Thursday, January 31, 2013

Best Time Yet!

Happy Thursday!  I generally like Thursdays because it's pay day, but normally it's my longest day of the week, work wise.

Last night we headed down to the track.  It was about 50 degrees and felt like rain.  Right as mile #1 ended, it started to rain.  Not quite a light rain either.  For a minute I thought about stopping (mainly because I thought.. crap! my iphone!  I use it for music).  Instead, I took it off my arm and put it in my jacket pocket which zips.  Phew.  Glad I wore it because I almost just wore a T-shirt. 

Technically my best time was when I ran my first 5K back in June 2012.  After that, I hurt my knee and didn't run for about 2 months so when I saw my time last night, I was really happy.  The rain actually felt really good and it helped me pick up the pace!  Here are the results:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meat & Potatoes

My family was and still is big on meat and potatoes.  Some of the best meals I've had were with them.  Yummy filet mignon with yukon gold mashed potatoes.  YUM.  At ShopRite on Sunday I picked up some pork chops, 93% fat free ground turkey, 90% fat free ground beef and some cube steaks (haven't had in forever).  Last night on my ride home from work, I was thinking how I'd cook the cube steaks.  All the recipes I looked up were for deep fried, breaded cube steaks with gravy and mashed potatoes.  I knew I had some Ezekiel breadcrumbs left in the fridge as well as some potatoes so what I did was a little healthy twist.  I used 3 cube steaks (each about 0.4 lb), coated in almond meal and whole wheat flour, dipped in egg white and then dipped in the bread crumbs.  I pan fried them with coconut oil and then topped it off with caramelized onions.

For the potatoes, I boiled them and mashed with about 1 tbsp butter and 1/2 cup almond milk (used vanilla but you couldn't taste it).  We had leftover steamed broccoli so we had that too.  Here's a picture:

One serving of the meat was about 240 calories.  I had about 1/2 cup of potatoes (looks like more because I flattened it out) and 1 cup of broccoli for a total of about 450 calories.

I did some core work and planking last night.

I'm hoping to get a run in tonight because A) It's warm out B) I have to work until 10pm tomorrow C) We have plans Friday and all day Saturday.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Window Treatment Debacle

In 3 days, we will have been in our house for two years already.  Our dining room is basically all windows and we have yet to install "proper" window treatments due to the cost.  For now, we have curtains from Ikea.  They look more like sheets :-/  We live on sort of a busy corner so we wanted something temporary for privacy.

Today, I scheduled a free consultation with Smith & Noble.  Right now they have a buy 2, get 1 free deal and we need coverage for about 20 windows between our dining room, living room and bedroom.  I'm still afraid of what it will cost though.  Anyway, it's a free consultation so it can't hurt.

I'm just not sure what to put up - drapes, blinds, shades.  Have to think about the cat playing with any cords or strings, cleaning them, etc.  Here are some pictures in case anyone has an idea :)  This was before we moved in (obviously).  The walls are a lighter/tan color.  I LOVE all of the windows but like I said since it's a busy corner, we need the privacy. 

Here's our couch. It's pretty big so we lost a bit of space between the back of the couch and the window.  There's about a 2 ft space.

Ah and here's a bit more recent photo.  You can see the white curtains on the left from Ikea.  I've recently read to hang curtain rods above the trim to make the room and windows look bigger.  That might work in front of the bay window but not the other windows because the ceiling meets the trim.  Decisions, decisions!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday, Monday

I always roll my eyes when reading Facebook statuses on Monday mornings.  The complaints......good grief.  Be glad you have a job to go to!  Here in NJ, it's supposed to snow so that combined with it being Monday, oh boy! ;)

This weekend was good.  Saro's daughters were here.  Friday after work, I did 4 miles on the treadmill.  Here are the results:

Distance: 4.00 mi
Duration: 42:12
Pace: 10:33 min/mi

Then, we went out for Mexican.  We are pretty sure we saw Ashley at the restaurant, from Real Housewives of NJ but not 100% sure.  Eh, not that exciting - lol.  Saturday I worked a half day then had brunch at my best friends condo for her birthday.  It was really good!  After that, I stopped to get a new hair dryer (exciting, I know).  Saturday night my mom and Saro's mom came by for dinner.

