steps. But don’t worry, the original website does that for you.

September 9, 2011 at 9:41 am Leave a comment


If you’re interested in eating in a healthier, more real way but are afraid or unable to do it full-out, here is a list of some ways you can change your eating. You can just do one or try them all.

Simple Changes:

–       Do not underestimate fruits and veggies. They can be main parts of a meal too, you know! It’s also helpful to try to think of them as snacks as well. Apples with peanut butter, grapes and cheese, or carrots and hummus are all yummy snacks.

–       Go with baked instead of fried.

–       Give honey a try (or pure maple syrup).

–       Go for whole wheat and grains. In your bread, in your pasta, and in your flour.

–       Less. I’m not talking about less food but less stuff in your food (like chemicals, preservatives, dyes, etc.). There’s almost always a less messed-with version of whatever it is you’re eating, you just need to take the time to look. And remember, all you lazy or time-crunched people out there, you really only need to spend extra time searching once and then you’ll know where and what to look for next time!

–       Eat out less. It’s harder (sometimes impossible) to eat “real food” when you eat out.

–       Start buying some (or all) organic fruits and vegetables.

–       Start small. Pick a day of the week where you follow the rules or maybe even just one meal once a week. As you find more recipes or build up leftovers, you can start adding more days and meals.

–       Freeze stuff. Make a big batch of soup, freeze it and now you have multiple real food meals!

Also as a little side note, today was my first post-challenge day and I decided to get one of my much-loved frappeccinos from Starbucks. I’ll tell you what, although it still tasted yummy, the sweetness was a bit overpowering! It was almost like a shock. I’m not sure if it was totally in my head (very well may have been) but I swear I could taste the artificialness. Not sure how else to describe it but there was a distinct taste or feel that I had never noticed before. Interesting.

September 8, 2011 at 6:22 pm Leave a comment

I’m sticking with you.

So with only one day left of the challenge (scratch that, more like 5 hours left), I thought I’d share what I plan to continue with when the challenge is over. I just want to say that this challenge was much easier than I anticipated!
Aside from that restaurant-made lasagna (oh and I was corrected, it was baked ziti, my bad) craving, I have literally not had any issues following this challenge.
I think the two biggest benefits of doing this were a) it proved that I can eat this way and b) it really challenged me to actually think about the food that I eat and what it really is. I would highly recommend this challenge to anyone!

So here are the things I plan to stick with after today:
1. The bread. I loved the bread I used for the challenge! It is organic whole wheat bread made locally by Slow Rise Bakery. The challenge is going to be getting my hands on it as needed since it is only available at Central Market and Stauffers (local grocery store) and on top of that, it is only delivered once a week and goes fast! It’s also more expensive than your typically sandwich bread.
2. Whole grain pasta. This is sort of cheating since I mostly bought whole grain pasta in the past anyway but I am going to keep it up.
3. Baked Tostidos instead of fried and Triscut crackers as snacks.
4. Homemade flavored yogurt. I actually liked this better for breakfast than the Gogurt I had been eating before.
5. Organic, no preservatives/dyes/etc. cheese. Again with the just as good but better for you (although sometimes a little more expensive).
6. Looking at ingredients in prepackaged food and thinking. Pretty self explanatory. I plan to eat as little of this kind of stuff as possible but the reality of college living is that I can’t make these items regularly and I need a little more variety so I am going to try to find real or at least almost totally real versions of these foods.
7. Buying the organic/natural version whenever possible.
8. Cooking more instead of just buying boxed/premade stuff.
9. Less sugar. I am going to bring sugar back but consider using honey or maple syrup when possible.
10. Using whole wheat flour when possible.

Things I am not going to stick with:
1. The five ingredients or less rule. This was the one rule that I didn’t like because it removed totally natural store bought food items that I had found such as pesto and tomato sauces.
2. Not really being able to eat out. I have decided that I am not going to limit myself when eating out. Of course, I will be much more conscientious now when selecting meals and restaurants but I plan to let myself eat things when I’m eating out that don’t follow the rules.
3. No sugar rule. Sort of explained that above but I am going to allow myself to have some sugar but use honey or maple syrup whenever possible.


Stay tuned tomorrow for some tips on how to implement real food eating into your life!

September 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm 1 comment


anyone else obsessed?

September 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

My bad…

Beginning a blog around the same time as the beginning of a new semester in college = very little blog action

Don’t you worry, I haven’t given up on the real food challenge (it’s actually going VERY well, more on that below) or this blog. To be completely honest I’ve been so distracted with school, apartment, work, and food that I haven’t really given this poor blog much thought the past week or two.

My last real semester of college is off to a good start (the semester after this is student teaching, hence not a “real” semester)! Long days but the classes have been interesting so far.