Sunday I worked in the morning, went to get new windshield wipers (another exciting moment but wow - my windshield is super clean now!), went to Shop Rite and went for a run.  I decided to go for 5 miles.  Here are the results:

Distance: 5.04
Duration: 56:54
Pace: 11:17 min/mi

I'm happy with this.  I think it would have been under 11 min/mi but I had to stop because I got a little lost and forgot which way to turn to get back home - LOL.  It was about 28-29 degrees out but very sunny so I wasn't that cold.  Afterwards, I felt really tired!  Not sure if it was from the run or waking up at 5:45AM, or a combo of both.  So, while Saro took the girls home, I napped for 2 hours instead of doing laundry and cleaning (my normal Sunday routine).  I woke up around 5:30 and made dinner.  Saro would be back around 7:30.  I made ground turkey meat sauce with zucchini and broccoli and whole wheat linguini.  It came out pretty good!

My shins are a bit sore this morning as well as my right inner thigh (still.  It has been 3 weeks) so I must have pulled a muscle.  I'm going to rest for 2-3 days (from running) and work on core stuff.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


"Meh" is for a few reasons. 

1.) I have to work at my part time job tonight.  6-10:15.  It's a love/hate.  I'm working with my friend Crystal tonight and we always laugh.. mainly at ourselves for buying scratch off lotto tickets and usually losing (she has better luck than me though!).  I should have time to go home in between jobs to eat quick and change.

2.) I didn't get the job that I applied for back in December.  Everything happens for a reason, right?

3.) I keep fluctuating between 145 and 149 lb.  When I really started eating better, running and going to boot camp last March, I was 160.  So, 10-15 lb in a year isn't bad I suppose.  Ideally I'd like to lost another 10-15.  It'll come with time and I'm ok with how I look and feel now.  Clean eating and exercise is definitely worth it and for me, it's therapeutic (the exercising).  I do sometimes get frustrated with planning each and every meal since it requires more time that I'd like to spend doing other things.  I feel good when I have meals planned and cooked for the week - like this week!  I know I can always get a *pretty* healthy breakfast or lunch at the work cafeteria (they literally have everything - especially a great salad bar) but then that adds up. $5-$10 dollars a day which I really don't have!

Reviews are coming up at work so I'm hoping for a raise.  Something!  Anything!  Especially now that more money is coming out of our checks.. yuck.

Good news is that our property taxes went down a BIT so we will be paying about $100 less per month.  Helps for our savings.

Glad tomorrow is Friday.  We're expecting a few inches of snow tomorrow night. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In a fog

Do any of you feel like when you sleep REALLY WELL and for a long time (7+ hours), you feel MORE tired the next day?  Not that 7 hours is super long but I think 7 is good for me.  Anything more than that and I feel very groggy the next day.  Last night I slept like a baby - I didn't even hear Saro come in (he worked until 10:30) and I'm a light sleeper.  Although I do wear ear plugs due to his snoring :)

Anyway, I think I figured out how to upload pictures again so here are a few:

Valentine's Day decor.  The hearts on the ribbon, I made last year with satin ribbon and scrapbook paper from Michael's.  Super easy!  On top of the fire place are wooden letters that say "Be Mine" from a cute local shop.

Here's what I made yesterday morning in the crock pot.  Greek chicken - 3 chicken breasts, two cups of vegetable (or chicken) broth, a cut up red onion, basil, oregano and lemon juice.  On low 6-8 hours.  It came out very good!

My cousin got a new job as a hairdresser so I stopped into the salon last night for a bang trim.  Super cute salon and close to home.  I think I'll be going back :) 

After that, I made some more peanut butter oat bars and also made turkey meatballs with spaghetti squash and marinara sauce.  Here's the link for that recipe -

Today's lunch :)

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January in NJ

Yes, people, it's cold.  We live in the north east.  This morning it was 17 and is only supposed to get up to 23 with high winds.  I'm just not sure why people who grew up here and know the climate, still complain about cold temperatures and snow.  I actually enjoy both.  Cold weather makes for a cozy spot in front of the fire place!  Big snow storms mean work might be closed and I can work from home :)  Speaking of that, I'm hearing 6+ inches of snow starting late Friday morning.  We'll see!

This weekend was fun.  I won't say I ate that healthy though!  Friday we tried out a local BBQ place.  We both thought it was good.  I had the BBQ pulled pork with minimal sauce (skipped the bread! lol), coleslaw and baked beans.  We also split a bowl of their black bean soup which also had shredded pork in it.  Different and good.

Saturday I worked my normal shift at my part time job - 6:30-3.  I can't say I hate it because I don't.  I love my coworkers and I've made life long friends there.  This is my 12th year there.  If and when I can work full time without HAVING to work part time, I will.  Right now and for the last 5 years, my student loan has been kicking my butt.

After work, we drove down to my cousin's house with the dog.  She made a great dinner - whole wheat lasagna, winter salad with butternut squash and prosciutto, and boston cream cupcakes for dessert.  Man, it was good.  We had a nice time hanging out and catching up.

Sunday I worked my normal morning shift - 6:30-11 and then went for a run outside.  It was nice and warm - about 50 degrees.  I ran on the road which I haven't done in a while and today I'm feeling it in my shins!  Eek.  Here are the results:

Duration: 32:29
Distance: 3.11
Pace: 10:27 min/mi

This knocked about 3.5 minutes off of my last run, so I'm happy with it!  I like running on the road - more to see and other runners to wave at.  It's just nicer but you obviously have to be more alert and aware of cars.

After that and a shower, I actually tried to nap which I never do.  I usually do all laundry and clean on Sunday afternoons but since I knew I was off Monday, I said it can wait!  Now I know why I don't nap.  The phone rang a few times, Murphy was barking and anyone and any thing that walked by, and there were some other loud noises outside.  I probably slept for 15 minutes.  Oh well!

Sunday night we went to my Aunt Mary's for her birthday dinner.  She was really glad we went, so I was glad too.  She lives about 40 minutes north west of me.

Monday, Saro and I were both off together.  If I haven't mentioned this yet, it's rare due to our work schedules - so that was nice.  I had asked him if he could take off since I was off for MLK Jr. Day.  We had a nice breakfast, cleaned the basement, did some shopping (he got new running sneakers and I got a wicking shirt and some new non-cotton running socks), food shopped and grabbed a burger on the way home.

Right now in the crock pot I have 3 chicken breasts with vegetable broth, oregano, basil, lemon juice and red onion.  I'll make some quinoa and spinach to go with it.  Saro is working late tonight.  I'll do some core work outs when I get home.

I decorated the house a bit for Valentine's Day.  Nothing over board but just a few cute things.  I took a picture collage but Blogger still won't let me upload.  Is anyone else having this problem?

Have a good week!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Holy garlic Greek food!

Last night, my best friend and I, +Angela Verrone went out for Greek food.  Her blog is

We've been friends for nearly 3 decades.  We met in pre-school, went to different elementary schools and then the same middle school and HS.  In 1998, right before we started high school, my mom bought a house right next door to her family's house so needless to say, we've spent a lot of time together.  We pretty much talk daily and see each other often.  I pretty much tell her everything and she's a great friend! 

Saro said our bedroom smelled like garlic this morning.  Yikes - REALLY?!  The food had that much garlic in it??  LOL kind of embarrassing but also funny.  I brought the leftovers home and did notice the fridge was a little stinky this morning - haha. 

I had their chicken special which is grilled chicken with olive oil, orzo, feta, tomato, spinach and well - GARLIC. 

This week was pretty busy at work.  Tonight, we are going running after work (3.1) and tomorrow we are going down to my cousin's house for dinner.  We'll bring our dog Murphy since we don't like leaving him for too long (sappy, I know) but he's still young and plus, we both work from 6:30-3 tomorrow.  My cousin is an hour away so we don't want him to be alone ALL day and night.  They have a fenced in yard so he can play out there for a bit and I'm sure he'll love their three cats :)  He loves cats!