I am also loving this new apartment! I haven’t been able to take full advantage of city living since I can’t really eat out without a bunch of research/planning and I’ve been a little distracted with school stuff but once I am able to, I look forward to walking downtown more often for dinner/lunch/snacks/shopping!

So more on the real food challenge. As I said before, it has been going really well. My only craving so far was for some lasagna that my boyfriend brought over to eat (he’s not so into the real food thing, we will see if I can change that). It smelled so good and I was so tempted to have a bite but a) it wasn’t made with whole grain pasta, b)The sauce and cheese were probably full of preservatives, etc.. The cool thing about this challenge though is that I totally could have made myself some equally yummy lasagna but I didn’t because I was too lazy to make my own tomato sauce (hehe).  Aside from that almost moment of weakness, I have literally had no cravings or even become bored with the food I have to eat.

My packed lunches have been going well as well as my breakfasts (I talked about those in another post). The only negative I have about the breakfast is that my waffles are a little smooshy, I probably should have cooked them a little longer when I made them (I made a batch and froze them). I have a thing for bready things needing to be crispy/crunchy. Dinners have consisted of things like nachos (baked Tostidos, cheese, jalapeños, and sour cream), grilled cheese and veggies, pasta with butter and peppers, homemade garlic bread (toasted bread, butter, garlic, and melted mozzarella cheese), and my favorite which is sort of a mini buffet of veggies, fruit, cheese, and crackers.

I also made a really yummy smoothie the other day. It was really simple (as all smoothies are) and I just made it up as I went along. I just blended some frozen strawberries, milk, a bit of my frozen flavored yogurt, non-frozen strawberries, mango, and a few nuts (for some added protein).

So far, the main change I have noticed the past 5 ½  days (oh yeah, that’s how many days I have been doing the challenge, forgot to mention that) are that I feel better. I know everyone says that and it’s really vague but I just honestly just feel better overall. I don’t feel bogged down or groggy or blah and I have yet to feel overly full or anything like that after eating. One thing that everyone says is that they have increased energy. I don’t know that I totally feel that one. I haven’t felt any more tired that usual or anything like that, but I wouldn’t say I’m like extra energetic or that I don’t need some caffeine every once and a while. It’s a little hard to compare though since my schedule (adding classes and such) changed at the same time as I started the challenge.

Well this post basically sums up the past week of the challenge. I have sort of done a simple version since I haven’t done a ton of cooking and preparing lavish meals like my mom has, but I have been eating healthy, real food and really enjoying it.



Sorry about all the words and no pictures. I’m normally a picture person but my camera memory card is full and I haven’t managed to remember to get a new one yet. Hopefully that will change soon!

September 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm Leave a comment

Real Food Challenge Countdown: 1 day

So tomorrow is the day! I’ve made waffles, cheese crackers (seriously taste exactly like cheese-its, yum!), flavored yogurt (bought plain yogurt and added the flavor), and got some homemade granola from my mom. I would have posted pictures but my camera’s memory card is full and I didn’t think ahead to buy a new one. I’m sure I’ll get some pictures on here of at least some of the food.  The recipes for everything I named can be found on the 100 Days of Real Food website.

I purchased the rest of my food from the grocery store yesterday (with the exception of bread which was purchased at our local farmers market). Parts of that trip were fun and parts were not. For starters, the grocery store didn’t have everything that I was looking for which was pretty frustrating. Second, I felt like it was so expensive (big shocker, I know). Especially considering almost none of it was actually any type of meal or anything yet which sort of annoyed me a little. However, it was sort of fun to look around at what fit the rules and what didn’t and it made me feel all nice and healthy to look into my cart and see all those fruits, vegetables, and other natural foods. It was pretty eye opening to realize how almost all the food available to us has a bunch of chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and other artificial things in them. Especially the things that really don’t need them like pickles. Why do pickles have a bunch of artificial stuff in them?? Seems unnecessary to me.

The rule that bugs me the most so far is the “less than five ingredients” rule. It made shopping harder and has limited what I can eat without having to make it. I understand that with some things this rule would help you to eliminate pre-made foods with a bunch of unnecessary ingredients in them but for items like breads or sauces, the rule basically forces you to have to make things that could be purchased at the store naturally and even organically. For example, there was a pesto sauce that was completely natural and organic but it had somewhere around eight ingredients (mostly different herbs) so it didn’t fit the rules.

I realize this post has been a bit of a rant about things I am not happy with so far but I am excited to start, don’t let this make me look like I’m down about it. For example, I already packed my lunch and snacks for tomorrow 🙂 which consists of :

–       grapes

–       a peanut butter sandwich (I lied, I didn’t make that yet)

–       salad with walnuts and raspberry vinegar dressing

–       and some granola and cheese crackers for snacks (I have class from 9:30 until 2-something and just lunch wouldn’t cut it for me).

Wish me luck! I’m really hoping I can do this without any serious cravings (Frappucinos, I’m talking to you!)!

August 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

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