Monday I am off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day BUT I have a dentist appointment - great!  I have to get fitted for a crown (I think) because of this toothache I've had for over a month now.  Next week, I'm looking forward to our once a month girls night at Angela's house and then celebrating her birthday on Saturday with our friends for a brunch!

Still planking but haven't the last two nights :-/ Will tonight!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

In love with Crock Pot

Last year, after we moved into our house, my mom got us a bunch of cool things for the kitchen.  One is our crock pot.  We love it!  This morning, I threw 6 thinly sliced chicken breasts in there with 3/4 jar salsa, a few drops of lime juice and homemade taco seasoning (chili powder, cumin, sea salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes).  I plan on shredding it for chicken taco salad (no shells or sour cream :-/). 

3 years ago, Saro got me something I always wanted - a Kitchen Aid mixer.  I love that thing.  I recently saw different uses for it (Pinterest!).  One, being that you can throw in slow cooked chicken and use the paddle attachment to shred it!  Easier than shredding all that chicken with a fork.  So I think I will try that.  I plan on having the chicken over romaine with avocado & a little plain Chobani.

Here are last night's running results:

Duration: 36:07
Distance: 3.12 mi
Pace: 11:34 min/mi

I was getting that cramp in my right side again!  Frustrating because we've been running since last March and I never got it before.  I don't eat before I run and I drink a little water, not much.  I don't want to feel too full from drinking/eating before but I know it's important to stay hydrated.

Last night's plank challenge was 2:30.  I feel that 2 minutes is "easy" and after that, my body starts to shake and I just want to plop down on the floor.  Tonight is 3 minutes - eek.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekend Recap

My weekend was good.  Friday night I went out to dinner with one of my closest girlfriends.  We chatted a lot, had some wine, ate and laughed.  It was fun and the food was great.  We had a few different kinds of bruschetta - my favorite was the portobello mushroom/goat cheese/walnut one.  So good.

Saturday after work, Saro and I went to the track and did 3 miles.  Here are those results:

Duration: 34:13
Distance: 3.06 mi
Avg. Pace: 11:10

The last two runs, I've been getting a cramp in my side which I haven't had in a long time.  Some of you may know this cramp I speak of.  So that slowed me down a bit.  I read online that it is most likely the way I'm breathing while running.

With that said, we've decided to run in the Long Branch, NJ half marathon on May 5th.  I signed up last night!!!  I'm really looking forward to it and the timing is perfect.  We might still go to San Francisco in June but make it more of a vacation.  We are running a 5K on Feb 9th so we will start the half marathon training on Feb 11th.  The training is 12 weeks.  It's going to be tough with our work schedules but I know we can do it.

In the mean time, I need to invest in non cotton, moisture wicking socks!

On another note, I like to coupon when I can.  Here is yesterday's deal from CVS (posting the sale prices):

Two Pantene - $7
Four Kleenex - $6
One Wisk 32 load detergent - $4.99
One Scott 18 roll TP - $7.49
Two Dawn dish soaps - $1.98
Two Planters peanuts - $6

Total *before* sales - $57.90
Total *after* sales AND coupons - $27.94
Savings: $30.94

They have a deal going on where if you spend $30 on select items, you get a $10 CVS gift card for your next purchase, so I got that.  With that, I got two Cover Girl mascaras for $1.42 (I had a coupon for $3 off two cover girl items).

Last night, I made stuffed peppers in the crock pot.  I kind of followed a recipe (that I can't find now so I'm writing this off the top of my head) but I added chopped mushrooms and zucchini also.  They came out really good!  Here's the recipe:

Five bell peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed
1.25 lb of 99% fat free ground turkey
1 medium onion, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp chili powder
salt & pepper
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients together (except the sauce and water) and fill each pepper 3/4 full.  Then pour tomato sauce and water mixure over the peppers.  Cook in a crock pot on low for 7 hours.

This site won't let me upload pictures lately or else I'd post a picture of them.

Have a great week!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Date Night

We try to have a date night at least once a month.  Saro's daughters will be with us this weekend so we figured we'd have a mid-week date night.  We used a certificate for a local place that traditionally serves Rodizio (different *unlimited* meats).  It's a BYOB place so we grabbed a bottle of wine and headed there.  We opted out of the Rodizio (too much meat!). 

First, they serve bread with chimichurri sauce.  We had their drunken clams for an appetizer (clams in a limoncello white wine sauce).  I got their sample platter which was a few grilled shrimp, grilled chicken breast, chorizo (only had 1 out of 3!) and mixed vegetables, small chunks of roasted potatoes and yams.  It was REALLY good.  Saro got the paella which was amazing as well.  It had calamari, shrimp, lobster, clams, chicken, chorizo and mussels.  Our bill was $33 which is really good for all of that!

It would be a lie if I said we didn't go to Haagen Dazs afterwards.. BUT before dinner, I planked and got a 30 minute walk in with Murphy (the dog).

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

5K & Homemade bread crumbs

Back to the bread crumbs.  We put them in the food processor (after toasting and leaving them to sit out over night) with salt, pepper, parsley and garlic powder and used them on chicken cutlets.  They came out AMAZING!  I don't think I will ever buy packaged bread crumbs again!  Especially since they're loaded with salt (unless you buy salt free).  I skipped the flour and just dipped the chicken in egg and bread crumb.  We had that with baked yams and green beans.

We also signed up for a 5K (it'll be our 2nd one) which is on February 9th.  I was looking for a 10K but didn't see any in the area, and I really want to keep up with running during the winter.  We hope, come March 1st we can continue with the 10K and possible 13.1 training for SF in June.  Last night we headed down to the track and here are my results:

Duration: 33:39
Distance: 3.10 (5K)
Pace: 10:51 min/mile

I am happy about these results and I'm also down another 1 lb this week for a grand total of 15 lbs lost in 10 months! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hectic Tuesday = Tired Wednesday

Yesterday was pretty hectic at work.  I worked at my full time job from 8-5:30 and then had to rush to be at my part time job by 6:00.  I got home around 10:15 and overly tired, decided to prep the bread crumbs I'm going to make later for chicken cutlets.  Well with the bread in the oven at 10:30 pm, I set off both smoke alarms in the house - lol.  I didn't see ANY smoke which leads me to believe there's something on the bottom of the oven that keeps burning (the smoke alarms have been going off for the last few weeks when the oven is on).  I mean, it's good to know they work but I probably woke up my mother in law.  Oops.  Anyway, I broiled about 12 slices of Ezekiel bread for breadcrumbs.  I'm going to throw it in the food processor with some spices later.  If you haven't tried this bread, I recommend it.  Trader Joe's has it for $3.99 which is pretty much the same as a "regular" loaf of bread (which I've avoided for close to a year).  I like it toasted with 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (meaning the only ingredients are PEANUTS).

I also managed to plank last night - 2 + 1/2 minutes.  My lower back was starting to hurt!  Tonight is 2 + 3/4 minutes... eek.

I'm feeling kinda funky - bit of a sore throat, body ache and I've had this toothache for a few weeks now.  Not good, I know.  I've never had a toothache and it's really uncomfortable.  I have an appointment for the 21st (if I can wait that long).  Great way to spend a day off - at the dentist.  I HATE the dentist.

We have plans to go to the track tonight....maybe sweating will make me feel better - let's hope!

Have a good Wednesday!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Quinoa recipe

We've become pretty big fans of quinoa.  For those of you that haven't tried it, I'm sure you've heard about it as it's the "new" popular grain.  It has a bit of a crunch which is different from rice or pasta and it's healthier.  It has a lot of protein... 5 g per 1/4 cup.  Tonight I'm making a recipe from the Trader Joe's organic quinoa box.  It's a garlic chicken stir fry with quinoa, peppers and basil.  This morning I put a whole chicken in the crock pot so I'm going to change the recipe a little bit as it instructs you to cook sliced chicken in a pan.  So I'll skip that part.  Here's the recipe if you're interested:

1 cup cooked quinoa, prepared with chicken stock according to package directions (place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups broth in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed - 10-15 minutes)

1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
4 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
20 leaves fresh sweet basil, julienne
grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Cut chicken into one inch pieces.  Heat large nonstick skillet over high heat and add the oil.  Add chicken and saute for 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Add onions, bell peppers - saute for one-two more minutes.  Add garlic and saute until peppers become slightly limp, but still bright, about one to two minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove the pan from heat - add basil and cooked quinoa.  Toss until basil wilts, garnish with parmesan.  Serves 4.

Let me know if you try it and how you like it.  I'll be shredding the chicken from the crock pot and adding it to this :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

52 week money challenge

Hi all and happy Sunday!  Quick post... I am doing a 52 week money challenge and figured some of you may want to do it too.  Each week you add the amount of the week of the year it is.  This is the first week so start with $1.  Next week add $2.  The following week add $3 and so on.  It'll give you $1,378 by the end of the year.  Use for whatever you like... I know what mine will be saved for!  Enjoy your Sunday.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Happy Friday, all!  I am pretty sore this morning.  I'm doing a plank challenge this month.  Yesterday I did 90 seconds!  It brings you up to do a 4 minute plank... scary but I think I can do it.  Last night I did that plus two 12-13 minute you tube work out videos which also had more planking and Pilates/Yoga. 

I also made a homemade BBQ sauce, flax/almond pancakes and peanut butter oat bars.  I have chicken thighs with the BBQ sauce in the crock pot for tonight's dinner :)  I'll make some brown rice to go with it.  If you'd like any of the recipes, let me know.  They're not mine so I can't take credit ;)  This morning I dipped the pancakes (two small ones) in a little bit of REAL maple syrup (I'd say 1 TBSP) and munched on some blueberries with them.  They were really good and I'll definitely be making them more often...something different for breakfast!

Trader Joe's is a great store for the ingredients because they're not overly priced.  Agave nectar was $3.29 and I've seen it for $6 and up in some other stores.  Coconut oil was about $5 and I've seen it for $13!  All of these items will last you a while too.

This weekend I'm looking forward to celebrating a friends birthday at Zeppelin Hall Biergarten tomorrow night.  We are taking a limo for his 30th Birthday.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy 2013!

Happy New Year, everyone!  My weekend was good and relaxing.  I still didn't get a chance to get a long run in.  It snowed about 4 inches on Saturday and yesterday the track was still snowy (I checked! lol). 

Today I'm starting another body challenge with Bridal Boot Camp.  Although in between the challenges, I'm still following a clean, healthier way of eating.  It defeats the purpose if you just "eat right" for a month and then stop.  This weekend, I definitely ate more carbs and sugar than I should have but now, it's a new week and a New Year and I have to remind myself that it IS OKAY to enjoy yummy foods now and then.

For the first time in years, I went to bed before the Times Square ball dropped at midnight.  We made chicken parm at home, watched Terms of Endearment (I cry every time) and were asleep by about 11:15.  New Years Day we were both off from work which was nice.  That only happens about 5x a year!  I made honey walnut waffles for breakfast. 

For the last year or so, Saro has been wanting to put a mirror above our fireplace.  After looking online, we decided to head out to Pier 1 and some other stores.  We really lucked out!  Pier 1 had this mirror marked down to $75 from $299 because it had a few scratches.  All it needed was some touch up!  We bought it and put it up last night.  This isn't the great picture but here it is:

We also decided to take down all of the indoor Christmas decor last night.  So now, our living room feels more open again :)  I really like decorating the house and purcashing new things for it, but I'm not good at it!  There are just so many options.  Our house is all wood trim which is kind of old school.  Saro really likes it.  When I see pictures on Pinterest or other home sites, I often see white trim with bold colored walls which to me, looks very clean and sharp.  I'd be nervous to paint all of our wood trim too, though.  Once you paint it, you can never go back.  We do however agree that our kitchen and dining room ceilings need to be sheet rocked and painted white to open up the rooms some more.  Our kitchen is pretty small so we think that'll help.  We are thinking about taking some time off of work soon to do these small updates to the house.  We also have 80s cabinets (laminate with the wood trim on the bottom).  I found a how-to site on how to update them by painting them and adding handles/knobs for only a few thousand $ at most, compared to $20,000 or so, to completely rip out the kitchen and redo it.  We are also saving for a wedding that we hope will take place in the spring of 2014.  No, we're not engaged yet ;)

Enjoy the short work week!